Thursday, 8 May 2014

Long Rifle: French Indian War Skirmish Game, Basic Rules: 2 Ranged Combat

In our first installment of Long Rifle Basic Rules Introduction we covered Activation, with French Infantryman Alexandre (REP 4) facing off against the British Allied Woodland Indian; Windrider (REP4).

Long Rifle - Ranged Combat

At Activation Alexandre roilled a 2 and Windrider rolled a 5. Alexandre gets to activate and, unfortunately for him, Windrider does not.

Alexandre decides to fire at the Indian.

First we check line of Sight (LOS). To be able to shoot something a figure must be able to see it.

At nighttime, Line of Sight is reduced to 12", similarly in woods Line of Sight is reduced to 12", or 6" at night. The Indian is 12" away from Alexandre.  Alexandre can see Windrider clearly and it is daylight. Alexandre has clear Line of Sight to Windrider.

Next we check range. In Long Rifle each weapon type has a range in inches up to which is can be used. Alexandre is armed with a musket, which has a range of 18". Windrider in within range of Alexandre's musket.

Alexandre rolls 1d6 and adds his REP (4)

Alexandre rolls a 1, therefore, 1+REP(4) = 5

The result is checked against the Ranged Combat Table. The ranged combat table takes into account circumstances such as, Target is Charging, Moved Fast, In Cover or Prone or the Shooter is taking a 'Rush Shot'. In general terms you need an 8 or higher to hit, so in this instance Alexandre has missed.

Alexandre's miss means two things in game terms:

1. Windrider must take a 'Received Fire' check (we'll address this another time) and...

2. Alexandre must now re-load his musket before he can fire it again.

Next time we'll explore more of the basic mechanics of Long Rifle.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Long Rifle: French Indian War Skirmish Game, Basic Rules: 1 Activation

As it had been a while since we both played the a game by Two Hour Wargames; we thought it might be a good idea to run a walk through of some of the basic mechanics of Long Rifle rules before embarking on a game.

Ed Teixeira has includes some short but sweet examples of the game mechanics in Long Rifle to help you learn the rules and recommends you 'STOP' and follow a few short actions to check you've understood the rules. Here's one of them.

Long Rifle: Activation

We grab two D6 of different colours and two figures from opposing sides, placing them 12" apart from each other. Both figures are considered to be REP 4. (REP stands for Reputation, it is a combination of experience, fighting ability and morale that marks the general capability of the character. REP runs from 2-6, with 2 representing the old, very young or infirm and 6 representing backwoodsmen or warriors of exceptional ability.)

Before we go any further, lets us introduce our opponents:

First up: Alexandre. Alexandre is a REP 4 French Regular Infantryman, depicted here by a figure from QF-40 Regiment De Bearn, Line Infantry Loading

Alexandre. REP 4, French Regular
Next up is Windrunner. Windrunner is a REP 4 British Allied Indian. Windrunner is represented by RSF-16 Raid on St. Francis, Woodland Indian Attacking

At the start of each turn an Activation dice is rolled for each opponent, or 'Group' of opponents.

The goal is to roll under or equal to the REP of your character (or leader of your Group). Only those with a REP equal or higher to the Activation dice score can activate. If both sides succeed in rolling under their REP, the side with the highest score goes first. If the die scores are the same (doubles) simple re-roll both dice again.

We take a green die for the French (No Blue dice to hand) and a red die for the Indian.

In this instance, we roll a 2 for the French and a 5 for the Indian. Alexandre has rolled under his REP. His die is the highest to 'succeed' therefore Alexandre gets to activate first. Windrunner has not rolled under his REP; he has not 'succeeded' so unfortunately for him, he does not get to activate this turn. Could this spell trouble for Windrider?

We'll find out next time as we explore some of the basic mechanics of Long Rifle.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Long Rifle, Review and Introduction: Two Hour Wargames' French Indian War Immersion Game

Long Rifle: Man to Man Skirmish on the American Frontier is a skirmish game from Two Hour Wargames set during the period of the French Indian War.

