Sergio's blog: hints, ideas, pictures and news about SDS (and more) from the author

Friday, July 29, 2011

A great reading experience

Just finished to read (I should say devour) Dominic Lieven's "Russia against Napoleon".
A great book: over 400 pages that you cannot stop reading, where the author mixes God's views with worm's views i.e. from ther highly strategical to the single soldier's memories and first hand accounts. Lieven's book shows the Russian Campaign of 1812 (and the following Campaigns of 1813/14) from the Russian point of view, thanks to an enormous amount of sources. The overall picture is therefore much different from what we were accustomed to read about 1812.
The "General Winter's Victory" is much shrinked in Lieven's view and the very detailed analisys of the whole system of recrutiting, victualling and logistics shows how it was Russia - first of all - to win against the bigger Army ever risen until then.
Strongly suggested.
For italian readers: the book has been published in Italy too, but with another title (La tragedia di Napoleone in Russia - Mondadori).

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Some updates

While the poll is going on (thank you to all who voted), I had some very busy day at work, travelling up and down Italy by car. My gaming table is ready for the (third) battle of Retschow, waiting for an opponent (DS Large Battle). Last friday we had a very nice evening at the club: the guys wanted to play something for "pure fun", so I prepared a scenario set in Haiti 1803, where 3 French squads had to inspect a farmhouse after some rumors spread about rebel kidnapping Monsieur Albaine and his family. When French captain Leroux arrived with his men, they discovered a strange looking man with a round hat who started playing a drum...
Soon after a horde of zombies entered the table from 3 sides, surrounding the French soldiers.
I did not tell my friends about this and - more important - they did not know how to kill the zombies... It was really a lot of fun. For this scenario I made 2 palm trees (you can see them in the above pic) and a "colonial style" farmhouse with a small portico in front.

A pic of the final stage of the battle (above) with hand to hand combat raging in front of the house and near the pumpkin field. We used a mix of rules (SDS and Fear & Faith), but zombies were too few. Next time (this friday) we'll change something.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A new poll!

Well, I've been thinking about a new poll for some weeks now, and here it is.
I kindly ask all of you to vote, as it is very important for me to know.
This poll will be about playing time. In other words, how much does a single of your gaming sessions last.
To vote, scroll this page till the end ...

Please give me your feedback!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Books, books, books....

Just received 5 books I bought:

Russia against Napoleon - Dominic Lieven
The Spanish ulcer - David Gates
With Eagles to Glory - John H. Gill
1809 thunder on the Danube, voll.1 and 3 - John H. Gill

I think I could sell my TV on EBay....

Experimental pictures....

Last week my friend Giuseppe came to my lab for some shooting (with his professional camera), so I prepared a small "scenery" with the resources I have.
Before he came, I made some pics with my smartphone and here is one of them.

Then he made some 100 proof pictures trying the different conditions of light, exposure and focus, and below is one of my favourite pics... (click to enlarge)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Other pics from saturday's game

Three more pics from last saturday playtest with Diego. My gaming room with the prepared scenario of Retschow. Above the Allied side of the table with the Divisions Mueller (Mecklemburg + Prussians) and Gen. Jonkoepping Swedish Division near the village of Ivendorf. Below, the French Division of Gen. Loison, with its first Brigade on the left (near the village of Retschow) and the second Brigade (Lallemand) on the right.
The brown line in the middle of the table is the only "line" remaining visible on the table, but it is not necessary anymore: I've done the greeen-yellow-red stick you can see in the upper side of the pic to measure enemy penetration in your own lines.
Below, a view of the Allied starting positions from the French side.
Gen. von Vegesack Reserve (Prussian Hussars and a Battery) is visible on the centre table edge.

Another playtest for DS LB

Last saturday, Diego came from Rome with Massimo for another playtest of Drums & Shakos Large Battles. While we played in my gaming room, Andrea and Massimo did the same in another room with SSS (Song of Spear and Shield). I used again the scenario set up for the previous playtest with Antonio and based on the small battle of Retschow (august 1813, Nothern Germany): a Franco-Danish Division against an Allied Division made of 1 Swedish brigade and a brigade from Mecklemburg. Above, a French Battalion in march column during the early stages of the Battle.
Being the second time I play this scenario I wanted to compare both the outcome and the playing time, as I'm trying to get a game finished in 2,5 hours. Diego already knew the rules, so this was a good possibility to verify my assumptions. Above, march columns of the Allied side, with undeployed skirmishers following their parent battalions.
The Brigade Disruption rule worked well: after some maneuvering, Diego launched his attack (he was playing the French) on my right wing. My Swedish brigade - after a fierce fighting - slowly gave way, and I sent in the Leib-Battalion (in the picture above road marching in column), but to no avail: my losses mounting, I tried to form a second line on a hill, but a fresh "Legere" battalion came out of a wood and hammered my Indelta battalion almost routing it.
That was the end chapter: my Division reached the Break Point and I could do nothing in my subsequent initiative. Playing time was exactly 2.58 hours. Still a bit too much for me, but Diego keeps saying that a game like this is OK in 3 hours or less. If possible, I'd like to play a third time the same scenario (score is now 1:1 between Franco-Danish and Allies) with another minor adjustment that could bring game time down to the 150 minutes I am pursuing....

