Sunday, September 18, 2011

Might and Reason 7 Years War game

I recently started using Meetup.com to look for gaming groups in my area. I found a somewhat nearby group that does historical gaming about twice a month, and so I went to one of their gaming meet-ups. I played in a big multi-player game of Might and Reason. The game was a hypothetical 7 Years War battle between French and Prussians with Hanoverian allies.

I don't know much about the 7 Years war, and I had no experience with the Might and Reason rules, but the guy running the game did a good job of explaining the rules and the historical context and reasoning behind the rules.

The scenario was that a small Hanoverian force allied to the Prussians was in a good position on a hill right next to a river. Their Prussian allies have disappeared in the night to go on a long flanking maneuver to outflank the large French army across the river from the Hanoverians. So the Hanoverians, in a strong position, have to hold off the much larger French army long enough for the Prussians to arrive. The French do not know when or where this will happen.

The Prussian players got to secretly select one of five roads on which they wanted to arrive. The turn they would arrive on depended on the road selected, but the French players did not know where or when they might show up. The French army was split up between the players, with one controlling the center, one the right wing, one the left wing, and one the reserve. I was controlling the right wing, including the Guard regiment of four infantry battalions, another infantry regiment of three battalions, and a cavalry regiment of three squadrons, I think.

The plan of the French commander-in-chief was for the entire front of the French army to advance at full speed to sweep the Hanoverians from their strong position, and in order to not be where the Prussians were expecting by the time they arrived. The reserve would stay back to delay the Prussians if they arrived too soon, so the rest of the army would have time to reorganize to face the bigger threat. On the far left and right flank, cavalry regiments would move down the river to find crossings and get in behind the Hanoverians.

In practice, this didn't work out so well. Between command difficulties and the delaying effects of the river and surrounding hills, the front Infantry regiments advanced slowly. The cavalry moved faster, and the Hanoverians only had a single cavalry regiment to deal with two of ours. On our right, my cavalry regiment reached the river crossing just as the Hanoverian cavalry arrived to deal with them. These two regiments spent the rest of the game in a pretty inconclusive cavalry battle. My regiment lost a squadron to an enemy charge, and both sides took a lot of casualties, but both sides were also held up and unable to have any effect on the infantry battle in the center.

My two infantry regiments started forward toward the river, but then got tangled up with each other. Their commanders spent much of the battle arguing about which one was holding up which, and who was in who's way, and who was going to get blamed for the delay, which of course caused even more delay. Meanwhile, the center was moving forward and slowly crossing the river to engage the Hanoverian infantry on the hill, who outclassed the French infantry and were in a better position.

The Prussians arrived much sooner than expected on the far French left, very close to where the French infantry were advancing toward the river. The French cavalry on the left did make it across the river at the crossing just before the Prussians arrived to cut off access to the crossing. As soon as the Prussians arrived, the French left had to turn to face the coming onslaught, and the reserve was moved as quickly as possible in that direction.

The infantry of the French left wing took the brunt of the Prussian attack, and was completely wiped out. They did, however, delay the Prussians and wear them down a bit, which is what was needed. The reserve arrived in time to form a pretty solid two-layered battle line to engage what was left of the Prussians, who were unable to break through.

Meanwhile, the French Commander-in-Chief came over personally to find out what was going on with the Infantry regiments in his right wing. He personally visited one regiment commander, and then the other, no doubt dealing harshly with their childish arguments. This finally got them moving. At this point, the infantry of the center was mostly spent, and the Hanoverian battalions were weakened, but still holding their positions.

The right infantry crossed the river in unison, four battalions in line in front, with another three right behind in reserve. At the same time, the French cavalry from the left had made it's way around, free of the one Hanoverian cavalry regiment which was tied up elsewhere, to charge the flank of the Hanoverian line. Between the cavalry in their flank and the strong infantry attack to their front, the brave Hanoverians could hold no longer. They had held out longer than could have been expected, and still the Prussians had not reached them.

The Hanoverian Cavalry regiment was getting the better of the French cavalry regiment on the French right, but now they were completely cut off. With some of the French army turning to face them, they decided to retreat. This is where we decided to end the game. Neither side had yet reached the victory conditions, which was to eliminate a certain number of enemy units. But the French were closer to their victory condition, and the momentum was certainly on their side.

The French also seemed to hold the field, with a long line starting on the hill where the Hanoverians had started and stretching left all the way to the table edge. A pretty solid double line faced the Prussians on the French left, and the French right would now be able to turn toward the Prussian flank, though this would take a long time. It seemed that if the sun were going down at this point and the battle had to end, the Prussians would likely be obliged to fall back, and the French would hold the field. So we agreed it was a minor French victory.

