Saka Light Cavalry

Saka Light Cavalry

Monday, 30 January 2012

AAR The Battle of Foz d'Arouce 15th march 1811

Just before Christmas Barry and myself were expecting to get a game in but he had to postpone then Christmas got in the way. Then New Year.... Then... well you get the idea. All the work was really done, we just needed to get together and play the game. Well we finally got the chance to play last Friday. The scenario is taken from the French boardgame supplier VaeVictis and the title is Fuentes De Onoro 1811 and comes with a dual language rule book.
The scenario starts toward the late afternoon, I take the rll of Ney as I try to get my VI Corps over the swollen stream Rio Ceira. Unfortunately I am already half successful in this endeavour. Wellington on seeing my forces split orders an immediate attack, neither allowing his officers to deploy nor Nay to either withdraw or reform. About 50% of my troops start the game disordered so I spend a lot of the first two turns just trying to re-organise on the spot. Not ideal when really you want to be taking advantage of the Anglo-Portuguese being somewhat out of position. The ground we are to fight over is quite full and will not allow easy movement and impacts a fair amount on Barry's greater numbers. I start the game with a strong hold on the main village of Foz d'Arouce but have not got any troops in the hamlet of Poisao close buy. This will allow the Portuguese easy access to the plains before my main force. The stream, acting like a river after heavy rains is to the back of the best part of my force South of it and as only two crossings are available, the bridge next to Foz and a ford passable only to Cavalry further to the east I really have no choice but to stand and fight with what I have to the south. Making matters worse, the troops on the North bank are under orders not to cross the river, they are there just to stop any Allies from crossing over.
Initial positions. I used a huge ziplock bag to make the river and stole my daughters crayon for the bridge and village outlines. Later I will make the effort to build terrain but at the moment it's all figure painting, but they worked! Have you spotted the lone Infantry regiment on the far right with only a few guns for support? Barry has!!!
A nice concentration of French troops, unfortunately the ones on the right will do no more all battle than reposition so as to make crossing the bridge impossible, whichever side you belong to!!
Over the hill and not far enough away! This is the right hand side Regiment I was talking about. In the distance is 5 regiments of foot and behind them to the left 4 regiments of horse. Now this is the first outing of these figures (all of Barry's army has been recently painted by him and he has done a great job on them and the speed he has done them in was fantastic. I believe he has found his scale). Aside from that back slapping, I would hope that these guys being new to the job would be a bit lax at coming up the hill. Well it seems not as he was soon challenging my position.
Their left flank (right hand side as we look at them) was no less impressive, both from a point of painting nor quantity! This force would have to try and win the hill off me. As Barry commented "You always get the hills!!" In the background is yet more troops awaiting their chance at the French. Seems I will have a busy day.
Back to the right hand side. This poor regiment is well out of command and started disordered which is exactly how he found himself several turns later as the Brits closed in on him. The guns could not fire in all directions and whilst they gave the one regiment something to think about they ended up being the first unit to be removed from the game after being hit in the flank. Barry is rather good at getting you into positions you don't want to be, but here he was handed the unit on a plate. I just knew I could not pull all back but had saved the foot regiment at the cost of the guns.
The next showdown was sure to be for the Foz, Barry was loath to attack it as the defenders get a +2 against most rolls and whilst I did not have the troops in the quantity that Barry had I was hopeful that this +2 and the guns supporting directly and across the Stream would help bloody the Brits nose.
Foolishly I had hoped Barry would drag his feet in the centre as both the above flanks engaged but he thought I was making for the hamlet of Poisao so quickened his pace. This meant my only reasonable sized force was really out of position on the plains. Suddenly it was defending itself from 3 directions and just as the British horse had set up on the flank. I was in trouble all right. To my surprise Barry through in less than everything he could. In the first attack he had managed to push back a regiment that in turn disordered two other units as these were forced sideways by the original target. As I was not the player with initiative I did what I could to re-order my troops then I bid high to be the tempo player. This worked and whilst I could not reposition I was now not disordered. This is a poor wrinkle in the rules, I go from one stage off rout to ready to receive whilst the winner of the action sits disordered in front of me. Well as I said he now had cavalry and declared a charge. This as could be expected failed to achieve more than throw me into square and the musket fire did plenty to further disorder the cavalry, these fell back with two shaken levels. However this was no problem as it allowed Barry to again charge in with yet another regiment. Now the Cav came in from the flank so the follow on attack was from the original front, a quick debate about can I fire? The rules don't say I can't but would I be able to re-load? We both said no but miracle of miracles neither am I in square, I take them at the halt without firing a shot but throw him back in disorder. This was really to much, I should have penalties of some kind, but the rules do not cover this. Another strike against the rules as they stand I am afraid.
So my right flank stood when it should have been crushed, stands to reason then that the original attack on the left should carry the day when it should have been repulsed. Both separate attacks forced the defenders back with two levels of shaken! I really did not see my holding out and with the stream close behind I expected to loose the lot. I had charged my Hussars (newly painted and not yet sent to the painting comp for scoring no less) but these were bounced back in some disorder. Again I was looking at the probability of trying to swim back to Spain.
I rallied back the Hussars to just one level of Shaken but with Foz about to fall I could not see how I could do more than make for the ford and write off 50% of my force. I.E. all my units South of the stream except two regiments of horse.
Barry had played well with his troops and had not the rules helped me out with a chunk of rules not being present he would have been looking on a field of wrecked French.
As for the scenario, it ported over well to a figure game, though not as an equal fight. It's not a battle the French can win as such, but this is fine if you approach the game in that frame of mind. We did have points for various objectives and I am sure if I had played it out differently I could have done better that send my best formation into it's destruction. I would be happy to set that one up again but possibly with a few tweaks.
The rules themselves Polemos Napoleonic General de Division did not stand up so well. Don't get me wrong, whole sections really work well, and for me bring a good feel of Napoleonic warfare. But it's what is missing as much as anything else that stands out in these rules. Where is the canister? sure I get the lack of stand off musket duels but so little exchange happens it's as if none did happen. This has lead me t have a crack at putting a set together using Polemos as a starting position but removing the Tempo stage and replacing the command system. I know what I want, now I have to try and get it down on paper.
Thanks goes out to Barry, it was a fun game as always, we just now have to learn to get our noses down and play faster to get right to the end as this could have gone on for a couple more turns to give Barry a total victory rather than an obvious one.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Bring Out Your Dead

