Friday, 8 December 2017

Little Wars Revisited 54mm Games Day

I thought I'd plug this event which Mike Lewis at Black Hat Miniatures is planning for next March.  It's a day event in Woking, Surrey for 54mm wargames with up to 6 games being staged.

It's still very much in the planning stages but more info about the event can be found on the excellent Little Wars Revisited site, which is well worth a visit for lots of useful info on games in this scale.

I'm hoping this might be the kick up the arse I need to get more of my 54mm North West Frontier figures painted!


Tuesday, 5 December 2017

10th May 1940

Last week saw the first game in a mini-campaign I've started with Keith (of Armies Army fame).  We're using the excellent Chain of Command rules from Too Fat Lardies to fight out the German invasion of Belgium.  Why?  Well, mainly because we had the figures handy but also because the early war period is a fascinating one...not overpowered with supertanks and with some interesting underrated armies like the French and Belgians.

Keith has done all the legwork in getting the campaign planned out using the TFL 'At the Sharp End' campaign kit and is playing the invading Germans.  My plucky Belgians are hoping to try and last more than the 18 days of the real campaign.  The rules encourage you to name your officers and follow them as the campaign unfolds so my forces are led by Lieutenant Remi, Sergeant Brel and Sergeant Evil named after my favourite Belgians...Georges Remi, Jacques Brel and... erm... Dr Evil from the Austin Powers movies (who knew he was Belgian??!)

The first scenario saw the Belgians responding to reports that Germans had been sighted in Belgian territory near the border with Aachen.  Both forces patrolled out, using the Patrol marker system in CoC which, unsurprisingly, meant we clashed near a small village in the centre of the table






Nether of us had arrived with our full complement of troops.  One of my sections failed to turn up completely and annoyingly I also misplaced my Grenade Launcher section...at least that way they couldn't get shot at!!  The Germans also lost some troops but still looked pretty threatening.  Our sections engaged each other at close range from opposite houses and although the Belgians took some early losses from this and from mortar fire, concentrated Belgian fire broke a German section although another quickly took it's place. 

At this point some of our support choices arrived.  The Germans deployed a PzII which was a bit worrying as I didn't have any anti-armour capability other than LMGs.  I chose to bring on a Forward Observer who managed to call in a barrage on the German mortar with pretty devastating effect.  In CoC once a barrage starts in continues until a player manages to end the round by using Chain of Command points which accumulate (if you're lucky) during the game.  I was able to walk the barrage onto the remaining German sections which piled on more casualties.  One of the Belgian officers was wounded and left behind when his section broke but displayed conspicuous bravery by calling in the mortar strike on his position while lying in a pool of blood!  




The combined effect of the mortar barrage and fire from Belgian sections forced the Germans back off the battlefield  but reports now indicate that there have been further incursions along the border.  At least my casualties were pretty light with only 1 section taking a real pasting so I should have a fairly strong force for round 2.



Sunday, 3 December 2017

I have built a house...


Well, not exactly a house...it's actually a Japanese Rice store but it has walls and a roof so that's close enough for me.

I bought this 4Ground rice store in October at SELWG to use with my Ronin figures and it has languished with my other purchases since then until yesterday when my wife spotted it and wanted to know why I'd bought things if I wasn't going to do anything with them.  Clearly she doesn't understand about the principles of buying stuff for wargames...these things need a certain time to mature.  Nonetheless I was inspired to make a start on the rice store and built it fairly quickly.

I'm pretty cack-handed when it comes to any form of building things...generally the rule in our house is that it's better to get someone in than to let me loose on any form of DIY and this proved no exception.  Like a lot of the 4Ground kits it has an inner wall which is built first and then lined with an outer and inner lining.  I completely failed to take account of the fact that there is a door and a window on 2 of the walls and managed to put the wrong parts on each side!  As I'd used Superglue rather than PVA this was a bit of a bugger but I managed to prise the pieces off without inflicting too much damage (but covering my fingers in glue in the process)...at least I didn't stick myself to anything...

The store has a Teddy Bear fur roof and my main question is why does mine look like Donald Trump!!!!



This is the house after the fur has been given a liberal coat of PVA/Water and a bit of a trim...now safely de-Trumped!



Thursday, 23 November 2017

Where have I been...



