Sunday, August 09, 2020

An Actual Game


Yes, I know.  Many gamers have already cautiously put their heads out of their burrows and in some cases probably never retreated to them.  But for myself, I guess I took to caution, and it has only been now after 5 months' in just the company of my beloved, and occasionally - once permitted - close family, that I have finally been ready to open up the doors to TML Towers, on a limited basis.

So with distance, ventilation, sanitiser and appropriate caution, I welcomed James over for a game of nostalgia...

Hordes of the Things

I guess I last played Hordes *mumble, mumble, mumble* years ago, whilst for James, it was his introduction to wargaming via his father.  As his lockdown project he had been working on a range of opposed armies for the game, and I was more than happy to give them a run out.

My host
I chose the Elves, to face James' Vampiric undead.  The forces, as befits HOTT were 15mm scaled and formed of around a dozen elements making up a 24 point force.  We played on a slightly oversized table around 27 inches square, with the Elves attacking and the undead defending their stronghold; a cave entrance to the underworld.
Our view of the Undead horde
Hordes makes a lot of a small table, with incredibly short movement and shooting  ranges, but it does work.  You have time to maneuver and strategise, you have room to retreat and reorganise.  Our advance nonetheless took time.
The Undead approach in a great mass
For those unfamiliar, HOTT uses a simple commander system, based on DBMM and DBA.  Being from the Phil Barker canon this is no surprise.  Indeed I always thought HOTT the best of the Barker rules.  Anyway, at the start of a turn you roll 1D6 and that indicates your command points.  Moving a single element costing 1 point, but units in a group all move together for a single point, there are few exceptions, such as Wizards, but for the most part it is a simple scheme.  

Ray Harryhausen Approved
I attempted to draw the undead towards what I considered a strong position with spears flanked by missle troops in strong ground.  My cavalry to threaten the enemy flank.  
"You shall not pass"

For his part, James advanced en-masse, with his own strong flanking force to threaten my right.
Coming on Strong
Battle opened truly with highly effective Elven shooting, then close combat.  As with all the DBX family HOTT uses a simple opposed D6 roll once for each element to resolve combat.  Generally you need to double an opponents result to destroy the, other wise merely beating them will make them withdraw a base depth, but again exceptions apply.

The Elves began strongly, and the Skeletons were soon being smashed in great number.  But James was able to get his Werewolves and Vampires into my Right, where they became a thorn in my side.  
The too and Fro of HOTT combat
ON my left however, Half my cavalry had survived long enough to be joined in combat with the enemy General and his allies, by a selection of foot troops.  The Elves were able to push the Sorcerer and his minions back, but not finish them.
The Crux
At about the same time, James was able to sneak an attack in on my Wizard General with his Vampires, but the assault failed and the sneaky daylight dodgers were sent running.  My centre line was finally in a position to advance, covered by my Archers attempting to contain the Werewolf menace.  James committed his Ghouls to try to finish off my Behemoth - a Tree Ent - but to no avail...

Whilst both out Generals survived, I had destroyed more than half of the enemy army - in points value - for the loss of only one element of Knights and one of Archers.  On this day, the forces of good Triumphed.

So quick thoughts; it's nice to finally get a game in!

Also HOTT, still stands up.  Sure the rules, like all Barker systems, are written in a manner intended to be bullet proof for tournament play, and so are in a form of exhaustive legalese of which the kindest thing I can say is that is thorough.  It is not the easiest read.  However, I personally still think HOTT was the best of the bunch, and the most fun to play.  I reminds me of Dragon Rampant in some ways, in that it is very open.  You can build pretty much anything and find a way to use it.  Want an army of Mecha, Wizards, Dinosaurs, Penguins?  Sure, it'll work.

The practicalities of playing, in warm summer months, not too bad.  I could open the french windows, circulate lots of air, and stay my side of the table to maintain proper distances.  That all worked well enough to try it again, if we both stay healthy of course.  When the autumn and winter beckon, if things don't improve that may not be so practical, but we can make gaming hay whilst the sun shines.


Monday, August 03, 2020

Sicilian Normans and more on eBay....

Going through the plastic rubble, I found many models I didn't need myself, that would still be fun to paint and do something with, but not keep.  And so up online for sale now are the following:

Sicilian Normans of the 1st Crusade
Bohemond and his Entourage
Spearmen unit 1
Spearmen unit 2
Sicilian Muslim Bowmen

This lot were mostly 28mm Conquest Games miniatures left over from my Feudals project, but I also bought in a dozen more to make a viable force.  Fun to paint, but it's not an army I had any plans on making so for the time being they are a selling project to fund other whims.

These are online here: Sicilians nb: SOLD

At the same time I found a couple of Russian tanks I painted a couple of years back, and a selection of spare miniatures, enough for a scratch force of WW2 20mm's: 

Assault Group

T34/76 Model 1943
IS2 Model 1944
Zis3 76mm
Group HQ or Recon team
82mm Mortar team

Ideally there should have been a bit more infantry, but this is all I had, and it simply isn't worth me buying more at the moment.  for Berlin 1945, these make a perfectly plausible force.

These are online here: Russians nb: SOLD

Like I say, these were both entertaining projects to try some variant techniques and basing on, but to eBay they must go, and hopefully they'll fund a shiny miniatures boardgame or two.  I'm eyeing up something to replace Imperial Assault and Conan in the painting queues.

Feel free to help me out ;-)


Thursday, July 30, 2020

Napoleonics on Two Continents


A little bit of a painting update, At the start of the year I'd sort of promised myself to get some more Napoleonic troops done, and in the last month I've made a fair bit of progress; with more to come I'm pleased to report.  But for today its a pair of smaller units to begin with.

First of all, a section or platoon of the 41st Infantry for the Detroit campaigns in the War of 1812:

Research showed these were in coats without turnback colours, but that the musicians wore white.  These provide authentic regulars to stiffen my Canadian militias.

As ever, doing British uniforms made me wish I was painting anything else, and these being a predominantly Victrix meant that there was no end of fiddly details, and in the case of the torsos, weird vague attempts at details.  They've come on a long way from these.

But as I cobbled these together from a pile of spare parts I shouldn't complain; I got more out of the leftovers than I expected.  

Whilst in lockdown, I've had the time to sort through the plastic backlog, and figure piles, and in doing so found quite a few things I'd forgotten.  And thus the next unit out of the traps was the altogether more pleasurable (to paint) Catalonian Light Infantry, below:

These are slender Eagle Miniatures casts, not terribly dynamic, but crisp, decent value and a good match for Perrys'.  The bag I found was of 12 models, good for a couple of companies of skirmishers in Black Powder.  A nice uniform to paint too, though most accounts of Spanish light infantry suggest Blue coats, every illustration of this unit at least displays a rich green.  Given the Spanish circumstance, I think making do with what was available, or following the whims of the commander is doubtless the case.

Time and inspiration are such that I'm getting plenty of painting done, but as Britain risks coming out of hibernation, the possibilities of face to face gaming are beginning to resurface.  Whilst I'm still personally wary, and will be taking fair precautions, I think actual games are on the horizon.  

It's been a while...


Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Brush Love


If you own as many brushes as I, it may be because you've not been looking after them properly, and need to replace them more than you should.  So a quick post for something I hadn't really considered before but have found to be far more useful than the old stand-by.

I like many of you used dish soap (AKA washing up liquid, here in the U of K) to clean my brushes, and whilst it was fairly effective, it was quite harsh, and required a fair bit of abrasion to get the paint shifting.  But I just switched over to actual painters soap, and, it is far better.