Monday, September 12, 2011

4th Cavalry Division punished for poor performance

As some of you may be aware my Russian Dragoons of the 4th Division have accumulated a less than stellar record on the battlefield. In the 3 games they’ve participated in they’ve only managed to keep 1 of their 4 Regiments on the table in one game, in 2 games they all routed by games end. In their defense, in all of their actions they have been used in a very aggressive manner, and have even achieved limited success, before routing like a bunch of scared little school girls. And I was only commanding them in one battle, so it can’t all be my fault. Clearly, the Czar is not impressed.

The offending units have been threatened with E-bay, but they still continue to rout of the table. Since that had no effect on their performance (clearly it’s the troops, not the commanders that are at fault) I’ve settled upon the most sever punishment I can think of for Cavalry… they have been unhorsed, and will be forced to fight dismounted!  (Admit it, you know the figures have a mind of their own)

I know the above, is a long way to go to justify buying dismounted Dragoon figures, but I like the narrative. Plus I couldn’t resist the Steve Barber Models figures (available thru ). I really don’t need these; in fact I’m not sure if I’ll ever actually use them. But I like the sculpts, and they painted up very easily.

In addition to the below, I’ve also completed the Czar (Emperor) Cuirassier and will post photos once I finish the bases on them.  Hopefully there will actually be a Historicon 2012 for us to run our Borodino game at.

Now, my question for you readers, how should I base these dismounted Dragoons? Should I base them on my standard Infantry bases? Or should I base them on my standard Cavalry bases?

Command figures (sorry about the slightly out of focus photo) 

Dismounted Dragoons Firing 

Dismounted Dragoons Loading

Monday, August 22, 2011

We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming…

Now that I’ve gotten that last post out of my system (for now), it’s time to get back to some proper Napoleonic topics
Due to various commitments, I haven’t had a chance to paint much the last couple of weekends; however, I did manage to find time to complete a pack of Old Glory Russian Command figures and the Foundry Early Russian High Command stand. The Old Glory figures are mounted one to stand and will end up being Division Commanders. 

Now that I look at these again it appears the camera wasn't overly kind.  I'll need to do some touch up before these get on the table.

Part of the Foundry Early High Command Pack.

Next up on the painting table is the Czar (Emperor) Cuirassier Regiment.
Hopefully the next post will have a little more meat to it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

And now for something completely different...

In one of my first post I mentioned that I’m a (relatively new) fan of Victorian Science Fiction, in particular Frank Chadwick’s Space 1889 universe. I know, I know, it’s not “historical”. But it’s fun! It allows you to be an absolutely ruthless colonial power, and heartlessly exploit the less civilized cultures without offending anyone. And as an added bonus it let’s your imagination run wild, along the lines of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.

So here goes…

Syrtis Major, British Crown Colony, Mars -

The diminutive evil genius Dr. Minikin Loveless has been sited on Mars! The British Military liaison, Captain Locke N. Load, attached with the Danish expedition currently establishing an outpost at an undisclosed location today filed the following report.

An unnamed Lieutenant (whose name is being withheld until his family can be formerly notified) with the Danish expeditionary force along with 4 soldiers set out on a 3 day extended reconnaissance of the area surrounding the Danish outpost on Tuesday last. When the party failed to arrive Thursday evening, little concern was noted as the rugged terrain around the outpost can easily cause unexpected navigation delays. However, when the party failed to arrive by noon on Friday, several search parties were sent out to try and locate the reconnaissance party. At around 8:30 pm on Friday last the search party accompanied by Captain Locke N. Load, her Majesties representative on the Danish expedition, discovered the body of the Danish Lieutenant. Despite an exhaustive search no other members of the reconnaissance party were discovered.

The Lieutenant was barely clinging to life, but could be heard mumbling "lightning", "midget" and "Loveless". The Lieutenant was quickly taken to the Danish outpost where the post Doctor attempted his best to treat his injuries but was not successful. According to official reports the injuries were almost identical to those that result from individuals being struck by lightning. But as everyone one knows, there is no lightning on Mars. The Lieutenants revolver was empty, indicating that he had fought whatever his strange attacker was. Among his possessions was found one of the new experimental reduced size self contained cameras and a note book. Entries in the note book included:

• Tuesday, made camp around 9:45 p.m., nothing unusual sited.

