Thursday 21 March 2013

Disaster at Havasu Hydros!

Lake Havasu AZ is home to many water activities. Most are serene and easy going but every spring  the  big boys come out to play. 

So that's the back ground now let's go to the next Heat, B-1. This is the first Preliminary Race for the B Section. The B Section, by luck of the draw, consisted of lesser quality drivers than A Section. This would prove to be disastrous.

The boats fly off the line and shake out in the following order. Yellow has blown almost all of its Bonus Dice, added at various times during the race to increase your chance of success, and slides into second. Why mention this? Because Yellow and Blue/White drives are sub-par with Savvy's of 2 and 1 while all the other drivers are 3 or 4. They'll depend on their Bonus Dice to handle their boats if something comes up.

The Random Event Phase for the next turn reveals the possibility that Yellow is too close to one of the boats. Rolling versus it's low Savvy and failing, results in Yellow clipping White! This causes light damage to it's hull (reduces it's Tech rating by 1) and it drops back one spot.

White regains control and continues on while Blue/White sees a chance to take advantage of Yellow's misfortune and slips into third.

Going into the first turn White overtakes Black. Next turn Black slips out wide in hopes of catching White while Yellow and Blue/White are content to draft Black and gain Bonus Dice.

But it all goes to heck! Black rolls a Random Event (this phase happens every turn) and takes a hard bounce landing right onto Yellow who loses control and goes airborne.

Black tries to regain control but can't and flips as well.

Blue/White dodges both wrecks but at the cost of it's remaining Bonus Dice and hull damage (reducing Tech to 1 from 2). The race is halted as the wreckage is cleared with the drivers whisked away for medical treatment.

Amazingly only 4 of the slated 18 turns have passed when the boats restart  

Right out of the chute Blue/White loses control and rear ends the Blue boat.

And goes airborne!

It's turn 5 and three boats have been lost. 

Feeling snake bitten the two boats cruise the rest of the race. No surprise that the better boat and driver between the two (White) wins with Blue's final attempt to pass being held off.

White wins and score 40 points.
Blue comes in second and scores 30 points.
Yellow did not finish (DNF) and scores 0 points. Yellow is totaled so will not run any more today.
Black did not finish (DNF) and scores 0 points. Black's driver is injured and must be replaced but the boat is fine. A new NPC driver is rolled up.
Blue/White did not finish (DNF) and scores 0 points. Blue'White suffers hull damage and is reduced to 1 Tech. Combined with the inexperience Savvy 1 drive the owner decides to switch drivers for the next heat.

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Chariots Back In Stock!

The plastic resin chariots for Charioteer or for use as 15mm chariots are back in stock. Here's more info.. Price $10 for set of 4 plus postage.

More chariots

Muskets & Shakos Cavalry Skirmish

Just played a game as part of my "98" campaign. Although this campaign is set in a fantasy world, you may find this post of interest as it deals with the mechanics of a cavalry clash.

In the campaign, Elf General Hochemont's division was under constant observation of a squadron or two of the 12th "Prince of Taffsea's Own" Light Dragoons (Hobgoblin) or 12LD for short, ever since making landfall at Bantam Bay.

Colonel Jone's 12th Light Dragoons (Hobgoblin)
 No doubt tired of always falling back before the foe, as the 12th neared the Orc defensive position at Naughty Rhyme, the observing squadrons, reinforced by the rest of the regiment turned to face Hochemont's advanced guard.

Colonel Ranacavallo leads the Legion Du Rospo Hippos
Being such a small fight, this  is a good opportunity to look at some of the ways  the Muskets system has evolved to handle a larger scale of battle. In Muskets & Mohawks for example, a regiment of cavalry would weight in at some 80-100 figures. Here, in Musket & Shakos, that same regiment is about 10 figures.

In this game, the 12th Light Dragoons field their full 10 figures deployed in two groups of 5 representing a forward line of two troops and a rear line of the same.

The Legion du Rospo Hippos, or LdR, had previously detached second squadron to accompany Toad Force on its scout and so was only able to muster 8 figures for this skirmish. I (as Ranacavallo) deployed my toads in one group of 5 followed by a reserve of 3.

All figures are Rep 4 in this game. While in a historical game of Muskets & Shakos, all light cavalry would have the same capabilities, as this is a fantasy game I've altered the movement rates. The 12th Light Dragoons on their rams have a move of 12", while the du Rospo hippos have a move a 9".

