March 2012’s Game: More Long Rifles

April 16, 2012

Last month Mark and I played another game of Two Hour Wargames, Long Rifle. After our February game, I remarked that we should play Long Rifle again, but with more figures to see how many figures a person could run in a game. This time, the British (Mark) defended a block house with about 8 men and the French (myself) attacked with 9 French irregulars and 9 Indian allies. Rapidly advancing, the French forces came from two directions. Initially, everything went well for the French, and they were able to clearly outshoot the British defending the blockhouse. Then, for some reason which is still a mystery to me, I decided to go for the charge, and sent the Indians across the open ground to melee the British outside the blockhouse. The result was a few casualties along the way, and worst of all my chief was killed in melee combat with a British soldier!

Well that stupid idea didn’t work, so I went in with my French irregulars, only to lose a number of them, including my French leader. He was stunned and captured by the same British soldier who had killed my Indian leader! The game turned into a race to see who could activate first. Sadly, the British did, and escorted my French leader into their blockhouse as a prisoner. My Indian allies tried to rescue him, but did not make it in time. Then more British troops arrived as reinforcements. The French were able to inflict some casualties on the British reinforcements, but took as many casualties as they gave. In the end, there was no way for the French to rescue their leader, so they called it a day; hoping that the British would exchange their lost leader at a later date.

I am impressed with how well the Two Hour Wargames’ Long Rifle rules work. We had no problems and they were exceptionally fun to play. This game had some very cinematic moments, such as the capture of the French leader and the failed attempt to rescue him. We also found that it was very easy to run more than a dozen figures at once. After the game, we discussed this and both Mark and I felt that one player could easily run up to 20 figures. We also liked the new insight rules (with the die rolls for each figure), and plan on using them in our Nuts! games. While our miniature gaming will be interrupted somewhat this summer with me buying a new home and moving 25 miles down the road (the good news is my wife and I still are employed and teach at two institutions), I can clearly see Mark and I playing more Long Rifle games in the Fall. I’m thinking of doing a mini-campaign based on the Seven Years’ War with a small band of freikorps or jaegers and their continuing exploits!

I should add that I really like the Two Hour Wargames reaction system for skirmish level games. I have been waiting 20+ years to play a game like this. Also it is nice to be able to play a small game with 20 figures a side now and then instead of some epic that requires me (or Mark) to paint hundreds of figures. The rules based on CR3 have opened me up to playing all sorts of new things such as World War Two skirmish, French and Indian War, and in the future Old West battles along with plans for Seven Years’ War, American Revolution and Napoleonic skirmish games. Now I just need to order some new buildings for my Mexican town and we can play an Old West battle (really a Hollywood version of the Old West).

An Overview of the battle at the start:

The British Deployment:

The French Advance:

The French Irregulars:

The French Indians Advance:

Initial Shots Are Exchanged:

The French Indians Charge:

The French Indian Attach Stalls:

The French Indian Chief is Killed!

Since that didn’t work, let’s send in the French to have their leader defeated in melee!

British victor with French Leader as prisoner:

Here’s a picture of the British soldier who won the crucial melees:

French Indians try to save the French leader:

It is all too little, too late for the French as British reinforcements arrive:

The new insight check rules were very easy to use. Here’s some pictures with the die for each figure indicating his priority of action:

All in all a great game. Figures, terrain and lunch provided by Mark. All I provided was my brilliance, which did nothing to help me achieve victory.


February 2012 Long Rifle Games

February 26, 2012

Yesterday Mark and I were able to get together for another game. We usually don’t play in December due to the holiday break and my having to grade piles of university final exams. We also missed this January as my wife was in Spain and Morocco and I was stuck home with my children. Because of our long break, Mark and I were very ready for a game.

 We both wanted to try out Two Hour Wargame’s new set of rules, Long Rifle. Long Rifle is a man to man skirmish game primarily set in the French and Indian War, but could be used for other horse and musket periods. It is based on THW’s Chain Reaction system. We have played a number of THW’s Nuts! games, and have really enjoyed the second edition. Long Rifle is an updated version of THW’s Black Powder rules, which we tried a few times in the past, but found that they just didn’t work due to the “duck back” system that Chain Reaction and Nuts! uses. We really enjoy playing Nuts! and Chain Reaction (now out is a Final Edition of those rules), so we thought we’d try out the Long Rifle rules as Mark has a couple hundred 25mm figures for the French and Indian War.

