Sunday, December 04, 2016

Another year, Another Recon

Well given it is less than a mile down the road from me, I went to my first wargames show of the year yesterday and attended the Wakefield gamers' Recon event in Pudsey.

Leeds' 'little brother' show (to Fiasco, the bigger, older brother) has always held a soft spot for me, it's tiny compared to many shows, and the games on display tend to be very much of the standard you feel you could put on yourself at home.  There are few major sellers present, but most of the things you might expect (second hand sellers, stores with hefty discounts on plastic miniatures, book specialists).

I didn't even remember to take a camera with me, only the mobile phone (which actually has a pretty good camera).  As it was other than a handful of the games, the resultant photos I could've taken at any Pudsey Recon event of the past 10 or more years.  Still a couple of games did catch my eye:

A large Battlegroup game of D-Day

A glorious Dragon Rampant game of Skeletons attacking a Knights castle

Some sort of Pirate Island
 So I wondered around for an hour or two, and ran in to various friends and old gaming associates.  What I didn't do was play any games - as usual, antisocial grouch that I am - or buy very much.  Truth is with work and study, I've not picked a brush up in two months, so why add more lead to the pile?  All I came away with  was a couple of books:

£23 well spent
Next year I'd like to put on a display game, I figure my Napoleonics collection is impressive enough to justify it, even if it is just a throw down game with no real basis in History.  This time next year I 'should' be free and clear of intrusive study, and have those things called 'weekends' again.

In the mean time I hope the show is doing well enough to continue; it's always nice to have something to look forward to in December (it's downhill all the way from here-on-in!!).

Friday, November 11, 2016

Remembrance Day.

When you see millions of the mouthless dead 

When you see millions of the mouthless dead

Across your dreams in pale battalions go,

Say not soft things as other men have said,

That you'll remember. For you need not so.

Give them not praise. For, deaf, how should they know

It is not curses heaped on each gashed head?

Nor tears. Their blind eyes see not your tears flow.

Nor honour. It is easy to be dead.

Say only this, “They are dead.” Then add thereto,

“Yet many a better one has died before.”

Then, scanning all the o'ercrowded mass, should you

Perceive one face that you loved heretofore,

It is a spook. None wears the face you knew.

Great death has made all his for evermore.

        Charles Sorley, September/October, 1915

Charles Sorley was killed at the age of twenty on 13th October 1915, in the Battle of Loos.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

1152: Eystein on the Beach*

Once more I find myself snowed under with work, study and life in general, but here I have an hour to pop up the photo's of a Lion Rampant introductory game from a couple of months ago.  Ross freshly beck from the land of Ice and Fire fancied a try of historical gaming, and already knowing Dragon Rampant I figured Lion was an easy lead.

Looking at my available models I figured my Feudal English could be matched in numerical terms by a mishmash of my Saga Vikings and Franks.  Thus a late period Scandinavian army could face the English.

It may sound implausible, but in fact Scandinavian raids on England did not conveniently end with 1066 and all that, Eystein II raided Scotland and England in 1152 whilst the last Norwegian raid into Scotland is recorded as 1263.

Thus historically satisfied we set our forces for a simple battle of attrition.  A small Northumbrian farmstead, with an old stone circle was the scene of a heavy skirmish betwixt the two forces.

I took command of the Norwegians, a handful of whom had acquired local horses to make a small mounted contingent.  Most of my men remained foot troops, a mixture of light and heavy foot, but with some crossbowmen too.

Ross led the English, With a fine array of mounted and foot nobility, Sergeants at arms and a handful of Welsh bowmen.

Battle joined and the Vikings advanced more ably at first, with their missile troops taking to the high ground from which they began to take ranging shots at the English.  Norwegian heavy infantry moved to take the cover of dry stone walling in the centre of the battlefield.  For their part the English began slowly, but progressed aggressively with their knights and heaviest infantry.

The Knights found themselves lured into one of several charges against the Viking infantry.  Less impetuous, the Viking horsemen kept their distance looking for an opportunity.

The Norse were forced to retire, but the knights losses would prove costly.

The English foot looked to outflank the opposite end of the Norwegian line, but they were kept in check by a traditional Viking shield wall and by a steady hail of bolts from the crossbowmen on the hill.