• Wednesday, discovered traces of an old trail or possible road. Later sited what appeared to be ancient steps carved in a valley face. Made camp around 9:30 p.m. Up early tomorrow to head back to the outpost

• Thursday, broke camp and began heading back to the outpost at 4:50 a.m.

• Heard a strange noise down one of the valleys, almost like a locomotive, moving off to investigate, 6:15 am.

• It can't be, we have positively identified the evil Dr. Loveless! I have ordered the party to withdraw and make the best possible speed to the outpost.

• 2 of my men are dead. We were spotted by Dr. Loveless' infernal devices. I don't know what they are, but they aren't much taller than him. They appear to be iron; pistol and rifle bullets have no effect. I'm ordering the party to split up in the hopes one of us will reach the outpost and spread the alarm.

There were more detailed descriptions but the above is all the military would release at this time.

The plates within the camera were brought to New Sytris and developed and yielded the below image.

Dr. Loveless' latest creation sighted on Mars

For our readers unfamiliar with Dr. Loveless, he is an evil genius of the most heinous type. While standing only approximately three and a half feet tall, his intellect is gigantic. His last known whereabouts placed him in the United States where he was nearly successful on several attempts to take over the American Government. How he came to arrive on Mars, what the above infernal machines are, as well as what his plans are for Mars are questions that must be answered and answered soon.

The fact that he has now been confirmed as being on Mars can only mean interesting times are in store for Her Majesties forces here. One can not help but surmise the American Secret Service will breath a sigh of relief on learning that the Diabolical Dwarf who so vexed their two best agents in no longer in North America.

We are quite fortunate that our Danish Allies discovered his presence, and offer our condolences to the families of the Danish Soldiers who died to give us this advance warning.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Neverenufski – The aftermath

It’s hard to believe July is already gone. Historicon was a blast, without a doubt the Piquet players are the best group to hang out with. I especially want to thank the folks that participated in Neverenufski; you helped us identify a few changes we need to make to the Borodino scenario.

Peter has posted an excellent report on Neverenufski on his blog which can be found at which I highly recommend you check out if you haven’t already.

As mentioned, we’ve identified a few changes to make to the Borodino scenario, most notably, we need more room! We’ll be adding at least another 6 feet to the bottom of the table. The table will be U shaped, with the wings containing the action around Utitiza to the south and the village of Borodino as well as Uvarov’s Cavalry raid to the north.

Another needed change that Neverenufski made apparent is we will reduce the number of Infantry units per side. I’m still playing around with the ratios, but it looks like the final numbers will be reduced to around 90 to 95 Infantry units per side.

Last weekend I went over to Joe’s house to play out one of the battles our 1809 (Imagi-nation) campaign generated during the game we kicked around several Borodino related ideas. Joe had some good suggestions for me to maul over.

One of the concerns I have for the Russian side is the huge number of Cossacks and Militia units that could eat through the Russian Moral chips very quickly. But as Joe so accurately put it “when did the Russian’s ever care about dead or routing Cossacks?” Or Peasants for that matter?. So, look for a scenario specific rule regarding Cossack losses and morale chip losses.

The other thing we spent a fair amount of time discussing is how to handle Uvarov’s Cavalry raid. The raid so unnerved the French Army Eugene halted his attack on the Great Redoubt to redeploy to protect his flanks (this gave the Russians time to deploy their reserves). Napoleon even went so far as to deploy the Young Guard and Vistula Legion to strengthen the Northern flank in fear of this raid. Most gamers will know that while the raid represented a significant portion of the Russian Cavalry it had no Infantry support and virtually no artillery support. At the end, I think Joe had an excellent idea involving morale chips that will force the French to react to the raid, unless they are willing to allow the Russian’s to gain some extra morale chips. Stay tuned for more on this as we work out the details and see if it will work as well as it sounds.

The last Borodino related item for now is how to handle all of the Russian reserve artillery. I have some ideas on that that I think will work.

And now for the obligatory painting update. Since my return from Historicon I haven’t been very productive, only completing one Cuirassier Regiment.

Little Russia Cuirassier Regiment

Next up on the painting table are 6 Old Glory Russian Commanders.

I’ll try to post a little more regularly, with a few more thoughts on the whole planning aspect of the 2012 project. And as I’m approaching Napoleonic burn out, there may be a few non-Napoleonic (gasp) posts as well.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


Old Guard, Young Guard, Russian Guard, Austrian Grenadiers, Russian Grenadiers, Cossacks… and Opolocheni!