All in all, it was a fun game, and the guy controlling the Hanoverians was a fun opponent. I wasn't paying too much attention to what was happening on the left flank, but it seemed like quite a brutal contest between the French Left and Reserves against the Prussian army. I know the battle in the Center was pretty dramatic. I look forward to more historical games with the group, and getting to try out more periods and rules that I haven't tried before.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Warhammer Arcane Ruins

I finally got around to painting the Warhammer Arcane Ruins set that I've had sitting around for years. It was a pretty simple paint job. Just started with a black basecoat, drybrushed a dark gray color, then another dry brush of a lighter gray color. I used some craft paints and a one inch wide paint brush I got at a hobby store for pretty cheap. It worked fine. The big bristles on the brush did leave some brush strokes, but on the rocks of these ruins it looks okay.

Here are some pictures of the results.
Warhammer Fantasy Arcane Ruins Warhammer Fantasy Arcane Ruins

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Finding Gamers

I have a group of friends I game with about once a month. With everyone being on different schedules and not living very close anymore, this is about all we can manage. Of course, I wish I could play more. But that would only really be practical if I knew some players that lived much closer, and were on a similar schedule, so we could maybe get a game in on a week night.

In addition to not playing very often, my gaming group almost exclusively plays Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40,000. Over the years, I've started to become more interested in trying out other kinds of games. If you've been following my blog you'll know that I'm interested in historical gaming, especially in the American Civil War and other "horse and musket" wars. I would also really like to get back into RPGs, and would really like to find a group to play Pendragon or the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying game with.

Unfortunately, I don't really know how to go about finding other players for historical games or RPGs. The group I play with now are all people I was friends with before, and we got into gaming together. Or they were a friend who joined in later when some of us were already heavily into 40k and fantasy. So I haven't had to find other gamers to play some particular thing I was interested in before.

I've tried getting the current gaming group interested in those other things I am interested in, but to no avail. For the most part, they only want to play Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40,000. And who can blame them? After all the money and time spent creating multiple armies for those games, they only get to game with them at most once a month, usually less. So maybe 10 or 12 games each year between the two systems. And with multiple armies per game, each army might only be played once or twice a year. So already the gaming is stretched pretty thin without using up gaming time trying out new things.

Nevertheless, that doesn't prevent me from wanting to try out other games. So lately I've been trying to find other gamers who are interested in the types of games I want to play. I've had some mixed success. At first I did a lot of looking for gaming message boards (including official company ones like the Fantasy Flight Games message boards) and posting or searching for posts about gaming in my area. That didn't work all that well, because there are so many boards out there, and many people don't use them, and any people using them are spread all over the world.

One thing that has worked out was searching on meetup.com. The site is not gaming related, and is used in general for any kind of meeting groups that are looking for interested people. The group pays a small fee to be listed on the site, and then it can post meetings for the group. Members can search groups by location and keywords, join groups they are interested in, RSVP to their meetings, and post in their individual message boards, etc.

I did manage to find some groups on meetup.com that are in my general vicinity and that do historical gaming, though none of them are using the Black Powder rules, which I like. I haven't found any groups or individuals interested in playing Pendragon or Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, though there are a lot of Dungeons and Dragons groups. So if you are looking for some people to game with, I would recommend checking there. It's really quick to do a search for groups that are in your area and see all their upcoming and past meetups to get an idea of what kind of games they play.

I also found out that a gaming store near me does some open gaming nights for Warhammer and Warhammer 40K on week nights, so I might stop in some time and try to get a quick game in after work. Also, that store has a guy who does games of Ambush Alley or Tomorrow's War every other weekend. I'm really hoping to make it up there for one of those games, and I'm really interested to see those rules in action. I'd actually be interested to know if the Tomorrow's War rules can be used with the 40K miniatures I already have. I like the 40K miniatures and background, but sometimes the rules just don't allow the kind of story and mission driven games I would like to be playing in that universe.

So, I've had some success so far in searching out others who share some of my same gaming interests. The internet seems like a double edged sword in this respect. It has allowed me to find out about all kinds of gaming, miniatures, and rules that I would never have known existed without the internet, since I certainly wouldn't have seen them in person. I played Warhammer 40k for a long time before I had any idea that people did a similar kind of gaming in historical periods. On the other hand, since I didn't find out about these things by seeing them at a local gaming store, that means there's no telling if anyone near me will have the same interests. So it may just allow me to find out about all kinds of great games that I'll never get to play.

If anyone out there has any tips or suggestions for finding like-minded gamers, please leave a comment. It might help me or someone else who happens to read the blog.