David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occassional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

The Long and Winding Road...

Phil, Jon and I got together recently at the Midlands Wargames Centre, hosted by Stafford Games, to fight out a larger ACW game than we could stage here in GHQ. While the better weather has been with us we've managed five or so games there and enjoyed the benefits and challenges of the larger tables provided. For this game Jon provided the figures, buildings, low hills and roads, with the other bits from the Centre's own stock. In this view, taken from the first floor mezzanine area, the Union forces are advancing from the top of the photo.














Jon and Phil were the Confederate commanders, each with two Brigades, while I took the whole Union command of three larger Brigades. I also enjoyed a superiority in artillery numbers. Jon had predetermined dice rolls for where and at what strength forces entered the table, having to be given orders as they wanted to move on table. I had the initiative for six turns, but sadly the order dice did not let me exploit this as well as I might.























My first Brigade entered the table on the Union right centre, looking to seize the houses in the settlement, which we'll call Stafford, Va for convenience! Unfortunately, Phil's Rebs also entered in turn one opposite my boys. In turns two and three I failed to achieve many orders, Jon achieved none, but Phil went marching on as they say! That left the Rebs in possession of one building, my boys the other and a prolonged firefight was to follow. In the meantime, Jon's repeated failure to achieve any orders kept his boys marching down the road to nowhere. I was able to station one regiment on my centre left to watch him passing, concentrating my first two brigades on the fighting for Stafford, Va.















Sensing a good opportunity to strike the Rebel centre and defeat the two forces in detail I ordered my Irish Brigade forward! Sadly the dice only allowed one move, not the three I'd hoped for, and a rather serious log jam was developing in the Union lines! Phil took advantage with some awesome dice to close the gap in his turn, leaving my grand plan in tatters!
















Phil's Rebs holding parts of the town were proving very hard to dislodge, you had to see his saving throws turn after turn to believe them really! I continued to push on his left flank, hoping to turn his line, but repeatedly lost second rounds of combat when all looked so promising.












Finally, my boys could take no more and as the Zoauvres made a valiant effort to stem the tide, other units quit the field after spectacular morale failures!!! At the same time, Jon's boys finally got into action and I found myself having to commit my meagre reserves to stem the attack.














Although both sides on my right flank ended with broken brigades, the decisive action finally came on the Union's left and centre. Unable to make progress in the town and seriously flanked on my left, I took up defensive positions and prepared to weather the hail of lead thrown against my gallant lads! Sadly, once more, Jon's and Phil's dice throwing put mine to shame. Whittled away little by little, loosing a regiment here and there, my Army's morale finally broke and Useless S Bykleigh and his boys quit the field in turn 16.
As you'll probably guess, we were using Black Powder rules. The figures are all from Jon's extensive and beautifully finished ACW armies. They are mostly Renegade and Redoubt I believe, with most at seven bases of four figures for strength. The buildings are Hovells of course and the low hills from S&S I think. Our game lasted three hours in all and was wonderfully enthralling, even though I lost in the end. Outnumbered as I was I thought I put up a really good fight, only let down by those pesky dice again...

Monday, 28 October 2013

The Bridge at Pa Doh Ki

Phil and I got together this afternoon for a Bolt Action WWII game set during the Burma Campaign. Phil elected to take on the Chindit force of Lt 'Mad Phil' Robinson while I was left as Lt Onomoro, defender of the Bridge at Pa Doh Ki. The first picture gives a general idea of the table layout for the game here in GHQ. The Chindit force must blow the bridge and exit the table for a win.
The Japanese defenders begin the game with only two dice in the bag, representing two forward deployments of snipers with Ambush orders as their first dice call. I deployed one on the central hill and one on a low hill covering the track approach to the bridge.
 

