Sunday, September 25, 2016

ANTICIPATION


ANTICIPATION

This classic set of war game rules authored by Brigadier Peter Young and Lt. Colonel James Lawford created anticipation, inspiration and a sincere yearning for what I hoped would become a wonderful pastime; the hobby of historical miniatures war gaming.  It delivered all this plus a strong foundation and more especially for me from 1970. It's echoes even now are still being heard.

The blue coated grenadiers on the cover belong to Peter's Regiment 1/Erbprinz, now disappeared in the distance of time. It took forty-six years for me to finally march my own Erbprinz Regiment onto a tabletop. It's been on my mind all that time.

Here they are --- Stadden 30mms artfully painted by UK friend John Preece in three grand divisions. When he announced the sale of the unit in early 2016, I rocketed out of the starting gate to bring it to the USA. It was an amazing opportunity. I was lucky.

We no longer play CHARGE. I will though if someone invites me to. What may I happily bring?

Instead there were decades playing Ken Bunger's Tricorne which I often still play at the annual Seven Years' War Association Spring gathering. Then in 2007 I published Batailles de l'Ancien Régime. We call it BAR. I reckon we've played near 150 games since then.

Please read descriptive text in the above photo.

The colorful item above is page 1 of BAR's Quick Reference sheets. We barely consult the rule book. It's been this way for a very long time because 99% of what is needed during a game is in the QRs.

Earlier this year friend Lewis S. inspired me to number each rule section and to colorize them. If you ask for Post Mêlée Pursuit stuff, this officer will say to you, "Go to Chart 11. It's light green." Players find things fast this way. Colorizing helps enormously too. No wandering about you see.

The left inside page is mostly about weaponry procedures. The opposite page has mêlée and morale dynamics.

My Eureka 28mm Saxon Leibkürassiers are reading about Saving Throws. They appreciate the second white line on Chart 30 so more of them can be in the pink during combat.

This kind of rule also allows mêlées which burst open holes often causing big trouble especially if there is a breakthrough or pursuit. It also separates types of horsemen from each other more. Otherwise results are often too narrowly similar and therefore less dynamic and fun.

Saving Throws are amazingly fun. It's why we game --- to have fun.

The back of the Quick Reference Charts offers easy ways to maneuver battalions and squadrons closely to how it was done. Here's one example.

"Bill, can I just back up my cavalry?"
"You mean like a truck with lights flashing and the alarm sounding?"
"No. I'm sorry. See the lower right hand diagram and wheel each squadron to the rear."

"Here's how to do it as easy as counting 1, 2, 3 and 4."




Mastering these simple maneuvers is fun, illuminating and frankly will give you an advantage if the chap opposite you can't master and time them right. Give him chances to learn though.

Imagine doing this with a battle line of horsemen. Don't back up like a truck or move diagonally. This is not chess. You can do it.

To accomplish historical maneuvers like this you will need:

  • Long movement rates
  • Side to side and front to back intervals (gaps)
  • Ample room for cavalry 
  • Willing players

Quick Reference Charts are periodically revised/improved. The latest is dated September 22, 2016. Version 2 has shorter movement rates and weapon ranges compared to Version 1.

Here's what makes BAR significantly different.


HOMAGE

I owe a lot to Peter Young. His inspiration has been singularly important in my war gaming hobby. He gave me the above Victory Column in 1985 when Dorothy and I visited the Young's.

The column adorns my table moving from place to place observing how we play the game.


ANTICIPATING THE FUTURE

1. See the upper left side of this blog to purchase BAR where these words appear.

Fun Rules And Savory For Sale


2. Or see:  http://oldregimerules.com/  to purchase BAR alongside my other published rules. If you only want the latest Quick Reference Charts, they are  available separately. Postage is included. It's not extra.

