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

Monday, August 26, 2013

Medieval warriors are back

After many years painting (or should I say NOT painting?) Napoleonic miniatures I returned to medieval figures thanks to 100 dice. In other words, I'm painting a couple of Armies for some playtesting of  the game.
Looking for usable figures in the tonn of lead I have I found a DBA Army pack (Teutonic Order by Mirliton) and many packs of Essex and other manufacturers' minis. I decided to paint them as a Communal Italian Army, loosely inspired to the Army of Bologna in the Battle of Fossalta (1249).
Armed with my lamp with magnifying lens, I quick painted (base, flat colors and dipping) most of the Army pack.
Below are the results so far:
 Left to right: 3 Hordes, 1,5 units of crossbowmen, 1,5 units of spearmen, a single unit of archers, 1 unit of Light Horse and half a unit of Heavy Horse (Knights). In front, the General (a Knight).
Some closer views: the Hordes (I love peasants and priests armed with pitchforks!).
 Crossbowmen and Spearmen (with the shield design of the city of Bologna), the Big Boss and a single unit of Archers (Unformed Light Foot).
And finally the Cavalry. I still have some 14 Knights to paint, but I must paint 2 Armies to play 100 dice, so the enemy will be a Hofenstaufen Army (King Heinz's), helped by the Modenese troops. I'll use the rest of the Mirliton Army pack and add a bunch of Essex figures I found. It won't be 100% historical, but will be OK to test the game adaptation to this Period.
Not too bad for someone not painting since almost 2 years....

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Pictures of last saturday gaming day

As promised (and thanks to Marco and Giovanni) here are few pics from last saturday games day in Arezzo.
 Simone (left) and Stefano (right) playing 100 dice.  They played a full battle (with complete rules explanation) in about 2,5 hours.
Simone planning his next move. He won a decisive victory, with an astonishing dusk turn in which he destroyed 2 enemy units and badly damaged at least three.
 Being two expert DBA players, their deployment was a long, uninterrupted line, that in 100 dice can be quite risky due to the breakthrough phase.
And finally, a pic of the other table where Giovanni (Marco's son - left ) played against Filippo (Right) a couple of OGAM battles (Andrea's new game "Of Gods and Mortals", soon to be published by Osprey).

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Another great day of gaming in Arezzo

Yesterday, Andrea and me went to Arezzo for a full gaming day in Marco's house. While Andrea tested "Of Gods and Mortals" (the upcoming game he wrote for Osprey) I assisted Marco and Alessandro (morning) and Stefano and Simone (afternoon) in two battles of 100 dice with the same Armies and terrain.
Both games came out very well, and all players like the rules. Between the games we also had a good lunch with all Marco's family.
I always feel very proud when two highly experienced players like Marco and Alessandro appreciate my rules. In Arezzo, they already have hexes and Napoleonic Armies (they are also DSLB players) and I'm sure they will play again soon.
Unfortunately, the few pictures I took are very dark, but maybe I'll have some to post thanks to Giovanni (Marco's son - surely a future Champion in wargames).

