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.

Tuesday 31 October 2023

Battle of White Mountain: a Twilight of Divine Right refight

 I managed to get a real game in yesterday - woohoo! It has been a little while. Many reasons, but primarily just being so, so busy (and consequently, tired). And frankly, although I definitely won't say depressed, I just haven't felt good for a while. Anyway, I took a couple of days off to have a long weekend, and in the end I managed to settled down for a game. I had another go at the Battle of White Mountain, a scenario I have played a few times now, but never with quite the results I was after!

Again, I used the Twilight of Divine Right rules:

And the scenario from the accompanying Thirty Years' War scenario book Europe's Tragedy:

White Mountain was one of the first major battles of the Thirty Years' War, as Imperial troops tried to re-conquer Bohemia.

The Set-Up:

The Imperial troops approach (bottom) the Bohemian Army positioned on the White Mountain.

The Bohemian Right-wing, resting on the Star Palace. 

The Bohemian Centre

And the Bohemian Left.  The Transylvanian Light Horse is in the rear.

The Imperial Right, commanded by Bucquoy.

Another view.

Whilst Tilly commands the Imperial Left

A wider shot

The Battle:

First engagement is on the slopes of the Bohemian Right - Thurn's cavalry resist the Imperialists manfully

Next, a cavalry engagement begins in the centre: Hohenlohe's Bohemian cavalry charges to take advantage of impetus and higher ground, but the orders somehow go astray and the attack is somewhat half-cocked!

Bucquoy's infantry manage to advance up the slope through the artillery fire - some Bohemian Horse is pushed back; Tilly's right-hand column (bottom-left)  is lagging a little.

The cavalry battle in the centre of Tilly's advance is inconclusive - some of the Bohemian Horse has been routed but Tilly's troopers aren't getting any forward momentum

The Bohemian Horse are pushing back the Imperialists over on the right...

...until fortune quickly swings the other way! Some of the Bohemian Horse is routed, others are pushed back and the Imperialist Horse makes some progess up the hill.

Bucquoy's huge tercios are advancing inexorably forward in the centre, although the Bohemians are still fighting hard; some of the Bohemian guns have been lost

A closer look

More brave Bohemian charges are making life difficult for Bucquoy's Horse... 

Tilly's tercios are in position to advance against the Bohemian right, but they make little progress and take casualties from some accurate gunnery and musketry...

But like a knife into the heart of the position, the other Imperial Tercios are not to be stopped...

Tilly's troopers are still making little headway, although far more of the Bohemians have fallen...

A wider shot...the pressure on the Bohemians is becoming irresistible

Tilly's tercios (left) are making no headway at all, and nor or his troopers, although in the latter case the Bohemians are throwing in more-or-less their last formed Horse regiments...

But the Bohemian centre is on the brink of collapse, and all its earthworks have been cleared

Although the Bohemian Right is still strong...

Its' Centre and Left collapse almost simultaneously and the day belongs to Maximilian of Bavaria and his Imperialists...

Game Notes:

It was really good to get a proper game in, and I was rewarded with a battle which played out in quite an exciting fashion.  Better Imperial troop quality and leadership made the difference - particularly the latter: it is expressed in rules' terms mainly as re-rolls, and the extra re-rolls for Tilly made all the difference - he would have lost the cavalry battle otherwise.  The outcome wasn't too different to that of history, except in the real battle the Bohemian left gave way and the army was outflanked and rolled-up: here the Bohemians held the flank attack but lost the central infantry battle anyway.
It was a little while since I have used these rules but they came back reasonably quickly. The basic mechanisms are easy, intuitive and quick, although the modifiers and 'little rules' - small conditions, qualifiers and exceptions - less so. Doing complicated stuff is realistically tricky, and you don't usually want to be doing it under pressure. The only problematic areas for me were some of the generals' activities - I couldn't tell whether being attached to a unit is the only way to get a morale re-roll or an additional way to get a morale re-roll - and some of the rules around artillery. In the latter case, what happens when it fails a morale check. Are the 'crews taking shelter' rules meant to indicate that crews that fight it out are lost if they get a fall back? 

