Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Yapton Beer Festival 2017

Yapton again, err again... another year has passed! Yapton worked it's usual magic and the sun shone, bullshit was quoth, and we all got sun burnt and enjoyed some decent (not outstanding) ales... it doesn't get any better despite a poor turnout from the jolly boys (holidays, charity walks, plays etc) with only four of us this year...

As ever most beers were surprisingly cheap - I think we were paying £1.50/ £1.60 a half (which compares with last year and the year before), but excellent value. Entry to the festival  was up a pound to £6 (which gets you an official glass, no official glass no beer), and that's the secret of this successful festival, and a lesson that a lot of Beer Festivals could do with learning...  people aren't going to come and pay a large entry fee to an event when they are then also being charged the same or more than their local pub... last years experiment of offering beer in a third of a pint at a cheaper rate again was also continued...  this year they continued to move forward with new ideas and offered free containers for takeaway - something I took them up on, and as a result enjoyed a lovely pint of Revelation in the garage that evening!

Long may this little festival continue!

Picture courtesy http://devoursussex.co.uk

So without further ado here's the ales.....  I have to say, although I didn't have a poor beer, the choice was very largely from lesser known breweries this year...  having said that there were some stand-out's and also some disappointments...  on the disappointment side for example, they had beer from Thornbridge (very much tick) but it was 'dark caramel tasting stout with flavours of raspberry' (very much yuck - Steve the Wargamer says "oi, leave the fruit out of the beer")... having gone all that way it would have been nice if they'd bought back a barrel of Jaipur as well...

Brewery Beer (click for more info) ABV Notes (from brewery website) What I can remember...
Lazy Lizard APA 4.4% "A golden ale with floral and citrus notes. This refreshing crisp, zesty, dry pale ale is triple hopped using four varieties of American hops balanced with roasted malts" A good start from this new and coming Brighton based brewery - very tasty golden ale, with grapefruit Citra bitterness..
Vibrant Forest Cascade 5% "This range of beers utilises a single hop to showcase the flavour profile of each flower and the flavours include giant tropical fruits to big and bitter citrus. Hops include Chinook, Centennial, Citra, Summit, Amarillo, Simcoe and Mosaic." Usually a good choice, and I have to say the first half of the half was lovely, but it soon went "off the boil" and became curiously tasteless...
Brighton Bier Heydaze 4% "Our unfined/vegan cask pale ale showcasing Mandarina Bavaria alongside a rotating selection of American hops" An interesting approach as theoretically the taste will never be the same two times running (depending on which American hops are used), but it's a decent brewery. Good one, but again - not outstanding... 
Ballards Nyewood Gold 5% "Auburn bronze Premium ale with malty barley sugar and spicy hop aromas and a smooth creamy flavour with soft fruits throughout with a tasty balanced finish. Originally brewed for the Beauty of Hops Competition 1997 to trial Phoenix hops, a new variety developed to be resistant to Wilt, the disease which has decimated English Hop Gardens." Nyewood Gold is one of the classic ales, and alongside Summer Lightning and Timmy Taylor Landlord kind of started off the fashion for golden bitters so not having seen it for a while on draught I had to try it again..  good strong flavours, no shirking with this one...
Dark Star Revelation 5.7% "A blend of Warrior, Cascade, Columbus, Crystal and Chinook by the sack full – then dry hopped during conditioning using our ‘Hoptimizer’ (Industrial sized hookah)." Immense flavour, bitter, tasty, from a premier league brewery (in my opinion) - it was like coming home after hard days work, and I stuck with this for the rest of the afternoon as nothing else took my fancy...  3 halves later and I got another pint to take home....  

...and that was it - wended my way home for a snooze on the sofa and a watch of Eurovision...

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

"One Hour Wargames" - Scenario 11 - "Surprise Attack" - Redux

I'll be the first to admit that my happy victory in the recent game DG and I played was somewhat overshadowed by my mis-reading of the scenario, and an overwhelming view that the outcome of the scenario was significantly skewed by the (duff) initial manoeuvres... for two reasons....

Not only did it nullify the whole intent and purpose of the defending forces advance guard (which were positioned where they were for good reason! ), but two, it also accelerated the time taken for any attacking flanking forces to get to their nominated attack points - I reckon at least a two move advantage and given the scenario is only 15 moves in total that's some advantage.

The more I thought about it the less happy I was with the victory, so with rain stopping play (or sailing) on Sunday, and therefore an unexpected four or five hours made available, I took it upon myself to do a solo replay of the game to see what the difference would be in reality..  couldn't have been happier I did, as it went all the way to the very wire!

