In a recent Meeples and Miniatures episode, that I mentioned in the last blog update (here), the hosts interviewed Sam Mustafa about his upcoming Rommel rules (link to the podcast here). Sam has done many interesting wargames rules and in particular I have enjoyed Maurice and Might and Reason (I discussed these with regards to GNW battles in the past in an earlier blog post, here). Invariably his rules are well presented, original and solid – and as we find out from the podcast they are thoroughly tested as well! Following this I also listened to some of the podcasts Sam has produced on his Honour website (link to the Honour Webpage, here) – I got very tempted to give these a go and started to plan what I need in terms of miniatures (and bought a few, see below) and I am also thinking about basing etc.
A few hours ago I found out that the rules are out and I got myself the bundle (a physical book and a PDF), it seems like a few others did too as the website crashed. I suggest you have a read around on the Honour webpage and listen to the podcasts, to see whether this ruleset is something for you – I am giving it a go!
Rommel is a tabletop game of great battles in the European and Mediterranean theatres of the Second World War. The player takes the role of a general commanding an entire division, or elements of several divisions, or an entire corps or even an army. Units represent companies and battalions. Tens of thousands of men and machines clash for control of miles of territory. Make decisions about the application of air power, engineering, the use of reconnaissance, the commitment of mobile reserves, and many other things.
From the Honour webpage.
I have decided to do enough bases to play the two example scenarios (both in North Africa) from the book and available as downloads on Sam’s homepage (Introductory Scenario: “Operation Brevity” and A Sample Rommel Scenario, see here) using 3mm miniatures from Oddzial Osmy (O8), these are sold by Magister Militium in the UK (link here).
I could have done it in 6mm, or used some of my early war 15mm WW2 stuff, but I fancied a little bit of change for this project and the North African campaign is virgin territory with regards to miniatures . Yes, I could have tried the rules out using flat cards but what is the fun in that ;).
In my browsing on the net of relevant stuff I have come across Doctorphalanx’s interesting postings on basing (see here) and will base my units in a similar way. Basically 3 tanks per base, two or three guns, and as may infantry I can reasonably fit with a vehicle or two indicating a motorized unit. However the final basing approach is still open as I need to study the rules and see if there is some way I could incorporate some unit features/stats into the base itself (i.e. using tufts, or number of vehicles/figures, etc.).
Having got used to minimalistic table sizes, with my recent 6mm skirmishes (e.g. the Pikeman’s Lament stuff, see here for an example) I want to make sure that the bases can fit in a 11 cm square. The reason for this is that the Rommel typical game is played on an area divided into squares and the standard table size is 8 by 12 squares. By using 11 cm it will fit the width of a normal dinner table (creating an 3 by 4 foot play area).
Below is the map for the Deir el Tarfa scenario, showing a typical set-up.
The following pictures show a few options for basing (3 is the maximum number of bases in a square – I believe!) vs an 11 cm (110mm) square. My favourite is the 40mm by 30mm or 30mm square as this allows key terrain features to be indicated efficiently and I hope it will look good too. However, I want to get the miniatures and get a feel before I make up my mind.
I need the following units/bases for these two available scenarios:
6 No. Grant tank bases
3 No. Cruiser tank bases (A13)
2 No. Vickers tank bases (MK VIC)
2 No. Matilda tank bases (II)
2 No. 25pdr artillery bases towed by artillery tractors
13 No. Motorised Rifle bases
5 No. Pz III bases
2 No. Pz II bases
2 No. Pz IV bases
3 No. Semonvante 75 bases
3 No. Towed artillery 10.5cm bases
6 No. Bergsaglieri Infantry bases with trucks
6 No. Panzergrenandier bases with Sdkfz 251s
3 No. Regular Italian infantry bases (walking, I will use bergaglieri model as there are no normal Italian infantry in the O8 range)
The shopping list, as always, got longer than I initially thought. But it resulted in the following order. There will be a lot of left overs, but that is good for further growth!
Having done this I realised that I forgot a few packs but a quick call to Magister Militium the following day sorted it all out (adding another pack of Valentines -WBR619, some Bedford Trucks, 2 packs of WBR631 and a pack of Universal carriers – WBR613). I am a little nervous about the scale and how to get them to look good on the table – well time will tell!.
Further considerations will be the actual gaming table/mat (not sure how I want the squares – marked with line or a more discreet option?). I will probably do a mat from scratch in line with previous projects (see more here and here). I will elaborate more on this in further posts – but check out Brigade Games Middle-Eastern village in 1/1000 scale (Obviously this is a different scale than the 3mm miniature that are in 1/600 scale, but I think it will work, see link to it here).
