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Friday, 29 May 2015

Gaming update

Since my last post I have upped the gaming tempo playing the following

Wings of Glory (WW1) x4

Algernon Pulls it Off  x3

DBA 3.0 x3

Necromunda x2

Corvus x2

Irregular Wars

Check Your 6!

Washington WC House WW2 Naval


Guns at Gettysberg

King of the Battlefield

Bolt Action

Chain of Command

Sword and Spear

So that is 23 miniatures games and in addition I also played a couple of board games as well.

A highlight was a trip to London where I managed to fit in a game on each of my free evenings.  Thanks to Central London Wargames Club and Gavin McKenzie in particular for taking me through a game of King of the Battlefield. Loughton Strike Force were also gracious hosts and it was very interesting to take part in a playtest of the second edition of Guns at Gettysberg in a multiplayer gaming including the author Dave Brown.  I will certainly be looking forward with interest to the final version. I must also thank Gary for helping me get too and from the venue.  Two cracking clubs that I hope to get back to again sometime.

The Falkirk annual trip to the Scottish National Museum of Flight was a great day out with lots of participation in our Wings of Glory and Bolt Action Tank game.  The key to these public events really is to keep the rules as simple as possible.  A number of visitors went away with details of the rules so we may have planted a few seeds there.

Last, but by no stretch of the imagination least, is Carronade, the annual show hosted by the Falkirk club.  For my sins I am on the organising committee and am pleased to report that, to coin a phrase, it was our best show ever.  More visitors, games, traders, flea market tables sold and painting competition entries.  Including visitors, people putting games on, traders and club members we must have had best part of 1,000 people attending which was great.  There is going to be a spread in August's Wargames Illustrated so keep a look out for that.
Hopefully I will start to up my posting count over the next few weeks.  I have still not fixed the problem which has made it impossible to attach photos - if I can get that done it will give me more incentive to post regularly. (edit)  Getting the spacing right also seems to be a pain

Monday, 9 March 2015

Variety is the Spice of Life

I have had a good start to the year playing a variety of games, namely:
Check Your 6!
Piquet Band of Brothers
Force on Force (twice)
Sword and Spear
Arc of Fire
Necromunda (twice)
Irregular Wars: Conflict at the World’s End
Lion Rampant
Legions of Battle
Muskets and Tomahawks
Wings of Glory
Lord of the Rings
The Gattling’s Jammed
Washington Club WW2 naval
Sixteen games is a bit behind the pace if I am going to hit the target of 100 in the year but the most important thing is that I am getting an awful lot of fun from my games.
The highlight of the year so far had to be on Saturday at the Albanich show in Dumfries.  The Falkirk club put on an Indian Mutiny game and I was one of the leaders of the ‘Freedom Fighters’, defending a couple of villages against the Imperialists.  Throwing caution to the winds I threw the tribal levies forward on the left flank and, despite taking horrific casualties, managed to break a brigade of Ghurkhas.  Great fun and we were pleasantly surprised to win ‘Best in Show’ for the game

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Irregular Wars – First Impressions and Plans

We had our first run out of Irregular Wars – Conflict at the World's End last Monday.  They simulate small battles fought in the 16th and early 17th centuries and in particular in the New World, North Africa and Asia, although the fringes of Europe are also covered.

 To be fair we had a few issues.  The first was of our own making as we did not really have enough figures so there was only one 28mm figure per 60mm square base which made it look more like a skirmish.  Also we played Northern English v Lowland Scots so there was not the variation in troop types that would be normal under these rules.

The game itself went OK.  We had the usual issues of finding our way around a new set of rules.  The difficulty that superior troops had in breaking inferior ones in melee induced a bit of head shaking around the table, as did the general ineffectiveness of missile fire.  The element of uncertainty caused by the pre game rolling for disease, desertion etc and by the use of chance cards was more favourably commented on.  We played 2 v 2 with another friend trying to keep us right on the rules.  The general consensus at the end was not entirely convinced but most felt that it was worth giving them another go, which at least 2 of us will do in 15mm (Spanish v Aztec) fairly soon.

This is a set of rules that I do really want to like as the army lists really catch my imagination.  Although I normally prefer more troops on the table (this will look a bit like DBA) the premise is indeed small scale actions with 1000 – 2500 troops represented per side.  I can use some of my existing forces for a number of the armies so if I can persuade people to give the rules a go I certainly intend to play a few more games in 25/28mm.

I have a fair few Elizabethan types who can proxy for general European style troops.  I probably need to paint up about 30 – 40 of them.  My medieval Arabs can be used (and they are painted) I bought some Foundry Matchlock men at Vapnartak to add some shot.  Finally I have some part painted Muscovites, painted Cossacks and painted Mongols that can serve as Tartars.

This gives me Spanish v Berbers, Portuguese v Arabian and Muscovite v Tartar and some progress on painting figures that have been part of the Lead Mountain for a while. If after playing these games (and a couple in 15mm as well) the rules don’t seem worth persevering with then we will call it a day.  However if we like them I can see a wide vista of new armies and possible campaigns opening up.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Belated 2015 plan

I almost didn't post a plan this year, but having got off to a good start I thought I would share my thoughts.  This will hopefully give me some incentive to complete the tasks I have set myself.

