Saturday, 20 December 2014

Here we go again on the Great Northern War

I've been looking again at the basing ideas for my Great Northern War (and SYW) figures, following some recent games with the excellent Maurice rules.  For those games, we've used 28 mm figures belonging to chaps in the club, but I really want to press ahead and finish my own 15/18 mm Blue Moon stuff.   

Here's where I've come from, and where I'm staggering to, in fits and starts.  

At the outset (18 months ago...) I was thinking of 60 x 30 mm bases with a unit per base. Units would have 8 or 9 figures per battalion with 1 standard. 

The idea here was to play with the forthcoming Impetus Baroque rules or a variant of Volley and Bayonet.

Then I went off the idea of figures in 2 ranks and went to a single rank of 3 x 40 mm bases with 3 figures on each base.  I liked the idea of 120 mm frontage and a thin line.  At this point I was still toying with whether to include the Swedish pike in the unit, or to use a special marker stand at the back to indicate the unit had pikes.  Cavalry was based 2 figures per 40 mm base.  

Well, Impetus Baroque is still nowhere in sight, and is fading from thought. The Maurice rules have now become the preferred option.  And so, on to the basing ideas.

Maurice works with any basing system as all movement and range distances are measured in base-widths.  Infantry and cavalry units have 4 bases and artillery 1 base.

And so I come to my current options.  Units of 120 mm front.  First up are 16 figure infantry units in 2 ranks. 2 bases of 30 mm and a central command base of 60 mm. Infantry units would carry 2 flags.  Cavalry would be 8 figures on 2 bases of 60 mm.  Something like this.

This does go back to figures in 2 ranks which I'm still not sure about, but it looks OK here as a rough idea.

Then there's the option of 12 figure infantry units. Still on a 120 mm front but with figures mounted in a loose staggered line.  Cavalry would be 6 or 8 figures.  This has the advantage of giving me more units and being easier to base.

Or I could stay with 9 figure infantry and 6 figure cavalry units. I could then just stay with 40 mm bases and play with each unit as 3 bases. The rules work just as well with 3 bases; they just get counted as 4 bases for the unit break-point.  

Or I could change from 3 bases of 40 mm to 4 bases of 30 mm and / or 2 bases of 60 mm. Which pretty much gets me back to where I started.   

Hopefully if I stare long enough at units and pictures over the next couple of weeks, I'll eventually settle on one option and then just get on with the painting.   

Friday, 19 December 2014

rules of the year - maurice, art de guerre and dystopian wars

I've played more games than I've posted here, so I thought I'd post a year end view of some of the most fun and interesting rules of this year. 

First up is Maurice by Sam Mustapha. These are rules for 18c games, card driven and a whole lot of fun.  The base game cards are used to move and modify the actions of either your own army or to interrupt your opponent.  Then you can add 'national modifier' cards to give a bonus to some of your troops. Then there are 'notables' cards which can add additional general officers to help or hinder your army. The rules can be played with historical armies or with 'imagine-nations'. 

One of the great things about Maurice is that there is a free Maurice Lite version available on the Honor website. This is a trimmed down basic rules and cards set but which can still give a good game.  Above all though, it lets you try the basic system with minimal outlay.  

The first time we played at the club we threw in everything; base cards, terrain setup, national modifiers, notables, irregulars - the works.  And we stumbled a bit trying to learn everything and ended the game a bit uncertain about the rules. 

One chap definitely wanted to persevere with the rules, so I suggested we go back to just the base rules and learn the basics first.  We did that, essentially playing an expanded version of Maurice Lite but using the full card deck.  It was a great game. 

The next game we added national modifiers and had another great game, even allowing for some hilarious loser grumbling about re-rolls not rolling higher that the initial roll.  

And so it goes on, with more games affirming the basics and slowly adding complexities.  For me, I'm not sure about using the notables cards but will use them as the other chaps want. 

We've mostly played with Great Northern War figures so far, but it's got me looking at the basing my own GNW and Seven Years Wars figures.  

Overall - just a great game and highly recommended.  

Next up is actually my newest purchase - Art de la Guerre.  
(and a quick plug for Wargames Emporium in the UK - very fast delivery on these rules.)

It's a set of ancient rules and in scope it sits between DBA/Armati and DBM. It uses more bases than DBA but about half of a DBM army. 

Now I've not actually played this, but the chaps at the club have had a few games and really like it. And the games look good.    

It's a well produced book, nicely laid out with good diagrams and most wonderful of all - the rules AND the army lists are all in the one book.  Yeah!  Three cheers!  A major plus and the writers of ADG are to be applauded for taking this approach.  None of the nonsense of glossy rules and endless supplements to wring every penny from gamers.   

Apparently, these rules have been on the go in France for the past 5 years but it's only this year that an English translation has been produced.     
I'm looking forward to playing these in the near future. DBA, DBM and Armati were some of my favourite rules and this could re-awaken an interest in ancients.  There have been some good reviews out on t'internet and a few comments by people who are also looking to get long forgotten armies out of boxes and on the table again using these rules. 

And finally - Dystopian Wars.  
I'd stayed away from this, and for no other reason than it meant another set of rules to learn and more models to be painted.  But after a conversation at the club one night, I gave in and got the rules and a couple of American fleets off that on-line auction site.  Some great games followed - successes and failures (though I can't remember the successes now!).  

Then the chaps in the club decided to go for the second version of the rules. As a rules set, is supposed to be better but I find the amount of bold print to highlight important stuff a bit off-putting.  And the mish-mash of land, air and sea rules seem overly confusing to someone like me who only wanted to play naval games.  And the second edition cards - 4 quid for only 24 cards seemed a bit of a rip-off. All just a bit disappointing.  

But the biggest farce to me are what look like revamped air and carrier rules.  Unless I'm reading it wrong, under version 2 rules, tiny-flyers don't have to actually land on a carrier to refuel or rearm; they just have to get to within 4 inches of a carrier and then magically rearm. Maybe it's intended to be simpler, but I liked the idea of tiny-flyers having to land to rearm etc.  

And tiny-flyers ( a great name ). What was wrong with tiny-flyers that they had to be renamed 'wings'?  Bah humbug!  

But it's still a good fun game for naval combat, and for rolling lots of dice looking for exploding sixes.     

Roll on 2015 and more of these 3 games as well as some old favourites.