Sunday, November 11, 2012

Review: Guns of August by Worthington Games

Sorry for not blogging in a while. I've been pretty burned out with miniatures that I have been playing boardgames every week.

Hal and I have had some wonderful games of Paths of Glory, and now we have decided to try a new game I just bought called Guns of August by Worthington Games. I also bought Guns of Galicia and Breakthrough: Cambrai from MMP.

What I like about Guns of August is the beautiful counter artwork, simplified combat, and flexible setup (units setup anywhere withing 3 hexes of their HQ).

I like how artillery is intergrated into the corps size counters and combat is two rounds, first to see how the artillery impacts the defender, then rifle fire. The game covers the entire West Front in 1914.

I will update this post after we play the game on Wednesday.

Brian and I liked the game, but felt that casualties were “light”. Not sure if we are just being cautious or that is how the game works.

Hal, he just doesn’t care for 1:1, 2:1 type tactical or grand tactical games. So, he won’t be playing it again. He was very timid as the French commander so my Germans were able to advance all along the front without issues. (could be why the casualties were low)

We all thought it would be better as a two player game, due to the limited amount of units you can move on the first 3 turns. I would think, that 4 players would be ok, provided all the players liked that type of wargame.

I think we got through about 12 turns. Mechanics are smooth and simple. I really liked that. We didn’t use the Fog of War option which I really thing would make it crazy scary to play.
The biggest disappointment was the hexsides being almost too light to even see. Worthington has posted a map update that has clearer hexsides, but I'll likely just touch up the hexsides over time.
Well, we are off to play Friedrich now, which is a SYW game with very different mechanics and uses cards to resolve combat. In fact, there is no dice used at all in Friedrich.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Historicon 2012

Finially have some time to post some after-thoughts about Historicon 2012.

Venue - I really like the new venue because of several factors.
1. I liked having a massive room where most of the games were being played, and the side rooms were all in the same building. No more laying out bread crums to find your way back to the main hall.
2. Dealer area in the same building as gaming. Saves lots of time going from the main hall to the dealer area when it is 50 steps away.
3. Then entire convention is in one location so you don't have to go outside to find another game or dealer area. This was a big plus because it was about 100 degrees on the first day or two.
4. Flea Market - although I didn't buy much this convention, I liked that you could drive around the back of the convention center and drop off your goodies without much trouble or having to haul the figures a great distance.

Shot of the main gaming hall. It was HUGE! This is only showing the back half of the area.

I thought there were tons of great looking games and the variety was outstanding.
I ran two games in one day, Thursday, and I don't think I will do that again. It was just too much work, even with the games being on the same table. By mid-night on Thursday I was exhausted and my voice was gone. Took all day Friday to recover, but by Friday night I was ready to go again! Only played in one game (ran two) and it was a FPW pick-up game using Field of Battle rules. Tim's figures were outstanding, and the scenario was good enough for a pickup game. I would definitely enjoy playing that period again. Tim's figures nearly made me want to collect the Franco-Prussian War. My motto of "no new periods" was intact after the convention.

My Games
Overall I was pleased with the games I ran and really happy with the Puebla terrain. In each of my games I had one side that just couldn't roll well to save their life. Not much you can do about that, but the players still seems to have a good time, which is what matters most.

Photo of my Puebla game, with the initial setup shown.

Zouaves assault the fortress of Guadalupe:

Every college kid and young American will be happy to know they can still celebrate Cinco de Mayo, even if the Mexicans don't!

Some shots from the second game: the Battle of San Isabel.

Main assault on San Isabel by the Imperial Mexican forces:

Here you can see the wide brimmed hats of the Cazadores de Mexico (Imperial Mexican Light Infantry):

Imperial Mexican assault on San Miguel:

The Imperial Mexican won the game and successfully destroyed the Republican supply train.

I think the best part of Historicon is seeing all my friends from around the world. I'll definitely be going back next year. Already have my room reserved!


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Battle of San Isabel - First Playtest

Still trying to get ready for Historicon and here is my first playtest of the scheduled Thursday night game: Battle of San Isabel 1866. Designed for 4 players, but could have additional players if the other players don't mind sharing their command.

All figures are 15mm and are mostly Freikorp (QRF sells them now). I will be using Din of Battle 2 rules from Piquet. I will be using my Rule of 1/3 to help mitigate against crazy impetus swings, but still allow for enough chaos to keep it fun. :-)

I don't have time to do a big write-up of this battle, but we had a great time on Wednesday fighting with these very unique armies.

Here are some action photos to enjoy!

