Thursday, August 20, 2015

Bear Yourselves Valiantly "Benevento 1266"

This past weekend I put on a game of "Bear Yourselves Valiantly" by John R. "Buck" Surdu and company.  I had played this particular set of rules while at Historicon in July and really loved how fast I picked up the mechanics and how quickly the game flowed.  I was able to find 1 vender at Historicon who had the rules (Silver Eagle Wargames) and bought them on the spot.  While on the plane home I started to read and digest the rules.  I setup a game for 8/15 and set about creating the special dice needed for the game and creating my own roster.  Since this was a test battle I didn't want to modify my current basing system so I creating slugs that accommodated the 3" frontage that the system suggested. I had bases for with that frontage from trying out Impetus.  

I hit up the local game store and bought some blank dice and cut and pasted the labels for command dice onto them. I made 5 sets only because the game store didn't have enough blanks for a 6th set of dice. The command dice work like this: a unit which is a base 3" wide or a commander, and lets say they want to charge, the unit rolls a d10 and a Green die and Blue die for infantry or a Yellow die for cavarly. If they roll higher than their morale value they will look at the blue or yellow die and that tells them what the unit does or does not do. For example you can close with a +1 in melee or just close and so on.  If you rolled lower or equal to your morale value then you would look at the green die. It could tell you to stand and don't close or close and be -1 in melee and so on.

As I read the rules I wrote down questions I had and sent a flurry of emails to the yahoo group. All were answered very quickly and adequately. 

As time rolled up to the appointed date I decided to pick medieval battle (since I had the troops) and then picked the battle of Benevento 1266 as the setup for the game.  This would turn out to be a my first mistake for that night.  Not really realizing how "slow" rough ground would make movement and most of the Benevento battlefield is fought over varying rolling hills.  I should have just lined up the forces on the table with a few scattered pieces of terrain and called it good. 

Saturday arrived and I loaded up the car and took off.  Now mind you I hadn't actually setup the battle previously to see how well it would fit onto the table I was going to use.  

We actually played this game twice. I screwed up the melee rules something fierce the first time around and was killing off stands fast than the plague.  So after I realized my mistake and much apologizing to my group we reset and started again.  I was confusing two sets of rules, Piquet and this one. Boy what a blunder. 

These two photos show the beginning setup of the forces.  The Ghibelline army has the low lands and are setup behind stream. Historically the Ghibelline forces were the attackers and why the commander Manfred of Sicily chose this place is beyond me.  Charles the 1st of Anjou holds the high ground and historically is the defender.  The historical outcome is Manfred is killed and Charles the 1st becomes King of Sicily and starts the Anjou rule in Sicily and Southern Italy.
Also Historically the 3 battle groups for each side lined up one behind the other. I didn't have the depth to do this so I improvised.

Two bases together created the 3" frontage for the game. Underneath is the slug and some Locktite Fun-Tac holding the bases onto the slug.  The label was a quick way to identify who was who.

A few more views of the forces gathered for this battle. There are a lot of mounted Men at Arms in this battle. Very little in the way of infantry especially on Manfred's side of things. He only brought Saracen Archers.

The battle kicked off with the Saracens making it across the river with the German Mercenary knights behind them.  Charles' infantry and crossbowmen waited for them to approach.

The bridge really slowed down the center battle group. In the rules an object like a bridge has a capacity and that means only a certain number of bases can cross it at one time. The bridge was a capacity 2. So only two units could be on the bridge at any one time.

Charles' right flank. The Knights are holding the high ground but it really isn't conducive for mounted combat.  Both sides closed in on each other. 

The Saracens continue to march forward.

Charles' crossbowmen open up and cause hits.  On the next phase the Saracen leader failed his morale roll and had to retreat. He never made it back into the game.

Charles' knights can't wait any longer and start to move toward the slowly advancing knights.

The right flank saw the majority of the action during the game.  Both sides causing each other to bounce back and return the next the round for more combat.

The Saracen archers retreat as the German Mercenary knights push forward. 