The game started as shown below. For our purposes just pretend the infantry and town in the background are further than they appear. If the skirmish really had taken place this close to the town, chances are it would have been uninterrupted by cannon fire and I really wanted this game to take place as a pure cavalry fight.

Starting positions
In this game I will be taking command of the Legion du Rospp Hippos and the game system will control the 12th Light Dragoons (Hobgoblin). I won the initiative roll and so go the first move.

Facing the faster rams of the 12th put me in a dangerous situation. There is an advantage to initiating a charge, as opposed to merely counter charging and the 12th's potential reach (24") was a lot farther than mine (18"). I decided to play cautiously and forge any fast move. When fast moving there is a chance you will lose a figure as straggler, and I was already outnumbered. Both lines advanced a normal (9") move. 

End First Toad Move
Now our forward squadrons ere only  about 16" apart. It was more than a ram's normal move but if Jones didn't attempt a fast move and charge me, there was a very good chance that I would fast move and charge him next turn.

Jones ordered the charge! Then he flubbed his fast move test. The forward squadrons moved forward 12" and lost one figure as a straggler.

Next the 12th LD's second line of squadrons normal moved so they would be close enough to counter attack the inevitable toad charge on turn two.

End of Turn One
 Turn two started with a charge by my forward squadrons. The charge procedure in Muskets & Shakos is similar to the melee procedure in the other Muskets games. This evolution saves times and gives fast results, and provides results more in line with the historical record as an added benefit.

Both sides rolled Rep x dice modified by the situation and as it happened the forward squadrons of the 12th LD routed from the field!

My toads had to test to avoid a messy pursuit what with the fresh squadrons of hobgoblins not far off. They succeeded and reigned in in good order about where the enemy line had started the turn.

I move my remaining squadron a normal move to cover the advance of the first two.

End of toad turn two. Rout of 3/12 LD and 4/12 LD
Col. Hatchet Jones was quick to seize his chance and led 1/ 12 LD and 2/12 LD straight at my victorious squadrons.

1/LdR and 3/LdR were forced to fall back with loss.

However the 12th LD squadrons fared ill on their pursuit tests and became spread out, losing formation. This is why it is always a good idea to keep some sabres in hand!

End of turn two. Leading LdR squadrons forced back with loss
 As it so happened I did have just one more squadron in hand and sent 4/LdR to counter attack.

The disorganized hobgoblins didn't rout but they were themselves forced back with loss.

Meanwhile attempts to rally first and second squadrons proved fruitless.

Turn three, toad move. 12th LD falls back with loss
 At this point Jones' only options were to attempt to rally his remaining troops or quit the field.

The Colonel made a valiant rally attempt but just could not restore his troops to order.

End of turn three. 12th LD unable to reform
With the onset of turn four, 4th/LdR followed up the retreating dragoons. To their immense credit the dragoons still refused to rout, giving up more ground and losing the odd hobgoblin and ram.

On the plus side Ranacavallo finally manged to rally and reform 1 and 2 LdR.

At this point the 12th Light Dragoons had been chased back to under the guns covering the town and I had Ranacavallo cease pursuit and rejoin the main body.

End of turn four and the game

So there it was. A sharp little action in which the Emperor's cavalry came out on top. Thought I was in for a kicking. Quite pleased with the result as you may well imagine.

Final losses were 7 out of 10 Light Dragoons and 1 out of 8 Legion du Rospo.

In post battle recovery the Light Dragoons recovered all but two figures while the toads got their sole loss returned.

As with most skirmishes the overall effect of this one is minor. I will now enter the main battle having achieved parity in light cavalry with Sir Morcambe N. Wise. In an assault on a fortified town I expect this success won't bear fruit until after the battle is resolved one way or the other!

It is worth pointing out that in this game the majority of losses come in the form of stragglers and deserters rather than physical casualties. As such the recovery rates are probably somewhat higher than most experienced war gamers are used to seeing.

Hope you enjoyed the game!


Tuesday 19 March 2013

Final Lap - Unlimited Hydros!

Lap 1

Lap 2

Last lap!

As Black keeps command of the lead Blue falls back.

With four turns to go Blue makes a desperate move and slides into 3rd while Black holds off White.

Blue continues its move into 2nd and attempts to pass Black, but is held off. Yellow follows Blue and passes White who now slips to 4th. 