Long Rifle, written by Ed Teixeira, is a companion to Muskets and Mohawks and whilst the latter is a unit based game, Long Rifle is a scenario driven individual skirmish game focused on a small band of individual figures where players take on the role of an individual character and with a little bit of luck, strategy and sound think, lead their band to fame, glory and victory.

Ed pitches Long Rifle as an 'Immersion Game'. We've had some experience of Ed's immersion games, playing All Things Zombie: Final Fade Out, in which you lead a band of survivors through the varying stages of a Zombie Apocalypse.

Long Rifle uses the Chain Reaction system for its base. Instead of the traditional IGO UGO, in which each player takes a turn, individual characters take 'reaction tests' so that, just like in the real world, if a character takes fire, spots an enemy (the 'In Sight' test), sees a comrade fall, or a variety of other reasons, they may: duck back behind cover, flee the battlefield, drop prone or charge the enemy.

Whilst the base of the system is shared with all of the Two Hour Wargames games and probably shares more with THW's 5150 science fiction system that with any of the other games, enough has been changed to fit the style and of the genre. Like many other games of the black powder periods Long Rifle uses a re-load mechanic, with rifles taking a little longer to re-load. Where the style comes into it;s own are the scenarios, which, aside from then usual battle encounter (which are inlcuded) characters can find themselves, hunting wild game in the hopes of obtaining furs to trade, defending  a settlement form a war party, acting as a courier for the military of civilians or escorting either faction or settlers through the wilds.

As you begin your campaign you can choose to affiliate yourself with either the French or British or stay neutral, but as the scenarios progress, one way or another you may get drawn into the war, like it or not, as you could find yourself fighting for either side at any time, making mortal enemies along the way.

The game used traditional D6 and two key mechanics are worth re-iterating, simply because they are initially counter intuitive if your are used to game where rolling high is good.

The first is 'Passing Dice' in which a character rolls a number of D6 and any score that is equal to or lower (underlined as this can be counter intuitive) has been passed. Regardless of how many dice are rolled a character can pass, 2, 1 or 0D6.

The second is 'Successes' in which a rill or 1, 2 or 3 is success and a roll of a 4, 5 or 6 is a failure.

Other dice rolls, such as rolling to hit or to damage an opponent, higher is better.

To drive the narrative and add some interesting results, there are some reference tables involved. This may put some off when they first read the rules of play their first game, I was one of them, but after a couple of games I quickly realised that for the most part they are quick reference tables and they've been constructed to very thoughtfully and don't get in the way of the game.

All dice rolls can be modified by circumstance and the quality of the character making the check or taking a test.

The beauty of Ed's immersive games is, the game encompassed not only what happens on the battlefield, but what happens before and afterwards, and your success or failure in a variety of scenarios help drive a very strong narrative. Some of your band may loose confidence in you, and branch out on their own, or simply flee the battlefield, never to be seen again, if things get too tough.

Any scale of figure can be used and, one of the other great features is the generally low figure count. You generally only need a very small number of figures to play the game. Having enjoyed All Things Zombie: Final Fade Out so much, it was obvious to us that a narrative campaign that runs through the French Indian War would give us the perfect excuse to play some small scale skirmishes and follow a small group of character through the development of the war.

If you're interested, check out Long Rifle at the Two Hour Wargames store.

We're also going to run a series of posts introducing the basics of the rules so stay tuned.

Friday, 4 April 2014

JJD UK at the London Toy Soldier Show

It's been quite a while since we've posted anything for a number of reasons. JJD UK has ultimately been more successful than we could have imagined over the last two and a half years and taking a business from its infancy to where it is now, significantly larger, has disappointingly, left us little time for the gaming aspect of our hobby.

Not that we're complaining, it's just for a while there something had to give, and for the most part it was our gaming. We got in a few very small games, and had some fabulous adventures although having so little time meant the cameras never came out. and telling those tales without pictures might become a little tiresome quite quickly.

We had a fabulous time at the London Toy Soldier Show on Saturday 29th March 2014. The show was once again held at the Islington Business Design centre in London. It was fabulous to meet so many collectors who are just as enthusiastic about John's figures as we are and we always come away so inspired.