The bridge crossing.

More action on the right flank.

The Saracen archers retreated and attempt to rally and would attempt for the rest of the game.  The German knights take up a defensive position on the river banks.

Charles holds his troops from advancing.

The middle battle group starts to turn towards the right flank to help its fellow knights.

Charles' knights turn toward the German knights and close.

Manfred's left (Charles' right flank) crumbles with a failed morale roll and begins to retreat.  We played two more turns with Manfred's left retreating and the follow up by Charles' right flank.  We called the game after 3 hours, not counting the restart.

Over all the group liked the rules even though I screwed up some of the rules and so on.  They liked them enough that we are playing them again in September.  I will continue to reread the rules and ask questions over on the yahoo group.  I liked the rules and I'm trying to think of something to run at Enfilade this coming May.  Have to get a few more games under my belt first.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

1/600 scale Italia 1885

In my wandering gaming interests I have started to envision gaming late 1800s naval battles.  Mostly European in scope, with an emphasis on Mediterranean navies, but that can change.  Since I already had 1/600 scale ships for ACW, this seemed like a good choice for this new endeavor. Looking around I found Old Glory had 1/600 scale ships for the period.  So I bought the Italian Ship Italia 1885.  The lack of pictures on the website led me to buying the model blind and not fully understanding how large the model would be when it arrived.   I don't know about anyone else but I have a had time seeing the "scale" of something when it's listed as being 1/600 or 1/6000.  The numbers don't seem to make sense to me until I see it.

It took a few weeks to get the model.  It arrived in a long bag with a cardboard cover, stapled to keep the parts inside and the product number on it. No mention of the ship name or scale and lacked any sort of instructions on how to put the thing together.
Below is my work through on this model.

These two photos show what was included in the package. I began my internet search for diagrams and/or photos, really anything that would clue me in on how all of these parts went together.

The above images were ones I could find that allowed me to see what this ship looked like and gave me an idea how to put it together.

These three photos are me just test fitting the pieces together. I will say that nothing fit together smoothly. Most of the holes for the stacks had to be redrilled, the holes for the flying deck needed flashing removed and nothing lined up well. Everything was off by an 1/16" giving the whole structure an awkward appearance.

Once I got everything drilled, retest fitted and somewhat lined up I was able to glue it all together which wasn't easy. Because none of the holes lined up well, there was a constant fight to keep things glued in place but still not quite set so I could fit the next pieces in and so on.  The worst part was the mast.  Even with drilling out the holes the pieces were cast at odd angles so they didn't sit flush or straight.

The funnels and mast done I started adding in the other pieces.  Just as a precaution when I was drilling out the holes for the funnels, etc...I drilled out all of the rest of them to save time.

You can see in this picture the bottom part of the mast doesn't sit flush with the deck. No amount of sanding was going to fix that.

The forward, mid and rear guns are now in place, along with the life boats.

A couple of different angle shots to show what the ship looks like.

Now I had to paint it!!!  I couldn't find anything on the internet on what this ship was painted like. Other than the one picture above of someone else's model, I had nothing to go on.  I posted a query on The Miniatures Page and received a very helpful reply.
The gentleman had a copy of Tony Gibbon's Encyclopedia of Battleships and gave me these colors to work with: The hull is a grimy black, as are the guns and the top 1/4 of the funnels. The superstructure, including the crane, lower funnels and barbette walls are a pale gray. The flying deck and the central deck-house have pale gray sides. The ship's boats are also pale gray. The mast is black up to the top of the deck house and yellow/buff from there up. The deck is a light yellow-brown. The floor of the flying deck is the same. The floor of the barbettes, the top of the deck house and the boat covers are all a medium chocolate brown. 

Overall the model looks good and I learned quite a bit from putting this one together. I, however, may not buy another Old Glory ship. I was/am very turned off at the sloppy molding and mismatched pieces and the lack of instructions on how to put the thing together.  I may look to a smaller scale like 1/3000 for this project.