Tuesday, 27 October 2020

More Bugs...

 Another little Bug Hunt...

In between bigger projects; another quick bug hunt...

As before, the Professor is out for butterflies, this time in N'Gombi country; guided by respected "White Hunter" James "Eagle Eye" Matheson.




As before "Events" are tested for each move per each "detached" set of bods, and a card-driven Encounter Table consulted.

I "play" as Matheson - trying to keep the party together and safe.  The Professor is likely to go haring off to investigate any "blinds" that may turn out to be his elusive prey. One of his companions, Major Murphy, is after bigger game - and may also prove to be a loose cannon....

Thins go off smoothly enough to start as the group meander across the countryside, but soon the Major gets restless and decides go looking for something interesting. 



This doubles the chances for an Encounter, so when the Major's friend Colonel Cole, decides to follow him Matheson also dispatches his right hand man, Guinea Tom, to go along too, to keep an eye on things..... 



Matters progress.. The main party follows the wandering Professor..


 
Suddenly a "Blind" appears... The Professor chases this possible sighting, sneaks up on it and,yes, catches a butterfly... It turns out to be The Real Thing - Wilmott's Yellow Flitter.. Success number One...








Beyond the ridge, out of sight, the Major's group wander about - but see no game..



Matheson decides on a good camping spot, and the tents go up...




Suddenly another "Possible" appears. The Professor rushes off to catch it...



Another success... The Prof is as pleased as Punch....

However, shortly afterwards ANOTHER blind appears. The Professor is in the camp with his trophies, so Matheson goes to investigate....

It slinks off behind the nearby buildings... 
Matheson follows....



 

And it turns out to be cheeky monkeys...



Matheson sees them off....

While all this is going on, the Professors' daughter, Cecily, finds a curious document hidden in a pile of rocks next to the camp (Event-driven incident). What CAN this be...?  (The maguffin for a future adventure, or something to seek on the table?)

Meanwhile the Major's party return to the camp - without incident despite wandering close to the Ju-Ju hut. They see some movement in the distance but, as it getting dark, decide not to investigate.



(Technical note: all these "decisions" are simple, ad hoc dice tests.)  

The sun goes down and the camp goes to sleep. The "Blind" seen by the Major gets closer to the camp, but does not approach. There are no incidents in the nighttime...  

In the morning everyone is up bright and early.. The Major wants go go off hunting again, and sets off...




However, when he gets to the top of the rocky ridge he sees the Blind from last evening - a large body of locals just getting up after a night's rest - a N'Gombi warband in fact.... They see him... 



Guinea Tom rushes back to the camp, with the Major and the Colonel backing towards up. The warband follows....





Matheson's party do not panic at the news (tests for all - especially the bearers) and he forms them up in a line just the other side of the tents as the N'Gombi breast the rocky ridge to look down on the camp. 









There is a tense stand off. Nobody knows what will happen next....



Matheson walks forward, to speak to the warband leader. This is Akosa, a minor N'Gombi chief.

He has no particular axe to grind, but would take advantage of any Target of opportunity. However, more to the point; he knows "Eagle Eye" - and his reputation as a crack shot.

There is an exchange of formalities. Matheson is asked to explain his presence in N'Gombi territory. Meanwhile Akosa notes the rifle in 
Matheson's hand.

He notes the line of rifles and shotguns (The Major, The Colonel, Guinea Tom, 
Matheson's three armed guards - and gun-toting Cecily) all prepared and standing steady beyond the tents...

He notes that even the bearers aren't panicking...

He particularly notes Matheson's vague indication that were there to be any unnecessary unpleasantness he, Matheson, would be personally affronted..
So affronted in fact that the person 
Matheson regarded as responsible for any unpleasantness would be the first to go down....  

There is a certain amount of laughter, and mutual chaffing - and, with a polite farewell, and no loss of face, Akosa leads his men back beyond the cover of the ridge. 

As soon as the warband is are out of sight 
Matheson pulls his party back to the nearby buildings.  But this precaution proves unnecessary as Akosa (after testing his aggression factor) moves his men off towards the north. 



The crisis over, and with the professor happy with his two captures, Matheson swiftly strikes camp and moves the party off to safer ground.....




Conclusion

Another swift little exercise which kept me guessing. Again, events and "Blinds"  to keep interest. Again, a number of ad hoc decision throws.  The "discussion" between Akosa and 
Matheson was decided by a table (below - open image in new tab for bigger image). Things COULD have gone very differently...




Finally, this uncovered one of the perils of recycling a battlefield; Art imitating Life - since it looks like 
nobody told Private Takahashi the war is over.....




Sunday, 18 October 2020

Playing with the Parthians....

 Mid-Bug Catch-up

Paid work, family issues, roof leak issues and four days knocked down with a "Not Covid" Man Flue bug (Rare for me. Apart from actual breaking of parts and operations you can count my days off just "sick" over the last two decades on your fingers) have led to little painting and minimal playing.

Realised the other day that my Parthians still hadn't had a set-to with my Romans.

So...

Take the other week's battlefield, strip away the Oriental Temple, slap down a couple of buildings, jiggle the stones around and away we go.....  



The Romans are to get across the board.  My job is to stop them.

Usual Activation, by Token, one per Unit Leader.

In addition, I get a Commander Token and a cub-commander Token, plus three "Command Tokens" in the mix. 

