Tuesday, 2 February 2016

games at the club

For the 3rd meeting in January I played the introductory scenario from an old favourite Avalon Hill game - Turning Point: Stalingrad.  The idea was to go through the scenario as a refresher on the rules, then to do the whole thing in February or March, playing using my double-sized map and counters. 

Last week I played a game of ADG with an old friend and valued opponent. This was not part of the club tourney, but just for the fun.  It was his Scots against my HYW English (my WoR figures doing the duty as stand-ins).  And this time I remembered the camera.

Here's the set up and first moves viewed from my right flank.  


And a closer view of my centre. The right hand knight is a stand-in I borrowed from my opponent because I only had one knight element in this box.   

And the left flank.  I had great faith in my swordsmen (ex-billmen) against the Scots spears, but it was unfounded. 

The lines are about to close of my left.  I deliberately held back on my right as I was hoping to win in the centre and left.  

Clunk - my swordsmen and foot knights clash with the spears.  The little dice in the marker holders are the number of disorders a unit has taken.  Light units take 2 before routing, mediums take 3 and the heavies, as here, take 4.   

This is a little later. Note the absence of swordsmen to the left of my foot knights.  I was unable to win a combat and unable to rally them - so, gone.  My knights however, have won against their knightly opposition and are pressing forward.

And here my opponent is measuring to bring his spears into contact with my centre bows. I held him for a time and the bows gave a good account of themselves, but the losses mounted and soon my left and then my centre crumbled. My right flank bows, amazingly enough, stood firm and routed a few spear units as well as causing casualties to most of the others.

Though I lost the battle, my opponent had the grace to call it more of a draw because I had caused him to lose some 19 out of an army total of 21.  
 
Elsewhere in the club, there was this game of FoGR, with some late renaissance German bunch taking on the Louis XIV French.  I think the French eventually won, though I recall hearing that the German artillery and cuirassiers did a good bit of damage.   
 

This pick up game of Commands and Colours Ancients was also under way. A game of ADG had been planned, but one chap couldn't make it.  Note here, the absence of Carthaginian units on the left. Shortly after this point the Romans achieved a victory.  

Elsewhere there was some multi-player Emperors of Europe type game going on, but I didn't take a photo. Next week is more ADG though I've still to arrange a specific game of something.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Great Northern War Russians finally done

I've finally got enough finished for a game of Maurice.  Here's what they look like.

First, the whole lot, then closer views of the left, centre and right. This would amount to 106 points of trained regulars in a normal game of Maurice, though I'd probably use less than this in a game so I could buy some army cards.  (Games of Maurice are usually 100 points on each side) 




Another view of the centre.  

The cavalry

 
A view from the Swedish side of the table.  
 
And a similar view of the Swedes painted so far, as seen from Russian side of the table. This represents 51 points of trained units in a game of Maurice. 

And closer views of the Swedes.  



And the GNW stuff moves on ... with a laugh at what's next

Here are some pictures on my GNW stuff just as I get to final stages.  Also some photos of stuff in boxes which I thought about when a friend asked 'what's next?'. 

Here are the units, just missing flags and flock.


 
Now with the flags and flock. I've still to give the bases a good shake to get rid of the surplus. 

 
 
And in the background are the Swedish cavalry. Here are the horses so far. Still have a few manes and tails to do.      
 
 
After a friend asked 'what's next?', I had a good laugh, then thought I'd take a couple of pictures.
 
First, the Danes for the Great Northern War. 
 
 
Next, the Seven Years War Austrians.  The cavalry are stored under the foam, just to have everything in the one box.   
 
The Seven Years War French.  Again, the cavalry are stored under the foam.    
 
And the Seven Years War Prussians. The cavalry are stored under the foam. I tested a blue wash on the artillerymen, just to see the effect and if I could use it instead of paint or as a starting point for the tunics.        
 
And the rest of the Great Northern War stuff, Swedish at the top, then Russian infantry, dismounted dragoons and more artillery, then the rest of the Russian cavalry.    
 
 
 
And amusingly (or scarily) this doesn't include ancients, medieval, ECW, ACW, Flames of War and loads and loads of Napoleonics.  

First club games of the year

Had our first club games of the year. I meant to take photos, but my shaky hand meant the photos were a bit fuzzy. So just written comments for now.

First was ADG.  There were 3 club tourney games going on in the one night.  I was involved with a Wars of Roses civil war with Yorkist armies on both sides. It was touch and go for much of the evening, but my billmen managed to get amonst the enemy bow and eventually I won through. It was close though; I lost 2/3 of my army in disordered and routed units. 

The other games saw the Arabs defeat the Normans, though again at a cost. And the third game involved the Scots Irish defeating the Spanish / Granadines though at a cost of 21 disordered and routed units out of 23 in the army.