Friday night at Historicon Peter and I will be running the fictional Neverenufski scenario. The scenario pits a force of French and French Allied troops against an Austro-Russian force. The idea for the scenario started out as an opportunity to try out the standardized troop ratings we plan on using for Borodino next year. From there the megalomania took over, fortunately Peter was able to talk me back into reality.

For our 1809/2009 project Peter considerably increased his French Guard, which I think only saw actual action in one of the 6 games we ran that year for Historicon. Similarly, the Austrian Grenadiers were on the table for several battles, but I don't think they ever saw action. As we have been busy painting up the troops for Borodino in 2012, there have been significant numbers of Guard (both French and Russian) as well as Russian Grenadiers painted up. And since we’ve gone to all that time and effort to paint them it’s time to use them, as well some French allied units that don’t get a lot table time.

Typically, deploying these units carries some victory condition penalty, which is appropriate since historically the commanders were cautious about deploying their finest troops (a classic example was Napoleon at Borodino refusing the risk the Guard deep in enemy territory). But the down side is it means you seldom get to ‘play’ with them. Neverenfuski attempts to rectify that.

While the main forces are staring down each other across river a days march to the south of the battle, Napoleon has taken a force North to cross the river near the town of Vienna Sausage and attack the Austrian-Russian Flank. The Czar, having an uncharacteristically lucid moment, has taken a detachment of Russians and Austrians to cross the river and secure the cross roads at Mouldy Quiche to cut the French lines of communication. On the morning of our battle the two forces discover each other.

So if you’re interested in a game that won’t take itself too seriously, and is bound to be rife with bad puns, as well as chickens, pigs, and sheep, stop by.

Now, on to the photos of some of what I’ve managed to complete in 2011.  Not shown are the 4 Grenadier Battalions I just completed and still need to have their bases textured.  All of the below figures are Front Rank with the exception of the Old Glory Combined Grenadiers.

Click on the photos for larger views

 Narva 1st and 3rd Battalion

 Another view of the Narva Regiment (Flags by GMB)

 Smolensk 1st and 3rd Battalion (Flags by GMB)

Another view of the Smolensk Regiment 

One of the Combined Grenadier Battalions  

For the Combined Grenadier units I'm using the 1809 uniform (Old Glory figures) so the bigger plumes can readily identify them as something different than the Guard or 'real' Grenadier units.  

Another Combined Grenaider Battalion

Monday, June 6, 2011

In Memory

"Soldiers, sailors and airmen of the allied expeditionary force: You are about to embark upon the great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hope and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere are with you …" General Dwight D. Eisenhower (D-Day, 6 June 1944)

(Picture courtesy of the Library of Congress)

Sixty-seven years ago one of the most ambitious military operations ever began. The operation would ultimately lead to the end of the War in Europe.

I had three relatives that participated in D-Day, and all survived to the end of the war. One went ashore on the beaches, one piloted a glider into Normandy, and one parachuted in, and later was wounded at Bastogne. They are all gone now, with the last one just passing last month. They truly were ‘the greatest generation’.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Painting Update

Click to see larger image

It’s been a while since the last painting update. May wasn’t very productive painting wise for me, partly because I allowed myself to be distracted with construction of the above ‘Trojan Rabbit’. 

2012 to date painting production on the Russian’s for the Borodino project stands at: 4 Battalions of Line Infantry (64 figures), 2 Battalions of Grenadiers (32 figures), 1 Battalion of Opolochenie and 3 Medium Artillery Batteries (3 stands per battery, 3 gunners per stand). With luck, I’ll finish another 2 Grenadier Battalions Memorial day. Not very impressive results, I know. 

Once the Grenadiers are completed I'll post photos of the completed units along with a brief overview of  'Neverenufski' that will Peter and I will be running at Historicon this year.

However, I was able to play in two games this month – almost unheard for me. The first game this week was our second play test of Vauban’s Wars by Eric Burgess. Eric has done a fantastic job with the rules, resulting in a quick playing, fun, and realistic set of siege rules. For more info on Vauban’s Wars check out Eric’s Blog at you can find the battle report at Peter’s Blog at

The second game was the Battle of Graz, June 26,1809. The scenario was from Peter’s soon to be released 1809 scenario book, Blunders on the Danube. I had command of the Austrian forces which only consisted of 4 ‘line’ quality troops, everything else was Insurrectio and Grenz. Unfortunately, I developed a case of tunnel vision on my attempt to block the French relieving force which combined with really poor movement rolls for my ‘line’ unit left the 84th Lines untouched by the time I ran out of Morale Chips. You can find a detailed battle report on Peter’s blog at

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Battle for the Shevardino Redoubt

This is a game I ran with the Hartford Area Historical Gaming Society (HAHGS) way back in February 2009. I was considering taking the troops (15mm) and terrain along on the trip to Historicon this year to run a a potential pick up game. However, given the latest development around Historicon 2011 it sounds as if space for pick up games will be significantly reduced this year.