The Romans get one Unit Leader token per unit, plus their C.O.'s Token, plus a token for their sub-commander.

They also get FOUR Command Tokens (better Command and Control than my army) and a "Cohort Command" Token (which if allows the C.O. either another free Command point of action if he has already been activated OR, if he has not already been activated, the chance to command ALL units within his command radius at once - even if that number is greater than his Command Level).   



Just to make my life even more difficult the Romans get a "Hidden Reinforcement Token", allowing a random unit to enter play on their side  - as well as their usual "Shock Recovery at "Tiffin" bonus if a Legionary Unit has not carried out any other action that move and has Command Team figures.

When Activated a Roman unit/leader will react based on ad-hoc decision throws; typically using a 1x10 die. For (random) examples:

Example One: The Roman C.O. is activated. There are no enemies in sight. His choices are:

1-3: Hold back the main force, probing with his leading century.
4-5: Advance his whole force slowly in defensive mode.
5-10: Advance whole force rapidly towards the enemy.  

Example Two: An isolated Roman Leader is activated. His orders are simple; to advance straight towards the enemy side of the board. However, there is an enemy foot unit exposing its flank to him to his left front within charge range. This could be a temptation, but will take him off his bee-line to the board edge. Also, his unit has already been coming under a heavy arrow barrage and taking Shock and casualties. His choices, taking 1 from the dice throw per 2 Shock Points so far inflicted on the unit, are as follows:

1: Halt and go into full testudo to protect his men from the arrows.
2: Halt and go into "shield wall" to protect his men from the arrows.
3-5: Go into "shield wall" to protect his men from the arrows, but otherwise follow orders (at reduced speed).
6-8: Follow orders. 
9-10: Charge the Target of Opportunity.
 
My detached unit leaders/sub commanders will react to circumstances in a similar in the same way. 


The Battle:

Developed along predictable lines to start. The Romans probed, then moved forward to seize the heights. I harassed the enemy lead centuries with my horse archers and horse javelins, and probed his right flank.







As the enemy moved up the heights so did my horse archers and skirmishers, with the Romans taking shock and casualties from my lads' arrows. 





There was a lot of arrow exchange - but because of the terrain (yeah, right) some of my horse archers got too close to the Roman line and suffered as a result (my bad).

Slowly my infanty clambered up the heights in the centre. On the Roman right things bogged down, with the lead century going into testudo. The officer in charge here either failed to get Activated - or when he did his nerve failed (or he was just sensible) and he concentrated on keeping his men's morale steady for the next few moves. Meanwhile my close-combat infantry discovered that fighting mano-a-mano with the legionaries was not a good idea....





Midway though, and things were getting stalemated... On my left my horse archers and mounted javelins were peppering the testudo, but seeming making little concrete impact. In the centre and right my attempts to contain the Romans were proving fruitless. On the other hand the Romans had suffered from the barrages of missiles.   






Suddenly, however, Lady Luck looked in my direction...

My only useful unit of infantry clambered up the heights....




And actually managed to force back a Roman century... 



Then my heavy cavalry on my right got a chance to get stuck in....A potentially decisive moment came as heavy cavalry went round the enemy left to charge the Roman archers. But they skedaddled to cover with minimal casualties as my men went though them.




 My heavies, in turn, ended up being attacked by one of the legion centuries, then coming face to face with Roman cavalry (reinforcements). I skedaddled my heavies out of the way of what had suddenly become a somewhat like trap. 






Sudden an opportunity arose on my left; the leading century pulled back in response to seeing my cavalry behind it. As it came out of testudo I launched my left-hand heavy cavalry, which had earlier moved over seeking targets of opportunity,  into the century's flank, then hit it with my (exposed) heavy cavalry coming from the enemy's centre. The century broke, then was destroyed.   









But my heavies had been over-bold - and the enemy got lucky. A combination charge of their freshest century and their cavalry rammed into front and flank of the already confused cataphracts.





They ran, disrupting the other cataphract unit behind them. The enemy pushed forwards, and my heavy cavalry broke, taking the light cavalry behind them with them. Suddenly my whole left flank was running from the table...





My sub-commander managed to hold my centre and right flank together, but my Army Morale was pretty shot.  With my left scattered in flight my army slowly withdrew.



The enemy had suffered a bloody nose (though if this had been a campaign battle they would have been deemed to have held onto their wounded, so actual fatal casualties would likely have been slight) but I could not risk the fragile moral of my infantry and remaining cavalry. The Romans had won..... 
 


Summary: An interesting fight, though the table should have been bigger. 

As always my House Rules are a Work In Progress, but this worked well. My foot had little chance in a one-to-one fight with the Roman legionaries, but their skirmish supporters levelled-up the playing field by inflicting Shock and (minor) casualties which would have hurt the Romans badly had we won the day and held the field. 

I already add scenario-specific tokens to a mix. I'm thinking of playing around with adding other tokens to mixes in a series of upcoming experiments. Some examples are;

1) "Whole Army" Tokens (to speed things along).

2) Involuntary Advance.

3) Involuntary Formation. 

I'm also re-thinking the Activation process, and will be experimenting.. R
etirement beckons. So I should have more time to play.....

As always, queries/comments welcome....


Oh dear....

 No Real excuses... Only.... 1) It's been too hot to think about playing, up in the attic.... 2) I was reading  Pratchett's   "...