The lightest troops in the Viking force came up in their turn to try and counter the English advance.

The English tried to use the violent force of the Bill to hack through the Viking spearmen.

They were unsuccessful; and soon forced to retire.  At the farmstead, frustration amongst the Norwegian left was vented by setting fire to the farmstead.

A warband of Viking mercenaries and sailors tried to rush the Welsh bowmen, but to no avail.  Meanwhile the English foot knights fared rather better than their mounted brethren.

The battle was becoming patchy by now, and there was no certainty as to who would triumph.  However the Norwegians had managed to hang on to their horse, and now began to move them to outflank the enemy whilst the rest of their troops stalled with an orderly covered withdrawal.  To remain in attacking range the English had to draw closer to the Viking crossbows.

All may have been for nought, had the English Men at Arms been able to keep pace with the Vikings, but terrain and lightness of foot helped keep them at arms length.

By which stage the support of most of the English infantry had evaporated.  The Welsh bows and the Men at Arms were all that was left, and although both sides were bloodied, with Norse riders to their rear, the best the English could hope for now was to melt away without further loss.

Once boasts were calculated, this proved a comfortable win for the Norwegians.  More importantly, Ross enjoyed his game, so much so that we swapped sides,swapped scenarios and went again.

More on that another time perhaps.

*Bonus points for getting the Philip Glass related pun folks

Monday, October 10, 2016

By Crom!

Well look what arrived in the post!
Yes, after over a year, my second Conan game has finally arrived.  In two massive boxes (about the size of three GW big box starter games all told).

It comes with quite a few miniatures:

And a few more!:

Not to mention tonnes of shiny components.  

I've no idea when I'll get time to play this, never mind paint any of it (though I can see the troops for at least two or three Conan themed Dragon Rampant armies in the above!), but it's nice to finally be able to drool over it in the flesh.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Enter the Dungeon

More Reaper Miniatures oddments completed over the last few months in the happy season between university semesters.  Now sadly passed.  I should be working now!

Bar staff - Not the prettiest couple!


Also known as a Mindflayer

Clay Golem - pleased with the eyes

Only took an hour or so all in

Armoured Cave Troll

A great little model, really shows the benefits of the Bones range

Additionally, I picked up some of the Old Wargames Factory Orcs (now available through Warlord Games).  To me these would not work as Orcs, as they are simply too small and spindly, but with certain reservations about the animation of the poses they are pretty good models.  With the development of my Dungeoneering collection and Dragon Rampant force I took another look at these - inspired as they are by Angus Macbride's classic Lord of the Rings art - and felt the would fit a different race rather well.  Hobgoblins:

Lovely red skin as a result
As with a lot of Wargames Factory models the detail is a bit soft and the poses a little wooden, but it's hard to fault the value and they certainly packed a lot of options into a tiny sprue.  I have enough left to do another 18 models should I get around to it.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

A Crusading Bunk for the Night

Inspired by my game a few weeks ago, I used a little free time between regular projects to knock up a simple piece of scenery for any future games.

 This basic Middle-Eastern house could serve in any number of periods, but is mainly intended for ancient-medieval settings.  Given it is going to be club scenery I focused on durability, so there are a minimum of extraneous details to knock off, and the interior is heavily reinforced to allow it to cope with heavier scenery ending up stored atop it!
 For scale I include a recent Fireforge/Conquest miniatures mashup from my Feudal English.  The model has large scaled details so that it will serve for fantasy games with 'Heroic' scaled mini's up to 32mm.  The door and window frames are just thin card.
For painting I mixed a little acrylic Burnt Sepia into white and basecoated the entire model.  Then I took a small amount of the base shade and kept adding more white to subsequent layers building them up with initially an overbrushing style, and for the last layer or two, dry brushing.  Highlights come down from the top of the model to leave the base coat at the bottom.  Then the wood and sand were highlighted separately.

Building the model was little more than an hour, painting maybe another hour.  It's cheap and cheerful, but it is at least the right scale and will give a nice objective for any future encounters.

Monday, September 26, 2016

King of Dogs

Many moons ago, Two hardy souls in the Leeds region set upon a mighty quest; each to build a Dogs of War army long after Games Workshop had given up on them as a viable state in the game once called Warhammer.

