David Bickley's Wargames Blog

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

Wednesday 29 February 2012

A busy month

Given that I received a small amount of encouragement last time to my 'Monthly Update' I thought I'd run up a second and see if there was any feedback for this month's effort. As I said in my previous Blog post, I played five games this month, winning two and loosing three ~ pretty much par for the course I would have thought for me. The two wins came in the two versions of a 'Victory Without Quarter' ECW game, featured in an earlier post as 'The Battle of Pyddle Down'. The defeats were the two versions of our Darkest Africa games using Black Powder with some house amendments, which featured in the previous post, and in a RF2 Normandy game in which my Germans failed to beat off an attack by the British Air Landing Brigade commanded by Phil.

Painting has been enjoyable again this month, perhaps due to the rather more eclectic selection of subjects than has been my pattern over the last couple of years. I painted several WWII 28mm German infantry from Foundry ~

They were joined by a few BEF {now Warlord} figures, as well as a few Foundry German cavalry for our 1940 Operation Sealion games ~

They were joined on the painting table in turn by a BEF Vickers VIb tank for the same games ~
Another small painting effort has been directed towards the ECW, with the addition for the Royalist cause of the Bishop of Bath & Wells ~

We'll use him, and his Puritan opposite number, as a second chance Morale marker once in a game.

I've also been making up 'Stand Loss' markers for the ECW games.

Other painting has included a second Siege gun and crew from Foundry for the HEIC forces in the Indian Mutiny games, together with a Battery Command Stand; a second US Regular Infantry unit from Dixon Miniatures for our ACW games; several Redoubt Native Americans for the FIW skirmish games; and, finally, some Pulp Miniatures armed merchant seamen.

I've managed two wargames related visits this month too: to Vapnartak in York ~ despite the snowfall ~ and to the latest Foundry Open Day last week. For our visit to York, Phil booked a cottage in North Dalton for the four of us. We had a four day break to enjoy the countryside, and the seaside at Whitby, though perhaps the mild hypothermia we suffered there somewhat took the edge off the day out! We had n't bargained for the 6" of snow that fell on Saturday evening, but after digging the car out we made it to York and on to the show without too much difficulty. The show itself, perhaps like a number of other long established events, has begun to feel comfortable rather than exciting, seeming to offer the same traders and gamers in the same places from one year to the next. Not withstanding, we enjoyed meeting up with folk from the wild north ~ 'Hi Kevin!' ~ and did manage to buy a few goodies. Principally I got some Perry Miniatures ECW infantry and a gun from Dave Thomas; some ACW limber horses from 1st Corps and the Bishop from Warlord.
At the Open Day we had a chance to see a Napoleon AWI game in action, as well as examine the layout tables for Saturday's games of Myth & Legend and Renaissance warfare. I bought a few things, as you'd expect of any gamer I think: a War Elephant for the Rajah of Rhanli in the Mutiny; some Camel Mounted Guns for the same force; and, a pack of SYW British Infantry.
Its also been a bit of a book month too: I got three ECW Battle guides in the Whitby Bookshop and more locally I got a good copy of Young & Holmes' "Military History of the Civil Wars" which I've enjoyed re-reading, and a copy of an early Osprey, "An Eyewitness to the Indian Mutiny", which I'm reading at the moment.
Well, that was rather longer than I anticipated, so I'd better stop drivelling on. Enjoy your gaming, whatever odd scale or period floats your boat: remember, its a great hobby but not a matter of life and death...

Monday 27 February 2012

The Heart of Darkness

Recently I've been playing around with my old Foundry Darkest Africa collection: rebasing, that sort of thing. Phil and I had tried Chris Peers' rules, but were unconvinced by the feel of the games, so I have given Black Powder a try this month in two games, firstly with Jon and then with Phil. I'll start by saying that I lost them both, although the games themselves turned out to be quite close...

While Black Powder are aimed at large tables and enormous units, yet still give rapid resolution, we have found that they work well on 6' x 4' tables, with smaller units, at no loss to the rapid resolution of events. As a house rule we allow units who fall at 4 or below in morale checks to flee for one move and then test again to see if they rally. Today in six tests only two units successfully rallied in the following turn. In combat the fleeing unit throws 2 x D6 for its movement and the victorious unit also throws 2 x D6. If the victor outpaces the looser, then the unit fleeing is destroyed and removed. Anyway, some shots from the games...

Chief Bykelezi m'Tubi contemplates the chances of success in the struggle against...

...Robinson of the River!

The Sikh infantry force a passage through n'Tobi Gorge, though not without a tough fight.

While the loyal, if somewhat reluctant, Askaris head over the mountains towards the native village.

Eventually those Askaris did make it across the mountains and poured down onto Cheif Bykelezi's village...

...where they destroyed the chief's Maiden Guards and won the game!

