Vulgar Display of Power – Just a little bit of progress on the Winter War Stuff

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Work is taking more than its fair share of my time at the moment, but it happens to most of us.  However, I have had some time to get some things done over the last week or so, this is just a summary of that.  As always, I do hope it is of some interest.

  • Chain of Command – dice, casualty markers and suppression markers
  • Gaslands – finally a game

Finnish and Sovietic dice

I am currently working on some terrain and markers for winter war Chain of Command.  I wanted to have some dedicated Finnish and Sovietic dice so looked around and found a fair few Sovietic options but only one Finnish (very nice ones, sold by Dice of War in Australia, see here). These are not specific ones needed for the game, just the type where the 6 is replaced by a unit or a country symbol and could therefore be used for any game that uses D6s. I wanted to have blue ones for the Finns and Red ones for the Soviets, and thought I could perhaps do some myself.  I found some 16mm blank dice on ebay and got myself a few different colours (these are from China so will take a week or two to arrive!, at least if you live in the UK).

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I then ordered some labels/stickers from Amazon (13mm).

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From Label Planets website (link here) you can get a word template for this label set and buy bigger quantities as well.  From this you can design your own labels.

I wanted to have 1 to 5 in the same font as used for the Chain of Command rules.  This font is called Vulgar Display of Power (download it here).  In addition I wanted the hammer and sickle for the Soviets and the hat emblem that the normal enlisted men had for the Finns, replacing number 6.

 

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Here is are the files with the sheet I made for the Soviets (Russian Dice) and sheet for the Finns (Finnish Dice), these are word files.  You can change these to add your own colours and symbols.

I have to admit that I had some problem with the laser printer I was using in aligning the sheet so that it printed out correctly (I wasted three sheets but luckily managed to get two done, which was all I needed)- the final result is not perfect and if you have trouble I can only say I am sorry.

This is how they turned out.

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I will make some yellow Sovietic ones and some white for Finns for Command Dice rolls.

Dead Soviets

One of the striking things with the Winter War are all the pictures of dead Sovietic soldiers especially in the fighting North of Lake Ladoga. Behind my romanticised view of the war and Finnish bias, I am not immune to the hell those Sovietic soldiers had to go through trapped on those wintery stretches of roads, with inadequate supplies of just about everything.  Go to the Wikipedia page and read about the Battle of Suomussalmi (link here) and check the losses on both sides – 50% losses for the Soviets and less than 10% for the Finns.

To create a reminder of this I did a few terrain features with dead Sovietic soldiers (I keep on using this term as the soldiers in the Red army were not only of Russian nationality).  They were based on Peter Pig casualty markers (based on anything with a great coat and headswaps to pointy Russian hats and early war helmets).

 

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Some Casualties, clay, stones and twigs from the garden

 

…and here with some painting, winterization and blood (sorry!).

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Suppression Markers

These are based on the concept of snow flying around as bullets hit the area.  I used something called Universal Cooker Hood Filter to do the effect. It is like cotton but much stronger, I attached a part of it with superglue and when dry I dragged it out and trimmed it. I also added a little bit of snow flock carefully on the cloud.  I think they do the job well enough.

 

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Ivan with his LMG is under fire and splinters are flying from the tree stump
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A simpler construction
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Snow splashing around a stone
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The full collection

Explosion Markers

I have seen explosions markers made out of clump foliage and wanted to make some for the winter war table as it will contrasts nicely with the snowy background, and also have some practical game purpose.  So I searched around the net for some ideas and found a few different options.

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Ivan successfully rolled 12 saving throws

I made my set of  explosion markers by following the recipe by the Terrain Tutor (link here).  Always excellent, this time he blew me away again!

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Terrain Tutor – check him out! Excellent.

 

I also had a game of Gaslands with my micro cars! (using 50% templates), and it was great, but more on that another time.

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/ All the best (yes I know I should be doing GNW!)

2017 ending 2018 coming!

 

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Swedish attack on Saxon defensive position (Baccus Miniatures) with seasonal flair. The Swedish tactics of just marching on with resolve and in silence and then throw their snowballs, or perhaps fire their muskets, at short distance followed by a full on charge is just about to be implemented.  The most important factor to the outcome is the morale and resolve of the Saxons who are desperately firing away at the Swedes – will they stand to the Swedish onslaught or shit themselves and run away?

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.

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Saga at Joy of Six 2016

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.

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Each line a unit of 12 men. You loose one man you take away a single base, you loose one more (2 in total) you take away another single base, you loose another man (3 in total) you put the single base back and take away a base with two, and so on. Simple and I promise less fiddly and complicated than you are currently thinking.
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I only did 1 and 2 miniature bases for the Lancers (8 in each units) but it still works with the same principles as above.

