5 Cent A Call To Arms Starfleet

After a long hiatus on the blog I finally have a post for you again. After I painted up some Cent coins to display hex grid points I got the idea to paint larger 5 Cent coins for some starship battles on a smaller figure scale to fit my small table.

After I produced three TOS-era Federation and Klingon ships I was quite happy with the result and decided to send them to their maiden voyage. A Call To Arms Starfleet came up as a rule system, as I never really tried it in comparison to Star Navy or different Starmada versions which I have already played quite a lot.

I dusted off my space mat and went for the classical match up of Constitutions against D7’s on a 1 to 1 basis.

Federation ships in battle line.

A close-up of the D7 squadron.

The first turn begins with a coordinated volley of Federation Plasma Torpedoes ripping through the lead D7. Phaser fire finishes the vessel off (red die = destroyed ship). Klingon fire is less effective but deals a good amount of damage to one of the Constitutions.

The positioning for a good volley comes at a price, though. The maneuverable Klingon ships are way better at “knife-fighting” ranges and dish out enough firepower to avenge their fallen brethren and deal several critical hits.

A dogfighting bee-line ensues with the Federation balancing between repairing their damage and reloading their powerful torpedo tubes. The Klingons shift their energy to shields (1) and weapons (3).

After several turns of tight circling the Klingons manage to blast another Constitution to bits with their disruptors. Both Klingon ships are in a bit of a rough shape but they are superior to the one damaged remaining Federation vessel. Shortly after this image the Klingons deliver the final blow and the battle is over with 3 Constitutions and one D7 lost, 1 D7 severely damaged and one D7 moderately damaged.

The battle was interesting as it showcased the different approaches the Federation and Klingons have to a space battle. The Federation ships are difficult to play as they are hard to maneuver and they have to weigh their priorities carefully. Can I reload my powerful torpedoes or do I have to spend my orders to repair damage or boost shields. They want cycles of engaging and regenerating. The Klingons on the other hand are much easier to play. They turn on the dime and do not need reload orders for their weapons. They want to be up close and personal all the time unloading their weapons.

That said, the intricacies of the system come at a price. ACTA Starfleet is a bit slow going for me. Sure, it was my first game and I needed some time referencing the rules but the battle was pretty small on the other hand.

For King & Parliament Campaign May 1643

This battle has it all. Blitz moves, traitors, flanking, rousing speeches, dramatic scenes of gentlemen wounded in battle, cavalry in mad pursuit etc. It was my best battle I fought with the For King & Parliament rules and probably one of the very best solo battles I ever played! Although I would rather play these battles with miniatures it shows that all it needs (at least for me) is a good rule set and some imagination. Although the added stakes from campaign play help quite a bit.

The Royalist Army

Before the battle I made sure of a even horse/foot quota points-wise. As the war progresses more and more seasoned units emerge. Recent losses seem to have thinned the ranks of skilled horsemen, though. The random event was “Traitor” but there was no brigade general to replace by a colonel so I ruled that the gallant gentleman I rolled for Gatring’s brigade was the traitor. Given that the Parliamentarian army fields two gentlemen accompanying the troops, it is safe to assume, the traitor found his way to the Parliamentarian camp the night before the battle.

Command…5
General Irving C-in-C

Brigade of Horse…31
Gallant Colonel Fielding
“Swedish”-style horse – raw
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, poorly mounted
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned
“Swedish”-style horse – raw
“Swedish”-style horse – raw
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, untried, poorly mounted

Brigade of Horse…20
“Swedish”-style horse – raw
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, untried
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, untried
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned

Brigade of Foot…57
Colonel Gatring
Pike and shot battalia – seasoned, large
Pike heavy battalia -raw
Pike heavy battalia – seasoned
Pike and shot battalia – raw
Dragoons – raw
Pike heavy battalia – raw, large
Pike and shot battalia – seasoned

113 points / 20 victory medals

The Parliamentarian Army

On the morning before the battle general Islington, who beat the Royalists handily at Thorne half a year ago, gave a rousing speech to his men. He even presented Sir Fleming who fled the Royalist camp under threat of his life to bring information and his support to the cause.

Command…9
General Islington C-in-C
Field artillery – seasoned

Brigade of Horse…19
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, untried, attached shot
“Swedish”-style horse – raw
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned
“Dutch”-style horse – raw

Brigade of Horse…30
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, untried, poorly mounted
“Swedish”-style horse – veteran, well mounted, attached shot, gentleman
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned
“Dutch”-style horse – raw, untried, poorly mounted
“Dutch”-style horse – raw

Brigade of Foot…31
Pike and shot battalia – raw
Pike and shot battalia – raw, untried
Pike and shot battalia – raw
Pike and shot battalia – raw
Pike heavy battalia – raw, untried, large
Forlorn hope – raw

Brigade of Foot…16
Pike and shot battalia – raw
Pike and shot battalia – seasoned, gallant gentleman
Pike and shot battalia – seasoned

114 points / 23 victory medals (+1 from rousing speech)

The army has begun to field its horse in “Swedish”-style since April. Being a well liked and able general he even got the command of Baker’s Horse (veteran). The foot on the other hand is relatively fresh.

