Wednesday 21 February 2024

All Things Come To An End

 Well, a quiet week, still seems to be hurry up and wait here, hospital results, calls back, appointments and general real life issues non of which seem to be moving forward.

It was Chain of Command at the club and my Russians vs Rob's Germans, it was an attack and defend game, a misnomer actually as will be explained below. I had a normal Rifle Platoon and was lazy and took it straight from the rule book, I actually researched my own and there are quite a few more historical lists online, but hey, anyway I took a T70 light tank and a 45mm anti-tank gun as supports. Rob took the bog standard late German platoon also from the book and he spent money on an extra support squad one with two LMG's and an infantry gun.

I was defending a ford and the Jerries had to take it, or rely on the easier option of simply driving me from the table. Things got off to a shaky start as heavy rain turned up and reduced visibility to 18", I got two squads on, the right flank ensconced in a brick farmstead, I also later brought on my T70 and the 45mm gun, the latter was a bad move on my part. Somehow Rob miscalculated and one of his squads on my left came within 18", my tank and some infantry destroyed the enemy and things looked good, then the rain stopped. Rob had two more squads on the table, a huge firefight developed and it was here I now realise I made another mistake, I concentrated on his troops in a nearby wood which turned out pointless as he had a Senior Leader attached and despite his men being loaded with shock he always managed to reduce it, the fact I could not actually kill anyone helped his situation.

My little tank, T-70.

The old homestead is still standing.

Wasted my time on these guys.

I lost my little gun and the firefight went on, I also lost a Junior Leader so my morale dropped, then perhaps frustrated, I moved my tank forward and it fell victim to a Panzerschrek team, of course it did. As the time flew past and I was at 4 for morale and Rob was still at 8 (I think) and my troops were holding on and the Jerries saw no need to come forward we wrapped the game up.

Skip this bit if you are not interested in Chain of Command. The 'attacker' has no need to attack, he also gets twice the number of support points as the defender so the smart thing to do is simply set up a firebase and plug away until the defender loses out to morale loss, objective, we don need no steenking objective. The downside is it makes for a very dull game. I fell victim to another annoying mechanic, my left hand squad were pinned, I got the shock down but they remain pinned until the turn ends, this can last all game. Despite the fact there was a lovely brick building within spitting distance my boys could not retreat to better cover, all they could do was sit and die, why?

Anyway when the War Room opens if I play CoC here I will sort out the nonesense above using house rules and, dare I say commonsense. No matter, the night put an end to my run of victories although my lawyers are appealing on the grounds I still held my defensive position when we packed away, kudos to Rob for the win nonetheless, always a pleasure.

I have completed at last the last cavalry unit which I am adding for now to the Italian Wars project, now I turn my attention to the three artillery pieces which have been receiving their Dettol dip for about a week, most of the paint had gone but a sticky residue was left, nail varnish remover really fixed that and left the metal like new. I bought some crews for the guns which I had got from Dan so will get them primed and sorted in the next couple of days. This gives me about 14/15 artillery pieces in all, a nice range from heavy to light.

Keeping on the Italian Wars a new scenario book was being advertised on the Facebook page, the price initially put me off and I waited for someone to do a review as a couple of members had bought the book, but nothing concrete turned up. Despite this I bought it and received it today, it is printed by Amazon, hence the price tag I suspect, seemingly they print it for the author and print one when someone orders it, for a fee of course. I am sure with todays technology it could be done cheaper, but it has been at least 25 years since I printed my own scenario books, and I got the lions share of the profit.

I digress, the book is between A5 and A4, has 97 pages and 20 scenarios, the maps are basic and I suspect more for 15mm figures than 28's but I could be wrong there and will find out in due time. The author has done a lot of work on the scenarios and includes exceptional army lists for three rule sets for each battle; Furioso, Pike and Shotte and Impetus. These come with notes where needed to explain troops types and combat factors. I look forward to fighting all 20 battles and getting my monies worth. I am a happy bunny.

I wasted some time at Morecambe Library, very nice by the way, on Saturday at the Model Show. Not a great deal of warlike models but what there was was very nice, I also talked at length with one of the exhibitors, but declined to join in the end, it's a Tuesday and I have more than enough to keep me going with wargaming. 