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!

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2 by 2 feet table
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Ottoman Cavalry charging the Russian Dragoons who were supposed to protect the wagons.  1-2-3 basing system in use (Baccus and Perfect Six)

Here is another one (with the write-up here), this time Ottomans vs Swedes.

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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.

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Gaming on the Doormat!

 

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.

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The field of Battle for Horka (link to it in the text above)
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Figuring out the battlefield for Horka

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.

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Still from the Movie Tuntematon sotilas [Unknown Soldier] (2017). Vänrikki Kariluoto readying a grenade during some trench fighting and Corporal Rokka getting ready to charge in and clean the next stretch of trench with his Suomi KP/-31 Submachine Gun.  Corporal Rokka is a typical example of a Big Man and a Veteran of the Winter War.

 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.

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Some of the Finns I prepared – an Engineering Section. The NCO is screaming – “Why the hell did you paint us and left us spend the whole year fully winter dressed in a box! Get your bloody act together!, or perhaps he is screaming Mitä helvettiä?, Levitä laardi! (What the hell?, spread the Lard!)

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.

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Perry’s 95th Riflemen but not like you are used seeing them. Proud soldiers of the Pyri Commonwealth army, a mix of pure humans, mutants and mutated animals, on a rescue mission to a forbidden zone.  Crocodile head from the Crooked dice and high tech rifle from my old bit box (?).

 

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).

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These Ladies would be part of a small security unit frozen in Cryonics freezers and woken up when the level of radiation had reached a survivable level. Now they have found a harsh and wild world, but they still have some powerful weapons, plenty of ammunition and their power packs are fully charged.
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In one of the classical adventures for the Swedish Roleplaying game Mutant that is the inspiration to this project, called Nekropolis, the PCs have an encounter with a group of rats.  This gang is my homage to those guys.

 

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The Original Picture from the scenario – Nekropolis, den Grå Döden Del 1, 1985, TAMB Äventyrspel AB

Gaslands (6mm) 

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.

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50% movement templates with the 6mm cars.

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

More Post-Apocalypso and an Alternative Longish Jingle for Meeples and Miniatures

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Following from the last post I have now received the 6mm post apocalyptic stuff I talked about last time, painted a lot of it already (4 “factions”), and I also had a trial game of the Road Wolf Rules with the little one (see more here for a background to this diversion).

I found a few compatibility issues between and within the ranges I used, but I will write about this in a future posting.

Irregular Miniatures Mad Ron Set and Bikes from Microworld Games

This is the first set I painted and this will be two factions – one called the “Metalheads” consisting of metal loving petrol heads with fine combat cars (from Irregular Miniatures) and the other being the “Bikers” (made from Bikes from Microworld apart from two from the Irregular Miniatures Mad Ron set). They work really well together.  I have another set of combat cars I will paint up a little more randomly with colour scheme to represent the more Punkish gang, but that is yet to come!.

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The Law

This is versions of the Bushmaster and a Truck from Heroics & Ros with an interceptor vehicle from Microworld games (this is the one of their new vehicles).  This is some kind of Police force still trying to retain law and order or something like that!

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The Mob

These are the more stylish bad bunch driving around in heavy limos (Onslaught Miniatures – order through Vanguard) and some more mobile off-roadish cars to support the main body (from the new Microworld Range).  I also include a Bush Master to the column – stowage based on some offcuts and piece from Perfect Six (link here).  They are know to offer protection to the various settlement in the wasteland and their Leader is know as Don Key Le Ono.

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Tryin Out Road Wolf

As for the Road Wolf Rules, I and the Little One had a go at it (we actually had two games) and we really enjoyed it.  We played hunter and hunted scenario and as I said before the cars only do relative moves and the last move every round is done by the road, whereby obstacles that are randomly generated and appears at one end are moved down the board. These obstacles are done as cards, but instead we made bases to represent wrecks, debris, tunnel, oil spills, etc. We had a good time and these rules are really fun and you can download them and all the markers you need here (thanks Sean Patten for these!).  The rules works perfectly at this scale and remember the board is 40cm by 20cm at 6mm scale – proper travel sized road battle. We just used a 2cm movement stick and it worked.  Yes the bases are bulky and could be improved, but we really had a blast with it as it is.  Here as some pictures from one of the games (I had only painted the Metalheads and Bikes at this stage) with the Little One and we got a thumbs up in the end – all is good.

