Category Archives: Field of Battle

Field of Battle 2 Napoleonic (27/05/12 – Nick) Pt 2

The French won the next leader roll off by 5 so I got to turn another 5 cards. First card up and an even command roll allowed my heavy cavalry brigade to charge the Portuguese battalion who had not formed square. Though these were raw troops, they had rolled well in the pre-game sequence and had a decent combat rating, so they had a fair chance of driving the dragoons off by fire alone – unfortunately they failed and were ridden down by the dragoons leading the charge. However I was unable to draw any cards to follow up my success, and the British first card drawn was artillery reload so they blasted the already wounded dragoons to kingdom come at short range.

Cazadores about to die

Nick used his next melee card to charge one of my columns with his Cazadores, but poor rolling on his part and really lucky rolls on mine saw the Cazadores disintegrate in melee. We then went through a few phases of close leadership rolls resulting on turning only 1 or 2 cards each at a time, mostly resulting in firefights and artillery exchanges. In a move straight out of Sharpe, the 95th Rifles rushed to take up position on the flank (but not quite behind the flank) of the Hussars and gave them a volley – the volley took 2 UI off the Hussars who already had 2 UI against them, wiping them out and completing the destruction of the Light Cavalry brigade. This provoked a discussion on why you would ever deploy the Rifles in skirmish order as with a 15″ range (compared to the 6″ of smoothbores) they are really effective in the role of line infantry.

Then, with 5 cards left in my deck I managed to win a leadership roll by 6, so I would get to turn my cards and the turn would end before Nick got to turn his. There were some lull cards in there which Nick managed to seize the initiative on, but I did manage to draw a move card and on an even roll charged the cuirassiers into the Portuguese battalion which had filled the gap in the line left when the previous battalion had perished.  Unfortunately for me this battalion succeeded where all the others had failed – it drove off the cream of the French cavalry through firepower, and the cavalry fell back to re-group. Also on this move card I rolled high for most other command groups – this allowed me to redeploy one of my infantry brigades to the left flank ready to crush the British troops there. I also managed to rally my cuirassiers and take the 2 UI off of them  on a leadership card.

So, at the start of turn 2 things were looking good for the French, and though the British cavalry were set to arrive, I was ahead on army morale points and the British were only 2 away from being spent. Then things started to go badly wrong (for me anyway). After previously competing well for the leadership roll (with a D10 verses a D12+1), I lost the first roll of turn 2 badly and Nick got to draw 8 cards. Tactical advantage and infantry firepower cards got the turn off to a slow start, but next up was a melee card. The remaining unit of Highlanders in column (very un-British – wot?) attacked the French line which had formed to defend the left flank while the rest of the army re-deployed. A volley from each regiment saw off the Highlanders, but more importantly took the British army morale negative and gave me 2 morale points and they had 5 cards left to draw – the French started silently praying for an army morale card to be turned!

The French left flank after the Highlanders flee

But it was not to be – things went downhill with the arrival of the British cavalry to the rear of the cuirassiers on a move card.

Light Dragoons arrive behind the French

Then to add insult to injury, straight away the British turned a melee card, which in the new edition of the rules allow a half move to contact before melee – CHARGE!

It’s not looking good for the cuirassiers!

Predictably this was the end of the French heavy cavalry brigade but more importantly it cost me precious army morale points. Further desultory firing took the French back to 1 morale and with 1 card left to draw and no sign yet of a blasted army morale card, the British pulled artillery firepower. Things went from bad to worse as with a good die roll an artillery battery just scraped a UI hit, leaving the French at 0 Army morale and 8 cards to draw.

You can see where this is going, but it was going to be the death of a 100o cuts first. My first card was a leadership card, and while rolling for leader casualties, the brigadier leading the assault to crush the British right flank fell to a stray bullet, sending his entire brigade out of command so that attack was going nowhere fast! Predictably, the 2nd card was an army morale and I fluffed the roll – game over :( sad On reflection, this seemed fair enough, as the French counter-attack was leaderless and the marauding British Light Dragoon would be sending the French right flank into square until they could be dealt with through firepower – any sane French general would probably have called it a day at this point.

