A long one again, sorry…but a lot of pictures…
I have been away on holiday in Sweden over Christmas with the family and the only miniatures related stuff I have been physically close to have been my copy of the Gaslands Rules. I have read them and they seem to be a lot of fun, but more about that later.
This is the second year end for the blog and I have yet again had a joyful hobby year. My original idea was to do a blog about my preparations for my Saga Game(s) at Joy of Six in 2016, but then I never stopped. I found that it gave me some kind of efficiency in a strange way and I seem to have been more productive and organised than I used to be as a direct consequence. That original post on Saga in 6mm (link here) still gets some hits, but the most popular one from 2016 is the first blog on Sharp Practice in 6mm.
With the Saga game in 6mm I wanted to show that it is possible to take a “28mm game” and change the individual 28mm miniature on a 25mm circular base and replace this with a 25mm square base with 4 to 10 No. 6mm miniatures, keeping all measurement as they were and still have a good time. The game was still played on a 3 by 4 table, just as recommended by the rules.
Saga, as a game, worked anyway and playing it with 6mm miniatures gives a different feeling using individually based miniatures – I have tried both and I prefer the multiple based version.
The other approach I have taken with regards to 6mm is that you can take a game where 28mm miniatures (to take an example scale) are normally being used and half the measurement or use centimeters instead of inches. In this case each 28mm miniature is replaced with an individually based 6mm miniature. I have done this and played Sharp Practice, Pikeman’s Lament, the Men Who Would be Kings and Dragons Rampant. It works but it is more fiddly than 28mm, but this aspect can be mitigated somewhat if you use the (1-2-3) basing as suggested in the Pikeman’s Lament rules, if your game is about figure removal from units with non-individual figures – like the games mentioned above. This method is best described by Michael Leck who came up with the idea on his blog page (see here). A blog entry shows how I based my Colonial 6mm British (see here) using this approach (kind of!), pictures below.
Here is an example of a game we played this year on a 2 by 2 board (Pictures below, link to the write up and lots of pictures here) – you could carry the board under your arm and the terrain and the miniatures in a small little box. We had a jolly good time playing it. Did I mention that it took me two short evenings to paint up each force used in the game!
Here is another one (with the write-up here), this time Ottomans vs Swedes.
As for the most popular post in 2017 it is more difficult to say and perhaps unfair to compare as some of the posts, by the nature of weekly postings, have been on longer than others. However, the first blog on Colonial 6mm using The Men Who Would be Kings rules (link above) seem to have got some wider interest and so have the other postings covering Dan Mersey’s rules (Dragon’s Rampant and the Pikeman’s Lament rules he did with my friend Michael Leck) – they are all very similar with some notable variations in the Colonial set where there are commanders for each section as opposed to the overall force for the others and the damage is based on actual figure count – not a fixed full damage until half units are left going then down to half until wiped off the table, to mention a few of the more notable differences. I refer to these as the “Mersey Skirmish Engine” (MSE).
On the whole we have really enjoyed these games and they fit us really well as the rules are simple but not simplistic – i.e. there is sufficient depth to make the decision making challenging and there is a high level of friction built-in the activation system. I mainly game with the Little One who is celebrating his first double digit birthday next year so this simple but not simplistic factor is important to us. The best children movies are the ones that contain some sneaky adult jokes – watch any Shreck movie and you get what I mean. I find that the more complicated games looses the little ones interest quicker and in some cases never really captures him to start with.
The best games was when we were using my 6mm French Indian war models with the Pikeman’s Lament set, on that horrible “wargames mat” I bought in Rhodes on the family holiday. We played a fully functioning skirmish wargaming on what in fact was a doormat (some pictures here) and had some great fun in the sun.
We also played some other games including the Terminator Game, Sharp Practice, Dreadball (a great late start!), X-wing, The Twilight of the Sun King, Road Wolf, Maurice, to mention a few. I also read and tested the new Basic Impetus rules and Sword and Spear and would like to try these a little bit more. I also did two forces for 6mm sci-fi but I am yet to find a ruleset that inspires me.
I wanted to play Chain of Command with my Finns and Russian, but I failed miserably.
Anyway here are my key painting, modelling and gaming ambitions for this coming year.
