Wargamer literature on the horizon

Cavalry at Waterloo

A new book incoming on Waterloo from a celebrity author

So close your eyes quickly and take a guess at who you might think that author might be.

OK, you can open them now!!   8O)

The book Waterloo: The History of Four Days, Three Armies and Three Battles is written by Bernard Cornwell who is of course no stranger to writing about Napoleonic warfare … albeit from a more entertaining, heroic, sanitised and not strictly historic point of view.

For the more curious of the dear readers it is possible to read an excerpt from the book. In a way the writing is reminiscent of a Sharpe book but perhaps that’s not a bad thing if one is after a more rollicking and less stuffy read.

Waterloo-The History of Four Days, Three Armies and Three Battles

A reservation that von Peter himself invariably has with books on Waterloo – especially some of those out of the United Kingdom – is the old …

“we heroic Brits beat down that damned Boney chap despite those allies we were lumbered with and the late arrival of the Prussians who only appeared once the battle was won”.

Obviously that is a bit extreme but hopefully the dear reader gets the idea. During his tender and formative years von Peter himself extracted from the library and read many a tome on Waterloo and it is his considered consideration(!) that he was lead well astray on the actuality of Waterloo by many of them. The grudge is still held but it was a salutary lesson all the same. The “Three Armies and Three Battles” part of the title does give one a reason to hope … but we shall have to wait and see.

The book is due to be published in the United Kingdom in September 2014. You can pre-order the book on Amazon (click here). Interestingly Amazon report the retail price as £25.00 but they will sell it to you for £17.00 for the hardcover. That level of discount on a new release book is being paid for by someone. I wonder what impact such discounting has on any plans for new books by authors and publishers. Anyways the book will also be available fas a paperback £8.99 and a Kindle Edition £8.54 according to Amazon.

An Impetus Magazine

von Peter himself makes a mostly daily visit to the suspect pleasures of The Miniatures Page (TMP). I say suspect because there seems to be something of a bullying and vindictive culture that rapidly comes to the fore in some of the discussions. So much so that some valued contributors – at least in the somewhat jaundiced eye of von Peter himself – have been driven from TMP. That aside von Peter himself keeps an eye on the Hobby News section as many – but by no means all – new hobby releases are reported there.

Impetus Magazine Issue 1

One such item that caught the eye of von Peter himself was the news of the release to come in the – presumably northern hemisphere – fall of an Impetus magazine. von Peter himself has played a few games of Impetus and thought that there was definite potential there. The original ancient period Impetus rules have spawned several other presumably similar rule sets for differing periods and this magazine will have articles related to several of them. From the TMP article …

We are proud and excited to announce the launch of Impetus Magazine. First issue will be released this fall.

It will be a digital magazine, and will not only cover Impetus, but also BaroqueSmooth & RifledKoncordiaBreaking NewsLords & Servants (medieval skirmish game out this fall as well), and all future games released by Dadi & Piombo Publishing.

It will include fictional and historical scenarios, game reports, rules variants, tutorials, articles on game tactics, and all that is needed to provide good support to our games.

The magazine will be a periodical, with one or two issues per year. It will be available as a PDF through Wargame Vault and Ganesha Games’ shop at $2.99 USD.

At $2.99 USD there is not much to loose so von Peter himself may very well pick up a copy

As ever do not be forgetting to <click> on any image for a larger and clearer view.

Until we meet again …

Salute
von Peter himself

Sad news and visual feasting

4/132 Ligne – 5 companies

A third fusilier company – coincidently the 3rd fusilier company – has reached the 4th battalion of the French 132 Ligne.

The battalion’s mounted officer has decided that he would place himself in the 3rd fusilier company. This is a dashed shame as von Peter himself quite likes the aurore (orange) discs on their shakos that distinguish the 3rd fusilier company. And thanks to that mounted officer there are only two of them. <mutter mutter>

The battalion has also gained a drummer to help them march in step and to stir them along  should they ever find themselves on the attack. For now the drum is being ‘lumped’ along on the drummer’s back so the battalion must make do without the benefit of the drum’s accompaniment.

The battalion just needs the addition of the 2nd fusilier company to be complete but this will need to wait. The 2nd fusilier company will be hosting the battalion’s fanion and the only eagle/fanion bearers available at the time of typing are those that come in the Route March command packs. These all have furled and canvas covered standards cast on the figures and von Peter himself would prefer to use the GMB Designs standards and fanions that he has procured. It is the understanding of von Peter himself that the eagle & fanion bearers that will come in the March-Attack command packs will have the desired ability to host the GMB Designs wee treasures and so the intention is to use these. Considering the number of March-Attack rank and file available von Peter himself is hoping that the March-Attack command packs are not too far away.

So for now von Peter himself will direct his paint brushes at some other target.

The figures are of course from Calpe Miniatures. Don’t forget to click on the picture for a larger and clearer view.