The below game had originally intended to be run using Piquet’s Field of Battle rules, but at the time SHAKO II was the rage of the group so the game was run using Shako II rules. The figures were 15mm with all of the Russian’s being from my collection and French being provided by Greg H and Peter C as well as my myself. The game was ‘average’ sized with about 1,400 figures on a 6’x12’ table.

This was the first game I had organized in about 23 years and I confess to being disappointed in how it went. The game was set up to accommodate 8 players, we ended up getting 5 plus myself. Another 2 players would have really helped the flow of the game once the French Reserves came on the table.

Attendance aside, the game played out about the way I expected. Compan’s Division stormed the hill, the Russian defenders were tenacious.

The Cossacks and Poles skirmished as the Duchy of Warsaw forces steadily advanced toward the redoubt. In hind site I started the Poles too far away from the action using a fixed movement rule system. In any event by the end of the game the Poles had flanked the redoubt and were applying heavy pressure.

The Russian Cuirassier’s made a historically accurate grand charge into the French line (unfortunately they did it during the hours of daylight instead of in pitch dark like the historical charge) and were summarily shot to pieces.

Sievers Cavalry Corp did a magnificent job of delaying both Morand’s Division, and then engaging the follow on French Reserve Cavalry.

In the end, the result was inevitable although the French failed to take the Redoubt by the time we had to call the game. French casualties were considerably higher than the actual battle but Russian’s (historically) refused to abandon the untenable “pimple of a hill” as Digby Smith describes the action in his book Borodino.

All in all it was a fun game and one I’d really like to try again using Field of Battle.
Below are some photos of the action.

Initial Russian Deployment 

 Compan's Division moves out

Poniatowski's Duchy of Warsaw Cavalry and the Cossacks mix it up

 French advance on the Russian left

Russian Cuirassiers charge the French Infantry

 French close on the Redoubt

French continue to press while the Russians hold 
Note the white glue holding the two hill levels together.  I'd just finished the terrain the night before, and at some point on the drive to Hartford they separted - so I had to do emergency repairs before the battle began and apparently over did the glue

Monday, April 18, 2011

Gordetschna at HAVOC XXVII

On April 2nd a subset of the Hartford Area Historical Gaming Society (HAHGS) consisting of Peter A, Thomas K., Greg H., and myself made the trek up to the Worcester Mass for this years HAVOC gaming convention to run Peter’s Gordetschna Napoleonic scenario. The game was run using Piquet’s Field of Battle by Brent Oman.

This was my first trip to HAVOC, Thomas and Peter ran a game last year and Greg has been running games there several years. I was pleasantly surprised with the event. There were 6 or 8 dealers there and about 20 gaming tables set up. I picked up a copy of CHARGE! Great Cavalry Charges of the Napoleonic Wars by Digby Smith from one of the book dealers for considerably less than the best price.

The one down side about the HAVOC venue is that there is only 1 hour between games. This means the ending game has about 30 min. to take down and pack up and the starting game only has about 30 minutes to set up. We were fortunate in that we had play tested the scenario about two months ago so the terrain and deployment were fresh in out minds. Having 4 motivated pairs of hands doing the work greatly helped as well.

The scenario called for 7 players, we had six signed up which allowed Thomas to take command of his beautifully painted Austrian troops.

We had a couple of players who were having issues with the Piquet concept of not being in complete control. They were content to grumble, until they suffered their first set back and then promptly left about 45 minutes into the game. After that, the over all mood seemed to pick up and the remaining players seemed to enjoy the game. Their departure allowed Greg to take over one relatively intact command while I took over the other mauled, over extended command (which is typically how my commands end up – so I was right at home).

This battle played very differently than our play test, with the exception of Thomas continuing his insanely hot dice combined with his unstoppable Austrian juggernaut. This time around the Russian’s withdrew and essentially allowed the Austrian’s to cross the river unopposed. The Russian’s were hampered by the absence of any Artillery Reload cards until the deck was almost completely gone through, and by that point most of their guns were screened by friendly troops.

