Monday, October 8, 2018

Fix Bayonets 2018, Napoleonic Black Powder Game AAR

(Somewhere near the border of Spain's Provincia de Steilacoom)


The first game I played during Fix Bayonets 2018, was a Napoleonic battle run by my friend Dean, and using the rules Black Powder. While I wrote a review over two years ago, I spent the days prior to Fix Bayonets re-reading the rules.

In the meantime, Dean readied his miniatures and terrain:

(Picture by Dean:  Britian's Steilacoom Province Expeditionary Force)

(Picture by Dean:  France's l'Armee du Province de Steilacoom)

The Tabletop Situation:

The French currently hold Spain's Steilacoom Province.  The British assemble a force to retake the region, but shortly after crossing the province, bordered by the Rio de la Steilacoom, a French force advances to intercept the British.

The Players:

Game Master--
--Dean M.

The French Players--
--Left Flank Brigade Commander--Scott A.
--Center Brigade Commander--Tim M.
--Right Flank Brigade Commander--Bruce M. (also overall commander)

The British Players--
--Right Flank Brigade Commander--Yours Truly
--Center Brigade Commander--James S. (also overall commander)
--Left Flank Brigade Commander--James M.

(Dean, the Gamemaster in the flannel shirt)

(The French Players)
(A couple of my British teammates at the far end of the table, with Dean and another friend)

Order of Battle:

Each force consisted of three brigades, containing at least one line infantry unit, one or more light infantry units, one or two cavalry regiments, and possibly one or two artillery batteries.

My command consisted of one infantry regiment, a cavalry regiment, and an artillery battery, and was positioned on the British right flank.

The Objectives:

Both sides were to seize and hold the church, the bridge, and the tavern, identified in the picture below:

(The objectives identified in "Google Spanish")

The Course of the Battle:

In general, both sides attempted to advance and engage each other somewhere in the middle of the battlefield.

Note:  Black Powder requires players to "activate" their units through die roll and comparing it with the leader's Staff Rating.  So it's more than likely your units will spend some time during a game unable to do anything, but react to your opponent's actions.

The details of the battle are illustrated in the following photos:

(The British General issues his orders for the entire expeditionary force to advance)

(My brigade commander urges his men of the Right Flank Brigade forward)

(The British Left Flank Brigade advances towards the woods)

(The French Center Brigade advances)
(The British Right Flank Brigade, forms a defensive line along the Rio de la Steilacoom)

(The French advance stalls)

(An overall view of the battlefield)
(The British Right Flank Brigade battery opens fire)

(The French Brigade commander urges his men forward through shot and shell)

(British cavalry mass in the center)

(The French Center Brigade opens fire on the massed British cavalry)

(Empty saddles among the British cavalry)

(The French Right, and British Left Flank Brigades advance towards each other
(French cavalry charge British light infantry near the tavern)

(Surprisingly, the light infantry hold their ground for a bit...)

(...but are driven from the field)

(The French Center Brigade advances toward the church)

(British cavalry counter charge their French counterparts near the tavern)

(The line battalions exchange fire near the tavern)

(The cavalry melee near the tavern ends, causing both sides to retreat)

(An overall view from the center of the battlefield looking towards the tavern)

(The British battalion near the tavern receives enfilade fire from another French battalion...)

(...and routs)

(Meanwhile, the French finally advance on the bridge)

(The French charge the British guns!)

(And are wiped out by a "whiff of grapeshot," while British heavy cavalry engage French light cavalry)

(The British heavy cavalry scatter the French light horsemen and charge the center gun battery)
(After dispatching the gunners, the British heavy cavalry charges into another French cavalry regiment)
(As horsemen exchange sword strokes, a Royal Horse Battery unlimbers and fires into a French infantry battalion)

(Another French battalion gets a whiff of grapeshot)

(French and British horsemen continue their duels)
(But eventually tire and retreat from each other)

By the time the last cavalry duel in the center ended, both commanders had their buglers sound the general retreat.


We finished the game shortly before the period ended.

