2nd of Gondrin and painter’s block

2nd Battalion of the Regiment Gondrin.

Image

These have been painted for some time.  This week I went through a spurt of completing bases on stuff and these were some of the bases that I completed.

But I get painter’s block sometimes.  I think I know why I have it for this unit.  It’s the gray coats with the gray cuffs.  That is really tedious to paint.  It’s three coats of paint but each of the coats need to be handled rather carefully.  First, so that the paint doesn’t get globbed up on the figure.  Getting the consistency right is key and for grays and whites a lot of care is needed.  Second, to get a good look for the overall color.  It’s too easy to have either too much base coat or too much white.  Finally, painting around the buttons.  I do this all the time and on dark coats it’s really easy but for white coats you need to run up close but not paint over the button or its outline.

Image

I’m well on my way with the first battalion and now seeing the second complete, I may have renewed motivation.  I love white with red and the red coat on the officer and red hose for everyone really sets this unit off.

Do you ever get painter’s block for a unit?  What causes it?  What helps you get through?

Image

As usual, figures by Front Rank, flags by GMB.

There’s Nothing Like a Dane!

With deepest apologies to Rogers and Hammerstein, of course….

I have some Danes already and thought this would be the year of completing my Danish continent for Ramillies.  Haven’t done much on that.  I have a couple of cuirassier regiments in progress but did manage to knock off these two generals:

Image

Image

The above chap is supposed to be someone called Schwerzel.  I wish I had more info on him.  According to the order of battle I’m working from, he was a brigadier commanding three battalions: the 1st of Prinz Karl (coincidentally also referred to as Schwerzel), Fynske, and the Wurttemberg Oels foot.  If anyone knows anything more about him, I’d love to learn.

The following chap is supposed to represent someone called Donep.

Image

Image

Donep in my order of battle was commanding a couple of Danish battalions in his brigade: the 2nd battalion of Prinz Karl, and the 1st battalion of Sjaellandske (coincidentally also called Donep).   Again, any additional info on this chap would be much appreciated.

Speaking of the Danish regiment Prinz Karl with 2 battalions at Ramillies, I have them painted also.  Sadly I don’t have flags for them, although I think I may have a way to produce them fairly easily soon.

Image

And with a couple of close-ups.

Image

Image

The Danish contingent at Ramillies would be a nice bit to complete and I had hoped to do that this year.  It’s till possible I could do most of it.  It consists of 7 battalions of foot.  You can see two of them are complete, except for the flags.  There are also 16 squadrons of cuirassiers.  I have 4 done and 4 under construction.  So completing 5 more battalions of foot and 8 more squadrons of cuirassiers is very doable.  The only problem is that there are 5 squadrons of dragoons that I’m not sure what to do about.  They have double-breasted coats and FR doesn’t make figures for them.  I wouldn’t really expect that.  I’m wondering whether to just paint up regular dragoons or try to kit-bash them into something with double-breasted coats.  The latter doesn’t sound like fun to me.

Vendome and Ga Pa (part 3)

IMG_2195

This is a command stand with the Vendome figure from Front Rank.  The other command figure is from Front Rank also, a French general I think, but I’m not sure.  I imagine the generals can be used pretty interchangeably in armies either French or Allied.  I’m not sure there was distinctive general attire for the different nations.  If there were, I’d love to learn more about that.

IMG_2196

They are nice figures.  I’m not sure I like the orange horse.  I keep working on Duns trying to make them better.  It looks a little more orange in the picture than it does on the table, but it’s still a little too orange I think.

IMG_2197

I promised in a previous post some more about Ga Pa.  I’ve covered setup and command, the command being the key part of what makes Ga Pa a really excellent game.

All unit behaviors are governed by a table called the TQ table.  TQ stands for troop quality.  Troops are rated from highest (fanatic) to lowest (rabble).  Each army has lists (of course) that allow you to determine what your composition of troops should be.  The French army for example is made up mostly of horse considered Green and line infantry considered Trained.  There are of course better troops, the Vieux regiments are veterans, as are the Maison du Roi.  Elite troops are rare.

