Saturday, 17 February 2018

Rattus Norvegicus

“I don't like rats, but there's not much else I don't like. The problem with rats is they have no fear of human beings, they're loaded with foul diseases, they would run the place given half the chance.”
                                             - David Attenborough

The chimneys have been put on the back burner [“Come on,” says an unexpected voice from the past “I know you’re not much of a prose stylist, but even you can do better than that”], because the rats are back. Last time there was an infestation they obediently ate the poison and quietly disappeared. This time they are sticking two fingers up to me by repeatedly moving the bait around the garden just to show that they are on to my game and don’t care. Bastards.

Let’s have some music from the biggest cheese in the rat pack; this will cheer us up:

Friday, 16 February 2018

It's being so cheerful as keeps me going

I have been to see Fairport Convention, in what seems to have become an annual event. Normally at this point I'd start quoting from 'Matty Groves', but that joke has worn a bit thin since last year. The band were, naturally, excellent, but, beyond expressing the hope to see them again next year should the Lord spare us all, I can't think of much to say that I haven't said before.

The support act, Winter Wilson, were new to me and I was rather impressed. I especially liked the following song; indeed it was the lyrics to this that put me in mind of yesterday's poem:

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Ashes of Life

Love has gone and left me and the days are all alike; 
Eat I must, and sleep I will, - and would that night were here! 
But ah! - to lie awake and hear the slow hours strike! 
Would that it were day again! - with twilight near! 

Love has gone and left me and I don't know what to do; 
This or that or what you will is all the same to me; 
But all the things that I begin I leave before I'm through, - 
There's little use in anything as far as I can see. 

Love has gone and left me, - and the neighbours knock and borrow, 
And life goes on forever like the gnawing of a mouse, - 
And to-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow 
There's this little street and this little house. 

-          Edna St. Vincent Millay

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

No, no, no

The postman hasn't yet called to deliver all your bloggist's Valentine's Day cards, and research into how to repair chimneys and/or restore flues into use is starting to pall, so here's something romantic to get everyone loved up and in the mood for later on:

Thursday, 8 February 2018

The Sixth Coalition is Postponed

The French won the refight of the battle of Maloyaroslavets last night, the Grande Armée
 was saved, and 1813 will therefore be rescheduled for a later date. 

The battle for the village rages

James, as the Russians, had his usual good results with the C&C dice (he is on a lucky streak at the moment; apparently a gypsy fortune teller has predicted that for every child knocked down by a bus he will find a pound coin), but the cards fell better for Peter and he used them with aplomb.

The Russians are in

However, it turned out that he used them with a little too much aplomb. Rereading the rules I find that only one Tactician Card can be used on a unit per turn, meaning that the heroic charge of the Chasseurs to take out two artillery units would have been ruled out by the video ref had the technology been in use. For the record the other rule we got wrong was not testing for the loss of attached commanders when units took hits without being destroyed; James did draw my attention to it, but I thought I knew better.

And then they're out again, leaving behind only a forlorn Mother Russia token

I thought the scenario worked. The Russians are handicapped by their lack of cavalry (the official scenario in Expansion 2 gives them some Cuirassier) and because the relative weakness of their units means that they achieve less for each activation,, but their extra artillery can be used to devestating effect. The March Move on certain cards meant that reserves at least had a chance to move forward, although as so often in C&C there were half a dozen units on either side that never saw combat. We shall play it again next week without any changes - other than swapping sides - and see how differently it turns out.

The Russians are pushed back everywhere

The changed shape of the playing area didn't cause any problems. The 'at least one dice in melee' rule only came into play a few times and, to me at least, seemed more natural than the alternative.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Meanwhile I was still thinking (aloud)

I have rejigged the Maloyaroslavets scenario a touch. There are now two flat hexes on from which the Russians can attack the village and one on the French side.

Also we shall play that in melee (or when Battling in official C&C terminology) all units will have at least one dice regardless of other circumstances. This will not apply to ranged combat. All the other ideas will be retained in the 'possible' file.

In addition I have moved all the reserves on to the table. The only real effect of keeping some back was to ensure they got into action in the historical order. Upon considering whether I cared very much whether they did so or not I had to conclude that I didn't.

To recap, the moving up of reserves will hopefully take advantage of the March Move available on some cards. In the original game a card such as, for example, Scout Right Flank was one that you played when you didn't have a better alternative or to thin out your hand. Now, as well as allowing the ordering of one unit, it allows three others to move as long as they don't pass out of, into or through a hex adjacent to the enemy, you get the choice of one of the two next Command cards and you get a Tactician card; all of which when put together seems an effective return to me.

I have also indulged myself and put some weak Russian militia in the monastery .

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Another Vapnartak

I have been to this year's Vapnartak. Dealing with negatives first, there weren't enough games and the ones that there were looked exactly like the ones that were there last year, and the year before, and the year before.... It's a wargaming show that you wouldn't bother going to for the wargames. More happily, it's not too far, it's a lovely venue, there are lots of traders and one generally bumps into people one knows. I picked up some pre-ordered Hexon slopes, bought the traditional five small trees from the tree man, and bought another pack of narrow roads from S&A Scenics. These are not intended as realistic terrain pieces, but rather for the deliberately stylised C&C games.

Speaking of which James came up with a further alternative for the current scenario, namely to make the hill an advantage for the defenders rather than a penalty to the attackers. The downside of this is that it means the French would be rolling six dice against infantry and could expect to roll on average two infantry symbols plus one sabre symbol; in other words an attacking Russian unit would either have to force French defenders to withdraw or face a high probability of destruction when they battled back. I shall continue thinking.