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.

Saturday 31 March 2012

Its that time again...

Its been a very busy month here in GHQ, but first up I must post the picture from Thursday's ECW game which Blogger refuses to enlarge...
There, let's hope it works this time around! It shows the moment I knew the game was slipping away from me as Sir Marmaduke Robinson's Horse smashed into the flank of John Hamden's Foote...

Painting this month has been a very mixed bag, beginning and ending with additions to my Empress AZW collection: Colour Parties for my Regular infantry units and the first of the 17th Lancers, probably the most difficult figures I've encountered in the range. The first base is done now I'm relieved to add...
Other additions were for the Indian Mutiny games; the ECW; 1940 Zeelowe and finally the FIW. Figures were from Redoubt, Foundry, Perry, Crusader and Warlord/BEF.

Games were great fun this month, eight in all; of which I won three, drew one and lost four! The draw was in my third venture into Flames of War with Jon, as I took Italians against Australians in the Western Desert campaigns of 1940-41. My tanks were nowhere, but my dug in infantry held their ground for a well deserved draw.  Other games were two Hail Ceasar! Late Roman encounters; two BR2G ACW games; two ECW games {featured in earlier Blogs} and a Devil's Wind Indian Mutiny game in our ongoing Byklabad Chronicles series...

I've managed two visits during the month: to WMMS and to Stafford Games. WMMS is a show I have much affection for and usually enjoy. On a splendidly sunny day Phil and I walked there and back along the canals without a care in the world. There were some good games on show and I did manage to get a few bits as well. Actually, now I take stock I've bought rather more than I meant to this month! {Ooops!} My main purchases have been the start of a project for 2013: the Seven Samurai, hopefully using a variant of Sharpe Practise. I've sourced and acquired a heap of John Jenkins Designs buildings, both from the UK and from Hong Kong, comprising a walled Samurai house, a Temple, and a farm complex of house, stable and barn. In addition I got about 75 figures from Museum Miniatures' Samurai range in 28mm and the civilians from Perry Miniatures, which seem to fit in exactly for scale, if a bit bulkier ~ a bit like me perhaps? I'll add more figures and terrain items over the rest of the year I hope, starting with some bits from Oshiru at Salute next month? I've also bought some books! Can't resist them I'm afraid, even though GHQ's shelves are groaning under the weight already: an Osprey on ECW Artillery, Sherwood's "Civil Strife in the Midlands" covering our local ECW actions and Chisholm's "Ladysmith" {I still have a strong hankering for the First and Second Boer War.}
Well, enough rambling on. I hope your wargaming month was as much fun as mine! May we all enjoy many, many more in the company of good friends ~ even when they thrash us and frustrate our best laid plans....

Thursday 29 March 2012

Disaster at Dunny-on-the-Pyddle

The forces of Parliamente were this afternoon put to route by those of the Kinge, "God save his Majesty!"
Parliamentary forces attacked on the left and on the right from the first move.
Obadiah Bykleigh can be seen directing the attacks, from the Parliamentary Army's left, in the middle distance.

While on the Parliamentary Army's right the Foote advance steadily towards the Royalist Foote, whose Horse is rapidly crossing the bridge over the Pyddle and coming up in support.

Soon the Parliamentary Army's Foote found itself under pressure and, alarmingly, began to give way: first on the left centre and then on the right, when Sir Marmaduke Robinson's Horse crashed into the flank of John Hamden's Foote, while Obadaih Bykleigh's Foote could only look on helplessly.

A general view across the table near the end of the game, as Jon's Royalist Army advances on all fronts and the forces of Parliament flee the field of battle in disarray.

As ever in our ECW games the rukes in use were "Victory Without Quarter!" They are card driven, so not to everyone's tastes, but we feel strongly that they represent the chaotic nature of mid C17th conflict really well. Its not often that a battle ends up as one sided as today's Parliamentary route though...

Sunday 25 March 2012

From Byklabad to Pyddle Down...

...is but a short stroll around the table here in GHQ. Wargaming, for me at least, is almost like a stroll around one of those 'Model Villages' which formed {still form?} one of the attractions of British seaside resorts for parents and children alike. Even perhaps a sort of mini 'Grand Tour' of the world's military and historical hot spots without leaving the comfort and safety of your own home/club. This week I've been able to get in two games here in GHQ: an Indian Mutiny game, using my own The Devil's Wind rules with Jon, and an English Civil War game with Phil, using our current rules of choice, Victory Without Quarter, the Second Battle of Pyddle Down.
In the Mutiny game I took the Mutineers' part, as the Raja of Byklabad attempting to block a HEIC relief column 'somewhere along the Grand Trunk Road. {The command elephant is the Foundry one, but Mutineer have a really good one too, and probably a tad cheaper...}

The Raja's main force consisted of his Guard, who in the end proved his most stalwart asset, both the Foot Guard...

