I bloody hate cavalry...… I have been sitting looking at the same cavalry unit for the best part of three weeks, if I can't break the back of them tomorrow they might have to be bounced from the queue for a while. I am not sure if it's the mass of horse flesh or the fact that I have glued the riders on first, something that I don't normally do in the painting process. Do we all have a touch of OCD when it comes to painting? Meanwhile we had a crack at Osprey's latest card game, a two player game with a number of missions from D-Day to play through, you use your cards to grab the initiative and use your squads to grab objectives I must admit it was a real blast and felt very realistic, very much a band of brothers feel to it, the early missions contain only rifle squads, but later missions introduce MG's Mortars and snipers.MG's are great at pinning troops, mortars are flaming nasty and you need to get a move on once the targeting round lands. Stick and move is the name of the game.Send your scouts out to cl
Last weekend saw a fine days gaming down in the Cotswold in the town of Northleach, now not only famous for the BBC's This Country but also a day of summer gaming before the autumn sets in. All credit to Keith Flint (of "Honours of War" fame) for organising there were 8 games on offer and over 30 gamers in attendance.The day was a very relaxed affair with players encouraged to try the various games on offer and Stuart Asquith was on hand to award various prizes on the day.I did not get to spend as much time as I would have liked around the other tables, but here's a selection of some of the great games on offer.For our part we hosted a Haitian rescue, with the French army looking to free the civilians from the church to get them to the port, whilst the rebellious slaves and the free people look to kill or capture them.Thanks to Nigel for taking part, by the end he was playing like a Sharp Practice veteran.It was a close run affair with both sides thinking they had it in the bag at various times of the da
The summer months are always a testing time with campaigns as the lag between games can kill off peoples interests or the gap between games is extended the Pearl of Antilles campaign in Haiti is no different. There is also the risk that as the action hots up that the number of games makes the gap between moves to long to combat this the plan was to dice for some of the smaller games.Within the Dawn and Departure campaign rules I adopted the simple dice mechanism with a couple of tweaks.When attacked, an Outpost may elect to stand and fight, or may choose to retire.If an Outpost elects to simply withdraw, it rolls 1D6. On a roll of 1 or 2, the troops from the Outpost will simply disperse and play no more part in the campaign. On a roll of 3 to
On July 4, 1863, the Union cavalry was in hot pursuit of the Confederate army retreating from Gettysburg. Judson Kilpatrick’s division had information about a rebel wagon train making its way through the South Mountains and set out to capture the wagons. Due to a rainstorm, the Union troopers arrived at the approaches to Monterey Pass in the evening. When they slowly made their way up the pass road, a lone Confederate cannon opened fire. Thus started the Battle of Monterey Pass, one of the most dramatic small cavalry actions of the Gettysburg campaign. The unusual circumstances – a fight at night, in very difficult terrain, while a torrential rainstorm was raging – made this “a night never to be forgotten”, as one participant in the action later wrote. For Sharp Practice, I have decided to divide the action into three parts. This was a playtest for the first part, the approach to the pass road and the Confederate ambush. The results of the game will have an effect on the next sce
Day 10 and with a fresh player taking control of Henri Christophe in the south of the island things are starting to hot up.The forces of General Jean-Jacques Dessalines (Gold) continue their expansion through out the region with another village - St Louis du Sud falling under his control.The British hold firm at Pestel as the South West of the island starts to become somewhat crowded.The Republicans continue to hold rallies and petition the people to show free will, but take no aggressive actions whilst on the other side of the mountain Rigaud's forces can be seen marching West along the coast from Jacmal.Our new player Henri Christophe has sent out a flurry of orders, his men set about their new orders with great vigour with troops scurrying here and there.In the North of the island Gen Louverture continues his advance into the territory of Georges Biassou, his skirmish troops push him hard. Louverture pushes his skirmishers forward keeping the pressure on Biassou. Biassou throws a shielding force to halt th
Jean - Charles a name given to him by his plantation owner peered out from the sugar field looking across the estate, an estate that had for so long been his home if you can call 25 years of slavery and imprisonment home. But free he was now and he was not going to let the Spaniards return him to a life of slavery.Having been beaten a few days before the next engagement in the Pearl of Antilles Campaign is a further engagement between the Spanish and the slave army of Princess Amethyste in the north of the Island.The battle is a fighting withdrawal with the Slave forces seeking to delay the Spanish by giving them a bloody nose before falling back.The Spanish had learned much since their last encounter with Jean - Charles one of Princesses Amethyste's most trusted lieutenants. They knew the freed slaves would be waiting for them anywhere on the table, with numerous plantation houses and slave quarters. The enemy could ambush them from anywhere, but the Spanish had a one advantage they had recruited a local man
With the varnish just about dry the Spanish Black Militia make it to the table top for the battle between the Spanish regulars and the rebellious slaves of Princess Amethyste.The full battle report should be up this weekend.Some great castings from the guys at Trent, at the moment only enough to make up an Irregular skirmish unit, but eventually I will paint up the remaining 14 to give me a couple of militia stands.Let's hope the curse of freshly painted figures can be broken... :-)Next up.... something a little more modern.