The Battle of Allerton Moor

Iconography
Parliamentarians in red, Royalists in blue
Unit with many vertical lines = horse
Unit with a horizontal line and vertical lines sticking out = pike and shot
Unit with several horizontal lines = Forlorn hope and Dragoons
Unit with three “+”-like signs = artillery
Red dice = hits
Green dice = ammo
Blue dice = dash
Red die on the left = raw
Red die in the middle = seasoned
Red die on the right = veteran
Hollow square = attached shot
Filled square = large
Question mark = untried
Hat = gentleman
Horse with + / – = well / poorly mounted

The dispositions after set-up. The Parliamentarians have one inexperienced unit of horse in reserve on their right flank, where their strong cavalry wing is situated. The fields in the center are surrounded by hedges and provide an excellent strong-point. The river is rather shallow passable anywhere but still considered rough terrain.

In a surprise rush General Irving sends his horse on the left flank up the hill. The Royalist horse completed crushes their opposition and rip a large hole in the Parliamentarian battle line from the get-go.

The men opposing the king are saved for now by successful Royalist horse pursuing without any sign of stopping. The second wave attacks meanwhile but cannot match the stunning success of the first wave. On the other side of the field the cavalry is locked in a standoff while the smoke of the first volleys of the foot begin to fog up the battlefield.

General Irving personally rode to stop his troops from pursuing and pillaging. He made it clear that such fine, distinguished gentlemen such as themselves where had a duty to fulfill before the spoils of war could be divided. Both units promptly turned their horses and fell into the Parliamentarian flank, riding another unit into the ground.

Elsewhere the fight or standoff continued without much gain.

With his entire right flank collapsing general Islington ordered Baker’s veteran horse regiment to attack and regain the initiative. With some support from other units Baker attacked and handily defeated a Royalist horse regiment, wounding colonel Gatring in the process. Islington meanwhile reordered his troops to defend the center against two directions of attack and gave up on his isolated units on his right.

The Royalists are now in firm control of their left flank. On their right they dealt with Baker’s horse but more Parliamentarian horse streamed in causing high casualties on both sides.

In the center colonel Fielding is wounded by a musket ball but keeps standing.

By midday the fighting ebbed as both sides were tired from hours of intense fighting.

Generals keep shifting troops and rallying wavering men. The second wave of Parliamentarian horse moves on the right.

The second wave’s attack is met with success and both sides have 8 victory medals left. On the other side of the field a spend and beaten horse regiment closes in on the Royalist flank in a rather unexpected move.

The flank attack, although poorly executed nearly ends in a disaster as General Irving falls off his horse in the tumult. Now, all three Royalist commanders have been wounded! After some minutes of rest Irving shrugs his dizziness off. If Colonels Gatring and Fielding can fight on wounded who would he be to retire to the rear.

The end of the battle. Royalists cleared the hedges in the center of enemy troops and break the Parliamentarians will to fight. With only 4 victory medals left a narrow win for the Royalists but at long last the first win in a major battle since the civil war started.

The Aftermath

As I changed the amount of SP (strategy points) earned per battle I thought it is only fair to grant the Parliamentarians the points from earlier battles. So for this turn the Royalists receive 5 SP for a narrow win and their adversaries receive 3 SP for a loss and another 3 SP from earlier wins for a total of 6 SP.

After the battle of Draycott in February the Royalists were in no position to attack the south and shifted to the northern part of England where the still hold popular support. Allerton Moor was a win the battered men of the King direly needed for their morale. It also brought West Yorkshire and Derbyshire to the fold. South Yorkshire was quickly retaken by the Parliamentarians, however.

After some month support for the Parliamentarians in Wales was eroded enough that Dyfed declared their neutrality.

Parliamentarians continued the siege of Oxford but the garrison still holds strong after many month. Parliamentarian support still grows south of the “fortress line” which alleviates their loss of land in the north and in Wales.

Portable Napoleonic Battle of Lauerritz

I decided to give the battalion level rules in Robert Cordery’s new book Portable Napoleonic Wargame (Eglinton Books, 2018) a try. After I played a game with the Divisional rules from the book I was disappointed by rule shortcomings and strange combat modifiers. Shooting seemed very effective while melee wasn’t. Two units sharing the same grid space posed quite a few rules questions. The battalion scale rules field a maximum of one unit per grid space which alleviates one problem I had.

The Scenario

Somewhere in Germany during the Befreiungskriege. Two French brigades are sent to the village of Lauerritz to secure the army’s flank. The allies have Russian and Austrian troops on the move against the French. They have more men but leadership is not unified between the allies.

To represent the situation I opted for more strength points for the allies and the use of command decks. The turn sequence is still IGOUGO but sides draw from a deck of playing cards to see how many units they can act with each turn (much like DBA’s pips).

French Army

The French command deck consists of cards with the values 3, 4 and 5.

1st Brigade
General d’Brigade Jeunet (6 SP)
3 battalions of line infantry (each 4 SP average)
1 artillery (2 SP average

2nd Brigade
General d’Brigade Foire (6 SP)
2 battalions of grenadiers (both 4 SP elite)
2 battalions of line infantry (both 4 SP average)

Austro-Russian Army

The allied command deck consists of cards with the values 2, 3 and 4.

Austrian Avant-Garde Brigade
General Tannhaus (6 SP)
2 Battalions of Grenzer (both 5 SP average)
2 Regiments of Hussars (both 3 SP average)

Russian Brigade
General Fedorovitch (6 SP)
3 battalions of line infantry (5 SP poor)

The Battle

The battlefield with fields in the center and Lauerritz to the east of them. French will enter via the road from the south (bottom). The Russians will enter from the west, also using the road. Finally the Austrians will arrive from the center of the northern map edge.
The little green dots are painted 1 Euro cent coins to depict the square grid. I put coins down on every second grid point to reduce the clutter on the battlefield.
The allies arrive and fan out their troops. Austrians farther away to the top.
The french position their artillery behind the fields which stop movement when entering (my own rule) and grab Lauerritz.
Austrian Hussars dash forwards. In the back the other unit of Hussars move around Lauerritz in a flanking maneuver. Both units are shot to pieces without achieving anything in the coming turns.
Firefights erupt west of Lauerritz. Units are constantly pushing and advancing.
After several turns the french finally manage to charge but melee is actually quite harmless compared to shooting in these rules.
The end of the game. Russians manage to flank the french but melee stays indecisive for several turns. Meanwhile another Russian unit flanks around this combat zone and destroys the french artillery. A win for the allies who forced the French to retreat.