These figures are just the start of a group of casualty markers that will be used in both FoG and Impetus. I probably have as many as I need for Impetus as I have 13 but for FoG you need up to 2 per unit so I plan to double the number at least but possibly triple. All are 15mm and whilst I will be also using them as markers on 20mm I think it will still work. If not then I guess it's back to dice or card markers but I think these look much better.

Being hexagonal bases, these lend themselves to the 1-6 strength levels really well. I have a fair mix of troop types and they do even more. Next convention I go to I hope the supplier is there (I have forgot the name!!). They also were fun to paint so it's an all round win I guess.

All 13 as seen from above. I wonder if anyone will be offended? I know a small storm was kicked up last year but that also included a scene of a civilian being hung, but this has animal death as well, much frowned upon. Me, well I really don't mind, anything goes really. I have a hangman's base for my ECW that I bought and painted years ago but I am fairly sure it did not come with a figure to hang from it. Now I need to crack on with painting some of the living.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

15mm Keeps Marching On

I am still fired up by the painting competition and two lots have been sent off to Curt, the first of which are shown here. These are old Essex figures that may well still be available. It is also quite possible they are on the wrong horses as these are the first figures I have painted that my friend Martin gave to me a few weeks before Christmas. I was lacking any command figures for my Macedonian army which became clear when I played that test game. So I was happy to pull these out of the box and make up three command stands. These are really for the Seleucid army but I am fairly confident that at least two of them are fine for the other Successor and prior armies and the third really is OK.
This is the Seleucid stand. I really like the General figure and how his horse is ducking it's head. As he stands out the most I will use him as the C-in-C. My daughter likes him as he is on a white horse!!! I have added rock chips to these bases, in reality they are out of the chicken grit we feed the chucks in lue of food. (Not true they have food and the grit LOL)
The second stand, I really like how the wash brought out the engraved lines on the armour plates on the horses. The figures all painted up fairly quickly but were heavy on the flash, especially the horses. Each command base has a basic colour theme in their tunics, Red White and Blue, how patriotic. You don't have to pay much attention to see the damage to one of the lances! That's one of the cat's! Since the pic was taken this has been repaired and all good to go. As Curt on the painting contest said, it must have been a Persian!!!!! No just a moggy working through it's 9.
This stand is the one I am least pleased with. I am not a fan of two part castings, even basic gluing of horse to rider, just adds extra time to the job. Worse still I botched the gluing of the commander to his base. It did not look to bad so I left it. Only on basing the finished model and finding the horse seems to have a slight angle to the right s well really shows off the poor original setting of the rider. So sometime in the near future the rider will have to be removed and repositioned and possibly touched up to repair what ever I bugger up taking him off.
One final moan on the subject of the figures. The bases of the horses, these are really thin so come gluing in place you have all sorts of wobble going on. Yes it saves the supplier on material costs but just adds that extra bit of pain at the finishing stage.
So great timing of Martin to supply the figures and it will be great to get them used. Not that this will be straight away as my First proper game using FoG will be my Persians against a new Macedonian Army that Lee bought ready to play just a week ago. We are looking at next week with any luck and we look to go for about 800 points each. But before that Barry and myself will finally get that Naps game played out, more virgin regiments fighting their first battle, got to love that.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

