Thursday, 28 June 2018

Making a Saga out of it.

OK, blistering hot on Tuesday night and only eight of us braved the heat to get to the club, Simon was introducing me to Saga, I had played once before with the 'big' Saga armies but this time it was straight out of the box vanilla. Simon had a Viking army and I put together an Anglo-Dane force from my Saxons, Vikings are an army like the Normans which I just wouldn't build, I do like the idea of the Anglo-Danes, a proper army having settled in nice and comfortable in this green and pleasant land.

Not a lot to the game, we both built a six point force which gave me three Hearthguard, two Warriors and a Levy along with my Warlord, out of the corner of my eye I watched Simon put units together info larger 'mobs' so I did the same with two of the Hearthguard. I quickly noticed he did not go for a Levy. We played a simple meeting engagement so that I could get a taste of the rules etc. As we deployed I had an idea to rush his left flank while holding off with my left, I managed fairly well and bounced back a group of Warriors with mine, my Hearthguard attacked as well and wiped out their foes however the enemy Warlord managed to wipe out mine in return, a real shame. My own leader now took on the enemy commander and they managed to kill each other, I threw some dreadful saving dice, one save would have kept my guy in the fight, but..

As Simon pulled his last Hearthguard unit over to join in the melee on his left I pounced on his right, I wiped out some Warriors but was left with one man, my Levy had managed to launch some javelins and got one kill throughout the game. We eventually got down to lone fighters and a full, but cautious Levy before we called a halt. The game had actually ended when the two leaders dropped but we fought on rather than start again.

What did I think, well, I think it is a boardgame with figures, I thought it was a wargame but there is no morale, I knocked back several units but it had no effect on them, I also thought it a bit strange that one unit can only fight one other unit, unless you throw in the Warlord, so you cannot gang up on anyone with a clever piece of maneuvering. It is very bloody and quick especially if you know how to use the Battleboard which gives you abilities to help you win a fight or disrupt the enemy. This is the crux of the game, if you know your Battleboard you can cause havoc to the enemy. I enjoyed the game for what it was and it was a nice change and perfect for a club night, I would certainly play again and it was good of Simon to take the time to bring it along and help me through it, it is not a complicated game but you would have to play a lot to gain the best from the subtleties. Simon is building up some 'big' Saga Samurai forces, I look forward to that.

Very busy with maps at the moment, along with Leipzig and a military history of the 20th Century I have completed Maharatta Wars, Western and Italian Fronts for WWI, Ottoman and Muscovite Wars and now Wars against the Dutch, much of this is for Helion's Century of the Soldier series which is very popular at the moment with new material coming out of Europe and Russia.

I am away from tomorrow at Tankfest, the annual Tank Museum bash at Bovington, myself and my two sons are going, we found out too late that there is a Rick Stein's within shooting distance but we noticed too late to get a booking for Saturday night. No matter, I am looking forward to the weekend and have a hat and suncream, and I am taking train south this weekend after my eight hour nightmare last Friday on Britain's roads or lack of them.

I have another SYW unit complete, but I have no time to show you just now, I'll put it up when I get back.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Come Fly With Me

A nice balmy night in Lancaster this Tuesday, ok, not balmy, cool with a hint of rain, but better than normal. I took my Wings of War stuff and would work something out depending on how many players I got. This week everyone had something on so it was just myself and Simon, I went for an artillery spotting scenario, a two seater observation aircraft has to stay over a target until the artillery fire destroys it.

The Germans were the 'defenders' so they had a two seat Rumpler with two Pfalz III's from Jasta 15 and a stray Albatros DIII from Jasta 27 for protection, the latter flown by a young, slim, Herman Goering. I went all Royal Naval Air Service and took some earlier aircraft which don't get out of the box very often, so I had two Sopwith Pup's from RNAS 3 and two Sopwith Triplanes from RNAS 10. I thought four scouts vs three was fair but I didn't take into account the superior firepower of the German fighters with two machine guns to the British one.

Looking good, for now.

My target.
My little squad flew into battle in a nice formation and at first headed for a confrontation with the Rumpler's escort, as we flew past each other my aircraft took extensive damage while dealing out very little, one cause of this was that I had not broken up my formation and most of my planes spent their time trying to miss ramming each other. There followed a frenetic dog fight which I began to lose, one Pup in particular took a heavy pounding, I now thought I had better get on to the spotter who had made a complete run on the target but the artillery had not yet hit. At this point I lost a triplane to a catastrophic hit and it blew up and spiralled earthwards.

They even managed to put this fire out.