The second sniper on the low hill was sadly taken out after one shot in a close combat! But the other sniper? Well, you'll see I'm sure later on...
One Chindit unit reached the bridge, but found itself pinned down by some unexpected Japanese armour{?}, while a second unit had flanked the hill and was rushing to its support.
While another Chindit unit had forded the river and was approaching the bridge from the other bank. All seemed to be going well for the Chindits, but...
In the headlong rush for the bridge, the heavy weapons teams were left far behind, meaning that when Onomoro unleashed his infantry, machine gun and light artillery support the Chindit attack first halted, then melted away under heavy fire and after loosing the melee brought on by a mad headlong charge born of desperation. Not even the antitank rifle could swing things the Chindits' way...
The Heroes of the Day! The second sniper team who held the central hill for the entire nine moves of the game, seeing off the Chindit light mortar team tasked with clearing them off the hill, and even supporting the bridge defenders late in the game by taking out two attackers from the rear!
A grand game and a splendid afternoon in GHQ all round. The figures are mostly from Warlord Games in my collection. The bridge was canibalised many moons ago from an old Airfix railway kit, while the jungle pieces were mostly made from aquarium plants with the odd palm tree {by K & M?} added for effect. Phil, of course, made all the base terrain tiles utilizing his teddy bear fur and towelling technique. If you fancy some for your games table you can get in touch with Phil through his occasional blog ~

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Generals and Gentlemen

I have a few minutes to spare between preholiday tasks, so I thought I'd share some of the things I've been painting up over the past couple of weeks. A while ago I rebased my ACW collections on MDF bases, which I think makes figures even as ordinary as mine look better! I discovered, somewhat to my surprise, during this venture that I had not got enough Rebel Command bases if I fielded the whole Army! Strange, I'd never noticed that before, so perhaps I had used more figures per base in the process and so found the Army short of Generals!
I've always enjoyed painting Dixon Miniatures ACW figures, as a glance at any game of mine on this Blog, or its predecessor website, will readily confirm. I could have ordered them from the firm through the post, but Spirit Games in Burton on Trent stock the range and I wanted to see their new shop, so off I went to pick the figures myself: an old fashioned joy I really miss: trawling through boxes of single figures to get the combination I really want! So, without rambling on any more, here they are ~














Stonewall Jackson and his staff. {If I had a wish it would be that Trevor would redo his horses using the lovely Ebob masters, I do find painting these a bit of a chore.}



















A Division Command base this time, smaller base and only two mounted figures ~ it helps us old folks keep track on the table of who's who!



















Finally a Brigade Command base, smaller again and with only one mounted figure. I've also completed a new Cavalry Brigade Command base and an overall Cavalry Command base featuring JEB Stuart and his staff, but they need some basework before they can appear here. Finally, from the much maligned Foundry Victorians, a Gentleman's Shooting Party for The Great Detective games.









I'm going away for a short holiday now, so I doubt there'll be anything new here now until next month. Still, plenty to revisit in older posts if anyone gets withdrawal symptoms...

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Abu Ben Witti's Treasure

Not long ago Jon and I played a small Black Powder Darkest Africa game here in GHQ. Jon took the part of the Arab Slaver, the notorious Abu Ben Witti, while I took on the natives, lead by Chief Bykelezi of course! The first picture shows Jon's small force.










The Arabs must travel the length of the board to reach the village and trade their slaves for a king's ransom in ivory. On the way there are six markers, in the form of animals, which trigger an encounter. The percentage chance of the encounter increases the nearer to the village the Arab party gets. Jon ordered an advance for his Arab Riflemen first and a Blunder resulted. A throw of 6 gave him 36" of movement and he reached the river.


















However, he also triggered the first encounter with a throw of 93% on the chance factor! He now found himself and his natives attacked by a force of Pygmies!













The Pygmies proved a small problem for Abu and were soon dispatched! Jon ordered his Arab Henchmen forward again, and again triggered an encounter, this time with a mad bull elephant! Oh Dear!














