Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Games at the club

Here are some snapshots of recent games I played at the club.  

The boardgame No Retreat: the Russian Front, Longstreet with 15mm ACW and the ancients rules, To the Strongest in 15mm and Flames of War in 15mm. 

First, No Retreat. This is part of end of turn snapshots for when we next pick up the campaign.  This is the situation in September and October 1942 and the Axis have pushed well to the east.  This game is just superb. It's card supported and has less than 20 units on each side.  

The Axis have taken Stalingrad and are threatening the oilfields.  But winter is coming ( as they say ). 

These are two longshots from our Flames of War game. Late war Germans vs British. This was our second run-through with the version 4 rules and the unit cards. Just a lot of long range firing in this game.  It was OK, but with some many other games to play, this may not get played again for a while.  

This is a picture on my Longstreet game, pictures from my opponents side of the table. He's just launched a big charge by the chaps in blue.  The dice are the combat scores, pictures just before we resolved the situation. As you may see, I was resoundingly defeated overall, and my one victory did not compensate for losing three units, my army morale and the battle, all in that one turn. But a great game.

A long snapshot of two chaps playing Bolt Action. Americans vs Russians.  Sadly, I didn't have time to watch this game as I was engrossed in No Retreat that night.  

And finally, To the Strongest. Now, while our first game of TTS was good, this game saw very few casualties and a couple of anomalies with fighting in woods, so the initial favourable impression of TTS has dimmed a bit. Two of the chaps at the club were not impressed at all, so sadly TTS at the club may fade away. But here's a couple of pictures.

The armies were Polybian Roman vs Seleucid. Here the Roman right centre clashes with elephants and some phalanx.  

And the Roman left centre clashes the rest of the Seleucid centre.  The action is taking place on a mat that one of the chaps bought. The squares are 100mm.  

More later.

progress with plastics

I seem to have done little since the start of the year besides building plastic figures.  I have played a few games at the club, but painting seems to have slowed while I stick bits of plastic together.  It's not terribly exciting, but here's some progress.

With the dark ages chaps, I decided to go for 25mm round bases. And after further debate I decided to get Renedra plastic bases.  The scoring on the plastic is me providing a key for the filler which help to disguise the moulded base with the figure.  The four figures at the right have been done. 

A whole batch more.  

And some Victrix Napoleonics. There are some nice poses in the French infantry box.  But I'll be painting these as Italians, with white uniforms and red or green facings.  The standard line infantry and grenadier chaps are on 20mm round bases, the voltigeurs are on 25mm round bases. 

A box of Saxons ready for the next stage. 

And the next stages. The bases were 'painted' with a watered-down pva glue and then dunked in a tub of sand.  I cut strips of corrugated cardboard and stuck on strips of double sided sticky tape. The bases were then pressed on to the tape. The idea here is to provide a decent grip of the plastic figures while I spray undercoat them later.      

Shields, shields, shields and backpacks.  

A box of Vikings ready for a spray session.  

And a box of Napoleonics ready for a spray session. 

So, roll on the end of the week and hopefully with a decent dry day, I'll get this lot undercoated.  

I still have the plastic Normans and dark ages warriors to assemble, but for the moment I'm going to have a rest from sticking bits of plastic together. I want to get back to some painting before I forget what the brushes are for. 

I'll do a separate post with pictures of some club games. 

Monday, 8 January 2018

Here we go in 2018 - plastics, plastics and more plastics

So the first gaming stuff of the year is underway.  Inspired by our recent Lion Rampant variant game with dark ages figures, I got a batch of Saxons and Vikings.  

Here's some of stuff so far.  The big debate I'm having is on basing and if 20mm or 25mm is best.  Initially I was thinking 20mm might do, but I've increasing come round to wanting more space around the figures.  

I also realised that by putting the figures on the sabot bases intended for 20mm bases, I was getting a different impression of the figures as a group because the sabot base works out as the equivalent of 25mm bases side by side. 

The base size debate will continue as I continue to build the figures, but I'm thinking 25mm may be best.  

And here's the other stuff waiting in the wings. Vikings and dark age warriors.  

More later.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

games of 2017

I meant to do this a week ago, but here's the games I played in 2017.

Longstreet - 7 
Bolt Action - 7 
Maurice - 4
Pikeman's Lament - 4
Lion Rampant - 3
ADG - 3
Napoleonic games - 4 (2 of Over the Hills, 1 General d'Armee and 1 Sharp Practice)
Rommel and Flames of War - 2 (one of each)
Napoleonic Naval game - 1 (I think it was a Too Fat Lardies game)
Dystopian Wars - 1
Wings of Glory - 1
Commands and Colors Napoleonic Epic - 2
To the Strongest - 1

And boardgames - 11  
    Russian Campaign - 2
    Stalingrad Pocket - 1
    Squad Leader - 2  
    Battles for the Ardennes - 1
    Yom Kippur - 2
    No Retreat: the Russian Front - 3

Not a bad total for the year.  Here are the highlights (and thoughts on lowlights.)  

The high points. 

An excellent card-driven miniatures game.  I hadn't played ACW games in some 3 years, so we kicked off a Longstreet campaign.  Six of us are enjoying the games and we still have half the campaign to go.  

Bolt Action and Lion Rampant.  
Two skirmish games that continue to be fun.  We also played Pikeman's Lament a few times because it was new, but I think Lion Rampant will be the favourite using that system.  

Commands and Colors Napoleonic Epic
The Epic expansion module is the latest for the game system.  It's good, but a bit more involved and we needed more time to get through the games. I'd like to play more, but I think we're likely to play ordinary CnC and get two games in the one evening rather than play the one big game. 