Thoughts about the rules

Given how many lightweight rules alternatives there are on the market and for free the portable rules are lacking too much to be played in my opinion.

The above depicted melee was what broke it for me. The way modifiers work, the Russian flanking unit is less susceptible to lose men when flanking. So far so good. But is the French unit in dire straights for being flanked and in combat against two enemies? No, it isn’t. In fact the rather slim chances of losing men are further reduced to a 1 in 6 by the general supporting the French. They can literally fight for a dozen turns without effect while on other parts of the battlefield a unit can be shot to pieces quickly. Not to say that the artillery and musketry modifiers are more to my liking.

Adding to that, I can pretty much play many rules systems with a 1-2 page rules overview (QRS) but the rules layout of this book is standing in the way of clarity in my opinion. Said modifiers are formulated in lists of whole sentences which have to re-read quite a few times to find the ones that apply. A QRS is not included. There are good parts though. The decisions to suffer casualties vs push back tied to unit experience is a clever mechanic forcing the players to make though choices. In the end, though, I will rather move on to other rules that work in my opinion.

For King & Parliament Campaign February 1643

The bloody civil war drags on into 1643. Even though the supporters of the King have been dealt two crushing defeats, their strategic situation seems stable.

The Royalist Army

During the last month the troops got a better supply of ammunition which should prove useful during the battle (random event: Add 1 ammo to a unit of your choice)

Command
General Humphreys (C-in-C)
Field Artillery – seasoned

Battalion of Horse
General Calden
“Swedish”-style horse – raw
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, untried

Battalion of Horse
Colonel Firebrand
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, untried
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, untried
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned, gallant gentleman
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, poorly mounted
“Swedish”-style horse – raw
“Swedish”-style horse – raw
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned, +1 ammo

Battalion of Foot
Colonel Lyre
Pike and shot battalia – raw
Pike and shot battalia – veteran, large
Pike and shot battalia – raw, untried
Pike and shot battalia – raw, large
Pike and shot battalia – seasoned
Rabble – raw

101 points / 19 victory medals

The Parliamentarian Army

With the ongoing war troops slowly build up experience. General Horton’s army is a good example of that, though leaders were hard to come by as Horton got the task to stem the Royalist tide from Gloucester.

Command
General Horton
Siege Artillery – seasoned
Siege Artillery – seasoned
Field Artillery – seasoned
Field Artillery – seasoned

Battalion of Horse
“Dutch”-style horse – raw, untried, poorly mounted
“Dutch”-style horse – seasoned, attached shot
“Dutch”-style horse – raw, poorly mounted
“Dutch”-style horse – raw, untried

Battalion of Horse
“Dutch”-style horse – raw, untried
“Dutch”-style horse – raw
“Dutch”-style horse – seasoned, attached shot

Battalion of Foot
Pike and shot battalia – seasoned, large
Pike and shot battalia – seasoned
Pike and shot battalia – raw
Pike heavy battalia – raw, untried, large
Pike and shot battalia – seasoned, large
Forlorn hope – raw

109 points / 19 victory medals

The Battle of Draycott

Humphreys and Horton meet in the area of Avon. The Royalists want to use Gloucester as a stepping stone into the south and Horton’s army marches to prevent that.

Most terrain was removed which lead to a very open battlefield. The Parliamentarians anchored their left flank on a forest and fielded a gun-line similar to what the Royalists tried unsuccessfully at Thorne.
Horse clashes on the flank while the Royalists move up their foot under heavy gunfire.
The battle is marked by indecisiveness and phlegmatic troops. Parliamentarian horse slowly push the Royalists back due to attached shot and good untried saves. The foot fares less well. Confusion in the ranks (stratagem) make a lead battalia turn their flank to the enemy (center). Luckily the Royalist flank charge is not as devastation as hoped by General Humphreys.

Meanwhile the weak Parliamentarian left is overrun by rabble and pike & shot.
The supposedly superior Royalist horse is yet again trumped by the “Dutch”-system. General Calden’s reserve battalion of horse is unleashed for a flank charge to salvage the situation. Meanwhile the foot is fighting at a rather slow pace.
Calden’s horse penetrates deep into the Parliamentarian flank in coordination with a renewed attack of the foot.
Royalists break through on the Parliamentarian left but the situation is saved as Horton’s horse manage to decimate their foes.
End of the battle: With almost the entire Royalist horse strewn over the field or fleeing the Parliamentarians under Horton managed to win with 6 victory medals left.

General Humphreys and Colonel Firebrand are summoned before the king. I doubt we will see them again…

Aftermath

Yet again Parliamentarians win the battles but fail to exploit this on the campaign map. Particularly due to another failed roll when besieging Oxford (third in a row). The battle at Draycott (in Avon) leaves no doubt who is in control of the south though.

The Royalists snatch the last neutral areas they have access to and start a successful campaign to undermine Parliamentarian support in West Yorkshire.

