Friday, 28 March 2014

Russian Brigade HQs

More news from 1914 Russia (or is it Tratvia?) now.  When I got round to building a couple of Brigade HQs my stock of suitable staff officers was - to say the least - rather thin.  Let's start with the easy bit.  The chaps in the middle of each photo are 'real' Russian officers from Armies in Plastic.  A further rummage produced a couple of AIP Napoleonic (French?) officers but full dress in some 1914 Russian Guard regiments actually looked like this!  The pair of beardies are ACW officers by BMC - but I think that bearded and bewildered is a good look for staff officers...

Buying the farm

Another star purchase!  This splendid wooden farm set was £3.99 in a charity shop. It includes five buildings (barn, tractor shed, stable, pigsty and chicken shed) and a number of wall/fence pieces.  It's a bit over scale for 54mm toys but given the price I think I can live with that!
A 1/32 scale HAT figure checking out the accommodation.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

A to Z of Wargaming. D is for....

A few eyebrows were raised of late when I mentioned that I had used Dulux matt emulsion as the main paint for my 54mm WW1 French infantry.  But it's all true!  The snappily-named shade in question is 'Lunar Landscape 2' which I had mixed for me in a local DIY store.  Given the surprsingly large surface area of 54mm figures, I felt that I needed an alternative to expensive modelling paints in tiny pots.  The 250ml tin pictured above (the 54mm figure is there for size comparison purposes) cost me £3.95!
My modest but growing collection of Dulux paints.
I picked up some shade cards in the said DIY store to help with my paint choices.  I began with the rarthr fetching green which now adorns the bases of my 45mm toys as well as being used on my recent Russians .
It is worth checking out other paint ranges too for colours such as these useful greys.

'D' is also for.....but that's another post.....

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Foul-mouthed French furiously flounce from field

Having acquired a copy of Neil Thomas's book (below) John decided to run a game using the Napoleonic rules therein.  All 15mm toys from his own collection.  Above can be seen the brave Austrians advancing to the front in accordance with their gifted leader's master plan.  Can you guess which side I was on?

An overview of the Austrian deployment.  Management of the battle was largely left to Mark and Kayte while Martin led the French and Jerry heckled from the sidelines.
 Grenzers head for the woods.
 The Ogre (for it is he!) leads his troops forward.
 Both sides had favoured their right flanks.
 The Guard leaving their emperor by himself.
 'Gun Hill' - the anchor of the Austrian right.
 This all looked quite positive.
 Although the Frenchies seemed to be rather active on our left.
 While our chaps were deployed in proper lined, the garlic munchers 
clearly favoured the new-fangled column.  It'll never catch on.
 The (mostly Hungarian) troops on our left soon took a battering.
 Our right easily repelled a French assault - including cuirassiers and Guards!
Endgame - a desperate attack by a battered single stand infantry unit (top left) managed heroically to overcome a similarly weak enemy unit and clinched a famous victory!
Martin's dice rolling was very unlucky and did lead to a most uncharacteristic stream of profanity.  
It was very funny.

So, what was it like as a game?  Well OK and rather fun and with a few nice mechanisms but frankly I'd rather stick with Command & Colours.

Incidentally, the title was the headline from the following day's Wiener Zeitung.  Other headlines from this day were as follows:
"Heroic Hungarians harass horrid Hugenots" - Magyar Nemzet 
"It's all over on this flank..." - Tribune de Geneve
"Nous a été volé" - Le Monde

Monday, 24 March 2014

Dicing with Darth

The recent sci-fi game I reported on saw Darth himself getting stuck in.  I was so taken with the following sequence of photos that I felt they deserved their own post.  We take up the story as Darth gets to grips with one of the military types from the Evkri 'provisional government'.
Darth strikes.  The Evkri is down...
...but there's an upset, Darth himself is down!
Let's try that again...
...and finally Darth gets his man.

Friday, 21 March 2014

COW 2014 session list update

The current session list as follows:
More on COW at link.
Tim Gow et al
A Mighty Wind  -  The Plenary Game
1944.  The Home Islands are threatened by a huge enemy battle fleet and invasion force.  It is our sacred duty to die for the Emperor…..

WD Display Team North
Another fast-paced solo game.  Take to the skies over Kent to prevent those new unsporting V-1 flying bombs reaching London.  This only take 10 minutes to play so will run several times.  Who will be the top scorer in No. 607 ‘Knuston’ Wing? 

