Saturday, 19 November 2011

An appeal for a boardgame

Most of the past two months have been spent dragging old boardgames from the shelves and playing some of them. Lots of Napoleonic games and some WW2.  

One game I don't have but which I'd like to get is GMT's Barbarossa: Army Group Centre. Sadly it's out of print.  

I'm actually thinking of going to the Miniatures Page or elsewhere to see if anyone would be prepared to swop a copy for some painted miniatures armies. I have several 15mm armies which I'm intending to sell - Philistine, Mongol and Seljuk Turk. I'll post photos of them later. 

Could this be a good idea? To swop a minatures army for a boardgame? Maybe. 

And update ... I got a copy via ebay. That's me now got all the GMT Barbarossa games. WW2 East Front games for nutters. Sadly at the moment they only cover the 1941 campaign, but future releases will go to 42 and beyond. 

changes to the GNW stuff

I was doing some GNW stuff, then got fed up with the 120mm wide basing I was using for Impetus Baroque and the finish on the bases. So I decided to change the bases and use some gravel that a friend had given me. So now the infantry are on 3 bases and the cavalry on 2. It took a bit of time but I find the units physically easier to handle. 

Also did a bit of culture shock for me here on the bases. I used a dark-ish brown base coat and dry brushing sand and finally cream for highlights. Then I added the flock grass. I might still add a bit more longer flock grass in places. Overall, I'm quite happy the way they've turned out.

Now I just to finish off the rest. Grenadiers in red coats and dragoons in yellow coats are started, along with a couple of infantry units.

Of course, one of the sad things at the moment is that I'm kinda going off the big figures. So I may well sell the GNW Danes next year. Maybe a game with them might change my mind.

shake up for the paints and brushes

Finally got off my rear echelon this week and started using the paints again. Bit of a shocker for the brushes and paints tho' - they must've thought they'd gone into hibernation for the winter. 

First paint went on some more Late Imperial Romans.
Legion archers at the front - ones on the right have their red tunics.  Legion and Auxilia in the middle - I still have to decide on shield colours. Then scruffy asiatic horse archer types at the back. I usually choose a colour 'theme' for my irregular troops, then do lots of variations on that. The guys on the right will be mainly yellows and reds, the guys on the left mainly greens with some reds. 
This pic is the other half of the paint tray. The painted guys in the middle were used as a bit of a reference on what I'd already done many years ago.  

Now there is a motive with all this, because I'm going to part with a few 15mm ancient armies. The fully painted armies will be first and the mostly painted (like the Romans) will be next, as soon as I can get them finished.  

Monday, 5 September 2011

big hex wargames - part 2; Napoleon's Last Battles

And another vintage and great game. Napoleon's Last battles was designed by Kevin Zucker and published by SPI in the 1970's. I think it's a great game and still stands the test of time. It was a 'quad' game in that it was 4 individual games (each with less than 100 counters) which could be joined together to get a campaign game of the Waterloo campaign in 1815. 

In this picture is half of the overall campaign game map with my big version at the back and the originals at the bottom front. The two maps are Quatre Bras on the left and Lingy on the right. These two games make a great start to the campaign, with the French player having to make an important decison about where to send his 1st Corps. The other two game maps are Waterloo and Wavre and would add the same size map to the north (top) of these maps. 

And the counters for the game; 1/2 inch originals on the left and my home made versions on the right. All the home-made counters are scanned from the originals, printed and then mounted on 3mm foamboard which is very easy to cut. After scanning the counters, I added a coloured stripe at the bottom of the counter to indicate the corps or division. This helps to identify the units and their commanders for the command and control system in the campaign game. All this takes time, but the end result looks good on the table top. 

big hex boardgames - part 1; the Battle of the Bulge

No posts for a while. Simple answer really. A friend mentioned a couple of boardgames I liked, so painting was abandoned for a while in favour of pulling old and favorite boardgames from the shelves, setting them up and playing. 

But it also put me in mind of an ongoing project I have. I'm scanning the maps and counters of old classic games and then blowing up the maps and counters to double size. This means I can spread out a game on a 6 x 4 foot table and it can look quite impressive. Here are a couple of examples - photos of others will follow in due course.

First is Avalon Hill's classic Battle of the Bulge - the 1981 edition. My home made map is in the background and the orginal on top at the bottom. The original game has 16mm hexes and 1/2 inch counters. The big map is about 5 x 4 foot with double sized hexes.  

And the counters.  On the left are the original game's 1/2 inch counters and on the right my 1 inch counters. I took the strengths from the Battle of the Bulge 81 but took the counter artwork from another Bulge game; Bitter Woods, because each unit counter in that game has the divisional symbol on it. 