Form square!!

That was some battle – first the British were at 0 morale, then the French. It turned out that the British cavalry not arriving on time was a blessing in disguise – as they weren’t on the board they couldn’t be attacked, and when they did turn up, the French cavalry were a spent force (attacking them from the rear also helped!). In my rush to turn the British flank before the British cavalry arrived, I left the French cavalry out on a limb somewhat, and they suffered badly from British musket and artillery fire (those bloody Rifles especially!)

For the next game we need some markers to put on leaders for when their brigade had been in combat and they have to roll for casualties on a leader card – I’m sure we forgot to do this at times because of the lack of markers. We also need some indication of whether first fire has been used or not – this became hard to remember as brigades closed and got mixed up due to fall backs.

So, we had finished the game and obtained a decisive result in 3.5 hours with nearly 40 units on the table – this is a big plus for us, as we very rarely get to finish anything due to time constraints. That fact in itself means we’ll definitely be playing the rules again. Figures are a mixture of Perry, Victrix and Elite 28mm mostly painted professionally or picked up on EBay (with some units, all generals and all artillery painted up by myself).
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Field of Battle 2 Napoleonic (27/05/12 – Nick) Pt 1

A figure game by gad – and against an opponent to boot – spiffing! I have tried the 1st Edition of Field of Battle for ACW actions, but this is my first game with 2nd edition and also my first game using Napoleonic figures. The action is set somewhere in Spain and, with 37 units on the table, is larger than anything I’ve attempted with Field of Battle. The new edition of the rules has a detailed pre-battle procedure to generate a scenario and inject some uncertainty into the proceedings, so instead of just turning up and fighting, units are delayed or don’t turn up at all; can redeploy if they choose to or when forced to by their opponents; or even set up in forward or enemy zones if they win the reconnaissance event by a big enough margin.

Action early in the game

Though both leaders are skilled, the French general is rolled as LD10 while the British general is rolled as LD12+1. Both leaders managed to roll a “skilled” deck. The French army has 19 units while the British have 18.

French fate

  • 2  Strength  – March to the Guns (up 1) & Strategic Defence (down 1)
  • Tactical Adjustment – Unprepared (up 1)
  • Deployment – Captured Orders (down 1)

British fate

  •  Tactical Adjustment – Outposts (down 1)
  • 2  Deployment – Inactive (down 1) & Seize (up 1)
  • Reconnaissance – manoeuvre (up 1)

Random allocations of what advantages are used in each of the 4 categories give the following dice to roll.

Tactical adjustment French D12 British D8 – result is 9-2 giving a difference of 7 to the French.

The French can reposition all units from 3 command groups in their deployment zone, change facing and formation, but they may not move to another deployment zone.

Strength French D10 British D12+1 –result is 8-4 giving a difference of 4 to the French.

One British unit does not arrive until the 4th move card – random roll to determine who is the Light Cavalry Brigade, leaving the British with no cavalry on the board at the start of the game!

Deployment French D6 British D8 – result is 1-6 giving a difference of 5 to the British.

The French must deploy 2 Command groups down out of sequence at any time when asked to by the British.

Reconnaissance French D6 British D8 result is 6-6 so equal giving no advantage to either side.

Nick rolled and got the British forces, and he then deployed the whole army on the right hand side of the board, refusing their flank – obviously waiting for the cavalry to ride to the rescue. I as the French deployed my 3 infantry brigades line abreast in the centre (mostly in attack column), with my light cavalry brigade facing Nicks’ forces on one flank, and my heavy cavalry brigade facing thin air on the other flank. I assumed the thin air would be where the British cavalry would arrive, so the challenge would be to outflank his line and defeat it before the cavalry arrived on the 4th move card. Army morale was rolled as an appalling 14 for the British and a more respectable 19 for the French.

