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Thursday, 31 October 2013

Resolutions for November

Thinking about what I want to do for the rest of the year I have decided to put painting at the top of my list.  I have done almost none this year and would really like to get a couple of smaller projects moving.
I will ‘fund’ that time by reducing the amount of time I spend on the internet.  No real reduction in blogging (writing and reading) more the time on forums, facebook and the like.  I should be able to liberate an hour a day for painting I would think.  I will come up with a target for November, post it here, and see how I get on.
One other resolution.   A number of bloggers have commentated recently about blogging stats.  Most agree that the two most important are followers and comments and I would tend to agree.  I can’t do much about the followers but I will make an effort to comment more regularly and hope that others reciprocate.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Dead Man Walking - my best Impetus Tournament result yet

Sunday saw the third running of the Scottish Impetus Open.  Numbers were down a little at 8 but there were sufficient of us to make a good enjoyable day of it.
I say enjoyable, but I was full of an absolutely stinking cold and found it difficult to concentrate for most of the day.
My first game was against a Gallic army brought along by Russ from the Dunfermline club.  They were a bit out of period facing my Early Feudal English which pretty much rolled over his warband, despite Russ rolling impressively on his cohesion tests – the first 6 were all 1’s!
My second game was against an old adversary, David Burns, and his Normans.  I was able to concentrate my knights on the left flank in a relatively narrow area and gradually grind him down whilst taking a few casualties myself.  The coup de gras was delivered by my unit of mounted sergeants (overpowered I think in game terms) which broke two Norman units and won me the game.
The final game was against another Falkirk club member, Chuck, and his borrowed army of Medieval Swedes.  Although facing wall to wall Crossbow A I was able to turn his right flank before being held up by a very stubborn unit of halbardiers.   The result was a draw marginally in Chuck’s favour.
No photos as I did not take my camera.
I was pretty much a Dead Man Walking all day and played by instinct rather than thinking much about what I was doing.  That said I achieved my highest Impetus tournament position ever with a second place behind the redoubtable Dax.  I will have to try this brain dead approach again as it seems to work!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Monty's Wargaming World - a friend's new wargaming business

I can vouch for Richard's painting and terrain building skills and if he can develop his new gaming mats as planned I think they will be excellent value.  He is a Lardie ambassador and if you are into Chain of Command his markers will be right up your street.

I know a number of other wargames traders (Richard is the first to start up since I began blogging) so I will give them a mention in future blog posts.

Monday, 21 October 2013

A-Z Book survey

This is another of those lists that do the rounds from time to time, seen here  I started reading before I went to school and have always read a lot.  Currently fiction is mainly SF and Fantasy, non fiction history, but I will dip in anywhere.  I find a lot of inspiration at my local library.Anyway here is my list:

Author you've read the most books from

Impossible question without a bit of research but probably Enid Blyton.  Other possibilities are Agatha Christie and JT Edson
Best sequel ever:
Lieutenant Hornblower (just to  get Hornblower in the list somewhere)

Currently reading:

The Mountain of Gold by JD Davies
The American Civil War by John Keegan (having just started a Longstreet Campaign)

Drink of choice whilst reading


E-reader or physical book:

I much prefer physical books but the kindle is great if I am going to be away for a day or two and is also good for impulse buys

Fictional character you would probably have dated in high school:
Winston Graham’s Demelza

Glad you gave this book a chance
Gentleman Captain by JD Davies – a tale of Charles II navy that exceeded expectations

Hidden book gem?
That’s me in the Middle by Donald Jack.  Bartholemew Bandy is a great character (in the first four books of the series at least)

Important moment in your book life

Reading Lord of the Rings for the first time.  I was in a complete daze by he time I had finished it and could remember virtually none of what I had read but I was totally blown away.

Just finished:
Happy Hour in Hell byTad Williams. Bobby Dollar is a very unusual angel.

Kind of book you won't read

Celebrity biographies..

Longest book you've read

Possibly Tros of Samothrace by Talbot Mundy.

Major book hangover because of  disappointing endings

Rarely happens – I normally will stop reading if a book is going nowhere

Number of bookcases you own:
6 in total but only 2 filled with proper books.

One book you've read multiple times:

Lord of the Rings and will again

Preferred place to read:
At home in a comfy chair.

Quote that inspires you

That’s sad – I can’t think of any

Reading regret

Je nr regret rein

Series you started and need to finish

Fifty shades?  I only made it through the first 2 chapters of the first book. Or perhaps I won't bother.

Three of your all-time favourite books:

Lord of the Rings – Ross Poldark - Sharpe
Unapologetic fanboy for:

Very excited for this release:

Sleeping Late on Judgement Day by Tad Williams

Worst bookish habit:

Not wanting to stop reading a good book so not going to bed until very very late when I have work the next morning.

X marks the spot - Start at the top left of your bookshelf and pick the 27th book:

James IV by Norman MacDougall

Your latest book purchase:

Princeps  by LE Modesitt Jnr

Zzz snatcher book (the last book that kept you up waay too late)

Happy Hour in Hell by Tad Williams


Friday, 18 October 2013

First Post to get to 1000 pageviews

A blogging milestone - about blogging itself appropriately enough!