First though some set up details - forces were the same, dispositions were the same, and the attackers tactics were the same - as much as possible I also adopted/adapted DG's defence tactics...

By the way - when I played the game I found an unexpected advantage with the modified OHW rules we're using that the mechanism of deciding unit movement by dice allows you to enhance solo play by throwing to see who "moves" (or throws dice) first - which allows the other side to react....  when playing against an opponent both sides throw at the same time, for solo play, throwing one side at a time and decided by dice, brings in some interesting friction....  having said that, the Union were inordinately lucky with the decision dice, but not always so luck with the following disposition dice!

As an experiment then - here is the game move by move - one shot per move, for 15 moves - all pictures taken at end of turn:


So it was another Confederate victory, but far closer than the previous game - and in three main phases....  centre, east flank and finally west flank...

Centre:

As in the last game I had brought two average regiments on to "pin" the advance guard which allowed my flank forces to start their (slightly longer) march... unlike the first game, I charged with the Union cavalry immediately though, and there then ensued a fearful knock out melee that lasted at least three or four moves with the cavalry attacking one, while the artillery peppered the other - but job done - while they were doing this the flank forces exited their area of influence...

In the end, the cavalry destroyed the infantry regiment they were battling - but in doing so opened themselves up to an attack by the surviving Rebel regiment who destroyed the, but in their turn were then destroyed by the artillery...

Phase over, with only the Union artillery surviving - they about faced and moved towards the Union home baseline and subsequently had an effect in the west flank phase...  but first...

East flank:

As in the first game this ended up in a firefight between my two Zouave regiments (not necessarily those curiously uniformed fellows, in OHW terms it is more a phrase or term for "elite"/"veteran" type troops) and the Union Zouave and one average regiment...


The rules do not allow units to close to melee unless they have a significant advantage in points (5+ over their target) so the musketry rolled for some time before..  eventually....  the Tigers overcame all...  the problem then being that they were too far away from the artillery to engage them, and were destroyed by the artillery before they could close...  which then brings us to...

West flank:

On this flank I had sent two average regiments through the woods in order to counter the Union final reinforcements which would be entering the table by the road on move 9 (to the right int he oicture following)


The regiments subsequently arrived, and another massive firefight ensued..


Happily for the Confederates, the Union deployment dice were not always playing ball...  lower the better for deployment so what this shows is that a lot of Union units would be doing their actions late in the move...


First Union regiment was destroyed in two moves by a mahoosive firing hit, which generated enough of a difference for them then to be charged and destroyed in the next move. The other Union regiment was flanked and destroyed in the following move..


Which left two Confederate regiments to finish off the artillery and force the crossroads...  suffice to say that on the very last move one last Confederate regiment was on the cross roads..  talk about taking it to the wire...

Saturday, April 29, 2017

"One Hour Wargames" - Scenario 11 - "Surprise Attack" - Game


..and the stars were in alignment, and the broadband behaved, and so it was that on the seventh day (the game was on Sunday ), DG and I got together over Skype to play the "Surprise Attack" scenario...

A brilliant game, most enjoyable - and also my first table top game of the year - but very bloody..

Following on from the last post where I described the setup, both DG and I first threw for our random forces:


Infantry
Musket
Infantry
Rifle
Zouaves Artillery Cavalry
1
4
-
1
1
-
2
4
-
-
1
1
3
4
1*
1
-
-
4
4
1*
-
1
-
5
4
1*
-
-
1
6
3
-
1
1
1

*Roll again 1/2/3 = Inf Musket, 4/5/6 = Zouave

I threw a 3, and on the re-roll I came up with Zouave; DG threw a 6 for a balanced all arms force.

We then decided who would attack, and conversely who was defender and I was nominated the (Confederate) attacker, and DG was nominated as the (Union) defender and also decided his advance force would be the artillery and his cavalry (mounted).

The game:

I'll be the first to admit here that we (or rather I) made a fundamental error with my first move with allowing my troops to come on anywhere on the south table edge, when the scenario actually requires me to enter via the road...  doh! I have a feeling that this fundamentally alters the possible outcome of the game in favour of the attacker, so a replay may be on the cards but this time playing it as per the scenario..

On to the game, and in the picture following, which is end of move 3, you'll see the fundamentals of my plan - two average units in centre to pin the Union advance guard of cavalry and artillery, with one of them back as a reserve, and on the left two other average regiments on a flanking march through the wood, and on the right another flanking force comprising my two elite Zouave units going round the river...  by this stage DG's artillery has limbered up and withdrawn (with the cavalry). after having inflicted losses on the advance regiment before they went. In the far distance DG's first reserves have arrived - the New York Zouaves and the first of three average infantry regiments...