What Makes Me Tick

Seems to be the rage at the moment so I thought I would have a go as well.
Just has to be World War II as a period in history. I mean it has everything and it was recent enough to almost still touch us. The Eastern Front draws me the most, such scale and brutality. I have more books on this period than any other though the English Civil War runs it close.
As for figure gaming this has to be Ancients, simply in time spent painting and fighting battles I imagine I have spent 80% of my time on this period. Napoleonics though is catching up and I am looking forward to painting up more of the figures for this period and getting the blocks of colour marching across the table.
Just for simple nostalgia I will go with WRG 6th Edition. Would I go back to them? I really hope I don't have to. The bookwork and the confusion, but with rose tinted glasses I can look back and smile. I just hope that whatever rules we finally settle on will get as much play.
Roleplaying, nothing touched MERP rules for an easy to play and gamemaster campaign with the right balance of ease of play and depth of system. Well I say that but I always used the Rolemaster system for the attack tables etc. As Merp was a watered down version of Rolemaster this worked very well. I miss playing and more importantly GM'ing this game and all the books are in the loft waiting for the opportunity to get them out and play again.
As it says in Highlander, their can only be one and this beats out every other game I have ever played. Advanced Squad Leader is what I spend most of my gaming time playing, it's what I have spent the most money on as well. It's the most complex wargame ever! But here is the truth, most of the rules just don't get used in a normal game, sure they are there and yes they do get used but most of the time it's about 1/3rd of the rules and they are the easier ones to learn. No it's not easy but with the Starter Kits and wealth of players (when you know which stones to turn over), it's fairly easy to get the basics down.
But I have to mention the evil one. Yep Eurogames, or as they were called when I first got into them, German Games. These are simply fantastic. Fairly basic rules fitted to a nice Chrome called the theme of the game and away you go. Indeed I did. More than anything else a good part of the reason I disappeared from figure gaming all those years ago was the Euro Game. My girlfriend happened to like games and fell for Euro's as well. We spent a huge time playing Magic The Gathering and went to boardgame cons for the weekends. Suddenly I could get my fix sitting round the dinner table with 3 friends. Well since then the Girlfriend became the wife and yes the Passion for the games still remains and play we do but gone are the conventions (kids) and friends move on. These games will feature in our future more as the kids grow up but Settlers of Catan remains the top game in this group.
I was told playing with myself would send me blind but I still bought or borrowed a whole load of solo wargames. You know what? I don't even wear glasses!!! I never seemed to get enough fun to bookkeeping from all the solo games except this one. The Peloponnesian War is a great game that if you play it as it's designed, rather than trying to 'win' the system is really great fun. Highly recommended.
I really don't have a favourite scale as such. I just don't get 25/8mm, the size of table you need to play a game just makes me laugh. Yes they look stunning but when I see 12 figures that are supposed to be a French Column marching on a British line I just want to shake my head. Now at the various Wargames Holiday Centres where you have a great big table with 1000's of figures or that kickass display game taking up half a hall that I can appreciate and see the point. Now my mate Lee he owns 1000's of the buggers and he loves them but take your average club setting and it's just wrong. 15mm gives the best (for me) detail to playability and this is the scale I defer to for most periods. 6mm though is what Napoleonics is all about to me. My best game in memory has to be against the guy who introduced me to wargaming and we played it over two days at his flat. Well over 100 units per side and you really got the feel for a massed army. It was Leipzig and in fact was just the one flank. Now all I need is rules that will get that feeling back.
