Monday, October 29, 2012

Fiasco 2012 Photo Review

So here we go with the photo's of the day.  First off a bunch of pictures from the Night Owls Fantasy game.  One thing that is oddly under represented at gaming shows is Warhammer/40k and it's kin.  Given they probably have more active players than all other game systems, possibly combined.  One of those dirty little secrets folks.  Anyway, a half dozen of the club stalwarts put on a grand sized game of monsters and magic, showing the best the club has to offer:

Simon, James and Rob, amongst others put on the game

Chaos faced the forces of good in a battle for Kirkskull Abbey

Jon's beautiful Manticore, heavily converted from the original model, took centre stage

But for sheer size, nothing matched £200+ of Chaos mammoth, provided by Andy

The game looked great, and apparently attracted a lot of positive attention.  I can't name it game of the show, due to bias, but it was distinctive for sure.

Returning to the historical, another Shot of the club's Zulu game opens up the rest of the show:

After overrunning the Drift once, the Zulus were reset for another go

Barnsley Association of Wargamers - Long Road North.  Set in Sicily I think. This was one of several games that first appeared at Triples in May

The armour was most attractive

I think this was the Lance and Longbow society, doing the Italian Wars

Hastings, possibly presented by Kallistra

Not usually a fan of Hex Terrain, but this looked OK

Wakefield and Osset, ran a fast WW2 simulation developed by a history lecturer

One base per army, the ultimate in scaling I guess

York Wargames provided beautiful 28mm terrain for Pegasus Bridge. Figures however were mostly hidden or off the table

Legendary Wargames as usual were on the entrance with a big display game. This year the American Civil War

Bull Run.  It seems strange to say that the models for this showed a real retro charm. They would have been cutting edge in the 1990's

Painted terrain boards are hard wearing, but look oddly dated now

Game of the show for me.  Vimiero in 6mm!

The Legion of Blokes provided amazing contemporary scenery and massive units in a tiny scale

Bramley Barn - Afghanistan 1920's  Another repeat showing

The Ilkley Lads put on a naval game with lovely little triremes and galleys

And a repeat from both Triples and Partizan, 1st Corps Eastern Front game. I think the 88mm is new though and the teddy bear fur has seldom looked more realistic
There were a few other games I didn't bother with photo's of.  I am biased as I say.  The show did seem quiet, and I wasn't alone apparently in doing very little shopping.  The venue itself may be an issue there, after all, if you've not been before, once you've paid to park at the Royal Armouries (exorbitant) it would be silly not to visit the museum itself, and I'm sure that draws a lo of the attention away.  

Other issues may also exist though.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fiasco teaser....

A nightmare journey meant I couldn't offer promised lifts to the show to friends as my car died once again.  Instead I had to jump the train to make the show.  I spent a couple of hours taking photo's and chatting to friends - there was however very little shopping, less than £20 on my part.  A full photo report to follow, but for today, here's a teaser of the Night Owls Zulu game.

Mark did some sterling work on the teddy bear fur to get it looking, well pretty much believable, a half dozen club members including myself churned out the models for the display - including by my count over 450 Zulus.  Andy produced the buildings and other scenery - mostly from the Warlord Games set.

The Fantasy game was equally impressive, but more on that in a day or so...

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Here come the Blue Lizards!

They were too tempting, I caved and rather than go gaming, sat and ploughed through painting my Lizardmen army.

Now when it came to a colour scheme, I didn't want to go with anything green, as they'de have just looked like Goblins or Orcs at the scale they are (actually - up close they Pendraken models are nicely detailed and distinctive; but for the 'Two Foot' test colour would be critical).  Thankfully nature has plenty of evidence for vivid reptile hues, and I was taken with a bright blue chap:

Indeed there are many species of blue lizards worldwide, so why not create an army of them.  And so I would.

Apologies for the lower quality images, I had to make do with the Mobile Phone for these, as my camera is temporarily unavailable!

I guess about ten hours were spent to build and paint the whole army.

A few units in close up.  I started by undercoating everything black and then dry-brushing the bases from brown up to a desert sand.  Flock was chosen over static grass as it would be less obscuring in this scale, but wasn't added until the rest of the painting was done.

I then added the bright blue flesh in a couple of stints, before using a live palette (i.e. mixing wet paint as I worked to produce varied shades) to do the loincloths and weapons.  Then it was a matter of detailing.  With a fine brush and a steady hand this is not too onerous a task on pre based figures of this scale; but a final retouch with the blue was still required, as this close up work still results in the odd sloppy bit of work or missed area being identified for a repaint.