For just about anything you need to do with units in the game, whether it is making an uncontrolled move, firing, charging, or resolving close combat, you make a roll against the row on the table corresponding to the quality of the troops attempting the action.  The row being used can be increased (but not very often) or decreased (more likely).  So, for example, a typical French chevaux-leger unit, once disordered, will be testing as if rabble, rather than simply green.  To determine a result, 2d6 are rolled against the row and the result can either be decisive success, success, failure, or decisive failure.  This is cross referenced with whatever is being attempted on the relevant chart (charging, firing, or close combat for example) to determine the final outcome.  I keep threatening to make a poster of the TQ chart and hang it on the wall of my game room when we’re playing because you use it so often but haven’t done so yet.  I imagine that if we played more frequently, we’d have it memorized.  Typically by the end of a game you don’t really have to check that table because you’re pretty sure you know the result.

Fire combat is straightforward and very constrained.  You shoot straight ahead and if you’re target isn’t straight ahead of the middle of your unit, your fire against it is halved.  To roll you throw 2d6 against your TQ, and cross reference the result with the amount of firepower your unit has.  The results are variants of heavy casualties, casualties, or light casualties (and of course, when you really need to get a hit the inevitable, No Effect!).  The defender then rolls on the TQ and cross references the result against the receiving casualties table.  Units can disorder, fall back, or flee, and may suffer a step loss.  A step loss represents a permanent loss in capability for the unit, degrading its ability to fire and be effective in close combat.

The most direct way to get into close combat is to get close to the enemy then close in the closing phase.  Mounted can sometimes charge but most of the time and for everything else, one needs to close in the closing phase.  Close combat is resolved on the close combat table, typically defender checking first.  Close combat continues until one side breaks off.

These mechanisms are all simple and elegant, and taken together with the order system and uncontrolled movement result in games that are very believable for the period.

The next time we play I’ll take some pictures and notes along the way and describe how the game gets worked out using the rules.  Hopefully this will be soon, as after writing this, I’m kinda jonesing for a game.

Regiment Royal Cravattes

Image

Royal Cravattes was deployed on the left of the center at Ramillies.  This finishes up the French horse that I have painted for now.  Royal Cravattes consists of 3 squadrons and that brings my total of French horse to 13 squadrons.  I have lead for another couple of squadrons and intend to paint up Rosen with that lead.  They were brigaded with Royal Cravattes at Ramillies.  Then I’ll start on the line cav of the second line – lots of white with red facings.  Tedious to paint probably but I bet it will look nice all lined up.

Here are a couple more shots.

Image

Image

I’d hoped to finish my summary of Ga Pa but I haven’t quite finished that.  Hopefully in the next few days.  So I final shot of all three squadrons together.

Image

Figures by Front Rank, flags by GMB Designs.

Regiment Courcillon and Ga Pa (part 2)

Image

The eye candy for this posting is Regiment Courcillon – another French chevaux-leger regiment in the front on the right flank.  Figures are by Front Rank and flag by Flags of War.

Image

In part 2 of my write-up of Ga Pa, I hope to give some background on the heart of the game and its most appealing part, the command and control system.  I’m drawn to games that put some kind of restrictions on command and control.  I play games where you see everything and every unit can do whatever it wants every turn, but I really gravitate towards games where there is much more restriction on what you can do with units.  Ga Pa accomplishes this through three mechanisms – limited visibility, limited command actions, and uncontrolled moves.

As a bit of background each general has a leadership and initiative rating.  You get the generals randomly as part of the game setup sequence.  Leadership is on a scale of 1-5, 5 being better (really good actually) and 1 being pathetic.  Initiative is on the same scale.  I’ll explain how each of these are used as I go along.

