Friday, 25 November 2011

The Seldom Seen Kid

I can't quite believe it's August since I last posted on the blog.  I know I said we were in for a quiet period but three months is pushing it.  To be honest it hasn't been particularly quiet in the garage either, as despite the campaign being delayed due to Neil being unavailable for a variety of reasons, we've still managed to get a few games played.  I think we've actually only missed the one week when I was up at the Wargames Holiday Centre for a Peninsular campaign.  So why the prolonged absence?  Well first and foremost sheer laziness on my part, on numerous occasions I've sat down at the PC to start a new blog entry but somehow never actually got anything done.  It's true that I did feel that the blog was getting a little repetitive with similar battle reports and and photo's being posted each week but I've had a few enquiries regarding it's absence and so here goes.

Prussian Landwehr painted by Neil Sheardown make their entry.

We've spent a few games lately testing out tweaks to the rules we use which are "In The Grand Manner" or ITGM.  These rules have been around now for thirty years or more and were designed to allow large scale battles using lots of figures.  Not everyones idea of wargaming heaven but they work very well for the sort of games that we like to put on.  If you're not familiar with the rules then much of the following will make only a little sense, on the other hand if you are an ITGM player some of it may seem like heresy.

Another shot of the Landwehr.  The figures are all from Calpe Miinatures and are in my opinion the best there are by a country mile.  I just wish that Calpe would expand their Saxon range.

    Ok so what are the changes that we're play testing?  Firstly we've decided to stop allowing artillery (including the howitzers) to fire over the heads of friendly troops.  It almost never happened and when it did there were specific circumstances which made it possible.  The benefit of this is that players have to think much more about where they deploy their guns.  The old tactic of sticking a battery on a convenient hilltop now only works if you have a clear lane of fire to the target. 
    Next, we're enforcing the 2" rule for target classification.  Basically if troops are within 2" of each other then they become a bigger target for artillery and are therefore easier to hit.  This rule has always been around but I for one have never seen it used, it was paid lip service by simply leaving a smaller gap to indicate that units were separated.  We haven't yet really seen enough of this to be able to make a judgement but it certainly does make for a better looking game without the huge phalanxes of troops clumping forwards.

Austrian Jaeger advance warily towards an enemy occupied village.

Towns and villages haven't escaped our scrutiny and we've decided to try out something from the original edition of the rules by only allowing up to fifty percent of village occupants to fire out of any one side.  Again this is still in the early stages and my suspicion is that Russians in particular with their lower firing ability will prove to be relatively easy to "shoot out" of a village by a battalion in line.  This could lead to players defending villages from behind which would cause problems of its own.  However time will tell and it might stop villages from becoming the black holes that can often develop into, sucking in more and more men until the battle is won and lost on a single massive melee.

A Russian held village which can effectively fire only 14 men attempting to out shoot a 36 man battalion supported by 12 skirmishers.

Probably the biggest change we're trying out involves skirmishers, which under the current rules have become a fourth arm, equally as important as the cavalry, artillery and line infantry.  They are able to act almost completely independently and are often seen racing from one place to another in order to engage the juiciest targets.  What we're proposing is that skirmishers were open order troops whose task was to screen their supporting infantry, counteract the enemies skirmishers and harass their line.  With this in mind we've restricted skirmishers to operating to the front of their supporting infantry.  They must also be in visual contact with their supports who in turn must be formed troops.  They are no longer exempt from morale tests in hard cover and even when manning a skirmish building must have supporting troops within 12".

French Heavy cavalry to the rescue supported by line lancers and a horse battery.

    As I've said all of these tweaks are being play tested and we'll continue to do so for some time before anything is accepted as an amendment.  If you are a member of the ITGM yahoo group I'd be happy to give more details and even attempt some justification online.
    That's all for now hopefully it won't be another three months before I post again, oh and the title for the post comes from a favourite album of mine by Elbow, it seemed apt.