Friday, August 16, 2013

100 dice, hexes and miniatures scale

I received several requests about basing for 100 dice, hexes size and miniatures scale, therefore I decided to take some pics and post them here.
As most rules in the last decade, 100 dice does not require rebasing: you can play with whatever miniatures you have. For hexes - however - you shoud follow the golden rule: a hex must contain 2 of your bases side by side. As I wrote in the rules, take the base with the largest front and double the size: this will be the needed hex measurement across. A few pics will tell more than 100 words.
One of the most popular way of basing these little soldiers is 6 x 3 cm. with 2 or 3 stripes of minis. Being 6 cm the frontage of a base, you need at least hexes which are 12 cm across.
Top row, left to right: a British Infantry unit in Combat Formation and an Unformed Light Infantry in woods.
Center row, left to right: a General, an Artillery unit (here I doubled the base for visual effect, but you need just 1 Artillery base to play) and an Austrian Infantry unit in March Formation.
Bottom row, left to right: a Cavalry unit in March Formation and the CinC.
The same pic with a different angle. Thanks to Antonio for lending me his Baccus 6mm.
Golden rule: maximum frontage 6cm = hexes 12 cm across.
Many different basing systems here, as some producers make 10mm figures in stripes of 5, some go for single figures. I have Old Glory, whose Infantry is in stripes of 5.  The largest stripe of Infantry is about 3 cm, so I made 7cm hexes to have some space on both sides.
 Top row, left to right (all French units): an Unformed Light Infantry in woods, a unit of Cuirassiers in Combat Formation, and Hussars in March Formation.
Centre row, left to right: the CinC with a General, an Infantry unit in Combat Formation and another in March Formation.
Bottom row: an Artillery unit.  All Old Glory miniatures, painted by Fernando Enterprise.
Golden rule: maximum frontage 3cm = hexes 7cm across.
Here also we have many different basing systems. One of the most popular is 3 x 1,5cm (that's also the advised basing for Drums & Shakos Large Battle). Again, 7cm hexes would be OK, but if you want to have more space on the sides, you can go with 8cm.
 Top row: Unformed Light Infantry in woods.
Centre row, left to right: a General, a Light Infantry unit in March Formation, and a Cavalry unit in Combat Formation.
Bottom row,  left to right: an Infantry unit in Square (I enjoyed myself to make a dedicated base, otherwise you can use a *normal* unit and arrange the bases back to back), an Infantry unit in Combat Formation and an Artillery unit. Old Glory, Minifigs and Fantassin miniatures, some painted by me some by unknown artists).
Extended Golden rule: frontage 3cm = hexes 8cm across.
One of the most common basing is 4 figures on a 4x4cm, with deeper bases for Cavalry. To accomodate the horsemen, we'll need a 12cm hex.
 Top row, left to right: a General and Unformed Light Infantry in woods.
Centre row, left to right: an Infantry unit in March Formation, another in Combat Formation and a Cavalry unit in Combat Formation.
Bottom row,  left to right: an Infantry Square and an Artillery unit.
A closer view on the French Square and the Unformed Light Infantry (Prussian Jaegers). My 28mm are individually based, so I used some Perry plastic bases as sabots. Hexes are scratch built, but you can easily find them on the Internet. Miniatures are Perry plastic, Mirliton and Front Rank, self-painted.
Et voilĂ : with 3 types of hexes (7, 8 and 12cm, with 8 being more a luxury than a need) I can play with any Armies I have from 6 to 28 mm, using the miniatures I have and without rebasing.
The biggest table I need is about 150x150 cm, the smallest some 90x90.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Tour de Force

One game yesterday, with Massimo coming from Rome and playing against Andrea in a tight game. The test showed that - with a little luck and some planning - an apparent defeat can be turned into a victory during the last bound. Below, Andrea planning his first move.
Today, I played a game in the morning (solo) and another in the afternoon with Andrea. In about 1 hour, I'll play another game with Luciano (a very busy day!). For all 3 games I used (and will use) the same terrain and Armies, as I want to try different approaches and compare the results. In order to try a *mounted* Army I decided to use the Napoleonic Ottomans against the French.
 The situation before the Ottoman first bound. I deployed a strong cavalry force on the left, and kept 4 infantry Inferior units in Reserve. The plan with the Ottomans was to try a flank maneuver on the left and envelop the French right.
End of the first bound: I moved 4 cavalry units ahead with a General to guide the attack. The Turkish scouts sent to find a way around the French right found broken and wooded terrain, forcing the cavalry to form a sort of column for the attack.  
 As the French player, I was forced to counter the cavalry threat on the right flank, and I did so forming 2 squares and trying to rally the retreating light cavalry, In the meantime, French artillery bombarded the advancing Ottomans in the centre. This was the end of turn 1.
Even if the expense in terms of resources (dice) was high, the Ottoman pushed again on the left flank, breaking the French Hussars. I also advanced the Artillery (bottom right of the picture) to prepare a bombardment on the French square in future turns.
French second turn: time to call for some reserves. I had 1 Cuirassier and 1 Line Infantry entering the fray, preparing for a much needed counter attack. I also retreated with the Artillery in the middle to build a second line if the squares were overwhelmed by the Ottoman cavalry. To lower the pressure on the French right, I also advanced on the left with a couple of battalions.
Third turn for the Ottoman player: I reorganized the cavalry wing pushing on the enemy flank (you need "fresh" cavalry to perform charges in 100 dice) rallying and aligning units. More important, I advanced with two units in the centre (one of Janissaries and 1 of Militia) with a double purpose: attack the French centre and open a corridor for my artillery to bombard the square.
 French third turn: the Cuirassiers counterattack, preceded by artillery bombardment. The Ottoman cavalry wavers, the squares hold... On the French left, I tried to press on the attack forcing the enemy to spend precious Command Points.
 Ottoman fourth turn: the Army is tired, resources lack. Anyway, one French square is routed by a deadly bombardment, while in the centre, Janissaries and Militia continue to threaten the enemy. On the Ottoman right the French attack stalls: they are tired, too.
French fourth turn. More reserves enter on the right, the remaining unit in square deploys in Combat formation as the Turkish cavalry is not a menace anymore, with the Cuirassiers in control. Night falls on the exhausted Armies: it is a marginal victory for the Ottomans, mostly due to losses inflicted than ground gained.

