30 November, 2011

Bad Moon Rising

A second patrol, led by Lieutenant Boggs sets out to locate the Reverend Johnston.

The Patrol

Strung out in the jungle, Boggs leads from the middle (by the book) armed only with a pistol

Lieutenant Boggs leads from the middle

He splits the patrol into two teams, able to support each other, but not liable to be hit all at once

Patrol splits in two

There's a Spinosaurus on the other side of the ridge

Spinosaurus on the other side of the ridge

It rushes to the other side of rocky outcrop where it can see the Marines

Rushes to other side of rocky outcrop

Rearward team clambers up onto a ridge from where it can engage the Spinosaurus over the head of the others

Rearward team clambers up

The Lewis Gun gets into action - state of the art firepower

Lewis Gun in action

But what's this behind them - sneaky raptors!

They're behind you

And a surprise lurker on top of the ridge - the native warrior lunges at the Lewis gunner, knocking the weapon out of his grasp (to shatter on the way down the rocks)

Surprise lurker

While the Marines atop the ridge struggle with the warrior, the two Raptors creep closer

Creeping up

Though the Lewis Gunner is killed before the Marines can drive the warrior off, they turn their attention on the Spinosaurus who withdraws behind some cover (They reckon they've just made it mad!)

Now it's annoyed

The order is given to move out...

Move out

but it's too late to get away from the surprisingly speedy Spinosaurus. Supporting fire from the ridge wounds its leg and drives the beast off (for now),

Too late to get away

They withdraw to higher ground - but they're cut off by the Raptors, who finally make their move

Withdrawal to high ground cut off

They survive, killing one and maiming another (thankfully avoiding friendly fire in the fierce melee). But now they've got big company

Got company

RAWR! A carefully aimed shotgun to the head puts the giant creature down


Back on the ridge, a newly arrived Raptor jumps up - it's driven back to the ground by a drumload of Tommy Gun rounds

Surprising agility

The Marines clamber down and the Lieutenant puts a bullet in the beast's head. They keep going up the trail in an attempt to catch up with the lead team

Back to Work

They've reached the other side of the ridge having come in contact with a Raptor on the way down

Still no sign of Johnston

They're caught awares as they check around for Johnston - another native spears Jones in the back

Caught unawares

Two Raptors pounce on Boggs and his men as they pass by the Spinosaurus' carcass, they kill one

More Raptors

The other Raptor runs off into the undergrowth to think on a different approach

Hide and Seek

As it comes around for another look, Boggs and Mitchell stay motionless and very quiet - the Raptors runs past

Be Very Quiet

At the bottom of the ridge another ambuscade results in a dead Marine, Gooch sees off the native with his shotgun

Stabbed in the back

But he's leapt on by the circling Raptor as he reloads his shotgun

Shotgun vs Raptor

Boggs and Mitchell rush past the warriors, making every round count - even accounting for the Raptor still feasting on the body of Gooch

Another surprise]

Finally the two find Johnston: "let's get out of here"


One last visitor is shot down as it crosses the open ground towards them

One last visitor

*whew* A nightmare for the Marines - very straightforward at the beginning (although the Spinosaurus did better than usual!) and amazingly enough three of the five Marine dead were accounted for by native warriors!
I'm upgrading Boggs to 'hero' for this; killing two Raptors with his pistol - we'll even give him a sub-machine gun for the trip back to the boat!

Final game of Solopalooza - I'll definitely be doing more of this (though my preference will remain for human opponents other than me!)

29 November, 2011

Exercise of Arms

I've written these Thirty Years War rules (modifications really) for Command & Colours: Napoleonics.

Warfare of mid-seventeenth century is often referred to as “Pike and Shot” recognizing the important relationship in an infantry formation between pikemen and firearms. EXERCISE OF ARMS attempts to give flavour to the style of use and respective strengths of these arms, while conceding the emphasis placed upon cavalry during this period.
Some additional modifications are foreseen after a significant round of play-testing. Pike to Shot ratios, mixed cavalry units of Kurassiers and Arkebusiers and such should probably be covered in more detail.
The presence of militia and lifeguard units should be easy to represent – C&C Napoleonics already does this.

For larger battles (on an Epic or Breakthrough map) a mechanism to model the use of brigades – according to system – would be necessary.

