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Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Sultanate of Zanzibar

In August 1896, following the death of Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini, Britain and Zanzibar fought a 38-minute war, the shortest in recorded history. A struggle for succession took place as the Sultan's cousin Khalid bin Barghash seized power.

The British instead wanted Hamoud bin Mohammed to become Sultan, believing that he would be much easier to work with. The British gave Khalid an hour to vacate the Sultan's palace in Stone Town. Khalid failed to do so, and instead assembled an army of 2,800 men to fight the British. The British launched an attack on the palace and other locations around the city after which Khalid retreated and later went into exile. Hamoud was then peacefully installed as Sultan but palace intrigues and numerous revolts would still take place in the world of In Her Majesty's Name . . . 

Friday, January 26, 2018

More Stellar Conquest

Stellar Conquest was the first hex based board game my parents gave me; in fact, to show my age a bit it was the first edition published in 1974 from Metagaming Concepts. I instantly feel in love with the game with the combination of exploration, technological research, expanding colonies and the inevitable interstellar war involving up to 4 players.

Somewhere over the years I lost the original version but purchased the republished edition by Avalon Hill sometime in the mid-eighties.  The Avalon Hill version is the same except they changed the classes of the warships to take advantage of Star Wars.  I'm sorry, I still can't call the big ships Death Stars; they will always be the Dreadnought class of warships to me. And here we are in 2017 and I still play the game with my Honorable Sons.

The current version, showing some wear and tear as the red green and blue fleets have started to explore and colonize.
 As you have already guessed by the pictures, the board is a hex grid map, with some hexes containing stars of varying colors. Stars in a hex may have planets that are suitable for a planet colonization which is determined randomly by drawing a card of the star color.  

 I off course commanded the Scorpian Federation (we are peaceful - honest!)

 Would this face lie to you?

 Handy reference chart for each player also helps keep track of your Task Forces when it is time to put the whammy on the other players.
At the beginning of a game, each player starts in an opposite corner of the board, each with a number of markers that represent ships of various types. For the first four turns the corner square counts as a populated planet. In addition, all ships may move only two spaces, but it is possible to purchase movement upgrades that improve the rate of travel speed.

 Two Yellow Star cards. 
Units must follow the quickest path to a named destination, and their destination can be changed only when the route causes the unit to stop on a star hex. The distance that ships of any type may travel will not precede more than eight hexes away from a populated planet that is owned by the same player; this limitation can be rescinded by research.

 From top to bottom left to right: Task Force marker, Command Post, Scout ship, Fighter, Corvette, Deathstar Dreadnought, and enough colony transports to move 10 million people.

Research points can be spent on warships, speed, missile basis, industrial capacity and weapons research.  Every four turns a "production phase" occurs in which planetary populations increase by one-fifth their current population number. Any player may move population units into Colony Transports as they expand through the stars and inhabit other planets.  What is great about the game is "hidden" units as the tiles are not turned over unless opposing players are in the same star hex (no battles in deep space - only in a solar system!).  Is that single tile heading toward your planet squadrons of capital ships and escorts or only one scout ship?

Honorable Son #4 (The Engineer) commands the forces of the Awful Green Things from outerspace while Honorable Son #5 (The Lifeguard) commands the Blue Meanies.

With three interstellar empires in our latest game there was a lot of wheeling and dealing as each of us made treaties, ultimatums and eventually all out attacks!

Honorable Son #4's (The Engineer)  spouse gives him some much needed advice.
 If you cross this line line, the wrath of the Scorpian Federation will descend!

 Where's the Kaboom?  There was supposed to be an earth shattering Kaboom!

 The Red Forces led by me help rush to take advantage of losses on both sides.
Combat is abstract but quick and bloody.

After "40 years" whichever side has the most Terrain type and Sub-Terrain type planets is the winner.  The biggest and baddest fleet doesn't hurt either.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

One Hour Wargames Campaign: The First Battle

In what would be known in history as the "War of Great Grazing Area Succession Dispute" or simply "The Pig War" the country of the Grand Duchy of Bluehofen went to war against the Principality of Redsteinerburg in 1741 over a strip of land bordering their lands.  The Grand Duke Gunter claimed the land through his marriage to Countess Gretchen who traced the claim back to her sister's husband's grandmother. Prince Leopold, on the other hand, claimed the land based on his previous marriage to the now deceased Princess Bromhilda's brother's wive's grandfather.  Regardless of claim, the dispute would be settled on the field of battle in central Germany.