...and his Horse Guards.

The Raja's position straddled the Great Trunk Road, with the Guards supported by a battery of Mutineer Foot Artillery and the local Badmash, eager for some loot.

The HEIC Relief Column gathered at the western end of the table: to win they merely had to escort the baggage safely off at the eastern end...

The Raja's forces attacked fearlessly and repeatedly, while in the far distance you can see the Badmash beating off the best efforts of the HEIC'S best...

Even the services of a marksman trying to take out the Raja himself failed to shake the gallant defenders...

But finally the Raja's forces wilted, under repeated bombardment and merciless infantry fire, their Pluck finally gave way as they fled the field.

The following day here in GHQ, our attention switched back two hundred years or so and half a world away, to an English Civil War action: the Second Battle of Pyddle Down. Phil, as ever, taking the part of the Royalists and yours truly taking the part of the Parliamentarians.

In an epic five and a half hour struggle both flanks saw swirling cavalry fights surging back and forth across the table.

In the centre the Foote faced off against each other in dour struggle, intermittently bombarded by each side's large positional guns.

The battle seemed to swing away from the righteous forces of Parliament as Obadiah Bykleigh's foote "...went home to beer and family..." as a result of an Event Card! They were soon followed by a second Regiment of Foote fleeing in disgrace and then the positional battery as another Event card had the master Gunner 'drunk as a lord'!

Things even looked bleak for Obadiah Bykleigh himself at one point!

But fortune in battle { that is the run of drawn cards in this case} can so readily change. With the Royalist cavalry on both flanks put to flight and two fresh Regiments of Foote being sighted off their now unprotected right flank the Royalists fled the field of battle, leaving Obadiah Bykleigh victorious and in the bosom of his family! "Hurrah for God and Parliamente!"

Thursday 22 March 2012

Sir Marmaduke Robinson...

...a staunch, if not stout, Royalist commander!
He's the Warlord Games 'Gustavus Adolphus' figure from their 'Pike & Shotte' range of figures. I've painted him to represent Phil's Royalist character figure in our games, Sir Marmaduke Robinson.

Perhaps a better view of the figure and my efforts to paint it.
The character even has a back story, being created 1st Baron Rawnsley on the Restoration of His Majesty King Charles II in 1660, in recognition of sterling service during the late unpleasantness...
He pops up in all our games from the American Revolution, the Seven Years War,through the War of 1812 to the high pomp of Queen Victoria's {Gawd Bless 'er!} "Little Wars" in India, Natal and the Sudan!
Quite a stirring life for a little lead fellow...

Those of you who know Phil may recognise the similarities between the man himself and his little lead alter ego...or perhaps not!
Next up will be a figure for Sir Jon Whyte, another long lived character in our games...

Monday 19 March 2012

A Mixed Bag...

...in more ways than one. I'll explain if I may. I've had an eye test which has resulted in a new and different prescription for my close focus painting glasses. The results are pleasingly clearer focus on the little chaps when I'm painting them, which is obviously a 'good thing', combined with a rather alarming realisation that the stuff I've been painting these last few months is pretty rough, which is obviously a 'bad thing'...
Well, judge for yourselves ~
A unit of Dixon Miniatures, painted up as Regulars.

As the close up shows only too clearly; I even seem to have missed the moustache on the right hand figure completely.

Some Redoubt Enterprises additions to my French Indian War skirmish games.

A Perry Miniatures ECW gun, 'Primrose' and crew.

And finally a Warlord/BEF Panzer 38t for our 1940 Operation Sealion/ "Pig Hoo-o-o-o-ey!" games.

Of the lot, I'm really pleased with my efforts on the tank and the ECW gun and crew, but much less pleased by the ACW and FIW, stuff which I finished a while ago. Perhaps I'm being too picky, after all I'm no great shakes with the paint brush anyway, as I will readily admit, but they did honestly look ok through the old lenses. Moral of the tale: keep up to speed with those eye tests, they are too important to leave go!