Even modellers have more Puma's than the German Army.

Plugging away at some WWI maps for the moment, second project almost done but I am getting combat fatigue.

History of the Royal Fusiliers Brigade "Soldiers and Gentlemen".

Thursday 15 February 2024

A Mixed Bag

 I had my son and grandson over for a gaming weekend so that he could try out his new Underworlds figures and beat me at face to face Blood Bowl as he has tired of beating me online. He is ten years old and amazes me at how well he has picked up complicated rules for a series of games when all it does is make my head hurt and leave me with one strategy, to simply roll better dice. I think in the end I won two Underworlds games (see comment on dice), drew one half of an 11's Blood Bowl game, won a 7's match 2-0 then lost at Wings of War.


A couple of times I was left floundering and felt like I was being hustled, in James' defence he did tell me to "read the rules Papa" and, once I had made my mistake, was willing to point out what I should have done. What the weekend brought home to me at long last is that I am a wargamer, not a gamer, I am lost with games played on something not usually larger than a draughts board, or built as you proceed with colourful hexes. Three guys (or women Reg) are not armies or warbands, they are game pieces, I am also at a loss to the myriad cards involved in most of these types of games, in Underworlds you will have at least a dozen all with different abilities and rules which if there is an R in the month and it is past 1600 hrs and it is raining you cannot use on an opponent because the moon is in the wrong quadrant and he (or she Reg) has a magic glass slipper.

I have now had about six weeks of enforced non-wargaming here at me Casa, I have also had to abandon a few club nights as well due to circumtances beyond my control. A lot, no, most of my spare time revolves around wargaming, things like scenarios, buying figures, painting figures, researching and playing to name a few, meeting like minded people, finding new opponents and building new armies and entering a new period. I am beginning to get withdrawal symptoms and am desperate to spend money or lay on some games, but I still have maybe two months to go before the War Room is complete. In the meanwhile I am grateful to the guys at the club and Rob and Matt who take the time to set up some wonderful games which I can play in. I would also have to include the bloggers whom I follow, whose exploits I enjoy reading over a cup of good coffee.

I am still painting and am slowly, very slowly finishing off the last six heavy cavalry to add to my Italian Wars armies, I have a couple more bits and pieces but will again take my time. I have quite a lot of mapping to do and for now most of my time will be devoted to finishing these projects.

Dreadful weather this morning as I set off to Penrith for another rendezvous in Matt's dungeon. If you follow Matt's blog you will know he has painted up Tallarn figures of late and I noticed them the last time we played and they are lovely and full of character, so we agreed to play some Xeno Rampant the next time we met. So strap in for a Drop Ship ride to hell.

My Star Ship Troopers.

My Tallarn troops dropped on a desert planet to claim it for the Empire and quickly ended up in a bug hunt, although my guys were actually the hunted and not the hunters. In a few turns I had suffered severe casualties and thought I would be heading back down the M6 tout suite, but just as things were darkest my remaining troops began to fight back and a lot of the bugs hit the deck in brutal hand to hand fighting. It was now time to hit the insects with my mech, this hero dealt out mayhem and the upper hand now lay with my boys, my one remaining squad had retreated in front of a huge monster and now their fire combined with shots from the war mech secured victory for the Empire.

This planet is ours.

The monster.

Here they come!

More bugs.

As my exhausted troops reorganised and another drop ship brought reinforcements to boost my command back to normal a new threat appeared, a more sophisticated enemy (Tau) this time had landed to claim the planet for themselves. I drew my men into a defensive position and immediately suffered losses from long range fire, not again I thought. The Tau were being aggressive on my right flank and I concentrated all my fire on one enemy at a time, this was successful and enemy losses approached 50%. Things didn't go all my way and my squads began to lose soldiers, one heavy squad being completely wiped out. I moved all my men into cover and hid while I manouvered them to best bring overwhelming firepower on the remaining enemy. My mech with help from some infantry now brought down the Tau in power armour at which point with the Tallarn moving forward and only one and a half squads left Matt conceded.

The bad guys.

Steady boys.

More bad guys.

Exhuasted but victorious, say cheeeeese!