Fare thee well Donald Featherstone

Old news now but still worthy of acknowledgment. That inspirational companion of my youth Donald Featherston died 3 September 2013. Donald may not have been aware of the existence of a youthful von Peter himself on the other side of the world but that youth was well acquainted with most of his books and where they were to be found in the local library.

Being an idle sort of person but also echoing his sentiments von Peter himself does not hesitate to recommend reading Carlo Pagano’s Rainy afternoons at the Midland Library with Donald Featherstone post on his With Pyjamas through the Desert blog. Carlo’s thoughts and experiences mirror those of von Peter himself … apart from the obvious disadvantage Carlo suffered from being domiciled in Australia rather than New Zealand!   8O)

Bruce Weigle’s amazing terrain and games

Not a lot to say on this one as the old adage of a picture being worth a thousand words proves very apt. Take a look at Bruce’s Nice Terrain Tables. Cinematic is probably the right word. What strikes von Peter himself is the eye fooling mixing of scales. Very clever and very effective.

Bruce Weigle's Approaching MagentaVV - The converging French attack on Austrian-held Magenta, June 1859 (Second Italian War of Independence)

One of Bruce Weigle’s amazing games. Picture shamelessly lifted from http://www.g-design.us/bruce/

Revolutions

von Peter himself has discovered a new Podcast to help while away his time. Revolutions is brought to the world by Mike Duncan who was behind The History of Rome podcast.

With Revolutions Mike intends to look at several revolutions (surprise!!) with several episodes per revolution. The first revolution is the tussle between Charles Stuart and his English Parliament. So far, so good.

von Peter himself gets his fix via iTunes but you can also get it on the web at …

http://www.revolutionspodcast.com/

Revolutions

Oh the shame

To von Peter himself it is quite counter intuitive but over the winter months his rate of gaming always slows down. One would think that with the inclement weather indoor activities would be favoured but this does not appear to be the case at Schloss von Peter. Perhaps it would be better if the rate of gaming had fallen a little more …

After their first Impetus game The son & heir and von Peter himself reviewed the rules and discovered that The son & heir  8O)  had made several errors in translating the rules from rule book to table top. So another battle needed to be had.

This time The son & heir lead a band of late medieval / early renaissance unsophisticated western bully boys bristling with knights and pikes supported by some arquebus and crossbows. von Peter himself mustered his Sassanids with lots of cavalry – both heavy and light – and lots of archery. Perhaps in error the elephants stayed in their enclosures, i.e. in a cardboard box! Admittedly there are multiple centuries between these two armies but the Sassanids were perhaps not that different from a contemporary eastern foe for the western thugs.

The son & heir set up the terrain as per the rules and showed his feral cunning by clogging up the table with an impassable river and various areas of forests and broken ground. What better way to negate all that eastern cavalry, especially all those light horse achers? Feral cunning indeed!

von Peter himself grows weary and so he will not go into the details of the battle <cough cough>. Suffice it to say that the Westerners had their way with the Easterners. Darn but those knights are hard. And both commanders are now well aware of the risks of having their supports too close to their front line troops … especially those from the East. Oh, and von Peter himself will be setting the terrain for the next game!

On the plus side von Peter himself can claim to have taught The son & heir everything he knows. Well the good things that he knows that is!!

Until we meet again …

Salute
von Peter himself

A triplex of games

A couple of turns into the trial Impetus game. Many of the figures are temporarily stuck on bases and many more are not yet painted but more importantly The Son & heir’s crossbowmen are about to be taught a lesson by their betters. Oh yeah baby!

The last few weeks have seen von Peter himself and The son & heir participating in several games.

Hail Caesar

First up was a first game of Hail Caesar. Terry had come over all keen on the Hail Caesar rules and with the benefit of a high initiative die roll he organised a game. These rules are published by Warlord Games, are based upon Black Powder and are for gaming the Ancients period. From what little von Peter himself has seen of the game it is a development / improvement on Black Powder in several areas.

Five of us got together at Terry’s one Wednesday night after work for our inaugural game of Hail Caesar. The son & heir was on school holiday duty otherwise he would have been unavailable. von Peter himself dusted off his Sassanids for himself and The son & heir to direct and Terry dug out his Romans for Craig and John to control. Terry was official rule looker upperer.

Controversial Sassanid light horse archers sticking it to some of the roman sandal wearers

Much cruel taunting emanated from the Sassanid side as the Romans either refused to advance or were just plain unable to do so as their troops showed a complete disdain of their commanders polite requests to please advance. It is with much regret that von Peter himself must own up as the initiator of much of these verbal barrages. But hey, those roman sandal wearing effeminate western barbarians deserved all they got and besides  von Peter himself was feeling a little ‘edgy’ at the time!!  8O)

The Sassanid plan was to take advantage of the Romans reticence about moving by advancing into archery range and letting the roman sandal wearing cowards suck down a few rounds of the far superior Sassanid archery before charging in with assorted elephants, cataphracts, clibinarii, heavy cavalry etc etc. It was a perfectly brilliant plan … spoilt solely by the rolling of a double ‘6’.

