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Monday, 29 May 2017

Fighting Brothers a new set of American Civil war rules

Based on the Veni Vidi Vici rules for 18th century land battle rules, Best Allies, these rules have been modified to better reflect the tactics used in the American civil war.
As with Best Allies, the basic uints are regiments and they organised into brigades. A turn proceeds with both armies taking it in turn to move/fight alternate brigades. Which side gets to activate the first brigage depends on an intiative roll at the start of each turn. Brigades are grouped into divisions and divisions into corps, if you want to do really large battles.
The army lists for each side is based on a brigade but since the organisations of brigades changed for both sides during the course of the war , there are different brigade structures for; early, middle and late war periods.
Weapon ranges have been increased, especially for rifled cannon and fire fights are now the main way of deciding combats. Fire rates are increased for breech loaders and doubled for magazine loaders. Sharpshooters with long range breech loading rifles have been added. Along with the ability to disable commanders by shooting them.
Infantry units move faster and can now detach part of their units to act as skirmishers to protect them from rifle fire. Cavalry can fight either mounted or on foot but they can only fire when dimounted, usually using breech loading carbines.
With a points system for club games and a definition of unit types to convert historical orders of battle, into wargames.
Available as a downloadable pdf from Wargames Vault at £8.00 a copy.
The Best Allies Yahoo group is here.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Hunt the Tiger at BRITCON

Veni Vidi Vici will be presenting the Hunt the Tiger participation game, at Britcon 2016, UMIST, Manchester, M1 3NL on 13th and 14th August (Saturday and Sunday).

This scenario for the Action All Fronts WW2 rules, is taken from the film Fury, where one Tiger ambushes four Sherman tanks, destroying three of them before itself being destroyed.
The scenario begins with the Sherman's moving in column along a road when  a Tiger tank opens fire from behind a hedge 800m away. The Tigers first shot destroys one of Sherman's, then its a race for the other Sherman's to close with and take-out the Tiger. During play-testing we ran through this scenario many times. Without a hero leading the Shermans, all the Shermans are destroyed by the Tiger. With a level 2 hero commanding the Sherman 76, the Tiger is destroyed, with one or two of the Shermans still in action.

Remember that a Tiger tank weighs 54,000kg and fires a 10.5kg shell at 770 m/s. A Sherman weighs 30,300kg and fires a 6.5kg shell at 618 m/s.

A view of the tanks

View from the Tiger

An interview with the author Steven Zaloga on the accuracy of the film Fury. Makes for an interesting read.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Best Allies 18th century rules getting ready

After play-testing for a year. The rules are coming towards completion. Combat and movement are working nicely and the next stage is to develop army lists for points based games. That is a considerable task as the 18th century seems to have a lot of fighting. So the army lists will include; Great Northern war, War of Spanish succession, Seven years war, American war of Independence, Jacobite rebellions, American colonial wars, War of the First Coalition and Napoleons expedition to Egypt.
Nothing is set in stone until the rules are published though. So if you would like to get involved in the rule development, please join the Yahoo Best Allies group.
During the rule development I have come to warm to this period. Its not about long lines of troops simply blazing away at each other. The real skill is about marching your troops to the right position, overwhelming the enemy in that area and then being able to follow up that success, usually by having some spare cavalry to move through the hole created. The current development version of the rules are on the Yahoo group, so you can try them for yourself.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Battle of Oudenarde–play test game

This was the first historical battle tested with the new 18th century wargame rules, Best Allies. Previously the games had been either equal point battles or published scenarios. So in this case it was an interpretation of the actual battle with the figures available.

For details of the battle, see here.