During the following game against Andrea, I took the Ottomans and tried to repeat the left flank maneuver, but Andrea was wise enough to move first and occupy the woods on his right with a light infantry unit in open order, thus crippling my planned cavalry move en masse. In the end it was a French Victory by a narrow margin.
In a few minutes, I'll play again with Luciano the same battle, and we'll see who will prevail.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The daily test

Yesterday another playtest of 100 dice. This time it was Nap again, Andrea vs. me. After the doubts of tuesday night game, I modified again some rules (Rally, Morale and Reserves) and introduced Cards.
This is something I had in mind since long, because I think cards add a lot to a game without complicating it.
However, 100 dice won't be a card driven game. Cards will simply add some unpredictability, will help you to solve a desperate situation, and will give you back precious dice ("All I want is another hour of daylight!").  In the (blurred) picture below, the situation at nightfall.
Once again my left flank was overwhelmed, and my main attack (in the centre) was repulsed with losses. Andrea won  a marginal victory. He played well, had a bit of luck (always welcome) and was able to use 2-3 cards at the very right moment, getting the edge. Cards work very well in my opinion. All I have to do is to find the right balance of them in a player's hand. Yesterday we played with 1 (that is, a player always has 1 card in his hand and when he plays it, he draws another) today I want to try with 2.
Cards will be generic and specific for the period played. I am now working on a deck of 24 cards.
Hope you'll like it!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

100 Dice, this time ACW!

Another evening of playtesting for 100 Dice: this time I wanted to try an ACW battle, so I sketched some special rules for the specific period and fought a full battle, with Andrea helping in the final stage.
Here is the situation after deployment
On the left, the Confederate Force, with Union troops on the right. Units off map are Reserves, dismounted cavalry and miniatures to be used as unformed units. On top of the picture, the numbered hexes are for flanking maneuvers. At the bottom of the picture you can see the blue cups with 100 dice each and the burned dice area with a divider and the turn record marker (the big yellow die).
Below, a pic taken after the first turn.
  The Rebel attack (top) seems to have shaken the US line. US Cavalry evaded from a contact, dismounted and reorganized. An unformed US unit is holding the woods. In subsequent turns, the attack will falter and finally the Confederates retreated.
In the Centre, 2 US batteries concentrated fire on a single Confederate battery, eliminating it in a couple of turns. On the Confederate left all was quiet until the last turns, when the Unionists launched an attack at dusk, achieving very little. In the end, it was a draw.

I'm still not happy with something, but a long conversation with Andrea after the game gave me some interesting idea...... stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Work in progress

Another playtest of 100 dice yesterday evening with Luciano. Another defeat (for me), but some steps forward in the complex process of adding, cutting and trimming of the rules.
Real work and other everyday activites prevented me to organize a new scenario, so I repeated the one we played on sunday with Diego. This gave me the opportunity to try twice the same game (but the result was the same :)
This is the situation after some of turns from my point of view (Prussian). Considering the French "Grand Battery" that Luciano deployed against my center-left,  my plan was to hold there and attack on the right, trying a flanking maneuver with my light cavalry to avoid the swamps. My Jaegers secured the woods in the centre....
 Something - however - went wrong: my flanking maneuver was partially frustrated by a broken terrain that appeared in the middle of my path (in 100 dice you may expand the battlefield if you try a flanking maneuver, adding up to three hexes per side) and the attack on the right-centre was more expensive then expected. Above you can see the maximum penetration I reached on this side of the table.
On the left flank, Luciano launched an attack that completely broke my line, also capturing the wing commanding  General. My reserves just recalled prepared themselves to counter, but night fell bringing a minor Victory for the French. There are still several rules to trim, another session maybe this evening.

Monday, August 5, 2013

100 Dice playtest of version 3.0

While other playtests are going on, yesterday Diego came to Terni to play version 3.0 of the rules.
We had a full game in about 2,5 hours, and it ended in a Marginal Victory for him.
The game plays well, it is now a question of finding and solving minor problems, or write rules differently if they are not immediately clear.
Yesterday it was a Napoleonic battle (French Vs. Prussians), next time could be ACW?