No Retreat: The Russian Front
This was this years big surprise game.  It's a card supported hex game with counters representing armies and fronts.  I thought it was too high level for my interests, but I've found it to be a great game.  It plays like a normal hex and counters boardgame, but the cards add so much variation to make each game different.  I've played 3 scenarios and last week we started on a full campaign.  A great game, and so much so I bought the No Retreat: Western Desert game which uses a similar system though I've yet to play it.  

To The Strongest
Another surprise of the year. This is a card driven ancients game played on a square grid.  Although we've only managed one game so far, I found the game system really intriguing and fun.  I'm looking forward to trying this again.   

Other good games.
Maurice continues to be great fun.  A card driven horse and musket era game. 
Wings of Glory and Dystopian Wars. Both good games, but we didn't get the time to play more. 
Rommel. An interesting new game from Sam Mustafa, but we've only managed one game so far.

Low points and disappointing games. 
Napoleonic games. 
The chaps at the club flit like butterflies from rule set to rule set.  It gets frustrating, that by the time we've played a game, the next rules set has become the new fad and we get dragged down that road.  I stopped playing that many Napoleonic games even though it remains a favourite period of mine.  

For example, this year we played Over the Hills, General d'Armee and 1 Sharp Practice. If I recall correctly, General d'Armee seemed the most interesting, though despite the title, it's not an army level game. I think there's something about British rules writers that they cannot seem to get beyond a battalion and skirmish level of combat.  It seems like people get vertigo if they even think about the heady heights of higher command. Or maybe they've seen too many episodes of Sharp and think that it's the only representation of Napoleonic battles.   

I also found out what some people have said about poorly written rules by Too Fat Lardies. Early in the year we played their Napoleonic naval game, and we muddled through some of the poorly explained parts of the rules. Then, just to add to the frustration and punishment, the chaps started playing Chain of Command (with similar issues) and latterly Sharp Practice.  I've not tried Chain of Command, but I did find Sharp Practice a bit of a farce. In many key places Sharp Practice is poorly written, vague and a bit like some badly organised brain dump by the author. 

Here's an example. The Sharp Practice rules split infantry into Line and Skirmishers, each with sub-categories.  The rules give fire bonuses to the different types of skirmishers; light infantry, skirmishers and irregular skirmishers. Several people asked if these were cumulative. The author's answer was 'no', but then went on to explain that irregular skirmishers were not skirmishers. And that was it - no further explanation.  

So I'm left asking wtf ... what then are my AWI irregular frontier skirmish riflemen?  They're called skirmishers and classed as skirmishers in the army lists, but you're telling me they're not skirmishers. Bah humbug. Stuff it. I've lost interest in the Lardie jingo-ist and vague waffling approach to rules writing.  

Other than that, the games played this year were all good fun and I'm looking forward to playing many of them again.  Certainly I'm looking forward to No Retreat, Lion Rampant and To the Strongest.  

More later.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

end of year finish to a couple of Austrian units

Finally got a couple of Seven Years War Austrian infantry units flagged and flocked before the year end.  Not too bad.  I've now got the flag effect I wanted. 

And the artillery. 

I'm happy to have made a start on my Seven Years War stuff, though I've now a slight reservation about my usual patches of grass effect. I wondered if I might be better just flocking the whole base, but I'll think some more on that.  For now, it's a good start.   

And ongoing work on the 28mm British.  Finally got the chaps into the Bren carrier and the machine gun crew mounted on their base.  The base has been given a coat of khaki round the figures.  I'll do the rest of the base another time, finishing the khaki then highlighting it with sand and a cream colour. 

Roll on 2018, when I might get the British finished.  

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

More ongoing stuff - 15mm Austrians and 28mm British

Christmas greetings to all.  I hope you're all having a peaceful time and can look forward to a healthy and prosperous new year.  

Gaming activities continue here, though the painting of many figures is not quite finished.  

The first units for my Seven Years War Austrians are essentially finished. I just have to add paper flags and flock. I'll try to finish them this year!  

Another project that's come back to mind are my 28mm British for Bolt Action. They've remained in a semi-painted state for a while. The basic paint job has been good enough to push around in a game, but I'm going to try to get all 60 or so figures finished so they look the part.  

Here I've started to paint the many straps and packs that the British infantry have around them.  

These 3 chaps see me experimenting with colours for the wood work. At the left is a dark brown paint over the green brown I sprayed all the figures, then the centre rifle has a sepia wash, and on the right is a flesh wash. I've decided the brown paint is out for this bit.  I like the sepia wash, though the slightly more reddish tone that comes from the flesh wash does have an appeal. I'll test a lighter highlight later.  

And the rest of the figures.  I'm afraid the jolly spiffing old RAF spotter chap will likely be last to get painted. 

Hopefully I'll get a few more finished before the new year. 

Sunday, 10 December 2017

new project and ongoing stuff

Just when I thought it was safe ... after last weeks game I decided to put together some plastic Saxons that I got from a friend some time ago.  That then led to me ordering 4 boxes of the Gripping Beast plastic Saxons and Vikings.  

Here's the test figures so far.  But the big decision at this point is whether to go for 20mm or 25mm circular bases.  Most of the figures (all headless) are on the 20mm sabot bases from Warbases. At the front is one chap of a plastic 25mm base.  

The 20mm option is attractive, particularly as I have the sabot bases, but I do like the bigger 25mm bases. They are also the same size as those for my Wars of Roses figures for Lion Rampant. Decisions, decisions.  

And ongoing stuff - the Seven Years War Austrians move along slowly. Two infantry units are pretty much finished and will mounted in two ranks later.  

More later ....