Various British Figures from the Battle of the Plains of Abraham collection.
For anyone who didn't make it, here's some video from the show.

We've picked up some new rules and we have added plenty of fantastic new figures to our collections of John Jenkins Designs models, and we're excited about some of our plans for the future.

We're going to share a little bit more about what JJD UK has been up to, including some of our diorama boards and modelling successes so stay tuned for more and, with a bit of luck and a few ounces of determination, a more regular posting schedule.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Re-Painting John Jenkins Designs Woodland Indians

In preparation for a new chapter in our French Indian War narrative campaign we have a small scale skirmish planned using the Muskets and Tomahawks rules from Studio Tomahawk.

We plan to recreate a Rangers Raid on an Indian village in the Ohio Valley to recapture the daughters of the British Officer. The last attempt to secure the prisoners by force met with failure as the British line fell to pieces in the depth of the woods. The British have decided to fight fire with fire.

As there is only a limited number of John Jenkins Design Woodland Indian sets currently available, some of which are out of production we did consider we might not have enough Indians to fully realise our vision.

Having picked up a few individual figures, I also acquired some complete boxed sets at a later date and was left with some duplicates which seemed suitable for re-painting.

It might seem a shame to re-paint such superbly finished hand painted collector’s models but having seen other people's conversions it seemed it worth a try.

I selected figures from WIM-04 Woodland Indians with Muskets #3 and the WIM-07 Woodland Indians Attacking, as these were the ones I had duplicates of.

Rather than re-paint the entire model, I chose to touch up a few specific areas that I felt would help the model look different from its ‘clone’.

The kneeling Indian with rifle from WIM-04 set is a quite distinctive figure with its full black body paint, so this was an obvious choice to re-colour without the war-paint.

WIM-04 - Original on left, re-paint on right.

The Indians from the WIM-07 set have distinctive war-paint, buckskin trousers and loin cloths, so whilst other alterations were made, these were the areas I focused on.

WIM-07 - Original on left, re-paint on right.

The first step was to gently clean the figures in warm soapy water. Some of the figures have gathered dust so I used a soft brush to clean the parts we couldn't reach.

The figures were set aside and once dry, painting could begin.

A wide selection of acrylic paints was used from the likes of Humbrol, Vallejo, Games Workshop and Tamiya.

The painting style is a little different to my personal technique and took a little getting used to but progress was quite quick. The figures were finished with a light coat of matt spray varnish.

WIM-07 - Original on right, re-paint on left.

I am happy with the overall effect and look forward to using the figures in our next game.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Ambush - A French Indian War Wargame

We don't need much of an excuse to get our John Jenkins collection out and on display.

An invitation to our local Wargame Show Eastern Front was another perfect opportunity.

Eastern Front is presented by Monarch Military Books and Renegades Wargames Club, the 2012 show was held once again at St Andrew's Hall in Norwich on Sunday 16th July.

There was a good selection of traders, display and participation games ranging from highly detailed and superbly presented to quick and easy. Historical, fantasy, sci-fi and, as is common these days, an amalgamation of both. All of the games had one thing in common. A very British club night focus on fun.

The display game we presented was a small scale skirmish set during the French Indian War.

Following the capture of two daughters of a British officer a deployment of Rangers scouted the surrounding forest and, upon finding where the prisoners were being held, a small contingent of Fraser Highlanders and British Line were sent to bring them home.

The Fraser Highlanders led the way, creeping through the forest, unbeknownst to them, straight into the jaws of a trap.

Hidden movement rules meant whilst the British knew something was out there, they were unsure of the exact numbers they were facing.

The Fraser Highlanders fell back under strength of fire from the Indian forces, some of which, seeing the British Line push on, thought better of a head-on clash and disappeared off into the forest, never to be seen again.

Slowly but surely the British pushed on, driving back the unconventional Indian skirmishers and slaughtering a unit of French irregulars.

Unfortunately for the British, the Ambush was enough to blunt their advance, giving the French officers enough time to rally their men and march against the British, driving them away and securing their ill-gotten bargaining chit.