But all good games, and I think we're all starting to move beyond game mechanisms into tactics.  

Last week I was playing a new boardgame, Waterloo, Quelle affair! which a friend got though a kickstarter. He and another chap had played a couple of games. It was a hex game with division unit counters and driven by playing cards.  There were cards for each corps commander and some strategy cards, and you moved the units of a corps when you drew the appropriate commander card. There was another card which you could flip at any point in the turn to initiate combat, though once you had done your combat, that was you for the turn, even if your opponent still had several moves and his combat card still to play. Combat is a kind of buckets-of-dice approach, with one dice rolled for each strength point in an attack against one hex, and looking for 5's or 6's to hit.   

It was OK and an reasonably interesting game, but for me, it suffered in being a bit too close in style to Commands and Colors Napoleonics, though without CnCs tension and drama. I may play it again if offered, though it's so far down my list of things to play that I'll probably never play it.  Now, Commands and Colors Napoleonic is definitely on my list, specially after getting the recent Generals, Marshals and Tacticians expansion.  

Also at the club last week was an ADG game between the Arabs and the Spanish / Granadines / something (I really must find out!).  And four chaps had a Flames of War bash on the go; all mid-war armour.  I can't remember what else was on - some sci-fi game I think.

Next week is more ADG for some, but I'll be playing a Russian Front boardgame.  Still to decide which one, but it may well be my double sized version of Turning Point: Stalingrad.  I'll try to remember a camera and a stand so I can take photos.

Monday, 4 January 2016

GNW stuff

Over the Christmas period I was able to push on a bit more with the GNW Russians. 

The first pictures are just after the topping and tailing of tricornes, boots and scabbards. The figures are effectively finished, except for a final check on any details I've overlooked or messed up.  I've still to do buttons and lace on the drummers.   


Now a couple of pictures of the generals.  I watched the Poltava scene from the Sovereign's Servant again (it's on youtube somewhere). Interestingly in the film, Peter and his staff wore sashes with a very pale blue uppermost, then red then white. I did the sashes on my general figures per internet examples and uniform guides I have, with white uppermost, then blue then red.  I'm going to stay with what I have as it seems to be more accurate. 

(And isn't it interesting how we sometimes get involved in little details of figures and painting, often forgetting that in a game, no one is likely to notice the detail from 3 or 4 feet away across a table).    
  


 
Now the assembled units.  The rear rank figures were removed from temporary bases and added to the front rank.  Then the base round the rear rank figures were given the now usual finish of pva glue and scattered sand which is then painted over with any old paint just to better seal the sand. They are now starting to look like units.   

A couple of views from the rear also showing the mounted generals.  


Next for these figures will be to paint the bases, though as friends have already commented, a 'winter' effect has a charm all of it's own.  
 
And finally the red dragoons on the horses and bases I finished many months ago. I've just to pick a suitable standard for these chaps.  

And after I finish the bases and add the flags I'll move on to the Swedish cavalry. I've already done the brown coats on the horses, but the picture I took was a bit blurred from a shaky hand so I'll post better pictures next time. 

As a final note, I bought a little book by Pat Condray on the uniforms of the Great Northern War and in it, he has a comment that Swedish cavalry musicians rode grey horses. I think this is the only place I've seen the comment, though I'll have to read the Lars-Eric Hoglund books again.  I had thought grey horses for musicians was a later 18c development.  If anyone has any definite information one way or the other, please let me know (though I don't think I'll be repainting the horses of the 8 Russian musicians I've already done).   

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Games review of the year

As the club will not meet again till the new year, I'll offer up a note of the games I've played this year.  Overall, I've a note of 37 evenings at the club out of a possible 50, though I may have forgot to note what we played on a couple of evenings.  And so, by theme -

Ancients.
A good year with 6 games of ADG with 15mm figures, 1 game of Commands and Colors with 10mm figures on 4inch hex terrain, 1 game of Impetus with 6mm figures and 1 game of the Kallistra rules on hex terrain again.  

CnC is always good, but this year has seen the chaps at the club get to grips with ADG and play at lot more games.  It's proving popular with us and I've no doubt we'll see many more games next year.

Horse and Musket era. 

Managed 3 games of Maurice, 1 game of Napoleon's Battles 4th edition and 2 games of Commands and Colors Napoleonics.  The CnC games were played in June to mark the anniversary of Waterloo and saw 4 of us play two games side-by-side.  Great fun, with honours going to the French players.

My only problem with Maurice this year was I only managed to play 3 games. I'd been planning to try to play every month or 6 weeks.  Next year I'll be trying to get play more Maurice and hopefully I'll be helped by having my Great Northern War armies finished and my Seven Years War stuff painted or part painted (they've been undercoated for a while now).

