Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Pikeman's Lament - an Early Copy of the New Rules from Osprey

An Early Look at the New Pike and Shot Wargaming Rules from Osprey

Its here! Well almost.
Having played a few testgames as the rules were developed I was very happy to recieve an early copy of the soon to be released The Pikeman's Lament ruleset from Osprey, written by Daniel Mersey and Michael Leck. Daniel is well known for the successful medieval wargaming rules Lion Rampant and Michael is a very inspiring blogger over at his Dalauppror blog and - for anyone who had the luck to be invited for a gaming session - a great gaming host with alot of great scenarios and an excellent grasp of game mechanics and what works for a balanced and entertaining game. That, and a deep knowledge of the pike and shot period.

I'd though I'd give a glimpse and somewhat simplified view of what they are about. The Pikeman's Lament are intended for the pike and shot period The Thirty Year's War, the English Civil War and the Great Northern War and beyond. The rules are divided into four main sections: Raising your company, Battle rules, Missions and Sample companies.

Raising Your Company
In the first section you create your officer and chose his men. As a guideline each side can select a force of 24 points. This is no strict rule however and less or more points works fine. Units are normally composed of six or twelve miniatures. As six men of real quality (like six Elite Gallopers or a small Veteran Storming party of six men) costs 6 points you can get away with as few as two dozens of miniatures a side (or even less if you play a smaller game). On the other hand, close to useless clubmen will only cost you 1 point for twelve men... With the cost being 4 points for six standard cavalry or twelve standard infantry its easy to understand that you have great freedom in composing your force to what suits your collection, scenario and/or historical context.

And what about basing? The ever present question. :-) The rules are very flexible in that regard. Measuring is done between the closest model in each unit and facing isn't an issue so it doesn't matter really how you base your models or what scale you use. Single based, four or six men based together or Dalauppror's 1-2-3 basing all work fine. Its in my view mostly a matter of helping keep track of casualties and if the unit is below half strength or not.

Samples of basing. Anything goes really.
Battle Rules
The Pikeman's Lament takes its core mechanics from the Lion (and Dragon) Rampant rules. You roll for activating one unit after another, ordering it to Attack, Move or Shot - or for some troop types special activations like Caracole or Skirmish. Each troop type is differentiated so that its easier to get them to do what they are trained to do. If you fail an activation before all your units are activated its your opponent's turn to begin activating his troops. This causes some fog of war and demands tactical thinking and making priorities. One modification that I really enjoy is that activation is a touch easier to succeed with in The Pikeman's Lament than in the earlier Lion Rampant. A simple move activation is often passed on 5+ on two dice, with a further +1 on the roll if your Officer is close enough. Still, Attacking and Shooting are for most troops a bit more complex activations. In my view this somewhat easier activation over all gives a smoother game but still keeps the possibility of a failed activation at a very wrong moment. The mechanics for shooting and close combat is fast and simple but takes matters of troop quality, cover and other things into effect. And there are simple yet effective Morale rules in there as well.

The rules are primarily intended to portray small scale warfare. That is raids, ambushes and escort missions. The rules presents ten different such scenarios with victory conditions, special rules etc. One is a straightforward fight and others are more complex. All to give a varied game. 

Sample Companies
In order to give examples on how to compose historical selections of troops and what can be portrayed by using different troop types.  

An example of the many photographs and paintings in the rules.

And Beyond?
What I really like about the rules are the freedom it provides. It has a very solid game mechanic at its core that provides great games. And naturally it works very well for say a Thirty Year's War foraging raid or an escort mission during the Great Northern Wars. But it also works fine for other scenes. Like conquistadors in the Americas in the 16th century with the rules for "Clansmen" to represent Inca warriors for example. It could also be used to represent warfare in late feudal Japan. Also it is possible to "scale up" to larger engagements with say a four man base "counting as" one man in the rules, i e that a 12 man unit by the rules is represented by 48 miniatures on the table. Maybe then with the addition of a rule on facing and flanks/rear.

I'd happily recommend them as I think they are a great set of rules.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

AAR: Bolt Action Point Defence - the Baltics 1944

An After Action Report


Time for a short report from a recent Bolt Action game. It was played using the second edition of the Bolt Action rule set, with the Point Defence scenario and 1 600 points per side.

Reinforced Platoon, Veterans 2 man Command, 1st Lieutenant
Sturmpionere w LMG and flamer
2 x 8 man Squads, 2 SMG, 2 LMG, 2 PzF
2 x 6 man Squads, 2 SMG, 3 AR, 2 PzF

Panther Ausf D
Leig18 Team
Medium Machine Gun Team
Panzerschreck Team
Sniper Team
Medium Mortar Team

Armoured platoon, Regulars
3 x T34/76
2 x 6 man Tankrider Squads, 1 LMG

Reinforced platoon, Regulars
2 man Command, 1st Lieutenant
3 x 9 man Squads, 1 SMG, 1 LMG
1 x 9 man Squad, 1 SMG
1 x Free Rifle Squad
Medium Mortar Team

AT-rifle Team


A short recap
The Soviets were trying to crush the Germans in the Baltics in autum 1944. The Soviet attack got off to a rather slow start due to bad weather conditions - and maybe that vodka delivery had something to do with it too...
In the third round the Soviets got up to speed. But their luck didn't last and the German counter was devastating. Despite lacking any serious panzer support the Germans knocked out three T34:s with
panzerschreck och panzerfausts, and the fourth and final T34 was handled by an old Panther Ausf D. True to form the Soviets still carried on with their attack. In the end though the Soviets had to abort their attempt, leaving the Germans in control of the field. For now.  
What follows is not a blow by blow acount at all but rather some pictures from the game to give you a feel of the action. Enjoy! :-)


Monday, January 9, 2017

Napoleonic Saxons in 28mm - a Line Battalion

A Saxon battalion from the Prinz Maximilian regiment

Time for some more painted miniatures. This time a break from the World War 2 theme with a Saxon battalion from the Prinz Maximilian regiment. They are truly excellent sculpts of Paul Hicks from Westphalia Miniatures, painted by Andreas. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Happy 2017 - with a few tanks!

2017 - A New Hope

The blog has been awfully quiet the last six months or so. We intend to make a comeback to blogging now with the new year.

The silence of the blog depends on the usual real world issues: work and family. Not in an alarming sence but in that other matters than the blog have been a priority. But eventhough the blog has been quiet we have had some hobby time, some of us more than others. Especially Andreas has been working on his many WW2 painting projects with great results.

Looking back 2016 was a quiet year on the blog but still a nice hobby year for us with some great games being played and us working on many different (too many maybe?) projects. It will be interesting to see what 2017 will bring for us. To our surprice some non-historical wargaming made a return in late 2016. In part that was a result of Games Workshop re-releasing Blood Bowl, a fantasy football game, which is simply such a great game that it demands our attention. Not to worry though as historical wargaming will continue to be the main focus of this blog.

And as nothing says happy new year as a few tanks, here you go. :-) These are plastic T34/76s from Warlord Games recently painted by Andreas.

And the last picture is from the last game of the year, a few days before new years eve - wishing for many good games in 2017.