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Saturday, 28 February 2015

A Day at the Hammerhead Show.


Had a visit to the Hammerhead show today at Newark. There were some strange characters around ( including the Ewok!)

There were many games to see in the larger venue compared to last year. Having been to the Derby show at the Donnington venue, I felt that this one was brighter and a little more peaceful.


Instead of photo blitzing this blog, I have only included photos of games which caught my eye, either for the miniatures, the scenery or the topic.

Spending was kept to a a low with a purchase of some dice and dice frames for my own Fantasy rules, a laser turret and barriers off the 'bring and buy', and some zombie survivors for my long, ongoing zombie project; yet another set of home-made rules to develop...

It was nice to see a broad range of games being run by both young and old, with a steady number of participants at each game.


The number of traders were increased upon from last year, with one stand particularly catching my, Will and Daz's eye; more on that later.

As ever when attending shows, it was nice to bump into some old friends for a quick catch-up.


There was a good range of periods on display, providing a fine selection for the punters; in particular, a good balance between historical and fantasy / sci-Fi.

It was nice to see one participation game again on the 'circuit' as it were. I love the grandeur and scale of the Mad Max game. It is very evocative of the film with a good attention to detail, even down to the game master's costumes.

I mentioned a trader earlier...Otherworld miniatures. These figures are stunning. The creative poses of these dungeon dwellers are equally matched with an eye for detail. They are anatomically interesting and at times, quite delicate. Also the range and breadth of the creatures and species available would allow a fantastic dungeon crawl with new and unmet opponents lurking around every crumbling corner. I resisted a purchase, for the moment, however Daz spotted a 'wizard and cart' to paint. I look forward to featuring Daz's artistry in this blog (hint, hint).

This posting will finish with some pictures of some of the sculpts available...I look forward to next year's show show with the continued improvements seen today.




Sunday, 22 February 2015

A Friend's Request


Just had a phone call from a friend who has moved onto pastures new (French pastures to be exact). Like myself, he has started, finished and restarted several affliction which affects us all!

He is re-starting a World War Two Project. Many moons ago we shared this project with a couple of other friends, just before Battlefront became popular across the hobby. So much so that I remember a road trip to a wargames shop in Ilkley with the guys, each of us clutching a wad of cash to buy the Battlefront miniatures, as very few stockists were available at that time...oh, how times change!

He wants advice on which miniatures are now useful as there is a much greater choice in 15mm. I have models by several manufacturers, as such I feel Plastic Soldier Company miniatures are a good balance between cost and quality.

So the pictures here are a box of the 15mm T34s, built and painted. Sometimes a picture says a thousand words, so I hope this helps...


Saturday, 21 February 2015

Arise the undead!


Yet another rebasing project. I seem to spend more time rebasing than painting. I do find it a little therapeutic though; must be mad!

I've been rebasing a lot of my figures as I have been wrangling with the look versus functionality. Over the last few years I have gamed a lot on hex boards (thank you Kallistra!) as it speeds up play and reduces rules debates. Initially I placed my figures on circles to create little vignettes.

However in basing this way created some limitations when using other rules systems. As many rules now use 'large' bases for visual impact and allow basing that is uniform I have balanced this out with my own 'hex' preferences.

So now I am basing on 10cm by 5cm. This fills a hex to make battle lines on the table, but also allow the figures to be used for rules such as Impetus or Pendraken's new rules called Warband (yet another purchasing opportunity). Well that's the plan until the next basing fad overtakes me again!


Thursday, 19 February 2015

First game of Blucher

We had our first attempt at playing Blucher tonight using 200 point armies.

Daz played the Prussians as a defender. He controlled 3 Corps, each containing equal amounts of Landwehr and foot regiments. Each corps had a battery of artillery. Two of Daz's Corp were positioned to defend 2 objectives, with the third Corp in column on his left flank.