I spent a bit longer than normal getting this game ready. This is where the counters appeared, as the best way to keep track of which units were 'Raw', 'Small' or 'Large'. I would prefer not to use the counters, but there are lots of points of differentiation between units and my figures aren't currently based to reflect that, nor do I have enough period specific markers (although I think I have thought of a way I might do that in future!). Individual mounted officers represented the 'skill' of each of the generals involved. I had a think about ranges and movement and so on, and decided to half movement, so infantry's basic move would be 4.5cm rather than 9cm.  This is because I am, in effect, using double-depth bases and an accurately-scaled game to rules would use 60mm x 15mm bases (i.e. the same as two 30mm x 15mm bases butted together).

Anyway, it all worked very well and I really enjoyed my game. Prettiness is very much a subordinate design goal for my games, but I thought this one looked quite neat, even my stylized White Mountain.  The extra earthworks I got from Irregular came in very handy. I should have used a more imposing building for the Star Palace though!  Looking forward to getting some more on the table soon...

Figures by Baccus 6mm. Buildings mainly by Leven, I think.

Friday 20 October 2023

The Other Partizan 2023

A couple of weeks back I went along to the Other Partizan show, with eldest daughter and youngest son. Jolly busy it was too! I have heard that the attendance was a record, and I can definitely believe that given the usual car park area was pretty much full!

Anyway, we had a good mooch around and I think I managed to get a look at pretty much everything...

First up, the Forest Outlaws doing (10mm?) Romans versus Ancient Britons, on Hexon terrain. A pleasing mixture of pretty and functional:

Next, up a WW1 in the Desert game - Turkish forces trying to retreat on Aleppo. Very pretty set-up, some interesting toys on the table too. (From The Bunker?).

A big 'Back of Beyond' game from The League of Extraordinary Gamers. A little more 'stylized' in look than the previous game, but very pretty in a slightly different way:

Obviously I managed to get a shot of the display board for this one!

Next we have WW2 Naval, GHQ models I think for a US-Japanese clash in the Pacific.

Cramlington put on a very nice looking Zulu War game. Terrain was great, especially the water features and the kraal.


Next up, the guys selling Rubicon Models had a Vietnam game featuring that range. More lovely water modelling!

A crocodile!

 More Zulus - this time the old classic, the death of Prince Louis Napoleon (might have been The Gentlemen Pensioners). Again, really good looking game, good ground colours!

 Some Sci-Fi stuff next, a Xenos Rampant game (put on by the Lincoln club):

The Perry Twins were putting on a Franco-Prussian war game, I think:

Then there was a big Medieval game, set in Brittany IIRC in the War of the Breton Succession (the game is a stylized version of Hennebont ; lots of lovely things here, including pretty medieval ships and a castle (from The Bodkins)

As ever at Partizans, The Very British Civil War people put on a game:

wargame glitterati in the background??

WW2 action next - a kind of alternate St-Mere Eglise 6th June scenario, with a bit more German armour facing off against the US Paratroopers. By the Forest Outlaws too?

The Shrewsbury Club next? Think this was a War of the Three Kingdoms action:

There seemed to be lots of lovely castles, ships, and water features this year!

 Next up, more WW1 Action (from the Grimsby club?):

A game I had seen before next: an operational-level game of the British and Canadian beaches at D-Day. Definitely worth the second look!

The Bramley Barn put on some Pike and Shot stuff (think it was Anglo-Irish fighting in Ireland, but could be wrong here)

Then, a stylized Boxer Rebellion game (by John Kersey?)

 Next, a big Crimean War game on the Danube front (with more nice ships!); from the Gothenburg Gamers.

A really big Cold War Gone Hot game, with 1/72 Soviets being ambushed by BAOR troops. Looked great, with lots of lovely toys but...I would have done it in 6mm 😀

 The Boondock Sayntes always put on the most amazing-looking games and this show was no exception. It looks amazing but how to say doesn't make you just want to look, it makes you want to play in some primeval way.

 Next was a Game of Thrones-themed fantasy game, with an appropriately wintry look. The lady very kindly talked us through all the materials to produce it (from Iron Brigade?)

WW2 action next (from Derby?); I think I recognized the scenario, it was the Berezina crossing from a WSS issue not so long ago.

Not going to lie, can't remember exactly the setting for this (very pretty) game (from League of Anti-Alchemists ??). Something Spanish-y and Horse-&-Muskety but the details escape me - Carlist Wars maybe? Lovely buildings for this one.

More War of the Three Kingdoms next (from Newark Irregulars?)