Xeno Rampant, a new one for me and not a game I would ever buy, I played Lion Rampant once at the club a long time ago. It is very fast and can be very bloody, the only mechanic I didn't like was where you have to get a certain number on two dice to shoot, and if you fail the initiative gets handed over, this can hamper your response to what is happening on the table quite significantly. Now I was pretty unlucky at this on several occasions so this might influence my feelings towards it. Overall it was a bit of fun with some lovely figures and as you can see we managed two games fairly quickly, almost too quickly in the first one. A perfect game for a club night.

If I get no interuptions next week I should be back at the club for a game with Rob, not sure yet what it will be.

The work on the War Room is advancing very quickly, not a good photo but the new wall is mostly up and blocking the light. Although the ceiling has been lowered and the walls brought in the space looks bigger. I think the table tennis table will be lost in there.

Wednesday 7 February 2024

Riding the crest.

 Couple of games this week so far, last night it was Italian Wars at the club using Dan's 15mm figures. I organised two armies, the French had excellent cavalry and a large Swiss unit the rest of the army was underwhelming with Italian pike and Old Band pike, the Imperials had average infantry mainly Landsknechts, some average cavalry but more artillery and shot, Dan chose the Imperials.

I set up with my infantry in the centre, most of my cavalry on my right and the remainder including the outnumbered artillery on my left, my plan was to win the right flank while the Swiss hopefully crushed the Landsknechts opposite, my left would take an opportunity if offered. Dan set up with a heavy right flank, cavalry, artillery and Spanish pike, his centre was held by the Landsknechts with arquebusiers, cavalry and artillery in support and the remaining cavalry opposite my right.

Imperial centre and right.

French centre.

Because we were using 15mm figures we simply changed from inches to centimeters but it didn't really work, it took the infantry forever to close, especially as Dan held his Landsknechts back. I tried to make some headway on my left with a less than thoughtful advance and got cut up by the Imperial artillery, I made a mess of my attack and had to withdraw but not before a unit of Gendarmes had been crunched by the Spanish pikes. I had also decided to run some heavy cavalry into the approaching shot in order to sweep them away but my horse lost the melee and were pushed back, they recovered but only just. Over on my right my cavalry had clashed with the Imperials and, yes, lost again, thankfully I had support coming in and within a move had turned things around, but for a time I was very worried.

French cavarly get the upper hand, eventually.
Swiss get into contact at last.

Imperials win on their right.

At last as the clock ticked down the Swiss and Landsknechts came to blows and although suffering heavy casualties initially the Swiss held and turned things around, we halted there and Dan kindly called a French victory although we could have fought for a bit more.

We had the movement all wrong and it took the infantry most of the game to march to contact, made worse by one side, quite wisely, sitting awaiting the onslaught of the Swiss. I know the Swiss were the premier infantry during the early to mid period of the Wars but they are too powerful in Furioso, I think I will drop their combat factor from 5 to 4. Another thing which needs looking at for battles of this size is the command mechanic, with 14+ units a side the game bogs down. I have no doubt you could zoom through it much faster but the game also has to be enjoyable and you have to have time to think, this is possible if you have all afternoon and a spare 4-5 hours but not on a club night or a multiplayer game. Anyway food for thought.

This morning I set off for Penrith and a game in the Dungeon with Matt Crump, we have not played in a while due to real life interfering for both of us so I was looking forward to it. I turned up and found a lovely table set up for an ACW clash, all the figures were lovely but a unit of Zouves caught my attention, beautiful. The Union (me) had to take a hill on the Confederate right, there was a stream fordable in front of the hill only, while the other half had to be crossed using a bridge, I had forces facing both. The Rebs had a couple of regiments and a gun on the hill and some more troops opposite the bridge on their side of the creek. I decided to force the bridge and then turn and assault the hill so my reserves came in on my right to help this attack. My main reason for this was that if I pushed regiments up to the creek they could bring a lot of muskets to bear on the enemy and force him back to enable the reserves to push across the bridge.

A lovely table and figures.

Confederate left.

The hill's defenders open up.

To the bridge lads.

As the battle opened I was a bit distraught at Matt's shooting as my men opposite the hill suffered heavy casualties as the plan to overwhelm the hills defenders with musketry went awry. However on the right the Rebs suffered from bad morale and the defenders were forced back, this allowed me to push the reserves up the road and onto the bridge covered by some skirmishing cavalry. Quite quickly it became obvious I was not going to win the fight on my left but the right held out some hope as Confederate units failed morale tests and skeddadled.