Will Whyler & Mike Elliott
Gladiolus (the old SOA Gladiator game)
Three or four boards probably in different scales.

Jim Wallman
Cabinet Office Briefing Room A
A committee game for up to 12. Crisis managment of an unprecedented and dangerous crisis. And explaining it on the Today Programme.

Jim Wallman
Saving Private Mouat
A 100% Totally Not Footfall mission to rescue one of HMGs most vital assets.

Jim Wallman
Warriors for the Working Day
Just another wargame involving toy tanks in WW2. But very suitable for those who can't tell their HVSS from their APDS.

Jim Wallman
Little Wars: The War of Firefly's Nose
If there's any enthusiasm for lounging around on the grass and projecting matchsticks at each other randomly.

John Bassett
404BC: Sparta has defeated Athens.  The birthplace of democracy groans beneath the Thirty Tyrants.  But a small group of rebels seek to change all that... A political/military role-play featuring Spartan warlords, philosophers, priests, democrats and oligarchs.

John Bassett
John Bassett on his favourite Roman poet: man about town, wit, master of seduction, intriguer at the imperial court and exile.  Will feature a re-enactment of the sad, sad story of Orpheus, with audience participation.

John Armatys
A simple set of wargames rules for company level actions in the early Twenty First Century using 15mm figures and die cast aeroplanes – an entertainment for up to four players.

Wayne Thomas & David Brock
Nimy Bridge in 15mm
A refight of the attack against the Mons salient by the German 18th Division of the IX Corps. The latest adaptation of "Far Away Wars" for 1914.

Ian Drury
The Siege of Fort William Henry
Or, bring me the heart of Colonel Munro. . .
The notorious battle of the French and Indian Wars, and centerpiece of The Last of the Mohicans re-created using my Redcoats & Rebels rules and a very large number of model trees. With the caveat that I may have taken more liberties with the history than James Fenimore Cooper.

Ian Drury
Muskets & Tomahawks ADG
French & Indian Wars using 25mm figures and the French skirmish rules Muskets & Tomahawks. Exact scenario depends on the presence of celebrated frontiersman Pete Grizzell.

John Curry
British Army Counter Insurgency Model
This is a map based game about current British led multinational operations somewhere in a fantasy continent called Fafrica. Huge map, giant counters and at the simulation end of the game spectrum. The session will start with a 15 minute talk to set the scene, then play the game. The players will represent the planning staff and will attempt to run the operation in a country that is disintegrating around them. Strictly no photographs of the session.

John Curry
Donald Featherstone: His rise, his fall and his rise again.

Would the real Donald Featherstone stand up?  The first attempt to analyse the character of Donald Featherstone will include some controversial areas.

Mike Elliott
Rematch at Quebec
After the glorious victory and capture of Quebec in 1759, the British endured a Canadian winter. The French, determined to recapture the city and planned a new attack in April 1760…
A toy soldier  interpretation of the Battle of Ste Foy.

Mike Elliott
Enigma Variation
Being a puzzle game based on the vital deciphering work undertaken by a forerunner of the famous Enigma code-breakers of WW2
Note: this is a non timetabled activity. All COW attendees will be given a copy of an encrypted message at Dinner on the Friday evening and invited to decipher it. Clues will be published around Knuston at intervals during the weekend. There might even be a small prize for the first person to crack the code!

Graham Evans
To Ur is Human

Sumerian warfare with 20mm plastic armies, using a square table and quick and simple mechanisms. The rules feature a central "fear" mechanism modelling the fight/fright/flight condition of the various units as they encounter each other, rather than a traditional morale system. This was arrived at to try to model the effects of the Sumerian Battlecarts on their social inferiors.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

A profound breach of intergalactic law?

A report of this game has already been posted by Martin - link - but sadly it was less objective reportage and more imperialist propaganda.  So I decided it was time to redress the balance and submit a completely unbiased report.
The top photo shows half of the Meacri Militia force  - courageous freedom fighters defending their homes from outside aggression.  The 2ic of this force was Jerry, and it's commander....well, modesty forbids....
The next photo shows the spaceport in all it's hi-tech wood and felt glory.
Briefing  (thanks to John for his permission to reproduce this)
The Rainuk system, situated on the fringe of the Empire, has two habitable planets, Evki and Meacri.