Sails of Glory and Wings of Glory 

I'll give these two their own group.  We usually play these as multi-player games with each person having one ship of plane.  The games are always great fun, though I now think we may have been getting sailing into the wind slightly wrong. We'll have to re-read the rules bit on that. We usually get in one game of Sails in an evening, but 2 or 3 games of Wings.

One of my games of the year is definitely the Wings game we had where two of us had fighters against the Gotha bomber. The Gotha is big, sturdy and capable of throwing out some defensive fire.  Hopefully we'll play this again soon.    

20c 

I have a notes of playing 2 games of Flames of War though I may have miscounted.  And the Fast Action Bulge boardgame.  Good games, though I usually find Flames too low level for my taste. 

Dystopian Wars  

I played 6 games of Dystopian Wars this year.  Generally good games, though my initial interest in Dystopian has definitely waned.  The games just take too long and we've been finding we only get through 3 or maybe 4 turns in an evening if we're lucky.  The second edition rulebook is difficult to read and at times seems a glorified mess.  I like the concept of Dystopian Wars but each squadron takes so long to play.  I may well sell off a large part of my FSA fleet next year. 

Boardgames   

So many games to mention. I think I played 6 or 7 evenings of boardgames at the club over 2015. 

The year started with the really disappointing Legion d'Honneur; a bore-fest that was essentially a solo game for 6 players.  And worse than playing the game once, was getting persuaded into playing it again. 

Some of the usual suspects were played again - the old multiplayer favourites that are just great fun.  Among them are Mexica, Boomtown, Roborally, Metro, Pompei, Family Business and Sherlock. There are a couple of others which I can't recall the names of now; one is Ra (I think) and another is an exploration game similar to Mexica. 

The year ended with a good game; Blood Rage: Ragnarok.  That was a lot of fun. 

Games of the year.   

I may post more on this, but for now the two best miniatures games for me were ADG and Maurice.  Hopefully next year will see many more games of them. 

Sails and Wings were good and I'm certainly hoping we can play another Wings game against the Gotha. 

CnC is always fun. I've just sent away for the new Napoleonic module on Generals and Tacticians so I'm hoping to play some of that in the weeks ahead. 

Of the boardgames, Blood Rage was the best of the new games.  I hope to play it again.  I know the old favourites will be played many times.

Roll on next year.  I'll try to take more photos of club games so I can post what they actually look like. 

Final games of the year at the club

A quick post on November and Decembers games.  

Another game of Blood Rage: Ragnarok which was great fun. I would say that because I won, but I think I was really lucky to get the Valkyrie card and another card to immediately resurrect a character that was killed. This enabled me to play fast and loose with the Valkyrie. 

A new boardgame called Fief.  It's a euro-game with very nice components and is a kind of medieval land-grab for 6 players.  A good game for our club, but it did seem a bit too complex in places, almost like it was trying too hard to layer on stuff for players to think about and do.  The marriages / alliances bit was hilarious. 

Then ADG. We've started a little competition in the club, and eight of us have started.  There are initially 2 leagues of 4, and the top two from each table will go through to semi-finals and finals.  It's all with Dark Ages and medieval armies. My table has two Wars of Roses armies, one Arab and one Hungarian.  It's been good to start a club competition again without the overblown millimetrics and arguments which characterise the BHGS lot in their FoG competitions.

In December I planned a battle of the bulge boardgame with another chap who's a big bulge fan.  Kind of an anniversary game.  This time we played Fast Action Battles: Bulge.  It's an area game with both blocks and counters.  The blocks add the element of fog of war as the opponent sees only the blank face of the wooden block so is never quite sure about the exact strength of the unit.  It was my first time playing this game and as the Allies I made a few mistakes which cost me the game.  I also failed to blow several bridges. The German movement seemed to be very easy, so we may have missed something in the rules. 

At the club meetings before Christmas we usually play several boardgames.  This time 6 of us played Robo-Rally, Metro, Stephen's Game and Family Business in the one evening.  If you have the chance to play games like this with a group of people, please do - it's great fun.

Robo-Rally has everyone controlling a robot on a factory floor that has turntables, pits, conveyer belts and walls. Navigation is via a 'program' of 5 movement cards towards 3 different targets.  All manner of things can go wrong and players can accidentally (or deliberately) interrupt and other robot.  Great fun.  

Metro is a multi-player game of laying train-tracks under Paris.  You have to provide a safe route for your own trains while laying track that will guide opponents trains off the board.  A simple game but so much fun. 

Stephen's game is a card game about arranging famous Stephen's dates of birth in the correct order.  Players see a description of the person on their side of the cards while the date of birth is on the side visible to opponents.  Simple fast and fun. 

And then there is Family Business. A card game of gangsters in the prohibition era where you try to wipe out the other families while saving your own cast of 9 characters.  All great fun and long-time favourite in our club.