Friday, June 28, 2013

Almost done!

The OOB's for our Volley & Bayonet Gettysburg refight are as complete as I can make them. Here you can see all the sabot stands for the scenario and as many figures as I've have placed on them combined with the union figures from my gaming buddy. With the two Union collections combined, we're still missing some artillery and the VI Corps in it's entirety but as VI Corps comes into play on the night of the 2nd day of fighting I suppose there'll be plenty of dead figures to recycle. For the Confederates another opponet of mine assures me he'll be able to bring all the missing figures on the morning of the game, so we're good.

I did some moderate painting to prepare for this, mostly officers. The games so far have been on the scale of a couple of Corps per side with the associated divisions but for this game I needed a lot of division leaders in particular. I ended up painting regular cavalry soldiers and basing them singly on 20mm bases for the division commanders (makes no difference visually in 6mm) and 25mm bases of three or so officers with a flag for Corps/Army commanders. Apart from that I did some sharpshooters and some minor terrain work. I think doing the 3" bases took more time than I anticipated as well as cutting and taping the unit labels on them.

Now all that is left is to assemble the table which I can't do very much in advance in fear of my wife, and printing out some player aids. Let them come.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The road to Gettysburg

Like everybody else, I will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg with a game. Initially I thought I'd host a Fire & Fury game focusing on the Longstreet vs. Sickles fight in the Peach orchard / Wheatfield / Devil's Den / Round tops area but I got a bit greedy. I want to play the whole three days of the entire battle!

With the Fire and Fury rules, this would be simply impossible given the number of models needed as well as take too long to play. Fire & Fury shines when you have a Corps at most per side but starts to slow down after that. I need a faster, lighter set of rules and I think I've found what I'm looking for in Volley & Bayonet.

A quick comparison of brigade level Fire and Fury versus Volley and Bayonet:

Base unit:
    F&F: 1 infantry stand = 150/200 men. About 10 stands to a brigade.
    VnB: 1 infantry stand = 1000 - 2000 men. One stand to a brigade.
    F&F: 1" = 45/60 yds
    VnB: 1" = 100 yds
    F&F: One turn = 30 minutes.
    VnB: One turn = 60 minutes.

So, Volley and Bayonet is more geared towards bigger battles and drops a lot of micromanagement in favor of faster flow. The rationale is that when you play the role of army commander, you focus on massing your forces in the right location and send them in at the right time instead of worrying whether a singular brigade is in single or double line. That's why the only brigade formations available are close order battle lines, march column and open order skirmishing. It makes sense for the scale.

The ACW supplement for VnB is getting difficult to find without paying an exorbitant amount, but I got mine from Old Glory 25's for the original price. Their shipping calculations are crazy for overseas orders but I managed to haggle it down to standard USPS fees by just asking them about it in e-mail. The booklet might run out any time as it's a 1995 print so be quick if you want yours! The supplement is for the first edition of the game whilst I have the second edition rulebook, but there isn't a lot you need to change.

I played a test game with my friend yesterday with a Corps of troops per side and played to a satisfactory ending (all enemy divisions exhausted) in three hours on a 6x4 foot table so its not bad at all considering it was our first game. My camera ran out of battery so no pictures for you unfortunately.

Modeling-wise, I changed the sabot basing scheme I introduced in an earlier post a bit. I opted not to have a white line at the bottom and instead of blu-tack I use painters tape to fix the models and the labels in place. Painters tape doesn't leave the stands ugly and is easy to remove.

The visual impact I'm going for is fairly obvious. There is one F&F sized stand of infantry per one strength point (500 men) of infantry and it should look a bit like a brigade in double line. The unit labels are from the Volley and Bayonet yahoo groups user gbitters, who has shared these fantastic labels in the files section. I think this is his blog. Give him a visit, he has some great 3mm VnB games there using half the recommended sizes.

As for figures, I don't have the complete OOB's worth of figures. I'll combine my models with a couple of friends' and for infantry we'll be 19 F&F stands of Union infantry short. These will all be with a Corps arriving on the field on the night of the second day so I'm sure there'll be enough volunteers in the dead pile. For artillery the situation is a bit more worrisome as we're 9 union artillery stands short. I'll have to make blue chits with an artillery symbol on them to compensate if it goes to that. Good players don't lose their artillery :)

I still need to make sabot bases for cavalry, artillery and leaders and paint a whole lot of mounted officers to get all the Union division commanders represented on the field but I think I'll manage. For terrain I'm pretty much set and all I'll have to do is make some optional eye candy to sweeten up the landscape. I already have all the hills, woods and such.

So, who else is doing an anniversary game?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A diplomatic mission to the neighbors

Since my move I'm now pretty much in between the cities of Kuopio and Varkaus, which means I can extend my gaming to two cities comfortably. I've been around the same table with a group from Varkaus before on a couple of occasions so I contacted them and I went there to play a game and say hi.

The game was Warlords of Europe, which I have never heard of before. It's something between Risk and Axis & Allies loosely set in medieval Europe. In this game, the Rus, the Britons, the Hispanics and the Byzantines started off from the four corners of the map. The goal of the game is to initially gain ground by pillaging the countryside. Eventually the players' interests will conflict and your usual Axis & Allies type dicefest ensues. The winner is who gains control of more than half of the castles in the game.

It makes for an entertaining evening's worth of play, but there is one weakness which puts this game behind games like Risk 2210 AD. There is no turn limit to the game which combined with no resource exhaustion makes for a potentially infinite game. When one player gains a strong position, the others can gang up and put him in his place. In the end we decided to resolve the situation by agreeing to end the game at one point with the player with the most castles being declared the winner.  

Not an instant hit this one, but we had quite a few laughs and I had a great time.