Chariot Miniatures was always my favorite. The guy who owned them was so into it and at the time I started my Ancient Army he was happy to talk to me about it, he asked good questions and worked out what would suit me and most of all treated me on equal footing, not a bad place to be given I was 16 at the time. But then again he did recommend the Persians to me. So I was rather sad he sold up to Magister who I knew nothing of (all this happened when I was away). Well my first dealings with them was pre-Derby last year. I ordered a stash to collect at the con and picked the figures up and was happy enough. Not much to go on, pleasant service etc. but on unpacking to clean up ready to paint I find I am one pike short of my block (wifes been saying that for years) so a quick e-mail explaining it is missing but also I had not counted them before the prep work, could they send me a replacement in the post and if so could they also supply a slinger that I had lost. Just let me know the total cost and I would send it off. Figures arrive and no cost, even though one was my fault. Of course since then I have spent £70 finishing off that army and I can't wait to see them FtF to thank them.
Honorable mention goes to Ian Key of Irregular Miniatures as he was the first guy I ever bought figures from and he was very kind to a young boy and gave me nearly as many figures free as I bought. I have bought much fromhim since and only wish he could have continued to improve his 6mm Naps to keep up with Baccus.
Talking of which Baccus are now my number 1 supplier of Naps and I look forward to building up my French 10 fold on what I already have. I have just finished two Hussar regiments, they even have ponytails!!!!
Saw this film for the first time at Heroes (ASL tournament in Blackpool) March 2009. It's in Chinese and is about the Chinese Civil War. It has a great story and is well worth the effort of reading as well as watching the film. Like many films it claims to be as realistic and gory as Shaving Ryans Privates but unlike most of these films it manages it. I can fully recommend it and you know what it's about £5 on Amazon (well it was when I bought it).
Band of Brothers though is also an epic well produced series that I keep coming back to. In fact I am about to watch it again. I liked The Pacific but it's to damn dark, the characters look to much the same and whilst it sticks to the books very well (I've read them) and the characters are well played I just felt it lacked that special thing BoB's has.
Lord of the Rings is great and should have top spot but even though Robert Jorden really pissed me off with his out right ripping off of Tolkien, he did it rather well and once I stopped huffing every time I read Trollorcs and just got on with the books it really was a great read. The sheer depth and story line. Shame he is a rip off merchant to get there but so much of it is his own. Last book comes out in November, a number of years after his death, I guess that what happens when you rip off the master.
But nothing I own comes close bookwise to this. Anglia Rediviva (England's Recovery) a book written about the last phase of the First ECW by Fairfax's Chaplain Joshua Sprigg. My version is a copy limited to 200 numbered issues and each page is a photo reprint of the original so it's in old english and an absolute joy to read. It's been 10+ years since I last read it and well past time I read it again.
Just before I left the hobby I had bought my first Vallejo paints, I was really impressed in their coverage and colour. After the mass break these colours were still in good order (as was a few of the other paints) and since coming back I have bought a good many bottles. Other paints are good and I will continue to buy from other suppliers but for me these hit the price to quality right on the head.
Grepolis is a free to play internet game that is based in Germany (now have UK serveres as well) that is set in Greek Mythology. Unlike most of the Facebook games this game pits you against other humans directly. It's neither fair nor is it balanced. You start with a little village and you are required to build it up using the resources on the island you are on. You start on an island with other new players but you may well be surrounded by players who have been there some time and could crush you with ease. You have a week to grow before they can attack you and it is your very weakness that stops most of them doing so. Now I say it's free but if you wish you can spend real money and get all sorts of advantages. I go free and still have done well in the game. Lots of interaction between players, you can join alliances etc. My only real gripe is that kids just love to play this and they tend to be pains in the ass when wars start. If you can cope with this I think it may well be the best free wargame on the web. At the moment I am in a war against anther alliance that attacked a member of mine. I have smashed his fleets in a series of battles and then sacked his second city whilst his attack against my Main City (I have 3) was wiped out for almost no loss. Great fun.
At last I am done, hope any of you to get to the bottom enjoyed what you read. In honesty I think that post was really for my own benefit and as such I thank anyone who found it the slightest bit interesting and to the person who started the ball rolling, whoever you are!!!!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

