Sunday, December 03, 2017

Signs of winter...

...Warfare had the beneficial effect I was hoping for seemingly... there are signs of activity from the loft...  creaking floorboards mostly... 

First off, new order from Peter Pig arrived...

French anti tank guns (two) - 25mm early war jobbies - with crew..  for those coming along after me, you only need one bag of crew per two guns...


...and some American Civil War naval reinforcements.. as much as I love the Monitor and Merrimac/Virginia, you can only play that so many times so I thought to get a few extra's to spice up the mix..  small gunboat, large side wheel'er (which is fantastic by the way) and a couple of mid sized side wheel'ers - the intent is that these can be used for either side depending on scenario as they are fairly un-specific


...by the by - one thing that I did learn was just how big the Virginia was! These are same scale..


...now you can see why the Confederates worked so hard to recover the ship after the Federal forces had burnt her to the waterline and sunk her for good measure...


...ready for undercoating (now done by the way)...  gun crews (British French and German WWII), anti tank guns (British 2pdr's/French 25mm's and German 37mm's) and the assembled ships, oh, and one remaining mounted English Civil War officer figure who missed the last undercoating session...


...on the back row there are a selection of ready undercoated officers - for the first time since March (!) [clicky] paint brushes were wielded, and these are now done, pictures once they're based.....

Last of all, following the last WWII game [clicky] it was noted by DG and myself that it would be damn useful if you didn't have to move each base one at a time so I sent off for some of these from Warbases [clicky] These are from their "1p tray" range and are perfect...  I like them so much I'm not sure I even want to paint them (but probably will )


...more than enough to be going on with I think... 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Warfare 2017

I was more than looking forward to this as for various reasons previously and tediously mentioned this was my first wargame show of the year and I had cash to spend..  I also have a great liking for this little show, it always has a good vibe about it...

Having arrived then, and managed to figure out the truly anarchic car park payment system, first point of call as ever was the bring and buy (it's just inside the entrance) nothing majorly of interest, but they have also started putting a few traders in their and the Aventine Miniatures [clicky] stand definitely caught the eye.. look at these babies ! (click to embiggen any of the piccies in the post)



..I love elephants..   Achaemenid Persian?


...and I particularly like the red ears! Very effective..  Cartheginian I think, perhaps Seleucid...?


Anyway - on in to the main hall to check the traders..

...and no Peter Pig! Quelle domage....  was planning to have spent a fair amount of dosh with them - wanted anti tank guns, but also some more American Civil War ironclads/ships..  no matter I spent the cash with Forged in Battle for British and German anti tank guns...  (and then spent some with Peter Pig online for the other bits I was missing and some more ships)...

DG also got very excited by the Neil Thomas "Wargaming: Nineteenth Century Europe 1815-1878" book (we're fans of his as a result of "One Hour Wargames") which was on special offer at the David Lanchester Books stand - only £10...  I was sorely tempted, but the book covers a period of European warfare I don't have a huge interest in....  though DG pointed out it was full of luscious maps, rules, and other enticements...  so I thought about it...   and then bought it on Kindle (£9.19 in their Black Friday sale!)..  by the way One Hour Wargames is available on Kindle for less than a fiver...  foolish, if not ridiculous, not to at that price....

...I did have a chat with Sean at Newline Design's however, as I overhead another conversation he was having where this chap was persuading him to start an English Civil War range...  to be blunt I told him, do that in 20mm and I would bite your arm off...  turns out the other chap is a professional painter and was looking for 10mm, but he thinks that the new rules Simon Miller (of  Too the Strongest fame) is putting out will provide a strong fillip to the period...  hope Sean does, I like his figures and I like his prices...

...and then on to the games.....  Warfare is mainly a competition show with a trade fair attached, but there were still some fine examples of the wargaming art for those who cared to seek them out... so in my usual descending order....

In 3rd place..

The "Combined Oppo's" group (they're all ex-services, and are loosely based round Plymouth/west country) put on this Samurai large skirmish game - what won me over was the (scratch built) castle...  in fact most of the terrain was scratch built and they were telling me the river sections were only done the night before they came down..!



...the group is trying to persuade the builder to extend it, as they want to do a kind of Japanese based Dungeons and Dragons/role playing game.. apparently he's not keen... 



In second place, "Cheriton" by the Last Chance Wargamers

Not a particularly good looking game..


...quite plain in fact....



...what made it for me was that one, it was English Civil War, two, it was my local battlefield, but three they had done an ENORMOUS amount of research to fully identify where the battle had actually taken place..  long time readers of the blog will know I've walked the battlefield at least three times, and both authors I referred to disagreed where it actually was..  these guys have investigated a huge quantity of original documents in the UK and also Australia and the US (!) so I've included it here for interest... b.t.w, they have written it up as an article for Arquebusier magazine and there may be a book in the future....