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A Meeples and Miniatures Jingle

Warning:

  • Stop reading here if,
    • …you are not more than familiar with the Meeples and Miniatures Podcast as most of what follows will not make sense.
    • …you have a normal sense of humour as this is verging on the slippery iceberg of nonsense.

Remember that You were warned!

You may be aware I am a fan of the Miniature and Meeples podcast (more here), it has been playing in the background of many of my hobby sessions and le(a)d me astray on strange purchases over the last few years.  They are also all-round nice blokes.

I found myself sitting on the train the other day – one of those delayed ones, a seriously delayed one.  My iPad battery was flat and my phone had a battery percentage that would not even pass as a weak lager. I did something as novel as flipped through a free magazine and my middle-aged rage seemed to wake up by the reflection on the earliness of all this Christmassy stuff.  I am a great fan of Christmas when it is Christmas!  But I need to hold that thought for a moment.

Next too me sat three young university students, wonderfully enthusiastic and discussing some assignment in creative writing they had, which was to write some short advertising text for something that meant something to them.  I looked out of the window and felt Creactive and got my Laptop up and asked them if I could join in, then I wrote this – a seasonal jingle for the Meeples and Miniatures Fabulous Four (being the Three Wise men and the Guru!), with some hints to some other associated companies, people and other related stuff.  Merry Meepleness to you all! I got so into it that it actually cheered me up and when I finally looked up from the screen the students had fallen fast asleep!

Three Wise Meeps

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away three of the wisest of the Meeps were on yet another exciting Geek Tour.  The tour was in fact a search mission, loosely based on a linear scenario thread called “Finding Guru” from the book by the Rogue Merchant of recycled shampoo bottles.  They had been given their mission by a multi-headed, and to be perfectly honest too fat, lardish bloke on the veranda of the St. Albanjo Inn. The Albanjo was an excellent inn and did the best tasting Mead, Cyder and Ale in the Meeplands and the view from its veranda was simply breathtaking. They also served culinary delights from far afield and the menu included dishes from the exotic lands of Dahlia. Two of the most famous dishes were the phenomenal banana oil infused Imaginuts from Mahradur and the Pointless Pancakes from the Mountainous Island of Lankasri. The innkeeper was allegedly called Henri but no one was sure, as they never had seen him, as he liked to hide.

One of the Lardish man’s heads had offered them a good basic remuneration for their services whilst some of the other heads offered stretch goals if they did better than expected. The mission was simple: find Guru Luff (Hail Guru Luff!) who had left his Temple of Restrain – also called the Luffschuck on Meeplestrasse 52B.  Why the Guru (Hail Guru Luff!) had gone was long forgotten. History became legend. Legend became myth. And for many, many episodes, over the seasons the reasons passed out of all knowledge.  There were whispers, in places few mortal beings dared to go, that he (Hail Guru Luff!) was seeking penitence for the secret little affair known as the Dungeon Saga Excess.  There were also other rumours of him (Hail Guru Luff!) getting involved in the wrong way with the crime family Don Key Le Ono, who were heading the Thieves Guild in the City of Dilution. They had to search deep, very deep, to find him.

The Lardish man gave them the following advice – Trust no-one!, stay alert!, keep your dice handy! Do not roll ones!.  They could see something emotional in his many eyes and this was game-mechanically-represented by a few shock markers being placed next to him.

Their journey since then had been eventful and they had even managed to move more than six inches (before Gerry had a go) through the 7th continent.  They had travelled through the seemingly never-ending Desert of Gaming Dilution (where death had tried to hook them up for a game of combat chess), avoided the temptation of sausages, survived the many things that falls from shelves during firestorms, being attacked by the dreaded balls, outfoxed the Desert Fox, withstood an imperial assault, endured lengthy Open Combat sessions, repelled an attack from Mars although it was commonly believed that all had gone quiet on the Martian front, survived a night at the Mansion of Madness, and suffered the relentless chase of the mighty Barbarian.

A butterfly landed on his stretched out hand and he could see a myriad of colours, patterns and shapes on its wings. He was known as the undisputed, or at least as one of the many, Welsh Wizard(s) and was the most industrious of the Meeps and with his magic could control shelves to his advantage and summon big boxes of stuff that appeared from nowhere. He was known from the Epic Sagas and had recently assembled five fantastic armies to do his bidding and had a not-so-secret-project-anymore to conquer this fantasy world.  Tiredness had been a problem for weeks, but this very morning he had realised that he had forgotten to deactivate three fatigue markers he had been carrying in his backpack all this time.  The markers had been thrown away and now he felt as fresh and reborn as that fashionable Wizard from the commercials who had changed his clothes line of robes from greyish to nice glowing whites! Oh Lord, that jingle was still ringing in his ears!

