Monday, 30 March 2015

"Trumpeter Salute" convention March 2015

This weekend was the local annual war-game convention. It seemed that this year suffered, not from a dearth of games, but from participants as many games suffered from lack of players for all three days.  Many a game host ( including myself as I will discover) were in want of players to fill out their games.  With John Westra looking for a third player, I reluctantly entered his game, certainly not because his games are poorly done, far from it, as his games I found to be well run and his 1:300 planes very well painted with lots of cool markers; but that I am such a poor pilot - read poor knowledge of airgame rules, poor dice roller and poor "plan ahead-er",  that I inevitably get shot down!  In this game I do not disappoint as I have 3 or 4 planes downed with the third heading home having failed to create any enemy damage. I was reminded that I actually managed to collide two of my own wing together crashing both.  Sigh.
I played a wing commander of flight of Japanese floatplanes defending a destroyer convoy against American dive-bombers with some escorts.  Rather unsuccessfully.  The Americans managed to shoot down more of their planes from friendly fire than we could!
Japanese 1:300 planes above 1:700 ships (with a bit of salt as a wake.  Simple but effective)
John Westra's beautifully painted planes.  He has an extensive collection seemingly for every WW2 theatre and year!
John's well conceived bombing run.

Early morning the next day had me setting up my 28mm Waterloo game.  Again the dearth of available players had much fewer numbers than I would have liked. I joined the Allied side as the cavalry commander Uxbridge while DaveB helped assist the French players becoming Napoleon for the game.
view of the Waterloo field from the southwest with Hougomont to the left, La Haye Sainte at the upper centre of the photo and La Belle Alliance at the right.  The French attacks have just begun.
The Allies await.  The road represents the crest line of the ridge. Only their artillery and poor Eylandt's brigade (under the held measuring stick ) are shown to the French.

I used the historical set up but allowed the French carte blanche for their attacks.  These became Reille slowly moving around and attacking Hougomont, Lobau moving in column toward La Haye Sainte,  d'Erlon moving toward the Allies bringing the Grand Battery along, and the Guard infantry moving up immediately. Kellerman's and Milhaud's heavy cavalry corps moved toward the left and right flanks respectively. This left the Guard Horse to move to the east as the sole defence against the expected Prussians.
d'Erlon's attack was met with the British heavy horse, recreating the historical event.
The British heavy horse charge in historical fashion!

Reille's Corps was wrapped up in attacks on Hougomont and so when that complex finally fell, it was severely weakened.  While having suffered no brigade losses, most elements were down to one or two strength and the Allies were still in good positions and strong enough to weather further assaults. Lobau's advance stopped to take LHS which the Allies unhistorically used Kielmanegge's Hanoverians to defend, shifting Ompteda's KGL elites to fend off the open field assaults ( 'town' assaults are one of numbers and chance than that of skill and so the elites are played more advantageously in the open).  The two heavy cavalry corps were not committed leaving the Guard to try to open up the Allies lines.  However the Dutch-Belgian heavy horse attacked the Guard successfully in well timed ( and dice rolled! ) attack against the French veterans.
The Dutch and Belgian heavy horse attack the French Guard!

By now the Prussians were on the field and the French saw their numbers pour forth.
It is at this point - and the fact that the gaming-period time had expired - that Napoleon declared his army would retire quickly back while he still had an army to do so.  Couldn't disagree with his decision.

The game was tied with the other much larger table 15mm Waterloo game held during the same time for runner up for Best of Session.
the 'other' Waterloo game during the session. original set up showing "Wellington's ridge" This in 15mm. Photo by ThomasM.
I believe the 'other' Waterloo was conducted on a 12' long table. Photo by ThomasM.

With those players now departed I had a couple new guys signed up for game two.  With the limited numbers I abandoned the large battle for a smaller simple affair of a British division, Dutch-Belgian command and the Brunswickers defending LHS against two small French corps with cuirassier support.   Great battle as it turned out with both sides always rolling well for their Corps Morale rolls thus making the battle much more enduring than would be anticipated.
The second game's early moves and attacks
The Dutch-Belgian corps.  Most are plastic conversions by me.
Another view of the D-Bs

Players from both games seemed to be very pleased with the effects of the rules and we had no issues.  I think we are there.....

Quite exhausted from the day hosting and the previous late night,  I would have been quite happy to wonder around but Steve Allen looking for players ( as I say a common theme ) roped me ( once again ) into his games ( always fun however nonetheless ) this time Circus Maximus - the chariot racing game.
SteveA's chariot game table. He plans to add stands around the perimeter.