The next milestone I am looking for is 100 followers, at which point I will do a giveaway

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Culloden Wargames and Modelling Fair – The Battle of Falkirk Muir

Doug and John and myself made the trip up to Culloden last weekend.  We actually went up on the Friday and stayed in Inverness.  A meal and a couple of drinks helped the evening pass very pleasantly and (after a good breakfast at the local Morrisons) we got to the visitor centre at 9am in time to set up.  We put on the Battle of Falkirk Muir, 17th January 1746, which was appropriate to both the setting and our club (Falkirk and District)

Doug provided all of the figures and had done the prep work to make the recreation look professional to the public with a write up on the battle, providing unit and place names in an appropriate font, and some of the terrain.  John also provided terrain including the cloths which worked well draped over some of the club’s terrain squares.  Between them they had worked out some tweaks to the Maurice rules to better reflect the nature of the warfare (highland charges and the like) and the conditions under which it the battle was fought.  I also had made a few suggestions, all intended to make the refight work both as a faithful recreation of the battle and as a decent game to play as well.

Following the decision to retreat back to Scotland from Derby the previous month the Jacobites were besieging Stirling Castle.  A relief force of government troops under general Hawley advanced from Edinburgh via Linlithgow to raise the siege.  Having expected to face battle on the 15th near Bannockburn the Jacobites decided to force the issue and advanced towards the English camp.  Hawley did not take earlier reports of the Jacobites movements seriously and it was mid-afternoon before he started to mobilise his forces.  His artillery, which was made up of pieces from Edinburgh Castle on improvised carriages, got stuck in the mud and played no part in the battle.  Numbers were about 8000 on the Jacobite side (rather more than at Culloden) and 7000 on the government side.

Both sides considered the occupation of the high ground on the Moor to be key.  Hawley ordered forward his Dragoons in the belief that the opposing Highlanders would not stand against cavalry.  This proved to be a mistake as they kept advancing towards the cavalry who were forced to charge or be hit at the halt.  A devastating volley pretty much stopped them in their tracks and the Highlanders then charged home and quickly broke them.

Battle was joined at 4pm on a dismal Scottish January afternoon with a rainstorm (which turned to sleet) battering in the faces of the government troops.  Seeing the Dragoons flee the foot regiments behind ran without a fight and soon most of the government centre turned and fled as well.    However the right wing, which had some protection from a ravine to its front, stood its ground and fired several very effective volleys into the Highlanders.  A number of the routing troops, including some of the Dragoons, rallied and a good portion of the government army made a measured retreat from the battlefield.  Such was the confusion in the sleet and darkness that the Jacobites only realised they had won the following day and no attempt was made to follow up the victory allowing the government forces to regroup at Edinburgh under the newly arrived Duke of Cumberland.

The above tells the story of the actual battle but could also serve pretty much as a description of the wargame.  I took the government side and John the Jacobites.  We started with the fight between the Dragoons and the Highlanders to keep the historical context – no sane wargamer would have voluntarily committed his forces in that way.   It was set up so that better than average dice from John could have broken the cavalry which, under Maurice, would have led to their instant removal.   However instead they withdrew in some disorder followed up by their foes.  This meant that in order not to lose the Dragoons, which would have had a detrimental effect on army morale, I had concentrate in the early part of the battle on withdrawing them to the rear rather than reorganising my infantry to meet the new threat.

The Jacobite right kept storming forward and my centre also gave way but not without putting up a stiff fight.  My right wing then got into the battle (2 of its units being rated trained whilst the rest were conscripts on the day to reflect their actual performance) and started to redress the balance.

The army morale system allocates each side a morale value at the start of the game.  Mine was 12 to John’s 10.  Each time a unit is lost this is reduced by 1, 2 or 3 depending on a die roll.  Suffice it to say that John’s army could have broken on a bad roll when either of his last two units broke and we were both on 1 on army morale when my army was finally defeated.

Overall a very close run thing which succeeded in being both a close representation of the actual battle and an excellent game to play.  We had a fait bit of interest from members of the public who were complimentary about our efforts.

The event itself was quite small.  A nice looking 28mm Prestonpans was the pick of the other 5 games on offer.  In the afternoon John and Doug entertained a couple of young lads and ran through the battle again with them resulting in a much more emphatic Jacobite victory.  I played a game of Wings of Glory and chatted to one or two of the other people there.

We had pretty much finished by soon after 3 when the organiser offered to let us have a free viewing of the exhibition.  It is very well one.  The highlights for me are a room with screens on all four walls depicting the battle, which was very atmospheric, and a large ground level computer based reconstruction of the movement of the troops on the day with an excellent voice over.  Battlefield tours are available but although it was certainly worth seeing it was a little pricey at £10.50 a head or £25 for a family I thought.

Fortunately the weather was good on both the Friday and Saturday making the drive a pleasant one in both directions – thanks to Doug for providing the transport.

The event will probably be held again next year and we may well be back with another Jacobite Rebellion themed offering.

The Jacobite Army
The Government Foot
The Artillery gets bogged down
The Dragoons take the high ground
View from the government lines
The 28mm Prestonpans Game