VIVAT 2017

VIVAT is a local Austrian historical wargames show. I didn’t make it last year due to real life intervening, but I attended this year. Generally, I’m not too happy with the location, as I don’t own a car and it’s difficult to get there by public transport. Thankfully, my mate Sigur picked me up at the train station and drove me back in the afternoon.

The show took place in a restaurant (which, as I discovered, serves quite nice food). There were several tables with games, the stand of a trader and Sigur’s painting stall. The atmosphere was pleasantly busy. Quite a lot of people were browsing, talking and playing, and I saw a couple of families with kids, always a good sign in my opinion.

I was drafted to introduce a new player to Sharp Practice on a spectacular table set up by Annatar. The scenario, which was set during the French and Indian War, came from an old TooFatLardies Special. Even though I was a bit tired and therefore not up to my game when explaining the rules, I think that Daniel had the opportunity to see what a great set of rules Sharp Practice are.

I didn’t have time to participate in any other games, but they looked very nice. Here are some images; more can be found on the VIVAT homepage. I’m pretty sure Sigur will also publish a detailed report on his blog.

Steinhagel

Steinhagel, a German ancients rule set.

Kugelhagel

ACW with Kugelhagel, a rule set from the same designer as Steinhagel.

NavalThunder

WW1 naval with Naval Thunder.

FoW

Flames of War.

Napo

A napoleonic game with General de Brigade.

FieldsofGlory

The Punic Wars with Field of Glory. I really liked the look of those 15mm figures.

 

And finally the Sharp Practice table.

I enjoyed myself a lot and was happy to meet old and new faces. Thanks to the organisers for making such an event possible!

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TooFatLardies Games Day in Vienna

It’s no secret that TooFatLardies are my favourite rules publisher. Fortunately, there are a couple of like-minded individuals around. Last Friday, a bunch of us got together to play and present TFL games. The idea was to showcase the rules and induce people who have never before played a Lardy game to give it a try.

We had four games prepared: Dux Britanniarum, Sharp Practice 2, Kiss me Hardy! and Chain of Command.

As we’ve written a short report for Lard Island News (which will be published shortly), I’m not going to repeat myself but refer the reader to this blog. Sigur has also written a very fine report on the Battle Brush Studios blog – head over there for more information!

I just want to thank everyone involved: Those who prepared and presented games, those who played and those who watched and contributed to the friendly and welcoming atmosphere. I’m especially happy that I had the opportunity to meet up with old friends and make new ones.

Certainly an event to be repeated!

Here are some impressions from the games:

Sharp Practice (hosted by me)

Dux Britanniarum (hosted by Sigur and Virago)

Kiss me Hardy! (hosted by Annatar)

Chain of Command (hosted by Sigur and Shlominus, with a scenario by Slowik)

Clearing out the Rebels – Sharp Practice AAR

At the moment, I’m playtesting a series of scenarios for Sharp Practice. My intent is to have them eventually published in some shape or form, but before this can happen, they have to be researched, written up and playtested. All of them depict historical actions of the 1st South Carolina Volunteers, one of the first African-American regiments of the American Civil War.

The objective of this scenario was for the Union to clear out the Rebel pickets and burn huts so as to establish a defensive perimeter. K. played the Union, while I took the Confederates.

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The first two Union groups deployed in line at the center, no doubt intent on heading straight for the central building, which also served as the Confederate secondary deployment point. K. also sent a group of skirmishers to her far left flank. To counter the thread in the middle, I deployed two groups in line behind the fence so as to defend the house. Two other groups marched along the road at my left flank.

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I also sent both of my skirmishers to protect my right flank, where K.’s guys were running towards the house with spirits & tinder box. They managed to check the Union advance. However, K. then deployed her regimental chaplain, who rallied all the shock, bringing the skirmishers back into the game.

However, an even more dramatic turn happened on the other flank. K.’s second group of skirmishers worked their way around the flank of my second line of infantry, which was taking up position to blaze away at the Union center. I had to detach one group to chase away the pesky guys. At first, they duly fell back.

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However, before my guys could react, they turned around and charged them! The Rebels, who had unloaded muskets at the time, were pretty surprised – which must have been the reason for the disastrous result of the melee: The group lost by a margin of 4, fell back and broke, taking the Rebel commander with them.

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The lone Confederate group on the road was now in a bad spot. I made my biggest mistake by deciding to get them behind the fence in the center, were they could join the other Rebel leader. However, I somehow overlooked that to do this, they would cross the line of fire of a Union formation which had not yet fired a shot. A controlled volley later, and those Confederates were also running.

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The Union skirmishers were now free to advance towards the leftmost building and set it ablaze.

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There was still an intense firefight – with lots of smoke! – going on on my right flank, but K. was starting to divert one of her center groups to this action and my Force Morale was at 2 while hers was at 8, so I conceded.

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A very enjoyable game with some unexpected turns! This was actually the second version of the scenario. The first proved to be far too hard for the Union, but this was quite balanced. It’s never easy as the attacker in Sharp Practice, especially if there are objectives to be fulfilled. But we both agreed that the scenario offered plenty of options how to attack and how to set up a defense.

Sharp Practice at the Club

Shortly after we’ve moved into the new flat, I discovered that one of the few (if not the only) wargaming clubs in Vienna is right around where I now live. Naturally, I wanted to check it out. This week, I finally had the opportunity as Virago wanted to inaugurate his newly painted FIW force. He had scheduled a game of Sharp Practice against Annatar and I dropped by to watch. Sigur and several others were also there and after setting up the table, we watched the guys play the Escort scenario from the rule book.

They both used 18mm Blue Moon figures on a standard 4×6 table without modifying the distances. This looks very good and I’d like to try it out with my own 15mm miniatures.

Annatar’s British deployed in open column, with the grenadiers escorting Lady Katharine in the middle. Their provincial rangers rushed ahead to secure the right flank.

Suddenly, two groups of milice canadienne appeared in the woods in front of the British rangers. At the same time, a line of marines marched out of the woods on the other side of the river and opened fire on the column.

The British commander ordered his first two groups to wheel to the left and check the French marines. Oblivious, his grenadiers marched on only to discover that they had left the column behind. Fearing that their mitre caps might make a good target, they headed into the brush beside the road. Meanwhile, the rest of the British formed line to engage the marines, which were still firing into them. The British gave back enthusiastically – in fact, they were so caught up in the smoke and noise that their commander couldn’t make them stop. A firefight developed across the river.

The French commander feared the massed firepower of the British line and retreated his marines behind a hill. Meanwhile, two groups of Indians were rushing through the bushes to hit the British from behind. On the way, they met the rangers which they promptly massacred. The sneaked up behind the British line… but the British commander had finally managed to get his men under control. Smartly ordering them to “right about face”, they turned around and poured a volley into the noble warriors. At first they were only stunned, but then they realised that their chieftain was hit badly. In fact, he was only knocked out, but his men got panicked and decided to fight another day.

As it was getting late, we called it a day and ended the game at this moment. The French would probably have retreated and the Indian chieftain would have been picked up by the British, who could have continued on their way to wherever they were headed.

Being the person with the most experience with the game, I did some rules counselling. However, having never played with anything other than ACW forces, we had to look up some of the characteristics of FIW troops. I didn’t envy the players when four people were shouting rules interpretations and tactical advice at them!

This was a fun evening. I was impressed by the club facilities – there are lots of tables and a nice selection of terrain – and the people I met were friendly and welcoming. I’m looking forward to going there again.

And thanks again to Sigur for providing most of the images!