The monies have been spent and the ambition is there – we will see when I take that next giant leap for one modelling mad man but a small step for mankind!, and get them painted and based. I do not think it will be a massive task to get this done! I will start reading the rules this weekend. I will do an update at some point in the future to let you know how I am getting on!
I just finished one of the longest holidays I have had for a long time, however on the first day back it still feels like all the others – too short.
I have to admit that the idea of doing one of the Great Sieges with the Knight Hospitaliers and Ottomans in attendances (like Rhodes 1522 or Malta 1565) seemed to have planted itself in my mind. We will see for how long! Got myself a little prop just in case.
In addition I listened to the latest Meeples and Miniatures podcast about Sam Mustafa’s new ruleset Rommel (see link here) and I am currently in some wonderful la-la land with 3mm or 6mm miniatures on a desert board fighting out the North African campaign. I also listened to the latest podcast from the guys at Wargames Soliders and Strategy (WSS) and amongst other things learned about the Origin of Rommel’s legendary goggles (see a link to an newpaper article here and a link to the podcast itself here).
I also caught up on some other podcasts including Wargames Recon (here) and the Veteran Wargamer (here). I really like the stuff Jay Arnold of the Veteran Wargamer is doing and he has now done more than 20 shows now – all good.
I did improve on my travel battleground following a visit to a shop that seemed to sell everything – even wargames mats!. They had been labelled door mats in error and they only had one in green left. I parted with 3 coins of that euro currency and it was mine!
Worked a treat and we played a few more battles of Pikeman’s Lament with our 6mm French and British forces travel set-up. Having used these as presented in the last post (see here) we have really enjoyed our games. Veteran Commanded Shot (we used this category for the Indians) can be very annoying (for the opponent) if you have rough terrain/forest present, as they can move faster than other units and use their skirmish ability. Here are a few action shots from one of these games – including a typical damage roll from my perspective with two dice missing probably showing “ones”.
Regretfully the doorma… oops the battlemat had to stay behind. I do hope the next guests will put it to some good use – it would be a shame if it was not shown proper respect and was actually treated as a door mat.
Still on holiday in Rhodes and the Better One had arranged a little bit of a birthday party here on the island and, to my happy surprise, some friends from Sweden and France came along as well. Great times! Thanks to all involved.
I learned about the legend about Anastasia of Rhodes that I found interesting, she was a heroine and died during the Siege in 1522. She had taken her dead husband’s armour and sword, killed her children to prevent them from being taken by the Ottoman invaders, and fought like a lion until she was cut down.
However, I did bring some toys, so when my friend from Normandy showed up I took the opportunity to do a little French Indian War (FIW) action using the Pikeman’s Lament Rules. You may recall the picture from last time? (here).
In this little set-up I had some Punic War cards for Battleground – I have been using these in the past to learn some ancient rules – this time Sword and Spear and Basic Impetus 2 (but more about that some other time).
The main ingredient for any FIW game is a forest!, so luckily I brought some trees and some miniatures too.
The only thing I did not think through properly was my ground cover as all I had that was even remotely passable as ground cover was some kind of camouflage net thing – but it had to do.
I included a file with the forces, note that for the British we did not use the militia and only 3 of the native Indians for the French (file can be found here FIW PL).
Here is a short summary on what happened – well the key moments from my perspective. Basically I wanted to draw my French opponents two Indians out of the forest and then withdraw with my Rangers and use their ability to attack Ferociously (and overall superiority in terms of attack and stamina) in the rough terrain and then hopefully have enough punch left to at least do some damage to the Canadian militia unit.
Well after a lot of “not-so-successful-rolling” it did not really work out that well for the Rangers in the end and the unit was decimated and on the picture below a very short-lived last man standing moment! – perhaps last man wobbling would be more like it?
So what about the fighting in front of the farm? Well I had two units of veteran shot with their first Salvo ready to fire at the French as they breached the forest. However on activating the first unit to shoot I rolled, not just a, one but two. This leads to a random event and a further roll showed this to be attack, so the redcoats jumped the fence and charged forward straight into range and the waiting French firing line. The Rangers had done some fighting with the Indians but with their evade and skirmish abilities they can be very annoying, especially in the forest.
This was then followed by the other regular unit being attacked on the other flank and the rest is history.
I enjoyed the game and the fighting in rough ground (forest and hill) made it interesting and it felt ok, although this is not strictly the pike and shot period.