3. In 2017 BAR will be ten years old. God-willing we'll keep going on and on. For one example, read the immediately preceding story. See  http://campaignsingermania.blogspot.com/2016/05/splendid-day-of-gaming.html

4. Companionable and cheerful new players are welcome. Visitors passing through too.

5. "Today is life-the only life you are sure of. Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto." Dale Carnegie

6. War gaming has been a great enthusiasm for me. Enthusiasm is BAR.

7. Your remarks are welcome below at Comments.


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Monday, May 16, 2016

Splendid Day of Gaming


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Game May 14, 2016/1758
Venue: Home of Keith and Donna L.
Dynamics:
1) Return of the BIG Battalion Spectacle Wargame
2) Annual Birthday Game Day
3) Time Period: Seven Years War Battle of Weissenfels
4) Rules: Batailles de l'Ancien Régime 1740-1763 {BAR}
5) Estimated 3,000 (1:10) miniatures on three 6'x28' tables
6) Players: 10
7) Duration: 9:40am-4:30pm approximately
8) Breaks for a scrumptious lunch and birthday cake
9) Did the game reach a conclusion?: Yes
10) A+ Experience

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Comradeship Abounds During Our Games
Here's Why!

From left to right:
1st. Rank: Gary C., Jim P. (Der Alte Fritz), Chuck L. and Michael M.
2nd. Rank: Bill P. (Birthday Boy), Earl K., John B., Brent O., Curt B and Keith L.

It is vital to game with friendly, easy-going, funny and knowledgeable companions. We are very lucky in this regard.

Scrumptious chow helps too. Fortunately we are able to take lunch breaks like this, engage in companionable conversation and finish games to conclusion. From left to right: Brent O., Keith L., Curt B. and Chuck L.

Donna prepares a great table for us every time we are at Keith and Donna L's home. From right to left: Gary C., John B. and Jim P.

In mid-afternoon we took a second break for Birthday cake. 
Thank you Donna!

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THE GAME

Quoting our scenario designer Jim P.:

"...The Battle of Weissenfels fought during the 1758 campaign. An Austro-Franco-Saxon army under Marshal Soubise is approaching Brandenburg from the west. Frederick has gathered in his forces and marches west to meet them, not too far from the old Rossbach battleground. The Prussian army has just begun to cross the Saale River at Weissenfels, having thrown several pontoon bridges across the Saale. Soubise is particularly energetic this year and decides to attack Frederick before he can get all of his forces across to the western bank of the Saale."

"The  Prussians have secured a bridgehead across the Saale and have anchored it upon two villages: Altenburg on the left flank and Eisenburg on the right flank. A brigade of infantry have occupied each village and have worked to prepare these defensive positions against the expected Allied attack."

FRENCH RIGHT FLANK

2/Auvergne (left) and a little of 1/Auvergne (right) advance into the gap between Altenburg and the table edge. Prussian cannon fire begins to take its toll.

2/Auvergne wheeled left to Altenburg's wall (top right). Two more lines of French infantry march forward in support. (2/Guyenne in the middle followed by 2/Berry)

Altenburg is off image to the left. French press forward to the Center Table back edge.

Meanwhile the front of Altenburg received considerable attention too. Prussian kürassiers (upper left) are charging into the French to stop the advance cold.

Here they are en-masse. The left-hand kürassiers did not tilt the situation to Frederick's advantage but the right-hand body crashed into the flank of a French battalion causing it to rout.

Whilst to the left of the previous photo, Prussian dragoons charged home into a battery of 8 pounders and 2/Grenadiers de France.

Prussian cavalry shockingly charge home. (lower and upper left)




The Prussian charge slowed the French advance. Afterwards the French line stabilized.

 Back at the wall French infantry close in on the defenders here....

 And here while....

Back at the far French right flank Bercheney's two Hussar Squadrons and three of Saxon Leib Kürassiers await their moment to cross from the Center to the Back Table.

By 4:30pm Altenburg still bravely held out as the aforementioned Allied squadrons crossed over to and turned left on the Back Table. Would it be a last stand versus overwhelming numbers or would Prussian cavalry reserves thundering to help throw back Allied horsemen?


FRENCH CENTER

Marshall Soubise observed the battlefield from a hillock on the French Back Table. From there he saw the French attack on Altenburg to his right and the Austrian drive on Eisenburg to his left. Two brigades of heavy cavalry awaited events behind him. These consisted of Royal Carabineers, Commissaire General, Gendarmes and Royals. Behind these were Saxons of von Brühl's Dragoons, Rutowski's Chevaulegers and de Saxe Lanciers. Total: 3,000 horsemen; a mass de decision.