Further revisions will take place, paying closer attention to the later stages of the Thirty Years War and to the British Civil Wars. Any comments or suggestions are most welcome.

Download the PDF

28 November, 2011

Combat at Aire

Wellington’s victorious army was too tired to give immediate chase to the defeated French after the Battle of Orthez, but Wellington did dispatch General Hill with two divisions of infantry, a cavalry brigade and horse artillery to deny the French time to regroup. Hill caught up with General Clausel’s rear guard at Aire. Marshall Soult ordered Clausel, with two divisions, to hold Aire long enough to allow Soult’s artillery stores and ammunition to be moved out of harm’s way.

The French hold the ridge line overlooking the River Grave. The British and Portuguse allies have made a crossing in the centre but their flanks have still to cross the bridges

Combat at Aire

The British left begin the crossing in force. The French opposite are heavily outnumbered and their artillery battery is positioned behind the ridge near the Seminary

British cross the Bridge

The French lights in the centre try to hold back the British advance, in cooperation with the line units further to their right

French try to hold back the advance

Over on the French left, the heavy Dragoons advance to the bridge, threatening the Portuguese Cacadores

French cavalry on the left flank

A well-coordinated attack on the French right repulses the British back across the river with serious losses

British repulsed

Back on the other flank, an ill-advised French attack across the bridge forces the Portuguese into square but leaves them open to counterattack by the Horse Artillery and cavalry

Savage cavalry Engagement

The Portuguese counter-attack across the river (over the defeated French dragoons) is initally successful but then driven back to the river

Portuguese Hussars driven back

The Portuguese have the reserves to win this engagement and soon the French line are fighting for their lives at point blank range, with their retreat cut off!

Portuguese force their way across the bridge

One last throw of the dice - a stirring bayonet charge in the centre almost shatters the Allied line, and while it destroys the Portuguese threat there they are able to reform on the other side of the river

Last French hurrah in the centre

A nice battle indeed though a victory for the Allies; this was replayed with six players (each taking one section) and despite almost total ruin for the French we pulled it out of the bag for victory 6-5 at the last gasp!

22 November, 2011

To the Boat!

Having located the lone Sampson, with nothing but his rifle, a few rounds and a canteen, Baxter turns back for the river.

The (hastily requisitioned and armed) Navy Gunboat Visayas waits at anchor on the St. Paul river

The Navy Waits

Commanded by Ensign Newbolt, he's ordered the crew to make ready for a fight and bring up ready ammunition for the deck gun

Gunboat Crew

Baxter's Patrol returning with Sampson

Baxter's Patrol returning with Sampson

In a bid to make contact with the gunboat crew ashore as quickly as possible, Norton races ahead of the main group

Norton races ahead

In his haste, he's ambushed by a native warrior, but Norton sidesteps him with ease, ducking under the thrown spear


Meanwhile back on the ridge, two large Achillobators are moving in

Achillobators moving in

Norton reaches the Shore Party, and breathless convinces them to return with him - he knows what's hunting Baxter and his men

Norton reaches Shore Party

An Allosaurus has been trailing them all morning!

Allosaurus following

With them in sight for once, it races over the ridgeline and towers above them

Towering above them

The Marines are beset on all sides - and their last minute firing has little effect on the creatures

Beset on all sides

Jackson is torn in half by the Allosaurus, and one of the Achillobators kills Hill too. Baxter smacks the beast in front of him with the stock of his shotgun but that only serves to annoy it!

Jackson torn in half

Norton leads the Shore Party back up the trail - time is of the essence

Back up the Trail

Sampson has backed away and, taking careful aim with his rifle hits the Achillobator attacking Baxter - the round hits its head and renders it punch-drunk. Baxter takes the opportunity to sprint away from the mayhem

Baxter and Sampson survive and run

The two groups meet up and with thing quietening down, they creep into the undergrowth to try to evade the terrible lizards

They Meet up

As they move past a still pool, a crocodile surges out of the water - the same "albino alligator" which nearly got Norton two days earlier

That same Albino Alligator

The beasts give chase, but this time the Marines and Seamen are ready for them - they open fire to deadly effect

Giving Chase

Even the Allosaurus has been slain - they wade out to the gunboat

To the Gunboat

Quite pleased with this game - and the tweaks that make Perilous Trail a solo game.

More to follow - has the other Marine patrol found the Reverend Johnston?

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