Monday, May 16, 2016

Splendid Day of Gaming

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Game May 14, 2016/1758
Venue: Home of Keith and Donna L.
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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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."


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?


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.


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.


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.

Bill P.
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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

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:
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.

Is There A BAR Forum?

How Does Card Sequencing Work?
In small games (a few units each side), draw cards by unit.
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.

Other Information?
See Let's Talk About BAR 1, 2 and 3 below.
Lots of useful information.
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: 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.


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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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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Sunday, September 27, 2015



Jurgen Olk's SYW Tricorne games set in INDIA at the annual Seven Years' War Weekend have been inspiring. Each game has been full of camaraderie, fun, smiles, entertaining chance cards, unique military units, colorful garments/gear, a venerable set of rules - Tricorne - by Ken Bunger, striking terrain and healthy laughs.

Here's one photo from Jurgen's 2013 game. 

And another!

In July 2015 we played our first SYW INDIA game locally. I'll get to it in a moment. After that game I was inspired to acquire Golconda and Indus miniatures Hindu Archers to raise our first Indian unit. Jim P. ordered a British Sepoy battalion too. Osprey's #263, Moghul India 1505-1761's uniform section shows a Hindu Archer militiaman on page D. Here are....

Golconda castings none of which are painted alike. Only at first did I color coordinate them. A good variety of poses are offered to make this group appear they are not using a SYW drill manual.

They look regimented because of temporary storage on the big underlying movement tray. However, several 10-12 man trays will be built. Bowmen will be dispersed in open order two to three ranks deep. I'm still pondering what to do.

These Indus Miniatures are all painted differently and come in a pleasing variety of poses too.

One reason for Hindu Archers was a hope they would paint quickly compared to more complex miniatures. This has surely been true. I thought about stringing the bows. However, time and intensive work needed caused abandonment of this idea. Getting them game ready fast was my prime directive. The plan is to have two groups of thirty or one group of sixty mixing castings from each manufacturer.

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Date: July 18, 2015
Location: Basmatipur, India (fictional)
Situation: An excuse to have a SYW game in India.
Rules: Batailles de l' Ancien Régime 1745-1763 (BAR)
Each Army: Almost evenly matched; very close anyhow.

Raison d'Être: To Game With Friends More! 
"People who need people are the luckiest people in the world." Lyrics from Barbara Streisand's song, People.
So get out and game more with people.

Players seated left to right: Earl K., Keith L. and John M. Standing left to right are John B., Chuck L, Jim P. (Der Alte Fritz) and yours truly Bill P. Four drove just less than 1.5 hours to attend. I'm glad we have fast super highways with minimal impediments so we can broaden attendance with friends farther away. So where was I? I was posted....


Dragoons I commanded somehow resembling those from the celebrated Fischer Legion were posted on the French extreme Right Flank whilst....

Opposite them John M. led horsemen allied with the British on their extreme Left Flank.

Who were supported by sixty open order musket armed militia!

Though outnumbered, I reasoned my dragoons would overcome the foe. As you can see one sixth was lost on the way forward to random enemy musket fire. I simply ignored the fact that British dragoons emerged in a reserve in a proper SYWish second line. Holding my ground would not do. Retreating was a better option but my orders were to hold the flank so....what was I supposed to do?


So did they!

By now you are wondering what madness overcame my better judgement. I had to hold or delay. So what inscrutable tactic could I employ? Plus, you don't know the whole picture yet. You'll see.

I charged by squadron hoping to win one of two separate fights. The native mass in the center overcame my left-hand squadron; the one which had been shot up on the way in.

One of my cavaliers got away - somehow.
Notice something else? See the white clad horsemen on the road.
These were thoughtfully sent by our CinC to help me. Meanwhile....

My right-hand squadron in the top center in two previous photos won and pushed these baddies back! Now if the defeated foe would rout, I would pursue and cause confusion in the enemy red-coat reserve, win the battle and my new reserves would ---  but --- that did not happen. Enemy morale held and....

The British cavalry joined their native allies to crush my French.

However, my new horsemen dashed up the road bypassing the the French defeat not shown to the left and....   

Rounded the corner to flee home. Well, that's what I audibly pretended to do as part of my inscrutable plan to throw disorder into the enemy flank. Run away? No....