It's in the Blood

For Christmas we buy the kids a game or two. Last year it was Buckaroo and this year we got them Connect Four and A Eurogame called Click Clack. Old followers may well remember they have been playing the odd Euro with us with simplified rules but this game is by Queen Kids games a division of Queen Games. The age range suited as we have a 5 and 7 year old and the subject matter was bound to be a hit with Alice loving all things small and critter like whilst Joseph was bound to like frightening the squirrels with the pig!!
Sure enough they both liked it and the bonus was that Cath and me could have fun playing them as well. The rules as you would expect are very simple but still allow for some gameplay. Alice who is 7 and a few months really got how to limit the chances for the other players and even uses the pig strategically rather than just the biggest gathering. You see in this game each of you are a squirrel trying to steal from the garden and the pig does his best to keep you away.
Two of the four cute squirrels that make up the player pieces. This makes the game really accessible to the kids, nice big bright chunky animals, we never had this sort of thing when we were kids. So the squirrels each try and either collect 4 of a kind (6 of each nut type exist) or 7 nuts in total. Each nut is in fact a small metal disc with a picture of a nut on it. These are put face down on the tray that fits below the board and the squirrels all have magnets in their bases. Each player throws a die on it's turn with two pictures of the pig and one each of the four areas of the garden. If the pig is picked you move the pig onto one of the four areas, otherwise you can move your squirrel onto this section, of course only if the pig is not there! Then you get to move the board one space. As the board moves round (in either clock wise or anti) it is possible to uncover fresh nuts (whilst also hiding other nuts that was uncovered by the holes in the board).
All this creates lots of comments and groans from the players, adults and kids alike. Even Joseph got the interaction between players and was having great fun. We played it a fair few times all together over Christmas but what was better was the kids have and continue to play it on their own. It's easy to set up and we get them to play to 10 points instead. Possibly the best £7.99 we have spent on a boardgame so far. The Connect Four gets some play but nothing like Click Clack.
Wanting to carry this forward we went back last week and picked up a game that states it's for 8+ but took a punt hoping to be able to play it with the kids. Well Boardgames Geek gives it a 6+ raiting which is about right. Joseph just about gets it whilst Alice is a total git. She really gets the idea of blocking her opponents, sending them into a current that will send them way back and pushing her own players into currents that send you forward. Just so you know this game is a log race game. Typical racing game driven by cards that move you forwards but with the added mechanic of water current and logs jamming up the play. It's called Fast Flowing Forrest Fellers and will never win any game title contest but plays well. Listed as 2-5 player but 2 player is a little sterile whilst 4-5 must be a hoot. Great to play with the kids but I would not be ashamed to bring it out on a games night. It does not have the legs of a classic and to be fair how many do? But at £7.99 at The Works it's a no brainer if you like Euro's. As for Alice, I will get her back one day!!!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Artizan Designs German WWII Infantry