For many centuries the system was part of the Empire. Evki and Meacri were originally ruled by separate governors, but about 60 years ago became a single colony administered from Evki. Whilst the population of Evki is homogeneous only about 25% of the population of Meacri are of Rainukian descent, the majority being from descended from immigrants from other parts of the Empire.

Some 23 years ago, during a period of political turmoil in the Empire, Rainuk declared independence following popular demonstrations on Evki. The former governor became the first president of the newly independent republic. The Empire recognised the independence of Rainuk in a treaty which gave the Empire rights to the existing strategically important base on Meacri.

Ten years ago the president announced that he would not stand for re-election. The election was narrowly won by his prime minister against an opposition candidate who wanted closer links with the Federation. Allegations of vote rigging and intimidation backed by largely peaceful popular protests on Evki resulted in the election result being overturned by the courts and the re-run election resulted in a win for the opposition. Relations between Rainuk and the Empire have since then been strained.

Three months ago the president refused to sign a trade agreement with the Federation and instead proposed a closer relationship with the Empire.

Popular demonstrations on Evki followed, which became more serious following the death of a number of protesters when riot troops were sent in to end the demonstrations in the last week. The president has left Evki and is believed to have travelled to Meacri. He is now thought to be either in the Empire base on Meacri or to have gone on the Imperial capital.

A provisional government has formed on Evki which has sought support from the Federation.

It is clear that the new government has little support on Meacri. An armed group, describing itself as the Meacri Militia, has taken over the space port on Meacri and will not allow craft to land.

Brave militiamen check out the duty free shops at the spaceport...
Soon they all hit the dirt as intruders appeared.  But who were they?
Oh, this lot.  Darth and chums - the forces of the evil empire.
The Provisional Government of Evki sent their own forces (left) to take the spaceport.
Darth had certainly brought a lot of friends.   But wre they the enemy?
Apparently not - but were there more intruders yet to come?
Apparently yes.  Soon a load of Federation chaps were jet-packing into view....
...and scattering scary explody things among the Militia.
The Federationists were really quite intimidating...
...from any angle...
...but their carbon footprints must have been dreadful!
Jerry's squad having by this time been wiped out, the other survivor and I finished off the chaps from Evki and decided to clear off ourselves....
...leaving the Empire and Federation to fight over the wreckage.  So time to look at the players' objectives.  The Meacri Militia was to prevent the provisional government on Evki from controlling the spaceport.  As the Evkians were all dead this was clearly a major victory for we Meacrians!

Disclaimer:  Any resemblance to real events which may or may not be unfolding in former parts of a real evil empire are completely coincidental.  

Glossy Guards

These chaps came as part of a large lot of 54mm figures in mostly ceremonial dress which I acquired earlier this year. 
They are old metal hollow cast figures (Britains perhaps?).  There was another rifleman but he had suffered serious damage in a previous life.  The paintwork was in a poor state but I preserved what I could and touched in the chipped bits before sticking them down to mdf bases and topping off with a coat of gloss varnish.
Best of all is the officer's party piece - viewing the world with binos (above) and without (below).

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The Edessa File

This Command & Colours game saw four players (and me) shoving around some of my 25mm toys in a recreation of the battle of Edessa (259AD).  The Romans were led by John (aka Emperor Valerian) and Kayte....
...while the Persians had the benefit of Jerry (aka Shapur I) and Mark.
Shapur I - or as he was known at this time 'Shapur' - opened by sending his elephants forward.
This caused a degree of consternation as the lazy latins had spent the past 4 centuries forgetting how to deal with these beasts.
A large gap was thus opened in the Roman centre.  Even Valerian perished in the struggle.  Was there no stopping these behemoths?
Well yes there was.  These plucky Legionaries saw off Nelly with some fortuitous dice rolling.
The remaining elephant was quite cross...
...and soon took revenge - wiping out said Romans in one fell swoop!
A mid-game overview.  
Action then shifted to the Persian left, with Shapur - by now known as 'Shapur the Reasonably Adequate' - leading a cavalry charge.  This soon had some Romans cornered...
...and wiped out - thus securing a broadly historical victory for Shapur - by now known as 'Shapur the Really Quite Good Actually'