Monday, November 28, 2016

BLB GNW game - variations on a theme

Russian Battering guns pound the 2B BuA hamlet between turns 1-6

When Bob came over on Sunday for one of our rare games I decided to smooth out the last couple of amendments to the new version on Beneath the Lily Banners with some revisions to both hard cover target and SHAKEN rules.

The Russian Army

I had been busily basing more Russians for the GNW during the previous week and decided it would be a nice chance to get the GNW stuff out and rehearse for TACTICA 2017 in Hamburg.

As a variation on a theme I thought it would be a bit of wheeze to have a large Russian force attempt to storm a weaker Swedish army intent on defending its position.

To add extra spice I change three important things:

The Swedish infantry had no pikes - they were entrenched and defending so I assumed all pikemen had been sent to the rear.

We gave the Swedes no cavalry! - this was quite radical and I wondered if we'd gone a bit too far!

Finally, the Swedes were given a fair amount of artillery - three light guns and a field gun.

We also placed a 2B Built up area as a forward defence for the Swedes.

Wot? No pike? No Cavalry? and.. Swedish guns

All of the Swedish infantry battalions were of 12 models (except the BuA garrison), had no pikes and were graded as Veteran with two battalions of the Guards and one of Guard Grenadiers graded as Elite. The garrison had 18 models and attached to one of the light guns was a 6 model detachment of infantry. All Swedish units had flintlock muskets.

Russian left with the Guards who died to a man in front of a Swedish battery

The Russians had ten battalions of 18 models - six were Drilled, the Preobrazhenskoi Guards were Drilled Elite, three were Raw, all had flintlocks and one battalion was All musket.
In addition the Russians had a two squadron Dragoon regiment (Drilled) and a two model Battering gun detachment.

The first attack by a brigade that was to reform twice to deliver the final attack

The kicker proved to be the randomization of commander quality. The Swede was Inspiring and the Russian a Plodder.

Over the 22 turn game the Russians failed to get any movement seven times and on at least a further six turns their movement was 25%. The Swedes coasted to 100% movement for between a quarter and a third of the turns!

The Russian right wing

The game unfolded in an intriguing way. The 6 x 4 table meant that the Russian heavy battery was within short range of the BuA right from the start and pounded it mercilessly. I sensed Bob's trepidation of impeding disaster as the guns minced the garrison for the first three turns... how wrong those gut instincts can be!

The first successful object of Russian attention - the village with Veteran garrison

Devastated by two battering guns at close range, garrison reinforcements are sent

The garrison about to flee, the Swedes pushed more infantry forward to stop the rot

The Swedes charged panicking the 1st Battalion

Village empty, Swedes thrown back but Russians take a wobble

Having used the battering cannon to support my infantry in chasing the garrison out of the village (in fact annihilating them) the attack I was teeing up on the main Swedish line had to be reformed twice before a final depleted and desperate assault by three battalions almost carried the breastworks before collapsing completely.

The first attack on the centre develops well

Another view with Dragoons and Foot checking against the Swedish left redoubt

Another shot of the Russian right with some venerable Dragoons painted 20 years ago.

From the 'mighty' army which lined up so handsomely at 1330 hours, only three battalions stood before the breastworks at 1700 to try and assault a Swedish force hanging on by its collective finger tips. Having got one battalion over the breastworks, supporting charges failed to carry the day and the Russian attack collapsed leaving a single intact battalion in a Mexican stand off with a hungry looking unit of Swedish Grenadiers  on the Swedish extreme right.

A collapse of the first attack - domino effect.. so frustrating!

Most of the day's casualties came from the devastating artillery fire of three light and one field gun  on the Swedish side and the two Battering guns on the Russian side.

Two Russian battalions died to a man less than five inches from the Swedish line having never fired a shot - The  1st Battalion of the Preobrazhenskoi  Guards and the 1st Battalion of the Novgordskoi Regiments both went down without faltering.. what a waste!

Nearly there on the Russian left - the Swedes are exposed

This almost worked but the battalion was raked by flanking light artillery fire

Total Russian losses (mostly from artillery it must be added) were 97 models whilst total Swedish losses were 48 models - almost exactly half. The total Swedish strength was 84 models and 4 guns whilst Russian strength was 192 models and 2 guns. Only a single squadron of dragoons and one battalion plus the guns were left in good order on the Russian side by the close of turn 22.

The reformed brigade lines up for the final attack

High water mark the Swedish gun position was overrun in this charge

second charge goes in against the Life Guards

If only this charge has gone in!

So near yet so far - the Swedes are triumphant - well done Toggy!

We were averaging 4.5 turns per hour or 13 minutes per turn. Interesting, because it was not a small game. Someone asked us at Crisis why BLB took over 60 minutes per turn.. answer.. I don't know! Maybe the person running their game had not read the rules!

Toggy and I concluded the following:

1. Having a Plodder for a Commander is not good for an attacking army - we are very bright chaps!
2. Swedes can use artillery very successfully!
3. Battering guns within close range of a BuA is definitely the way to go!
4. BLB III is very intuitive and runs even more smoothly than BLB II
5. We need to game more often
6. Always keep your camera charged! - had to resort to iPhone for last few shots!

Although I did not apply all the GNW amendments and special rules the game played fast, smooth and was exciting. We both commented that until the last turn it was anybody's to win.