A friend recently came up with an idea of using figures rather than plastic cards to remember our sniper numbers in Advanced Squad Leader. After a few back and fourth ramblings on Gamesquad Heroclix was brought up as to be the perfect base for the figures as you are able to change the number by use of the dial.
I have yet to attach any to these type of bases having for now just attached to Hex bases as I will also offer the option of just painted numbers on the base which I doubt will be popular. The Heroclix will take more work and I need to order more. The original use old versions and I want the new style as they are better for the job. I will get more Artizan as they look really good but plan to mix in with Boltaction Figures as well. These are the first 28mm figures i have painted and I have not painted 25+mm in 20 odd years, seemed like I was painting a barn door.
I really like the animation of the figures, the one on the left is loading his rifle and you can make out the cartridge as he is inserting in the rifle. I have painted them up as 10th Infantry Regiment 'Waffenrock' though I missed off the 10 on the epaulets! These were painted green with white piping and the collar flashes are white with the II painted in silver mixed with grey/white which does not show well which is correct.
I love the face on this guy, it's more the skill of the sculptor rather than my brush work. I used flat steel on such as the helmet edge and the canteen/gas mask etc. to show wear which I was pleased with the results.
A better view of more wear and tear. Also shows off the equipment these guys are carrying, much better than the usual harness only.
It took three painting sessions for the figure and if I had been putting in a full day they would have been done in a single day. Disapointed I did not spot the extra flock before the photo session but it was all loose so came off quick as you like. Next up is casualties for FoG and Impetus followed by 6mm French Hussars and three stands of Macedonian Command. All to be finished by next weekend?

Sunday, 8 January 2012


Or how to turn a day out shopping for kids shoes into something to do with games. OK you probably know the drill. You are bound to if you have kids I am sure. It's the weekend and you have a stack on mini's to paint but the kids need shoes. Well maybe...... I say maybe as the last four times you took them to be checked no was the reply come back in x weeks. Now whilst I always keen to hear 'No shoes today' after all that's £40 a pair these days it starts to wear a little on the 4th or 5th visit. But I have failed to add one small detail, we go to Nottingham for the kids shoes, yep Wargames Capital of the UK, home of so many of the big names. The only issue is that none of them seem to be in the city centre and if they are I have failed to take the effort of tracking them down!!!

Well this time of course was no exception so I fully expected to come back empty handed aside a pot of Devlan Mud wash from Games Workshop. Well in truth I would have been happy with that anyway as I have plenty to keep me going but when has that ever stopped us?

The trip into GW was worth the visit anyway. I swear I have not gone further than 6 steps into that shop. I have a memory of when James was playing 40K and went in to get something small and one of the staff forced him to show him how much money he had on him and then promptly started to try and get him to buy something to that value. I was not standing with him at the time so when I then made the stupid prat take his wallet out he neither expected it or saw the funny side. So in I went (my local shop never seems to have a pot in!!!) straight to the paints (4 steps) and back to the counter after picking up one of the 4 pots in the otherwise crammed rack. A staff member comes up, is that all you need, how about brushes?, paints..... ? No thank you I said politely remembering the court order. 'How about a White Dwarf?' Sod the court order I thought. "I don't know do they have anything in that would interest me?" I asked sweetly, Well what are you interested in? "With a smile I asked in my best little voice, "anything that's not total shite such as 40K or other rip off priced kid sucking crap" Turns out no they don't have anything other than this in the White Dwarf. In fairness he took it all in part and asked me to have a nice day, I was tempted to spite him by not but you know how it is.

So having baited a shoppie my wife wanted to check out a new book shop, she found nothing but Liberation by William I. Hitchcock looked interesting. Basically it's about what happened away from the photographs of happy and saved civilians and looks at the reprisals and the effect of being liberated at the cost of your house and half your family etc etc. I have often wondered about this side of the coin. Just looking at photo's of columns of allied vehicles winding between rubbled houses has always made me question just how happy they must have been! You can pick this up for about £25 at the moment from Amazon but this shop (neither of us can remember what it was called but was upstairs in Victoria Centre) was selling it for £1.99 and a few copies at £3.99 go figure. So was a happy carrot.