I got off to a perfect start – I won the leadership roll with a difference of 8 cards, so I would get to turn 8 cards before the British got to turn one over. First up was artillery reload, so I softened up the lines a bit, than a move card came up. All the infantry brigades leapt forward but only rolled enough for 1 move, however the heavy cavalry brigade rolled 2 moves and ended up facing the exposed flank of a Portuguese battalion in march column.

The French Heavy cavalry move to the flank

I rolled for my light cavalry brigade and they got 3 moves on an even die – this would allow them to both contact the Highlanders to their front and then engage them in immediate melee before they could form square – they only had to survive fire from the Highlanders and the artillery battery on the way in.

Hussars charge Highlanders

Luckily the battery missed completely, but the Highlander’s first volley drove off one of the Hussar regiments. The second regiment charged home however, caused 2 UI losses and rode the Highlanders down. I then drew another move card, but through inept rolling I couldn’t get the heavy cavalry into the British flank, nor get my infantry brigades too far forward. There followed a succession of pretty useless French card draws and it was then the British card draw.

An early move card with an even command roll allowed the Portuguese on the flank to reform facing the heavy cavalry, but to my surprise they didn’t form square. Another unit of Portuguese infantry formed attack column in front of my Hussars, then charged them on a melee card – I was shocked, but luckily rolled high, caused 2 UI and the regiment ceased to exist. Things were going well for the French, especially given our army morale advantage.

The British flank is shored up

Part 2 of the battle report and some thoughts soon – to be continued…

Field of Battle ACW 03/07/2011 Part 2 (Solo)

It’s been a long while since I finished part 1 of this report, and even longer since I played the game, but in my defence I’ve injured my back, and haven’t done any painting or gaming (or much sitting down) for 8 weeks or so. With the new FOB rules release not far away now, it seems pointless to go through the rest of the battle in detail, so I will do another report in a month or so when I might have my hands on the new printing. In the meantime, here are the rest of the photos from the game.

7th Wisconsin

For Veterans, these guys shot like greenhorns!

Texas Brigade prepares a volley

After the ineffectual Union volley, the Texas brigade returned the fire….
 

The gap in the Union line

with startling results – 2 out of the 3 Iron Brigade turned and ran, leaving an artillery battery and a single regiment (19th Indiana) off to their right.
 
Crisis on the Union Right
Luckily the Union turned a sequence of cards which allowed the 19th Indiana to march to the  battery’s rescue just before the Rebels closed to contact. 
 

Union left holds

Meanwhile, the Union centre failed its command roll, and was unable to reinforce their left flank.
 

19th Indiana rout

 In the ensuing melee, the 19th Indiana failed against odds of 3-1 and routed off the table, while their supporting battery was destroyed. With their flank turned by 2 Rebel brigades, the remaining Union troops would have had no choice but to withdraw, so I ended the game there. 
 
I’m still not managing anything in the way of games, so the blog may be quiet for a few weeks yet, but hopefully normal service will return in October. 

Field of Battle ACW 03/07/2011 Part 1 (Solo)

Union centre and left

There’s a new version of Piquet Field of Battle on the way, and as the Blunders on the Danube blog had kindly published some clues as to what they were, I decided to give them a go – see the new rules summary here :-

http://blundersonthedanube.blogspot.com/2011/05/field-of-battle-and-field-of-battle-2nd.html 

Only some of the new rules are posted, but in enough detail to make them worth trying.

Reb right flank

I based the battlefield on Hanover Court House scenario from the “On to Richmond” book from Partizan. The Confederates were attacking with 2 Crack brigades of 4 units (I think Crack equates to Veteran in Field of Battle) and 1 regular brigade of 3 units. The Union defenders consisted of 1 Elite Brigade (those darn Black Hat fellows) of 3 units and a regular brigade of 4 units. Both sides fielded 2 artillery batteries of 1 base each – from my previous experiences the 2 gun battery recommended in the rules was just too wide given my base widths.

