Sunday, February 7, 2016

En Garde! Swashbuckling Skirmish Wargames Rules - Review



I have been fortunated to get a copy of the latest Osprey Wargaming rules, En Garde! Swashbuckling Skirmish Wargames Rules - OWG12 by Craig Woodfiled, so I thougth I put up a short review of the rules.

Some basic facts:

En Garde! 
SWASHBUCKLING SKIRMISH WARGAMES RULES OSPREY WARGAMES 12
Author: Craig Woodfield
Illustrator: Peter Dennis
Short code: OWG 12
Publication Date: 20 Jan 2016
Number of Pages: 64
Paperback: £11.99
Want a copy: visit Osprey webshop.

First of all I want to stat that I love the Osprey Wargames, OWG-serie as it gives me the chanse to try out nice sets of rules, to a fair cost, that I probably never would have if they should have been published in a 200 pages hardback books. Just by that reason I try to get all the rules published in the serie, 12 so far and they all give me good reads and inspiration even if I´m not really in to the period.

The period that En Garde! focus on are a period I really like and are well in to at the moment, due to my work on the Pikeman´s Lament rules, that also will be published as a part of the OWG-serie, but not untill early in 2017, so it was with a very nice interest I started to read the En Garde! rules.

En Garde! is a small-scale skirmish game based on the Ronin rules (that also been writeh by Craig Woodfield and published by Osprey in the OWG-serie, OWG4), in which small groups of warriors fight each other for honour or riches and the rules covers the conflicts of the 16th, 17th and early 18th centuries, when black-powder weapons started to become common in battle but martial prowess still determined the outcome, as the backcover so nicely state.

The layout of the book are as good as ever in the OWG-serie and one thing that really lift the En Garde! rules are all the stunning new artwork by Peter Dennis, that in combination with greate miniature pictures make me get a good feeling for the kind of game En Garde! want to play out.


I have to admit that I´m a bit biased regarding the En Garde! rule as I have had a go with the Ronin rules and I thougth they wasn´t my cup of tea. The rules had, at least for me, a to steep climb to get a smooth running game, suppouse I wasn´t to perseverant either.

So it was with a dubious feeling I started to playtest the En Garde! rules. The flow of the game are more or less as in other games, in each pahse of the turn the players take in turn to activate their minis, nothing starange at all and a nice way to get a interesting game. There are small differences from the Ronin rules in the game flow and I think that is good, cant decide if it is because the authour wanat to streamline the game or if his view of Japanese warfare difference from European warfare, either way I like the game flow better in En Garde!

The rules in general are well writen but I think that some parts of them have a bit to complicated explanation, like all steps that need to be run through to solve a shooting action, as well as close combat, are a bit confusing, with lots of additions, subtractions and refering to different tables.

As an example I have quoted a part of the Shooting Procedure:

"The model that is shooting roll 2D6, adds its Shoot characteristic and then adds or subtracts other modifiers to this roll (see below). The weapon being used (see Arms and Armour, p21) and certain Attributes (see Attributes, p.23) can also introduce relevant modifiers. Once all relevant modifiers have been applied, the final result is the Shoting Attack Roll.
Subtract 6 from the Shooting Attack Roll. The resultin number is the Hit Score. If the Hit Score is 1 or more, than a hit has been scored. If the Hit Score is 0 or negative, the attack has missed. A successfill Hit Score then becomes the Basic Wound Score. Add any relevant weapon modifiers, and subtract the targets´s AR value to calculate the Final Wound Score and refer to the Wound Table (p.17)."

This sort of mathematics and refering to different table to solve a simple shooting action are a bit to much at least for me, that evedently start to grow old. But as you learn the rules and have played more game than I have, I defently think it will work as smothely as ever in any other set of rules.

It is more or less the same procedure to solve a close combat, but one main difference as the use of Attack/Defence counters that you use to control the fight and the tactic you use - offensively, defensively, or by applying special skills and abilities. This I think is a really nice way to make a close combat interesting. Most often close combat in skirmish games are quite boring, go in and fight untill one are defeated. my only objection are that the minis are looked in the fight by the end of the close combat, I personally prefere the minis to be separated by the end of the turn so everyone are free to move, but that just how I like it.

After my first readthroughts and playtest I indeed think the rules will work fine as soon as the players are geting over the first learening threshold and have learned to run the shooting and fighting in a smoth way.