For the figures we had available, our army lists were as follows:

Allies (points 482)
11 battalions of infantry (platoon firing)
  3 battalion guns
  3 regiments of cavalry (shock)
3 average brigade commanders
1 excellent brigade commander
1 excellent CinC

French (points 415)
12 battalions of infantry
  3 battalion guns
  2 regiments average cavalry
  2 regiments guard cavalry
5 poor brigade commanders

This is working on a 1:10 ratio of actual units. The French have no CiinC  as both of their senior officers were off doing something else. One was based on the other side of the river with seemingly no interest in the battle and the other was personally leading an attack, fighting hand to hand with the enemy. The other French commanders were rated as poor, possibly justified by the confusion about what they were supposed to be doing but also to see what difference poor commanders would make. In hindsight, the rating of the French commanders was over severe. For future versions, I would make the French brigade commanders average which would more approximate an even battle (+50 points to the French).

We started our version of the battle from the point where both armies were facing each other.

We used 6mm armies with Baccus figures.  Initial setup below, seen from the French left. The broad strip is a small river whilst the thinner strip going away, is a stream.

View from behind the Allies lines

In our game the Allied commander massed all 3 regiments of his cavalry on his left. Ready to sweep round the French right flank. The advance of the Allied cavalry is seen as a red arrow. The French infantry brigade on their right (circled blue) tried to reform to face the Allied cavalry. Whilst the two regiments of French average cavalry moved up to their support.

The French player, decided to press the Allied right and started moving everything else he had across the river and stream.

At the end of second turn, 2 brigades of French infantry had crossed the stream and were advancing on the Allied centre. The other French on the left had taken those two moves to cross the river and were well behind. The Allied infantry had chosen to form columns and march away. Following behind their cavalry swinging in on the French right. The centre of the three French infantry brigades circled was destroyed by an Allied battalion gun, which broke one of the French battalions and the rest were carried way in the rout (with very poor die rolls).

At the end of the third turn you can see the situation on the French right as the Allied cavalry form up for attack, followed by columns of Allied infantry.

And at game end. The French right and centre have been crushed. And the remaining French brigades (2 of infantry and the guard cavalry) wisely decide to retreat from the field.

This was the first test of the rules using an actual battle situation. Although the result was very similar to the actual battle it was too much of a walk-over for the Allies.

So as pointed out earlier, better for the French commanders to be rated as average, that will allow them to respond a bit better to the Allied attack.

However it was also too easy for the Allied infantry to up-sitcks and move off the hill. To that end forming column will be the only move a unit can make that move, It will not be able to both form column and move. Likewise the artillery was too effective and the rules for firing will be changed, so that only an active brigade and its enemies can shoot.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Problems with Windows 10

OK  I tried Windows 10 (from Windows 7) and thought I would let you know how I got on.

I liked the look of Win 10 and all my old software worked on it. So far so good. But the problem was that Win 10 would not allow me to associate my old software with file types. So (for example) to open a picture to edit it it, I needed to open the software, find and open the file and then edit it. All far more effort than just clicking on a picture and then editing it. So sorry but Win 10 had to go.

So I rolled it back to Win 7, then my problems really started. First my printer was destroyed. OK it was an old printer (HP Officejet 8000) and I knew the printer drivers would not work with Win 10. But once it was returned to Win 7 everything went wrong, it would no longer print double-sided and after each print (which was very poor quality) a test page was also printed. So new printer bought.

But also on the return to Win 7, my email client Windows Live Mail was corrupted. Now I know thats a known problem with a return from Win 10. Luckily I had backed up my emails. So that all was required was to delete Windows Live Mail, find and delete its storage folder on my computer and reload Windows Live Mail. I am now loading the saved emails and restoring them to their rightful folders, thats taken about 3 days of work so far.

So the motto of my story, if your software is not designed to operate (fully) under Win 10, just don’t do the upgrade. Rolling it back is not as problem-free as Microsoft claims.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Action All Fronts is printed and ready




The rules are now available on Amazon and Wargames Vault. With Wargames Vault having the option of a pdf download. Both sites have a preview feature. The printed product of the two sites is slightly different. The Wargames Vault version is darker and to my mind the picture on the front is slightly fuzzy. But the interior pictures are sharper.

Figures in Comfort have produced a clear acrylic artillery template (as pictured on the right), with the area of effect in both inches and centimetres.