The enraged beast charged forward, only to be shot down by closing fire, and then to have its ivory cut out too! Oh the ignominy! However, while distracted by the lure of ivory, the party was attacked by the fierce warriors of Chief Bykelezi.














However, the Arabs proved to be made of stern stuff and soon they drove off the warriors and entered the chief's domain.

















Choosing to spend a turn in the village, Jon was able to recover his casualties and exchange slaves for ivory. He had now to get his party off the table by the track exiting at the midpoint of his long table edge. Unknown to him the only route available to reach the edge quickly was guarded by a large force of natives. If he was n't careful he was going to find himself cut off and cut up! Turn 14 saw Jon ordering his native riflemen forward towards the exit point. He Blundered! Again a 6 resulted in a 36" advance forward, springing the trap too early! The natives found them selves surrounded by some angry Pygmies intent on revenge!












Sadly, it was n't to be the natives' day as Pygmy bow fire proved awful and native fire in return disordered the Pygmies! Worse was to follow as the Pygmies found themselves attacked from behind and were soon destroyed, while their fellows were failing to obey orders to rush to their aid.

















In short, Abu Ben Witti's party achieved all their objectives in some style in Turn 16, aided by some really awful dice throwing by the natives at crucial moments I'm sorry to say. I suppose you could be charitable to me and conclude that Jon blundered to victory!
The rules we used were Black Powder and the figures were from my collection of Foundry's Darkest Africa range. The animal markers are from a whole range of manufacturers too numerous to mention here. The village I scratch built years ago ~ it once featured on the cover of Wargames Illustrated I recall!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Pigs in Spaaaaace!

A lighthearted game set against the world of P G Wodehouse's Blandings Castle stories and our alternative WWII background centred on a successful Operation Sealion, fought out here in GHQ recently by Phil, as the brave Brits, and Jon and I, as the vile Hun! We used Bolt Action rules with some minor in house modifications, as you'll realise when you follow the story through.
By the early morning light all seems peaceful around Blandings Castle, former home to the now interned Lord Emsworth, who pines for his one true love, The Empress of Blandings, his prize fat pig...



















Top Reich Scientists are on hand to oversee the final preparations...














 All is to be recorded for the eager viewer by a camera crew.














While security within the grounds of the castle is in the hands of Herr Bykel of the Gestapo...














Beyond the immediate environs of the castle the German Army has also deployed in strength, warned in advance about a possible Counterattack at Blandings...














At the nearby bridge over the River Severn guards are especially alert as the early morning light may easily play tricks on the unwary...














The game lasts ten turns and the sole British objective is to prevent the launch of The Empress into space at the end of turn 10. There are three crossing points across the river, by the bridge and by two fording points on the left of the table. The British enter the table from the short side nearest the camera in the first picture, the Germans, apart from the sentries, from the road opposite their long side of the table, the left as you look at that picture.














Phil divided his approach up into three arms: a rapid advance on the Bridge by lorried Regular infantry, and bicycle troops from the LDV, supporting a Vickers Light Tank...















While on his left more LDV troops tried to cross the river by the two fords, where they soon found themselves opposed by Gestapo troopers...














And by troops from the German army...














The British enjoyed some successes on both wings of the attack, although their centre was pinned by machine gun and morar fire for most of the game. On the British right, tricked by the poor light, they ran straight into one of the more bizarre products of Reich Science, a Were Hund...














Attacking the Light Tank, the Were Hund failed its Order Test and scored a FUBAR, fleeing away from the tank and leaving the way open for the tank to drive on the rocket site...














While the attack was supported at the bridge now by Professor Moore's latest mechanical marvel, Tommy Adkins 01...














The tank has run into the rocket and the V3 is destroyed, right in the end of Turn 10 too . Its back to the drawing board in Pigamunda I fear...














We had great fun during the game, which you can only attribute to like minded folk getting together to enjoy their hobby and friendship free of the constraints of those sad types who can't face up to the reality that we play games with toy soldiers and enjoy it...