Saturday, May 12, 2018

Alter-Nations: A middle course

I'll begin the post with an as-promised look at my highly impressionistic painting style...

"But but but!" I hear you stammer.  Yes. In the vignette we see what kinda look like French line battalions advancing on some vaguely Prussian troops while two squadrons of Hussars (is that the seventh?) charge in from the left.

"But those FLAGS!?" you finally blurt out amidst your apoplexy.  Exactly!  The flags.

Most "historical" miniature war gamers will tell you there are two types of game, those being Historical and Imagi-Nation.  Of course Historical is just that.  A player controls the exact French, Brittish and Native units present on the Plains of Abraham on 13 September 1759 and re-fights the battle.

An Imagi-Nations miniatures wargame is a very different beast.  Typically fictitious battles are fought over fictitious maps by nations named for OTC cold medications.  Hey, are those Orks?  Two extremes and both are fun as heck.  Most every one of us are most comfortable somewhere in the middle.

I'm a gamer.  I enjoy miniatures games - and when I can locate an opponent they're even more fun!  But I also restore houses, practice bushcraft, noodle on the ukulele, play with micro-controllers and model trains... you get the idea.  I enjoy miniature wargames but like most, I got other stuff on the to-do list.  Personally, I've found that the effort required to create a proper Imagi-Nations world - like the effort required to get each and every blob of paint exactly correct on each and every exact casting takes more time than I can realistically devote to one of my many pursuits.

My simple solution?  Get the flags wrong.  It's really all down-hill from there!  Once the flag is wrong, the fact that my Prussian Cuirassiers are sporting an 1806 uniform at Waterloo or that the Grande Armée's 64th Line Infantry Regiment has the wrong number of battalions is beside the point.  This is Alter-Nation, my own personal get-out-of-jail-free card.  IMHO I believe there are many Historical wargamers out there who are comfortable with somewhat less than absolute accuracy.  You know who you are.  Welcome to the club!  :D

Monday, April 30, 2018

New Optional Rule: Tide of Battle

There is a new Optional Rule added to 6+.  "Tide of Battle" deals Hits to friendly neighbors of eliminated units.  Recall that in 6+, "Hits" is an amalgam of casualties and morale.  This allows one to simulate the effect on a unit of witnessing an ally getting gunned down  or panicking.  The resultant effect is quite realistic I feel.

Friday, April 20, 2018

My Peculiar Basing

Basing.  There are innumerable methods.  Does one base for the rules set, the esthetic, economy, or some other criteria?  Here you will see how I chose to base and how I allowed my Irregular Miniatures infantry "blocks" to dictate the basing for my 6+ solo house rules.

 The tools in question.
For bases I use 3mm thick commercial floor tile scraps that I nicked from my workplace.
The tile scores easily with a razor blade and straight edge and can then be
easily snapped into sections.  It's quite heavy, stable and readily takes thickened CA.
This material has served me well for my 28mm fantasy plastics for a long time.

 The central seem on the underside of the Prussian Cuirassiers
needed smoothing to allow a flat bonding surface. 

 The infantry blocks are concave on the bottom and also benefit from filing down.

Two squadrons and two companies ready for priming!

My bases measure a very peculiar 30mm x 25mm.  Should I ever find a bonafide opponent  with figures of their own they will doubtless use another (more standard) basing.  In that event my intention is to place my units in movement trays of the appropriate size.  But for now - for me - the small size blends with the IM blocks and makes any given battlefield "bigger" by their dimensions.

COMMING SOON: I'll post pictures of my horribly impressionistic painting abilities.  ;)

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Highly Irregular

Irregular Miniatures offers assortments called Battlepacks.  Mine came in the mail today in a beefy little package weighing the better part of a kilo.  I.M. Battlepacks are available for all their lines and feature a pair of complete armies.  The Napoleonic offering is typical with two "balanced forces" and a copy of their in-house rules set.  Mine also came with a baggie labeled "free samples" which I suspect is a standard bonus.  According to Ian Kay, the CinC of I.M. the Prussian army includes "3 inf brigades (each of 6 inf blocks and a commander) 1 cav brigade (8 bases and a commander) and 1 battery (2 guns) 1 c in c and 8 mounted aides per side." As you can see, the French field 1 less stand of infantry per brigade and instead have additional cannon.  The box also contains a set of rules. With postage to the U.S. my total was £53.56 for paypal.  It's a wee bit less on your credit card.