Union right flank

As an Eastern Theatre 1863 game, the Confederate command was “superior” whilst the Union was “skilful”, but with a lucky roll, the Union player got a really good D12+1 commander against the Confederate D12 – both sides rolled superior decks. Neither side was much inclined to fight today, with the Union rolling 9 morale points against the Confederate 11. Woods are light Class 2 terrain –  stop at edge on entry, then move full speed within – firing ranges 4″ through & in, but down 1 dice for cover. The Reb plan was for a flank attack where they had 2 brigades against 1 – the Carolina brigade will attempt to outflank the Iron Brigade through the wood while the Texas brigade pin them from the front.

Reb left flank

The Union won the initiative on turn 1 with a difference of 3, turning up the Artillery Reload card first. They fired both batteries, but to no effect. They then turned up Army Morale and Leadership, but with no use for these cards, their impulse ended. The first card for the Confederates was exactly what they wanted, a move card. They advanced the Texas brigade 16″, but the Iron Brigade used opportunity fire to give them a volley at the end of it before they could deliver their volley.

Texas brigade takes a volley

The 7th Wisconsin fired at the 1st Texas at 7″ range, so no modifiers, just a straight D10 v D8, which with a difference of 2 and an odd roll had no effect (would have had to fall back 2″ if even attack roll). The 2nd Wisconsin fired at 5th Texas and achieved an even roll, but only a difference of 1, so 1″ fall back – still, at least they were out of command. The Union artillery battery managed to miss altogether. Meanwhile, the Carolina Brigade rolled to get 2 moves, and entered the wood to begin the outflanking manoeuvre. The Reb commander on the right failed to get his brigade moving to attack the farmhouse. Next cards up were Tactical Advantage which was held, and Leadership, which army commanders now move on in the new version (brigade commanders move with their brigades). It also still allows rally attempts, but the 5th Texas could not be brought back into command.  

C'mon boys, git back into line...

Part 2 of the battle to follow soon….

Field of Battle ACW 16/01/2011 (Solo)

Another go at Piquet Field of Battle, this time based on the battle of Belmont. All units on both sides were either classed as raw (green) or rabble (militia) with D4 defence die, leading to some spectacular differences when rolling D12+2 against them and making the units just as unpredictable as in reality.  I won’t turn this in to a rules review, as there are some excellent reviews already out there for Field of Battle, for example at

Small World Productions:- http://smallworldproductions.blogspot.com/2009/04/field-of-battle-review.html

von Peter’s Wargaming Madness:- http://web.mac.com/nataliendpeter/Site/PM_SYW001-1.html 

and at the Rules Directory:- http://deepfriedhappymice.com/html/rd_field_of_battle.html.

Suffice to say that a UI is a Unit Integrity point and infantry units have 4, cavalry have 3 and artillery 2 – when this reaches 0, a unit routs and must be rallied by adding back UI. If it goes negative, the unit disperses.

Battlefield layout in this photo:-

Battlefield layout & deployments

 The Union force enter from the top left on the road, which is lined with swamp & woods – they have to capture the rebel camp in the centre of the opposite board edge. Woods are light Class 2 terrain –  stop at edge on entry, then move full speed within – firing ranges 4″ through & in, but down 1 dice for cover. Swamps are Class 3 terrain – stop at edge on entry, stop at edge on exit, move at half speed within (skirmishers don’t stop on entry, but do stop on exit). Union got initiative by default, but rolled 5 card draws anyway.

Reb left flank

The Rebel army had to stop the Union burning their camp, but as all units were classed as raw or rabble, they were on defence dice D4, and I had given each side the same number of units, so it was going to be a challenge for the Union.

Reb defence - camp is in background

The first card was a Move, rolled 3 segments even. Union cavalry galloped across the t-junction and were fired on by Reb artillery, causing 6 hits for 2 UI, but rolled odd  so no fallback. They crossed the road, dismounted (formation change – even roll) and entered the swamp. The Zouaves and 28th Massachusetts infantry in march column on the road moved 8″, then changed formation into line and moved to the edge of the swamp. During the Reb turn, an Artillery Fire card removed smoke, but the only target was cavalry skirmishers in swamp wood, so they didn’t fire.