No posts since the beginning of the month...have I been off somewhere exciting??  Nope.

Sadly work and life has been eating into my spare time so blogging kind of fell by the wayside for a few weeks.  This quarter is always a really busy period at work and by the time it gets to the evening (if I'm not working) then tapping away on the keyboard isn't a priority.

Unless it's killing things online of course...I've also been a bit distracted by the online game Conan Exiles which I must post about at some point.

Anyway, all of this hasn't stopped me playing a few games.

Image result for psc battle of britain

I played my first game of  Battle of Britain, the PSC Kickstarter launched game.  Despite all the hassles with bendy aircraft etc (which PSC to their credit have taken on the chin and resolved), there is a very good game in the box.  I played a game of this down at Eric the Shed's where my Luftwaffe were comprehensively driven off by the RAF.  Having played one game I now understand how to approach it so I like to think I'd do better in subsequent games, but I suspect that's just wishful thinking.

Image result for conan board game

I also managed a game of Conan down at Guildford with a couple of players who hadn't tried it before.  I played out the 'In the Clutches of the Picts' scenario in which our heroes have to kill the evil sorcerer (and remove his head) and locate and rescue the helpless princess while fending off hyenas, Picts and a giant snake.  This always seems like a good introductory scenario to play through.  We had a fun game which the players seemed to really enjoy and nearly won...they managed to get the princess off the board and almost killed the evil leader but sadly ran out of time...at least they all died heroically.

Image result for dead of winter board game

This week I was back at Eric the Shed's for a game of Dead of Winter.  I hadn't heard of this before and it's a zombie game which usually would leave me a bit cold but this was really excellent fun.  It's a cooperative game with the players taking a group of survivors of the Zombie Apocalypse and attempting to scavenge supplies, fend off the zombies and stop infection spreading while keeping the colony of dependent survivors happy and alive.  As well as the team victory condition each player also has a secret objective so there are options for some, none or all players to win...of course one of the secret missions is to betray the colony and be a saboteur which thankfully I didn't get as I have a rubbish poker face.  Really, really good fun and very quick to pick up...we managed 2 games in the evening and the 2nd one flew by.

I treated myself to a Light Box for taking photos this week, splashing out the huge sum of £12.99!  Most of the photos on my blog are snapped on my phone and I struggle with lighting figures so I thought I'd give this a try after reading a couple of articles.  It comes folded up and is the size of a large envelope when folded (and comes in a handy bag).


When unfolded it's big enough to accommodate most figures...you'd struggle with large units but it would easily accommodate several figures or a building etc.  It comes with an adjustable LED lamp and several different colour backdrops.  Here are a few examples using a 15mm motorcyclist from my Belgian WW2 army.






Much easier than juggling a torch and my camera, and the coloured backgrounds make a real difference.  I definitely need to do some more experimenting with them.


Yesterday was my birthday and my wife treated me to a copy of the PSC/Worthington Games game, Hold the Line...


Image result for hold the line psc

How did she know I wanted this???  Obviously she loves me dearly and knows what I like...or it could have been the email I sent her with a link and the discount voucher I got from the Battle of Britain debacle!  More on this game when I get a chance to play it.

Image result for the templars dan jones

Finally my son tipped me off that the book 'The Templars' by historian Dan Jones is currently on offer at £0.99 in the Kindle store (at least it is in the UK).  I'm a big fan of his books on the Wars of the Roses and the Tudors so I've snapped this up


Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Wilderness Empires



Back at the end of September when I was up in Glasgow I managed to pick up a bargain set of Wilderness Empires by Worthington Games at Static Games in the city centre.




The game is a large scale strategic game of the French Indian Wars which uses wooden blocks to represent regiments and leaders.  The board and components are very nice with large chunky blocks and very nicely illustrated cards and rules with illustrations by Don Troiani.



The game is played in Seasons (spring, summer and fall) with each side manoeuvring armies.  Leaders make this easier although militia and Indians are pretty mobile.  Each side also has a hand of cards which can give bonuses, add reinforcements etc but these can only be played in limited numbers and this is determined by the season.  No action takes place in Winter but cards are replenished   and, more crucially, Indians and possibly some Militia go home which can scupper your well laid plans

Victory is gained by taking (and holding) key objectives for each side...as you get victory points each season you hold an objective the VPs can mount up pretty quickly so there is a real pressure to take back territory before it's too late.

