Thursday, 20 September 2018

Colours 2018

Mid-September so it must be Colours!  Colin kindly invited me to join good chum Paul to help out with the Charlie Foxtrot stall at this years show.  Here we are!
The three ... err ... musketeers?
We were delighted to have a little chat with two well-known figures, namely Alec Brown from Front Rank and Dave Bodley from Grand Manner.  Nice to see you there chaps.
Alec, Me, Paul and Dave
All three of us really enjoy manning the stall and chatting with fellow gamers about their projects, helping them choose the kits they need, etc.  This show was particularly busy at times.  However, we did manage to have a quick nosey round the stalls and tables.

A large ECW game - just before opening time!
Love the flock of  sheep - from 1st Corps

Operation Goodwood
A nice little scene

WW1 in the Middle East
Liked the little dioramas

Some explosive Bolt Action

I think this was an 1812 winter retreat game

The ECW in progress

Modern gaming

An intriguing small scale fantasy skirmish

The Penarth lads and their War of the Roses game
This next table really impressed me! Warfare in mid 19th century China is not a topic I know much about, but it was beautifully presented and the guys running it were very friendly. Sharp Practice 2 BTW ;o)

Glenn and Richard of Elite Wargames & Models - nice fellas!

It was also good to catch up with a number of now familiar faces in the trade scene.  It seemed that pretty much all the traders I spoke to were having a busy day – good news all round.

What did I treat myself to?  Well... having flogged various bits on eBay recently I was sufficiently "in funds" to pick up the following modest haul;
  • A lovely mix of scatter terrain (barrels, crates, treasure chests, etc) from Debris of War - Nice to meet you Tony ;o)
  • A box of Perry DAK to boost my growing collection ready for our Western Desert campaign.
  • Some blank hills from Kallistra – these will become rocky sand dunes.
  • Three packs of Mini Natur tufts.
  • A small collection of intriguing female figures (not "icky" ones!) from Glenn and Richard at Elite Wargames & Models, a blunderbuss armed Portuguese Partisan leader, another a well-to-do lady with a pistol and a physician about to treat a wounded soldier (ideal as a Physic in SP2)
All in all, a splendid day out with great friends soaking up plenty of hobby goodness!

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Clotted Lard 2018

Last weekend saw Devon Wargamers host the Clotted Lard event in Exeter.  Colin and his lovely wife Nik kindly put me up for the weekend.  Really enjoyed Friday evening catching up with everyone.  Right... The idea for the event is that various people put on Lardy themed games and the rest of us turn up and play.  For the first game I teamed up with Colin, Paul and Steve to play Bob Connor's splendid FIW scenario for Sharp Practice.

Here's the gang having a grand old time!  Bob umpired the game very smoothly and his scenario was superb fun indeed!  My thanks sir - look forward to the games in October ;o)

More silliness from Paul and Steve.  Highlights from the game included the surprise arrival of several canoe loads of angry French loving Indians and Steve's brilliant little victory dance!  Sharp Practice is ideal for those of us who like a relaxed and perhaps slightly chaotic game of toy soldiers.  Excellent fun indeed.

Here's another table of SP2 - British versus Zulus... Faaarsands of 'em! Lovely stuff!

The Dutch Revolt using the "Sharply Buffed" extra rules.  I really liked the look of this game!

Here's a Home guard themed table for Chain of Command.  Excellent!  I played on this in the afternoon session - my thanks to Chas and Vince (I think?) for a lovely and rather bonkers game.

Alas the rest of my photos were a bit blurry for some reason.  The event was superb fun; a good laugh all day long.  Plus it was great to make some new gaming friends.  My thanks to the Devon Wargamers for such a great day!  Looking forward to the next one.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Yet More DAK

Here is squad number three.  This project is really rolling along now!  The painting is great fun and I'm fairly pleased with the results so far.

I've also added an AT gun team.  I've used the same scenic base idea as for my previous squad where the MG34 crew were behind a crumbling wall.  It's allowed me to use some of the nice kneeling pose figures with weapons other than a rifle.