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Two DS Large Battles playtest sessions

This evening another playtest session of Drums & Shakos Large Battles will take place in my gaming room. I prepared a scenario loosely based on the (small) battle of Retschow (28 august 1813) and I'll play with my friend Antonio. I like this battle because - notwithstanding the lack of info and the sources that sometimes contradict themselves - there is a wide variety of troops within the 2 opposing Divisions: the French (Loison, from XIII Corps) have some Danish batallions and artillery, and the Allied (von Vegesack) division is made half by Swedes and half by Mecklemburgers, with a Prussian Hussar regiment also involved. We'll play the scenario this evening and again next saturday with Diego and Massimo coming from Rome for the purpose.
With 15-16 units per side, this should be the default scale of a battle for DS LB, with 20 units being the max for 2 players. My aim is to have such a battle over in 2,5 hours.

Stay tuned for the report!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Saturday wargaming in Latina (SYW)

Last saturday my friend Antonio and me went to Latina after an invitation from Gualtiero Grassucci, author of the rules "A la Guerre". Gualtiero and his friend Massimo prepared a wonderful scenario (Bergen, 13 april 1759) and we played the whole morning, learning the rules as we went (we just quickly read them the week before). Above, a pic of the battlefield from the Prussian position.
We went to Latina for different reasons: Antonio - who is starting right now his new range in 6mm AWI and SYW - wanted to see the nice collection of Gualtiero and try the game with the great advantage of the author explaining the rules. My aim was to play a SYW battle with a nice ruleset, and learn how some of the period tactics could be reflected in a game. In the pic above, the wooded hill around Vilbel, on the French left.
I must say we were both very satisfied from the trip. Gualtiero and Massimo were extremely kind to spend one entire morning hosting us, and very patient with our low knowledge of the rules. I played with Gualtiero with the Prussians and Massimo shared his French forces with Antonio. Above, the fortified town of Bergen and the cultivated fields surrounding it attacked by my brave Hanoverians...
In all, a very nice trip. A big thank to Gualtiero and to his "A la Guerre" rules!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

SDS Open Day in Tuscany

A very nice initiative of the Club "Falchi del Mugello" was to organize an Open Day (SDS Tournament not valid for the Italian or FIW Championship) for Tuscany players only. A sort of unofficial Regional Championship to be played in one day (4 rounds as usual). Andrea Tognozzi kindly offered his house garden to host the games AND a Barbecue break for lunch :))
Participants to the Open Day from left: Leo, Andrea, Ale, Max, Giovanni, Marco, Filippo (with his son I guess) and Roberto. Giovanni is Marco's son and gained the second position (after his father) in the tourney: really a good start!
And finally, Andrea's father preparing lunch: I suspect this was the REAL reason for the meeting :) more pics on Filippo and WASP blogs (see links)
Great job guys!!!!

Another (full) gaming week-end

After last week end playtest of Drums & Shakos Large Battles (with Diego, Andrea and Massimo chez moi), we felt the need to try immediately the new rules I made, so Diego came again to Terni from Rome on saturday to play another battle.
The results were beyond my best expectations, and now the Large Battle rules need just some minor adjustment and details.
I am very proud of my new combat system (different from that of SDS) and of the action/reaction sequence, which gives the game a different feel from usual Song games.
Unfortunately, I made no pics (I was too busy taking notes :).

Sunday july 3rd, Diego, Massimo, Paolo and Andrea went to playtest Song of Spear and Shield in Canino (Viterbo) where Narciso lives.
From left: Diego, Andrea, Massimo, Paolo and Narciso. SSS is the large skirmish Ancient ruleset that Andrea is finalizing right now. It should be released soon.

Another event that took place on Sunday was the Open SDS Tuscany Tournament in Agliana.
The event was organised by the club "Falchi del Mugello" from Florence in the garden of Andrea's house, with a BIG barbecue between games. More about this soon......