Writing this about 2 months into the lock-down, it is surprising how long the days feel when you sit at a screen most of the day in a little room trying to keep things moving. As a consequence I have not really been tempted to sit down and do much blog updates but here is a go (I have a few more drafts I may be able to get out here and there). We have been lucky and all of us are well, but we have friends and family who has been affected badly by this Virus both directly and indirectly. The implication of this, I fear, will be more far reaching than we can yet imagine.
Anyway, I suppose that some kind of COVID-19 reflection is not what made you come and have a look. I have tried to reduce the lead mountain during this lock-down but inevitably I have done a few impulse purchases. One of these were the splendid sets of Fantasy ice hockey players produce by Brigade Games (link here).
They were a joy to paint and are really fine models, the only shame is that there are only 3 teams currently available. But I guess if you like these order some. Demand very often provokes supply.
There are some amazing detail in these models and I am not sure which one I like the most.
The next step was to decide what rules to use. I found two main contenders on the net:
Trick shot – the ice hockey board game (you can download it here – link worked 20/05/20). The PDF is sufficient to play the base game. It was a kickstarter and I do not think the game is officially out, the advanced game contains some additional cards that makes the game more varied. The game is a basic ice hockey game.
Dread Puck – a variant of the Fantasy Dreadball game (you can download it here – link worked 20/05/20. You would also need the Dreadball game to play.)
Having looked a both of these option I wanted to try out the trick shot rules and needed a board to play on – an ice hockey rink.
The game board for the game looks as follows.
I took a piece of blue foam I had in the garage and got to work.
Once it all had dried we made some special dice for the game (as you can find in the rule book), they are just blank dice that I painted the symbols on. I guess you could use small round labels and print on as well and then stick them on the dice. I also made some would markers made from acrylic 1mm bases – I just mixed some black and red ink (idea stolen fromhere). They have no actual use in the game – yet!
Anyway, we have had a few games now I we really enjoy it. It is a nice little diversion and relative quick to make. Have ordered a human team from Impact Miniatures. I will get back to you with a part 2 later and perhaps talk a little bit more about the rules. Anyway what follows is a fair few pictures from some of games we have played and some Fantasy Hockey League Promo shots.
/ I hope this was of some interest, stay safe and take care of each other.
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.’
Next weekend Joy of Six and time for us to head up to Sheffield and run some games with Nick Dorrell and the other Chums from the Wyre Forest Wargames club – we are looking forward to it!
A write-up of the two games can be found on the Baccus homepage (see here), I suggest you go there and have a look at these and the other things that will be going on at the Joy of Six.
I have spent the last week finalising the units we will field for the fantasy game and also completing the battle mat (discussed last week, here).
I have varnished the river sections using Liquitex High Gloss Varnish, I hope it will not crack to badly when the mat is rolled up! As per the tradition I have to bring some terrain made out of spaghetti to Joy of Six! This time all the bridges on the Lesnaya table are partially edible! (Al Dente!, more on spaghetti terrain here, here and here!).
As for the Fantasy game we will be running a participation game using Dragon Rampant. The rules are fun and easy to learn and I think will work well in this setting. As this was a last minute change I have done a lot of short burst brushwork the last two weeks and had some great fun with the Little One preparing it all. I think we need a break after Joy of Six!
Here are a few shots of the units we have been working on (not all made it to the final war bands below).
However for the game on the day, we will allow a maximum of three players per side (Good vs Evil) using the following warbands (notation based on the dragon rampant rules):
The Good Guys
Knights of Suecia (24 points)
Leader: Prior Lewen Hauptmann (18/00 Strength leader trait, actually a blessing from Suecia, giving him re-rolls in battle).
“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. “
Leader unit – Elite Foot (6 points)
Second Unit of Knights on Foot – Elite Foot (6 Points)
2 No. Units of Knights on Horse – Elite Horse (12 points)
With two more weekends before the Joy of Six show, I felt under positive pressure this week to get the final bits completed, the key item being the mat.
The idea this year was not to use terrain boards, as I have done previously, but instead try to do a terrain mat that contains most of the terrain features (see some background here and here). I had this rolled up piece of plastic backed drop-sheet with the acrylic paste on top – all dry but a very heavy 8′ by 4′ mat. Having been rolled up for about 2 week I did notice some cracking and a few strange folds, but nothing scary. It was time to decorate.