The Saxon flanking attack which was run by a young gentlemen named Daniel as I recall, had a significantly greater impact this time around. Aided by a couple of 3 move segment rolls, their Hussars stormed out of the woods, looped around the over extended Russian Dragoons, and struck 2 of the 3 Russian Dragoons Regiments as well as a Russian Horse battery in the rear. From there the same unit went on to smash the flank of a Russian Infantry unit before being forced to withdraw by Russian musketry. This left the Russian left flank hanging extremely exposed and unsupported. Had he been able to support the Cavalry with some Infantry he would have most likely rolled up the entire Russian left flank.

As we were setting up the table Greg had mentioned that the Saxon Commander as ‘just flocked last night’ – I wonder if that had anything to do with the Saxon performance?

On the Russian right flank the one bright spot was a charge by some Kalmuck Cossacks into an Austrian unloaded disordered Infantry unit with the Cossacks surprisingly winning. This bought valuable time for the Russian Infantry on that flank to rally and reform.

However, it proved to be to little to late. As the time allotted for the game expired we called it a minor victory for the Austrian’s. The Austrian’s had lost one more moral chip than the Russians, but the Austrian’s held their secondary objective of the ridge line on the Russian left flank, and the Austrian’s were pouring across the river and still had close to an entire Reserve Corps that hadn’t been deployed yet.

All in all I thought the game went well. The players (with the noted exceptions) seemed to have a good time.

Typically in a game if you pay attention to can you hear some rather interesting comments out of context. In addition to our Saxon General just being flocked the night before, there was one more worth reporting. During an Leadership check I overheard the following, “That’s good enough to get their sheep off, but they don’t get their rocks off”. One more reason to use farm animals to mark disordered status and rocks to represent stand losses.

Below are some photos of the action taken by Peter and myself.  Click on the photos to see a larger view.

Initial deployment on the Austrian Left Flank

 Thomas (seated) setting up his Austrian horde

Russian left flank at the start of the game

 Another view of the initial deployment

At the far end of the table you can see the Saxon flanking forces in the woods.  Greg lends advise to the Saxon Commander

 On the Austrian right flank, Saxon Hussars on the hill in the foreground and Austrian Infantry on the hill (the hill was the secondary objective of the Austro-Saxon forces). 

 Austrians cross the river and bridge in the center of the battle field.  The Russian artillery screened by their own Infantry most of the battle was unable to impact the crossing

 Another view of the secondary objective.  By now the Russian Dragoons are all that's keeping the Russian Infantry from being rolled up

 Another view of the secondary objective with even more Austrian Infantry in line ready to blast the Russian Dragoons to pieces, (the Russian's finally turned another move card and the Dragoons wisely pulled back to block the road off the table).

 On the right the Austrian-Saxon forces have the secondary objective well in control and are in position to roll up the Russian line.

 Near the end of the battle, the Russian left flank still relatively intact but significantly further back from the river.

 Austrian Hussars charge the unloaded Russian guns.  The rock indicates the Hussars have lost one stand

Austrians streaming across the river onto the Russian side.  The sheep next to the lead Austrian Infantry unit indicates the unit is out of command.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Last weekend the Chief of Staff (my patient wife) and I made the trek to Lancaster, PA for the Cold Wars gaming convention. As she does most years, she dropped me off at the Lancaster Host early Friday morning and then she took command of a detachment of Credit Cards with a Checkbook in support and conducted a Reconnaissance in Force of the Antique shops and Outlet Malls. Based on the amount of items in the car trunk and back seat her reconnaissance contributed considerably to the local economy.

For me the main event was Friday nights Cloudships of Mars game, put on by David Kasper. The game was a blast. I may need to the move the 'Space 1889 campaign' up on the projects to do.
Below are some photos.  As always, click, on the photo's for larger views.

Opening stages of the battle from the British point of view

Opening stages from the Martian side

Getting hectic  Note the flying Martian 'boarding party' on the flat stand

Near the end

End of the game

I always try to play in at least one of Phil Viverito's Ancient games, but wasn't able to this year. Phil puts on fantastic looking games, and has a fantastic sense of humor.  I prefer Piquet's Archon, by Eric Burgess over Phil's Classical Hack rules. One of the things I like about Classical Hack is that rolling a "1" is a good thing.  Below are some photos of Phil's table for Alesia. I wish I could make terrain like this.

Until my next post, may your dice roll high.