In the Rules there are also a guide for how to build your own warband list as well as a bunch of example warband lists like Border Reivers, Conquistadors, Landsknechts, Aztecs, French Musketeers, Caribbean Pirates and several others but no one based on Swedish history...

There are also several scenarios that are possible to play out on a 24"x24" gaming board and that is really of my liking that you don´t need a full gaming table as I sometimes just want to set up a quick game at home on the kitchentable. There are also set of Simple campaign rules allow multiple scenarios to be played in sequence and permit warbands to develop over time.


An appendix is also included to provide brief rules for supernatural creatures of the period - monsters, demons, revenants and witches - and new abilities and equipment to fight them, good for gamers who want something a bit different from the norm.

As I said in the begining I had a dubious feeling for the En Garde! rules I have had more games now than with the Ronin rules that uses more or less the same rule engine, I still feel that I need to have more games under my belt to really get past that initial learning threashold that I experience with them. While one have gone past the initila learning I really think they can provide very interesting and intense Swashbuckling games, much thanks to the use of the Attack/Defence counters that make it possible to personalise you fighting style and also add a lot of flavour to the close combats.

Considering the low cost and the greate productions value, the Peter Dennis artwork need to be praised again, I would recomend you to try them out  Give En Garde! a bit of time or be a faster learner than me and I think it is well invested money. I also like that En garde! is a set of rules that dosent need a tremendous amount of minis, 2-3 minis in the fist test games and maybe 6-12 minis later on that also will give good games in an very interesting period of our History.

I hope my little review have helped you out in someway. If you have any questions regarding the rules don´t hesitate to post them here and I try to give my view of it all, or we might have to solve any issus with the baldes...En Garde! ;)



Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Battle at the ford 1170, AAR



During my latest foto session of the newly painted Ledung Soldiers I and my son David, that are really going in for wargaming at the moment, also run a small Lion Rampant game using the Ledung soldiers I painted so far. Inspired by the struggle for the Swedish throne in the later part of the the 12th century I set up a small scenario.


Knut Eriksson (House of Erik), the Son of Saint Erik and claimer of the Throne killed his opponent King Karl Sverkersson in 1167, are now trying to defeat all of Karl´s relatives to be able to be elected King. One of the supporters of the dead King Karl are the Archbishop Stefan of Uppsala that have rallied the Uppland Ledung to fight the Kings forces, they meet at a ford...

King pretender Knut Eriksson, House of Erik
1x12 Hird @ 6 points
3x12 Ledung  @ 4 points each

Archbishop Stefan of Uppsala
4x12 Ledung @ 4 points each
1x6 Skärmytslare @ 2 points each

I was commanding the King and David the Archbishop...


The Archbishop and his ledung soldiers...

King pretender Knut Eriksson, House of Erik and his soldiers...

Both forces advance forward the sream to get the best possitions...

The Archbishops men dosen´t keep their formation very well...

...suppouse they are stressed by the mounte Archbisop leading them...

The Archbishop sends some Skärmytslare on a flanking move...

The King pretender havea more ordered advance...

In all his glory King Knut leads his men from the front...

The kings ledung soldiers arrive to the stream first...

...and for a shieldwall, awaiting the enemies to attack...


...
...and they wait...

...at last some enemies approeaches the stream...

...the joy dosn´t last for long as the Skärmytslare start to shot well aimed arrows at the King´s shield wall...

The Kings men hide like sheeps behind their shields...

The Archbishops troops have stoped their advance well beond javelin range...

...cowards !!! the King´s men screaming at the ledung soldiers fighting for the Archbishop.

...but the Archbishps men dosen´t let themself get lured in to the stream...

...They hust look at their Skärmytslare continue to shoot down the Kings men that cant take it any more... 

...they start an advance across the stream to flushout the harassing troops in the forest...

... the Bishops skärmytslare tried to evade but was caught by the Kings men and a tense fight erupt in the forest, the king are sure of a victory!

...BUT...that is another story...

Chocked by the defeat of his ledung soldiers by some pesky skirmishers the King sends another of his units across the stream to secure the leftflank forest...

Both sides start to throw javelins to soften up their enemies...

The Archbishop decide to send one unit as reinforcements on his right flank...

The Kings men charges in to the forest...

...at the same time the remaining of the Kings unit start to cross the stream...

...the King want to settle the score once and for all...