The Rebs won the next initiative, turned a Move card and moved infantry from the camp up to the left hand side of the cornfield – nothing else useful in the way of cards. The Union turned 2 Artillery Fire (guns still limbered!) and a Tactical Avantage.

The Union won next initiative, drawing 4 cards. First up was a Move card, rolling 3 segments. This allowed the cavalry to emerge from the swamp on one side of the road, and the Zouaves to emerge on the other. Both units took opportunity volleys from the Texas regiments – cavalry only took 2 hits, but even roll, so they had to fall back into swamp out of command.

Cavalry take a volley

Zouaves took 1 UI but didn’t have to fall back. The 2nd Wisconsin turned up the road towards the artillery while still in march column – hoping for a Maneuvre card which never came. The Reb artillery opened up, causing 2 UI but no fallback (D12+2 using Tactical Advantage card). The Union army morale was now down 5, and if I had done a random roll, it would have been between 5 & 9 , with 6 & 8 being likely – I need to look at this to balance the scenario.

First fire causes 2 UI

The Union won initiative and drew a Move card, rolling 1 segment. The 2nd Wisconsin and move toward the artillery up the road, as they can’t deploy as odd roll. The Zouaves advance up to 5th Texas hiding behind a fence and let fly as the Texans are unloaded, but score only 1 UI even with a Tactical Advantage card played – meanwhile the 28th Massachusetts infantry finally exit the swamp on the left of the Zouaves. Next card is an Infantry Firepower, so the Zouaves are able to shoot again at the 5th Texas, but score only 2 hits odd, so no effect.

The Rebels get their draw – first up is Maneuvre, so they wheel the 2nd South Carolina to face the oncoming 2nd Wisconsin, then draw a Leadership card, and attempt to rally UI off of 5th Texas, but with no effect. Next is a Lull, where Union seize the initiative and draw Melee. They attack the 5th Texas with the Zouaves over the fence, and score 7 to 1 = 2 UI lost. Greater than 1 UI and doubled means rout, but as roll is odd, the Zouaves can’t follow up over the fence. Next Reb card is Leadership, and their Brigadier fails to rally 5th Texas – I could also have tried with Army General at this point I suppose. 

5th Texas rout

The Union win the initiative and get to draw 7 cards – first 2 are no use, but draw Maneuvre on 3rd, changing the Iron Brigade from March to Attack columns. 3 more cards (only Tactical Advantage was of use), then a Lull where Rebs seized the initiative and got a Move card. They wanted to limber up their artillery as the 2nd Wisconsin were bearing down on them, but though they rolled 3 move segments, they rolled odd, so the only move was to rout 5th Texas a further 9″. The Union then continued and drew Move card – perfect, except that they rolled a 1 against a 2, so there was no movement.

The Rebs drew Infantry Firepower, remove fire markers but hold their fire just in case. They drew another Infantry Firepower, so they might as well fire as they can remove the fire marker with the card. The 1st Texas fires at the cavalry in the wooded swamp, and manage to cause a IU, leaving them with no UI, so they rout 3″ on even roll. Next up is Tactical Advantage, followed by a Move, where they get 3 moves and an even roll. The artillery limbers up and falls back

Reb artillery limbers in the face of the attack column

and the 2nd South Carolina fills the gap in the line – nice work boys!

South Carolina fills the gap

Meanwhile, the 37th North Carolina leave the camp to cover the gap in the line left by the 5th Texas. Next card is a Lull, where Union seize initiative and draw a leadership card, but can’t rally the cavalry – the rebs then draw a Leadership card, but the 5th Texas refuse to rally.

The Rebs win the next turn’s initiative, and get 8 card draws with only 4 cards left, and useless they were too, including 2 artillery firepower with guns limbered – turn ends as Rebs run out of cards.