Campaign Notes

I’ve tried two different random generation methods for armies but both properly suffer from the difference in cavalry of both sides. Next time I will try to balance the point cost of the horse battalions somewhat better. The points for winning games is also not high enough. I will amend the campaign rules before the next game.

For King & Parliament Campaign November 1642

With the first major engagement won handily the Parliamentarians continue their siege on Oxford but shift their attention towards north England. The army of Sir Islington marches upon Hull and meets the army of the charismatic Sir Henry west of Thorne.

Royalists rolled “First battle” downgrading one of their units to untried. Parliamentarians rolled “early moves” reducing the campaign time roll by one.

Royalist Army

Command
Sir Henry – C-in-C, gallant general
Field Artillery – seasoned
Field Artillery – seasoned
Siege Artillery – seasoned

Horse Brigade
“Swedish”-style horse – raw
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned, poorly mounted
“Swedish”-style horse – veteran
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned

Foot Brigade
Sir Tardyk – general
Pike and shot battalia – seasoned, large
Forlorn hope – raw
Forlorn hope – raw

Foot Brigade
Pike heavy battalia – raw
Pike heavy battalia – raw, large
Pike heavy battalia – raw, untried
Pike heavy battalia – seasoned
Pike and shot battalia – raw
Pike and shot battalia – raw, untried
Commanded shot – seasoned

Here we have a large artillery section and a leaderless 7 unit brigade. Looks to be 112 points on the defensive side. The horse section is rather experienced as to be expected for Royalists.

Parliamentarian Army

Command
Sir Islington – C-in-C, general
Siege Artillery – seasoned
Field Artillery – seasoned

Horse Brigade
Colonel Greenwich
“Dutch”-style horse – raw, untried
“Dutch”-style horse – raw, untried, poorly mounted
“Dutch”-style horse – raw
“Dutch”-style horse – raw
“Dutch”-style horse – seasoned

Foot Brigade
Sir Veitch – general
Pike and shot – seasoned, gallant gentleman
Pike and shot – seasoned
Commanded shot – raw

Foot Brigade
Colonel Brandy
Pike and shot – raw
Pike and shot – veteran, attached light artillery
Rabble – raw

Sir Islington’s army is a little smaller than the opposition with only 104 points. It is well lead and equipped, though. Parliamentarian horse is lacking as expected.

The Battle of Thorne

Hint: Hit Ctrl plus a few times to make the images larger

Several features have been removed and the field is quite open. Though, some woods on the right protects the Parliamentarian flank.

Note: Red dice for remaining hits. If they are on the left of the unit (viewed from bottom) the unit is raw. Middle means seasoned and on the right means veteran. Blue and green dice for remaining ammo and dash respectively. White dice denote pursuing horse.

Royalists win the scouting handily and the entire Parliament force has to set up first. Cavalry gathered opposite each other on the Royalist left flank.
Royalists push forward aggressively while the artillery pieces start the bombardment. The kings men deployment was hampered by the prominent artillery placement in the forward line. Units marching forward in column without a good leader makes the advance difficult.
Sir Henry’s forces have stalled in the center and right wing due to command failures and defensive fire from cover. Parliamentarian Horse managed to get the upper hand and threaten the foot.
Most of the front is busy with ineffectual shooting. On the Royalist left, however, enemy horse smashes into a unit of commanded shot. Sir Henry gallops back from the wing to personally command the defense. Swine Feathers (stratagem, some form of stakes) are raised and the troopers fight bravely. Sir Henry comes under attack, is wounded and transported to the rear.
The loss of Sir Henry wreaks havoc on the Royalist’s morale. Under continued pressure from Colonel Greenwich’s horse their will to fight breaks and the soldiers flee back to their king. Parliamentarian horse, already in the enemy flank manage to ride down many of them. Sir Henry dies in the evening, which at least spares him from the anger of his king.

Another landslide victory for the Parliamentarians. Killing the enemy’s general certainly helped but at the time this happened the Royalist position was dangerous at best.

How did this happen? The Royalists had more troops, won scouting decisively but managed to botch up their deployment significantly. Too much faith was bestowed upon a line of cannons that made movement of the foot difficult. Yet Sir Henry pushed forward and attacked. The offense became stuck and a counter-offensive of Parliamentarian horse had free reign before any pike could react.

Hull in particular and the whole Humberside is now undefended and easily taken by Parliamentarian forces.

The Aftermath

Parliamentarians claim Nottinghamshire, Bedfordshire, neutralize Humberside and claim it as well. The siege of Oxford goes on but no breakthrough is made (needed a 3 rolled a 1).

Royalists take advantage of the busy Parliamentarian armies and besiege Gloucester. Without much help the city surrenders (needed a 3 rolled a 4) and Royalists promptly claim the surrounding area as well.

The turn ends with 20 Parliamentarian areas to 18 Royalist areas. Even though the King’s men lose their battles, swift and well planned strategic moves keep the Parliamentarians on their toes.

For King & Parliament Campaign October 1642

Now that my campaign rules are written down I move on to the first battle. No events were rolled for the first turn and the battle had balanced forces a bit above 100 points.

As I don’t own ECW miniatures (yet) the battles will be played on a small board with 4x2cm painted bases.

The Battle

Parliamentarian General Ainsworth led his men to besiege Oxford shortly after war broke out. The King sent General Sir Gobshire to intercept. He marched effectively and managed to forced battle on the Parliamentarians long before Oxford could be reached.

Parliamentarians in red, Royalists in blue. Blue dice for ammo, green dice for dash counters and later on red dice for disorder.

The Parliamentarians deployed their horse on the left flank and two siege artillery in the center. Their stratagem let them withhold deployment of a pike and shot battalia from deployment. The unit can be order in via the baseline on the right sector.

