Sunday 15 August 2021

Cotswold Wargaming Day - Update

SUNDAY 3rd OCTOBER 08.30 - 17.00
Westwoods Community Centre
Bassett Road
Northleach GL54 3QJ

The good news is that this event is going ahead as planned. The restriction in numbers has been lifted, and the only covid issues will be a requirement to sign-in and use hand sanitiser on entering and leaving the venue. Masks are not required.

An email has gone out to all on my mailing list. At the moment, 9 games have been offered, but not all are confirmed yet. We will have the use of a decent-sized side room this year which will give a bit more space, but I think I'll set a limit of 10 games to avoid overcrowding. If anyone not on the mailing list or who hasn't received an email wants to get in touch and/or swap contact details, I think the best plan is to send me a private message via the Honours of War website. If you have any problems let me know by leaving a comment here.

It's looking like it could be a great day. Not much to add to the post I put out on 12th April. If you've attended before, it will be the same format but with a smaller second room in use. If you're a new attendee, I suggest you bring some food (although the town is 2 minutes drive away and has a cafe, wine bar and pub if you prefer), and bring any stuff you want to sell or give away. And bring some cash to buy other people's stuff to replace the stuff you've just got rid of.

Ooh, I think I'm getting a bit excited!

See you there!

Friday 13 August 2021

The Clash At Kutzdorf

I decided it was time for a SYW bash. My Post of Honour rules have been languishing for some time, what with getting Shadow of the Eagles ready and dabbling with a new set of WW2 rules, so I decided to dust them off and see how well they worked, playing solo to give me time to fiddle with the rules as I went along.

I also dusted off the 'Clash at Kutzdorf' scenario from Honours of War, which gave me a battle of just the right size for my needs, and I was able to use my new Geek Villain terrain mat for the first time. Happy days.

The Prussians would be attacking, and I tweaked the Prussian forces to add an extra unit of light infantry to their left wing. Having had a few years to reflect on the balance of this scenario, I have found that the attackers tend to need a little bit of a helping hand if they are to have a roughly equal chance of success. Otherwise, all was as in the rulebook.

The Game In Pictures
The first picture shows the set-up. The Prussian light infantry at bottom left consisted of Freikorps, 2 units deployed as light infantry backed up by a formed unit, and all inferior. The Prussian cavalry were regular class dragoons, and one of their infantry units was of grenadiers, the rest being regular.

The 6 Austrian line infantry units were all regular. Their 2 batteries of artillery were rated superior for firing but otherwise regular, and their cavalry was 2 regiments of cuirassiers, the leading unit being superior but the other rated regular.

I thought the new battle mat looked very smart!

The Prussian cavalry decided to stay west of Kutzdorf as they advanced, leaving their flank exposed.
The Austrian infantry started to move off the ridge to form a south-facing line.

The Prussian grenadiers decided to risk a lone charge at the nearest Austrian unit, and the gamble paid off. The supporting Austrian artillery scored no hits, but the Prussian dice rolling was decisive. 7 hits equals Austrian unit routed!

The 2 sides were soon facing off in a solid linear fashion.
Apart from those Austrian cuirassiers dodging round to the east of Kutzdorf. 

Meanwhile the Prussian grenadiers continued into another Austrian battalion
who were also bundled off the table.

At this stage the Prussians were in high spirits. Having wrecked the Austrian right,
 the grenadiers were joined by the Freikorps in an attempt to exploit their advantage. 

But trouble was brewing on the Prussian right as the cuirassiers emerged from behind Kutzdorf. Not to mention the Austrian battery causing mayhem with high dice rolls combined with an opportunity for grazing fire - note the orange dice, meaning weakened units. 

The Freikorps skirmishers were re-based Stuart Asquith figures.

And here we go - the Austrian cavalry co-ordinate their charge
 and the Prussian dragoons are in trouble.

Oops. The right hand Prussian dragoons rout, and they carry away
the other regiment and the nearest artillery battery.

Suddenly things are swinging the Austrians way. The cuirassiers reform, then overrun another
Prussian battery before crashing into the right wing of the Prussian infantry.
At top left, the Prussian grenadiers continue their successful day and another
 Austrian infantry battalion is caught in flank, charged and routed.

The end. After 8 moves, the Prussians have lost 7 units and they have broken.
The Austrians have lost 4 units, damaged but triumphant.

For a solo game, this was a lot of fun and some unexpected things happened. I think the lesson for both sides was watch your flanks! It was good to see the rules producing moments of drama. Post of Honour has the same core rules as Shadow of the Eagles, and players seem to have found Shadow also capable of creating some nice turns of fortune. This is good.

'Til next time!

Sunday 8 August 2021

Geek Villain Gaming Mat

I can't remember how long I've had my old 6' x 4' Games Workshop mat. Fifteen or twenty years maybe. Digging it out recently for a WW2 game I realised how tired it was looking - not to mention that its plain green colour was looking a little boring alongside the funky mats you can get these days.

The power of the internet soon led me to Geek Villain, who had plenty of good reviews online, were a UK-based family-run business, and had an excellent and established range. Their website works well and it's easy to choose the mat you want.

A slight downside is that the choice between their cloth and fleece mats is already made for customers - the cloth mats are currently unavailable! I understand they are a bit cheaper (£45 against £60), but I wanted the fleece mats anyway so this wasn't a problem. For the record, Mack at Geek Villain summed up the difference in an email:

"Fleece is more textured and drapes over an object a lot easier to create undulated terrain. Fleece does not crease as much as cloth.


Cloth mats are lighter and more flat, they will crease a lot easier than fleece. 


Both are washable and both can be ironed."

Anyway, the £60 includes postage, and the mat arrived in 4-5 days (I wasn't counting). I chose the 'Autumn' finish - there's plenty of choice, and I was personally tempted by three or four different finishes before settling on this one:

One excellent feature is that the mats come 2"-3" oversize in both length and width.
Neatly hemmed, with a small and discrete logo (bottom left).

Close up.

The mat in use for a 28mm SYW game.
You can see how well the mats fit over hill shapes laid underneath.

Looking just as good with 15mm WW2 figures and models.

Just to clarify a few features - the 'fleece' is a smooth material with no flock or pile of any kind. The pattern is photographically printed. The mat is neatly hemmed all round and feels like a quality product that will last a long time - probably a very long time! It can be washed and ironed. There were a few packing creases, but the photos you see were taken using the mat just as it came out of the packet.

The reverse side is a pure white colour - which I reckon will do nicely for the occasional 'snow terrain' game with the addition of a little green and brown flock scattered around.

Plastic and MDF bases slide along nicely, cardboard ones are a bit more 'sticky'. Using 20mm high hill shapes underneath the mat worked a treat - I couldn't have been more pleased. 

Perhaps the only slight issue is that 6' x 4' is the only size available - gamers only needing a smaller size can't save money by buying a smaller mat; and if you have a big table you'll have to put up with a join between two mats. But frankly I'm struggling to find any downsides in this excellent product range. Customer service was friendly and efficient.

Highly recommended. Standby for a report on the SYW game shown above.

'Til next time.