Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Twixt Scenario Thoughts.....


Musings on Whither next...

My experimental "Scenario Generator" for my Judean war project having proved less inspiring than I had thought (though the scenarios - I have more already up my sleeve - and games have been brilliant) and more trouble (space issues for the board, and doing it digitally seems less fun) than anticipated, I have pondered other ideas...



However, regular readers of my maunderings will be aware that I make no real claim to originality (standing on the shoulders of giants, as one does) so that it will come to no one's surprise that I occasionally trawl through my "Why don't you throw those comics out, dear? They're ancient, and you hardly ever look at them..." modelling n' wargames magazines for ideas and inspiration...

This week I came across a long-ago tagged article from Miniature Wargames Dec. 1987 by a William J. Philpott (a younger version of THE William J. Philpott, military historian and professor of the History of Warfare of today I wondered.....?) entitled "The Peasants Are Revolting"..



The article sets out a solo campaign scenario, based in mid 17thC France (the L'Éminence rouge and all that) and all about quelling the ructious jacquerie, BUT, as the author notes, thoroughly customisable to a range of periods...

With a new map and little tweaking this would fit the Judean War very nicely...




Hmmm... Looks VERY promising.... Watch this space.....

Saturday, 6 April 2019

"Oh Little Town" Part Two.....

All set up for the next phase....
The Romans sent an auxiliary punitive vexillation to deal with the naughty townsfolk (we all know how superpowers, used to bullying their own way through things, get vindictive when some small fry gives 'em a bloody nose...).

However; the residents, who could see what was likely to happen, had torn down the fort, cannibalised some buildings and the graveyard and put up some (albeit ad hoc) walls.... The Roman force (no ladders or siege engines) withdrew (MORE red Roman faces).




The Tiber Boys are now en-route for a second try; mob-handed and tooled-up.

Technical:

Simple mechanics: I play the defenders. Friendly units within my "Command Radius" (12" in the town) are automatically activated. Other friendly units activate on a 1x6D throw of 5 or 6.
Roman moves and events are dictated by The Table (below).
Non-activated units may shoot/throw stones at move end.

Non-activated command groups can remove shock at move end (2SPs for complete Roman command group, 1SP for my sub-commanders).. Throw/Test on The Table at the beginning of each move. Romans move first..



 The Game:

The Romans started arriving in the first few moves as per above... Cavalry (which will prove totally useless) and archer units, plus some Legion artillery support.. Once the enemy establish the range my walls start getting bashed and my lads picked off by the ballista. One archer unit will creep forwards and engage in a long-range exchange of fire with those few of my lads on the walls with slings and bows. 


 

(Technical: Artillery -
First couple of shots are (estimated) ranging shots. Once I get the range then throw 1x6d per hit on the wall. This is the damage caused that move.  Total wall strength 36. On reaching this a practical breach appears....)



Then; "Oh dear"...  My Divinity of choice is NOT being kind...

The odds are (see The Table) that my opponents would most likely be Auxilia... But no. The dice hate me.... Three legionary units appear..... Seriously this is NOT good news....





The legionaries advance swiftly.... Again, someone up there doesn't like me...



In what seems like next to no time the Romans are approaching my walls... Meanwhile the artillery have opened a workable breach and the archers cleared a goodly number of my rooftops - to the degree that the unit manning my right wall pull back....



There is a pause, as the Romans nearest the wall (and suffering from some of my own artillery and arrows), snug in their tesudo, remove some of the accumulated Shock..



But not for long.... Suddenly they are against my walls on both sides of the table. On the left using the breach.... 



  On the right, chucking their grapnels....


My lads at the left wall pull back, and the enemy are through - only to meet a barrage of stones, tiles and general debris from the rooftops...



On my left the Romans will press their advantage over the next few moves; only being stalled by the ad-hoc barricades my lads push into place in the narrow streets. 



On my right the Romans hesitate, allowing me to pull my boys back unmolested, and giving me the chance to open up on them with the artillery on my HQ.



Where the enemy have broken through the fighting in the alleyways is intense, with the hail of missiles from the rooftops seeming not to worry the legionaries (dash those dice...)... 



Thanks to the courage of the enemy centurions my troops are slowly forced back toward the main square (the enemy objective; possession of this wins them the game).





Things are looking pretty dicey....

Over the next couple of moves the Romans press their advantage.. The good news is they do NOT seem to be reinforced, while I (thanks to The Table) do get another unit come on to help me out.