Remember the objective (upside down compared to the previous postings).
Marking it all out and getting stuck in there.
Drybrushed and ready for some static grass and flock!
After static grass, flock and river detailing (and a good vacuum clean!) – I am actually very pleased. Dark green areas will be covered with trees and I will make some small bridges to put over the river crossings, and some buildings for Lesnaya and finally some features to show the elevation on the left.
Some details (note road space exaggerated – to allow a basewidth through!)
I think it will be good enough for the day! It took some time but I think it was worth it. It took two relatively long sessions to get it done.
As you are aware we have two tables at Joy of Six this year (16th July in Sheffield, see more details here) – the Lesnaya Battle as show above but we were also going to do some French-Indian War using the Sharp Practice 2 (SP2) rules with the help of Neil Shuck, of Meeples and Miniatures (see, or actually listen, here!) fame; “Hello Neil!”. Neil and I ran the Saga games last year and we had a blast. However Neil is not able to make it this year so I decided to change the plans slightly and run something with the Little One. We have too little time to get up to speed with SP2, to give it a fair go, so we decided to go with plan B. As you are well aware we have grown very fond of the Dan Mersey rules and as there are no other fantasy games on offer at Joy of Six this year – we went and figured.
I will do a little presentation of that game next week but you can see some background in previous posts (here). In addition I decided to do a few more units and here are some work in progress shots (Ogres and Treemen from Irregular Miniatures, Elves from Baccus and Centaurs from Rapier Miniatures).
/ Take care and hope to see you at the Joy of Six(tenth July)
I have been working away on a few fantasy forces in the background of doing my Joy of Six preparations. This week I mainly did trees and some other terrain preparations and did not really take any pictures – next week more on Lesnaya (the mat I did last week is working really well). I also got drawn into the Glastonbury catch-up on BBC iplayer and some wonderful performances by Foo Fighters and Jamie Cullum – great stuff!
Back to the fantasy. I plan to do the following forces (this is certainly a Joy of Six as I have found what I wanted from various 6mm producers):
Goblins based on miniatures from Baccus (see here) and Microworld Miniatures (see here). I have completed the initial miniatures for this warband (they are presented below), but plan to add some Trolls from Perfect Six as well.
Knigthly Order – I have done some knights using the Order of the Dragon miniatures from Perfect Six. These are heavily armoured knights and give a “space marine feeling” with the nice and bulky armour and the inclusion of pistoliers and crossbow men is really nice. Mine have shining armour with some red detailing. Check out the growing fantasy range (and other useful stuff) at Perfect Six here. I have completed enough to field a small but very strong warband of these (see below) – the idea being that the are all elite units so only a few would be needed to match a the Goblins above.
Scorpion Men – I have ordered some of these from Rapier Miniatures, see here , they are part of their new Glorantha range – the fantasy world created by Greg Stafford (see here) and made famous by the fantasy roleplaying game Runequest. As an old Runequester I could not resist. I know Rapier are working away on a new 6mm Mongol range but later in the year we may see Bison riders and Broos (those are a given for me, so perhaps some more factions). They do some great ancient ranges too.
Elves and Centaurs – I already have some Elves from Microworld Games (see above) and the Centaurs are on their way from Rapier Miniatures (see here) from their Greek Myth Range. I plan to get some elven archers from Baccus.
Adventurers and Hirelings – Remember the hirelings from Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) that could be hired by the adventuring group with a few hit points each? This homage to D&D warband will be using the adventurers from Perfect six supported with warriors, pack mules, horses (for strength marking purposes). Each adventurer will be a unit with an adventurer supported by hirelings, pack mules and other items used as strength markers, as the unit takes damage the hirelings are removed until only the adventurer remains. The look of a real power gaming set-up!
I want to use the Dragon Rampant rules (same family of rules as Pikeman’s Lament and The Men Who Would be Kings that I have tried out successfully in the past, see here or here for some examples of these games being played) as this have the right level of complexity and playability for the Little One and I.
The format of the warbands and the 1-2-3 basing works really well and it only takes a few evenings to prepare, paint and base each faction.
Progress so far
Knightly Order – all from Perfect Six
/ Hope that was of some interest, more on the way!
After having banged the 6mm skirmish drum for a while I have no choice but to get on with the big battle of the Year as Joy of Six is getting closer.