Objective-wise, The British controlled the church, and the French held the tavern.  However, since I didn't have any of my troops physically on the bridge, the game was considered a draw.

Dean always runs a good game, and I had an enjoyable time participating in this one.

Note on the rules:  While Black Powder is a fairly easy game to learn, it does play fast & loose with Napoleonic tactics.  It is definitely a "game" as opposed to a "simulation."

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Upcoming Game Convention: Tactical Solutions 2018

Enfilade is just one of several gaming conventions sponsored by the Northwest Historical Miniature Gaming Society.

Next weekend, Tactical Solutions will be held at the Red Lion/Centennial Inn, in Spokane, WA.

I've been wanting to attend this convention for years, but haven't been able to coordinate the time off from work or other commitments.

And unfortunately, this year's no different.

To "atone" for my non-attendance, I concocted a few e-card/webcomic advertisements for this upcoming convention.

The pictures are from the Fix Bayonets Game Day I managed to attend a couple weeks ago.

One of these years, I'll make some webcomics for Tactical Solutions from pictures I take while attending Tactical Solutions.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Game Day Report: Fix Bayonets 2018

("Quarters 2" where Fix Bayonets has been held since 2010)


Last Saturday, I managed to have the day off--and--attend this year's Fix Bayonets game day. 

This event, hosted by Lawrence, a member of the Fort Steilacoom Historic Society has been going on for eight years now.

I attended the very first game day in 2010, but wasn't able to attend another Fix Bayonets until 2015.

At least this time around, it hasn't been a five year gap between these annual events.

Anyway, not only did I show up, but participated in two games, noted below, and will be the subjects of later posts.

For now, here's some pictures and overall impressions of the set-up and games I didn't play.

(The entrance, registration desk and the Bring & Buy)
The Set-Up & Gaming Schedule:

The entry fee was a $10 donation to the fort.  Just off to the right of the entrance, the folks from Stonehouse Miniatures set up shop.  Not only did they bring their own excellent model terrain, but they obtained about a dozen boxes of boardgames from an estate sale.

There were two gaming periods, morning and afternoon.

The morning events included:

1. Napoleonics, using the Black Powder rules, hosted by Dean.*

2. Colonial American skirmish, using Songs of Drums & Tomahawks, hosted by Kevin and David.

3. American War of Independence battle, using the Sharpe's Practice rules, hosted by Mitch.

The afternoon events were a more modern/alternate history and sci-fi fare:

1. A space battle using Star Wars Armada rules, hosted by Scott.

2. An steam-punk battle using the All Quiet on the Martian Front rules, hosted by Dale.

3. A WWII tank battle using the rules Whatatanker, hosted by Lawrence and Damon.*

(*Note:  Games I participated in.)

(The set up for the morning games)

All Quiet on the Martian Front:

(Dale setting up the Earthlings' defenses against the invading Martians)

Songs of Drums & Tomahawks:

Iroquois and Huron warbands come to blows in this game.

(Kevin & David setting up the game)

(On the warpath!)

(Kevin & Mark discussing their cunning plans)

(An Indian village--and plethora of game sheets)
Most, if not all, the figures and terrain for Songs of Drums & Tomahawks were made by Kevin, author of A Gamer's Tale blog.

American War of Independence:

(The battlefield)
Mitch used a stunning ground cloth made by the Cigarbox Battle Store, which helped win him Best Looking Game for the morning period.

(The British and Loyalists advance)

(The "rebel scum")

(Players listening to the GM)

(The British and Loyalists forming a firing line along the fence)

(An overall view of the battlefield)
Mitch, author of the West Sound Warriors blog, wrote a game report, of a similar, if not the same battle replayed during Fix Bayonets.

Star Wars Armada:

(Image by Dean.  The Rebel and Imperial fleets prepare for action)

I took over 200 photos, of which 160 were usable.  Most of these were divided between Dean's Black Powder game, and Lawrence & Damon's Whatanker.

These games will be the subjects of two upcoming posts.

That is--as soon as I sift through the photos, choose the best ones and concoct a coherent story.