I had now managed to chase the Rumpler away from the target and got some hits on it, I thought they were good hits but I think Simon was playing me by looking worried and shaking his head, needless to say the Rumpler got back on station. Things were looking very dodgy as I lost the two Pup's, one had managed to stay in the air by sheer willpower it seemed. I got my last triplane lined up on the Rumpler but it was in vain as he too fell to the ground with several German scouts on his tail.

Last gasp.

So, a nice leisurely game and very one sided, not all the fault of the poor British aircraft, my flying was dismal and I kept having to dodge my own aircraft and the odd Hun rather than shoot. I should have broken my formation sooner and spread over the battlefield forcing Simon to make choices on who to follow, but I didn't, overwhelming win for the Boche.

Elsewhere we had Star Wars Legion, two Bloodbowl games and a large Dark Age Saga game which looked very nice, as did the Star Wars game. I think it is Bolt Action next week.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

The Fringe of the Seven Years War.

In keeping with my new project last night's club game was a skirmish from the French and Indian War which kicked off the Seven Years War or World War Zero as some historians are wont to call the conflicts. I know it involved battles from Canada to India but as the main protagonists in these areas were the British and French I think calling it a World War is stretching it a bit. No matter, on with the tale. I was the British commander, sans Jocks for a change, and Ryan was the French, the set up was a simple meeting engagement as both sides marched on a large farm, one to rescue the civilians and the other to capture or kill them, the civvies were British.

Rob was umpiring and as usual with Rob nothing was straightforward, we took it in turns to say where our troops were arriving and then had a dice off, if I won the troops duly turned up, if I lost my opponent got to deploy them a distance away, the length of which was decided by how much I had lost the die roll. I managed to put Ryan's Indians and Marines in a far corner deep in the woods while he managed to put my Provincials behind a massive hill.

My brave boys.

My plan was to march forward and hopefully destroy or chase away the nearest French units before the others cut their way through the forest. I did manage a few casualties but the cards seemed to favour the Frenchies in the first few turns and I asked Rob if he had forgotten to put the British cards in the pack. I also fell victim to some excellent die rolling by Ryan, I had got my regular battalion up through the cornfield and was hopefully about to send a crashing volley into the enemy only to have the unit decimated before it could level a musket. My own Irregulars popped out and in at the edge of the forest firing and withdrawing without having any effect on the enemy.

The civvies, nice figures, I'll need some of them.
Marines and the evil Indians.

My Provincials meanwhile had scrambled up the hill and slowly advanced along the rocky ground, this had given the Indians time to get within charge range and the savages let out bloodcurdling yells and threw themselves into the terrified Americans. With thirteen against seven I was confident of victory, by the time both sides withdrew I had two men standing and only the annoying Indian chief was left, he had a name which was unpronounceable by educated people but which Ryan kept roaring in triumph as he cut down my men. With my Regulars down to 50% and my Provincials all but gone (his Marines finished off the gallant survivors in the next turn) it looked like a French victory.

The French Regulars enjoy their moment, soon to end.

Buoyed up by his success Ryan now abandoned caution to the wind and advanced his own Regulars to mop up, this did not happen and they found themselves under intense fire from my remaining troops and were cut down to a man. I now turned my attention to a small unit of Irregulars which had also come back into the fray and the overpowering amount of fire they received also took them out of the game. During all this I had sent the civilians away from the French advance into the nearby cornfield and the rear of my line, Rob asked for another dice off and my heart sank, sure enough I lost and up popped a small unit of French Irregulars who had presumably outflanked me, right in the path of the civilians, thankfully only one of the farmers fell. With the main French force now destroyed and their Marines having a slow time of it on the crag I turned all my remaining forces on the enemy to my rear safely ignoring the rest. A quick volley and off they ran. A British victory.

They're behind us!

A small but excellent game, perfect for a club night with only two players. Up until halfway through it looked like an easy French victory despite half their men being a long way from the action, every time I tried to stand my ground the French Regulars shot me down, only some good morale throws saved me. My luck changed in the second half, this along with the rash advance of the Frenchies into the open swung the battle my way. Elsewhere we had a 17thC RPG and a Zombicide game, Roger has all the Zombicide add on's and extras, a huge amount of games, all beautifully produced with gorgeous figures, I don't mind it and have a box myself but prefer 'normal' zombies, daft eh?

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

The First of Many?