The figures are all from the, now truncated, Foundry range while the village and jungle terrain are scratch built. Local Garden Centres are a good source of plastic aquarium plants which make convincing jungle on the tabletop. The village huts have card formers and are coated in Basetex ~ Dried Earth shade ~ and washed in Valejo Iraqui Sand/Mahogany Sand. The thatched roofs are made with layers of green garden string washed with PVA glue and dry brushed when hardened. The detritus scattered around the village was from Front Line and the Foundry 'Village Goods' set

We have all found the games enjoyable, so we'll probably persevere with Black Powder for our occasional Darkest Africa game. That's all my games for this month: two wins out of five played! Normal Service is definately restored here in GHQ.

Monday 13 February 2012

The Battle of Pyddle Down

Being an account of the battle fought this day between the forces of Parliament, commanded by that worthy and stout gentleman, Obadiah Bykleigh, and the forces of the foul tyrant, commanded by the gout-ridden turn-tail, Sir Marmaduke Robinson!
In other words, the latest ECW game here in GHQ using our favourite period rules, "Victory Without Quarter!" fought out between Phil and myself this afternoon {while our wives were off at the Coven Craft Club ~ hope it doesn't have 13 members!!!}
Staunch and true, Englishmen all!
A push of pike between Sir Gilbert Talbot's Foote and Fairfax's Foote. The new bases are all MDF made by Warbases and are 80mm x 50mm ~ so much easier to use than all those fiddly single bases or even 40mm x 40mm bases if it comes to that!

On the left and right flanks of Parliament's army the cavalry melees did not go well; after some initial successes the Parliamentary horse largely quit the field on the left, though they were able to fight the Royalists to a standstill on the right.
The Foote of both sides slogged it out in the middle of the table, until with two turns to go the Royalists were finally broken...

The Royalist Command stand can only stand by and watch as the Foote flees in route and the baggage is threatened with capture and pillage...

Obadiah Bykleigh joins Lord Brooke's Foote for the final decisive advance on the fleeing Royalists. The table top at the conclusion of the battle makes a sorry sight for the Royalist cause, with only some minor cavalry successes to sustain their spirits..

So, the victorious General, Obadiah Bykleigh, pauses for a quick 'portrait opportunity' after the battle...

The figures are a mixture of, predominantly, Foundry; Perry Miniatures; and Warlord Games; with odd figures from Redoubt and guns from Bicorne. The really wonderfully drawn flags are all from GMB ~ probably the most frustrating website I've ever tried to order from, a flag site with almost no illustrations for the ECW ranges!

Tuesday 7 February 2012

On 2012, so far...

When 'Tales From GHQ' was hosted on another site, I used to write a monthly Blog entry on the off chance that anyone 'out there' was remotely interested in what I'd got up to that month. Since I transfered my affections to this 'Blogger' format I've wondered whether such an occasional post is merited, so here's a sampler so as to speak to see if the thing has any legs...
I painted 80 28mm figures in January: 53 Empress Miniatures Anglo-Zulu War figures to add to my collection ~ horse holders, horses, Natal Native Contingent, Mounted Infantry and extra bases for the British Infantry; 27 WWII 1940 figures for our Operation Sealion/Pig Whoooey! games ~ mostly Foundry German figures, with three from BEF/Warlord. I'm quite pleased by the total in the circumstances but hope to up my output later in the year.
I played eight games in total: winning three; drawing one; and loosing four. Pretty much my usual tabletop performance most months, not exactly setting the world alight, but I did enjoy each and every one of them. The games comprised two ECW, two AWI games, and one AZW game here in GHQ; while I played a Black Powder Crimean War game at Jon's and a WWI and First Carlist War game at Phil's. A good mixture of games producing interesting challenges, many of which I failed to rise to...
I did n't buy very much in January, as my post-Oz holiday financial crisis was finally being resolved ~ I paid off my credit card debt!!!! I did order some MDF bases from Warbases ~ their usual excellent service was a joy ~ as I am rebasing my ECW armies and transfering my Sudan infantry onto MDF bases to match the cavalry, command and artillery already MDFed! I also ordered three packs of figures from Empress and the new Flags for the AZW. I have to say I scanned the flags into the computer and printed them out on thinner, matt paper as I did n't like the glossy thicker paper the flags came on, ~ but that's a personal preference, not a complaint.
Finally, on wargaming related matters, I attended the first Penkridge Table Top sale, as it was just up the road. I did n't buy anything, mostly as it seemed dominated by Fantasy related products and 'part time traders', but mainly because nothing took my eye. It seemed very well attended and many folk were buying stuff happily, so perhaps I was just out of sync with the event. Anyway, I would go to another, as you never know what gem might be there...
I'd like to end by remembering fondly my late Father in Law, Ken Boland, who passed away on Sunday 29th January after a long, dignified struggle with Alzheimer's Disease. A kind and gentle man who found our hobby interesting ~ even attending a show or two with me, in earlier happier days ~ rather than something to be avoided in his Son-in-Law! God Bless, Ken.