Last off I went to ModelZone and on impulse picked up a couple of boxes of HaT 1/72 figures. I was planning on getting a few boxes to make up an army to base to Impetus to play against Barry's armies. Barry has been holding off ordering a few boxes until I was ready but I wanted to first paint a few before committing to a supplier. I know some of the blogs I follow paint up plastics really well but can I? So these serve two purposes, they scratch an itch and also give me a quick fast test that I can fit in between projects. Whilst technically these are two different roman periods I am not too worried as I will be doing a slight conversion and period change anyway. Not only this but they will also be swapping sides to the Carthaginians. With the Cavalry this is really easy, the Auxiliary Infantry really need changing from chain armour to general clothing but I think in fact these will just get painted up as they are supposed and end up either in Barry's collection or used as needed as that extra unit. I do look forward to getting them painted though and even more to then picking up the required forces to match Barry on the battlefield. A kind of way of showing commitment to his scale and period as he has done to mine. Mind you since he painted up the 6mm Brit Nap's we have failed to get a game in!! Soon sort that out though.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

15mm Macedonian Pike 2nd Unit

Well this painting competition is sure got me inspired to get the lead out. Having fairly recently finished off a 48 figure block I was eyeing up the three 32 man blocks a man with a heavy load looks at a steep hill. A little unfair as I enjoyed painting them but man 96!!! Since then I have received a further 96 but that's another story. But 32 figures is a fair amount of points so after doing the Cretans I wanted to get stuck in.
I obviously want each block to stand out from the others and had already selected the Blue shield finish before even cleaning the figures up. The shield is Prussian Blue by Valero but in a moment of madness I also decided to have a go at painting faces on the shields as per the FoG army list illustration. I was more than happy with the result, though like most painted items they look better from a distance. This is the only block that I will add this touch to with though I think, two reasons. 1. One stands out and as such best leave it at that. 2. The effect of massed Macedonian Stars is lost a little with a front rank of different shields.

I really like this shot Cath took, shame I did not have the patience to set it up on a cloth as it clearly was taken on my painting table. I mixed in a few blue helmets in an attempt to give it that campaign look. The front rank are a slightly different figure to the rear ranks. The helmet lacks cheek guards and the men all have bushy beards. The shield is positioned slightly further to the right and lacks the extra leather strap for the shield. Whilst this makes painting easier I liked the added detail.

The last block I painted the shield strap and sword strap in different colours but decided to go with the same colour. Not sure how I will do the two following blocks as I don't see that much of a bonus for the two colours and doing it this way is far quicker but it feels like I cheated!

So 20 bases of pike would allow me two BG's and a reasonable start. I need to get the Command stands painted, these are now cleaned and primed but waiting behind 4 German WWII figures I am working on for a project idea for ASL. Then I need to get the Agema and more Companion Cavalry done. I'd say a further 24 mounted after the command has been done and I am ready to try out the rules with a fair army. Though I still have the camp to paint and build which I have the components just need to get it started. But before that I am taking a little break. No not in painting!! I am going back to 6mm for a couple of Regiments.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Memoir '44 AAR

Between Christmas and New Year I always like to get some kind of game in. I still get a warm fuzzy feeling from that first Christmas that I owned Squad Leader. Most of my spare time Christmas Day and a chunk of Boxing Day was spent trying to work out how two conflicting rules worked. Only at a party that second night did I work it out and hightailed it back home on some excuse. Imagine my parents looks as they staggered in the house at Whatever O'clock to see me bent over the board still playing and still grinning like a mad man. Boxing Day became the target day, perfect in that anything new will have been well looked over and everyone else is content to just vegetate. Well kids have put a dent into this to some extent but this Boxing Day I saw an opportunity and I took it. James my Nephew and regular FTF ASL opponent was going to be girlfriend less for the day and we had a family gathering, not the place for a game of ASL but perfect for Memoir '44. James had had this for a fair few years now and whilst he has played through most of the scenario's I have only played about 4 games with him and a couple of others. Neither of us have played in a couple of years though. I did give him the choice of Battle Cry as well, I had given him the game even further in the past but he brought this a game of more interest to him but sharing the same mechanics.

We picked the Sword Beach scenario and random selection gave me the Brit's. I just love to attack so this was right up my street.

The simplistic mechanics of Memoir means that even with such a long break we were quickly back into it, James had re-read the rules and acted as the prompter for all questions but really it was good to go from the start. The scenario was quickly set up with me the attacker just coming out of the water. Now the biggest flaw with this game and I expect with most of it's type (Battle Cry certainly had it) was the hand of cards you have, if they don't play out for you you can be stuffed no matter what you do. Same goes if you roll poor dice in any other game, of course this has dice as well so a double stuffing can be on the cards. The other issue is that some of the cards are really powerful. I remember winning a game with Air Support, this was made so much worse as the game was set at night!! But total realism and historical accuracy is not strengths of the game. Quick play and fun are. I wonder how much this game paved the way for Flames of War?

