Monday, May 2, 2016

Honors of War First impressions

I picked up Honors of War in December and was immediately impressed by the rule set.  Osprey always does a fine job with presentation and this book is no exception.  I've found the Osprey rules to be a mixed bag.  Frostgrave and Dragon Rampant are excellent,  Fighting Sail is playable but ships seem far to fragile... Gods and Mortals was a complete miss for me at least.
Readers of this blog will know that the 18th Century is my favorite historical period, though lately I have not played often because either I or my potential opponents didn't like the rules available to us.   From my first reading I was pretty sure I had a winner here and now that I have played it I think I have a winner.
The Most popular system in this neck of the woods is Black Powder a game I've never particularly liked.   That system is easy to grasp but the command systems and disorder effect from firing can lead to players standing around with nothing to do if they are unlucky.  While I agree you need to simulate the friction of war I don't feel its right to remove all of a players options because of a bad roll.  Honours of War has a dice roll command system but with the worst roll you can still change formation, retreat, move laterally and perform most action other than moving toward the enemy.  This seems the perfect balance for to me.  Yes your men may not do what you want but you can still get a hurt unit out of the line of fire if its in trouble. There is no disorder of the sort you see in BP instead a hard it unit will fall back, that can cause trouble of its own but its not as frustrating as being locked in place like you are in BP if your opponent is throwing lots of '6's 
The system also has a sensible combat system firing is quite attentional wearing units down over time but units can also recover fairly easily if they get away.  Hand to Hand combat is also simply and if you have a tie, there is another round until one side breaks (Multi-Turn combats is one of my pet peeves).  Both combat systems use an "average" die (2,3,3,4,4,5) this takes a little getting used to but it works well especially for musket firing by eliminating the extreme results. 
Troops have three ratings inferior, standard, and superior.  When you combine these with the National characteristics (for the historical armies provided or what ever combinations you pick for you Imagi-nation) give you a great way to develop an army with character.  You don't have quite as much variation as is available in Black Powder with all their traits but I always found those too hard to keep track of to be useful.  

The best thing about these rules is they work easily with multiple players and are easy enough to understand so you can use it as convention or club game.  They also have enough depth and detail to satisfy a historically minded player. 

Ring Box Project

We saw a ring box in a craft store but decided we could do better.  I picked up this box, the Heart and wooden letters at the local Michael's craft store. 
 I removed the hinges, latch and handles then took them outside and coated them with 3 coats of Valspar Spray paint.
Once everything had dried I reatached the handle, latch and hinges.
That left me with a plain white box, which might do for some people but we wanted some color.
 Our wedding colors are Navy Blue which Ariana felt would be too dark so that left "Coral" and "Teal"
 I also painted the "pillars" on the front sides of the box.
To keep the rings form rattling around I picked up two Jewlery display fingers.  The Rings are on there way I might add another photo with those at some point.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Honors of War: Combat of St. Ulrich (expanded)