The Yahoo Group for Action All Fronts continues to grow and includes a variety of files for the rules, free to download.

Action All Fronts, wargames rules for world war 2 land battles. With a figure representing one man. Company level battles with a player comfortably able to control 100 men and 10 tanks.

The rules feature:

1) Alternate unit activation, with a unit able to perform a number of different actions in a turn.
2) Covering all of WW2 in all the different theatres of conflict.
3) Visibility important with the requirement to spot a target before being able to shoot at it.
4) Artillery support from on-table and off-table artillery.
5) 5 scenarios, army lists for British, American, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Russian troops.
6) Rules for over-watch, weather, buildings, fortifications and heroes.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

WW2 Russians vs Panzers early war Action all Fronts

After the last pay-test we decided to make the game a bit more like history and a bit more like a real game. So this time with equal point army lists and instead of PzIV against the T34s, make it more challenging with PzIIIF’s.

So 1,200 points a side, look like this

4x squads of infantry total 304 pts
2x Plt, HQ 72 pts
1x Co HQ 72 pts
unit 2x T34/76 400 pts
2x tank rider squads 160 pts
2x HMG 120 pts
1x 82mm mortar 65 pts
Total 1193 points

3x squads Pz Grenadiers 588 pts
1x Plt HQ in SdKfz 251 122 pts
2x PzIIIF 464
Total 1174 points

Pic during game

Russian squads organised into larger units on my advice (as author of the rules). Putting two squads and the platoon leader into one unit makes them less flexible but gives them a lot of punch and staying power.


Advantage to the Russians in terms of numbers and better tanks (the T34 has a frontal armour of 8 and a strength 6 gun with a range of 30, the PZIIIF has frontal armour of 3 and a strength 8 gun with a range of 20). The Germans had the advantage of superior fighting ability and morale, their infantry also being carried in APC.

Now after one of the previous play-tests a rule for automatic spotting at distance of 5 was introduced. That means that both sides units are spotted, if either sides unit is moved to within that distance of an enemy unit. As you will see, that became important in this game.

In summary, Action all Fronts is a WW2 one model = one man game, with IGoUGo and alternate unit activations. During an activation a unit (squad or tank usually) can make multiple actions the most important being to move, shoot or spot enemy targets. Nothing can be shot at until it is spotted. And the other thing is that the enemy can attempt an over-watch fire action with one of their units, if one of your spotted units moves or fires.

The Russians boldly advance their two T34s into the centre, covered by infantry on the hill to their right and with their own tank riders on the back of the T34s.


The Germans respond by bringing up a section of Panzer Grenadiers and dismounting in the wood to the left of the T34s.



But the Panzer Grenadiers are so close to the Russians that they are automatically spotted (see previously) and the Russian supporting mortars open up on overwatch fire and wipe the dismounted Germans out. The Germans now having spotted the T34’s bring out their own PzIII tanks to engage the T34s. A lucky shot with an HE round from one of the PzIII disables both T34s (as they are very close together and causes major losses on their tank riders. Meanwhile more Russian infantry are brought up to support the attack and the Germans occupy the woods in front of the Russians.


The German player then attempts to get behind one of the T34s and finish it off with a shot on the rear armour but fails and instead becomes vulnerable to the Russian infantry, who first advance and then charge the isolated PzIII.


As they advance the PzIII uses overwatch fire to shoot at the Russian infantry, both with HE from its 50mm gun and with its machine guns. The Russians take casualties but continue the attack.


The Russian infantry swarm over the Panzer and destroy it.


The game ended at this point, the German player saying that he had caused the Russians losses, he had been unable to stop them and now down to only one Panzer and two squads of Pz Grenadiers, he would be overrun. So rather than allow that to happen, he would withdraw and live to fight another day.

This was the first play-test game using artillery (mortars) and now all the players want mortars in their army. Certainly this was the first time that the Russians got their act together, choosing the right army order and keeping the attack going. Probably sending the T34’s out into the middle of the table early on in the game was a big mistake.