From the left and top to bottom are a German parachute infantry regiment, part of 2nd Panzer, part of Panzer Lehr and the panzer regiment of the 116th Panzer (the greyhounds). Column two contains 1st SS Panzer, a regiment of 12th SS, an infantry regiment from 352 division and a Werfer regiment. For the Allies in column 3 there is an artillery regiment, the 506th Parachute regiment from the 101st Airborne (the screaming eagles), CCA of 7th armoured and a regiment from 2nd Armoured. Last column has the British 33rd tank brigade and the 26th Infantry from the 1st infantry division (the big red one). 

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

More ancient history

Recently, I was looking through some shelves and papers for my copy of the Charge rules, but I think I've lost or parted with them. However, I did find these old books.  Anyone remember them?  :)

Not all are mine. My first copy was WRG 3rd Edition. This was still an era of Airfix plastic Romans and Ancient Britons though I did eventually progress to buying 6 Roman Legionaries from Minifigs. I was a long, long way from an ancient wargame at the time but I did put some plastic figures on bases and pushed them around.

Various other things and interests took over and the rules lay on a shelf. I returned to WRG with 6th Edition but still couldn't quite get into it. Then I met many gentlemen who are still my gaming opponents and got 7th Edition. I inherited the 4th and 5th editions in the picture but never read them. I got armies in 25mm and 15mm; Arabs and Selucids in both scales. At last, with 7th Edition, I was playing ancient wargames, though the rules gave me a good few headaches. At times I did wonder if these rules were meant to be fun - but thankfully a wargaming revelation was approaching....   

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Day after Claymore

I visited the Claymore show in Edinburgh yesterday. An annual pilgrimage. It was OK, but nothing there really inspired me. There was a 28mm ECW game and a 15mm Crimean War game which looked reasonably interesting, but nothing for the horse and musket era in between. The only stuff I bought were paints and ready-cut bases. 

However, there was one thing that made me suspicious and just a little disappointed. There are very few boardgames at shows now, so I had a quick browse along the shelves of the one trader who had some games. There was a little sign that said 10% off. I looked at some games and then a copy of Command and Colors which I saw was priced at £50. I just stared - speechless.   

Pause - I have played Command and Colors with friends and have been thinking of getting my own copy. I know the current rrp of the game and what it sells for. And I already have the Napoleonic version.   

So - here's me looking at a game priced £50, and I know it has an rrp of £45 and usually sells for around £40. And then I'm thinking - this trader has inflated his prices so that when he 'generously' offers his 10% show discount he's actually selling the game for the rrp.  

It reminded me of Claymore last year, when a rather well-known Books seller inflated the prices of some rules sets. I reckon they just added what they'd normally add for postage, probably hoping that people standing with the product in their hand are not going to quibble about an extra 2 or 3 quid.  

And so - OK - maybe the traders are just offsetting expenses or transport costs, but it feels just a little like we're being ripped-off.     

Monday, 1 August 2011

GNW tail-end thought

Last week at the club, two chaps were playing FoGR in 15mm and using Danish vs Austrian/Empire, both armies from around the 1690's.  This is roughly the end date for FoGR, so just before things move fully into the horse and musket era. They used Dixon figures and some other bunch whose name I've forgotten.      

I didn't think I wanted to go 15mm for the GNW, but the mass of figures looked good on the tabletop.  I'm trying not to listen to the voices ... the Claymore show is on in Edinburgh this weekend ... but I'm nearly sold on doing armies in 15mm. 

GNW work in progress

Work continues. Now added black to hats and shoes and the chappies are now looking almost complete.  Apologies for the quality of the photo ... I will get better at this bit. 

And other GNW stuff I'm trying to push forward at the same time.  At the front are artillery figures for battalion guns.  The idea here is that a battalion gun base will have 1 artilleryman (blue uniform) and 1 seconded infantryman with a 3 or 4 pdr gun.  In game terms, they will just be another unit, but I wanted to have lots of colour variation.     

At the back are the generals. I wasn't quite sure what to do here to avoid any strict sense of uniforms so I have the chaps in white, red, straw yellow and blue.  The idea is that the general officers are really pleasing themselves what they wear.  And gold lace, lots of gold lace. Anything not covered in lace should probably be covered in more lace.  Initially I used a pale gold, but after looking at one figure I thought, nah! - too pale - needs to be brighter, and so a bright gold was used. The chap in the red will be the grand fromage - or whatever the Danish equivalent should be - le grande bacon, perhaps. 

Friday, 29 July 2011

Memoirs of a Napoleonic gamer - part 31

Rules sets everywhere!
I've skipped ahead a bit in this saga - but it's just to show how absurd the Napoleonic wargame scene is just now. Maybe it applies to whole gaming scene.

Last week at the club we spoke about a new set of rules called March Attack. They looked quite good in the hard copy which a friend had. Essentially they looked to me very much like the Advanced Shako ideas before they were simplified into Shako 2. I thought I might like to try them. 