The battle for the bridge begins.

Union reserves turn up.

I continued with my assault on the Reb left and managed to beat back the Confederate reserves quite comfortably, my boys on the left had been shot to pieces so I now took the chance to move troops from the right to the left in time to get a foothold on the hill after crossing the creek. As a tide of blue was now heading for the hill and hardly a speck of gray on the objective and with time to bring more muskets to bear Matt surrendered what forces he had left.

Union right does well while the left crumbles.

Now boys!

The last of the Reb defenders.

The rules were Matt's house rules based on Bolt Action and they worked well, the Reb loss of command dice helped enormously in the Union victory. The table and set up was again a pleasure to fight over as ever in the Dungeon. Matt has all sorts spread around, Normans, Naps, 15mm and 28mm figures painted, half painted and some of his lovely Imperial Guard type sci-fi figures, so I mentioned I would be more than happy to play a game with them, so next time in a galaxy, far, far away.

Mapping has picked up now that we have started a New Year, although I did quite enjoy the break over the holidays and after. In the queue is Soviet Central Asian Airpower, Louis XIV Vol 7, two WWI projects, a wargaming guide to the Carlist War and the mini atlas which is 70% done but has now gone to the back of the queue.

I hesitate to post this but here is my take on the now sadly pitiful Senior Service.

West Indies guardship, 1971. I'm on the bridge.

Threat of WW3. Nato Exercise 2024, ah, but I here you say there were another three of them :(

Monday 5 February 2024

Somebody stop me.

 Club night and Chain of Command, Rob was taking Germans and I British, I went into WWII wargaming with two feet quite some years ago and wanted to use the British as my patriotism increased the more old Blighty was denigrated. Due to circumstances beyond my control I usually had to play the baddies, so this was an opportunity for me, I also played the good guys last week if you remember.

I was the attacker and for a moment thought of bringing along a Crusader AA MkII as I knew Rob did not have the points for any armour and this machine was an infantry killer, but then my heritage of fair play came to the fore and instead I brought an extra infantry squad and an MMG. Rob had three squads and his support was a Panzerknacker squad, no I don't know either, unlucky for Rob I had no armour but the support also came with an LMG so not a total waste.

Rob deployed first and brought two squads to the front and immediately put them on overwatch, I therefore put men on my far right to avoid these with the intention of outflanking the Boche, my MMG covered the enemy Jump Off Point on that side so it would be a brave Jerry who turned up there. I wanted to win the firefight with sheer numbers, so deployed two squads in the centre, to aid me I also popped smoke down in front of the Jerry LMG squad. Rob countered my flanking move with his third squad in a large building protecting his exposed flank. As his casualties mounted in the centre he withdrew the rifle team into a nearby building leaving the poor LMG crew cowering behind the smoke. Rob then threw three sixes and the turn ended, so the overwatch markers and smoke came off and I got my chance, I put two squads in the centre of my line and opened up on the enemy opposite and the LMG team headed for Berlin.

British build a firebase.

British moving to outflank the German left.

My left flank now looked very vulnerable as I concentrated on the right, I could see from Rob's face that he calculated that my three squads were now all engaged and because of this he could move on my left, kill off the annoying mortar team and capture one of my JOP's. As his men moved out I sprung my surprise and down went my fourth squad behind a stone wall, with the hard cover I began to get the upper hand in the firefight and the enemy suffered large quantities of shock. The German right and centre were in big trouble and were about to break as the plucky British became more daring and advanced to short range, Rob withdrew.

German left under pressure.

A good game and always a pleasure to fight against Rob. We fought across the long sides of the table and I prefer along the shorter sides when playing CoC it just seems to work better, once again I say if you play CoC I recommend you do a campaign. 

Not a lot of other activity going on apart from mapping, all of a sudden I have half a dozen projects in the queue. I have managed to complete one of the two cavalry units I salvaged from Dan's old Wars of the Roses collection, these will do as second ranks for Gendarmes or as stand alone heavy/light cavalry for the Italian Wars, I have just primed the second unit after a Dettol dip, boy that stuff stinks. That leaves three artillery pieces and some intriguing figures including a lovely little Jester.