I take my tricorne hat off for Sous-Lieutnant Dupont who yet again outfoxed me on the Battle Field. He gave it a thumbs up! The rules are easy to pick up and they gave the right feeling to the little skirmish.
A little delayed update this time, but for the right kind of reason. Occasionally we get an opportunity to get away from it all and this time we headed to Rhodes. A familiar place I have visited a fair few times and I love the Old Town of Rhodes and the history of the hospitaliers – who ruled this Island during the 13th and 14th century and caused the Ottoman Turks all kind of trouble before they were kicked out (Siege of Rhodes 1522) and set up shop on Malta and continued causing trouble. It is too hot to write any essay but if you are interested there is a good summary about them here.
I have a little potential idea of doing a project about the Siege in Rhodes 1522 or the more epic one in Malta 1565. The book – the Great Siege Malta 1565 by Ernle Bradford is one of my all-time favourite history books and I really recommend giving it a go.
When in Rhodes go and see the Grand Masters Palace and walk the old Moat. Very nice and whilst at it you may go for a swim as well, there are a few beaches here and there. The museum of archaeology, the Butterfly Valley, Lindos with the wonderful Akropolis are also places not to miss.
I always get reminded on how rare square shaped fields are when flying.
Another idea I have had brewing in my head for some time, using Baccus and Rapier miniatures, is to the do the Battle of Kadesh (see here). Browsing around on Netflix I found a documentary that I really enjoyed watching whilst flying, about the Egyptian chariot. The programme follows a team who recreates a (well actually two) chariot and tries it out (you can also find it on YouTube if you search for Building Pharaoh’s Chariot). Mike Loades, who was part of the recent time commander series, is giving the chariot some trial runs to better understand how they may have been used on the battlefield. I find this kind of experimental archaeology/history very interesting and I really wish more similar programmes were available. Let me know if you know any good ones.
Before setting out I did progress on a few fronts with my Sci-fi models from Brigade Games (I have done two more orders since Joy of Six!) and I also did some of Baccus late 19th Century Bavarians. Great little models overall and a Joy to paint!
We did not leave home empty handed and I hope to have an AAR available at some point after this weekend, describing some French Indian War skirmish action. We brought a little bit of stuff allowing us to roll some dice and move figures around – but more of that next time if we have had time to have a game.
It seems like ages ago that we went to Sheffield for the Joy of Six 2017 and I have had my head down into work and some neglected duties like 1800mm terrain modelling (gardening) and real life painting (some feature walls instead of shield walls) with a limited amount of any useful hobby time. However, there is always some progress on some front in the Roll a One world (but more on that next week).
This is my take on the fantastic spectacle that is the Joy of Six – it is very biased as I frankly spent most of the day around the two tables I had brought. I had a few round trips but failed to take more than a few pictures of the other offerings – mainly because I ended up having a chat and then feeling bad that I had left the tables and rushed back. However, this was a little bit of an unnecessary mitigation as the games were running pretty well without my interference. The Wyre Foresters running the Lesnaya Table and the Little One the Lechnaga bash. So as far as a proper show report goes it is a limited one. For a better overview check out the report on Baccus page (link here and here).
A tale of two tables
It was a nice and sunny day in Sheffield and we woke up early as we actually managed to get to bed relatively early. The mat for the Lesnaya Battle was rolled out and it was so refreshing compared to the usual 2 by 2 feet boards I have been using in the past – that invariably have warped a little bit and/or the underlying tables being uneven leading to some interesting and unintended elevations.
I had some fears about the varnish and the rivers but it all seemed to work very well – I think I have convinced myself that I will do mats from now (more on this adventure here).
When we had put on all the trees, the houses, the wagons and the starting units I took a step back and I have to admit we were pleased. “It is GEFAG!”, the Little One said – Good Enough For A Game!
The Wyre Forrester, under the guidance of Nick Dorrell, got on with the job. Most of the time was spent talking about the table, the war, the mat and the Twilight of the SunKing Rules that was used on the day (the basing I use is the Polemos “standard” but this works equally well for the TotSK rules – one base is a small unit, two bases a normal unit and three bases a large unit).
At the latter part of the day the game started moving in earnest but did not reach a climax before we packed up.
Here are a few pictures from the action.
For the Lechnaga battle (see background here and here) we used one of the mats I did for the Saga stuff last year and the canopy forests (see more here on this terrain). The actual gaming area was the middle half of the 3 by 4 foot mat.