 We played a very basic learning scenario with the British having four regular British soldiers and two Native-American allies and the French having four irregular Canadians and two Native-Americans. The scenario was a simply advance to contact game with both sides trying to drive the enemy from the field, but if a side lost over half of its men they could not win (draw at best for them). I threw this in so we did not end up playing one of those fight to the death scenarios that haunts many skirmish games. The terrain was wooded with a cabin and a ruined cabin roughly in the middle of the table.

In less than four hours of actual playing time, we finished two games. We spent a lot of time reading the rules to make sure we had caught all the changes in Long Rifle from Black Powder. Both times my British were able to drive to inflict significant casualties on the French and thus win the game. Both games had lots of drama and we never had a dull moment, even when we tied our initiative rolls for six or more times more than once!

 We found that the Long Rifle rules were a major improvement over THW’s old Black Powder rules. The new In-sight rules were a significant improvement. Instead of the moving player simply moving out and seeing if he got shot up by the stationary player, both sides now roll in-sight checks which sets up an order of who gets to act. Also figures must pass a REP roll to act, which reduced the every figure fights like Sergeant Rock syndrome. Some figures might see the enemy but if they fail their insight check (a 33% for regular soldiers), they duck back instead of firing. This made the game much more realistic. Also there is no requirement for fire to continue until one side is ducked back or eliminated in a firefight. That really fixed the problem of how to deal with slow loading weapons, and made melee combats much more common (they were basically non-existent in our Black Powder games). The new charge check (basically a morale check for both sides involved in hand to hand combat) and the new melee system also worked very well. We had a few things to learn and clarify, but overall Long Rifle is an excellent set of rules for any Western (Europe and North America) era horse and musket skirmish games. Like the second edition of Nuts!, I can highly recommend Long Rifle as a set of skirmish rules. There are a few good things from Long Rifle (like the in-sight and charge checks) that I will graft onto Nuts!.

And here are some pictures of our games (figures, table, lunch, and photos provided by Mark – I just drove 45 miles through the rain and light snow to get to the game):

Game 1 saw the French fail a few initiative rolls (oh how those 6s suck for initiative) and therefore they were slow to advance.

 By the time the French emerged from the woods, the British were already deployed in the buildings:

The French in-sight checks produced a lot of 1s for them, giving the awating British a lot of first shots:

  

The withering fire from the British ended the French attempt to drive the British from the field and we ended the game.

We reset the game and tried another go with the same forces, terrain, and objectives (plus a better knowledge of the rules).

In game 2, the French got to the ruins first, and the British had to figure out how to avoid advance across the open field.

The French had deployed into 2 forces. The left wing got shot up quickly by the Native-Americans with the British. That meant that the battle shifted to a struggle for the ruined building, which the French right wing held.

With a number of the French “ducked back” the British advanced:

 Then a sharp struggle developed for the ruins:

The final result was a lot of dead Frenchmen:

Especially in our second game, we had many melees and the game really seemed like a horse and musket skirmish game. The Long Rifle rules have transformed the Chain Reaction system from a modern skirmish system to one that works very well with horse and musket era forces. We both enjoyed the games and plan to play Long Rifle again in the future. I plan on eventually getting some 25mm figures for either The Seven Years’ War or American Revolution to use with Long Rifle. We also found that we could use more figures. I think that in our next game we could double the numberof figures and easily finish the game in two hours (ala Two Hour Wargames).


June Game: Sharp Practice

June 28, 2011

Well not all games work out and yesterday Mark and I had one of those less successful gaming experiences. Mark wanted to try out the Sharp Practice rules by the Too Fat Lardies. It was a “learning game” in that we were going to spend most of our time learning the rules rather than a super serious gaming experience. Mark set up a game with his French and Indian War figures, mostly light infantry and Native Americans on both sides. We learned a lot and we were doing a fair amount wrong, but the game ground to a halt when we figured out the rules were not the most complete and we spent a lot of time looking through the rules and the FAQ from the Yahoo Group for answers. In the end we never finished the game as we could not find several key concepts in the rules. We might try it again as there were many good points to the rules, but it suffered from what Americans call the missing rule syndrome in many British rules. I think that as Americans we have been trained on board game rules, which tended to be very complete, and our game suffered when the Sharp Practice rules were less than complete. Oh well, maybe a better game next time.