The Archbishop respondes by letting his ledung soldiers blacken the sky with javelins, throwing axe, arrowas and bolts...all on the Kings Hird...

...apperantly a good tactic as the King and his remaining hirdmen are forced to retreat...

...or should we say...flee...

The King pretender Knut on the run...but he will be back and sort the score with the Archbishop...

Indeed anice game where Dady got to eager and the 6 year son advanced carefully and used the fact that hi had skirmishers that could engage my shield wall without needing to get to close and in danger themself... he start to be to good and he is really familliary with the Lion Rampant engine.

More games to come.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

More Swedish Crusaders and Project F



I continue to paint Ledung soldiers for my Swedish Crusader project, BUT they will also be used for the Project F as my matey Jonas are calling our joint secret project. Also our matey Jesper are involved in the Project F, more info to come about that...

Untill then please have a look at thae added Swedish Ledung Soldiers. They are build from the FireFirge foot Sergeants and Gripping Beast Vikings/Saxons and Dark age Warriors, the odd Perry bits have also been used. Of the 36 minis about 20 are newly painted and about 16 are re-used from our Håtunleken club project, but as they looked more or less the same I will use them for both periods. Ofcourse I uses my own 1,2,3 basing system :)












Thursday, January 28, 2016

Polish War 1625-1629 - AAR #2

Here are some pictures from our second game in the new campaign I started up at the club to get further playtest games of the Pikeman´s Lament rules that I and Dan Mersey are working on.

The Campaign revolves around the war between the Swedes and the Poles in 1625-1629 and we have started of during the autum of 1625.

The Polish–Swedish Wars were a series of wars between the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and Sweden. Broadly construed, the term refers to a series of wars between 1563 and 1721. More narrowly, it refers to particular wars between 1600 and 1629.

The Polish–Swedish War of 1625–1629 was the fourth stage (after 1600–1611, 1617–1618, and 1620–1625) in a series of conflicts between Sweden and Poland fought in the 17th century. It began in June 1625 and ended four years later with the Truce of Altmark and later at Stuhmsdorf with the Treaty of Stuhmsdorf.

In 1621, the Swedes besiege and conquered Riga, which attracted attention, as it was the first time a Protestant leaders defeated a Catholic power. The Swedish army was worn and the Poles could regain the initiative at Dorpat. Truce was signed in November 1622 and was extended until March 1625. Any acceptable terms for peace with Poland, could not be reached, so Gustav II Adolf planned a new campaign against Poland, which began in June 1625. Kokenhusen, Birze and Mitau was captured and Dorpat was taken after six days of siege. During the autumn of 1625 two Polish armies appeared against the Swedish forces and Gustav II Adolf decided to get into a clash before the Polish forces managed to unite.

So this is the starting point for our Polish War club campaign.

OOB Swedish

1st Company
Officer Ensign Henrik av Hunneberg "Hammar-Henrik". Hammar-Henrik are a mighty fine Swedish officer that command the forces of the region Västergötaland, he have a fine moustache and pointed berd as the young king.
2x6 Forlorn Hope
2x6 Commanded Shot

2nd Company
Officer Ensigne Tzerclaes Van Kökkenpanne, are a Flemish mercenary officer, the bastard son of a priest. He have turned colours sins his last outing and are now in service of the Swedes...
1x6 Elite trotters
1x12 Elite Shot

3rd Company
Officer Ensign Edmund Darrcounter. Ensign Darrcounter are a Scottich mercenary in swedish service and in command of a Scottish compay.He have a fine moustache and pointed berd as the young Swedish king he really look up to.
1x12 Pike
2x12 Shot

OOB Polish

1st Company
Officer Rotamaster Janosz Kowalski, Kowalski are a real Polish hothead noble man that loves to show of with his Winged Hussrs.
1x6 Elite gallopers
2x6 Elite Dragoons

2nd Company
Officer Ensigne Shere Khan, are a Tatar mercenary officer in the service of the Poles, as all tartars he have a very fine moustache :)
3x6 Elite dragoons

Our second game focused on 2 patrols out on scouting duty, running in to a enemy units but are ordered not to get in to a fight but head back to the main army and repport...dindn´t really go that way...

My matey Gunnar have posted a full AAR on his blog and I only posted the OOB and my pictures here, so please take a visit to Gunnar´s blog to read more about the battle after you had a look at my pictures:)