I have just finished the Silo trilogy after watching the excellent (so far) TV series as I could not wait a year or more for the second episode. The first book I already knew what was happening, the second was supposed to enlighten the reader as to why the human race were inside Silos, I am still not 100% sure I got that, but the third book was a very exciting read, I finished the lot in about three weeks, and that is quick going for me these days. I am now on to the Fall of Singapore, the author has made two mistakes in his history so far, one serious, so that puts a doubt in my mind as to whether I can rely on the story, we will see.

And talking of stories I have started watching Masters of the Air, I am usually unkind to historical dramas and documentaries but I watched a couple of Videos from Woody at WW2TV and have decided to try and not be critical but just enjoy the show, I have managed this so far. OK, yes, I pointed out to the missus that civilians and kids would not be allowed to run around a WW2 airfield but that is nit picking, and she didn't blink an eye anyway. The memsahib has expressed interest in Netflix's Alexander the Great so I recommended the Colin Farrell movie as being more realistic, yes, I suspect it is that bad.

So, Italian Wars at the club tomorrow in 15mm with Dan's armies and a visit to Matt in Penrith on Wednesday, its been awhile but we have both had things to sort out in Real Life, I am looking forward to it.

Oh, the work on the War Room continues, it has been emptied and the floor leveled.

Saturday 27 January 2024

The builders are in

 The miserable season continues with rain, wind and cold and the media ramping up the fear we are all doomed because of what used to be known as 'the weather' a few days of heavy gusts are now given names, well I think they are names when did you last bump into a Gerrit, Henk or Isha?

I digress, the builders are in. The Post Office is being stripped ready for the real work and the size of the  room is immense, upstairs the same space has two bedrooms, a dining room, a corridor, and a large utility space, but the new space will have one big room for wargames basically. A veritable treasure trove of £11.11 and a halfpenny have been found, many of the coins no longer in circulation. When will I be able to host a game, who knows but Easter now seems to be beckoning, it depends on what they use for the new floor and how long it takes to dry out.

I managed to get to the club this week and faced 'Lucky' Jimi who took my Waffen SS for a spin while I at last got to use my British, we decided not to use any tanks but could choose armoured cars. The Jerries had three large squads with some heavy weapons support and a 231 heavy armoured car, I took four smaller squads, heavy weapons support and a Humber Mk4 armoured car and a bren carrier.

It was Normandy so there was plenty of hedgerows and we just set up and set off, continuing to keep things simple. The first moves were uneventful as both sides closed on each other, turn three however was a disaster for the Germans, nearly all the British dice came out the bag first and a wall of lead hit the SS. Unusually for me my dice were on fire, I could not lose, almost 50% of the enemy forces bit the dust as all my units managed to fire. Jimi's return fire was equally impressive but for the wrong reasons. As turn four ended we shook hands and called it a night, it had been a brutal game and too one sided.

I have stripped and primed the first of the cavalry figures I was gifted by Dan at the club, I dipped them in Dettol and boy does that stink but it does the job after 48 hours. I have another six being bathed as I type, this will leave me three more artillery pieces and a few odds and ends. The cavalry I intend to use as heavy/light cavalry and look on them as the tail end types of a typical Lance for the period. So my only purchase before I get my mojo back when the new room is finished will be gun crews for the artillery, although in the back of my mind is some early war British armour and maybe some heavy weapons teams for my various WW2 forces. After this I will have to make up my mind whether I am adding more to the Italian Wars or calling it a day.

I managed to finish my grandson's fantasy warbands, brownie points for Papa.

I am continuing working on the mini atlas for Battles and Battlefields of the Peninsular War, I am halfway through but seem to be taking one step forward and two back.

 I mentioned the TV series Silo recently, I was so impressed and with no patience to wait for Season 2 I bought the trilogy. It has taken me just two weeks to read the first two volumes, that is how much I enjoyed them. I have a small amount of proper reading material, Rorke's Drift and the fall of Singapore in waiting but I need to finish the third Silo book. I am still slightly in the dark about one aspect of the sci-fi series but hoping all will be revealed.

I am hoping for a Chain of Command game this Tuesday at the club but apart from that, all quiet on the Lancashire front.