Entering the final turn Black still holds the lead and White is making a charge. Yellow slips back to 4th and Blue/White appears to be having engine trouble, falling way back.

Next to the last turn as the  boats exit the turn. White has moved up to 2nd while Blue holds off yellow.

Here's the order of finish as Black wins, White second, then Blue, Yellow and Blue/White. After each race the finishers are awarded points based on their finish. After three races the points are totalled and the top 5 finishers of both sections move on to the Final Heat.

Black 40 points
White 30 points
Blue 23 points
Yellow 17 points
Blue/White 13 points.

Here's the order of finish as Black wins, followed by White, Blue, Yellow and Blue/White.

Unlimited Hydros - Lap 2

Part One

As the hydros near the end of the first lap three boats are in position to pass. 

Big movement happens as Black regains the lead, Yellow moves up as does Blue/White. White drops back from 3rd to 5th, a victim of his bad luck of wide passing.

The next turn sees Yellow continuing it's move up followed by Blue/White while Blue falls back from 2nd to 4th. Two turns and the  boats jockey for an opening.

Black continues to lead (no surprise as he has the highest driving skill and one of the faster boats). Yellow slips in behind, content to gain a Bonus Die. Note that the leader cannot draft anyone so cannot gain Bonus Dice that way. Blue has moved back into 3rd but White is coming up from the rear.

White is on a mission moving from 5th to 2nd overtaking Yellow. Suddenly Blue/White slams into Blue from behind!

Both drivers regain control but the collision has taken it's toll. Both boats take damage to their hulls which will cause problems when going through the turns.

Yellow passes White and regains 2nd as the pack hits the turn. White tries an inside pass while Blue drafts behind, gaining a Bonus Die. Blue/White tries to pass but the boat just isn't responding.

As the boats near the end of Lap 2 Yellow has fallen behind again while White and Blue have moved up. Blue/White, with hull problems and the lowest rated driver seems destined to remain in 5th. Last lap coming up and all receive 3 Bonus Dice.

Two Laps and 23 position changes!

 Part 3 - Last Lap!

Hydroplane racing? Really?

Yeah, really!
Look, this is the same guy that created Wire to Wire a game about horse racing. Yes, it doesn't sell well but it is one of my favorite games. Plus it makes a great background for Pulp games as well.

But anyway, yes, I'm doing a game about hydroplane racing. Anyone that has watched the hydros (I was lucky enough to be exposed to Seafair up in Seattle for many years) knows it's an exciting sport.

But back to the game. With the mechanics of Charioteer as the basis) Unlimited (the working title) will have players involved in decision making every turn.

As there's no shooting (like in the upcoming Machinas or bashing on purpose, Unlimited is about racing. And there's just the right amounts of skill, strategy and luck to make an exciting game.

So ready or not, here's the first AAR of Unlimited!

Lap One
For this AAR I'll post pictures and text as things occur. There are ten boats in the Racing Day so they are divided into two sections, A and B. Each section then three Preliminary races of 3 laps each. I randomly roll for driver signatures and boat particulars and the race is on.

The five boats take off from the flying start in the order above. Boats that try to pass shift to the outside of the boat they wish to pass. This is called being In Position. Those that stay behind a boat, called Out of Position, gain one Bonus Dice. Non-Player Boats have this determined randomly. After the Passing Phase, no positions are changed.

Second turn of the first lap. The Yellow boat swings out wide to pass which makes an opening for the White boat to pass on the inside. Both Blue and Blue White boat gain Bonus Dice.

Turn three. Yellow failed to pass Blue and fell to an inside pass by White. Yellow again swings wide to attempt a pass. This allows Blue/White, in the rear, a chance to inside pass.

Turn four of six in the first lap. Going towards the far turn all the boats move into position to pass. Note that White, Yellow and Blue/White are all passing wide, which reduces their chance of success. When passing you want to be closer to the inside of the course than the boat you are trying to pass. Non-Player Boats are at the mercy of the Non-Player Position Table so will sometimes be forced to pass wide.

This shows the results of the previous passing phase. Blue has passed Black for the lead coming out of the far  turn. The other boats, who all passed wide, did not change positions. Passing phase shows all the boats trying to pass again.

Turn six.  Black tries a pass while White goes wide in his attempt to pass. Yellow takes advantage of this mistake and tries for an inside pass. Blue/White hangs back and collects a Bonus Die.

As the boats complete the first lap all boats are running smoothly. Watch for Lap Two, coming soon.