Sunday, March 30, 2014

Hearts of Tin

It has been too long since my last post.  I have not been gaming too much.  This changed Saturday, when Rob Baldwin and Rob Keefe came over.  This was the subject of some interest to my wife, because my regular gaming group has two guys named Jaye and two guys named Scott.  She was wondering if there were only certain names allowed for wargamers.

Rob Baldwin and I have been working on 1/72nd ACW plastic figures.  We got them cheap at a Hobby Lobby, but they appear to be closing them out.  I bought the last two packs at the local store last week.  In fact, because we used Litko bases, the bases were more expensive than the figures.

We were using Hearts of Tin, by Ross McFarlane.  His blog is Battle Game of the Month, a blog I always read when a new post arrives.

Actually, Ross had changed the rules a couple of times since we first started on this, as we not the speediest painters around.  This resulted in changing the unit size from 5 stands to 4 on the day of the battle,

It was a meeting engagement, mostly because I didn't know enough about the rules to balance any other kind of scenario.  Control of the crossroads was the point of the battle.  The roads are just yellow felt.  I ran out of time for making the terrain, just barely finishing the fences.

We each had 2 brigades, one of three units and one of four.  They each had an artillery battery attached.  In Ross's rules you roll a die for the commander (in our case each brigade had a command figure) and that is the number of orders you get that turn.  It generally was not enough.  Each infantry unit got 3 actions it could perform. These included moving 4 inches, firing, etc.

I put the larger brigade on the right flank, which turned out to be a mistake.  There was insufficient space for them to manuever, and they were fairly ineffective till too late in the battle.

You fire by regiment.  Each one, at least for long range fire, gets one die no matter how many stands they have.  So even units that are worn down get the same fire as a fresh unit.  A 4-6 causes a hit.  The target unit rolls a die and saves on a 4-6.  An artillery unit fires the same as a regiment, although with longer range.  We did not get close enough to do close range firing/attack, where the unit throws as many dice as it has stands.  That is where the numbers will start to tell.

In the end, my left flank crumbled.  If you cause enough stand casualties that one side is to half their number of stands, then that side loses.  Rob got me to half and won the game.  All in all, a fun time.  We discussed how you could modify the long range fire so that smaller units would be less effective.  A -1 modifier per stand loss would do it, and a single stand unit could not effectively fire at long range.  There also seemed to be no special rules for counter battery fire.  Both of my batteries were destroyed by hits they couldn't save.  We weren't sure that it should be the same as for infantry fire, so we just played it like it was.

We then played another game, this time using a set of rules Rob Keefe has  been working on.  By this time I forgot to take pictures.  Rob Keefe's rules used a similar method of activating units, but there was also an overall commander who could give points to his subordinates.  It also cost a pip to move a leader.

The combat was bloodier.  You threw a die per stand, and killed on a 5 or 6, no saving throws.  The battle was very bloody, and I eked out a win at the last.

It was a good time.  Rob and Rob, who had not met prior to this game, discovered that they lived about 2 blocks apart in Lawrence, about 45 minutes from my house.