I picked up the Honors of war rules several months ago and I have been itching to give them a try.  I had three other players who were interested so I bascly decided double the two sides for the  St. Ulrich scenario. 
The red force (called the Empire) had two brigades with two infantry battalions and an Artillery piece.  I made the Empire's artillery superior for shooting mostly to see how that worked and made their second gun a light artillery piece.  I used a mix of Austrian and Reich Army units.  I gave them a +1 shooting imitative but other wise they had fairly standard national stats.  Dave and Mike J had the Empires forces.
The Blue force using forces from my Imagination The Grand Duchy of D'Argent had two brigades of three infantry and one of these had an artillery piece.  The Duchy also had an extra Cavalry unit (3 in total all independent battalions).  I gave the Duchy a +1 movement initiative but otherwise kept them standard.  Mike F and I had command of the Duchy.
We began our advance Infantry on the right...
and two of three Cavalry units on the left (the third was guarding the right flank, though it lagged behind due to some bad command rolls).
Mike F had his infantry brigade start moving to form a second line behind mine.
Mike J thought initially it would be good to get his cavalry over to the other side but he quickly realized that maneuver wouldn't work.
Mike F got an "admirable" command roll allowing him to shuffle his men in behind mine.
Here is the situation before the first serious exchange.  The empire has hit the Duchy's artillery hard but the presence of the army leader allows it to shed damage almost as fast as they inflict it. Mike F had some bad command rolls so the left is a bit of a stand off as Dave has gotten his cavalry around to a spot where he can probably launch a flank charge if Mike F advances ahead.
Mike J gets his cavalry out of is own troops path but not out of range completely...
Ad the first serious exchange of fire occurs.. Its deviating... One unit has to reatreet and the others are fragile. We screwed it up... I for got to apply the long range penalty to the roll since I did it for everyone its not too bad.  Thanks to Mike F's plannin I'm able to move my men back and his pass through them (one of the great things you can do with this rule set).
I also launch a charge with the Duchess Dragoons who have finally caught up.   Mike J's Dragoons are already suffering from musket shots and I roll pretty well he gets two hits on me but I get 3 hits on him raising his total hits to 5 and his cavalry Break and run.
Mike F got off shots on the Mike J's infantry and also put one of them to route. Things are looking grim for the Empire.
Our infantry advances forward, we takes some more hits form Artillery and the Prince William Dragoon (center left) are driven back by musket and artillery fire.
Cavalry clashes on the left as Imperial dragoons cross swords with their counterparts form the Duchy.  Here the Empire prevails.
Regiment Marini launches its assault on the troops defending the bridge with Regiment de Burre in support.   Mike J's troops are no match or the steady troops under Mike F's command and they break and run. 
At this stage we call it (Dave had to bow out already).  Technically the Empire had at least one more turn as we needed to kill at least one more unit to break the army but with a clear path to the bridge (other than the light gun that's in the way) the result seemed like a clear victory for the Duchy.  I like the rules a lot and I think we'll play them again.  They seemed to have covered most important points and we only found one rule were we had some questions about the authors intent.  My only real complaint is the measurements are all in metric system, which is isn't bad except that I think in the English system.. 12 inches and 30 cm may be the same thing on a rule but they aren't in my head if you follow me, it just means I have to measure a little more for distances I can eyeball in other systems.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Saga: Escort Mission Norse Gaels vs. Vikings

My Norse Gaels are escorting three VIPs to Dublin when a band of John's Viking's I have my Warlord (with a Danish Axe) two 4 man units of Danish axe armed warriors, a unit of 4 Ostmen, a unit of 8 Javelin armed warriors and 8 warriors with standard equipment.
Our VIPs are a Bard, a Witch and a Herald... Moving forward we spot Vikings lurking behind cover
and Bondie both, John has two units of each
The first unit of bondi engages one of my 4 man warriors units a Duel and Howling axes cut them down to size fast I trade four men dead for 6... had John not rolled so well it would have been even better
My Javelin armed men fire at the Warlord but are unable to hurt him...
John rushes in with his warlord and bondi...
He wins easily. I try to set a trap using the Who's Next challenge but John simply backs away.
Moving troops up is hard with the escorted VIPs needing the same activation as Ostmen.
John catches the Bard first...
Then the Witch.  Along the way I do take out one of his two units of Hired men but the best I can get is draw.
I drive back John's Bondi unit with my warriors and Warlord...
John gets very good saga dice... and rushes up to take out the old herald who proves to have some fight left in him. Three round of combat ensue...
At the end of it I have a badly wounded Herald but John has but one Hiredman left
Who is overwhelmed by my Warriors and war lord.  John concedes I will get the Herald off.  I have more men still in fighting shape but with only one of my escorted VIPs surviving the result is a draw.  A very interesting game.

Colonal James Barrett House

My Friend Steven Taskovics once described this location as the most imporatnt Historic Home in Massachustes.   This is the home were a portion of the Powder and Cannon hidden at Cocord was stored.  It was searched by British troops on April 19th and the men guarding Cocord's North Bridge where there becasue they needed to cover the route for use by the men sent here. 
Barrett was a colnonel of the local militia and was in over all command of the troops gathering up the road near the North Britde.   The house has been occupied up untill the early years of this century but it was in a very bad state.
Fortunatly the folks at Save Our Heritage  steped in and have done a mavoulous job of restoration.  Its now owned by the nattion part servce who are continuing to presurve it and use it for events.  Its alway the last stop on the subury marche
The origional fire place
A photographer who was travling with us wanted our pictures so I asked her to get a photo of me(in red) and Dwight (in blue) since I usualy don't get to apear in this blog. 
The Fire place includes a beehive oven for baking bread, pies etc.
The front stair way.
"powder" stors and tools for cannon.
a view up to the second floor where restoration work continues
Glass above the door way. 
This was above the door way to the room with the fireplace.  Ariana sugested it was a "hidden Mickey" but its more likely to allow air flow into the room while the door below is closed(this was suggested by Jess, a fellow renactor)