Anyway this is not a long rambling introduction to my poor hand of cards (mine were fairly good) and anyway I believe in many cases you can work through a poor hand by using it effectively, if your oppo has a good hand your still screwed though.

My hand was well mixed with options for all area's. I decided to get a fair few units out of the sea and onto the beach over the first few turns rather than start an attack half cock. Fortunately during this James seemed unable to use his Arty but did reposition a few units. I got the idea that for the most part he was trying to cycle through his hand.

I had three tank units and three Commando units both of which could move and fight at greater than one hex moved, this proved to be a major benefit as I maneuvered to striking distance on my right and then on my left. This is an important tactic if you manage it. Get at least two sections in a position to strike. In both cases I had units on the shared middle hexes so as to be able to make use of the cards for the centre. Again all in this time James was tinkering with his positions but wisely did not come out of his Bunkers or from behind his wire.

I started off the attack on the right and used the tanks to remove wire and then the infantry to attack the bunker behind it. Every unit I attacked was attacked by at least two units. James from this point was really reacting to attacks with only one real counter attack all game. The right hand attack was going well, over two turns I destroyed one unit and reduced another to just 1 figure, all for little loss in return. I then switched flanks and did the same here, though with slightly higher casualties in return. James started to use his Arty and also a limited counterattack on my right that gained him a dead unit of mine. This also brought him back close with several damaged units which I then attacked again managing to remove them. I now was pressing on towards the required points to win and James was far off with plenty of fragile units.

I still had a fair mix of cards but used a centre attack, this used the two units on the shared sector hexes which went after already reduced units and I also attacked the Arty. I bagged a unit, the other was forced to retreat and killed the Arty in the middle. Now I just needed one more point and two victory locations were wide open and within range. This forced James to move to block me with weak units and hope I would roll badly.

I attacked and took out the units and then in one case moved the tanks onto the objective for a wide margin win.

I think a strong tactic is to get those weak units out of harms way when ever you can and go after your opponents. Sounds both simple and common sense but the times I have seen units on the point of collapse facing off against stronger enemies both in this game and others is times many.

End of the game, I still had 4 units of infantry unbloodied, whilst the Germans have almost no units left. note the gaps in the wire, I did that LOL.

Full strength Tank Unit V 1/4 strength Infantry, well it had to go my way really. I exploit into the VC area and get an extra chit beyond required.

Played out in less than an hour, if we had started earlier we could have got in a second game but we went back to the party. I still like this game and would play again as a filler to an evening but it's fair to say it is far more just a game than a wargame and at the price I would buy many other games before buying this.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Cheap Terrain

I have two issues at Castle Willey. One is space, with my wife doing a lot of crafting, two kids doing my head in and what can only be described as a significant ASL habit I really don't have a great deal of spare space for figures etc. The other issue is ££££ I really can't afford to spend to much in the way of real money on terrain given that I will not be working any time soon. When I left off wargaming all those years ago we really were not into the best looking terrain anyway. I think I would have developed in that direction for the want of new projects etc. So for the time being I can live with cheap and cheerful. Besides I don't think this looks too bad.

On this shot you don't see the earth effect, look at the larger shot below for that detail. Simple, just steel a few pennies from the kids money box, paint one side and then coat in water down PVA. Then once it has dried just add a little more watered PVA on a few patches and add the desired earth effect or whatever. Once dried add more glue on the unearthed parts and flock. Once it is all dried again (lots of waiting ain't there) add your brush or whatever. I am also doing a few with bits of rock and yet others with a water effect so I can create broken ground and marsh/swamp.

For a better effect use other material than a cut up bit of cloth. This will do me until I see something that I will just know is just right. I have lots of access to cloth off cuts (did I mention Cath did crafting?) So it ticks the cheap box but how about the space problem. Well it all rolls up and stores out of the way. A case of win win if you ask me.