Painting and basing recipe is much the same as with the other two squads and can be found here if you're interested.  With these figures I tried out a slightly bolder set of highlights - simply the next lighter colour in the Foundry triad or the VMC colour with a little Boneyard Light added.  Next should be the CO and maybe some supports.  When the CO is complete I'll have a basic platoon ready to roll.  I'm planning to add a couple of veteran infantry squads too before moving on to the armour and transports.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

The Long Road North - Part 4

Sunday and our final game of the weekend. George and I would be travelling back almost 1400 years to the hills and valleys north-east of Bath, for a War & Conquest game of The Battle of Deorham 577AD ... and it was a real belter of a game!

Game 4 - The Battle Deorham 577AD
The Romano-British army (let's call them the good guys ;o)) were comprised of three smaller armies - from Bath, Gloucester and Cirencester - each led by their King.  The Saxons were led by King Ceawilin and the Atheling, Cuthwine.  Naturally, since I live in the South-West, I took command of the Romano-British army trying to preserve the fading light of Rome and hold back the hairy Saxon horde!

Here's the field of battle.  That ridge line would be where my brave men would make their stand.

Here are the two large armies arrayed for battle!  George has done a grand job on these armies, plenty of flags and banners, shield decals, big units... Stunning stuff :o)
Two beautiful armies!
The Saxons
The Romano-British
Glorious isn't it?
The figures are a mix of Footsore and Gripping Beast - more of the former I think.  George and I have very similar views about the quality of troops and levels of equipment for this era - power gamers look elsewhere!  Each of the main characters has a 'commitatus' or' hearthguard' of fairly well equipped, good quality soldiers but the rest of the forces are largely ordinary men (and women, Reg!) with a spear and shield, or sometimes a large shield.

Anyway, with the forces lined up and ready to go we shook hands and set to!  George got the first turn and with a roar his men surged forward.
The Saxons waste no time!
Both sides have cavalry ready to exploit any gaps
The first couple of turns saw the obligatory skirmish line battle.  I'm not sure really how many skirmishers would actually have participated in a battle such as this, but it does add to the flavour!  Plus the minis are nice ;o)

The Saxons drew ever closer and the Romano-British Kings only just held their men on the ridge - especially the Warbands of mercenary Saxons and Welsh, but hold they did!  No amount of taunting or bare arse waving was going to goad my lads into action.  This was key - I knew if my line started to fragment then George's warriors would rip into my flanks.
Steady! Hold!
On the other flank my ranked up bowmen were doing astonishingly well against one of George's warbands.  Again lots of bowmen would not really have been a feature of these armies but as my forces were Romano-British, George had given me a unit of Sagitarrii.

In one of those 'comedy' moments that often happen in a wargame, some of my skirmishers routed past their King, but managed to roll super low for the move ... we imagined them casually sidling past trying to look like they were going back for more arrows rather than just legging it in terror from hordes of hairy Saxons :-D
Shhh! Act casual lads...
Turn three (I think) and the Saxons are within striking distance! An exchange of javelins saw a few men fall, then on they came... but confusion reigned in the Saxon lines.  Two warbands, one Saxon, one Frank, attempt to charge the same Romano-British formation but one failed its Command Roll and ground to a halt.  This meant the Frankish warband would have to face two of mine, including King Farinmail's Commitatus!  Would Bath's finest be able to throw the invaders back down the hill?  If you follow George's blog you'll already know of their chequered reputation :-D
Confusion in the Saxon lines!
Well... Despite their best efforts the men of Bath could not rout the sturdy Franks.  They took heavy casualties but their nerve held and the fight continued.  This allowed George to send in the other units in the following turn.  I couldn't charge downhill as my men were busy fighting the Franks.
Here they come! Steady! Hold!
The Romano-British line heaved and buckled under the terrible impact of the ferocious Saxon charge... but they held!  With their King's shouts of encouragement loud above the din of battle the men of Bath, Cirencester and Gloucester fought bravely all along the line.  The battle ground on with terrible casualties on both sides but the Romano-British gradually forced the Saxons back.  It could not last ... with a shudder the Saxon line broke like a wave.
The Saxons rout!
The men of the west sweep their enemy from the field
What an absolutely gripping and dramatic game!  Lovely terrain, beautiful figures, a splendid opponent - wargaming at it's very best!  Of course I was extra delighted as I took the win ;o)

This battle was the perfect climax to fantastic weekend of great wargaming.  Again huge thanks to George and Evelyn.  Looking forward to the next one :o)

Then came the journey home ... just under 8 hours this time! :-D

Monday, 27 August 2018

The Long Road North - Part 3

The George Washington pub does a fantastic meal, plus the locals are a nice bunch too.  So, suitably fortified, we returned for our third game of Bolt Action.