I finished basing up Griffin's 33rd Regiment of Foot last night and here they are. I am happy with them for my first attempt, I do need to get better at the lace of which there is a lot on British uniforms, there can be just as much on some of the foreigners but you can pick and choose to make it easier. I bought a couple of new brushes, Winsor and Newton Series 7 Miniatures, eye wateringly expensive with tax and postage, but they do last a long time. I  have several 0 brushes but find the points split and they don't carry enough paint, hence hard to get the slim lace lines correct, I now only use sizes 1 and 2.

You will notice that the officer is carrying his musket 'at the shoulder' and not advancing like the troops, it was either that or a pointing figure, not sure why they haven't produced one to go along with the advancing figures, maybe they know something I don't about the period, which, at this stage would be easy. I notice that the drummers in most armies are far more flamboyant than the rank and file, which must have marked them out as priority targets.

I have primed and started on their French counterparts, a battalion of the Aquitaine Regiment, very simple white/grey uniform with blue cuffs and waistcoat, no fancy lace here, but there are quite a few buttons. The flags are from GMB and the finials from Flags of War, both these products are superb, I went for GMB simply because they have a very large range of SYW flags as opposed to FoW who only do the Prussians according to their site. The figures by the way are Front Rank.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Everything but the kitchen sink!

Big game yesterday 3,500 points, Kevin and I both agree that to get the real flavour of the armies we were using it needs to be a large battle, I could do with around 5,000 to be really happy but I don't think that will happen any time soon.

Anyway, another beautiful day and we were inside playing with wee sojers, people walking by must have thought we were mad, I had a large fan on and the door slightly ajar for some air, but there wasn't a lot around yesterday. I took three phalanxes supported by Peltasts and Thureophoroi with back up from my Galatians and some cavalry, I was really hoping the Peltasts and Cataphracts would be the cutting edge of my forces along with the Galatians. I also took an elephant a bolt shooter and a scythed chariot all with the intention of ruining the Carthaginians day. The enemy surprisingly took no cavalry but did have two elephants and two bolt shooters, the infantry were fairly typical with a large number of African spearmen, and sundry allies.

Looking at the field after deployment I saw an opportunity on my left to push the Peltasts forward, beat the Italians and then roll up the line with the cataphracts, on my right however I could see trouble ahead, it was very weak compared to what was on the opposite side and I decided to try and keep out of combat for as long as possible here.

Seleucids on the left, Carthaginians on the right.

My left and the enemy right advanced then stopped, I don't know why the Carthaginians stopped but I was waiting to destroy their extreme right, the enemy left came on slowly. To my horror the elite mercenary Peltasts were beaten by the small bunch of rural Italians, I made a note to find out if they had been paid, this in turn carried away the cataphracts, it was all going wrong.


I had now managed to get rid of several enemy skirmish units and others had withdrawn, the Carthaginians seemed a bit confused on their left and I managed to catch the Numidians in the flank and rout them, I then brought the cavalry back to a better position. The Galatians had crashed into the large Gaul warband and were happily cutting them to pieces, unfortunately they were Resilient and held on, just. The enemy elephant on this flank had somehow got past the fighting Gauls, possibly heading for my cavalry but it was now taking a lot of missile fire, to my chagrin I didn't kill it and it went amok, right into my Galatians, a worse outcome you could not dream of. My boys killed it but took horrendous casualties and then began to lose their melee, I think their heart had gone out of the battle as they never recovered from the disaster and routed. No shame.


Meanwhile in the centre my Red phalanx and the chariot had destroyed an African unit, the White Shields held another and the and the Purple shields cut through the third, the cataphracts had rallied and countercharged the cheeky Italians who instead of running held them off for the rest of the battle, grrrr. The centre was mine, on my right despite having lost the Galatians and the Thureophoroi being in a very bad position I had cavalry to threaten the Gual's flank and the Purple shields about to turn and take the Hoplites in the rear, the poor Bruttians were still playing catch with my slingers.

So there you go, my first 3,500 point battle and I had survived, I was extremely disappointed in my Peltasts and cataphracts from whom I had expected great things, I don't know why but none of my cavalry, no matter the army, ever seem to be on top of their game. I really felt for my Galatians who had put in a sterling effort as usual only to be defeated due to my own archers and slingers causing the beast to run mad.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse

We played Zombicide at the club last night, it's been a long time since I played the game and it's a shame because it is good fun. We had the Prison Break edition and as with most scenarios we had to get into the prison, take over a control room and open further doors to enable us to get our objectives. We managed to slaughter a heap of the Walking Dead and got all the tokens apart from one which was in a section of it's own with a really large nasty zombie. Time was approaching the witching hour but Simon was not keen to let the last token go, so we stormed through the last moves, we managed to kill off all the 'normal' undead apart from the monster. We backed up and searched frantically for a weapon which would kill it, we really were on the clock. One brave soul tried but got trapped in the room just as we found the means to build a Molotov Cocktail, it was him or us, so he bit the dust along with the monster as we finally collected the last token and fled the scene.