We decided to run the game (using Dragon Rampant Rules) with a war band/force sheet for each player and did a bespoke measuring stick based (we used centimeters instead of inches) on the units in the war band. We also did cards that to use to agree the order in which a player had a go – this created another layer of friction to the game. All, of course, colour coordinated! I have provided the files if you are interested in doing something similar.
I bought some cheap 20cm rulers for 50 pence each and printed out the file (download files here in PDF and Powerpoint – Dragon Rampant Rulers and Dragon Rampant Rulers) on some sticker paper (normal paper and glue may do as well!) and put them on the rulers where appropriate.
A then the file with the factions used on the day here Factions and here Factions .
We had a few good games – the Little One was in charge. Here are some pictures – a big thank you to the few who dared to sit down and roll a few dice with the kids. The future of the gaming community and industry salutes you! The Little One would like to give a special thanks to Oliver and Chris!
It was a very good day, but it always seems to end too quickly, here are a few of the things that I managed to capture.
Of particular interest to me was the Battle of Issus using Command and Colours (or is it Colors!) by the Wyre Forest gang. This really got me inspired to do something similar for the Punic Wars (but I save this discussion to another time – when I have not clue what to write about!). There is a picture of it on the Baccus link above.
Yet again a very good event indeed. Thanks to Baccus, Wargames Emporium and all the other people that makes it all happen. I have to extend the thank you to my two Little Ones – one doing her second year in the Yellow Joy of Six Jersey, selling entrance and raffle tickets, and the other for running one of the games. Also a big thanks to Nick and the other merry men from the Wyre Forest!
Finally and big thank you to all of you who came around and said hello and told me you were reading this blog and liked it. I really appreciate it and all you others who seem to come by every now and then!
We will back next year!, did I say thank you?
/ Have a good week!
Postscript (15/10/17): I have had a few queries on the sources of the trees I used for this project, I got these from various sources on eBay. Here are a few screenshots done on the date indicated above of what I used. None of these are based (apart form the Orbicular ones have a little of a root section) and I did it by using washers with a bit of Milliput and make a hole in, let it dry, glue on some sand and paint it up, flock it and stick in the tree with some glue. Some boring hours of work but I do think it is well worth it.
The fir trees were from Busch and I think I got 3 or 4 packs of these – shop around as I recall I got mine somewhat cheaper.
The other main tree was of this variety.
I also got a few packs of the following:
Another postscript a little bit later:
These are the blur for the two games we ran on that day.
One of the highlights of every Joy of Six is Per Broden’s annual exploration of his Swedish heritage as he stages wonderful games with a distinctly Scandinavian feel. At the Joy of Six 2016 he went one further and produced two games.
He is repeating this feat this year, with two very different offerings in scope and subject matter.
Here is what you can expect to see this year in Per’s own words:
I, Nick Dorrell and the very decent chums of the Wyre forest Wargames club will be doing three battles (two that took place and one that could have been) from the Great Northern War covering the, from a Swedish perspective, ill-fated Russian campaign 1708 to 1709. Each of these battles will be presented at the Joy of Six show over the next three years.
The campaign is the invasion of Russia by Charles XII of Sweden starting with the crossing of the frozen Vistula river in early 1708 and ends with the Swedish defeat at the Battle of Poltava in the Summer of 1709. It is the beginning of the end for Sweden as a dominant military power in north-eastern Europe.
The first battle is Lesnaya 1708 and is interesting as it is, in effect, an ambush by a Russian flying detachment, led by Tsar Peter himself, on a smaller Swedish army that is travelling through the forests of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Swedish army is led by General Lewenhaupt who is escorting a supply column of more than 4,500 wagons to support the main Swedish Army. From the perspective of doing the battle we need a lot of forest as well as about 40 or more bases to represent the supply column itself.
In writing this the miniatures (from the Baccus range) are about 95% complete with a few more Russian dragoons to go. The main thing remaining is the gaming area itself and a large number of trees is being finalised (there will be about 500 trees on the table!).
Overall the forces consists of:
Russians, a few leaders and artillery as well as 10 bases (24 miniatures, on 60 by 30mm bases) of infantry and 57 bases of Dragoons (9 miniatures, on 60 by 30mm bases).
Swedes, a few leaders and artillery as well as 10 Polemos bases (24 miniatures, on 60 by 30mm bases) of infantry and 57 Polemos bases of Dragoons (9 miniatures, on 60 by 30mm bases)
We will using Nick Dorrell’s adaptation of the Twilight of the Sun King Rules published by the Pike and Shot society, to play the game.