The most sensible of the Meeps, the Troubadour was riding on one of the Godfather’s unpainted Norman horses in front of the others.  He carefully swallowed the last pieces of a cake he had snatched from a master baker in Linnius – it was delicious indeed.  He picked up his lute from the saddle bag and started to play a nice little melody.  The lute was a precision instrument and dimensionally printed thrice on a flat G bed – it did sound very nice although the Wizard was still sceptical to the tonal quality of something created with mere technology and not by pure welsh magic.

The Troubadour suddenly burst into his best tune “I aint been Dunked yet Mama, and by the Way here are the dates for the Herewards Wargames Show this year”, an allegorical song about the adventures of a Digestive Biscuit and its fear of being dunked, based on the true story of a young spearman. The lyrics had been revised many times following heated discussions with the Wizard and a Veteran Cookie who had known the spearman.

“I aint been dunked yet Mama, neither in Coffee nor in Tea, I aint been dunked yet Mama, my outer layers are still as hard as they can be!, I aint been dunked yet Mama, the blinds of the dunkers is getting pretty near, I aint been dunked yet Mama, I wish I was a Big Man not a boy with this fear…..”  

The last of the Meeps was perhaps the foremost of them all and he had been the longest serving disciple of the Great Guru (Hail Guru Luff!).  He sat in concentration and pushed his hand forward and flicked his hand to the right and pushed it forward again, he repeated he movement again and again – Never was he going to fail in opening a door again!.  He was too tall to be a dwarven warrior and had instead decided to become an Imperial Storm Trooper.  However his dream was short-lived as he was successful in completing his marksmanship course and consequently thrown out.

Since then he had tried to spread the word of Wargaming to the world. In the beginning it was not easy and he had been lonely and he had to whisper his messages. But he slowly acquired companions along the way to help him on his quest and the number of followers grew. Now he had a strong following and did not need to whisper anymore, he could now speak up and stand proud. It was full on charge from here on and forward! He was now the Godfather of all things Meeply and Small!

“I aint been dunked yet Mama, the beverage has not sucked the air out of me, I aint been dunked yet Mama, the more….. “

Scratch!

…..That’s enough of that, they are really good!…

/ See you later

Dreadballs of Fire and waiting for Command and Colors Tricorne

Sometimes the work-life balance does not swing favourably in terms of time left to do hobby related activities. This week, and I suspect the next week, will be one of those times.

The little time I did have this week was spent progressing on the Rats for Dreadball and they are now ready for some detailing. When they are done it will give a full Season One painted set-up with 4 teams (including the a full complement of MVPs).  Not great paint jobs but far better than the base grey colour of the plastic and I managed to do it in about 3 weeks of limited hobby time.  The fact that the Little One is into it as well makes it more motivational to crack on with.

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The Little One and I had a few good games of Dreadball using two human teams to get to grips of the rules – and we really like it.  I really recommend the series of videos by Andy2D6 on YouTube, the first one “How To Play DreadBall – Part One: The Board” can be found here.

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Very straightforward Tutorials on the Basic Game of Dreadball by Andy2D6

The following are a few shots from the games we played.  The Little ones blue guys was a bonus we got when we bought another base set of eBay – to add a few more Season 2 teams cheaply.  As per usual he rolled high and I rolled low, his Jacks (all-rounders) were as good slammers as my Guards (heavy hitters) and his ability to use the Strikers was very inspirational.  Nevertheless after a few games we got a nice flow and we really enjoy playing it (did I say we like it?).

 

Since I prefer my hat Tricorne I have been looking forward to the latest version of the Command and Colors rules (e.g. Memoirs 44 and Command and Colors Ancients) called Tricorne Command and Colors – The American Revolution.  I got my copy from Boardgameguru (see here) and I think that is the best deal currently on the net (or at least that I found browsing around).   I have to admit that I felt that the price was a little bit steep but I had already made my mind up and I suspect the first print run will sell out fast and then it will cost even more to get hold of a copy later.

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The rules booklet is downloadable here.   The following scenarios are covered:

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Extract from the Rules and Scenario Booklet

The following units are included (as the classical wooden blocks) to play the scenarios and I am tempted to do something with it in 6mm – at some point in the future. Baccus make all the miniatures needed (link to their AWI range here) and I think it would look absolutely fantastic.

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Extract from the Rules and Scenario Booklet

/ I hope it will be like a Carlsberg – Worth waiting for!  Incidentally I am also waiting for some magnets I have ordered to push on with the Rommel bases (see previous post here).  Have a good week!