Characters and shields got a little extra attention, and I had fun making tiny standards for the units and the army heralds:

Larger critters were done in a more traditional reptilian green with even some highlights and the eyes touched in.  Overall though, the work was essentially flat colours.  The shading was simply a layer of Army Painter Strong Tone applied with a brush, from their dropper bottle range not the thick stuff in a can.  It seems to work really well!

Lastly a shot of the Cocatricosarus, pride of the army thus far:

A pleasing result, and once packed into their new home I find there's room for at least three times as many troops - or perhaps an opposing army to accompany them; in due course.

Also the observant cant miss the adobe hut and Tudor house in the background of the army shot.  Some high density foam was put to good use to build some scenery for this scale to add to the club supplies...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Ongoing Fiasco's...

I've not been moved to post much this last week or two, I blame the personal life and will draw a respectful veil there - safe to say when I've got in at the end of the day writing my usual gaming nonesense had not felt appealing.  There is still some gaming activity to catch up on though, and I will get round to reports on a couple of wargames and boardgames of late in due course.

This weekend - Sunday the 28th - is the major Leeds gaming show; Fiasco; held as ever at the Royal Armouries (the less said about the precise environment the better, but I'm sure it'll remain the same spot and easy to find!)

Details of traders and so forth can be found here.

The Night Owls will be well represented this year with two games, not only a substantial 'Rorkes Drift' refight in 28mm but also for the first time I can recall something to represent our large fantasy gaming contingent.  The Warhammer players had their arms gently twisted into putting on a 'Storm of Magic' display game - given the quality of some of their painters, even if you don't like fantasy games it should be a visual feast!

I'll be nosing around for an hour or so; photographs, and a report as ever, next week sometime.

Hopefully by then I'll be over my blogging sulk and back to a normal volume of pointless exposition...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Scaling down - Part Two

Scales of a different matter today.

I am not a Kings of War haterz, see; I just bought a new army for it, and the shiny new hard back rule book.

Indeed at the Night Owls, Kings of war is having a little resurgence  with efforts to begin a KoW League, and games being organised in 28mm and 10mm.  To that end, and with plenty of PayPal cash in the wargaming kitty, I went shopping on the net for the rulebook and a new army to inspire me.

I managed to get the rules for a bargain price of £18 inc P&P from the considerably less than the RRP and fast delivery too.  I'd already pondered a new race, and knew I wanted something that A) could not double for a historical force - so I wouldn't be tempted to turn it into Saracens, Mongols or whatever; and B) must be a race I'd never done before - which eliminated Orcs, Goblins, Dwarves, Humans and Undead from the book.

Rummaging around 10mm figure manfacturers, Pendraken eventually seemed to have the best choice, though frustratingly I had to look around for images of the models.  In the end I plumped for Lizardmen, as there are several ranges providing a variety of poses and breeds of critter.  Of the available army lists, they looked to have a place within the Twilight Kin, which has provision for bestial cavalry, monsters (dinosaurs then) and so on.  With a little bit of imagination the Lizard Kin would take shape.

At about the same time I found a damaged Marauder Miniatures Cockatrice in a box, the wings had broken off.  Ifigured it'd make a good base for a Lizardman monster, and so I had a go at sculpting some arms and so forth:

I remained concerned as to whether it'd scale up right but that'd have to wait for the Pendraken models to arrive.

Oh the waiting...

Pendraken not renowned for speedy dispatch times, two weeks after ordering I received my confirmation email, that they were in the post.  The next day they arrived:

Six bags of mostly Tribal Lizardmen spearmen, with some cavalry, characters and skirmishers.  95 models for less than £20.  First things first, I selected one of the Lizardman spears and, freed of his base, converted him into a rider for the dino-bird.

I may yet add reins but overall it was satisfyingly scaled.  From there I went on with basing up the troops.  I'd bought the numbers of models I had on the presumption that I'd be able to put about 15 infantry on a 40mm square base, and around half that number on a 40x20mm base.

Turns out the Lizardmen are pretty large - about 13mm to the top of their heads, and a wide stance what with tails and all.  So the most I could squeeze onto the square base was nine models.

On the plus side, this meant my giant troops fielded rather more stands than intended:

Enough for a 2000 point army of Lizard Kin.

Also, I'll easily fit all these in just a small part of their assigned storage box, so I can add more troops of a more modest size or different races when these are painted.  Which shouldn't take long.

Once current projects are out the way...