Nice shot of the battlefield. Still have some flocking and detailing to do, but it was nice to put everything on the table.

Imperial Mexican rigth wing commanded by Jan. This is a very colorful command with the Belgian Legion at their core.

Sleepy village of San Isabel, starting location of the Republican 1st Division

San Migel, and the Republican 2nd Division

Imperial Mexicans attacking San Migel

Over near San Isabel it is about to get BUSY!

Close range volleys

Supremos Podres (in gray) start shredding the Imperial troops with their Henry repeaters!

Imperial Mexicans push forward to the outskirts of San Migel.

Consecrated Sharpshooters being attacked by a Republican National Guard battalion.

The beginning of a dramatic serious of events at the 3rd Jaegers of the Austrian Legion bash their way into and through San Isabel.


Finally the Austrian Legion throws out this National Guard unit holed up in the Church and they start to take out the Republican Supply wagons.

Imperial Mexican victory at this point, but there was still a good deal of fighting left.

Off to do some tweaking and more painting and flocking!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Battle of Puebla - Second Playtest

On May 23rd we played our second playtest of Puebla to prep for my game to be run at Historicon. I tweaked some minor things from my first playtest, but the scenario generally remained intact.

I'd like to thank my playtesters: Hal (Mexican Republican commander), Jan (French assault force commander), and Mike (French flank command).

For those of you that are new to my blog, this game is being fought using Piquet's Din of Battle 2nd Edition rules. DoB2 doesn't have a campaign muster for the Maximilian period as that period was covered by Hallowed Ground, but I wanted to make my own campaign muster for the period. Anyway, when I'm done with the Campaign Muster I will post it to the Piquet Yahoo group or anybody can request a copy from me:

The Setup

The French player may make a 3rd command group by taking forces from their original  two command groups. Jan and Mike decided to make the 3rd command group and deploy it to the far left flank of the French assault forces to keep an eye on the forces of Brigadier General Porfirio Diaz. This third command consisted of the 99th Line battalion, 1/9th gun, and Chassuers d' Afrique (The Blue Butchers).

By viewer suggestions, I'm going to label some of the photos with information in them regarding command groups and landmarks on the battlefield. Hopefully this will help those viewing the photos.
I try to put each photo's comments\descriptions above the photo, rather than below it.

Here is the French Deployment:

General Diaz' command on the Mexican right flank.

Good view of Jan's assault column and the targets of the attack!

Guadalupe Ridge is CLASS II terrain so all Jan's forces move half speed up the hill. In this battle Jan has decided to use two units in skirmish formation and the two Zouaves in the second line in Line formation to make the assault easier. Last game he has all his units in Skirmish and had trouble assaulting the Mexican defenses.

Mike deployed his Xonaca Assault column ready to kick ass! Two battalions forward and one behind in reserve. The fighting around Xonaca (the famous brick factory) was very fierce as you will see later.

The Opening Moves

To begin the game the French players get to roll a D6 (minimum of 2 impetus) and that is how many impetus they automatically received to either move a command group or flip cards in their sequence deck. Mike rolled a 1! So the French received 2 impetus which they used to move both command groups that were assaulting the Mexicans.

The Mexicans one a lot of impetus so moved very agressively against the French left flank

Even the Zapadores formed  up and moved out to meet that advancing French

The Battle Begins

The Mexican Zapadores advance quickly into the French Xonaca assault force and engage in a firefight with the French 62nd Line! The French take two stands of damage and the 62nd will have to retire from the fight.

1st Chasseurs, wanting revenge for the rough handling of the 62nd, move into point blank range and inflict two stands of damage to the Zapadores and routing them in the process! The fields are now clear of Mexican troops before Xonaca!

Mike, French General, moves his Chasseurs d' Afrique into contact with the Republican cavalry. Whoe will turn the Melee Resolution card first. This was a fairly risky move by the French, as the Chasseurs were extremely isolated.

The French assault column is about 2 moves away from Guadalupe at the end of turn 1. Those Zouaves look impressive!

The Xonaca assault force, now only 2 battalions strong, prepares to storm the suburbs. There is a Mexican 12# gun section deployed in the streets.

End of Turn 1. You can see Mike is shuffling his sequence deck, while the Mexican reserves are scrambling towards Fort Guadalupe.

The Assault of Fort Guadalope

The beginning of turn 2 saw the anxiety levels increase on both sides of the table! Will the Mexican cavalry be able to charge the Blue Butchers? Will the French be able to assault both the Xonaca suburbs AND Fort Guadalupe simultaneously?