...and in first place

..this lovely American Civil War game by Earlswood Wargames Club depicting part of the Gettysburg battle ("Lee's Right Hook")..  all figures were from the redoubt range, and superbly painted - difficult to beat the spectacle!



...love Zouaves (as you know) and these were very, very good...





...I have a similar signal tower in my collection!


...and that was it - roll on the next show season...

Monday, November 20, 2017

"One Hour Wargames" - Scenario 14 - "Static Defence" - Game

As I mentioned in the last post, this weekend finally provided the opportunity to close out that unfinished business from just before I went away on holiday with the "One Hour Wargames" scenario I posted about previously [clicky]...

We originally played this using my skirmish rules of choice "Rate of Fire" but the outcome was so entirely unsatisfactory that I had felt the need to play the game again, either solo or with a different rule set..

DG had won the game handsomely, but it was the lack of confidence with the rules (we just don't play them enough) and the fact that scenario didn't really seem to lend itself to a skirmish type set up that had jarred...

I toyed then with the idea of getting DG to bring Chain of Command along, but I have to confess that as I grow older, I am more and more drawn to simple sets of rules that allow me to play the game rather than spend all of it looking up rules, and even though I know they are a splendid rule set, last time I played it took a long time...

So it was that I thought, well why not just use the WWII rules from the book - we had a decent game with the ACW one's, and DG and I had had great fun tinkering and modifying them afterwards, so decision was made - and then I read them, and they're only two pages long.. well I did ask for simple

Decision made - the only change I made to the rules before the game was to add a dice modifier to the observation rule, which as written is automatic...  I split the range in four and added 1 to the dice roll for every 3" band closer to the spotter...  other than that everything else was as per the scenario.

On the night DG took the French and rolled a 2 on the 6 unit table - deploying 3 infantry; 2 anti tank guns and a mortar. I (as the German attacker) threw a 4 ending up with 4 infantry; 1 tank (yay!) and a mortar. The rules don't go into the level of detail that requires type of anti tank gun, or tank, so you can choose what you like - they all have the same defence values/shooting values.

The Germans go first in each turn - so having read the rules a few times and noted where I could do best with what units I had, I decided to go with an all out attack on the hill objective on the left, while deploying one squad of infantry as a mobile reserve just to cover the town/wood flank..I deployed my mortar on the baseline as with a range of 48" there was no need to move it as my other units would be taking care of the spotting.. (the French did the same)

The French are tied to the objectives they are forced to defend so DG put one squad and one of the anti tank guns in the town; the other two squads were central in the woods, and the other anti tank gun on top of the hill...

About move 4 or 5 - German mortar deployed on the base line - two squads and the tank on the attack - two squads on the right flank watching what was happening from the town...

Leap frogging quickly forward the Germans were throwing lead by about move 9 or 10, though to be blunt their observational skills were poor, and their firing off...

Sheer weight of numbers played in the end though (three infantry squads and the tank were all able to spot for the German mortar) and the French anti tank gun was destroyed allowing the Germans to occupy the hill with a badly beat up infantry squad, one reasonable one, and the tank...

Close up of same..
With no one to spot for them the French mortar team withdrew towards the town, only to meet two French infantry squads dashing to the attack, and soon battle was fierce...

On turn 14 the Germans managed to destroy all remaining French forces on the hill, on turn 15 the French managed to get the mortar team on to the hill just in time* to deny the Germans the victory...  honours even, game drawn. 

Post match analysis:
  • * yes we know it was "gamey", but it was entirely in keeping with the level of the rules, and I had no hesitation in accepting the draw
  • the observation rule worked well - for the next game we'll use a D10 - so observation automatic at 2", and then for every inch longer add 1 that you need to get on the D10
  • we thought at the most basic level we might want some unit/asset level morale status yet to be worked out - any casualties and they become pinned/suppressed with a shooting/movement penalty until they pass a test to become un-pinned/un-surpressed...  
  • beer on the evening was provided by DG and was from Welsh Wales (boyo) - Felinfoel Double Dragon which I haven't drunk in an age, and most delicious it was...

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Catch up...

....time for a catch up now I'm back from holiday.... 

 First off - I know I'm late for putting up a battle report for the last One Hour wargame scenario I posted about a few weeks ago..  truth be told it was a bit of a damp squib - either my tactics, or incomplete knowledge of the rules, or something else - but the game was over within 5 moves and a resounding victory for DG and the French defenders...  poor dice throwing definitely compounded the issue (failed morale throws and squads disappearing off the table left right and centre...)  DG is coming round again for a game this week so we may have to reconvene if he can face it...  he wasn't happy with a skirmish level set of rules that didn't allow units to go prone (or we didn't see where it said they could!) Either way - a work in hand...