2015 is going to be the year of the big sort and reorganisation of my wargames collection.  It consists of several thousand 25/28mm figures (Ancients, Medieval, Renaissance, 20th Century, Fantasy and SF) several hundred 15mm figures (18th & 19th centuries) some 10mm (20th century) and a few ships and planes.  Some are painted to the 'wargames standard'   that I aspire to, some need a bit of work but are usable in a game and others are unpainted or partly painted.

They are currently housed in a variety of cardboard and (some) plastic boxes.  These are mainly box files and document boxes (lidded, slightly smaller than box files but also a little taller).  An element of 'wargames standard' finish is to magnetise the bases. A proportion of the boxes have been lined with steel sheet.

The plan is to move all the completed 25/28mm figures into steel lined document boxes.  Usable but not completed will go into unlined document boxes.  I have 53 of these boxes in total and am hoping that will just about be enough.

The few steel lined box files will be used for 15/10mm completed or usable figures. Unlined will take unpainted figures, as will other non standard boxes.  Ships, planes and terrain will fit into suitable sized boxes, as will the few 25/28mm figures and models that are too tall to fit into document boxes.  I should also be able to get rid of some old and tatty boxes and by the end of it the attic should be very much tidier.

Part of this exercise is to catalogue what I have got, with more detail on completed figures and less on unpainted.  All the boxes will be numbered so I should be able to find what I am looking for much more easily than in the past.

I have so far sorted out 17 boxes of completed 25/28mm figures and 4 boxes of usable figures,  In addition 2 boxes of usable 15mm figures have also been sorted.  This is going to take quite a while to complete but it should certainly be doable.

The second part of this new approach is focussed on the painting table.  My plan here is to clear it completely and then focus my efforts on planned games.  For instance my next games are - Irregular Wars (renaissance 28mm), Legions of Battle (Fantasy 28mm) Necromunda (SF 28mm) and Warmachine (28mm Steampunk).  I am not providing any figures for Irregular Wars so my first task will be to work on my Chaos Fantasy figures.  These need a bit of a tidy up and magnetising so that is my current project, although I am unlikely to complete it this time around.  Once that game has been played I will turn to my Necromunda Goliath figures which just need a little work to complete.  Next up will be to paint my warmachine models.  

I am much less confident of being able to stick to the second part of my plan for a full year but I am determined to give it a good go.

So lets see how I get on.

Other targets - play 100 games in 2015 and blog at least once a month.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

How went 2014?

2014 was another excellent year for gaming with 89 miniatures games (using 32 different rule sets) and one board game being played. There were 10 games each of Force on Force and Wings of Glory.

As well as my regular Monday night games at the Falkirk Club I also visited Clydesdale Wargames Club and Burnley Wargames Club and it was good to get down to Washington for a couple of games.  The usual shows and events were also attended with Robots Live at the National Museum of Flight being a new one for us.  I managed to tie in a couple of work trips abroad with gaming activity – 2 sessions with Mick in Switzerland (one of which was an epic 5 games in a day) and one with Pedro  in Lisbon.   I also managed to win an Impetus Tournament!

The gaming has been great but other aspects less so.  My blogging activity has reduced substantially and my painting output has been nonexistent.  However Carronade was another very popular event and it was fun to have Mick over for a long weekend of gaming and whisky tasting.

So overall a good wargaming year but some planning needed to make 2015 even better.

I hope that the readers of this blog also had a good 2014 and have plans afoot for 2015 – please share if you do.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Visit to Burnley Wargames Group

Last week I was on the road with work again on a 2 day course down in Blackburn.  As usual I put a call out on a number of forums to see if I could get a game on the evening and was very grateful when Marcus of Burnley Wargames Group responded to my post on the Lead Adventurers Forum and invited me over for a game on the Tuesday night.

Marcus kindly picked me up from my hotel and took me to the Community Centre that the club use, namely Ennismore Centre Ennismore Street Burnley BB10 3EU. They have the venue from 7:30 till late and charge £3 a visit (first visit is free).  Although numbers were a bit light last Tuesday they do have access to 3 rooms and space for several games.

Marcus, Peter and I took on Mark and Martin in a 15mm WW2 game using the latest play test version on Micro-Rules.  Many of you will know the MicroMark Army Lists published by Mark Bevis and I believe that he hopes to publish the rules at some point

The scenario was a clash between British and Italian forces somewhere in the North African desert.  All the kit was early war fielded in historical formations.  I was given the best of the British tanks, A13’s I believe (plus 3 armoured cars) whilst Marcus took a company of Vickers light tanks and Peter the infantry and artillery.  On the opposite side Mark deployed infantry artillery and armoured cars and Martin a company of Italian tanks and yet more armoured cars.

I will attempt to give a commentary of the game – apologies to the guys for the vagueness of my memory and lack of in depth knowledge of all the forces involved (and indeed sheer inaccuracies) – perhaps we can put it down to the fog of war.

