Saturday, April 18, 2015

Last Samurai - Meiji Era Warfare Using Bolt Action

Played out a scenario loosely based on the last battle in the movie "The Last Samurai." Slightly modified Bolt Action was used for the game with very good results, in my opinion. It played out fast and felt fairly balanced - even though the rebel Samurai forces were without modern weapons. Indeed, the only missile weapons they had were bows with 18" range versus the Imperial troops 24" rifle ranges. The Imperial troops also had two cannon with 36" range and two Gatling guns with 30" range. As the latter weapons were on a bluff they could fire over their own troops most of time.
Rebel Samurai forces at the start of the game. All the figures are Old Glory except for two Bac Ninh command figures manning the guard towers and the Perry foot Samurai.
Imperial troops in skirmish line with infantry in the center, cavalry on the flanks and supported by artillery and Gatling guns on an overlooking bluff. All of the figures are Old Glory, with the two Gatling guns made by Black Tree Design.
The end of Turn 1 had most of the troops using Run to close in on each other - all missile troops, including artillery being still out of range. This was only found out after the first Imperial cannon discovered this fact after choosing to Fire. The rest chose Ambush when their die came up.
Turn 2 had some Imperial troops able to fire on the rebels. Not causing too much casualties, but giving them Pins to deal with.
A mounted Samurai unit being decimated by carbine and rifle fire after impetuously trying to close in on the enemy. For their part, ashigaru bowmen were pretty effective even with a more limited range.
Finally able to reach the enemy, the Samurai cavalry forgot the Imperial cavalry also had two attacks each in Close Combat.
A large ashigaru unit overpowering another Imperial cavalry unit which has been reduced by ashigaru bow fire.
The rebel left flank moving up in good order, and still out of Imperial artillery range.
A foot Samurai unit, also with two attacks each engages Imperial infantry, while a mounted Samurai unit takes on another Imperial unit to their left. It was wasn't as lopsided as expected, as the Imperial infantry had some good die rolls.
More infantry combat with both units having sustained earlier missile fire. The skulls are casualty counters, and the die represent Pins. Although it may look grim for the Imperial troops, the Samurai need 6 ' to hit with 3 Pins accumulated. 
The center of the battle at the bottom of Turn 4. Quite a few of the Imperial forces having been wiped out - only the artillery and Gatling guns atop the bluff remain unscathed so far.
Turn 5 had the remaining Samurai cavalry unit making a charge on a cannon - they fell short and became targets of opportunity for the intended victim. The cannon used its Ambush setting to opportunity fire, but only caused one casualty. The next die went to the Gatling gun next to the cannon, which caused several more casualties - leaving only a pair of Samurai left in the unit.
The battlefield at the end of Turn 5. The few Imperial troops still engaged in combat will likely be destroyed in the next turn. One of the artillery crew actually fell victim to ashigaru bowmanship - they rolled 6 twice for the hit - having Advanced and having two Pins and being long range!
The game was called before starting Turn 6 - which would likely go to the rebels since they had most of their units still intact - including several bow units. Although there was also the chance the Imperial guns could've inflicted enough casualties to prevent this. Again, I was very pleased with the way Bolt Action's core rules adapted very nicely to this scenario with "Natives" lacking firearms. The previous blog post has a copy of the draft rules which were used.

34 comments:

  1. What a tense and interesting outcome. Beautiful troops especially flying both Samurai and Imperial banners.

    Great stuff!

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    1. Thanks, Jonathan. This was a really enjoyable game - I really liked the uncertainty of the ebb and flow using using the dice draw. I was also pleasantly surprised at how well it adapted to this earlier period. Warm regards, Dean

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  2. Spectacular looking game! It was a more even affair than I expected. Glad to see the gatling gun didn't just mow down everything that moved!

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    1. Thanks for the visit and interests, Paul. Yes, the Gatling guns weren't a great factor in this game. Although, I suspect they could've been if the Imperial troops waited for the Samurai forces to approach within range of the guns. Still, it was a seesaw affair for the most part. Warm Regards, Dean

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  3. On more lovely looking game!, cool that you use bolt action rules :)

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    1. Thanks you very much for the nice words. Yes, I was very impressed with how the rules worked with this period. I have no problem using it again for similar games. Best, Dean

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  4. Nice AAR, Dean - and innovative use of Bolt Action. Its was a somewhat unexpected result with the Imperial side taking a defeat, but nice to see that warrior code can beat a bullet.

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    1. Thanks, Soren. I gave the Imperial troops lower "Damage" to reflect their inexperience as well as their peasant background. Combined with their smaller numbers, the Samurai and Ashigaru could make charges with some gusto :) That all said, the Victory condition for the Samurai was to capture one of the guns - which may have opened them up to more casualties. Regards, Dean

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  5. Clever use of Bolt Action rules. A surprise victory for the Samurai.

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    1. Thank you much! Now if the Imperials used more conservative tactics - like staying closer to the guns, and allowing the Samurai to move into gun range - possibly a different outcome. Regards, Dean

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  6. Nice looking game. The terrain looks very convincing.

    Frank
    http://adventuresinlead.blogspot.com.au/

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    1. Thank you very much for the compliment, Frank! Warm regards, Dean

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  7. Great game!


    http://bacninhminiatures.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks, Jose. I should note that two of your command figures are manning the guard towers too :)! Regards, Dean

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    1. Thanks, Mike, it was quite an enjoyable use of rules normally geared for more shooter types. Best, Dean

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    1. Thank you very much my friend. Warm Regards, Dean

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  10. Fantastic game! and You inspire me to use bolt action rules to many others climate games! Thank You!

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    1. Thanks, Michal! I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how well it can be adapted to otherwise underrepresented periods. Warm Regards, Dean

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  11. Amazed the Gattlings didn't dominate, as per movie... but I guess that's Hollywood... still, I wouldn't want to be riding into the steel rain they spit out!

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    1. Thanks, Scott. The Gatling guns only had 5 shooting dice with 30 inch range, subject to long range penalty. Once the Imperial troops got too close to the rebels, or engaged in HTH the guns were pretty much useless. Better Imperial tactics would've made the guns more effective. Best, Dean

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  12. Great set of posts Dean, as always you never fail to inspire.

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    1. Thanks, Dave, for your very kind words; truly appreciate the visit and comments! Best, Dean

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  13. Nice report and great looking game! I imagine you could of some Zulus and British Infantry themed game then.

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    1. Thanks, Simon. Yes, I'm sure it could be used for Zulu games. Unit sizes can be increased for non-firearmed troops. Regards, Dean

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  14. Nice battle report and some good looking troops on the table. Never thought of Bolt Action being used for anything outside of WWII. It seems to work!

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    1. Thank you kindly. I think most rules can be adapted to periods not normally considered - with a little bit of concessions. Regards, Dean

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  15. Set-up was already very nice, but the game is even much better! Great pictures, these minis are just fantatsic!

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    1. Thanks, Phil! It was the first game that I purposely remembered to take photos of each turn's actions. At least most of them. Regards, Dean

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  16. A seriously cool game! A novel use of Bolt Action and beautiful figures too!

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    1. Thanks so much, John! Warm regards, Dean

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  17. Great looking figures and game!

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  18. Another epic battle! I didn't think the Samurai had a chance so its nice to see the surprise. I wish I was within a day's drive of the NW so I could see your games and figures in person.

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