I turned them about to make as much mischief as I could behind the enemy flank. That sixty man musket unit turned to face me. Feeling just swell, I charged. They fired poorly. GREAT! Then the melee was fought.

My melee dice were abominable. Low dice scores in BAR consistently mean trouble. I lost. 

Meanwhile, John's native horsemen sorted themselves out, left the Main Table, got onto the French Back Table and turned inward toward our Center. And that is how I lost the French Right Flank to John M.

I offer a sincere tip of the hat to John for his skill. The two of us had a ton of fun! Somewhere is the Spartan King Leonidas smiling understandably for me?


The truth is I was very busy fending off and trying to delay John M. as you just saw. So I will only briefly describe events elsewhere. Jim P. has an excellent report. See Closing Remarks below for his link.

Native forces allied with the French held a large wooded area in the center of the battlefield.

Red sashed natives allied with the British soon came forward en-mass to....  

Quickly overwhelm their foes in a charge.


The red sashes were disordered in the charge, somehow lost the melee, routed and disappeared through the top of the photo. Totally unexpected given the odds. That's why we use dice. This is why games are fun. That's why we should get out of our homes and play wargames with friends.

 However, the red sashes rallied and later returned to crush their opponents.

The melee just explained is beyond the top of the photo. Meanwhile....

Ponderous native artillery never got into the battle. The binky-nabod was too slow of course but these are gorgeous Indus Miniatures castings. Green chits record canister and round shot available for each gun. The nearby ammunition wagon had more. (Binky-nabob: native artillery commander.)


The melee previously described is beyond the top of this photo. Here come Jim P.'s resplendent British on their Right Flank bisected by lovely jungle terrain from Chuck L. and Todd B.

Don't you just hear the drums from that iconic scene in the motion picture Barry Lyndon about now? Natives instead of French await the onslaught.

Guess who won!

In spite of French native allies trying to work around the British extreme Right Flank to cause mischief.

This is a good tactic for SYW light cavalry in your games. They should mostly operate on the flanks; extreme flanks. Remember? I tried this on the French Right Flank.

The end of the story between my cavalry battle and the surprising melee in The Center where....

Battalion Albanie (did not serve in India) awaited....

A native open order line of firearms.

Supported by Keith L's gorgeous and detailed Jumbos. (Acquired as is at a craft store) 

The foe gradually outflanked Albanie. Albanie pulled back a French light battery to protect its flank but the onslaught was too much. Albanie fled The Main Table....

Onto the French Back Table and took up defensive positions in an enclosure. A good thing because John M's victorious horsemen were coming. Remember how they beat my cavalry, went onto the French Back Table and turned toward the French Center? The above is the new French Center.

British Commander in Chief The Earl of Glenlivet
From the collection of Jim P.
Shabash and prodigious congratulations to the British and their Native Allies for their  decisive victory.

And a loud round of applause for French players too.

We have a great group of player friends.
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1) See Jim P's excellent game report:

2) Buildings are from Miniature building Authority. Large trees were built by Herb Gundt's H.G. Walls. Roads and hedges were scratch-built by Chuck L.

3) Native forces were from my Northwest Frontier collection which typically vexes only General Pettygree. Now they will help and vex Clive of India too. Why not?

4) I don't remember what happened to this French Battalion from my Fischer Legion. These did not serve in India but as with everything in this game, it was pulled from other collections so we could have a SYW game in India. And why not?

It was posted in the area of the central woods and attacked by the redcoat battalions. The Chasseur Company are Jack Scruby 25mms. The rest are Front Rank 28mms.

5) Albanie features well-designed 25mm Crusader Miniatures.

6) Chance Cards: Here is how Jurgen's chance cards work. Each side draws a card, every turn, some blank, some not, employ immediately because it can mess up a turn . Use each sides card in the turn they pull it. This way plans and orders can charge with snakes or bees or whatever. In India nothing is certain but it is written. Here are a couple of them for your pleasure and smiles!

7) Have FUN in INDIA or where ever you choose. Get out and game more with your friends. It's a pukka (first rate) thing to do, my dear Husoor. It's good for your health too.

8) Your remarks are prodigiously welcome below at COMMENTS.
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