The Royalists put their horse opposite of the enemy horse but ordered one horse around the flank. The unit was slated to arrive on the Parliamentarians right flank later on.

General Inning pushes his Dutch-style horse forward straight through a Royalist horse unit which immediately breaks. Meanwhile Forlorn Hope secure the forest.
Sirs Waynes and Mortimer move the foot forward and take casualties form the enemy artillery.
Ainsworth, general in command of the Parliamentarians, orders his pike and shot to defend the village.
After the first few turns two Royalist units broke and the Parliamentarians established a good defensive position.
Bates’ and Bailey’s horse carve in the Royalist right flank.
Weller, Barry and Archer suffer heavy casualties during their attack.
But with the help of Easton’s flanking horse the Royalists slowly fight into the village.
Too late though, Generals Inning and Bradley crush the Royalists between them and gather the last victory medals
End of the battle. Parliamentarians lost 2 units on their right flank. Royalists lost a devastating 7 units. A major victory for the troops of the Parliament.

Aftermath

Although Sir Gobshire suffered a costly defeat but the strategic goal was achieved. With the siege of Oxford of relieved and Warwickshire under control an early disaster was avoided.

Parliamentarians secure their flanks around London but fail with their siege of Oxfordshire. The Royalists secure Warwickshire to keep the route to Oxford open. Cheshire and Gwent are also claimed.

English Civil War Campaign Rules

After much deliberation I started my ECW campaign. While the tactical rules were set early on with For King and Parliament, the campaign rules went through many iterations. Inspired mostly by Grid based wargaming – but not always and 1642 And All That as well as other sources here are the rules I came up with. I don’t claim them to by my own though, as I borrowed ideas from the aforementioned blogs and other blogs and books:

Change Log

This is a living document. Follow the history below if you need to know which rules changed since the last time you visited.

  • 2019-01-23: Initial version
  • 2019-02-10: SP amount for victories increased.
  • 2019-02-22: Discount for neutralize and claim actions on the same area removed. Better starting map added.

The Map

The campaign map is devided into areas. These are either neutral or claimed by one side. Areas can be fortified in two levels:

  • Level 1: Fortified
  • Level 2: Fortress

The map below is not historically accurate but gives a good amount of areas.


Starting positions August 1642. Black borders group several smaller areas together. The upper black border leads into Scotland and is impassable. Areas with yellow flags are neutral. Diamond shapes are fortified areas while pentagon symbol in London shows “fortress”-status.
Map Copyright Bruce Jones Design Inc. 2010

Areas are either neutral or in Royalist or in Parliamentarian hand.

Strategic Turns

Each turn contains the following steps:

  • Add 1d3 month to the campaign time. The campaign starts in August 1642. There is no defined end date
  • Check for historical events (see below)
  • Roll random events (unless first turn)
  • Fight a battle with For King and Parliament
  • The winner takes his strategic actions on the campaign map
  • The loser takes his strategic actions on the campaign map

Historical Events

  • April 1643: Parliamentarians begin to switch from Dutch Horse to Swedish Horse. In the next battle 40% of Dutch Horse are switched to Swedish Horse. The battle after 70% and from then on 100%
  • October 1643: After the Solemn League and Covenant treaty in September Parliamentarians can field Scottish units.
  • January 1645: Roll 1d6 each month until a 5 or 6 has been rolled. When successful the Parliamentarians deploy the New Model Army. In the next battle 40% of pike and shot become shot heavy. The battle after 70% and from then on 100%
  • Royalists control 22 areas: Royalists have enough economical power to field more muskets. The Royalists constraints to field Pike heavy troops and less artillery are lifted.
  • Royalists control London: Royalists win

Strategic Points

Depending on the battlefield success both sides earn strategic points (SP) to spend after the battle.

  • Major victory: Winner 7 SP, loser 3 SP
  • Victory: Winner 6 SP, loser 3 SP
  • Narrow victory: Winner 5 SP, loser 3 SP
  • Draw: No points earned.

There are no hard and fast rules for determining victory. It is determined looking at victory medal difference, situation at the end of battle and stroy elements. An intact cavalry force on the winning side at the end of a battle can upgrade a victory fro example, as the cavalry can pursue fleeing troops causing considerable losses.

Strategic Actions

The following strategic actions can be taken every turn. Resolve one action before doing the next.

  • Neutralize area: Remove the enemy from an area adjacent to one of your own. Costs 2 SP + 1 SP for every adjecent enemy area – 1 SP for every own adjacent area. Minimum 1 SP. If the area is fortified the minimum cost is 2 SP. Roll 1d6. On a 3+ a level 1 fortified area has been successfully neutralized. On a 5+ a level 2 fortress area has been successfully neutralized. If the roll has failed, the SP are spend never the less. Fortified areas can only be targeted once per turn.
  • Claim neutral area: Claim an area adjacent to one of your own which is neutral. Costs 3 SP – 1 SP for every own adjacent area. Minimum 1 SP. You can only claim from areas that have been under your control at the start of the turn.
  • Fortify: Add one level of fortification to an area you control. Costs 4 SP. You can only do this action once per strategic turn. You cannot fortify an area that you just claimed this turn.
  • Gather strength: Transfer 1 SP to your next turn for the cost of 2 SP.

After all actions are done unspend SP are lost.

Army Generator

Armies are randomly determined by some form of army generator. About 13-15 units seem to be a good number to get to 100 point armies even with low troop training.