Now this game is a regular staple of the monthly game sessions and so many of the players are very familiar to the rules and indeed have formed teams (father and son) or rivalries.  Having absolutely no idea about the rules, the game, the pre-game betting (!) and horse trading,  I was the lamb to the slaughter as it were.  However SteveA guided me through the cart set up in which I apparently rolled for quite well as many were impressed by my various stats.

Like all rookies I was overwhelmed by the event and so can relate very little of the race.  All I wanted to do is go fast and stay out of trouble. How to do that best was still rather unknown so I played it safe and moved to the outside lanes as to continue to maintain speed without much "flip" testing. Lots of charts etc which were a complete mystery.  All I know is that as players moved by me in the game's random, phased movement,  they would whip my horses!  What the heck?! The responses were "Hey I need the experience points" or "Great way to slow up for the corners"

Long story short, I ended the race in a respectable fourth place of ten carts/players and third in the money as the 3rd place finisher had to pay out his bribe money to other players NOT to attack him during the race!  Lots more going on there than this newbie was aware of!

Next day again had me in casual mode.  The attractive 2mm (!) set up by Kevin Aldridge of the WHOLE campaign of Waterloo had me in conversation with him.  Later, chatting with Christine of Stronghold ( a vendor ), she remarked that indeed the game looked very good. I suggested she could play in the game and as it was near she stall she could keep an eye out for customers.  With her participation I too joined in the role of Napoleon.
A big chunk of Belgium
My French moving toward Quatre-Bras. "The crossroads. He is bound to go for them"
While maneuver command control was simple, the mere number of brigade chits made moving them a long procedure.  There was no way we could get a conclusion but we managed a preliminary battle between Gerard and Vandamme's French Corps and a Prussian corps which I forced to retreat eliminating its rear guard elements.  Both armies were concentrating at Genappe for the showdown battle as we concluded.
a preliminary (and only) battle of the campaign being conducted.  The cards are very useful identifiers as the little boys get kinda confusing after a short time! 
His simple yet effective terrain.

The game KevinA converted from a board game to the representation of 3d terrain - the various high grounds and ridges were created by hard foam cut outs and old socks ( -love it!) under the felt.  Roads are fabric softener sheets, dyed grey and cut into strips and used as they have a low profile and stick to the felt that he can thus just roll up.

A lot of a convention for me is the ideas from others. Good stuff.


  1. Nice writeup Doug. Thanks for the great game in the morning. I have to say Reille's advance was pretty tardy, I'm sure I'd have written some dirty notes to him if I was actually his superior officer (and monarch!). It would have been a tough go, but the great British rolls to hammer the guard really put the nail in the coffin for the French Waterloo.

    I don't suppose you were involved in a head in collision of float planes, were you?

    1. No. Not a head-on collision! More like hard glancing blow...sending both my OWN planes into the ocean. I am such a poor pilot.....

  2. Thanks for the report and photos, Doug (as well as Thomas M's). Sorry to hear of the light turn out. I think a few of the Puget Sound crew backed out at the last minute. Your Napoleonic game looked great. The 10-man infantry battalions look good too. I like that 2mm Waterloo game too - 2mm is scale of the future :)

    1. You would think with the good US dollar exchange rate, you 'merican boys would be driving up for the deals. But no didn't see any American up here at all. Including you I might add... ahem.
      I will be bringing the game down there. I expect you around the table, eh!

  3. Thanks for this post - your game looks great and the 2mm is very intriguing.

    1. Yes the 2mm was, as the KevinA hosting the game suggested, a full on boardgame made 3D.

  4. Looks like you had a great time at the show and the pictures show some great games, yours included. I had 2mm when it first came out but have lost my armies sometime ago LOL


  5. I'm convinced! I'll make my dutch/belgian and nassaurs out of plastics!!!

    1. I do still suggest just buying the Perry metal versions are the easier way to go. :-))) However I like the lightness of the plastics, I think they look as good as the metals and cheaper. I feel honoured that you would feel so inspired but I will say it is a bit of time-consuming effort.

      While I did buy the metal artillery, all the cavalry and infantry are my conversions.

      I have several posts about the process which you can view which may help you:
      Dotsofpaint links:
      Netherland Heavy Cavalry
      Dutch-Belgian Militia
      Dutch infantry