We played the game using a relatively new rule set, Muskets and Tomahawks, from Studio Tomahawk. The game is skirmish focused, with a relatively low model count (about figures 35 a side), so perfect for a collection of John Jenkins Designs French Indian Wars models. Studio Tomahawk are a French company responsible for other hugely popular games such as Saga and Shakos and Bayonettes so we were quite eager to see how the rules complimented the period.

Most players use 28mm, or similar scaled, models but the relatively simple mechanic meant translation to 54mm was easy enough.

The game was well received, with a few visitors having recently purchased the rules but not having played it yet. There was also considerable interest in John's figures, with a quite a few collectors who have already begun, or became inspired, to do something similar with their own collections.

You can see more pictures of the game, and the rest of the show, on the New Buckenham Historical Wargamers facebook page.

All in all it was a pleasure to present and we're very much looking forward to putting on another game and with the imminent release of the Monongahela Pack Horses, we have a perfect reason try a different scenario.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Colonel Frederick Burnaby – The first Modern Celebrity?

Colonel Frederick Burnaby was a popular writer for Punch, Vanity Fair and The Times. His larger than life exploits took him across Europe, Asia, Africa and Russia. As a member of the Royal Horse Guards he saw active duty in Egypt, was wounded at El Teb in 1884 and met an untimely end in vicious hand-to-hand fighting at the Battle of Abu Klea.
Frederick Burnaby as a Captain in the Horse Guards by James Tissot

Frederick Burnaby (1842-85). Burnaby is almost totally forgotten, but in his day he was so famous that the Queen reportedly fainted at news of his death. The Times gave him a 5000-word obituary. Grown men broke down and wept in the street.

Burnaby’s exploits make Rambo’s seem a little dull. Very few people have survived frostbite, typhus, an exploding air balloon, and poisoning with arsenic. Few have explored Uzbekistan (where it was so cold, his beard froze solid and snapped off), led the household cavalry, stood for parliament, could speak seven languages, crossed the channel by air, written a string of bestsellers, commanded the Turkish army, and founded Vanity Fair; all before his early death aged 42.

Colonel Frederick Burnaby - John Jenkins Designs.

Immensely strong, with a 48-inch chest, Burnaby could break a horseshoe apart with his bare hands. His party trick was to bend a poker double round a dull dinner guest’s neck. Most famously, when fellow officers coaxed a pair of ponies into his room for a jape, Burnaby simply picked them up, one under each arm, and carried them downstairs “as if they had been cats.” Burnaby’s talents only half explain his fame. Then, as now, media attention was just as important.

In the grimy, serious society of Dickens and Brunel’s the early Victorian world a combination of societal change, a lust for adventure and Gladstone’s 1870 Education Act, brought a dramatic change in Britain. Before 1870, public support of the Empire was low, within a decade, all that had changed. Against a backdrop of Sherlock Holmes, the waxed moustache, to the beat of the oompa band, a media revolution marched forward.

Frederick Burnaby was in the right place, at the right time.

Whilst Burnaby did not suffer the indignity of the red carpet, commentary on his grooming habits, choice of attire or women with which he kept company, he still had to live up to intolerably high expectations and fame nonetheless took a terrible toll. Victorians could not see Burnaby’s, so they continued to expect the impossible. As he entered middle age, Burnaby increasingly struggled to keep up with his dashing image.

Ultimately, the weight of expectation became too much. Resolving not to die old, Burnaby set out on one last mission. Ignoring orders, he joined the attempt to rescue Gordon at Khartoum. On leaving, he wrote to his footman: “I am very unhappy and I can’t imagine why you care about life. I do not mean to come back.” Sure enough, during an ambush by Sudanese warriors, he pushed through his ranks and rode out alone, determined to meet the public expectation of heroic death. So ended the life of a Victorian icon.

The Death of Burnaby - John Jenkins Designs.

His adventures can be read about first hand in either of his books; A Ride to Kiva or On Horseback through Asia Minor.

Based on Jonty Olliff-Coopers Article ‘Victorian Celebrity’ January 17, 2009. Read Jonty’s full article here.