The first campaign battle should be played balanced armies (Edgehill situation). Thereafter the armies don’t have to be balanced. In fact, if one side has two thirds the number of areas it should generally field a larger army. Another way would be to build armies to a fixed value and add the difference in areas times two to the side with more areas.

This area of the rules is still in flux. I will switch up methods and test out new mechanics for a while.

Troop Training

The training levels for battle troops are raw (R), seasoned (S) and veteran (V) and are allocated with ratios. Both sides roll 1d6 each adn allocate the ratios randomly among their troops.

Until January 1643
1-4: 2/1/-
5: 3/2/-
6: 3/2/1

February 1643 until December 1643
1: 2/1/-
2-3: 3/2/-
4-5: 3/2/1
6: 2/3/1

During 1644
1: 3/2/-
2: 3/2/1
3-4: 2/3/1
5: 2/2/1
6: 1/2/1

1645 and later
1: 3/2/1
2: 2/3/1
3-4: 2/2/1
5: 1/2/1
6: -/3/1

Random Events

Both sides roll 1d100:

  • 1-2 Recruitment drive: Add one raw unit to your army for this battle
  • 3-4 Traitor: Replace a general with a colonel before deployment
  • 5-6 Strategic advantage: Draw two stratagem and discard one face down.
  • 7-8 Lay of the land: After all terrain has been placed you may remove one non-linear terrain piece
  • 9-10 Casualties of war: A unit of your choice with 2 or 3 hits gain one disordered marker before deployment
  • 11-12 Eager horse: one of your horse units must deploy three boxes from the baseline.
  • 13-14 A fine officer: Add a gallant gentlement to a unit of your choice
  • 15-16 Battlefield promotion: Replace a colonel with a general before deployment
  • 17-18 Supply shortages: Gain 1 SP less this turn
  • 19-20 Plenty of supplies: Gain 1 SP more this turn
  • 21-22 Bad weather: Both sides gain 1 SP less this turn
  • 23-24 Strategy over tactics: The winner gains 1 SP less this turn. The loser gets 1 SP more this turn
  • 25-26 Early moves: Reduce the campaign time by one month
  • 27-28 Unsuitable weather: Add one month to the campaign timer
  • 29-30 Two armies on the march: Roll 2d6 for troop training and take the higher one
  • 31-32 War takes its toll. Roll 2d6 for troop training and take the lower one
  • 33-34 Siege equipment: Add +1 to the success roll of your fist siege this turn
  • 35-36 Strategic ruse: The loser takes his strategic actions first this turn
  • 37-38 Revolt: A random non-fortified area you control becomes neutral
  • 39-40 Show of color: A random non-fortified neutral area is claimed for your side
  • 41-42 Torches and pitchforks: Chose an area you control. It cannot be targeted by the enemy this turn.
  • 43-44 Mercenaries from the continent: Add one seasoned unit to your army for this battle
  • 45-46 It has been a long campaign: A random horse unit that is neither well nor poorly mounted becomes poorly mounted
  • 47-48 Scout report: The enemy has to set up one brigade before usual deployment
  • 49-50 Blunder: Before deployment the enemy sets up one of your units for you but it has to face the enemy baseline
  • 51-52 Ammunition shortages: Lose two ammunition counters from the units who have the most. These must be two different units and in case of a tie you decide
  • 53-54 Plenty of ammunition: Add an ammunition counter to a unit of your choice
  • 55-56 Give the horses a good rest: Add one dash counter to a unit of your choice
  • 57-58 Rousing speech: Add one to your victory medals
  • 59-60 Brother against brother, this is madness: Reduce your victory medals by one
  • 61-62 You are hereby ordered to take that bridge: Before deployment put a marker in a box of your choice that contains a non-linear terrain piece and is on the enemy half of the battlefield. As long as you have a unit in this box the enemy reduces his victory medals by one.
  • 63-64 Hit them hard lads: The player who claims the first victory medal(s) this battle claims a bonus medal
  • 65-66 Damp weather: This battle, even single fire costs an ammunition counter. If a unit has no ammo counters left, it can fire as normal again
  • 67-68 I can’t see the man in front of me: Heavy fog makes long range fire impossible. At the beginning of each turn roll 1d6. If the roll is below the current number of turns the fog lifts
  • 69-70 A well planned battle: During the first turn add +1 to every activation card for movement
  • 71-72 Protect Sir James: Convert one of your Dutch or Swedish horse to seasoned Cuirassiers
  • 73-74 Patriotic townsfolk: Add a unit of rabble before troop training
  • 75-76 Distinguished Gentleman: A random non-gallant general or colonel becomes gallant
  • 77-78 Faulty muskets: A random pike and shot battalia becomes pike heavy before deployment
  • 79-80 First battle: A random raw non-artillery unit becomes untried after deployment
  • 81-82 Confusion in the ranks: Chose a random unit after deployment. It cannot be activated during your first two turns
  • 83-84 No mans land: You cannot claim areas this turn.
  • 85-86+ No event

Command & Colors: Napoleonics Variant Rules

Two things always bugged me about the Command & Colors games I played. The card mechanics and shaping your hand is arguably not a realistic depiction of warfare. But it delivers difficult decisions nearly every turn. It tells the story of ebb and flow, of move and countermove. So sitting there with useless cards drawing more of them is a necessary evil.

The serious problem which led me to take my leave from C&C for a while is the time to kill in the various games. I might play a minor action between some regiments or a major set-piece battle of the era with tens of thousands soldiers per side and either way, a good roll can practically kill a unit or at least send it to the back line with one block left. Together with the immediate loss of fighting power for each block lost, it becomes very hard to mount successful maneuvers. An attack has either fizzled out before all troops can be committed or it succeeds so quickly, that the defender’s reinforcements are still at the baseline.