The first battle fought is Scenario 1: Pitched Battle from One Hour Wargames.  The learning objective of the battle was to make sure everyone understood the rules with minimal terrain.  Each side had 4 infantry regiments, 1 cavalry regiment and 1 artillery battery.  Above the forces of Bluehofen advance, The Grand Duke's Horse Regiment boldly moving ahead.

The steady infantry of Restenierburg move forward.  Prince Leopold decided to place his artillery on the extreme left flank and get them into immediate action while the Prince's Horse regiment moves out on the right flank.

The army of Bluehofen. 

Prince Leopold, personally leading the division of infantry, sets up a steady line of muskets to entice the enemy horse to charge while the Prince's regiment starts to outflank the Bluehofen forces.

The Munchen Regiment of Foot is almost outflanked but suffers casualties as musket balls tear into the Grand Duke's Regiment of Horse.

A second charge by the Grand Duke's Horse overwhelms the Munchen Regiment exposing the entire left flank of the Bluehofen army.  The Redsteinerberg foot march with the precision of Prussions after they destroy the Kluckein Regiment of Foot with massed musketry.  The Redsteinerberg artillery harasses the Grenadier Guards on the right flank.

In a cavalry melee that would inspire the great composer Sebastian Buch, the Grand Duke's Horse sweeps away the Prince's Horse forcing the artillery to flee.  The Redsteinerburg 3rd Regiment of Foot leaves the battlefield but the once proud Bluehofen Swartzenburg foot is also destroyed by mass musketry as Bluehofen must constantly re-position its units as the left flank is enveloped.

The 2nd Gun Battery of the Army of Redsteinerburg keeps up a steady fire that is slowly wearing down the Grenadier Guards.

The Grenadier Guards close ranks allowing the Grand Duke to flee and fight another day.

Flank attack by the Prince's Horse almost overruns the 1st Artillery Regiment but they will be destroyed in the very next turn.

The guns are captured, hauled back to the capitol and presented to the Princess of Redsteinerburg.

The last stand of the Grenadier Guards.

The first battle of the campaign goes to The Principality of Redsteinerburg.  With the cavalry and infantry of Bluehofen having to react to the losses on the left flank, the envelopment of their rear by the Prince's Horse and the massed musketry of the infantry, they were never in a position where they could establish a good battle line.  With the remnants of the Army of Bluehofen fleeing to the Lahn River, could the war be over?

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

One Hour Wargames: The Participants

In the year 1744 tensions were rising between The Grand Dukedom of Bluehofen and the Principality of Redsteinerburg over disputed territory that both countries claimed.  Soon a minor skirmish would turn into all out war on the table top . . .

The mighty participants representing The Grand Dukedom of Bluehofen.

Their dangerous counterparts from The Principality of Redsteinerburg.

 The Battlefield.
 I used my English Civil War figures to discuss the transition in Western Warfare from the 1600's to the Age of Reason in the 1700's.
 Introducing the types of units.

 In the Horse and Musket rules there are four types of units: Infantry, Skirmishers, Cavalry and Artillery.

We spent the rest of the first class practicing moving, shooting and charging.  Next week the first battle of the campaign.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

One-Hour Wargames: The Principality of Redsteinerburg

 Here are the "Reds" represented bythe Principality of Redsteinerburg. All figures are from Zvezda's Peter the Great line.

The army of Redsteinerburg.

The solid infantry, the backbone of any force.

Skirmish stands.  On the left are dismounted dragoons and on the right are "jagers" 
Great horse holder figure from Zvezda

 The artillery train.

Last but not least are the cavalry.

I was really impressed by the quality of Zvezda's Great Northern War range.  Unlike most other 1/72 scale figures, the Zvezda figures in this range are a hard plastic.