Monday 12 March 2012

WMMS, Camels, Flags and Failure

Phil and I went along to WMMS yesterday. I have a long standing affection for this show having been, along with Phil and Pete Bellingham, the organiser of the first several incarnations of the show at the old Alumwell School in Walsall. Like many similar events I attend, I am increasingly finding the anticipation out plays the experience. I think its a combination of factors myself which lead me into this dead end so many times. Regretfully, one of these is my ageing eyesight, which sadly means I often don't see the splendid features of so many display games ~ until someone posts the pictures they took on their Blog pages! Hence, no pictures from me! On the plus side I did meet some old and good friends and exchanged news and views as well as purchasing most of the bits on my LIST ~ does that make me a sad old thing I wonder, that I need lists now.

Purchases included a unit of ECW Foote by the Perrys, from Dave Thomas {I think a lot of shows might struggle without him and Dave Ryan at Caliver trundling their stands along you know.}; an 80mm German mortar & crew from Crusader; four new ECW flags sets by GMB from Bicorne; Battlegames 28 from Caliver Books; some flowery tufts and a Gustavus Adolphus from Warlord; and finally a pot of Dried Earth Basetex from Coritani! Last of the big spenders I don't think...

I do try hard to enjoy looking at the games, I will have to make a bigger effort I think. I liked the look of the Jack the Ripper game with lovely terrain and game masters in 'period dress' ~ good show, chaps! Also I'd like to especially mention Dave Page and his group from Kinver. Dave always has something interesting on show in his games, Loos 1915 this time. They may not be the most ' scenic ' of games, but for me they capture wonderfully the look of most people's games in their homes or at clubs. Long may he continue! Regretfully other games passed me by and I feel I'm missing out here, so have resolved to try to be more attentive of other folks' efforts. Mind you, my next venture will be to Salute, at a venue I strongly dislike for dwarfing games...

Painting in GHQ has been trundling along steadily. I've added some camel gunners and a mounted commander for the Raja of Rhanli's forces in our Indian Mutiny games, all from Foundry ~

For my Anglo Zulu War collection I've finally added the colour party sets, even though the lovely folk at Empress have still to do a colours set for the 13th ~

Finally, today we've been playing a Late Roman Civil War game using the Hail Caesar! rules. Our game lasted for seven turns and I came second! I've included a picture or two to finish. Perhaps anyone who is interested might look Phil up and ask him about my cavalry and his ballista...

Pompus Maximus, a most unlucky commander ... at least where the dice are concerned.

My Heavy cavalry failing to beat some chaps with a ballistsa.... Oh Dear!

A "corner of some foreign field"...at least I still had a couple of units on the table at this stage! Just!

I do like the stable of rules from the creators of Black Powder/Hail Caesar!, so I'm looking forward to getting a copy of Pike and Shotte at Salute. So, I must get on with painting some figures for the ECW again soon...

Thursday 8 March 2012

"Bull Run to Gettysburg" battle

This week we've played two games in GHQ of "Bull Run to Gettysburg". On both occasions I commanded the Union forces: winning one and loosing the other, against Phil and Jon respectively. Both games lasted a little over two and a half hours and encompassed about ten to twelve moves, pretty much the average for our ACW games over the years.
The North Carolina brigade entered from the South West. {For those interested the buildings were made by Dave Paddock under the Architectural Heritage label. The pailing fences, and trees you'll see in other pictures, by The Last Valley and I made the corn field from an old artificial Christmas tree.}

The South Carolina brigade, supported by a Virginia brigade, entered from the South East. Almost all my ACW figures are the wonderful Dixon Miniatures, with the occasional Redoubt figure and even an Old Glory figure somewhere in the Union ranks.

A Union brigade of New York and Pennsylvania troops formed the left flank of the attack, supported by artillery. {Stung by a previous comment, I've begun to purchase limbers, horses and crew to add to the visual appeal of artillery on the move. In the meantime, we'll make do...}

Meanwhile the Union left, comprising the Iron Brigade, found itself surprised by a Rebel attack made through the corn ~ easily "...as high as an elephant's eye!"~ at least that's my excuse! {I've just broken up these fields to base them on more 'troop movement' friendly bases for our next venture into the ACW.}

With the objective of seizing the crossroads near Moore's Homestead the Rebels secured a comprehensive win today, as I was quite unable to hit a barn at any range and my little lead heroes were decidedly unwilling to risk the cold steel anywhere along my line...  The deciding moment was when the 24th Michigan broke in rout and the remaining units nearby decide to retire in sympathy...

...You can see them on their merry way to the rear in the centre of the final picture. {The fences were made by Phil and I many moons ago for display games, back in the day when I could hear what I was being asked by interested folk.}