This friend also had a copy of the new Warhammer book Waterloo. This is a big glossy production, aimed at 28mm Napoleonics. Other than the eye-candy, I didn't look too much at the rules - but they seem just another typical set of 28mm rules.         

We also spoke about a new set of rules and figures coming out of Spain - Napoleon at War.  Another very glossy set (very nice indeed), and aimed at 15mm and very influenced by the Flames of War experience. You can buy the rules and boxed sets of miniatures with bases direct from Spain. And this week the friend showed up with the rules and a box of French infantry. The rules also look a bit FoW-ish. Nothing wrong with that at all - except it's yet another set of rules. The other (slight) problem with these rules is that they use a non-standard basing system, so players are just going to have to use their existing based collections or face a lot of rebasing. But then I think - old Napoleonic gamers are not the real target audience here - it's gamers new to the Napoleonic era who can get everything they need from one supplier.       

So what will I play in the coming weeks - I don't have a clue. I'd like to try them all, but I'm not likely to have the time or opportunity. I also want to continue playing the rules I already like, so much of this new stuff will fall by the wayside. And besides, at 20 - 30 quid a pop, I'm not going to buy these rules on eye-candy alone.  

Still - I'll be interested to watch this Napoleon at War and see how it fares in a busy marketplace.  

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

youtube links

I was prompted to this by links provided by Tradgarland to another blogger to Youtube stuff on the ACW.  Hopefully these links work. 

First up, the Romans.  Ermine Street Guard I think.  But watch for the final scene - pretty scary if this was coming towards you.

And now the final scene from the film Alatriste.  If you have an interest in the 30 years war era, see the film or read the books on Captain Alatriste.
Even without the subtitles the scene is still quite moving.  Near the end of the battle of Rocroi, the French have won and ask the Spanish to give up and march off the field with the banners and weapons, honour intact. 

Alatriste's reply is "This is a Spanish regiment". 

The simple statement speaks volumes, and the implication is the same as the Old Guard some 170 years later - the guard dies, it does not surrender.    In the next scene, the commander orders the veterans to the front and the new troops to the rear.   

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Memoirs of a Napoleonic gamer - part 1

This is the first part of what may well be a 30 part series  :)   ... only joking.  And some of this might get a bit jumbled as I try to remember what was when.    

Anyone remember these rules from the dawn of Napoleonic gaming.  

It was the time of 1:20 figure scale, 20 or 25mm figures in big battalions of 24 to 36 figures. Battles consisted of 2 or 3 battalion, 2 squadrons and a battery on each side.  If you couldn't afford metal figures you could do wonders with the Airfix.     

These are the WRG rules.     

And the rules by Charles Grant, based on his 18c rules published as The War Game. I remember the Napoeonic version being featured in Military modelling, with a chapter being published each month.  Lordy! ... that was a long drawn out year till I could read the entire set start to finish.  But eventually it was published in book.  Essentially it's the same set of rules with 54 figures battalions.  I could never put together enough figures for such big units and the book became inspirational (and aspirational) eye-candy.      


Sadly, I sold my copy of The War Game several years ago, but I kept the Napoleonic version.  (I also used to have the blue plastic Spencer Smith 18th miniatures, but sadly they were also sold. I now wish I had kept them).   

Then I got my hands on Bruce Quarrie's book.  Figure scale was 1:33, so units began to become slightly more manageable, but the rules themselves were too much for me.  

More to come on figures and rules ...

GNW work in progress

Apologies for lack of posts. Real life intervened. But some progress made to Danes for GNW. 

This picture shows the addition of a yellow undercoat for anything to be brass/bronze/gold and a light grey undercoat for anything to be steel.

Now added wood on muskets and halberd and buff on the belts.    

And now the gold for sword hilts and steel for barrels, blades and bayonets.  Also buff on the musket straps and a bit of white to touch up any wayward splashes.    

More to come. 

Saturday, 9 July 2011

GNW game in Perth

Some photos from the game on Thursday. Basic Impetus Baroque rules and army lists, with a few Danish allies on the Russian right flank. This is the opening Russian set up. The Danes are on the far right.    

The Swedish setup. The Swedish commander cunningly placed his strength on his right and the Danes faced a near empty field.  

The Swedes advance, taking some casualties and disorder on the way (those are the little red and yellow counters behind the units).   

This is the view from the Swedish right. Swedish and Russian cavalry are about to close again. 

The first time they clashed, no permanent casualties were caused and both units fell back per the retreat after melee rule because no-one actually 'won' the melee.  The Swedish player was kinda puzzled by this and a discussion ensued. I accepted it as 18th / 19th c. cavalry tactics of cavalry falling back to reform when there was no immediate success.