The rules seemed pretty straightforward but of course everyone else was very familiar with them which helped a great deal.  Each unit is given a rating which determines its combat effectiveness and morale.  The most obvious part of this is seen in the activation roll.  The appropriate force level rolls against a number needing to get equal or below on 2 D6, The British were generally 9 with the Italians as low as 6.  Activation allows move, shoot or a combination.  A double 1 gives two activations in a row and a double 6 is a blunder.  Having passed activation and completed the activity a subsequent activation can be attempted with one less chance of success with a 9 becoming an 8 and so on until the roll is failed. The opposition have the chance to interrupt activations with opportunity fire.

Both sides static forces were deployed in villages on a road but at distances involved were not visible to each other unless they fired, so armoured cars were sent forward recce.  Almost immediately I threw a double 6 and one of the vehicles broke down with a frantic repair effort not able to get it back in action for the duration of the game.  This was to be a theme of the night with 6 or 7 blunders on our side to 2 or 3 for the axis. 

My tanks ploughed up the extreme right flank taking pot shots at armoured cars and the odd tank came into view.  For most of the game the Italian tanks would either fail activation or make one rather slow move with a hill blocking line of sight between them and the British.  Move distances (and armour penetration etc) are based on actual performance data and those Italians were really very slow – going down to half speed over the hill did not help.

Marcus spread his very fast moving Vickers tanks covering the centre and the left flank making good use of whatever cover was available. The first half of the game was marked mainly by Italian armoured cars brewing up and British tanks throwing tracks (blunders!).   A force of 4 German armoured cars then arrived.  Needing a 10 for first activation, having better guns than the Vickers and being rather fast they were pushed forward in the centre and threatened to overrun the Vickers HQ section.  However hit dice and subsequent penetration rolls were very poor and with all British guns that could bear shooting them up they took casualties and surrendered.  One nice feature of the rules is target priority which generally means that tanks are shot at first, so the slowness of the Italian tanks to arrive made the axis armoured cars particularly vulnerable.

Things then started to hot up on my flank with the Italian tanks getting several activations in a row and pouring forward – my tanks being outnumbered started to be knocked out although not before causing some damage to their opponents.

On the left flank 3 Vickers had been skulking behind a hill fairly close to the enemy held village.  On double 1 activation they took their courage in their hands and, like the cavalrymen that they still were at heart, they charged into the village causing death and destruction to a number of enemy units.  Their luck eventually ran out with only one tank eventually making its escape back down the road.

Each turn we had been making reinforcement rolls and the Italians were overjoyed to get a trio of fighter bombers on with a roll that enabled them to avoid the British flak.  My tanks in the open were a plum target but the Italian’s eyesight let them down and they missed the juiciest targets.  When they finally did see some of the Vickers they then failed to do any damage.

After over 3 hours of play we pulled stumps declaring the result a draw.  After taking early losses the Italians had blunted the British advance and a further fighter sweep had the potential to cause significant damage.  A number of Italian units had routed but when a morale check was taken at the next level up they were able to pass each time.

Some comments from the Axis side

Mark: "They won't activate again they're on a 5" Oh "They won't activate surely on a 4?" Ahem

Martin: I hope he highlights the Brave Italian armour and the cowardly British hiding behind a hill drinking tea until they finally got up courage ( double 1 activation roll) to attack the village

I thoroughly enjoyed myself – thanks to the lads for hosting me and the introduction to a very interesting set of rules.  The temptation to acquire some forces and have a try myself back at the Falkirk club may be too great to resist – probably in 10mm I would think.

My next opportunity for a journey into the unknown may be South Wales early next year – watch this space!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Cruinneachadh - An impetus Competition

Had a fun day comprising 3 games.  I seem to have discovered a pretty useful tactic in the Flank March under the Impetus Tournament rules which favours my Feudal English army.

The first game was against Richard's 100 Years War army.  My cavalry flank charge came on at the first opportunity (needing 9 on 2 dice) and ploughed straight down Richard's line for a 130 to 0 win.

I tried the same tactic in my next game against Frazer but there was a very long delay (into double figures of moves) before the flank match arrived leaving my infantry to take on the entire 15th Century Venetian army by themselves.  2 bits of luck won me this game. First off 2 of my long spear FP units managed to combine under the auspices of some very favourable dice rolls to take down a Swiss pike block.  What set it up was a unit of crossbowmen which withstood a frontal charge from said pikes.    I need to take out another 3 points for victory and Frazer (having destroyed my infantry command and the camp) guessed the wrong flank for my flank march, which enabled me to roll up and take out his camp and take an 88 to 42 point victory.

The final game was against Ross and his Patrician Romans.  With the exception of getting the cavalry on relatively early my dice rolls were much poorer this time.  The power of the English Knights were starting to grind him down though when I took out a general who subsequently routed taking his command with him.  Another cavalry unit and the camp soon followed giving me another 130 to zero win.  Frazer came second.

Impetus tournaments seem to be slowly dying out so this, my first win, may well be my last Impetus Tournament.  Although the win was very nice the real enjoyment came from a great day's gaming (although taking down the Pike Block was a special moment).  Thanks to Ross for organising it and the Dunfirmline club for being such gracious hosts.