  1. Looks like a great game and Toggy was raving about it when he phoned, really peed off I missed it.

  2. Perhaps BLB3 will see a sample Russian Army?

    1. Edward, BLB3 actually marks a slightly different direction for us. We've been calling it BLB3 for the sake of expediency. The book will actually be called 'Beneath the Lily Banners - The War of Three Kings' and will focus on the Jacobite conflict in Ireland and Scotland. In doing this we were able to streamline the rules by not worrying with things that didn't appear there. For instance there is probably only one unit worthy of the Guard title in the entire campaign, yet there are modifiers and special for Guards scattered through al of the charts. We were able to move the rule for Guards to the section on optional rules. There are also no 'native' troops or bows on the battlefield which further removed extra stuff to sift through.

      As you can see from the post, the core rules are perfectly suited to running period conflicts in other areas. However - and I'm breaking news here as I don't think it's been mentioned publicly - there will be another book, 'Beneath the Lily Banners - Something to Do With Swedes and Russians' (hmmm... that needs work) that will focus on the GNW with modifications to better reflect that conflict, new troops like Cossacks, etc. The the core rules will be the same with admendments and the same streamlining for this conflict. The layouts will be in a similar style to tie the books together so it will be relatively quick to produce.

      It will also be filled with lovely photos of Swedes and Russians!

  3. A great game, with a very different Swedish force to normal.The new way BLB3 is dealing with troop quality really moves the game on & c for raw troops gives a very realistic feel of what they would achieve on the field of battle.
    Battering guns near built up areas are not nice if you're guys are inside it, although my little Swedish pop guns did there own damage to several Russian units.

    Can't wait for the next game Barry & DOB

  4. Looked a great game, can't wait for BLB3

  5. This was a good 'un - we cracked through it but stopped a lot to chat, take pix, eat quiche and apparently - cake mix ??

    The way the rules play now there was no need even for the play sheet - I took this as a very good sign.

    If we'd stuck at it and not arsed about we could possibly have run another game in the time period available.

    1. "Apparently cake mix?" I have the photographic evidence you bowl licker. 8-)

  6. He is a wee sweetie wife Toggy you know....where has he put the evidence?

  7. Great game again guys! Any clue for us across the pond of when you will be willing to part us from our hard earned greenbacks for this BLB3 delight? ;) I am salivating at the thought...

    1. End of winter/early spring 2017... the writing is in the tweaking and editing phase and we are starting layouts and photography now. I still need to do a cover painting, but that only takes a couple of weeks once I get serious. We should have some sample pages and be ready to preview some of the rule changes (some of that's been done already if you search through the blog) by the end of the year.

  8. Wonderful news Gents! I am looking forward to this, and so is my friend Jeff, of Historicon Boat infamy!

    1. Is that the famous Cap'n 'Rudderless' Jeff? :)

  9. It sure is! He is my gaming partner over here, we tend to motivate each other to paint all that lace!

  10. Barry,

    It looks like you had a great game, I can't wait to get my GNW collection to a point where i can start gaming with it and i am looking forward to getting my hands on another set out of the BLB stable


  11. Wow! Love the big game scene...especially within this period. I've been on re-basing kinda kick on/off through the summer for my GNW figs to match the two variants of BLB; will the basing remain the same for the upcoming, "Beneath the Lily Banners - Something to Do With Swedes and Russians"?

    Both projects sounds very exciting, and like all here, will be waiting in anticipation to roll my armies out with the new/updated systems.

    Thank for the update and the many pictures.

  12. Basing is the same Greg.. don't sweat that!

  13. It would be an interesting game to try out with both our Cossack collections taking on a Swedish force.

    1. Dave I'm just starting a Polish force to give the Swedes another opponent.

    2. we'd probably need a boat load more Cossacks Dave!

  14. Bob, have you seen the Assault Group Poles? they produce a lovely range.

    1. Dave I have only seen the website pictures, not in the flesh.
      I agree the figures look great, less keen on the horses.
      For now I've gone for Warlord Hussars & Foundry Pancerni/light horse.
      Will see how far we go with the army as too whether I expand any more.

  15. Great looking game. The Russian steppes wasteland-style mat looks very effective underneath the beautifully painted and based figures. Hope to see this or another GNW game in action at Tactica Hamburg next February. Plans are afoot... Peter

    1. We have definitely decided on a GNW set up somewhat grander in scale than last year's bijouterie.

      We think somewhere in the region of 15 battalions of Russians and of course... some Swedes :)

  16. Looks great, BLBIII "Something about Swedes and Russians" might be worth exploring!

  17. ''Three Kings", "Something about Swedes and Russian", and I hope "Somewhere in Flanders".

    1. Well, yes, but that means having Barry write about Marlborough and possibly sparking off a riot (again). In any case that wouldn't be until 2018. There will probably also be smaller 'Wars in Distant Lands' supplements for King Williams War, Adventures in Tangeir, etc. but those might just be PDF's and would still require one of the core books.

      Uniform guides, scenario books... we have LOTS of things planned and in various stages of completion. Unfortunately there are only two of us and both of our jobs can be a bit disruptive at times. Hopefully 2017 will be an exciting year!

  18. I am already on the run from the Marlpologist Cult... hiding in a culvert near you! Cooo eee! :)


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