Great Northern War – Twilight of the Sun King Rules (6mm)
Painting/Modelling 90%, Gaming 10%.
The 18th century in general and the Great Northern war in particular is one of my favourite historical settings and I am currently working on the Horka 1708 battle for Joy of Six in July 2018 (here is a link to some background to this). This will be the biggest battle I have done to date and I am very excited about it and this is the kind of battle and set-up that really works with the 6mm scale and gives the look and the feeling of a real battle.
I would also like to do a smaller table to give the Düna crossing in 1701 a fair go with the Twilight of the Sun king Rules (see some discussion on the rules here). I think the “did I hit?, did I damage?, did you have armour protection?, did you manage to save? – rolling sequence” is funny and engaging for a skirmish level rule-set but I am warming to the abstraction of the Twilight rules for BIG battles more and more for every time I play them (here is a note about the rules and where to find them). I have plenty of nice modelling and painting ahead of me for these projects.
Winter War and Continuation War – Chain of Command Rules (15mm)
Painting/Modelling 50%, Gaming 50%.
I re-read Hjalmar Siilasvuo’s account of the battle of Soumussalmi (Wikipedia link here) over the Christmas break. It is an inspirational account of how, in essence, three Finnish regiments defeated two Russian divisions and one tank brigade. Siilasvuo was one of the most successful Finnish Commanders during the war years.
The Battle at Raate had ended with a total defeat of the enemies 44th Divison, The objective given to my soldiers were completed. My men had, with commendable resilience fought for over a month in the harsh winter conditions at Soumussalmi. In defiance of death they had attacked the superior enemy. Their only guiding star was the precious, common fatherland, that fought for its existence. The cost of the great victories was paid with the heroic deaths of many brave warriors. With sincerity they had given their life for the fatherland, their homes and their faith. The white crosses on the graveyards where the signs of their sacrifice. They showed the people the path to honour, a hard path, but the only path.
Translated, hastily, from H.J. Siilasvous book “Striderna I Suomussalmi”
I also went to the Cinema in my Hometown in Sweden and watched the new film based on Väinö Linna’s book the Unknown Soldier about a Machine Gun Company during the Continuation war from the mobilisation in 1941 and the early successes to withdrawal and retreat leading up to the armistice in 1944 , I have read the book and seen previous iterations of the movie and thoroughly enjoyed it. The story is fictional but based on Linna’s experiences serving in the Infantry Regiment 8 during the war – it would make an interesting wargames campaign.
I have all I need for some Winter war action as I did a platoon of Finns and Russians last year. Here are some links to those Platoons (see here and here) as well as some background you may find interesting. I will not fail these platoons this year. I hope the Little One is up for it too! Link to the eminent Chain of Command rules here. I would also like to have a go at doing a winter wargames mat, as I have not yet found anything on offer that I especially like (I have an old mat but it could be better). I also have some Russian Scouts and more than enough Finns in Summer Uniforms to do some continuation war stuff.
Punic Wars – Command and Colours Boardgame (6mm)
Painting/Modelling 70%, Gaming 30%.
I am going to do a modular board and the necessary miniatures using mdf hexagons and 6mm units based on 50 by 20mm bases. I laid out the plans in a blog entry earlier in the year – here. I am looking forward to doing this as I am a fan of the game and I have wanted to do this since I read about Dan Becker’s project many years ago (see here) and got inspired from the game presented at Joy of Six this year.
Mutant 1984 – Mutants and Deathray Guns (28mm)
Painting/Modelling 50%, Gaming 50%.
I was going to do this project using (see more here) using the Scrappers rules but I have recently decided to try out the Ganesha games set called Mutants and Deathray Guns (link here). I am keen that Rifleman Croc Lacoste gets some battle-hardening sooner rather than later, he has been waiting more than a while.
I actually did some mean looking power armoured warriors (from Ion Age, IB52 Muster Female Squad, link here) when I got home yesterday evening as well as a gang of rats (conversions from the following miniatures – 3 of the bodies from Crooked dice here, 2 of the bodies from Moonraker miniatures – 0046 Scavenger. Handgun. Shotgun here, and 0074 SMG. Rasta here, the last body on the far left I do not remember, the heads and tails are from Giants rats, also from Moonraker, here).