The time had passed surprisingly quickly, elsewhere we had Bloodbowl, a large boardgame and a Chain of Command game, Italians vs Americans, I heard several curses coming from the Americans during the evening. Muskets and Tomahawks next week.

I have finished all my latest map projects and still await authors comments, I know there are a couple of projects coming my way but they haven't turned up yet. So I am spending my time forcing myself to relax, I am reading Ian Ross' "Twilight of Empire" series set around the rise of the Emperor Constantine and thoroughly enjoying it, the good news is I have two more books to go and have picked them all up very cheaply second hand on Amazon.

No new cavalry from Aventine yet so as I am halfway through the first of my SYW units I jumped in and ordered up a French battalion yesterday morning. I am getting an urge to add some more troops to the Twelfth and the Patricians, perhaps it is the effect of the Roman themed books, I do think however that the latter could do with another Legion, I have plenty of barbarian types which I can add as allies. As for the Twelfth I feel they need another heavy infantry cohort, these may just be itches needing scratched but they are now really bugging me.

Talking about delivery I find I have no patience if an order doesn't turn up after about a week, I see no reason why the odd item should take two to three weeks. I get despatch details from Amazon and wonder why the book doesn't turn up within the next three days (second class) but usually takes about ten days, why? When it does turn up it normally does have second class postage on it, so why ten bleeding days! Most wargame firms are now thankfully very good at getting stuff out, Foundry are one of the best, you can order late in an afternoon and the troops turn up the next day, amazing. I also find Aventine, Footsore and now Front Rank all great with decent turnarounds. I ordered the French yesterday morning and they are now in the post.

So, nearly lunchtime and a BLT, this afternoon I may venture to the pub after some painting, my old drinking buddy is too infirm to get out at the moment and he hasn't managed now for about four weeks which is a shame as I think he relies on me putting the world to rights in under an hour and a half.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Slowly does it

I have started on the 33rd Regiment of Foot, my first Seven Years War unit, I am completely new to this period and chose the 33rd as it was one of the small number of British units fighting in Europe, the SYW for us was mainly about taking Canada, India and sundry other French colonies and bases. Apart from the Prussians the main Allied army in Europe was mainly Hanoverian with some help from Hesse and Brunswick, the main Allied general was the Duke of Brunswick. Although I could probably get enough British battalions to give me a decent little army it would not be representative so I shall add Hanoverian's, Hessian's and Brunswicker's later on.

The 33rd is led by John Griffin 4th Baron Howard de Walden and have a red coat with what I thought would be simple white lace and trimmings, although the figures have some of the lace standing out quite prominent my painting of it could be a lot better but I am going for the mass effect while trying my best. Most of the uniforms of the period look unnecessarily complex to modern eyes and must have been expensive to produce, although no doubt savings would be made somewhere and who knows what they ended up like after a month or so of hard campaigning.

I normally have something playing in the background while painting but I find that I have to concentrate so much on the lace that if the programme is even a little interesting I miss parts so will go back to finding documentaries or history lectures until the complicated bits are done. I have not spent a lot of time painting during the week but even so until yesterday I had only managed six figures. I now have thirteen done, this is going to be a long project. Once the lace is finished I can see me getting back up to speed as only the musket, some leather work, shoes and gaiters are left, oh and the hat.

I received my flag finials and cords yesterday, the idiot postman had delivered them to the George Washington pub, the package was addressed to the Post Office, why should Britain tremble.

I got to watch Black Panther last night, and although I like a good superhero this one just doesn't work, it's not the hero it is the background story which you get hit over the head with until you understand, but of course all you have is more questions. You get almost an hour of nothing but mumbo jumbo before anything remotely interesting happens. We checked the timer and it still had 45 minutes to go, click, bed. I am hard to please but not impossible, I look forward to the third and final installment of the superb Jeremy Thorpe scandal tonight.

I have been asked recently about Washington House since there has been no information since I put the white flag up to the world's madness on the View. We are still in Limbo, the possible buyer was given access to carry out in depth surveys of the property and was supposed to sign on the dotted line at the end of May, to which end John (owners brother), gave me the keys to give to the new owner when he turned up. That was over a week ago, still got the keys. The plaque on the wall says "James Rex, 1612, RWS" the one opposite may be a builders mark of some kind, my house dates to 1690's.