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sabugal Preparations

It is always a rare and pleasant opportunity to do a historical refight, even if as organiser they require rather more effort than a simple points game or a scenario lifted from a book.

Myself and Martin agreed to a game of Napoleonics, and I proposed to come up with something scaled to suit our combined forces.  Between the two of us, we could raise ten British Line Battalions and four of allies, not to mention cavalry and artillery.  For the French we could combine to eleven Infantry battalions, plus numerous light infantry, and cavalry, but rather less artillery.

As I'm not keen on grossly scaling down formations, portraying a Corps as three or four units is not my style, the available troops meant we needed to stick to a smaller engagement.  Thankfully dipping in to my resources led me to a small and little known (to me anyway) engagement of the Peninsular.  Sabugal.

On the Banks of the River Coa, Marshal Massena's Left flank was being held by the 2nd Corps of Reynier.  Protecting the gradually withdrawing French.  Wellington determined to attack the extreme, with the Light division, and plans to outflank the strong French defensive position with an attack from the rear.

Even for this relatively minor action, and more on the details of the day will be in the battle report, there were a lot of French forces to be represented.  Looking at the rosters it would be impractical to represent the whole action as anything other than an impossible task, requiring many French and few British, without some limitations.  To serve the end of making it playable I considered the dimensions of the battle and drew a map, based on others, to initiate the battlefield layout:

The Battle would be fought across an 8' x 6' table and the timings and positions of the attacks would be critical to reflecting the historical engagement; but I did limit the extent of the French and Allies as a result.  The Forces would thus (and corrected slightly from the image above!) be:

Regional (Corps) commander Reynier
Brigadier Heudelet: 2 bn's 17eme Leger, 2bn's 70eme Ligne
Brigadier Sarrut: 2 bn's 4eme Leger, 2 bn's 2 eme Leger, 2 bn's 36 eme Ligne, demi battery artillery
Brigadier Merle: 1 eme Hussars, 22eme Chasseurs
Anglo Portuguese
Regional (Divisional) Commander Picton
Brigadier Beckwith: 43rd Foot, 2 companies 95th Rifles
Commander Drummond: 52nd Foot, Portuguese Line (in some accounts a Cacadores bn), one company Cacadores, sqdrn 16th Light Draggons, sqdrn Kings German Legion Hussars
Commander Erskine: 6 bn's British foot

As stated the timing and set up of the attack would be key, as it was poorly handled on the day to say the least for the British, and I wanted the game to reflect that.  Also the weather on the day was absolutely critical, and so I ran up some rules (for Black Powder; of course!) to reflect the relative situations.

  • Turn one: Beckwith arrives as per map deployment.  The battlefield is wreathed in fog and so firing is limited to half range, also orders to engage (charge) may only be given if a target is unobscured in the open, or within firing range in cover of any kind.  The fog also means that all forces blunder on a roll of 11 or 12, rather than the usual double six alone.
  • Turn three: Drummond arrives.  The fog becomes heavy rain and although vision improves firing for all except artillery suffers a -2 to hit, losing one dice of firepower for each point above '6' needed to hit (e.g. a unit needing 8's to hit would actually need 6's but lose two firepower)
  • Turn four:  Erskine arrives.  The crossing of the river may be conducted anywhere, but requires each unit to test individually to cross - though a divisional order may be issued to do so.  Two successes are required to cross, but may be accumulated over turns.
  • Turn five: Light rain, -1 to shooting.
  • Turn 6: dry.  The rain ends
  • Turn 8:  End of game.  If before the end of the French turn eight they are unable to contest the Ridgeline, the French lose, if at the end of turn 8 the French are contesting the ridge, but defeated on table, the game is a draw.  If at the end of turn 8 or before, the British attacks have been forced back or routed.  The French win.
With all this in place it felt like a scenario ready to play out.  

But that is a post for another day...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Scaling down - Part one

As mentioned, I've recognised that whilst for grand scale ancient and medieval battles I have both armies and opponents for the classical and high medieval, my collection of dark age troops had remained generally redundant, unless facing themselves.  The trend has moved towards dark age gaming at a Skirmish level with the appearance of Saga and other rules at the club.

On the face of it I've no problem with that, after all barring a handful of engagements, few of the battles in the post-Roman and early medieval period weren't especially large anyway, and tactically were simplistic to say the least.  Skirmish sized games suit the heroic personal nature of the period, and the Saga rules especially introduce a tactical fluidity to this situation.  Basically, I am sold on the idea of restricting this period to games of under 50 a side, rather than grand battle of hundreds of models.

