Thursday 16 May 2024

Puebla 1862 using Bloody Big Battles

It is May so Shaun and I decided to refight the Cinco de Mayo battle, Puebla, using Bloody Big Battles.
We used Vincent Tsao's scenario and took the map from Tim Tilson's Colonial Campaigns book Maximilian in Mexico. Shaun took the role of  Major-General Charles de Lorencz, commander of the French army and I  was General Ignacio Zaragoza, Republican Mexican Army of the East
The table looking east on Turn 1. 
The Mexicans are deployed awaiting the French arrival from the north-west
The table looking west.
Turn 3 and the French assault La Ladrillera occupied by the remnants of the Rifle Battalion whilst Mexican general, and future president, Porfirio Diaz looks on from the top of the building.
Turn 3 and the French exploit through La Ladrillera as their offensive fire obliterated the defenders and overrunning the Mexican general, and future president, Porfirio Diaz.
Turn 6 and the assault on Fort Guadalupe starts.
Still Turn 6 and all of the fort's defenders, the Zapadores and the Toluca Btns, have been forcibly evicted. Can the 3 base Fijo de Vera Cruz battalion swing about and save the day? 
The 3 base Fijo de Vera Cruz battalion swung about and fired into the flank of the 1/1st Chasseurs a Pied to no effect. On Turn 7 they were  assaulted and, having lost 2 bases, destroyed. In the middle centre the Zapadores are about to get overrun, bottom centre and the San Luis Rifles are going to get pushed back from the rifle pits, and, finally top centre the 2/2nd Colonial Marines fail to move against the La Ladrillera artillery battery.
The last turn shows the French rolling up the Mexicans on the ridge but too far away to take Fort Loreto. Meanwhile the 2/2nd Colonial Marines gaze glumly at the open road to Puebla having destroyed the La Ladrillera artillery battery. but again failing to roll to move.
This view shows the French right flank which suffered from poor movement dice and only saw combat when the Mexican cavalry obligingly charged  them on the last 2 turns.

At it stands it was a draw but if we had played another turn then the French would have captured Puebla. Besides the Mexican force had lost over 50% of it's infantry units and half it's guns and cavalry. The French, on the other hand, lost 2 bases of infantry. So no Cinco de Mayo celebrations for the Mexicans.

99% of the figures are QRF / Freikorps 15mm with 1% being Peter Pig or Minifigs. The keen-eyed amongst you may have noticed that some troops have been proxied. This is because some of my figures are elsewhere (I hope).

It's been just over 4 years, or 1,476 days to be precise, since I last posted anything to this blog. 

Our club has moved completely online, playing Tabletop Simulator now, and we rarely "push lead" as the pub where we used to game is no longer available to us.

We have found a place over in Cirencester where we can rent a table so we've started using that. It looks like a potential future venue for a Bloody Big Battles Bash day.

Playing this game has inspired me to not leave it another 1,476 days before I blog again.

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Friday 1 May 2020

Camerone - 157th anniversary solo re-fight using BBB

It's a club tradition that we refight Camerone near the anniversary using the excellent scenario from Tim Tilson's Colonial Campaigns book Maximilian in Mexico. The book used The Sword and the Flame rules but I use Bloody Big Battles instead.
Sous-lieutenant Maudet and his squad of Legionaries defend the south-west corner

Due to the lockdown I decided to refight it solo as it lends itself to solo play due to the Victory Points. To this end I was in charge of the Republicans as they have all the decisions to make.
The compound looking south-east, scratch built by Rodge

The French Force

Captain Danjou
Sous-lieutenants Maudet and Vilain
4 units each of 4 bases of Legionaries - MLR, Elite (never go spent), Aggressive
Incidentally this means that the French figure:man ratio is virtually 1:1
French defenders at game start. 2 base Irregular Cavalry unit on the upper floor of the Hacienda

The Republican Force

3 Commanders
Irregular Cavalry: 4 bases - MLR , Raw, Ragged Volley, Fragile, dismounted
Irregular Infantry: 4 bases - MLR , Raw, Ragged Volley
Regular Infantry: 4 bases - MLR , Trained
Republican Regular Infantry at start of 2nd Assault Phase

The Republicans attack in 3 Assault Phase. Each Phase is either 4, 6, 8 or 10 units of regular or irregular infantry or cavalry chosen by the Republican players. Each regular unit is worth 2 Victory Points (VP) to the French and each irregular unit  is 1 VP. The Republicans get 2 VPs for killing a French base. There are also VP awarded  to each side for other activities but I'm sure Tim would appreciate it if you bought his book to find those out.
The compund looking south-west 

An Assault Phase ends when the Republicans roll equal to or less than the number of units that are Spent.

For Phase 1 the Republicans selected 4 units of Irregular Cavalry giving the French 4 victory points. There is also a 2 base Irregular Cavalry unit, dismounted of course, on the upper floor of the Hacienda.
Dismounted Republican cavalry assault the compound at the south-western and both north entrances. Even through most of the Legion are low on ammo (green smiley faces) they cause 1 Republican  to go Spent (red smiley faces). This leads to the Republicans having to roll for Assault Phase end and not get a 1 on a D4 which they do.