A few days ago I played the Quatre Bras scenario with a very simple rule variation: Blocks take two hits before destroyed with the exception of leaders. You cannot split the damage as you like however. Hits are always allocated in such a way to kill off damaged blocks first and kill blocks outright instead of soaking up hits with every block first. To indicate a damaged block, simply lay it down from the upright position.

The French line unit and the British guard grenadiers both lost a block and have one block damaged indicated by the blocks laying flat.

The effect on the battle was profound. Maneuvers led to fights lasting for several rounds, with both sides feeding in reserves. Although there were certainly situations where reacting fast would have been the best choice but you could afford to wait a round or two in order to get to the cards necessary. It was without a doubt the most exciting game of Command and Colors I played to date. Sweeping breakthroughs happened less often and even on a good melee attack the enemy usually had enough strength left to get back at the attacker.

The good thing about this variant is, that you ca use it on a scenario by scenario basis. Play small battles as per the rules and scale up to two or three hits per block for large games where units represent vastly more men.

Now I have no excuse to delay work on a scenario generator I guess…

Wargaming Everything in 2019

So much I want to do and try out in wargaming. In order not to forget most of it and motivate myself I wrote up a to do list:

  • Acquire a Napoleonic Prussian Army: This is a task bleeding over from 2018. I already ordered a fully based and painted army in 6mm Baccus. It should arrive by end of winter.
  • Acquire a Napoleonic British Army: This is the last big army I need in my set of the five great Nations. I’m thinking about cutting down in size on this army though. I need to make a plan how many British and minor nation allies I need (see below).
  • Acquire some Napoleonic minor nations units: To add some color to armies and support the British army. I’m thinking about units with distinct uniforms and common presence in the age of Napoleon. Bavarians, Hanoverians, Brunswickers, Vistula Legion, Portuguese
  • Play more test battles with Age of Eagles: Only played two so far which I didn’t enjoy that much. There are some AoE scenarios I downloaded and want to set up.
  • Play more test battle with Bloody Big Battles (Napoleonic mod): I downloaded two Napoleonic mods for the rules. I want to try them and compare with my AoE games. Playing the same scenario with AoE, BBB and Blücher (my go to rule-set) should give me some insights about the rules systems and how much I like them or not.
  • Paint the remaining 6mm houses: They are sitting in the box where I primed them. No excuses this year!
  • Test Twilight of the Sun King rule-set: I ordered it in December and waiting for it to arrive. If I like the rules I want to make them work for Napoleonics.
  • Set-up and play an ECW campaign with For King and Parliament tabletop rules: So many ECW blogger campaigns I follow. I desperately want to set up my own but it has proven difficult to find a campaign system I’m satisfied with.
  • Find suitable campaign rules for a Europe-spanning Napoleonic campaign: Yeah, good luck with that…
  • Make counter armies for Fistful of Tows 3: Some easy to read NATO-Symbol counters for WW2 armies. Probably for the eastern front.
  • Play some Fistful of Tows 3 test battles: Read most of the rules and want to try them out. Something easy first like a WW2 eastern front tank battle without artillery.
  • Base all remaining trees: I have about 40% done since yesterday. I single base them to be more flexible. I build a test forest template a few month ago, however. I have to decide if I like it enough to keep it or rip it apart to re-base the trees.
  • Test a C&C Napoleonics variant: My biggest critique of the game is the time to kill. It is very easy to kill whole units off without much time to react. For the scale and time frame the game conveys to me this seems wrong. On top of that it strengthens the luck aspect of the card drawing. I’m thinking about a variant where each block simply takes 2, 3 or even 4 hits before being destroyed.
  • Design a random army generator for C&C Napoleonics: Either with dice or as a little coding project with Python (programming language). I already made a list of all available blocks for this and have some basic ideas. I want to tie it to certain periods though, like “French – Russian campaign” or “French – Waterloo campaign” or something along those lines.
  • Design a random terrain generator: Already have a prototype which I tested once. I need to incorporate rivers and roads in a better way and tweak some stuff. Currently it uses playing cards. Maybe I should switch it to a program or custom terrain cards (according to my collection of terrain).
  • Make counter armies for ancients: This is a long term project. The problem is, to make counters that don’t feel too generic.
  • Get some ancients battles going. Preferably in a campaign setting: I have downloaded some campaign rules, mostly with DBA tied in. They require a set of multiple armies each though.
  • Designing a cold war era social game: I began work on this in 2018. It is currently planned as a matrix game for six players and a game master. The setting is a spy war on cold war Berlin.
  • And last but not least: Play games!

Battle of Mialensk – Blücher AAR

I decided to play a (fictional) straight forward pick-up battle to test out a terrain generator draft and get some soldiers on the table. The battle has the early French under attack by Russians somewhere in the vast Russian countryside.

Terrain generation worked well and gave me a table with many features. I replaced a swamp with a lake and had to improvise a bit with rubble. I use most hills as flat topped, so only the outer crest is important for defensive bonusses of course hills block line of sight. One could imagine these as minor elevation present on most battlefields.

Russians begin and play on the odd turns, french on the even ones.