Soubise held the two brigades in place for several turns hoping to lure Prussian cavalry forward into a trap. This worried Austrian allies on the Left Flank. Soon....

An Austrian courier arrived asking for protection to it's exposed right flank shown above. Otherwise the advance on Eisenburg would be compromised if attacked in flank.

Soubise breakfasting on pastry (brought by Gary C.) was at first indifferent to the request. He assured the courier help would be forthcoming without saying when. He was also silently reticent to have the whole Army, left center and right be locked in an attack at the same time. Besides this the pincer attack was developing nicely on both flanks. Awaiting events was the thing to do and there was more pastry (Donna's) to consume.  

The Prussians were not be lured forward to threaten the Austrians attacking Eisenburg. Why? They were guarding vital Salle River bridgeheads; not shown. Hence, the mysterious trap Soubise envisioned would never unfold. So by mid-morning thinking he must support his allies, all French squadrons cantered onto the Center Table for the first clash of swords above.

 As Gendarmes and Royals (barely shown on the right) wait in reserve.
The Gendarmes would eventually turn the tide on the right. Prussian cavalry retired to the Back Table

Photo courtesy of Jim P.

French horse (middle right) pursue the Prussians almost to one of the bridgeheads.

The same white and blue-coated pursuing French horse from the opposite direction from above. (Center of photo heading right) Photo courtesy of Jim P.

Soubise still on the hilltop held the Saxons back as his last reserve.

Calling for more pastry, drink and birthday cake.

AUSTRIAN LEFT FLANK

The Austrians greatly outnumbered Prussian defenders on the Left Flank. Prussian defenders await the onslaught in Eisenburg.

The extreme right flank of the Austrian line before Eisenburg. Though Prussian firepower was brutal turn after turn, the Austrians managed to enter the village.

Far to the left of Eisenburg more Austrians cross the plain.

 Arriving at the back edge of The Center Table. Eisenburg is to the right. 
Behind players....

A village on the Back Table is assaulted and....

Prussians nearby form close to the Salle River guarding the retreat.

CLOSING REMARKS

1. Jim designed an asymmetrical game. The Prussians were outnumbered by about 30%. They had to move units across the Salle River turn by turn by dice throw. A tough mission. Meanwhile, Altenburg and Eisenburg were to defend the line like WWII's Pegasus Bridge or Bastogne. ("Hold until relieved.") Prussians holding both villages were very tough customers. Had their cavalry attacks been luckier, the result would have been different.

2. We deployed on three 6'x28' tables inspired by the original Wargames Holiday Center in the UK. Most action took place on the Center Table. Back Tables were very useful and needed for reserves. By mid-afternoon the Prussians on their Back Table flanks were engaged by foes.

3. My very sincere thanks to:
Keith and Donna for the venue, terrain and chow.
Jim for scenario design, bringing  units and buildings.
Michael for bringing units for both sides.
Earl, John, Curt, Chuck, Brent, Michael, Gary, Jim and Keith for playing.

Gratefully,
Bill P.
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PS
You can do Spectacle Wargames too. What do you need?

  • Companionable players who know the rules.
  • Players who play fast wanting to get in a maximum number of turns.
  • No soliloquies/speeches. Limited history lessons, demands to change rules.
  • Probably a rented venue. 
  • No observers to slow down the process.
  • Friends willing to provide units and terrain.
  • Not removing individually based miniatures. Use a roster.
  • Everyone arrives on time.
  • Set-up mostly prior to game day.
  • Consulting Quick Reference Charts - not Rule Books 
  • And....
  • Rules that are fast playing, allow for long distances to be traversed and which do not deny officers or units opportunities to activate every turn. Imagine how long it would have taken Soubise to activate the French cavalry forward onto the Center Table otherwise. It would never have happened even without pastry consumption.

Yes you can!
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Comments welcome and desired at Remarks below. Leave some won't you?
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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

NEWS April 13, 2016 Let's Talk About BAR


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Quick Reference Charts Revised This Month:
1. Reasons: Even faster turn processing, new "Evade" rules and a few other changes.
2. Colorized by topic. E.G. Combat information is Red and White.
3. All charts are numbered.
4. Some language changes.

