Sunday, 27 October 2013

Gaming Weekend - Part 2 - The Great War

Here as promised is part 2 of our gaming weekend!

Sunday and Dave, Rob, Phil, Steve and myself all geared up for another play-test of Rob's "The Big Push" rules. They're still at a very early stage so we were all prepared to adjust things as we went along.

The basic premise of the game was that during the 1918 German 'Spring Offensives', a British battalion has become engulfed by the overwhelming attacks and was holed up in a strong defensive position. A combined force of British and French were trying to halt the Germans and relieve the beleaguered British.

I commanded the lone British battalion whilst Dave and Phil led the relieving British and French forces, respectively. Rob and Steve donned monacles to become German High Command.

Here's the table. My British would be in and around the fortified hill in the foreground whilst Dave and Phil would begin behind the distant hedge/tree-line. The Germans were deployed broadly diagonally across the table in and around the buildings and woods.

A closer shot of the further end of the table. The tree line is actually Phil's "Plugstreet Wood" terrain - very nice!

A lovely ruined building from Phil's collection. I should also point out that his craters were based on dining table place-mats - hope Mrs Phil didn't mind!

The front yard. What estate agents might describe as "making good use of natural light" and "in need of some renovation" ;o)

Another item from Phil's ruined property empire. Again, "compact and bijou" with "plenty of opportunity for open air dining"?

More Plugstreet Wood terrain.

Anyway, on to the game! Here's my British crammed in to "The Hill". Fine fellows eh?

Steve's Germans begin their advance from the buildings.

And from the woods! Yikes but there's "faaawsands of 'em!" (oops! Wrong conflict)

Here are Phil's French. True to form he/they begun the battle by having a long lunch and snooze. ;o)

Phil's reinforcements moving up the line.

On the other side of the ruined farm house the Germans have placed the support weapons in the yard to hold off the relieving British and French.

The relentless German attack continues. The British just couldn't seem to mow enough of them down with the HMGs.

On the right of the surrounded British Rob's Stormtroopers advance across cratered ground ably supported by two HMGs in the small ruined cottage.

Hooray for dear old Blighty! Here comes Dave's force! Up and at 'em lads!

Cavalry leap the barricades and bravely advance to take their lances and sabres to the Germans! Dave has done a lovely job converting these to be Indian "British" troops - if you look closely you can see the turbans. Great work!

The Germans close in on the British.

These Assault Troops were not delayed long by the wire, plus the chaps in the crater were giving good supporting fire.

Rob's Stormtroopers ... storming the sandbag barricades! (and showering the plucky Brits in grenades.)

The Germans have breached the hill's defences and some of the Tommies are retreating! Oh dear. I think it's time to put the kettle on.

Now please forgive the fact that most of my shots are of my end of the table. With five of us in my gaming room along with a 9' x 4' table (and a piano!) it was a bit cramped! Plus a few of us are more generously proportioned (I prefer the term "well built") than others.

The game was played with great bonhomie and, most importantly, much fun was had by all. Rob was pleased to get plenty of feedback on this version of the basic mechanics. Although there is still some tweaking required!

Finally, no party is complete without balloons ... just don't ask. Really.

The end result? Well, I suppose it would have to be called a winning draw for the Germans. As we closed the game Rob and Steve's Germans were over-running the hill. Phil's French were held mostly to their starting positions. Dave's brave attack had made good progress but his forces still had a long way to go to reach my British.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Gaming Weekend - Part 1 - The Dark Ages

What better way to celebrate the recent-ish passing of another year here on the Wargames Table than with a weekend of gaming with friends?

Day 1 saw us take to the field of Stamford Bridge in 1066 for our slightly re-interpreted version of the famous battle between the Saxons of Harold Godwinson and the Vikings of Harald Hardrada and Tostig Godwinson.

Details of the scenario for War & Conquest may be found here on the Scarab forum, but the basic idea was that the Saxon march north had been delayed by bad weather and Harald’s Vikings were ready for them!

Dramatis Personae
Steve ~ King Harald Hardrada
Jenny ~ Earl Tostig Godwinson
Matt ~ Earl Edwin of Mercia
Phil ~ King Harold Godwinson

Both sides were approx 4,500pts with the Kings having the slightly larger force on each side. All of the characters were simply named versions of the standard characters in the respective army lists.

Deployment; Harald's Vikings on the left and Tostig's in the foreground, Harold and Edwin's Saxons beyond.

My plan was to have Edwin’s army act as a holding force with perhaps part of it despatched to help Harold crush Harald’s army as quickly as possible before turning to deal with Tostig’s men. So much for high minded tactical ideals – as you will see!

My force made up the Saxon left flank. At the hinge of our Saxon armies I had a large unit of Ceorls and another of Thegns. You can just see them in the pic below. These units wheeled away from Tostig's lines in order to tackle Harald's right flank.

Phil's Saxons make steady progress towards Steve's Vikings whilst the Ceorls have rather too enthusiastically got stuck in to the unit of Hirdmen holding Harald's flank (upper centre-left, on the road).

Harold's Saxon skirmishers start to pick off Hirdmen and Bondir.

A view from behind Edwin's line. The darker brown playing pieces are hnefatafl pieces which we use as Strategy Intervention Point counters.