The French start turn 2 by winning some critical impetus allowing them to move and to get the advantage in melee with their cavalry. The Blue Butchers (Chasseurs d' Afrique) embark on a mission to earn their nickname in this battle. The Blue Butchers can be seen here hitting the flank of a Republican cavalry unit, just after routing another cavalry unit. The Chasseurs d' Afrique would end the battle having routed 2 cavalry regiments and one infantry battalion, ensuring the left flank was secure.

The 1st and 3rd Zouaves form into attack column to assault the Fort Guadalupe while the skirmish line of Sailors and Marines withdraw.

Immediately, the Mexican 12# fortress gun section opens up the 1st Zouave by using an Opportunity Chip (yellow poker chip).

Dispite the close range the 12# guns only discomfort the Zouaves with 2 hits (chit marker on the ground next to the 1st Zouaves). Needing only one more hit to cause a stand lose Hal, the Mexican commander, uses another opp chip to fire the 1st National Guard into the massed Zouaves!

The 1st Zouaves is nearly destroyed by the National Guard's murderous fire! They lose three stands in total! The French assault will have to go in with only one battalion of Zouaves!

Mike launches his attack against the Xonaca suburbs with the Marines (in photo below) and the 1st Chasseurs a Pied. The Marines trade devastating fire with the Republican 4th Line.

Both sides lose 2 stands in the musket duel. The Mexicans are force back in disorder into the building, while the Marines rout! With 2 of the 3 battalions tasked with taking Xonaca at half strength and routed, Mike is forces to call off the assault of the Xonaca suburbs. Things are not looking positive for the French at this point.

Jan, the French commander of the Guadalupe assault column, decides it is now or never and orders the 3rd Zouaves into the breach! Mexican light howitzers belch fire into the Zouave column with no effect. The Zouaves launch themselves over the low walls of Fort Guadalupe!

The 3rd Zouaves gain a foothold into the fortress overrunning the light gun section.

Here, Mexican reinforcements are desperately attempting to enter the fortress before the Zouaves can consolidate their foothold.

Mexican forces turn to engage the Zouaves at close range, with both units exchanging ragged volleys.

The struggle from the French perspective. Can the French form up their Sailors and Marines to support the Zouaves?

The Mexican National Guard unit was able to enter the fortress and take up positions in the Abbey.

The continued close range fighting costs the Zouaves a stand.

Now the Mexicans lose a stand to Zouave close range fire and rout out of the fortress!

exicna General Diaz died during one of the Chasseurs d' Afrique's melees and the entire Mexican brigade on the right flanks goes out of command. The Blue Butchers sneak around the flank of this National Guard unit and rout them after Diaz fell!

Good view of the situation on top of Guadalupe.

The Mexicans, sensing the fight for the fort was in the balance, turn their 12# gun section on the 3rd Zouaves!

The National Guard unit and 12# gun section poor withering fire into the massed Zouaves!

The Zouaves were reduced to one stand, but hold their ground!

Is the tide turning in the Mexican favor? The 1st National Guard leaps from their earthworks to attack the French Marines currently in skirmish formation.

The Marines put up such a fierce volley, that the 1st National Guard routs!

Some of the citizens of Puebla, rallying to the cause, man the earthworks outsize Fort Guadalupe.

Good view of the action. A gun section has been moved out of Loreto to help shoot more Frenchmen. You can see the one stand of Zouaves clinging to the Guadalupe redoubt!

Cheered by their commander the Sailors and Marines for attack column to assault Guadalupe!

The Sailors attack the 12# gun section now facing the wrong direction overruning them!

Sailors in Guadalupe!

Jan presses on with his Sailors to assault the Abbey, with the 6th National Guard unit in them.

The Sailors charge into the Abbey wiping out the 6th National Guard unit at the point of the bayonet! The French now have total control of Guadalupe Fortress (worth 15 VP) and the Mexicans hit zero morale chips. The battle is over!

Jan did a wonderful job in his assault of Guadalupe. Almost textbook, but the toll was heavy. The two Zouave battalions lost 7 out of 8 stands in their assault on Guadalupe, but their heroics won the day! The tri-color flew from the Abbey in Fort Guadalupe!


The scenario was a complete blast! Everybody was fired up playing the game and since Guadalupe fell in fierce hand to hand fighting I'm pretty satisfied with the entire scenario. I don't think either side made any real blunders, and they sometimes really took some chances. Mike's use of the Chassuers d' Afrique was especially aggressive, but paid off big dividends!
Thanks and see you at Historicon! Now back to painting!