Painting/Modelling 30%, Gaming 70%.
This is the best thing that I have come across in 2017 and I read the rules over Christmas (link to the Gaslands page, here. Where you can get the rules and accessories). This will be fun and I have more or less everything I need to get on with it (some notes here, here and here). Being true to form I decided to do this in 6mm as I was aware of some nice looking models out there. However there are some considerations to make and I advice that you read my blog entries above, if you are considering doing this.
In addition I may do the occasional game of Colonial skirmish, Dreadball, some Saga battles with the dark age stuff, French Indian war with SP2 or T&M, Maurice or Pikeman’s Lament with Swedes and Saxons, and I may even progress the Rommel stuff I started, but we will see. I am pretty sure it will be totally different at the end of the day/year but as long as I have fun it does not really matter.
I would also like to do some WW2 units to use for a Norwegian Campaign. I did a fair few a few years back but in a moment of stupidity let them go.
Some thanks and then I will let you go
I have done a fair number of hours at my painting and modelling desk this year, when I do this I tend to listen to podcasts and audiobooks – the following are the hobby related ones I have found especially inspirational this year and I am grateful they are doing what they do. Get some paint and click on the titles and go and listen, you may have a painted army standing before you after you finish! Thank you to all involved in the production of these.
Meeples and Miniatures – solid show, like a Volvo of the 240 series. Solid running top notch quality!
The Too Fat Lardies Oddcasts – effortless delivery of wargaming wisdom! Only 4 episodes so far but it feels like it has been around for ages.
Veteran Wargamer – excellent! Jay has definitely helped me make my gaming more fun!
WSS Podcast – at times feels like listening to one of those annuals I got as a kid, great stuff!
Wargames Recon – enthusiasm can go a long way, this one goes miles!
If I had one wish it would be that the Historical Wargames Podcast got on air again – I really enjoyed that show. If I had another wish it would be great if there was a wargames podcast similar to the Grognard Files (a nostalgic throwback show to the RPGs of yesterdays) that reflected on some of the “dead” games out there. The Veteran Wargamer, for example, had a show about games from beyond the grave (link here) and I think that one was a good start – look out for Jay’s comment on the game Chess.
Special thanks this year to the Little One who possibly prefers solo computerised quests as opposed to games with Dad using painted miniatures, but never fails to get stuck in and getting on with it. At Joy of Six he ably, more or less on his own, ran the Dragon Rampant table we put up. Also a big thank you to the Other Ones who may not be interested at all in this hobby of mine but who lets me get away with spending far too much time on it.
I would also say thank you to Chris of Marching in Colour (here is a link to his excellent painting service) who has been painting a fair few of my GNW units for this and next year’s TMT project – giving me more time to do some fantastic diversions and maximising the fun in the limited hobby time I have available.
Nick Dorrell, and his chums from the Wyre Forester Wargames club (link here), we ran Kalisz 1706 at Salute this year (see here) and Lesnaya 1708 at Joy of Six (see here). Nick and I have been doing 6mm Great Northern War Battles for the last six years as mentioned above we are doing Horka 1708 this year – if I get all of it done! Also to Rob and Laurent that helped us at Salute and Peter and Igor of Baccus who always makes Joy of Six an easy gig!
Finally (almost), a big thank you for all you people out there who likes the blog on Facebook, follows it on Twitter (yes I have recently got myself wired up on this too), directly here on WordPress, or just comes by occasionally or even incidentally. I really like the messages that comes through the blog and discussions I have had face-to-face with readers of the blog at the Joy of Six and Salute this year.
Now go and enjoy the end of this year. Hope you have a great 2108 and hey! – why not give something back to the hobby! Having just eaten half of the world and drunk the other part over Christmas it tends to be at these times when we reflect on our health and promise to deal with it next year. Henry Hyde, of Wargames compendium and Battlegames fame, just released a video that may not result in your lead mountain being painted any quicker but may help you being around long enough to have time to deal with it. The video is called “Exercise Ideas For Writers and Gamers” – that is giving back big time so a my final thanks goes to you Henry! Here is a link to the video on YouTube.
/ All the best and see you in 2018