With a change of job just around the corner, I seem to have a little more time on my hands in the evenings, which is good as the Spanish won't paint themselves, with a self imposed deadline of Thursday evening I wanted to ensure these were off the paint table.Within the campaign setting they will be regulars in sections of 8. I have a couple of Big men to bolster the ranks with a couple of mounted figures to come later. As usual the Infantry are from Trent Miniatures, with Officers and drum from Front Ranks Spanish Range, they are a good match once painted and based.The Spaniards whilst a major player in the region seem to be somewhat overlooked in terms of history and documented accounts, I suspect because they seem to be on the losing side in a number of the encounters. There may be some Spanish text but I have not been able to track down much.Here's my take on events pulled from a couple of different sources for those interested.Once the French Revolution reached Haiti shores it's impact was bound to sprea
Try as he might Georges Biassou could not shake off Louverture and his forces, they were better organised, armed and trained after yesterdays initial Biassou's slave forces had been forced back. But before they could reorganise the lead elements of Louverture were amongst his pickets.George Biassou called his men out it was an all out attack...He would be defending the left hand side of the table while the General would come on from the right.So the scene is set. Biassou knew where the loyalists would be advancing from so rallied his men seeking the best ground he could in the limited time available to him.He had high ground to his right and a small orchard to his left. The battlefield was littered with slave shacks and small plots of merger crops. Biassou ordered his men forward.Biassou ordered his men up to the wooded ridge but the going was tough and despite his urging his men struggled to make progress up the steep incline.On the far right his skirmish troops grabbed cover in a small plot of crops and awa
The orders are in and after a lull to reinforce. The fight for control of the Pearl of the Antilles is underway once more.Across the island the various protagonists make their moves.The British under Thomas Maitland continue their onward march along the peninsula knowing that the day will soon come that they will have to engage the defenders of the island. Meanwhile the Republicans and Free Mulattos under Andre Rigaud continue to view each other with suspicion waiting for each other to make a mistake or show their hand.To the North the French Planters ready themselves for future engagements. After the attack by rebellious slaves at Bahon, they scout the surrounding area for the enemy to establish their number and directions of potential attack. Dutty Boukman and his forces bloodied but unbowed spread around the surrounding high ground and cut the routes back to the regional capital. If the Planters are to receive future reinforcements they are going to have to force their way through the slave lines
Bolstered by reinforcements General Toussaint Louverture launched his offensive on the riotous slaves of Georges Biassou. Tensions had been building since the the war broke out, Baissou had moved to forces to defend the border at the Los Trois river, however Louverture had found a crossing point undefended and had caught the slave forces in the flank.Louverture significantly outnumbered the defenders and had spent wisely with both a secondary and moveable deployment point, the table was a scattering of slave huts and the occasional plantation field.Biassou's force was limited with 3 sections of militia a handful of skirmishers. They had been bolstered by a mass of unarmed slaves keen to defend their newly found freedom.The insurgent forces positioned their deployment point behind the orchard and were quick to throw their skirmish troops into the wooded area just as the first unit of Haitian loyalists appeared on the road to their left letting off an opening volley. The insurgents ducked for cover but their in
After a week of campaigning the various factions spend their Sunday reorganising and regrouping, from an umpires perspective it's interesting to see the various recruitment strategies taking place, mass troops, retraining or saving for bigger and better in future weeks.A number of players are realising that the typical losses are not bloody as first thought and losses can quickly return to the fray, it also means you need to keep the pressure on opponents especially given the chance to over run their camps and catch valuable supplies and perhaps kill or capture the wounded.Welcome to Week 2 in Haiti.The British under Thomas Maitland continue their relentless advance they have bolstered their number and pass through the occasional gathering of huts without stopping to garrison such insignificant locations in their single focus on joining the fight. On the evening of the 8th they arrive at Pestel.The stand off continues further east with the Republicans and Mulattos continuing their standoff
These seem to have been on the paint table for such a long time but finally they make an appearance, just in time for the latest campaign outing. I knew there was a reason why I was running it.They represent troops of the Guyane Regiment garrisoned in Saint Domingue from 1790 - 1792To separate the Royalists from the Revolutionary French, I gave them the round hats I could always paint in a tricolour cockade if they switch sides later in the war. I wanted these to have a far more "lived" in feel to them, perhaps out in the mountains for several days or those who have been garrisoned on the island just a little to long.The figures were from Trent Miniatures again originally from the Polish packs but with colonial cavalry heads added in.This is the supporting plate. Its the gentleman in the background on the far left who seems to be far less formal. Next up more early French, I have a hankering to paint up Pondichery Regiment on the right....
The sun sets on day 6 as factions go into a day of recruiting but not before in the North of Haiti the Slave army of Dutty Boukman attacks the French forces holding the Fort at Bahon.... In later years there was an extensive building programme to defend against future French invasions, but bad news for the Viscount de Blanchelande the fort on our battle won't be this impressive. The French Royalist forces whilst out numbered perhaps as much as 2:1 do have the advantage of defending and have the newly acquired cannon to add to their forces.But the Slave forces are lead by the infamous Dutty Boukman.Boukman born in Jamaica he was sold to a plantation in Saint-Domingue after he was caught teaching enslaved Africans to read. The moniker “Bookman/Boukman” was an indication of how slave owners viewed enslaved Blacks at the time who knew how to read.One of the early leaders of the revolution he said to have declared at one of the meetings at Bois-Caimon, "God who has created the shining sun above
On the occasion of my birthday, I invited Sigur, Virago and Stephan to a big game of Sharp Practice. I’ve always wanted to play a game with four players and more units than usual and this was a perfect opportunity to try this. Our forces’ objective was to confiscate a whiskey distillery. Both had a wagon to transport the destillery as well as an assortment of infantry and one unit of cavalry. Sigur and Virago played the Confederates, while Stephan and I took the Union. I split the commands, Virago and Stephan playing the C-in-Cs and each getting three Leaders (apart from Sigur, who had four). I took the opportunity to field my 5th New York Zouaves, a colourful troop I just finished painting. Deployment started a bit slow for the Confederates. They were still crossing the bridge while the Union cavalry was rushing forward and Col. Bendix (Stephan) moving his men into line and into the field. As my cavalry was rather wimpy in close combat, I had them dismount and advance on foot. When SigurR