However, I took the question to the Impetus Yahoo group and Lorenzo said this was correct (i.e. both cavalry units falling back), but he now thought the fallback should only apply to mounted fighting infantry.  Seems better in the context of Impetus.   

Lorenzo also clarified the oblique and side moves. He suggested that a full move by mounted to the side or obliquely should now result in disorder, but that a half move will be OK.        

Above, the Swedish cavalry mass for the final attack. The infantry in the middle have taken casualties but are pressing forward. The permanent casualties means they have lost their impetus bonus. 

And below is the situation at game end. The Russian centre has collapsed completely. The Swedes took a lot of casualties but survived.   


And the game end view from the Swedish right.  The Swedish cavalry have also taken many losses but are still on the table. 

So victory to the Swedes. If there had been more Russian reserves in the centre to move against the weakened Swedish infantry things might have been different.

And finally - my completed Danes on the Rusian right flank spent all evening turning and eventually managing to destroy one Swedish infantry unit.  But, by the time they were able to move to the centre, the Russian infantry had collapsed.  


The lack of posts in the last week was because I put a bit of effort into finishing bases for the Danes before a game in Perth last Thursday. Here are the results of that effort. First up, The Queen's Regiment. 

Then Sjaellandske. 

The artillery 

The 1st Sjaellandske cavalry. 

The 2nd Sjaellandske cavalry. 

The 3rd Sjaellandske cavalry. 

And how it looks together. Only 7 infantry, 3 cavalry, generals and a couple of batallion guns to go. 

Sunday, 26 June 2011

GNW work in progress

And why not ... I think I'll try to show a unit going start to finish.  This will be the Fynske regiment for the Danes in the Great Norther War. 
I use white undercoat and thin coats of paint, almost washes.  So, basic white spray and added flesh.
Then green for the facing colour.  Any splotches and overspills will be corrected later.   
 Hopefully, more to come, though there may be a delay as real life or laziness take over.

Great units of the wargames table - The Red Lancers

The first of what might be an occasional series.  The 2nd Dutch Lancers of Napoleon's Imperial Guard have graced many a table. 
Years ago I used to have Historex 54mm models of the Dutch and Polish lancers, some Minifigs 25mm and first generation Minifigs 15mm, but they have all gone, though I still have the little coloured card that came with the Historex models.     
I still have my second generation Minifigs 15mm. These are based for Napoleon's Battles (but they also do for Age of Eagles and Shako).    
And - for Napoleonic anoraks (geeks) - I also have the Young Guard squadrons of the Dutch lancers. Again based for Napoleon's Battles, the YG had uniforms in the reverse colours of the parent unit, so blue uniforms with red facings.  
And some Essex figures,  
And of course, they appear in some boardgames.  A combo photo. 
Top row, left to right, the SPI boardgames Ney vs Wellington and Wellinton's Victory. 
Middle row, La Bataille de les Quatre Bras. The 14-14 is the regiment counter and the 3 x 4-14 are squadron breakdowns.     
Bottom row, La Bataille de la Moscowa.  Old version and then new version. 
I've got to add something from the painting from the Waterloo cyclorama.  Still inspiring. 
And something from the elegant work in the Bucquoy books. 

GNW bash

My only surviving picture from a bash we had using Basic Impetus Baroque.  This is a view from the centre of the field to the Russian left.  Note the complete absence of Danish cavalry on the Russian side. This was because I thought it was a good idea to go through the hedge, get disordered, then try to fight the Swedish cavalry.  Ho-hum, there's no accounting for stupidity.


Thursday, 23 June 2011

newest figure painting - the great northern war

Two of the guys in the Perth club have been doing the Great Northern War in 28mm figures with Swedes and Russians.  Prompted to join in I decided to get some Danes.  Here are the first chappies as work in progress.  These are based for Basic Impetus Baroque.  Infantry and cavalry are on 120mm frontage, artillery on 60mm.  

Some friends use sand on the bases and I decided to give it a try.  Not sure about it though, so I might change it back to my normal mix of filler and small stones before I add the flock grass to finish.

old, new, borrowed and blue

This is my most recent purchase.  It's the new version of La Bataille de la Moskowa.  The 1812 battle of Borodino at the level of infantry battalions, cavalry regiments and artillery batteries and 100 yard hexes.  There are a lot of counters (1000 plus) but they are madly beautiful.  The four map sections create a battlefield some 44 x 68 inches.   
Some 30 plus years ago, I bought the GDW version of this game.  And what a difference the years make.  Here is a bit of the new map.
And here's how it looked all those years ago. 
And the new map Fleches.  
And the old.
And now some new counters, as yet uncut from the sheet - the 'terrible' 57th in the middle. 
And how they looked many years ago (The counter for General Compans is my homemade addition).