Friday, 14 October 2011

If it's not broken...

...please don't try to fix it! 

As those of you who follow the "la Bricole" forum are probably aware, the site has been down for about a week now.

Although the site had been running just fine, Forumer, the people who host La Bricole, decided that they would migrate their forums to a new server, and La Bricole was among the first batch to move.

Well, it appears that those responsible for doing it have had more than their share of problems trying to get it up and going.   

Forumer hasn't been all that communicative about what exactly the problem is, or when we can reasonably expect the site to come up again.  But clearly someone in the tech team must be a descendant of the guy responsible for keeping that bridge up for the French army to cross during their retreat from Leipzig.

Anyway when- indeed if- it is ever up again, I'll post it here.

In other news, for those who haven't noticed yet Sada has posted the first pictures of his Perry plastic French, and very tasty they look too!  What with the new plastics on or coming on the market, and the recent releases in metal by the Perry twins, he also seems set on doing Russians.

We have already been tentatively discussing the possibility of a Borodino scenario for the bicentennial in 2012, and a scaled-down Salamanca re-fight is also a definite possibility.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Battle Report, and Heavy Losses

I've been keeping my hands full over the past month or so with a number of projects on the gaming front.  Since my last post, our club has played both a Napoleonic and a WW2 game.  

Today I'll post a belated report for the the Napoleonic game, a real nail-biter that once again saw us merrily ignore the brigade morale rules and fight bitterly to the last unit.  
This time I was playing with a Russo-Prussian contingent, and along with the British we managed to beat off a superior French force assault on a town.  But only just!

The scenario was forced upon us by the fact that Matt had called that morning to say that he would not be able to make it as he was feeling ill, so that left us without all his British/ Allied forces.  

Fortunately, Rod had shown up with his first painted units for Napoleonics, some very nicely done British infantry along with a company of the 95th Rifles and a single gun.  Achilleas- our brushman extraordinaire- had bought his French horde along with a unit each of Prussians, Russians and British.  I was able to throw in my Russian horse artillery battery, so I took command of the Russians and Prussians defending a village on the right with the British aligned on the left flank.

The French we had available to us would have badly outnumbered the allies, so we decided not to field my 28e Légère (no doubt still smarting from losing their Eagle last game), and not to give the French any artillery.  This was to make their prospects of victory immeasurably more difficult.

The French objective was simple, to take all the buildings.  Pete and Achilleas were the French,  Rod and I the Allies.  Rules were, of course, Black Powder. 

We had Pete's gorgeous buildings to fight over, along with some resin models I had brought back with me from my recent trip home to Vancouver.  I bought these back in about 1985, so it was nice to see them getting some use again.  They are smallish 25mm, so work well both with our Napoleonic games and with our 20mm WW2 games.

One thing I didn't bring was my trusty new camera, so I had to resort to the less-than-ideal camera on my cellphone.  That, plus poor room lighting that day, means the photo quality isn't what it could be.
The French enter the field.  They were to dice to see when they arrived on the battlefield.  To the horror of the allies, both forces came in on turn one!
Frenchies coming out of the mist.
The forces of Liberty and Freedom deploy.  The Prussians on the right were to garrison the buildings, and held out against Pete's assault for far longer than I dared to hope.  The Russians were to prove the battle winner!

"My word, Carstairs, there are rather a lot of those garlic-munching chappies out there, what?"

Pete goes straight for the jugular, and moves quickly up the village (he rolled well and got in an extra move- gulp!)
The French grenadiers try a flanking move...
They are in a position to attack the flanks of Rod's British, or to wheel left and get the Russians.
They go for British, leaving the Russians free to exact dreadful retribution!  First blood to the Czar.

Meanwhile, on the Allied left...
The battle on the left was a real see-saw action, and saw the French thrown back once before bravely giving it a second try...
The immortal 57e de ligne plunge into the attack..
...only to be routed, taking another two battalions with them.  This was the first ray of hope for the otherwise extremely hard pressed Allies!
Back to the village, and la marée française washes up against the stone barn and tower.  
The barn was held by the Prussians, who managed to throw back at least three separate assaults.
The Russians were in reserve, ready and willing to die to the last Pommeranian.
Finally, almost out of ammunition and having had taken heavy casualties, the Prussians break after an epic defence.
Their flight exposes the Russian licorne whose crew is soon shot down.
But the French have been exhausted in the fighting, and the Russians do what they do best- go in with the bayonet!   We play it so the Russians automatically pass their first break test, which makes them an army to be reckoned with.  

The battalion sweeps away the Swiss, and manages to stave off defeat in the village as the supporting units pull back.
On the left flank, Achilleas found out how useful the "Follow me" rule could be!  
The British lose one battalion but not before destroying the French cavalry. 

At this point, with fewer and fewer manoeuvre units to worry about the game started moving very quickly, so that there was no time to take many pictures!  It ended with the sole surviving British- an artillery piece and the commander- racing towards the right flank where the Russians had holed up in the chateau.  The British gun was great at slowing the French advance due to disorder hits, and without artillery themselves, the French found it hard to deal with infantry in the buildings.  

Steady attrition and failed break rolls saw the French reduced to a single unit, which made two assaults on the chateau.  On a third attempt, they too finally broke!  

For Czar, der König, His Britannic Majesty, and Freedom!
An Allied win, in pure Don Featherstone style with a handful of survivors still standing. "A close run thing" doesn't come anywhere near describing it

Now, I did mention heavy losses.   The biggest loss is that we are losing Achilleas.  After long consideration, he has finally made the decision to move back to Greece.  
Achilleas has been a real prime mover in our group, and has been all you could ask for as a gaming partner.  Of course, he is an amazingly talented painter (as pictures both here and on his own blog have testified), and like the rest of us he really values the aesthetics of  wargaming.  

On the tabletop he always plays for the win (usually at the cost of a legendary wastage of horseflesh!), but above all he is a great sport and a real gentleman who knows what gaming is primarily all about- the enjoyment of shared interests with like-minded people.

Thanks, Achilleas, and best of luck for the future.  You'll be missed, and should you ever decide to return there will always be a place at the gaming table waiting for you.

As can be imagined, this sparked a crisis here with the West Tokyo Wargamers (Napoleonic Branch), as his collection has accounted by far for the largest share of the French army.

However, all is not lost.  At this point it's looking likely that the rest of us are going to chip in for a painted brigade from Mabuhay Painting Service (MMPS), which will give us a decent nucleus of  a French force while we can slowly add extra units at a reasonable pace.  Rumour has it that Matt is even to work on Neapolitans!

Also, it looks as if Sada- he of the exquisite Napoleonic ships posted here a while back-  is about to jump into Napoleonic land warfare too, and he has been working on a box of Perry French.  He already has some amazingly painted 15mm Napoleonic miniatures, and given his superb modelling and painting skills, these will be something to look forward to, I'm sure.  And it will be great to have a Japanese gamer on board.

So rest assured, Napoleonics will continue to flourish here in Tokyo.