End Turn 3 - Wagons for colour... deployments as per text....
Three of four turns later (I think this is the end of turn 7) and the next picture shows things are going well for the Confederates...  the battle on the left has been hard with my two Zouave regiments taking on DG's Zouaves and the cavalry - the cavalry in particular charged again and again, inflicting heavy losses...  DG's luck however came to an end when my "reserves" managed to catch the cavalry in a pincer and charge their rear - destroyed. The other regiment from the centre was destroyed in an all out attack on the artillery (which was also destroyed)...

On the right, the other flanking force has debouched from the woods with one of them guarding the edge of the wood and waiting for arrivals on the road (due end turn 9), and the other regiments is engaged in a firefight with DG's other infantry.....

End Turn 7
A crashing charge by my zouave's (go the Tigers!) soon put paid to DG's zouave regiment, and then subsequent charges also removed the remaining Union regiment from play..  this was end turn eight but DG's final reinforcements were due move 9..

They entered the table in line straight into the flank of that regiment waiting on the edge of the wood for them to arrive (seemed fair given the fact that I had I had literally stolen a march on my arrival! ) - massed Confederate regiments however, were too much for them (four to two) and in the end the game was adjudged a Confederate win...

I thought the game was very good, I hope DG thinks the same, a shame about my initial move as I think it meant I probably saved at least two turns on my advance - I never gave DG the chance to consolidate that I think the scenario is designed to do...  like I said a replay may well be on the cards!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

"One Hour Wargames" - Scenario 11 - "Surprise Attack" - Setup

Woke up this morning (now I'm sounding like Muddy Waters) and realised that, despite having a ticket, I really didn't fancy Salute, so decided to give it a miss and do some other stuff...  one of which was getting a game together for DG and I to play via Skype, hopefully tomorrow, but possibly Tuesday

As the game is going to be via Skype it makes most sense to use one of the One Hour Wargames scenario's, and as I'm working through them one by one, scenario #11* was it..

As it's been a while, this scenario will be set in the American Civil War, so my collection will get a march out for the first time in a year!

Forces were random - 6 units again (as per the previous scenario's to date) - I'm using the same modified the random table we used in the refight of scenario #5 [clicky] and #7 [clicky]:

Infantry
Musket
Infantry
Rifle
Zouaves Artillery Cavalry
1
4
-
1
1
-
2
4
-
-
1
1
3
4
1*
1
-
-
4
4
1*
-
1
-
5
4
1*
-
-
1
6
3
-
1
1
1

*Roll again 1/2/3 = Inf Musket, 4/5/6 = Zouave

The scenario is loosely based on Quatre Bras, with one player acting as defender, and deploying with just two elements on the table, and the other attacking and hopefully taking a cross roads before the full defending force arrives on the table..all units start off table except for two in a deployment area roughly a third of the way from the end of the table - buy the book if you want more detail than that (it's worth it! ).

Table as follows:

Looking north - defenders early deployment area marked

Looking east - wood in the foreground

Looking south..

* ...and in case the eagle eyed and observant among you are wondering where scenario # 10 is, DG and I played it (twice) via Battle Chronicler, and with all the will in the world a succession of screenshots of what is in effect a computer game is not really going to cut it so you'll have to be a with me when I say we enjoyed the game immensely, and from memory it ended one all with both of us winning a game..  a good scenario...

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

"Turn Left for Gibraltar" - a review...


My first "10 out of 10" of the year so I thought this warranted a post in it's own right....

For anyone with an interest in the submarine service in WWII these book are an absolute delight...  this is the third in a series that goes from strength to strength (in my view), and this is without a doubt his best to date..

The bulk of the action is set against the siege of Malta, but it takes up from end of the previous book where Harry had been serving in a Free French submarine in the Indian Ocean

He starts the book as a "prisoner" in a Spanish POW camp on Majorca (more accurately an internment camp as the occupants were free to move around) and how he gets there makes interesting reading....  following his escape to Malta he is assigned as navigating officer to one of the 10th Flotilla submarines, and following a successful mission is promoted to first lieutenant in another...

There's lots of gritty and dramatic description of submarine actions in the relatively shallow Mediterranean, and the increasingly difficult operational environment on Malta... the book is also very good on the mental/psychological costs of serving in such an environment where your friends disappear (dead) regularly, and the war seems never ending....

Absolutely superb - can't wait for the next one to come out....