Which leaves me with both opportunities and problems.  The opportunity is to pick the very best models from my collection and improve their presentation as Saga armies.  As it happens I could easily pull out 7/8 points of troops (recognising I have some figures still to paint) for my Normans/Franks:

And the same number of points of Vikings:

However, this still leaves me with more than 200 infantry and 40 cavalry, in need of a new home!

Everything in the boxes is scheduled to go now.

Some of them are pretty terrible models, being surviving home-casts from when I was a kid (yes, my parents let me use a home lead casting kit - I have the scars to prove it), but others include numerous Gripping Beast, Foundry and Old Glory models.  There are easily enough for two or more warbands for Saga, and plenty of formed up units.

If I can sell the Saga warbands at the club to generate more game players, then I'm happy to make no money on the deal, but the formed units can go on ebay to fund some other purchases.

Also selling these models off will get me two box's full of space back on the gaming shelves.  I'm sure I'll fill it again, but at least I can replace old metal with new plastic!

The times, they are a changing...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Other hoots from the Night Owls...

Whilst I was turning back the tides of Carthage, other gamers in the club had a variety of games going on:

Since the new edition of Warhammer 40k, there has been a modest rejuvenation of the game at the club.  Here Al's Sisters of Battle face off against George's Ultramarines.

Elsewhere the historical lads were having a first go with Bolt Action:

The initial conclusion; "it's 40k for World War Two".

So in essence, two of the same game!  Sort of...

It never hurts to remind readers, some of you may be new to the blog, that the Leeds Night Owls runs every Sunday (except for Fiasco, on the 28th of this month) from 10:00am till 3:00pm (or later) at The Farsley Conservative Club - 51 Town St, Farsley, Pudsey, West Yorkshire, LS28 5HX.  We play all manner of historical, fantasy, sci-fi and boardgames.  If you're a local feel free to join us!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Gelem Minor 483 BC - Syracuse and Carthage meet again

Stephen brought along his ancients for a nice big game of Hail Caesar, and Martin joined us in pushing the chaps about.  I'd run up army lists for both sides, but Ste had been at the army lists  (shudder!) and so asked if it was ok to use his own list.  I said this would be fine, as I'd no way to know the value of either side, and of course there is no such thing as an evenly matched battle in real life!

We deployed by map as is my preference.  Well I drew a map, and Martin and Ste deployed first to table; same result.

I deployed a strong centre of deeply arrayed hoplites, with a small reserve on my left flank behind a wooded hill.  To my right I deployed my lighter tribal peltasts behind a farm and vineyard on another hill.  The plain between these two sites was destined to be the main field of battle.

Facing me the Carthaginians fielded a small cavalry force on their right, a thinner centre of mercenary hoplites and African infantry, and a heavy left hook of Celtic warriors:

I won the initiative, and feeling outnumbered decided I needed to anchor my flanks and push forward in the centre, my skirmishers were keen to get the job done.  My enemies found themselves with unwilling Celts stalling on their left, as did their cavalry.  Only their centre would advance slowly:

The Sicel peltasts occupied the vineyards, whilst the Elymians swept as far right as possible drawing some of the Celts off.  However in the centre the Carthaginians came on in force driving my psoiloi back.

As some of my hoplites had yet to advance this far the Africans smashed into my lead Syracusan troops; outnumbering them five to one.

A rare shot from behind enemy lines!  Never doubt the power of the phalanx; my Greeks held against theirs, despite the numbers thrown against them.  Allowing my second line to roll up in support.

Soon a vast clash of arms was under way:

Meanwhile in the vineyards the Celts had run the Elymians out of town, but the Sicels doggedly held their ground and the Celtic warriors now realised they were spread out at some distance from the real battle.  On the Greek left the African cavalry were making slow progress outflanking the reserve.

The grinding match in the centre only slowly began to swing in favour of the Greeks, but our denser formation and close fighting tactics allowed us to hold position and slowly wear the Carthaginians down.

The Celts began to push the Sicels back and briefly threatened the Greek flank.  But timing was not in the favour...

By the time they arrived, enough damage had been to the Africans that there were Greeks available to face the Celts.  The initial charge was weathered, and the Celts fell back in disorder.

As night fell, the Greeks had broken the centre of the Carthaginians, and though the Celts were threatening the flank, skirmishers were containing them to the vineyards.  And the African cavalry had achieved nothing


Carthage had to quit the field, whilst the Greeks stood triumphant.  As stated, I've no idea whether I had more or less points, but it still seemed a balanced and close fought game.