In creating a battle board for gaming a known battle there are a number of steps I take to allow me to create a reasonable area that creates the right balance between four elements – historical accuracy, playability, available space and overall visual impact. Remembering important issues such as the difference between the ground scale and the figure scale for large scale battles (and building scale) – this is why you see towns represented by just a few buildings next to rivers that looks like the models could just jump over.
The Lesnaya Battle was not a straightforward “line-them-up-and-attack” battle but happened in stages where the Russians first attacked the Swedish rearguard that was reinforced in stages but the front line of battle constantly moved back towards Lesnaya – it quickly became clear that the battle would be best played length wise on the table.
I have used the map below as basis for the battle board and it was produced by Örjan Martinson on his absolutely brilliant Tacitus Webpage that contain a lot of useful information about the Lesnaya as well as other battles of the Great Northern War (link here http://www.tacitus.nu/gnw/battles/Lesnaya/ ). The map show the position of the opposing sides at the start if the battle (Note the name of Lesnaya in the traditional Swedish spelling – Ljesna).
The first thing I wanted to do was to overlay my conceptual 4 by 8 feet (120cm by 240cm) battle board space over the map and see what area this would cover – would it be enough to play the battle on? In this case I simply use the Freijbourg Rearguard as the basis for my battle board (marked in the red circle) for my calculations. The Rearguard consisted of 2 No. battalions of De la Gardie’s Regiment and 1 No. battalion of the Närke-Värmland 3-männing Regiment. In the Polemos Rules each battalion is represented by a 60mm frontage base and in the Twilight of the Sun King rules this is (at battalion level) represented by a normal unit (2 No. 60mm frontage bases) and a small unit (1 No. 60mm frontage base). Giving some space between the battalion I used a length of 20cm for the 3 bases.
In the PowerPoint files I used to do the exercise the length of the Rearguard Box (in the picture) was 1.4cm and I multiplied this with 6 to get the equivalent of 120cm (or 4 feet) length, this is 8.4cm and I created two squares (with 8.4cm sides) and overlay these on the map to represent the area the board would cover. To my (happy!) surprise the area covered (as shown in the picture below) was spot on for where the fighting actually occurred. Sometimes it does not work and you may not have enough space – you could easily cut this board down to a 6 by 4 table by taking away 2 feet of on the left hand side. The first notable encounter between the opposing armies was at the location of the rearguard. In addition it could be possible to reduce the depth as well but we did not have those problems on this occasion. All the Russian forces will not start on the board!
Following a deeper review of the overall battle from the start to finish with regards to the known locations of fighting, the area covered is sufficient to represent the fighting on the day.
But wait!, you may say… In the In the Twilight of the King Rules a base width (60mm, or 6cm, in our case) is about 150 meters, meaning that the frontage for our 3 bases (18cm) is about 450 meters. As we measured 20cm this equates to about 500 meters width for the set of three bases with some space in-between. We can clearly see that the width of the rectangle is far less than the 0.5km length based on the ruler in the to left corner. So in terms of adherence to real scale it does not work but in terms of ground scale and playability it does – I think that makes sense?
Case Study: Fraustadt 1706
Another example is when I did the wintery Fraustadt 1706 Battle a few years ago where the main feature was the line of Saxons and Russians between the two Villages (Rörsdorf and Geyersdorf). The key design feature of that battle board was to be able to fit all the based miniatures for this line the space available. I physically put all the bases on the table and used this to draw the features on the board, this gave me the “correct” measurements to play the game efficiently. I recall that I took some liberties on the Saxon/ Russian left flank to make the it work, but overall the battle board reflected the terrain features of the battle.
Back to the Lesnaya table and the next step which is to highlight the key features of the battlefield that are needed on the final battle board. The board will contain a lot of forested areas (!), roads (important as they cut through the forests), rivers and bridges and the elevation around Lesnaya and the river.
After this I mark out the features (I did not include the bridges or Lesnaya itself at this stage) and we are ready for the tools and the materials.
The mat will incorporate the forest areas and make these darker than the general white areas (these will incorporate a few fields) the marshland will be a in yet a different colour and I will create separate river tiles to put on top of the mats (with bridges), including the elevations around Lesnaya.
I have not yet started the mat, instead focused the weekend on basing some trees – I will need a fair few.
Hope to show some mat progress soon.
I am working on some 6mm fantasy stuff in the background, here are a few pictures of work in progress (I will do a write-up later).