Game 3 - Assault at Chateau Wartone
This would be a straightforward fight representing the Allied push inland on the 7th June. As George had won game 2 (by a whisker!) he, as the attacker, would have a more flexible deployment.  We also swapped sides for a bit of variety.  I would be leading a large gruppe of Panzergrenadiers whilst George fielded his lovely British force.

The field of battle with our initial deployments.
A Stug and a Churchill play cat and mouse...
Being a huge piece of scenery I don't often get the chateau on the table.  It's okay, but the grounds need a little more "shrubbery" and the chateau is definitely going to get a re-paint - it's way too pink and the painting is a bit shonky in places.
Chateau Wartone :-D
I decided that I would quickly invest the cafe and make it a fortress! Sounds good "in theory" doesn't it?
Hans... mine's a latte
George's enhanced deployment options meant that he could start bring up his reserves in turn 1 whereas I'd have to await turn 2.  So on rumbles his Sherman.

British infantry advance either side of the road under the watchful eye of the Churchill commander.  Both George and I realise the cafe will be a key feature of the battle.
The British advance on the cafe, can they beat the Germans to it?
All four tanks are on the table now so expect a good exchange of whizz-bangs!
All four AFVs battle it out!
The Stug (see below) has manoeuvred around the cafe to put a round in to the Churchill.  It's a hit but those forced workers are making dud shells for the Reich and it bounces off, still it's a pin.  The Panzer and Sherman blast away to no effect.
The Churchill is hit, pinned but otherwise undamaged
It was my turn to whoop with joy as George rolled a 1 for his artillery support.  It landed in a nearby field blasting a small herd of pigs into finely minced lardons.  On target it would have torn my flank to shreds.
Allied artillery goes wide
The action at the cafe is hotting up.  The Germans have taken up residency whilst almost a whole platoon of British infantry converges on its stout walls.
The British quickly bring up more men
Next turn and the first dice out of the bag is a nice shiny black one!  The Stug loads another AP shell and blasts the Churchill... which brews up nicely.  Take that Tommy!
Bang! The Stug despatches the Churchill!
But George wastes no time in settling the score with a fantastic shot from his Sherman which punches a smoking hole right through the Panzer IV's turret.  So it's one all in the tank duel.
Bang! The Sherman despatches the Panzer IV!
With the loss of the Panzer IV I had to concede the left flank.  One squad and a sniper (in the farmhouse) were of little use against the armoured might of George's Sherman.  Plus he had men moving up that flank too.  The battle would be decided around the cafe.
A quiet left flank and a hectic right
Two squads held the cafe, with the CO nearby, plus there was a squad in the fields behind (just out of shot) so in terms of firepower I held the advantage.  But George dropped a mortar shot right on the squad in the fields then his sniper took out the LMG so a few shell-shocked chaps with a heap of pins and just rifles were not going to be much help.  The balance was shifting in George's favour.
Things were hotting up around the cafe!
Back on my left flank I decided that the sniper would harry the advancing British whilst my squad made a Benny Hill style dash along the road.  They'd probably be too late to help at the cafe but it was worth a shot.

I'm not sure what the German is for "Leggit lads" but their NCO is shouting it as loud as he can!  Although they were still too far away to help out their comrades.

To give my troops a better arc of fire against the massing British I moved my men out of the building itself in to the yard with it's solid stone walls, but the additional -1 to hit meant most of my shooting went wide and in return the British poured everything they had in to area.

With time drawing on we called it a day and totted up the order dice. Two for me and five for George, so a solid Allied win.  Their attack had been a success and the road inland lay open.

It was a great finale to a superb series of loosely linked games.  That's all you have to do, I think, in order to add an extra dimension to your games.  You don't need complex campaign rules that track officer's opinions, the state of the men's boots, the weather, etc.  Just find a narrative link and tweak each game based on who won the last.  Obviously an excellent opponent is essential and George provided that most admirably!

The Allied version of events can be found here