 

 

Skirmish Wargames Show, DreadBalling and some Great Britons

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This was a nice weekend indeed, Saturday was spent driving around the Kentish/Sussex countryside and we went to Chartwell House (Churchill’s family home) and Penhurst Place (The Sidney’s family home for more than 460 years) – both well worth a visit.  On the way home we ended up in the Blacksmith Arms (in Cudham) where the comedian Harry Relph was born (1887 to 1928). He performed under the stage name “Little Tich” and was (amongst other things) famous for his routine with very long shoes (see a video here). They had his famous shoes on display in the pub – equally impressive with the Wellington boots we reported on some time ago (see here).  I knew immediately who he was as I had ended up listening to his 1910 recording “What a Risky thing to do” (see here) looking for some background music for a Call of Cthulhu campaign many moons ago.  A great, although not very tall, Briton (a Wikipedia write-up here).  I had a pint in his honour before we embarked on the short journey home.  I suppose you can do your own research on that other great Briton Churchill, if he is not familiar to you ;).

On the Sunday I went to the Skirmish Wargames show in Sidcup run by Redcoat Models(see here) – a small wargames show that occurs twice a year. I did not count the number of traders but call it 15 with about the same amount of wargames tables. The theme was Napoleonics and probably 1 in 4 of the tables were Napoleonic offerings.  I did not take many pictures but here is what drew my interest. I had a good time.

 

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The action around Utitsa from the Borondino 1812 Battle, by North London Wargames Group – 6mm action!

 

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Skirmish Wargames presented a 45mm scale skirmish battle using their “Tales of Derring Do!” rules involving Richard Sharpe and his Rifles, Spanish Guerillas, a female spy and some French Soldiers too.  It looked like everyone had a good time.  There was even a Film Crew present!

 

I played a game with John, who was running a fictional Battle in India with a Sikh uprising supported by French advisors (and some troops) against the British, using the Fire and Fury rules.  John had not laid on a table for 15 years but it did look good when it was all set up.  We used activation for getting reinforcements on the table but we both failed miserably but when we were successful John seemed to be able to get more out of each reinforcement wave – typically the French (yours truly) “spawned” one or two units whilst the British managed to get 6 to 10 units on the table.  It was fun and I managed to get a cavalry unit into the British outpost and steal a cannon.  However, the luck was only short-lived as they ran into a strong group of light infantry (Riflemen). One of those games that gets that narrative kick that makes all the difference in my view.  Many thanks John!, I think the game was yours 😉 .. Great fun.

Finally I had a nice chat with Glen Hardy of Art of War Shirts.  Glen has recently launched his business selling a nice selection of t-shirts that I think some of you may find nice – what I like is that they are nice designs and less in your face than some other offerings.  Do check out his webpage and get a few and/or let your better half and your mates know what you would like for Christmas (you know that any hard ones will be in the wrong scale or period anyway!).  Here is a link to his page.

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As for any progress this week I am slowly doing some DreadBall miniatures (yes I did get a few more teams). Doing Forge fathers and some MVPs this week but no progress on Rommel stuff.   The Better One said to me the other day “I did not know you were into this game now!”, “Been working on it for years!”, I answered back having just ordered a few more teams on eBay.

I based the Forge Father colour scheme of my favourite Swedish Coffee Brand Löfbergs Lila. Purple with some green detailing for strikers, yellow for jacks, red for guards and blue for the Keeper.  Can you smell the nice aroma?

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Talking about Great Britons, I could not avoid to reflect on the likeness with one of the MVPs and a very famous TV personality that recently passed away.  Anyway I let you reflect on your own.

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/ “Nice to see you, to see you nice!”, until next week!

 

 

 

 

The Joy of Sixteen Degrees in the Shade – Getting back to normality

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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).

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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!

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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.

/ All the best! Keep toysoldiering on!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Joy of Thirty-Six degrees in the shade – FIW with Pikeman’s Lament

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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).

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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.

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Basic Set-up – Farm in the upper middle being held by two units of British Veteran Shots (Regulars, 12 models per unit, in cover behind the snake rail fences), flanked by two units of Forlorn Hope (Rangers) one on each side (one being on the top of the hill to the upper right and the other between the field and the forest on the upper left).  The French are advancing from the south (Bottom) and consist of (from left to right) a unit of Indians (these were in fact veteran commanded shot), a unit of French marines ( veteran shot), another indian unit, a unit of Canadian Militia (Fornlorn Hope) and a final third unit of Indians.  Both sides at 24 points.

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.

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Note I turned the table around 360 degrees – the Rangers are awaiting the Native Indian attack.

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?

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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.

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This was then followed by the other regular unit being attacked on the other flank and the rest is history.

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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.

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/ Take care