Ian was fabulous to deal with and my order arrived in around a week.

 The contents of my parcel. That snappy burgundy box contains the rules.

 The rules feature a set of color coded quick-reference cards and a sheet of paper.
More on the rules "IN THE FUTURE".
(Can someone tell me, is that an A4 sheet?  I've never seen one.)

La Grande Armée

 Some wonderful freebies.  Two wagons, some horsemen, and...
some...  yeah I have no idea.
(okay that's RU46 - they're sheep)

The Royal Prussian Army

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

More Thoughts on Ranges & Scales

Well, thanks to some thoughtful feedback on my Previous Post as well as on The Miniatures Page I've been dwelling on the topic of weaponry ranges in OHW for a day or so now.  I decided to compare some figures for OHW with the same metrics in a handful of other systems.  I considered Musket Range (M), Artillery Range (A), Infantry Movement (I), and Cavelry Movement (C). 

I know that the numbers will look WEIRD to actual players of each of these rules sets.  I adjusted all values to their lowest common denominator (which is 6 in this case).
For Honors of War: M:6 A:15 I:6 C:9
For Black Powder:  M:6 A:12 I:4 C:16
For Blucher:            M:6 A:24 I:6 C:12
For DBM v2.1:         M:6 A:24 I:6 C:12
For OHW:                 M:12 A:48 I:6 C:12
If we accept OHW movement rates as "about correct" then the shooting ranges are clearly far too great.

In my last post, I thought that I'd settle things by play-testing an Artillery Range of 30cm and leave Muskets at 12cm but now I just don't know.  In fact, I just noticed for the first time (yeah I'm a bit slow) that all ranged weaponry in OHW from an arquebus of the Pike & Shotte period to a WWII rifle is given the exact same range!

I believe that clinches it.  The values I'm going to try and work with in 6+ are going to be M:6 A:24 I:6 C:12.  I'll report back on how this works out.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Of Muskets, Cannon & Scale

After plenty of solo games of OHW, I began to question the relative effective ranges of musket and artillery fire.  The standard rules give ranges (which I'm assuming to be effective) of 48" - I'll be using centimeters from here on out - 48cm for artillery and 12cm for musket.  But are these really in realistic proportion to each other?

From sources I consulted, "most" Napoleonic 6lb cannon had an effective range of ~700m (unless you were an Austrian in which case it was ~400m).  Effective musket range was around 274m.  In terms of game mechanics, these two "real world" numbers should be in the same proportion as the OHW values.

Lets first take the 48cm artillery range as Gospel.
The ratio of   700cm:274cm::48cm:xcm   yields a proportional OHW musket range of 18cm.
According to this, musketry is underpowered.

Taking 12cm as an accurately scaled effective range for musketry things are different.
Of course then computing   700cm:274cm::xcm:12cm   provides a scaled artillery range of 30cm suggesting that at ranges of 48cm and 12cm artillery is overpowered.

What to do? What to do?
Based on the assumptions I made above, the OHW fan has three options: To accept the disproportionately long range of artillery, to increase musket range to 18cm, or to reduce artillery range to 30cm.

What would Tim do?  I chose the shorter effective range for my 6 pounders.  At 30cm, I liked the idea that a piece couldn't dominate a standard 36cm square board from a corner.  Looks like I'm gonna start play testing the 30cm range.

How big is the OHW battlefield?
Accepting my starting assumptions and my previous calculations we can compute exactly how large our standard 36x36 game map is. Keep in mind the result is a proportion, equally true for both centimeters and inches.  If 12 (cm or inches) represents 274m then 1 (cm or inch) equals 274m/12.
Each cm or inch of your game map represents 23 meters (that's 25 yards for all the folks in Liberia, Myanmar, and the U.S.)

Your 36x36 game map is 828 meters or 1/2 mile square.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Scenario 31: Redoubt at Rohlbeck

The bridge across the river Agnew at Rohlbeck is crucial to the Republic’s supply lines. Fifty miles south of here, the Second Corps continues to push further into Allied territory. Unbeknownst to the Republican forces garrisoned at Rohlbeck, an Allied division has outflanked the Second Corps, ordered to cut Republican supply lines at this river crossing.