Second - my first wargame show of the year this weekend (which is why DG is down) yay, it's "Warfare" time...  having missed "Colours" because I was in Paris, and "Salute" because I just couldn't be bothered (it's a bit of a trek to the Excel, and I'm less bothered to go now DG has decided it's not for him - part of the pleasure is the banter and chat...) I am more than a little looking forward to the show as I have felt the need for some time of needing something to pump prime the engines and get them firing again...  I shall take cash and let's see what takes the eye...  something ECW I hope as the project is floundering a bit....

Third - the holiday reads were every bit as enjoyable as I'd hoped....

£1.99 well spent - I'd forgotten how good this was despite having read it at least 2 or 3 times over the years - set against the background of the Philadelphia Campaign under British General William Howe, this is an excellent account of the campaign, and the difficulties the British faced in America during the Revolution - the British would have needed an army ten times the size of the one they had in order to suppress the colonists and Parliament didn't have the cash or the inclination to do it...  as it was they only ever had enough men to hold three area's and with the French entry to the war, too many area's to hold...  an excellent story while providing good historical background..  cracker...  9/10
Latest from the master story teller and I'm quite excited to read something that isn't about Uhtred..  also a bargain on Kindle at the moment only £7.90 for a book only just in print...  still reading this one but it's already gripped me - this is a story about Shakespeare told from the perspective of his brother..  more when I've finished reading it...
I had mixed feelings about this one - happily this was a marked and considerable improvement over the previous one (see book reviews). For one, Kydd actually features in the book (which is more than he did in the previous one) but also there is fighting and battles on the high seas (the Baltic again) and although the ending is a little far fetched - Kydd ends up married...  good one 8/10
A new series set in Restoration period England by the author of the superb Robin Hood series...  what a cracker...  the series is based round the experiences of Holcroft Blood, the son of Colonel Thomas Blood, he of the Crown Jewels theft...  the background is superb, the conspiracy theory as to why Blood attempted to steal the jewels is thought provoking (and entertaining) and along the way you get vignettes of Barbara Villiers, Charles II, the young Churchill/Marlborough, and others...  excellent - very much looking to the series as it progresses in his career as an artillery officer under Churchill in the Wars of the Spanish Succession....  9/10
This is the first (published) novel by fellow wargamer, Blogger, and Miniature Wargames columnist, Conrad Kinch... followers of his current written efforts will know that he is entertaining, and a not a little witty, so I was hoping for much from this little tome...  set in Japan at about the time of the Edo Period (think approximately "The Last Samurai" period) when the European and American global powers are beginning to make trading inroads to Japan, and the samurai class are not always happy about it...  the story is about a young American called Robert Hood, and a Japanese samurai called Otaro. Hood is ex-cavalry (it mentions his services in the Plains Indian wars, and Mexico), and handy with a weapon, and languages; Otaro is a Japanese master swordsman and magistrate. Hood is in Japan looking for commercial opportunities for his family (who are merchants), his family have suggested he travel with otaro to learn more of the country. either way, both characters are likeable, and on the journey to Otaro's first case they come upon evidence of bloody murder, and the book is about the background to that..  I enjoyed it very much, lots and lots of period interest and colour, details on the Japanese sword schools/styles was fascinating, and the story fairly rips along without being unbelievable...  it reminded me (very favourably) of Henty..  recommended! 9/10

Friday, October 27, 2017

Holiday reading..

...the current Mrs Steve the Wargamer and I are bogging off to the sun for a week of late season warmth in Cyprus...   I have intentions of doing absolutely nothing (though I may wonder up the road for another look round the castle, and perhaps the archaeological diggings) but I have prepared a truly sumptuous reading pile...  these are all already loaded on the Kindle and I am having to restrain myself from starting early...

I have read this one a couple of times, and in fact still own the paperback (how quaint ) but have not read it in some considerable time, and having seen it at a stupidly low price  (£1.99!) when I downloaded the "Fools and Mortals" book it was a no-brainer...
Latest from the master story teller and I'm quite excited to read something that isn't about Uhtred..  also a bargain on Kindle at the moment only £7.90 for a book only just in print...
Mixed feelings about this one - hope it is better than the last one was (see book reviews)!
Very much looking forward to this one as well - this is the fellow who wrote the truly excellent alternative versions of the Robin Hood legend set in the historical period...  this one is a new series set in Restoration period England
Also quite interested in this one - anyone with a wargaming background will know CK - I'll be interested to see if he can tell as good a long story and he can the short one's! 

.. now lead me to my sun bed, and polish my glims...