First, there is visibility.  Visibility is determined by weather conditions and battle conditions.  On a normal day commanders can pretty much see across the battlefield at the start of the game, but as the action develops, the visibility deteriorates.  The battle goes through stages of light action, medium action, and heavy action based on the number of units that are engaging in fire combat.  Once you get to heavy action, visibility is greatly reduced.  At the beginning of each turn one determines which generals can command units based on this visibility.  The CnC is always considered in command, but his subordinates, in order to be in command, must either be able to see him, but put into command based on an action of the CnC, or take their own initiative to be in command.  To take their own initiative they must pass a die roll against their initiative rating.  So to begin a turn, you want to have all your commanders visible or expend actions to put the generals in command.

Second, there is a limited number of command actions for each commander.  Each commander gets 4 of them per turn (we mark these with a d4, and use a red d4 for each commander who begins the turn out of command).  The commander can do a number of things with them including move himself, take initiative or put a subordinate in command, or order a unit or a group to do things.  But, in order to succeed at giving orders, he has to pass a d6 roll against his leadership.  (You can see now how awful Louis de Bourgogne with a leadership of 2 and initiative of 1 is.)  It’s important to keep your troops together in groups (aligned, facing the same way, perhaps in 2 lines) is.  It only takes one command action to move a group or a unit, but as the groups start breaking down much more time is spent trying to get them together.

Third, as things break down you will find that the 4 actions you have are not enough to give orders to all the units in your command.  Units that have received no command might still act.  Each one rolls against an uncontrolled unit table to see how they behave.  In some cases they will take off on their own towards the enemy.  Sometimes this works out well, other times it will cause problems.  The behavior is dependent on the type of unit, its circumstances, and a random factor based on a roll against the units quality.  It works pretty nicely.

Image

Above, the Danish cavalry has already routed the regiment Toulouse and my opponent was unable to control them in his command phase, so they spontaneously charged Courcillon.  This was fine for him.  I had managed to control Courcillon and hold them.  If they had charged spontaneously, because they are French, they would have been disordered by their charge.

These three things (visibility impacted by the intensity of battle, limited control from the commanders, and uncontrolled movement) make for an interesting set of command constraints that makes the commanders spend their time keeping their army organized so it can be effective in battle.

Regiment Tarente and Ga Pa

IMG_2130

Tarente was a horse regiment in the French first line on the right at the Battle of Ramillies.  Have to start out with a little eye candy I suppose.  I just finished the basing so wanted to get a picture posted.  Figures by Front Rank and flags by Flags of War.

IMG_2133

We are spoiled for choice these days with rules to choose from for gaming the War of Spanish Succession.  One could press FoG-R into service if needbe, perhaps with a few changes.  It’s a really clean set of rules aimed at the tournament gaming crowd.  We play it quite a bit, but have never actually tried using it for WSS.  We tried the prepub version of Beneath the Lily Banners.  It was going great until we got into a melee and realized we didn’t have melee rules.  I’ve since purchased version 2 of the published rules and we may give them a try at some point.  We played Captain General a few times.  It has a great period feel and we enjoyed it quite a bit.  But we seem to have settled on Ga Pa.  Thomas Arnfelts in Sweden wrote Ga Pa for gaming the Great Northern War I believe (Ga Pa is a Swedish expression for attacking I believe).  It is now on version 2 and that’s what we’ve been using.  There are army lists available that cover the armies of the War of Spanish Succession.

We played the other night and I’ll use that game to describe Ga Pa.  The thing that is most appealing about Ga Pa is the command friction that the rules provide.  I’ll get to that in more detail in a future posting.