Turn 1 & 2

The battlefield. French deploy in the south and have the blue objectives. Russians attack from the north with Mialensk as objective in their control.
French left wing and center: I Corps is arrayed in front of Lesobkin farm, its flank screened by some light cavalry. Back on the road you can see III Dragoon corps in reserve. On the lower right IV Guard Corps in reserve as well. Napoleon rides in front of them.
On the french right wing, isolated by the woods in the center of the battlefield II Corps protects the objective.
View from the russian left wing and center. Two corps of infantry with heavy artillery formed a line over the entire front. Behind them left of the town of Mialensk the Guard Cavalry is waiting in reserve. Right of the town another infantry corps is held in reserve.
From the center to the right wing numerous line brigades are deployed and in reserve. On the outer right wing there is another heavy battery on a small hill and a corps of light cavalry waits for flanking opportinities.
Russian artillery in the center open fire and the battle commences. The rather unknown general Taikonov advances his center and right against Napoleon’s forces.
French I corps advances as well to take the hill, though they are outnumbered.
In the centre french light cavalry maneuvers into position for a flanking charge on the incoming russians.

Turn 3 & 4

As the russian infantry advance on the hill french brigades open fire along the whole line with some effect.
Overview after turn 4 viewed from the french side. While firefights break out in the center, french light cavalry is seriously outnumbered on the far left side. On the right wing russians move closer more carefully in order not to strain command (MO points) too thin. Napoleon has no command problems at all but has to think about his reserves on the left wing already.

Turn 5

Russian light cavalry stream down the right flank near the village of Sevechny and send the lone french division flying.
With his forces committed Taikonov has time write orders for his left wing corps. Some turn towards the center while others stay as token force or retreat due to telling artillery fire from the french.

Turn 6

French cavalry tries to throw the advancing russians into disarray but are beaten back with heavy losses. Napoleon’s centre is already under threat.
The emperor decides to counter russian maneuvers with an attack order to II corps. Cavalry is swinging around lake Nargut while brigades advance on the thinning russian left flank.
But there is trouble brewing everywhere. Trusted ADC’s are send to the left flank to release II corps from reserve. Two Dragoon divisions rush forward.

Turns 7-11

During the next turns both sides are hampered by low command rolls. Napoleon’s release of the cavalry reserve proved to be just in time. At least some divisions can engage each turn and beat the russians back after bloody fighting. Fresh Divisions are brought forward slowly to exploit the situation.
The firefight on the central hill rages on for several turns and both sides are exhausted. The russian brigade on the lower left side of this picture just eliminated an artillery battery though and the french position suddenly becomes dire. In the upper right you can see Napoleon behind his troops surveying the situation of the unfolding cavalry battle.
On the other fronts, the lack of solid command and disorderd ranks make progress difficult. General Taikonov sees french troops in the centre wavering and orders the guard cavalry corps into the breach.

Turns 12-14

Emergencies keep popping up for Napoleon. Only his right wing is strong and fresh but has difficulties getting their troops moving. Finally II corps is shifted through the woods to get to the endangered centre sector faster. Russian infantry engages them in the woods and buys time for the guard cavalry to arrive.
After much deliberation and pleas from his marshals the emperor relases to Old Guard. Their task is to build a new defense line around Lesobkin farm. Meanwhile most of I corps is on the retreat.
At least the french Dragoons keep on pushing the russians and threaten to turn the flank. Maybe they can delay the russians long enough for the french reserves to build a new line.

Turns 15-19

Russian guard cavalry rushes through the center and charge the preparing Old Guard head on. Retreating frnech streaming from the hill are trampled under the hooves of the russian guards. It is now midday and the french lost four units against only one russian. Although several russian units are low on morale and three have retired from the battlefield. The battle is far from lost however. Napoleon still has a firm grip on his army. Taikonovs troops are scattered all over the battlefield trying to exploit french holes in the line. Commanding his forces becomes increasingly difficult for the russian general.
French Dragoons appearing in the russian rear also add to the problems of general Taikonov. Some reserve brigades are activated to salvage the situation. The heavy artillery in the upper right is too far away, however. It will be overrun next turn.
Although the russian infantry conquered the hill, reforming took too long. Most of the retreating french manage to slip away.
Taikonov rides forward to push his forces onward but the Old Guard has managed to dig and and keep the enemy in check.
French II corps slowly pushes onwards and suddenly the strong russian position in the center is in danger.

Turns 20-29

French Dragoons also still gallop at everything in the russian rear, crushing retiring russian troops. Russian losses mount rapidly while the french stabilize a bit.
Russian reserves are massed in the center and supported by the guard cavalry to get the situation under control again.
After hours of battle II corps light cavalry manages to loop around lake Nargut and threaten depleted russians in the rear. Both russian flanks are now turned and exhausted troops are scattered around trying to escape. The Russians are danerously close to breaking.
The “Grumblers” defend Lesobkin farm vigorously. They throw back several attacks. One russian brigade (center of the image) is caught in deadly crossfire and rapidly breaks.
French II corps pushing the russian center in under heavy losses. Light cavalry moves in to flank.

Turn 30

This is the situation after the battle (all markers removed), viewed from the french left flank. Lesobkin farm to the right.

Conclusion

The french are three units shy of their breakpoint (thanks to Napoleons morale boost). The next russian loss would seal their fate. The french are still in command of two objectives versus the russian one. A narrow win for Napoleon by the skin of the Old Guard’s teeth. Ultimately General Taikonov overextended his army to expoit every perceived weakness. The french managed to counterattack with a few units here and there stretching russian command structure to the point of breaking.

A very interesting game. The russians had the initiative and were in a good position to win the game. Napoleon’s ability to keep his army together under heavy losses gave him time to recover from the early game. His superior command ability was the reason to counterattack successfully, while general Taikonov was struggling to keep his forces together.

The terrain generation worked very well. The battlefield was interesting and challenging. I’m going to refine the system and post it later.

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