Predictably the Ceorls fared badly against the rather more professional Hirdmen and are forced to flee.

However, I didn't expect the nearby Thegns to also take fright and head for the hills! Oh dear, my attempt to help Phil by crushing Steve's flank has backfired and left my own right flank rather fragile.

Another of my units, the Huscarls accompanied by Earl Edwin, are badly mauled and rout from some of Tostig's Hirdmen. Fortunately they ran far enough to escape the vengeful Hird by not so far as to reach the Harald's Hirdmen advancing behind them. But this was only delaying their doom!

On the other side of the table, Phil was doing very well against Steve with the Saxons quickly gaining and holding the upper hand.

King Harold's Huscarls about to slaughter a brave but foolhardy unit of Harald's Bondir. Note the splendid Push & Shove marker behind the unit.

Meanwhile ... the Vikings gain the strategic advantage in the next game turn and elect to go first. They waste no time engaging Earl Edwin and his Huscarls, front and rear! Again the result was never really in doubt. Brave Earl Edwin was cut down with the last of his hearthguard.

Another whole turn saw the complete destruction of Edwin's army, not even a skirmisher remained on the table. Harold would now have to win the battle with his own troops. The battered remnants of Tostig's army head south to fight Harold.

But King Harold has been doing extremely well having largely shattered Harald's army.

Here we see King Harold - with just a few brave retainers - about to drive King Harald from the table.

A win for the Saxons then ... ? Well, nearly I suppose. In the end we agreed on a hard fought draw, although it must be considered a strategic win for the Saxons after the slaughter of the Norwegian King?

A hugely enjoyable game! My thanks to everyone involved.

In the evening we played a little Saga with Jenny’s Vikings slaughtering Phil’s Saxons in the “Battle at the Ford” scenario. The Vikings wasted no time getting to grips with the Saxons, and with Jenny being a fairly mean Saga player, the Saxons were soon defeated. Clearly my keen tactical insight and advice to Phil was not put to good use! ;o)

Day 2 was all about The Great War in 1918 ... more to follow in a later post.

Monday, 21 October 2013

War & Conquest Gaming Day - 1st Dec 2013

On behalf of Wargames Table chum "Phil"...

Gravesend Wargamers Club
War & Conquest Gaming Day

Sunday 1st December 2013

Venue: The Northfleet Veterans Club, The Hill, Northfleet, Kent, DA11 9EU.

There is parking outside the club and lunch is provided in the entry price

Format of the Day:

Please arrive around 9am, the first game will start circa 9.30

Army size: 2000 points. Armies should be selected from the scarab website online army organisation lists. You may include up to 250 points of Legends of War within the 2000 points.

If you have not yet confirmed your attendance or army preference, please let Phil know as soon as possible.

We intend to fit players into groups with a theme, these are as follows-

The Greeks and enemies
Rome and their many  enemies
The Dark Ages

We intend to play 3 games, time permitting and so to help speed up play, the following deployments and objectives will be used. Attendees are urged to read the 'Battle Begins' section starting on page 153. You can download a set of cards with the Battle Objectives from our web site to speed up selection. Remember, 'No Plan Survives Contact with the Enemy' on page 159.

Game 1
Deployment Zone:     Autumn (page 155)
Deployment Method:     (5) One Side Deploys First (page 158)
Game Length:         Variable Length (page 159)

Game 2
Deployment Zone:     Spring (page 156)
Deployment Method:     (6) Unit by Unit (page 158)
Game Length:         Player Calls Time (page 159)

Game 3
Deployment Zone:     Summer (page 155)
Deployment Method:     (2) Deploy by Formation Type (page 158)
Game Length:         Fixed Length (page 159)
You may use Veiled Hand (page 158) in the games, should you so wish. As for a number of players this will be their first games, it would be polite to let your opponent know you are doing so.

Items of club terrain will be on the tables. Don't forget to select at least one Rally Point each. With that in mind, you will need to bring something to indicate your Rally Point, and if you wish to bring one or two items of terrain, that is absolutely fine.

Winning and Losing
There is no “street cred” in winning a game of toy soldiers. There will be a number of people who haven’t played much/at all, so please help them along and enjoy the day.

Finish time
About 5pm

Please get in contact with us via email at or telephone, 07794908204.
If you cannot make the event or are delayed on the day, please let us know.

If you would like to know more about the Gravesend Wargamers Club please follow this link:

We look forward to seeing you on the day and enjoying a few games of War & Conquest together.

Many thanks to our sponsor

Monday, 7 October 2013

Warg Riders

Quite a few years ago these figures were partially painted then went back in to storage. But alas the box they were in somehow got rather squashed and many of the figures were quite badly damaged, especially the plastic models. However, with all this renewed enthusiasm for LotR I decided to have a go at repairing them and finishing off the painting ... and I'm rather pleased that I did! (To think that I nearly threw them away at one point too!). Anyway, here they are.

They are mix of the plastic and metal boxed sets that GW brought out some years back.

The metal figures just got a bit 'bent' with the odd arm breaking off. The plastics really needed some TLC to get them back in shape.

As you can see, one of the bases had to be replaced. They took quite a beating!?

The paint scheme is deliberately simple, keeping to a small palette of mainly browns and greys.

I'm looking forward to getting them on the table for a game.