Missin’ in Action 2019

After last year’s success, we had another gaming event with friends. This time, the weather was friendly and we could set up in the garden.

The main attraction was a game I had been working on for quite a while (not continously, though): namely a tavern brawl based on the old Brewhouse Bash rules from White Dwarf #223. I collected figures in brawling poses, which were harder to find than I thought, and built some terrain. The main headache proved to be the playing surface. After several aborted experiments I had to make a last-minute compromise and take a sheet of unpainted PVC floor coating. It looks ok, I guess.

Here are some impressions from the game:

 

The game was simple fun. We had eight player, but it still moved along at a good pace. Austrians of a certain age grew up with Bud Spencer & Terrence Hill movies and the game conveyed the feeling of those comic scuffles pretty well.

Afterwards, we played two parallel games of Sellswords & Spellslingers, which is aways a fun game, especially for events such as these.

Thanks to all the players, it was great to spend an afternoon and evening gaming with friends!

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A New Blog

I’ve been very lazy with blogging lately, but I had quite a number of games. You can find AARs for two of them on a new blog:

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Tabletop Stories was created by my mates Virago and Sigur. Sigur is posting some old articles of his which hitherto had been hosted on the now defunct Skirmish Wargaming site. He also posted two AARs of games with me, namely

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The blog also contains other AARs and reviews of rules. Sigur spares no efforts, as all of his articles are available in English and in German – just click the tiny flags in the upper left corner. Be sure to check Tabletop Stories out and to add it to your blog reader!

A Dark & Stormy Night – Sharp Practice AAR

On July 4, 1863, the Union cavalry was in hot pursuit of the Confederate army retreating from Gettysburg. Judson Kilpatrick’s division had information about a rebel wagon train making its way through the South Mountains and set out to capture the wagons. Due to a rainstorm, the Union troopers arrived at the approaches to Monterey Pass in the evening. When they slowly made their way up the pass road, a lone Confederate cannon opened fire.

Thus started the Battle of Monterey Pass, one of the most dramatic small cavalry actions of the Gettysburg campaign. The unusual circumstances – a fight at night, in very difficult terrain, while a torrential rainstorm was raging – made this “a night never to be forgotten”, as one participant in the action later wrote.

For Sharp Practice, I have decided to divide the action into three parts. This was a playtest for the first part, the approach to the pass road and the Confederate ambush. The results of the game will have an effect on the next scenario.

The Union had four groups of well-trained cavalry, armed with breechloaders as well as sabres and revolvers. The Confederates had three groups of cavalry and a single light gun. They also had three deployment points, two of which were hidden (marked in a map), and the ‘tactical’ characteristic, which allowed them to make ambuscades with two command cards.

1

The Union command approaches to road. A narrow road, heavy woods to both sides and reduced visibility due to it being night, as well as the driving rainstorm make this a dangerous looking place.

Nevertheless, K., who plays the Union commander, pushes on and deploys her cavalry in column on the road.

2

Suddenly, a cannon opens fire! However, due to the difficult circumstances, the firing is less than spectacular (distances were halved to account for the weather and I was unlucky with the dice…). Although slightly shocked, the cavalry immediately charges the gun.

3

The gun crew breaks and runs into the woods. Now this was quick! Buoyed by their success, the troopers push on.

4

A lone group of Confederate cavalrymen decides to mount a desperate charge to hold the Union column. However, after a short struggle, they are pushed back. The Union immediately countercharges and in the resulting melee, a sabre hits the Confederate leaders, who drops from his horse and lies dead on the ground. Things do not look good at all for the Confederates.

5

One of the Union groups dismounts and heads into the woods to catch the gun crew, which is milling about. The rest pushes forward.

Suddenly, a salvo erupts from the woods – finally, a group of dismounted Confederate troopers had managed to lay an ambush. The Union troopers in front are dazed, but one group from behind charges forward at a canter and crashes into the rebels. Now it’s their turn to be surprised, and completely overwhelmed by the relentless horsemen, they throw away their arms and surrender (we have a house rule that, if one side in melee has four times as much dice as the other, the side with less dice immediately surrenders).

6

With the Force Morale down at 1, I concede defeat. K. has lost a couple of men, but not one single point of Force Morale! An overwhelming Union victory, which will make if hard for the Confederates to save their precious wagon train…

This was a fast and furious game. I have to admit that K.’s aggressive attack caught me on the wrong foot – I had thought she would dismount and methodically work her way through the woods, giving me the chance to perform an ambuscade or two and get my gun out in good order. Let’s see how the story unfolds – the Confederates have a second line of defense at the pass’ summit near the Monterey hotel.

ACW Camp Scenes

I’m researching and preparing yet another scenario for Sharp Practice. This one is going to be about the Union cavalry raid on Port Republic during the Shenandoah Valley Campaign in 1862. This was one of the few moments when the Union showed aggression and they almost managed to capture Stonewall Jackson himself.

The Union cavalry surprised the encamped Confederates, so I need some camp scenes for the game. I procured tents from QRF/Freikorp15 and stacked muskets from Irregular Miniatures. Incidentally, Irregular Miniatures have great stuff, but some of it is well hidden – the musket stacks are in the 15mm napoleonic section. Add a couple of crates and spare figures, and I had two camps.

 

As the Confederates were surprised, I wanted to convey frantic activity. In this scene, a drummer is beating the long roll while soldiers hurry to get into formation:

While tents look nice, I’m actually not sure the Confederates camped at Port Republic had them. Maybe they only had bedrolls and slept under the open sky like this guy:

sleeping

So I made another scene where I tried to model sleeping soldiers with green stuff. The results are, I have to say, somewhat mixed. But they look ok is looked at from a distance, like it is usually the case when actually playing a game.

It’s been fun making those scenes and I’m looking forward to testing the scenario.

Oh, also painted up the strange man himself – Stonewall Jackson from Peter Pig’s new range of ACW generals. I painted him in his old blue VMI coat, so this is a portrait from early in the campaign, which is strictly speaking not correct for Port Republic. But at least he is mounted on Little Sorrel!

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