I only have recently completed enough figures to really give the rules a run through from the ground up and we’ve done it twice now.  You start out by choosing the size of game you want to play.  Ours are still on the really small end of the spectrum.  We went with 300 points per side and I had almost all of my figures on the table for both sides.  You then choose your army.  I have two, French and Dutch, but part of the Dutch is a Danish allied contingent.   The first decision to make is how many points to set aside for generals.  We both chose to use about 75 points.  You then dice for the actual generals you will use from the army list.  Each general is rated for command, leadership, and a number of points.  The Dutch have relatively better generals than the French, mostly average in capability, and you can probably get three for around 75 points.  If the three that you dice up exceed 75 points, you still get them, but you then give points to the other side for use in Stratagems.  On this night, the Dutch ended up spending about 78 but the French blew past their 75 because they rolled Vendome as one of the generals and he’s an expensive one.  So the French ended up owing the Dutch 8 points in the end.  The French generals randomly determined were Louis Joseph de Bourbon, duc de Vendome with a leadership of 4 and an initiative of 5, Francois de Neufville, duc de Villeroy with a leadership of 2 and an initiative of 2, and Louis, duc de Bourgogne, with a leadership of 2 and an initiative of 1.   Vendome would make an excellent overall commander.  But sadly, Louis de Bourgogne is a prince of the blood, so he gets to be CnC.  At this point you divide your army up into numbered commands.  I chose to give all my good infantry to Vendome with one cavalry unit to support and a couple of light guns, the bulk of the cavalry to Villeroy with a little infantry, and left Louis with a couple of guns, but as overall CnC.  Vendome is 1, Villeroy is 2, and Louis is 3.

My army consisted of:

Vendome

3 battalions Picardie (veteran infantry)

1 battalion Clare (Irish, veteran infantry)

1 regiment Royal Cravattes (line horse)

2 light guns

Villeroy

2 battalions Sparre (line infantry)

1 battalion Royal Italian (green infantry)

1 regiment Toulouse (line horse)

1 regiment Tarente (green horse)

1 regiment Courcillon (green horse)

Louis

2 medium guns

Next step is to determine who is the invader.  French are (naturally).  Then you determine the tactical situation.  The Dutch are slightly more aggressive tactically and it’s more likely that they will attack but in this case the French are attacking.  Also you make a roll to determine what type of action is being fought.  It can be any one of Siege Relief, Rearguard Action, River Crossing, Attack, Set Piece Battle, or Meeting Engagement.  Ours ended up being a meeting engagement so everything will be deployed on the table at the start of the battle.

The defender chooses the terrain that will be on the table from the list of terrain for the area of the battle within the constraints set out for the area.  In this case there would be 3-5 pieces with a mandatory village.  The terrain location and person to place the terrain piece is then diced for.  In our case, most of the terrain came down on the defender’s side of the table.  It included a village in the center, enclosed fields to the right of it, and behind it (from my perspective), an open field to the left of it and an orchard on the left side of the field on their side of the table.

For a meeting engagement the defender fully deploys his lowest numbered command, then the attacker his, then the defender, then the attacker, and so on.

All of this setup goes pretty quickly.  We didn’t have our armies defined before we started and that’s perhaps the most time consuming piece of it all.

So here are a couple of pictures of the lines at the beginning.  The cavalry closest to the camera is not visible, but they will play a big role in my next installment so you’ll get to see more of them soon enough.  Here is the Dutch line formed and ready to move forward to occupy the village and the field next to it.

IMG_2138

The Dutch set up a couple of battalions of infantry on their right end of the line, slightly behind the orchard, two medium batteries deployed to their left, their veteran foot next to them behind the open field, and another battalion of line behind the village ready to move in and occupy it.  On this side of the village there was another battalion of foot and two battalions of Danish foot ready to occupy the enclosed field.  A regiment of Dutch dragoons (Dopf) are supporting two regiments of Danish cuirassiers just off camera.

I set up Vendome on the left, Villeroy on the right, while Louis positioned his two batteries where they would most quickly become ineffective in the middle.  You can see most of it here:

IMG_2140

On turn 1, we’ll be off and running.

Regiment Toulouse

Image

The regiment Toulouse was brigaded with Royal Etranger at Ramillies.  This is a nice looking regiment.  I love the combination of gray/white coats with red facings.  While that was the standard combination of color for French cav regiments at the time, the front line of cavalry at Ramillies has only one with this combination.  This regiment, like Royal Etranger, was slightly behind the French right.  The second line of French cavalry will have many regiments with this combination.  I suspect it will look very impressive.

Image

The regiment was composed of three squadrons, all depicted below.  Once again figures by Front Rank, but the flags are by Flags of War.

Image