Victory points for Phase 1 are 4 to the Legion  and 2 to the Republicans for killing a base

For Phase 2 the Republicans selected 10 units of Regular Infantry giving the French 20 victory points. I thought that maybe the 10 units would overwhelm the French as the Regulars are Trained and therefore have to lose 2 bases to become Spent.
3 Units of Republican Regular Infantry form up against the south-west breach
6 Units of Republican Regular Infantry form up against the northern breaches

Squads from left to right -  Sous-lieutenant Maudet, Sous-lieutenant Vilain and Captain Danjou.
 The 4th Squad holds the Hacienda against a Republican Regular Infantry approaching from the east
 This Phase was a really meat grinder as the Republicans assaulted time and again 
 The French held firm until slowly they ran low on ammunition
  The south-western breach holds 
Captain Danjou's Squad retires and the Captain is killed.  
 The 4th Squad charges out of the Hacienda to clear the courtyard
Maudet's Squad is pushed back from the south-western breach
Maudet's Squad counter-attacks and retakes the south-western breach
End of Phase 2 with Sous-lieutenant Maudet and 5 bases of Legionnaires left alive. With 4 Spent units it was only a matter of time before I rolled 4 on a D10. I was tempted to pay an extra Victory Point to continue the Phase for an extra turn but I could not guarantee killing everyone. 

Victory points for Phase 2 are 20 to the Legion  and 24 to the Republicans for killing 12 bases giving the French 24 and the Republicans 26.

For the final Phase 3 the Republicans selected 4 units of Regular Infantry giving the French 8 victory points. This was cutting it a bit fine as the Republicans could only get a maximum of 38, 2 for each officer and 2 for each base.


 3 Republican Regular Infantry units against the  north wall
One Republican Regular Infantry unit against the  south-west wall
Sous-lieutenant Maudet and 3 bases of Legionnaires in the stables fend off the first attack killing a Republican base
The 2 bases of Legionnaires in the Hacienda are overrun whist Sous-lieutenant Maudet and 3 bases of Legionnaires in the stables are whittled down to 1 base.

So Phase 3 victory Points are 8 for the French and 12 for the Republicans giving a total of 32 VP for the French and 38 VP for the Republicans. This meant a Marginal Victory for the Republicans. So well done my team!

Camerone works well as a solo game with this scenario as all of the decisions are made by the Republican player whilst the French forces "merely" have to defend the compound.

In my humble opinion Bloody Big Battles works well at this scale with minor tweaks. 
These were
  • units can not combine fire power
  • commanders only count when attached to a unit 
  • in assault when a unit is required to retire and can not then it loses an additional 1 base and fights a new Assault

I can't recommend Tim Tilson's Colonial Campaigns book Maximilian in Mexico highly enough

99% of the figures are QRF / Freikorps 15mm with 1% being Peter Pig or Minifigs

The Hacienda was lovingly handcrafted by Rodge





















Sunday 19 April 2020

Five Kilometres from Leipzig - solo rules for black powder skirmish actions

Five Kilometers From Leipzig (FKFL) is a set of solo miniatures rules for black powder skirmish actions roughly covering the period  1700 to 1870. It is written by Ivan Sorensen of Nordic Weasel Games and available as a pdf from Wargame Vault.
You have a squad of 6 men that skirmish against  military forces, guerrillas, outlaws or native warbands. The starting Stats are Speed 4", Shoot +0, Toughness 3 but this can  increase through campaigning. 

When a figure is active they may take a Movement Action and a Combat Action.
Movement Actions can be Move or Reload. Combat Actions can be Dash, Reload, Brawl, Bandage or Shoot. 

The opposition depends  on which campaign you are fighting. For example if you were fighting the Peninsular War (1807–1814)  as the French then you could be facing either a military force and/or guerrillas. For the French and Indian Wars then you could be facing either a military force,  guerrillas or native warbands. Finally as the French for the Franco-Prussian War then you would face just a military force.

Enemy type, number and deployment are all table generated as is the Mission

The Enemy can basically either shoot, reload or move towards near opponent in that order. In all cases they should keep to cover.

Each Mission earns several Victory Points per turn. At the end of each game turn roll 2D6. If the roll is equal or below the number of Victory Points earned so far, the Enemy withdraws and you win the mission.

You might notice that I use multi-based troops for the 1st game - just imagine each base is 1 figure. I also use 15mm figures because I don't have any 25mm figures



For the first game set during the Peninsular War I commanded a French squad. 
My opponents were 7 British infantry (Speed 4", Shoot +0, Toughness 3)
The mission was to capture and hold the centre of the table for 2 VPs per turn
The British deployed in 2 ranks. 
Both sides are armed with Smoothbore Muskets
The French advance
 The British advance
 The French advance
 The British open fire 
 The French reach the centre so can start collecting 2 VPs per turn
All of the British open fire 
 Everyone is firing!

  A firefight ensues killing 2 British and 3 French
This forces the British to take a morale check
Although I was down  to 3 men the British had 3 men Scared so they could not advance. The VP stood at 4 and I rolled a Double 1 so victory to me   

All the figures are by Campaign Game Miniatures.

For the second game I commanded an Abenaki warband during the French and Indian Wars.
Their opponents were 4 veteran settlers (Guerrillas) (Speed 5", Shoot +1, Toughness 4). 
The mission was Drive Off where 2 VPs are earnt every time an Enemy Flees or is Knocked Out.
As the enemy were outnumbered I set them up in a cabin. Both sides are armed with Smoothbore Muskets
 Basically the Abenaki snook up on the settlers
Both sides open fire
After 1 round of firing 1 settler was dead, 1 has fled as a result of that and another was Stunned
 After another round of firing the  same settler was Stunned
 One Abenaki goes for the outflank
Before he can get to the cabin one Abenaki gets shot, one settler gets shot and the other one flees as a result of the death. Game over

All of the figures are by Peter Pig

This isn't a bad set of rules. Very simple but they get the toys on the table. The Decision Tree could possibly do with expanding to include Close Combat but it works well enough. I certainly enjoyed both games and not just because I won both of them! 

This is Rangers of Shadow Deep without the fantasy. In fact I imagine it is possible to play RoSD scenarios with these rules.