For those who do not know orders in Hail Caesar are verbally issued to a unit or group of units. Two dice are then rolled to see if – and if so how efficiently – the order is  carried out by the troops so ordered. The roll of a double ‘6’ is termed a blunder and following the roll of another die a table is consulted to see what the effect of the blunder is to be. In this case the effect of the blunder was that von Peter’s main strike force of clibinari & cataphracts went charging across the table to stop an inch or so in front of some very startled roman sandal wearers. Yes, they had moved to within archery range – but please save me from overly enthusiastic aristocratic bombasts!

So that was the storm of righteous Sassanid archery theory out the window. A ‘Plan B’ was quickly drafted and initiated. It was crafty in the extreme. Charge in with the kitchen sink to try and right the wrongs of the dice lords. After all we were there to trial and learn the rules. What better way to make some learnings than to take a less sophisticated approach!  8O)

For the benefit of posterity the learnings were that …

  • elephants are not all conquering of themselves and would benefit from support … and a preparatory archery storm
  • clibinari & cataphracts are powerful units but it would really be best to win in the first round of combat when they can use their charge bonus (or whatever it’s called) … and a preparatory archery storm would be most beneficial
  • forgetting to play the Roman pilum rule is a damned fine idea if you’re dressed as a high ranking – and outstandingly good looking – Sassanid. This even works without a preparatory archery storm!

The other talking point were the Sassanid light horse archers who generated a discussion or two with their bag of sneaky tricks. Overall we all learned a thing or two about the rules and it is now up to the rule lawyers to reread the rules and sort out all the things we did wrong.

Black Powder

Next up was a Napoleonic game using Black Powder. Labour Weekend was nearly upon us meaning that Monday was a public holiday here in New Zealand. von Peter himself bestirred himself and organised an eight player Napoleonic game for the Sunday … having first gained the blessing of the Godess of War Fraulien von Peter herself of course! But by the day of the game numbers had halved to four as the result of sudden visits by in laws, remembered marriage ceremonies out of town and the siren calls of domestic home maintenance duties! As it turned out the game was another of those father – son affairs. The Fathers – Rhys and von Peter himself – took on the sons – Daniel and The son & heir.

The scenario was set in 1813. The Prussians under the command of Major General Daniel had swooped down on a town defended by six battalions and a battery of Bavarians lead by the renown von Peter himself. The town itself had some old Vauban style fortifications that were in an extremely poor state of repair. The Bavarian artillery could not be placed on the walls and attacking the walls was no more difficult than attacking a stout building. The town was situated at one end of the field of battle.

Racing from the other end of the field of battle to the aid of the beleaguered Bavarians were their French allies lead by that Marshall in waiting Rhys. Awaiting him and protecting the back of Major General Daniel’s attack on the town were the Prussians of the dastardly and infamous The son & heir. Got it?

The 1/7 Bavarian IR on the decrepit town walls. These heroes saw off the attentions of several attacking battalions for much longer than could be reasonably expected only relinquishing their hold on the walls in the last combat phase of the game. The battalion may be formed from the brush strokes of The son & heir and be part of his collection but they have never performed as heroically as on that day when lead by von Peter himself.  8O)

The usual happened with a Black Powder game in that the competing armies were shredded.

Marshall in waiting Rhys and The son & heir traded men’s lives with a truly callous indifference. The usual number of bizarre results were on display as they usually are when The son & heir is involved. Cuirassiers bouncing off the flank of landwehr infantry in line makes for an illustrative example. The scales of war slipped first one way and then the other.

von Peter himself was well served by his Bavarian troops who generally fought well despite von Peter’s leadership! Major General Daniel rushed one half of the town with a single supported battalion and to the horror of von Peter himself succeeded in wrestling it from the defending Bavarian light battalion … the one blot on the Bavarians record for the day. Fortunately the defending Prussian battalion proved just as listless in their defence a few turns later. This was just as well as the Prussians finally managed to prise the other half of the town from the determined grip of the 1/7 Bavarian Infantry Regiment. So half a town each when the game was called. A draw … though obviously a moral victory for the fathers!!  8O)

Impetus

When The family sent their possessions back from the UK to New Zealand at the end of their foreign adventure a copy of the Impetus rules was included. Despite an interest they were never played. Much later The son & heir started collecting – and on occasion even painting! – the Perry Miniatures late medieval figures. After some extended agitation he convinced von Peter himself to dig out his Greater Italian Wars Spanish-Imperialist army for a trial of the game. All The son & heir had to do was read the rules, learn the rules and run the game.

As with the first game of Hail Caesar several errors were made but we are encouraged to continue with the Impetus rules – at least for now. One nice feature of the rules is how units get worn down and become less effective as they are used.

As with all periods von Peter himself can see himself playing several rule sets for his ancients gaming. This will provide for a variety of differing gaming experiences and also cater to the various tastes of the local gamers.

Don’t forget to ‘click’ on the photos to see a larger image if they should tweak your interest.

Until we meet again …

Salute
von Peter himself