The game, and it’s very uneven progress, is being reported on the roll a one blog (rollaone.com) – you can follow it there and see if we make it over the finishing line in July.’
So game number one, is another of Per’s GNW epics. His second production couldn’t be more different both in scope and subject matter, although I do detect a little Swedish influence creeping in…
‘The Skirmish at Lechnagha in the Year of 708, since the birth of Suecia, during the Gigantic Northern War 700-721
A black arrow with red feathers suddenly hit one of the pack mules and it fell violently to the ground as its legs gave away to the heavy load it was carrying. This was shortly followed by hideous laughs and taunts from the surrounding forest – the same damn laughs he had heard so many times before. With the black and red arrow signature there was no doubt what was coming next. Prior Lewen Hauptmann of the Knights of Suecia, threw his red cloak over his shoulder, raised his warhammer and turned to his men and screamed; “Get ready for the Greenskin’s attack! Push them back to their rotten holes! Give no pardon as it shall not be given to you! From earth they have come and to dust they will go!”. He pulled down the visor of his helmet and gave a short prayer and looked around at his men – ironclad battle hardened Knights ready to fight to their last dying breath. “For the Glory of Suecia, give us your strength of battle!” he yelled out the blessing and his brothers responded concurrently; “We accept your strength”, to complete the linkage to the divine plane. For a moment a reddish glow could be seen from their swords and spears as they were imbued with the spiritual power.
The Prior reflected for a moment on the stupidity of this wretched mission and how he had been forced into it by the Knight Marshal Carrophlus following his failure holding the Fort at Narvay. He had chosen to spare his men from slaughter and made a deal with the treacherous Steward of Polesh, Arghaust the Strong who, he was the first to admit, surprisingly had let them go after opening the gates. The enemy had grown stronger under the combined leadership by Arghaust and the mighty Warboss Pethor the Brute, a tall Orc whose organisational skill, cunning and patience was remarkable for his kind. Pethor had manage to organise the Goblin and Orc rubble into a formidable fighting force. It had only been a matter of time before the Fort would fall and enough of his brothers had already been slain and reinforcements had not been forthcoming. The Fort was of limited strategic importance and he had chosen to live to fight another day.
As penance for this “disloyalty”, in addition to the demotion to Prior, he and his surviving men had been ordered to bring supplies to the cut-off townspeople of Lechnagha. He had no retinue of servants, squires, men-at-arms or Sergeants as was the custom for these kind of soul purification missions. It had been a hellish journey through Goblin infested forests with constant harassment. He had lost half the men they started out with and only half of them still had their horses. If their calculations were correct they were only a few miles away from the Town itself. It had a small regular army garrison and since he had felt the presence of evil watching them for the last few days he had sent a rider for some enforcements. But now that seemed to have been in vain. He thought back on the situation at Narvay and how his death there would have qualified his name into the songs of the minstrels but instead he was facing death here in the middle of this despicable forest – for what?
He was quickly brought back to reality as yet another arrow hit another mule. He looked around and could see Greenskins on both sides of the road riding their growling dire wolves closer. They always got excited at the beginning of the fighting and intensified their laughter, reminiscent of that of a raving lunatic, that normally stroke fear into their opponents. However, this was not what frightened him the most, it was the otherworldly scream he could hear from within the forest itself.
This is a participation game using the popular Dragon Rampant fantasy wargame rules by Dan Mersey (played to satisfaction not perfection). The main purpose is to have fun but also to showcase that 6mm can be used for games normally associated with the larger scales not just replacing individual miniatures with bases of many (like we did for Saga last year) but also scaling it down and still being able to enjoy a game. With a 2′ by 2′ board (the size of a small coffee table) playing in centimetres instead of inches is in fact like playing on 4’6” by 4’6″ board. We figure if you can have a few blokes taking a flag for a walk representing a regiment in some scales, why not do skirmish in 6mm?
We (the Little One and I) will run a few session over the day (with up to 4 participants each time) and welcome anyone to have a go. 1 to 2 players will control the Knights and 1 to 2 players will control the Greenskins. It will serve as an introduction to the rules and we will limit each session to about 45-60 minutes (including a high level rule go-through). We happily mix fantasy miniatures from Baccus, Rapier, Irregular Miniatures, Perfect Six and Microworld on the table.
We have blogged about 6mm skirmish extensively on the roll a one blog (rollaone.com) – I will bring some of the other miniatures for other periods for you to have a look at should you wish.’