A First Outing with the Rules.

February 18, 2015

My old friend Ian and I got together to give my Featherstone-like rules a spin.  The scenario was the first scenario from One Hour Wargames.  The forces consisted of 3 line infantry units, 1 heavy cavalry unit, 1 field battery and 1 light infantry unit.  The cavalry and light infantry consisted of 12 figures each,  the line units had 24 figures each and the artillery was just 4 figures and a gun.  The board was a 4X3 board with a hill at the center of each sides base line.  We diced to see who would setup first.  I was the high roller so I set out my troops first followed by Ian.

We rolled for initiative each turn.  I won the roll on the first turn but deferred the first move to Ian.  He advanced off the hill with most of his troops.  I did likewise but was brash with my cavalry and road them forward of my position.  His artillery missed as did his skirmishers.  Mine scored a single hit on his left line infantry and the artillery a further 5, a direct hit! On turn two, Ian rolled a1 for the morale check and the unit routed.  he took a few more casualties.  “This will be easy!” I thought.  It was not to be.  His artillery hit my right most unit in column and caused 6 casualties.  I missed most of my saves.  The shot was canister.   He charged his cavalry into mine.  Each unit caused a few casualties to the other.  I won the melee by a small amount so he withdrew.

On turn three, Ian changed his tactics.  He fell back to the hill with his other two good infantry units while the light infantry continued to hold the center and cause harassing fire.  I matched up with them and charged my infantry column up the hill and into his highlanders.  The highlanders, in turn rolled fairly mediocre so would not get the first shot off.  The melee ensued and the highlanders won by a small margin, throwing back the French infantry column.  His cavalry charged into my left infantry brigade.  I felt I should form a square with the center brigade in case my right brigade broke.  As it turned out, they did form square but could not shoot.  The cavalry charged home, broke into the square but ended up getting repulsed anyway.  During the same move, I swung my cavalry around to attack his right most infantry.  I got a little close.  A couple of lucky hits caused the cavalry to break and run.

The situation during turn 3.

The situation during turn 3.  My lancers slipped in behind his dragoons.

Turn 4 saw Ian’s cavalry fail a morale check and head for the board edge.  His left infantry, now reformed advanced up the hill in reserve.  An exchange of long ranged musket fire caused little damage to both sides.  My artillery missed.  Ian’s did as well…and he firing canister!

The situation on or about Turn 5.

The situation on or about Turn 5.

On turn 5 both sides jockeyed for position.  His cavalry now rallied advanced slowly.  Ian was rather content to sit still with his units Long ranged fire killed a couple of men on both sides.  The real damage occurred on his skirmishers.  He caused no casualties while I caused 3 to him.

Turn 6 was our last turn.  Ian won the initiative and decided to play cut throat and move off the hill.  I stupidly obliged him and closed the distance.  His artillery finally hit as did his right infantry causing many casualties.  My left infantry broke and ran.  My skirmishers slid to engage his highlanders.  As he did not move, he got the first shot and killed them nearly to the man.  I was going to finish his skirmishers with my center infantry unit.  Truly I was.  I fired at close range and managed just 1 hit….which he saved.  The game ended with my 1 brigade and 1 artillery battery to his entire army still on the field.

Lucky swung back and forth.  Ian moved first every turn of the game.  He won or tied the initiative roll every time.  However, his artillery missed at point blank range 4 times in a row!  That was key.  This battle could have been extremely one sided had he hit with even three!  My flury of luck occurred on Turn 1 and then on turn 4 when he formed square.  I managed to score 5 hits on his square but he saved 2.

This was the very first test of the rules.  Much of it is similar to Don Featherstone’s Horse and Musket rules.  Melee and shooting are slightly less deadly than the original rules.  I also took out as much math as possible.  Instead of rolling a die and subtracting a number, you roll less than or equal to a number based on range and situation, counting the spots shown.  If it is greater than the number, then the shot misses.  I have a 3 column morale table.  Column 1 is for general morale and is taken before the unit moves.  If the unit fails, it must use the result for its move.  The second column is used if a unit is charged and the third for charging.  Morale is always resolved with the throw of 1D6.  The game turn is IGO-UGO within each phase.  Movement is broken into 2 phases, charge and maneuver.  Units that do not move get to fire first followed by units that do move.  This way you don’t have to worry about defensive fire.  Units that don’t move may also fire in support of a unit being charged.

Different classes of cavalry were hashed out but not tested yet.  I am leaning towards making the differences relative.  Light cavalry and heavy cavalry are the two broad classes.  Light cavalry melee with a 4 or less when fighting heavy cavalry.  Lancers do get the first shot when fighting non lance armed troops.  Heavy cavalry get double dice when meleeing infantry not in square.  Light cavalry only manage normal dice.  When fighting infantry in square, the dice totals are halved.

After a few more plays, I’ll post the rules on-line.

JTT Trees Part 3

February 9, 2015

The final steps were to paint over each base with the same cheap craft paint I use for all of my bases.  I’ve had this paint for about 10 years and I think I bought it new for about $2.50 from Michael’s.  Once dry I painted a third coat and dipped each base in the flock wet.  The results were pretty nice.  The bases  did warp slightly but not enough to make it noticeable.  The only thing left to do is put a couple of coats of matte varnish on the bases to hold the flock in place.

Bases after a coat of cheap earth paint.

Bases after a coat of cheap earth paint.

The (nearly) finished product.  An inexpensive solution to getting some trees on the table.  The white stuff on the tree in the foreground is probably some plaster dust.  It was easily removed.

The (nearly) finished product. An inexpensive solution to getting some trees on the table. The white stuff on the tree in the foreground is probably some plaster dust. It was easily removed.

Over the course of 3 days, it took me a total of 3 hours to produce the bases and mount the trees.  Doing the initial spray down of the trees with matte varnish took maybe 15 minutes.  The trees themselves cost about $30.  All other products costs were negligible and came from supplies I had on hand.

JTT Trees WIP Part 2

February 8, 2015

After letting the bases dry I found two problems.  Gorilla glue did not fasten the plastic bases to the paper disk very well.  Also the expansion of the glue lifted up the plastic base to the point where the trees were noticeably leaning to one side.  I primed the plastic base with the Loktite All Plastics primer stick and glued them down with Gorilla super glue instead.  After the glue set, I tinted the joint compound with earth brown and built the sides up.  The results thus far are below.

The disks are drying.  here's hoping there are no more problems!

The disks are drying. here’s hoping there are no more problems!

Part 3 soon.

JTT Trees WIP Part 1

February 7, 2015

I’ve finally started in on my new trees.  After some thought I’ve come up with the following plan.  Each tree will be mounted with it’s base on a 1.5″ disk.  The disk is made of matting board.  To make it easy to cut these disks out, I used a pair of heavy snips.  Mine are tin snips but you could use heavy kitchen scissors as well…the ones that can cut through chicken bones.  I am using a dollop of gorilla glue to hold the tree in place on the disk.  This glue is notorious for expanding and leaving unsightly globs if you use too much.  In my case, the disk will be topped with dry-wall joint compound so the mess will be covered up.  You can give yourself a small head start by using brown or green matting board.  Mine was light blue simply because that is what I had.

Some of the items you will need.

Some of the items you will need.

The disks took about 20 minutes to cut out and I had all 24 trees mounted in about 5 minutes.

The trees are ready to be textured.

The trees are ready to be textured.  The disks are wide enough to keep the tree from toppling from an accidental shove of the table.

Next time, I shall texture, paint and flock the base.  The only thing I am concerned about now is warping.  I think the matting board is think and dense enough to resist the wet compound but we shall see.