Combat is interesting...the game comes with special dice with 3 results.  A Blank means no hit, Arrows equal a hit and a 3rd symbol (a shield or an eye?) means an Indian or Militia unit in the battle refuses to fight: they don't desert but seem to just sit on the side-lines and rejoin the army once the dust has settled.  This means that an army composed of regular troops is more likely to stick around for the whole battle and can also take more hits. Of course armies are dependent on Militia and, in the case of the French on Indian allies so this doesn't always go to plan.  The British can also burn Indian villages which limits the locations Indian units can retire to in Winter.

I played a trial game against Mike at the Guildford Club...as neither of us had played we were both equally unsure how to approach the game.  I played the British and, in the spirit of the Empire, immediately set off to the Indian territory to burn villages.  I'm not sure this gained me much and may have become a bit of a distraction.  In the centre Mike launched an attack on the British forts and we both got drawn into a long tussle of the centre ground. 

I was very fortunate that the cards I received allowed me to add quite a few regular units as reinforcements.  The British control a number of ports so I had quite a bit of choice about where these would turn up...Mike on the other hand was limited to a couple of ports and when my rapidly growing reinforced army launched an attack and seized Louisbourg he was very restricted.  This showed the advantage of sending in an army entirely made up of regulars as, although I took casualties, no one was subject to the 'Refuse to Fight' result.  Mike didn't seem to get anything like the amount of reinforcements I had and some of his cards which allowed this were dependent on him owning Louisbourg...oops!  I managed to take back the territory I'd lost in the centre and with Louisbourg in my possession the VPs started to mount until the French weren't in a position to challenge.

It was an ideal game for a club evening...challenging but not too demanding and just the right length of time to play.  It felt a bit one sided once the British reinforcements rolled in but I wasn't sure if this was just down to some bad luck with the cards rather that imbalance. Good fun and definitely one to try again

Monday, 23 October 2017

Back from SELWG


So, as usual  I made my way into the wilds of Crystal Palace yesterday to SELWG. This is only about 10 miles from home so easily the closest show to me.  It's a pretty big event with a fair number of traders and games on show.  I found there were a few traders I would normally have expected were not there this year.  This seems to happen more and more...I think the costs of transport and time vs sales isn't always a great option for some traders.  Most seemed pretty busy although every time I passed the large Foundry stand (in the top centre of the photo above) they always seemed really empty.

Anyway, onto the photos.  As usual I forgot to note details of half the games so I've filled in the details where I could from other people's blogs or FB posts but there are a few that escaped me...apologies to the organisers of those games.  As always most games were excellent with people keen to engage the passing punters and explain what was happening.  As always too, there were a couple that seemed to resemble a club night game with no contact with passers by.   I've never understood this...if you've gone to all the trouble of planning the game, making the terrain, painting the figures and lugging it all the way to the show, why not talk to people about what you've done??!



Shepway Wargames - Brittania 417AD


Something ACW...sorry...

South London Warlords Dalek game




Deal Wargames Club...Poland '39





Excellent Chain of Command game by Gravesend Wargames Club (I think)...fantastic detail




Demo of  the forthcoming Fallout game

The ACW game again...still can't remember who it was...

Peter Pig demo of their revised SCW rules Bayonet and Ideology

Newbury & Reading - Battle of Stoke Field

Sharp Practice game...Mexican/Texan??



And what did I buy....?

Well, a couple go posts ago I mentioned that I had a kind of plan and I pretty much stuck to it (...I know...not my usual result!).



I picked up a few packs of WW2 French troops from Peter Pig for a forthcoming Chain of Command a friend and I are planning...they're going to masquerade as Belgians.  I also picked up one of the new Peter Pig SCW armoured cars just because.   The rest of my plan has been to need up some existing projects that are at the 'just enough' stage so I picked up Napoleonic cavalry from Perry for Sharp Practice and some Samurai figures and a building for Ronin.  The  figures are actually from the Warlord Test of Honour game and I debated getting the starter set instead as it's pretty good value, but in the end I decided I don't really need to buy into yet another game system.  Finally I bought a Wild West building from 4Ground.  I don't have anything else for this period but it's a slow-burning idea so I figured a building might be a start (probably the start of a slippery slope!)...