Sunday, January 3, 2021

Last Game of 2020: Morschauser hosted on Skype!

   On New Year's Eve (but well before cocktail hour!) Jon (Palouse Wargaming Journal) and I played a remote game by Skype. The rules were based upon those in Joe Morschauser's book, How to play Wargames in Miniature.  It was my second attempt at hosting a remote game, and some things went well, and others... didn't. The new webcam installed easily and worked fine... except in Black and White!* I had planned to use my i-phone and i- pad as additional cameras to give different views of the table, but it looks like each needs a unique email address and username for that to work. I'll have to try setting that up for the next attempt. Anyway, Jon kindly observed that the B&W images added to the "Old School" feel of the game. We both felt that we should perhaps have worn jackets for the game! I observed that  it was a bit early in the day, even on the East Coast and on New Year's Eve, for the proverbial glass of Port!

* I tried unsuccessfully to adjust the camera settings. An internet search after the game solved the issue- you can't change the camera settings and have them take effect while Skype is running - you have to log out of Skype, then change the camera settings, then log back in to Skype. I did that, and it worked fine; I now have color with the webcam, just a day late! 


Test set up for fit on one of my brown paper battlefields with a 4" grid; 16 boxes in each direction, a little over 5 feet. 


I went over the above grid with a thick black Sharpie (felt tipped pen) to make it heavier and more obvious for remote gaming. I chose a scenario from OHW; the river is everywhere fordable, but in order for the supply trains of the advancing armies to pass, control of both ends of both bridges is required. The ridges are from the items I acquired from Pastimes on the Square late in 2020. The fields are purely decorative. 


Your host tying to set up his i-phone as an auxiliary camera.


Each army was identical, 8 units of Line Infantry, 2 Light Infantry, 2 Grenadiers, 2 batteries, 1 Heavy Cavalry and 2 Light Cavalry. I took the Swedes (near) and Jon the Russians (far). Each army had three command groups with the main effect being the ability of the Command group leader to attempt to rally losses off of one of his units once per turn.  We alternated setting up one command group at a time


View from the Russian side after 2 moves, The combat is centering around the bridges, as expected. As soon as we started to shoot, it became apparent that the planned shooting rules would be far too bloody, and more like playing a WW1 game in the open!  The rules were promptly adjusted by mutual consent (I'll present them with thoughts in a separate post). 


Mid game: The Russian Hussar had charged over the bridge, eliminating a unit of Swedish Jagers; on my move the Swedish Light Dragoons have countercharged!


At the other bridge, the battle of attrition favored the Swedes;t he Life Grenadiers have just charged across the bridge, eliminating one of Jon's batteries. The dice in the background show that I got 3 hits (needing a 4 or less) rolling 6 dice, just enough to eliminate the artillery. 


Late game overview- the far bridge is about to fall into Swedish hands; there is but one very battered Russian defender left (each "rock" represents a hit on the unit). At the near bridge, the Swedes are battered and vulnerable; only the Andra Lifguard opposite the bridge are in any kind of shape!


Situation at game's end; Jon concedes , being down to just a battered unit of Pavlov Grenadiers and a battery for the Russians vs 2 batteries, 1 Line infantry and 1 Jager for the Swedes.


    As expected, Jon was a gracious player and a lot of fun to game with.  The rules were bloody, as expected, and need a few clarifications, a bit more robust command and control function, and some basic morale added to them. Still, they fit on one side of a piece of paper, and gave a game that lasted about 2 hours. If I had never fought a wargame before, they would be easy to pick up, and we both had fun playing the game. Although the mechanics of fighting are completely different, the game reminded me a lot of those that we played at the home of Charlie Sweet in Bristol, CT, way back when I was ages 18-22 (!), and also some later Napoleonic games at the home of Joe Polsen in Stamford, CT, using his beautifully painted Napoleonic collection. 

24 comments:

  1. That looks like fun and a great set up for remote gaming Peter. Just shows that the old IT help desk line "Have you tried turning it off and then back on again?" holds true for a lot of situations. A nice self-portrait as well, even without the smoking jacket and cravat.

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    1. hanks, Lawrence! Much akin to Dr A's first rule of electronic device malfunction, going back to my days as a Resident: "It's not plugged in, it's not turned on." Solves 85% of all problems. :-)

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  2. Lovely and inspiring gaming, Peter - I'm awaiting some Perry Russians and looking forward to painting green coats! :)

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    1. Thanks, Dean. Lots of Green with the Russians, but the cavalry is very colorful. The earlier Russian uniforms with their colored facings are much more fun to paint than the later uniforms.

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  3. Those pictures look very clear. Is it the fact the ground is a light colour so presents a good contrast to the grid line and models? Or is it lighting? Great for remote gaming.

    One page rules sound good.

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    1. Thank you! The basic overlay is 2 sheets of brown paper roll from the DIT store taped together on the back to make a surface a little less than 6 feet square. It was then hit with bursts of light green spray paint, and then the 4" grid was added.

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  4. Glorious, what a great idea you guys! :)

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    1. It was fun playing with Jon after many years of blog and email exchanges! The rules weren't bad, but could use a few enhancements. That's for another post!

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  5. A very nice looking game with a great old school feel, which given the rules is very appropriate. A nice way to start 2021:)

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  6. The world looks different in color! Peter, that was great fun and hope we can do it again. Very Old School feel to the whole afternoon. Very bloody even with the rules amendments. You, sir, are a gracious host. Maybe next time I can pull out a victory?

    Note to Self: Heavy cavalry is a real threat in this game.

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    1. The game was a lot of fun, chiefly because of being able to host it with you as the opposition! It was a very close game. I have some suggested clarifications and additions to come in the future Rules post. We'll see if I can't get at least a second camera ion action for the next time... perhaps an Italian Wars game based upon Ross Macfarlane's "Rough Wooing" Morschauser inspired 16th century rules.

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    2. Perhaps some time in February, after Rivoli is in the books?

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  7. Nice old school look to that. Hosting a game via Zoom or similar beyond my capabilities I fear so kudos for getting it done

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    1. It isn't really THAT hard - my first attempt didn't go well due to finding the camera on my laptop wasn't working, and then there were issues this time as outlined above. However, each time a problem was overcome, setting things up better for the next one!

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  8. Looks like an excellent set up for remote games, though doubtless the colour will add to it.

    The wonders of this modern age!

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    1. Thanks, Ross! I think Jon and I may try a remote, gridded version of your "Rough Wooing" rules next month, but set in Italy circa the time of Pavia!

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  9. Excellent set-up and looks like a very workable remote configuration. To top it off, the Swedes took the field! (My own Swedes have not seen the table since 1998) Happy New year!

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    1. The last time my Swedes were on the table before last month was to make an appearance at Dennewitz! :-)
      They're a colorful and fun army, though.

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  10. Such technical prowess. Great to see your Swedes out, as well.

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    1. I wouldn't exactly call it technical prowess, rather fixing something else that didn't work right each time!
      The Swedes have been very happy to break out of their boxes, though!

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  11. Great looking old school game and nice to hear that the pair of you got a game in, I look forward to your Italian wars game!
    Best Iain

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    1. Thanks, Iain. Yes. we'll have to do some planning for that after the dust settles on the plain of Rivoli.

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