I obviously see the point of labels to help 'tell the story' but I do think they somehow looked quite intrusive on an otherwise great scene.

Really loved the water and the banks

Chesterfield? doing early Desert Ward: plenty of British and Italians...

More early WW2 action, but Calais 1940 this time:

I liked the painted Stukas on the backdrop! Nice touch.

couldn't quite tell if this group of British armour was cut-off or relieving...

Worley Books (I think!) putting on a Napoleonic Kriegspiel:

The Clone Wars: my 7-year old knew what was going on instantly (to the 'which legion is that' level)

More Medieval ship loveliness, this time 'Nevermind the Boathooks' from the Billhook brothers...

Not sure - think this one was a cowboys game - maybe from The Scourers? I slightly lost track at this point.

I have seen several paper figures' games at Partizan, but this was the first WW2 game. From Peter Dennis (I am guessing!). Looked pretty good really.

 More cowboys I think, from the Peterborough club.

 A Doctor Who/Daleks game. Very much a guess here, but probably Crooked Dice:

strongly-themed games are always good. Not so much like an SF world, more like a 70s set design version of an SF world: this is a compliment!

 Another Desert War game, this time with the LRDG raiding an Italian outpost (I think). Not sure who did this, had really lost track by this point...anyway, it looked really good.

Sheffield & Rotheram Club put on an Air War Over Suez (1956) game which looked fun, but was actually a bit busy when I passed by to get a nice photo! anyway, FWIW...


Another SF participation game. Lots of big space ship things!

The Northampton Battlefield society had a kind of 'teaching/tell the story' WW2 demo game, telling the tale of the destruction of Wittman's Tiger and the Northants tank crew (partly) credited with it. Very interesting.

mission successful (more or less); incredibly, they only had a single 15mm Tiger I and had to proxy the others?  Call themselves WW2 wargamers?!?!?

real stuff on display

Wargames Developments put on a typically intriguing game, this time commanding a Western Front WW1 British Division over 3 campaigns (1916, 1917, 1918). My daughter had a go, seemed to really enjoy it! It shows the development of different tactical approaches over the 3 years in brief format - really good.

A WW1 trench-clearance game, by Pandyman(?)
Sails of Glory always looks great gun:

As does Wings of War!

That bomber is one big beast...

 Apologies, missed who did this one - looked like a Cold War participation game...

 Had definitely lost track by this point, unfortunately.  Looked great though!

 This is the Battle of Britain of game from the Undaunted(?) series.

Charles Rowntree put on his Scarif/Rogue One game - just as awesome as when I first saw it!

Does the thing absolutely no justice, but the overall vision is just outstanding.

 One thing that I think is worth bringing out is the consistency of mechanics that these games use, whether it is big-battle Star Wars, man-to-man WW2 or regimental/divisional level WW2 - the basic dice mechanics are the same. It might seem a bit weird, but by comparison lots of RPGs get mileage out of having the same basic mechanic for characters to interact with the world - this is a similar approach, but using units rather than individuals.

A Napoleonics game (I think) on Hexon terrain - can't remember the details of this one at all...

 The RAF Wargamers doing Apocalypse Now-ish...very effective. I wish the little one had agreed to have a go at this one!

I think this was more SF, perhaps another Xenos Rampant game? Not sure.

 The League of Augsburg doing some kind of Age of Sail participation game. Looked really good...

A Gangs of Rome game - looked ace! I think the look of this type of game is one of the best bits..

This one was a bit of an eye-opener: large-scale Risk set on Great Britain?!?! Interesting...

 A really huge game put on by the Like a Stonewall crew - very nice buildings and terrain...

Another lovely-looking castle...

Some kind of Egypt-y explore-y game I think...

Busy with my two companions, there was less time for shopping and browsing than usual. The little one got some 1/72 WW2 US Marines and Japanese, whilst the elder one got some of the Bad Squiddo WW2 Soviet infantry in winter gear. I got a few bits and pieces from Baccus: some of the new IS-2 tanks, some WW2 Soviet and US artillery, and some Byzantines. I have actually managed to paint a chunk of them already somehow! Some pics later perhaps. There were definitely more things I wanted but perhaps going light at this show gives me a gap to make a bigger dent in the painting pile, which has grown quite a bit this year (not so much from additional buying as reduced painting, at least of my stuff)...