The Reb’s win initiative again, rolling another 10 against 3 – 7 card draws. Artillery Fire card is again useless, but then Infantry Fire comes up. Both 2nd South Carolina and 1st Texas fire on the approaching 2nd Wisconsin attack column. Nett result is that 2nd Wisconsin reduced to 0 UI, and rout 6″ through 7th Wisconsin – the Union is now only 1 UI away from Army Morale of zero.

The Rebs got 3 useless cards, followed by a Lull where the Union seized the initiative and drew a leadership card. Rally was failed for 2nd Wisconsin and cavalry, even when the army commander tried. The Rebs drew another Lull card, which proved to be a blessing in diguise, as the Union seized the initiative and drew a move card, rolled odd (so couldn’t change formation) which meant they couldn’t do much. They did however have to roll for the 2nd Wisconsin and Cavalry rout moves – both rolls were high, so both units left the table. The 1st Texas chose this moment to fire on the next column (the 7th Wisconsin) coming up the road – at D12+1 against a D4, it was looking bad for the Union unit, but the difference came up as 2 odd, so no effect. The column fired back, reasoning it was a new initiative roll next, so they might as well.

Volley from 7th Wisconsin routs 2nd South Carolina

They scored a difference of 8 on an even roll, causing 2 UI and a rout of 8″on the 2nd South Carolina. The Union then drew a Maneuvre card, formed line with the 7th Wisconsin and turned the 19th Indiana into attack column behind them. Next up was an Infantry Fire card, so the 2nd Wisconsin shot at the 1st Texas to their left – another good volley caused 1 UI and a fall back of 5″ – just 1 short of another rout! The Zouaves made up for it by firing on the flank of the 8th Georgia with no effect, even with a 2 dice shift.

The Union won the next initiative and got to draw 7 cards, but 2 Melee, 2 Lull, 1 Artillery Fire and 1 Tactical Advantage are not what they are looking for – only the 1 infantry fire is of use, removing the fire marker from the 7th Wisconsin and allowing the Zouaves to cause a UI on the 8th Georgia. The Rebs draw a Move card, 3 on an even roll, allowing the 8th Georgia to fall back from the fence and the flanking fire of the Union Zouaves.  

7th Wis follow up and volley 2nd SC again in the back

A Lull allows the Union to seize the initiative, draw a move card and advance the 7th Wisconsin to within short range of the rear of the 2nd South Carolina – the resulting volley had a difference of 11, obliterating the 2 remaining UI of the unit, removing them from the field and sending the Reb Army Morale negative. At this point I forgot to add the negative value to the Union Army Morale, but in my defence, I only spotted this in the rules after the game. The Rebs got their revenge by next drawing Leadership and rallying a UI off of the 8th Georgia, then Infantry Firepower allowed the 1st Texas and 37th North Carolina to volley the 7th Wisconsin – 2 UI & even roll, and they rout. Next up for the Rebs was an Army Morale card, but though no officer dies, 2 units went out of command and fell back towards the camp. With the Rebs retreating, I called it a day.

Final positions

The 7th Wisconsin have routed through the 19th Indiana (interestingly in Field of Battle, this does not affect the unit routed through). This leave 3 Union units intact – they have driven the Rebs from the fenceline, but would still have to take the fortified camp, which the Rebs would probably fall back in to before the Union artillery can depoy against them. I ended the game at this point.

Things to note:-

  • I forgot that units could shuffle sideways a 1/4 speed.
  • I think I may have been rolling just once against the general’s LD for move segments – should have been rolling for each brigade commander, but as there were only 2 brigades, not really an issue.
  • Union artillery never got into action because of terrain.
  • I think I will make a battery = 1 gun for the next game, due to the width of 2 guns together against 2 infantry bases.

A good run out for the rules, though I still made a few mistakes. I need to make better unit dice strength markers as the ones I have can’t fit under a unit base. Next time I hope to attempt the “Turning the Flank” Tabletop Teaser from the excellent Battlegames special issue.