Long each toiled, in ignorance of the other's efforts and struggle, but in time their paths crossed, and they knew of each's self appointed task.  Each took their own route to their desired path, one using almost exclusively Games Workshop to create his soldiers, the other, any manufacturer who took his eye.  Each admired the others work from afar, but considered that theirs was the true path, and lo it came to pass that they spoke of the question of who would rule triumphant being settle uponst the fields of battle.

Many moons more passed. And much talk was had, but no battle arose.  In time Games Workshop more than just forgot its' past, it destroyed its' present too.  And Warhammer was no more.

In time this spurred the generals on, for lo, Kings of War stepped up to take the mantle of Warhammer and provide a realistic prospect of facing their armies off across the scorched fields of combat.  And so it came to pass that two mighty armies....

Also many moons ago.  Well, three anyway.

Yes so, cod-fantasy twaddle aside, Myself and Matt finally arranged a game of Kings of War between our Dogs of War armies, a.k.a Kingdoms of Men and assorted allies.  The oft discussed 'Dog-off' happened nigh on three months ago, but I'd sat on the report through writers block/gaming apathy until now.  I can't as a result be too exhaustive on the details of the battle; but I can provide a ton of pretty pictures...

My deployment

Matts, he had a lake to contend with
 The battle was Pillage based, and three treasure markers would be the focus of the battle.  We each set up our battle lines, naturally featuring many arrayed hordes of pikemen.

Some of Matt's classic metals and converted plastics

For my part, Perry's take the place of rare GW mini's 
 With battlefield essentially divided into two halves by the lake the game boiled down into two separate battles, not least as we both deployed our allied forces facing one another.  Ogres and their allies for me against Undead for Matt.

 A major face off on my left would develop between the various human knights and pike units.  This would last all game and swing between the two of us.

 On the opposite flank both sides proved incapable of delivering a telling strike, and mixed fortune led to a long grinding match despite committing relatively few troops.

 In the centre the gigantic megabeasts eyed one another up but kept a wary distance from one another.  My cannons were doing sterling work but gaps were starting to show in my line, at this stage I assumed Matt was going to walk me over.

 But things were turning on the left as I managed to outflank my enemies.

 Simon the Giant turned from Nethermaul the Dragon to attack more delectable targets.

 Though not successfully.  Now I could generously suggest my centre was being held by the mansion, but otherwise I was a split force.

 Still on the left I was down to mopping up a handful of troops.  Meanwhile Nethermaul made merry with my Cannon.

 Somehow, the cannon survived, and the dragon headed elsewhere, needing to wrest the objectives from me.

 At this stage the end of the battle was in sight, and I held two of the three objectives.  The desperate attack of the dragon should have worked; but my men stood firm.

 Whilst on the now bleak right flank only my troops remained standing.  I was on the back foot, but for Matt time had run out, and despite his every effort, I held more objectives and could claim the win!

A real close battle with some inspired and frustrating performances all round.  I think tactically I conducted myself well enough against and opponent who probably bought the more honed fighting force.  It was a spectacular looking game with Matt's army being a joy to look at.  Sadly the table got a little untidy  and some of the photos are a little sullied as a result.

I have no doubt there will be a rematch, probably around the time of the next blood moon!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

16eme Regiment d'Infanterie Legere

Pleasingly swift production of another regiment of French troops for my Penisular War forces.  The 16eme were formed in 1793 and served in Germany, Austria and at various stages, Spain - fighting at Talavera, Fuentes De-Onoro and Albuera amongst others.

 These are the Hat Light infantry set once again, a set that whilst they may lack a little detail are comparatively easy to paint, and anatomically some of the best proportioned models available.  One box of marching poses and one box of command is enough for two 24 man regiments plus plenty of spares, add a third box of marching or skirmishing poses and you could just about squeeze four regiments out of them, not bad for £20-30!

Grenadier Company with Sappeur
This is my third French or allied regiment this year and brings the army to a respectable 10 regiments of formed infantry.  Still some way to go, not least as my Anglo-Iberian opposition already have 13 regiments.  But this is all heading in the right direction...