Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life, featuring small skirmishes and big battles from many historical periods (and some in the mythic past or the far future too). The focus is on battle reports using a wide variety of rules, with the occasional rules review, book review and odd musing about the gaming and history. Most of the battles use 6mm-sized figures and vehicles, but occasionally 15mm and 28mm figures appear too.

Thursday 2 April 2015

The Thirty Years War: Battle of Leuthen

The other game I have had a go at recently was a re-fight of the Terry Wise's Battle of Lutzen 1632 scenario from Miniature Wargames issue 03, fought with my Baccus 6mm ECW armies on a 3'x2' board, using Neil Thomas' Wargaming:An Introduction Pike-and-Shot rules. The game was enjoyable enough, with the rules providing a decent game.  I do always notice how "attritional" his rules are, however.  I don't mean to imply the games are slow, slugfests - they are absolutely not - but rather that attrition rather than shock is definitely the key tactical mechanism.  I disagree with this theory in terms of history, but it gives a pleasing enough game, especially as Neil Thomas is always bold enough to write clean rulesets, un-cluttered by lots of interacting exceptions.  So definitely recommended!

The centre of the battle from behind the Blues (Swedes) as they advance towards the (exaggerated) causeway.  The Red (Imperialist) cavalry is advancing on the right of the picture.  There wasn't any useable pictures of the full deployment unfortunately!

A better shot of the Blue right wing cavalry facing the impending red cavalry onslaught.

The Blue cavalry on the left, demonstrating against the Red position around the windmill.

The crux of the battle: the veteran Blue infantry try to pierce the Red centre, attempting to shrug off their casualties from the Reed musketry.

Windmill hill is hotly contested - note that Red's reinforcements (Pappenheim's troops) have arrived at the rear of their table edge.
It was definitely a bad photo day as no photos from the end of the battle were useable at all.  In a reversal of history, the Reds held on for a very hard fought victory.  Although the Blues in general were higher quality troops,  the Reds were able to use their superior numbers, although the battle had been roughly consistent with the historical action before the final moves.  I think that the lack of subtle Army-level morale effects probably gave a slight ahistorical benefit to the Imperialists in this battle i.e. the mechanism for the Imperialist defeat is hard to reproduce on the table using these rules.  Good game though!

Wednesday 1 April 2015

Mini-Mollwitz: A Tribute to Charles Grant's "The Wargame"

I haven't been able to get much gaming in: lots of stressful real-life is taking up my time.  However, I have managed to squeeze in a couple of games, the first being the Mollwitz scenario from Charles Grant's The Wargame.  I used Neil Thomas' "Simplicity in Practice" rules published in Battlegames 23, and used 6mm Baccus figures on a 3'x2' table.  The buildings come from Total Battle Miniatures.

I had mixed feelings about the game.  It was fun, tense and exciting, but I have growing qualms about the rules.  Simply put, I think  that the factors for the melee are calibrated poorly: for example, having more friendly units in the vicinity is seen as a bonus in melee equivalent to hitting the opposing unit in the flank and I don't think that is particularly credible.  There are other, similar points.  I like the way the rules are written and work but disagree with the factors, so I don't know if I will persevere and re-write the stuff I'm not happy with or search for a set I like more.  However I'm not sure if there are any better rules in the same "weight class".  Anyway, here are a few pictures of the game:

Initial set-up from behind the "Prussian" lines: actually, they are French Napoleonics but using proxies is totally in the spirit of the original (Grant used French for the Austrians IIRC).

Another picture of the "Prussian" lines

"Prussian Cavalry" boldly boldly run away and try to hide behind their infantry support: in case you were wondering, I tried to play it according to the orders used in the original re-fight.

"Prussian" infantry advance whilst the Austrian infantry try to take up defensive positions.

The "Prussian" cavalry have escaped and the Austrian pursuers have taken some casualties.

Another shot of the "Prussian" infantry advancing

The "Prussian" left in a firm defensive position, whilst their right advances under the cover of the powerful "Prussian" artillery

More of the same

The pink and yellow markers show the casualties after the first "Prussian" infantry assault: "Prussian" artillery and the Austrian infantry proving roughly equally deadly.  If I'd fought this one according to my own inclinations as opposed to trying to re-enact the Grant re-fight, I don't think the Austrians would have had much of a prayer: they'd have been hammered into the dust by that "Prussian" artillery first.

Close up.

An Austrian counter-attack throws the Prussians off-balance.  Units are starting to really weaken now.

The "Prussian" left is advancing to try and increase the pressure on the Austrian right to make-up for the failure of the main attack.
More Austrian counter-attacks delay the Prussians.

Things looking grim for the Prussians - a last-ditch attempt to break the Austrian line

The same - the Austrians did in fact win from here, although it was close: the Austrian cavalry was running scared from the carefully husbanded Prussian cavalry by this point, in a curious reversal of the battle's first moves.