But against the legions my boys do not have the experience and kit to stand up to a straight fight, and while their artillery pounds any high rooftops with my lads on them, I am backed into the square, preparing my barricades for a final showdown.....



Bad luck continues as the enemy overrun my HQ, turning my own artillery on my tile-lobbing minions...


Slowly, I am hemmed in. Archers take over my HQ and the enemy take a breather to reduce Shock.



Suddenly the enemy lead unit rushes the barricades, throwing back the defenders...




...just as an attempt on my part to disrupt their plan (throwing my new unit and a unit in the square to attack a Roman unit from two sides) fails...



I am pushed back, with little room to manoeuvrer, and with the enemy bowmen taking down my lads packed in the square - including taking out one of my commanders - my attempts to steady my boys are failing....




The leading enemy unit, again, pauses to dress their lines, but then I am hit from the side by the unit that has made its way from the dye-works on my right.



As I stagger from this, the lead unit charges too...



My lads recoil again; even my reserve of better armed troops do not seem to be able to cope with the legionaries man for man...



The Romans again reform, while their bowmen continue to pour in volleys from the HQ roof, then pile in....



My troops simply cant take it, and they recoil off the table... The Eagles have won....


Summary:
That was fun. The table added imponderables, but nothing out of place or extreme. Bad luck mean I was facing legionaries, but on the other hand the Romans did not outnumber me and I suffered no desertions or attacks from behind. All in all the mechanics worked...
Activation, events & enemy "decisions" by The Table worked. When alternatives (direction of travel, actions etc.) were presented to the Romans then probabilities were assessed then diced for (ditto isolated friendly units).

"House Rules" for movement distances and shock/fighting/shooting for units based on adaptions of the Lardies SP/Dux Brit. systems Nothing fancy here at all. Any rules could be applied for the basic actions of moving and fighting...

At certain points when there were calls for additional, special moral checks (due to The Table or events/odd/risky situations which merited) I used an adapted Don Featherstone morale table, but deducting for shock markers.

When individual Roman troops had a real obstacle/risky job to undertake (e.g. who is going to jump down off a barricade into an awaiting mob) I did an individual figure morale check (with extra plusses for centurions, due to their culture of leading from the front) to see who (if anyone) had the guts to be a hero....

Also, in those cases where an individual or handful of chaps were the only ones fighting in an isolated position (e.g. first to jump down from a barricade, first to clamber through a roof-hatch etc.) I did away with unit "fisticuffs" type SP combat and fell back on a single combat system.. Sometimes there is a place for heroes (mural crowns don't just win themselves..).

A successful experiment... Watch this space for the next outing...

As always comments & queries welcome.



Monday, 18 March 2019

"The Only People We hate More...".

And so the "Aiding The Civil Power" exercise goes on...

As we left it the Romans had arrived and the various Agitator cadres were ready for the off.....

For the first six or moves so the Romans do nothing - leaving the various Agitator cadres to get busy....

The squad from the Home Rule For Galilee (HRG) drum up support fairly quickly, reaching their "Magic Twenty" and (after some hesitation) deciding to head for the main square of the town...



Meanwhile the other groups have also been trying to pull in the punters - not as successfully, but make low progress.

(Technical note: once a civilian has been "tested" to see if they will join a Agitator group, and neither gone home nor joined the group, they are at once placed next to a barricade, in a "huddle". These "huddles" class as "units" if further approached by hostile forces/decisions are needed.)



All goes well, with - apart from a little heckling between groups at street corners until the Popular Front also decide to also head into the main square to garner support from the folk at the barricades. There is a stand off between the PFOJ and the HRG - and the stone throwing begins..

(Civilians and Agitators may throw stones, pots, brickbats, anything that comes to hand: target within 6" and clear line of sight needed. I throw one dice per thrower per move (represents multiple throws). To hit throw 5 or 6, then test for effect; 6 = casualty, 3-5 shock. If target casualty has armour/shield the test with a saving throw). No ammunition rules; after all "they've got them up there, lying around on the ground").





In the north west of the town the PPF and Rose of Sharon Resistance separate; the PPF leaving the town and heading for the outlying buildings to the north east. Neither party are having much luck raising support.....

Meanwhile: in the square the PFOJ are getting the worst of it. They withdraw to their headquarters and carry on throwing stuff from the roof; but the HRG having the numbers and some javelin bods, slings and archers, gain the upper hand. 






















After taking casualties, the PFOJ pull back - heading for the as yet unexploited area of the town by the dye-works.