I played the French, again with 3 corps. Unfortunately my photography does'nt show my left Corp which was in a column, aimed for the objective on the hill on Daz' right flank. My central corp was positioned to support my attack on Daz's right flank. My rightmost corp was ready to stall any forward movement by the Prussians.


This picture shows the central and right flank from the French position. The first few turns saw the left flank French Corp march towards the hill. The French central corp echeloned towards the centre in support. The Prussians awaited the attack, with both sides artillery firing at vulnerable infantry brigades, grinding them down.

The action started to heat up as a French brigade raced up the hill and destroyed the Prussian artillery deployed there. This became the start of a long battle for control of the hill. Meanwhile both opposing central corps faced off against each other, with the Prussian Landwehr getting the better of the initial volleys. The French right flank was fairly quiet as Daz moved some of His brigades forward to occupy the fields along the road.

The battle for the hill now became a violent affair. The Prussians followed up their initial firing with a round of close combat. Again, the landwehr performed well and threw back the central French Brigades, lowering their élan to half their initial strength. However in doing this, some Prussian brigades become exposed to the flanking French corp on the left French flank. The French central corps called forward it's reserve to bolster the retreating remnants from the Prussian surge forward.

Another round of close combat was again fought, with this time honors being fairly even, with both sides taking casualties. Meanwhile the initial success of the French brigade on the hill top was thrown off by a Prussian infantry Brigade. Daz reserve moved across the remaining elements of his central corp to bolster the now faltering Landwehr militia.

By turn 12 the French left Corp had re-organized for a final push on the hill top objective. Unfortunately for them however, they were now too weak to force away the Prussians, as Daz performed a timely counter attack pushing them away from the hill top. By now the French were becoming tired along the centre, with the Prussians still having a few Brigades in good enough shape to carry out a vigorous defence as needed. The French right flank became a little more active as Daz deployed his final corps elements from reserve. At this stage, both side's artillery had become exhausted and no longer took an active role in the battle.


It now became clear that the French no longer had the strength to continue an attack, particularly as Daz pushed forward some Landwehr in the centre. At this stage of the game, I decided to start to withdraw the left and central French corps towards my own table edge in good order, before the army began to collapse. At this stage of the game we decided to call it 'honors even'. Daz had lost a foot battery and a Landwehr brigade. The French had lost a line infantry brigade.

All in all, it was an entertaining, fast flowing game. The rules were only referred to infrequently, mostly concerning how brigades retreated post combat, usually a common sense answer was obvious and did not slow the game down at all.

The game was certainly encouraging, as Daz is now thinking of digging out some 6mm Prussians from 'a long time ago...'. Whilst the visual appeal isn't quite the same with unit cards, for me it still held enough spirit to visualize what was happening. Now, Hammerhead show is coming up shortly...


Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Solo test play of Blucher rules


I have been reading the rules for Blucher. As ever, you only know if you understand the rules with a quick play through. I thought about having a go with Darran, however sometimes things speed up if you have a go yourself. I've got some really simple terrain boards I made for an after school club; they fit perfectly with the simple iconography of the unit cards from the 100 days supplement.


The rules play easily and quickly. I have only needed to refer to the main rule book once or twice. The reference sheets generally give you all the information you need. Shooting is simple and quick to resolve. Generally the defender gets a first shooting opportunity as the attacker moves into position. Close combat is a little trickier to organize, but the mechanics are still fairly easy to manage. Close combat reminds me of Armarti where attacking dice can be split between two units, therefore overlaps become important to gain those extra dice.

Playing solo takes away some of the mystery as you know both the momentum and identity of both sides, therefore I'm looking forward to playing with an opponent.

I'm certainly not a Napoleonic grognard, but the rules play simply and effectively, they should suit quick games, large games and multiplayer sessions. Also the pre-game mini-campaign should add interest to initial terrain and army deployment. Will look even better with miniatures; must carry on the rebasing project...


Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Battle of the Five Armies Boardgame


Having a game of 'battle of the Five Armies' later in the week so I thought I might introduce the game. It's an epic struggle of orcs and dwarfs, elves and lake men, heroes and villains, and interweaving, dramatic events. It is a well paced game which ebbs and flows between the two warring parties, where the main story characters influence the final outcome for the ultimate prize of Smaug's gold.

The gameplay is driven by a game time clock which encourages, if not forces, the evil player to set the tempo. Their mission is to claim the settlements and fortifications on the board. Within each turn the players need to manage their actions through a set of special dice. These dice allow players to move and attack with their armies, muster new troops or invoke story cards which hinder the Plans of the nefarious opponent.


Whilst mighty armies fight for control of key areas, characters such as Gandalf, Thranduil and Bolg strive to lead their sides to victory. Even diminutive Bilbo can bolster the side of Good when needed. And then there is the unstoppable powerhouse which is Beorn...

I will let you know the story retold once the events have been scribed (or written on my IPad, which ever you prefer!).


Sunday, 15 February 2015

Command and Colours: A Great War Kickstarter


I'm a fantastic fan of the Command and Colors game system which I will share with you in further postings. For now, a blatant plug for a new kickstarter using the game system.


Have a look and see what you think.


Preparing for Blucher's arrival...

Well, I've talked about gaming and thought maybe it's time to show something.

Like many gamers I know my figure collection is littered with unfinished projects; this is one of those many examples. Many years ago myself and three friends decided to venture into a 'large scale, small sized' napoleonic venture. Now one of those friends lives in France, one got bored with the period and the other sold on his small collection...but I could'nt let mine go.

Recently I have become a fan of Sam Mustafa's series of rules. 18th century warfare is not my main passion, but I have enjoyed playing Fire and Fury ACW. As such I've played Sam's Longstreet rules which I have enjoyed playing a lot. His rule systems remind me of older systems such as Tactica, Armarti and Shako.

For me, playing a game needs to eloquently and simply portray a period that allows gamers to enjoy the story unfolding, without the need for endless rules searching and table consulting (I have played a lot of 'Advanced Squad Leader' so what do I know?). I also enjoy a rule set that easily allows multi players, as they have been some of my most memorable, enjoyable games played.

So now I am rebasing my Russians to use with Sam's newly realesed 'Blucher' rules. The rule system uses unit cards as either stand alone or part of a miniature experience. My plan is to stick clear card sleeves under the bases which will allow the unit cards to be slipped inside for record keeping purposes.

I'm going to grind my teeth on the 100 Days supplement to learn the rules whilst giving time to continue the rebasing project. I'll post more pictures as the units come...


Tuesday, 10 February 2015

In the beginning...

When I was a child I remember having sweeping battles on distant planets in huge bases. In reality it was Lego blocks in mum's sideboard with the sliding front doors...but those sliding doors in my mind's eye were just like the volcano doors in the Bond movie 'You only live twice'. For many hours I was happy playing with those Lego blocks...4 squares a jeep, 6 squares a tank, and those immense land battleships of 12 blocks or more! I think this, coupled with my natural curiosity of the past is where my hobby started for me.

Nowadays I see the same imagination in my lad. Trying to be fair and not forcing my interests on Will I tried my best not to force him into the hobby. However, you guessed it, I failed miserably! Just being around figures in a box, or paints and brushes on the kitchen table, lead William to ask "Dad, what's this for?" or "Dad, what's that man carrying?" Being a helpful Dad, it was only right and proper to tell him what was going on...

What has been interesting to me (Will is now eleven years of age) is how he has taken 'the hobby' in his own way. After a couple of encouraged projects Will found his own interests; his first being, to my surprise, Zulus!

Being the convicted 'Wargamer' I tried several simple rule sets with simple dice rolling for him. However he still enjoys the battle in his mind's eye without the need for charts or rule sets to guide him (the photo above is the current battle on the upstairs landing). Maybe that's what still inspires us all, it certainly is me.

If you like, I'd love to hear what inspired, and still inspires you to game, boy and man!

P.S. Wills is interested in doing some posts himself, so this could become a family affair!