5. To buy a copy:
See: oldregimerules.com
Click on Buy Now
Select BAR Quick Reference Charts Mid 18th Century (2 versions)

Version 1: Large number of big units and/or large playing surfaces 6'x8'+.

Version 2: Smaller numbers of units, 15mms and/or smaller playing surfaces.

Cost $6.00 including postage.
If you specify one version, you will receive two copies of that version.

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Is There A BAR Forum?
No.

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How Does Card Sequencing Work?
In small games (a few units each side), draw cards by unit.
E.G.
Draw a Black Card and give it to the Prussian CinC to decide which one unit gets it.
If the next card is also Black, a different Prussian unit gets it.
If the next card is Red, the Austrian CinC decides which one unit gets it.

In larger and very large games, it is useful for faster turn processing to give cards to a Brigade, Wing or even an entire Army. Hence that first Black Card above could be given to a Brigade, Wing or Army to use. Reason? Cards per unit will take an enormous amount of time. This would be a huge negative for many reasons. Slow turns ruin games.

Every unit will have opportunities to move and fire by turn. Card activation does not demand that units or players sit idle. Reasons: Players want to move units and throw dice.

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Other Information?
See Let's Talk About BAR 1, 2 and 3 below.
Lots of useful information.
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http://campaignsingermania.blogspot.com/2013/01/lets-talk-about-bar-1.html
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http://campaignsingermania.blogspot.com/2013/01/lets-talk-about-bar-2.html
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http://campaignsingermania.blogspot.com/2013/02/lets-talk-about-bar-3.html
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Have Fun.
Bill P.

PS Fast turns make for good games.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Battle of Grünfeld


Situation: Seven Years' War Battle of Grünfeld
Date: December 5, 2015/1757
Rules: Batailles de l'Ancien Régime 1740-1763 {BAR}
Miniatures: Roughly 850/Army; About 1,700 28mms

To enhance fun and camaraderie we celebrated Jim and Michael's December birthdays with a scrumptious cake.

PRUSSIAN RIGHT FLANK

Prussian Right Flank: Three regiments of Prussian Kürassiers and the Blue Hussars advance to cross sabers with Russian and Saxon Kürassiers on the plain of Grünfeld. Russians and Saxons are in the upper left.

The Blue Hussars moved forward in open order to tempt Saxon foes with carbine fire.

In moments the center of both cavalry lines crashed. The Prussians were bested in two rounds of melee and routed to the Back Table about 42" to the rear from this location where they rallied and reformed. The victorious Russians and Saxons did not pursue thinking as everyone did, the Prussians would not be able to rally. But they did. That's why we use dice!

While the Blue Hussars continued to harass their opponents, General Lentulus formed his kürassiers in two ranks to extend the line behind the Hussars. Not shown is the melee which Lentulus won next. His opponents fled and were cut down in the pursuit by the Hussars.

The Prussians to the left of the central cavalry melee lost two rounds of swordplay here as well. They too routed to the Back Table where they reformed. Total rearward movement was 6" for losing the first round, another 6" for losing round 2 followed by another 30 inches in the rout. The latter is variable.

Toward 2:00 pm reformed Prussian Kürassiers advanced supported by Lentulus (not shown) off to the right and the screen of Blue Hussars. Russian cavalry withdrew.

In the center of Grünfeld the Prussians established a battery of six cannons in two sections on a high hill.

Protected by a Brigade of Fusiliers. The cavalry battle previously described is off the bottom of the image.

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AND BEHIND THE RUSSIAN CAVALRY AT THE END OF THE BATTLE

Lady Diana Pettygree (on the grey) and her entourage escorted by the Lanciers de Saxe.... 

Came upon survivors of the Saxon Leib Kürassiers retiring from the field of battle.

Colonel Gleissner: "The battle is lost. May I take the liberty to say, you are in danger? Join and ride with us farther to the rear to safety. 
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CLOSING REMARKS

1) Usually I take photos of the entire battlefield. On this occasion I did not given a pair of workmen were doing restoration work.

2) On the other hand, my position was on the Prussian Right Flank. Historically I would have had little to no idea what was happening elsewhere. That was essentially the case. 

3) The lady wearing the pink ensemble was a gift from John Ray. I hope my painting did not ruin her!
 
4) Your remarks are entirely welcome below at the word Comments.
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