Rejoicing in their victory, the HRG set fire to the PFOJ headquarters....





Whether the sight of smoke from the burning building has prompted it or not, the Romans now move. Their CO has decided to go for the middle of the table. While the Agitator groups continue rustling up support (or, in the case of the HRG deciding to also torch the HQ of the Rose of Sharon Resistance) the Romans advance closer.



 


They spot the PPF near the buildings outside the town and their archer unit moves to cover any approaches from this quarter. The infantry are sent forward to clear the barricades so as to allow access for the cavalry.


In the centre of town the HRG appear stricken with indecision. As the largest group they are best placed to inspire an attack on the Romans, but instead they pull back to their HQ..... What are they playing at....?

The Roman infantry unit splits; one detachment heading into town and pushing apart a barricade, the other forming up to defending their line of retreat, as the Rose of Sharonites move towards the graveyard and start throwing stones and shooting at the cavalry. Some troopers/their horses go down, but the Tribune in command orders them to hold.





While all this is going on the PPF decide to engage the Roman archers - chucking stones, loosing arrows and slinging shot. The Romans start taking casualties, and the unit commander gives the order to return fire.


For the next few moves this shooting match will continue, then the PFOJ will also leave the town and rush round to flank the Roman archers and also start shooting. There are casualties on both sides; but the archer commander is determined to hold his ground, despite fighting on two fronts, while neither Agitator group has the bottle to close to hand to hand.



Meanwhile, in the town the leading infantry unit enters the square, soon to be followed by the C.O. and the cavalry; but things start to unravel.. While the Agitators still in the town (the HRG) remain on the roof of their headquarters, content to snipe at the fort, the civilians at the main barricade in the square stand their ground and the Roman infantry have to go in with their cudgels.



The civilians are pushed back - but when the (over-enthusiastic?) auxiliaries reform there is a civilian body on the ground...

Now the town really erupts - those still in the square and on the rooftops overlooking the Roman advance start bombarding the Roman troops with rocks, pots and bits and bobs. Infantry and cavalry troopers start going down (unlucky dice - or are the townsfolk, remembering Abimelech, chucking millstones now).



But the C.O. is determined to finish his mission; The cavalry form up in the square while the infantry push a gap in the main barricade. With the relief column in the square the fort occupants "test" and come out. There is still some desultory rock-chucking from the crowd, but this has little effect.



Outside the town the archers are still involved in their indecisive fire-fight with the PPF and PFOJ, but the ROSR now take the bull by the horns and charge out from the graveyard to assault the small infantry unit guarding the line of retreat from the town.



There is a sharp tussle. Some of the auxiliaries fall, but the Agitators suffer worse, and are pushed back. This seems to break the spirit of the Rose of Sharon Resistance, as they pull right away, and make no more sorties (missile or hand-to-hand) against the Romans for the rest of the game. Meanwhile, the PPF pull away from their battle with the archers to lick their wounds. They, likewise, seem to have had enough.



The cavalry, the rescued folk from the fort and the leading infantry unit exit the town and form up. The wounded are put onto makeshift litters and the whole force moves off towards the board edge from whence they originally came. The archers also reform, as the PFOJ pull back slightly, and move to act as flank guards to the main body. The PFOJ will shadow the column as it withdraws, but does not engage as the Romans, their charges and wounded, leave the field....




Game over.... Well, almost....

Back in the town the Home Rule for Galilee cadre wake up again, now consisting of twenty nine fighters they decide to torch the HQ of the PPF then take over the fort......

If it weren't for the dice decisions it would be easy to think that THAT (gather support, avoid the Romans, humiliate the other cadres by burning their HQs and taking over the fort; leaving themselves as the most powerful group in the town) was their plan all along.....



Well, that was cracking fun... I ended up taking more of a back seat - judging likely probabilities and throwing dice - rather than "playing" but thoroughly enjoyed it. The mechanics were simple, but worked, and the seemingly random actions of the rival cadres could, in retrospect, be looked at as being part of a narrative (certainly no more random that some of the historically testified actions one reads about). The civilians turning on the Romans, once one of their own was killed, again - though dice-driven - felt logical.

For the Romans Mission only partly accomplished - and with a bloody nose.....

The Romans being what they are, it looks like property prices in Beer-Bevakasha could be taking a tumble shortly.....


Twixt Scenario Thoughts.....

Musings on Whither next... My experimental "Scenario Generator" for my Judean war project having proved less inspiring than ...