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.

Thursday 31 January 2013

Caravan to Byklabad

Quite recently Jon and I played an Indian Mutiny game here in GHQ. Jon commanded the H.E.I.C. force tasked with escorting a caravan through hostile areas to Byklabad. I took the natives, comprising two forces: the wild hill tribesmen of the Bhurpas and the loyal household troops of the Rajah of Rhanli. The natives appeared by a reducing percentage chance in each turn at four predetermined points. As I was dicing for their appearance you may guess how tardy they turned out to be!
The general table layout. The H.E.I.C.'s camp is in the distance. The road to Byklabad passes through the daunting Bykler Pass.

The 2ns Sikh Irregulars force a passage through the Pass.

The head of the caravan travels into the depths of the Pass.

Wild Bhurpa tribesmen swarm atop the Pass's heights.

The H.E.I.C's Infantry engage the tribesmen while the caravan hurries on.

An alternate view of the action in the Bykler Pass.

While a Gurkha battalion engages the Rajah's troops in the outskirts of the village.

The first elements of the caravan leave the table safely en route for Byklabad.

Even the Rajah's presence cannot persuade the Cavalry to close with the Gurkha's! The Rajah leaves the scene in disgust!!!

The game was played using my own "The Devil's Wind" rules, available from Caliver, Mutineer, Dave Thomas and others. The game lasted about three hours in all. My collection is mostly from Foundry's Indian Mutiny range, with guns and buildings from Mutineer ~ although I did scratch build the village shrine ~ and the well from Grand Manner. We prefer games which zip along nicely and give the minimum cause for the brain to turn to goo and dribble down the nose. Not everyone's cup of tea of course, but definitely to our tastes here in GHQ, where we think a hobby should be fun! Next up will be an ECW game, but first we are off to Vapnartak!

Wednesday 30 January 2013


...'To fight bravely.' Or rather the first month's work on one of my 2013 'Year of Being Japanese' projects. I'm planning nothing beyond a skirmish game, as I said last year. The bulk of the figures are from Museum Miniatures, with some peasants and Ninjas from Perry Miniatures. I chose the Museum Miniatures figures over other manufacturers as I wanted unarmed figures for our games, centred on local rivalry between three Jizamurai ~ Samurai of the Land, hardly distinguishable from the peasantry around them. I'm using a muted colour scheme of mostly browns and greys rather than a uniform look, with each side distinguished by an item of red or blue, reflected in a choice of red or white floral additions to the bases. The Ninjas and peasants who have to be available for all sides are outside the colour scheme on the whole, as is the baggage train.
The Baggage Train

Peasants to work the land

Women and children

Wandering Priests


Ashigaru with an Hatamoto

More traditional firepower

For this, the first of my Japanese projects, I've adopted a rather rough and ready approach to the figures: no eyes painted in; mostly just two colours, except on the flesh where I've used the Foundry Oriental Flesh triad; home made banners; simple bases with some static grass, tufts and a bit of floral decoration. I was inspired in this approach after reading Sydney Roundwood's Blog ~ see my Blog List sidebar ~ where he describes an it'll do approach to his Saga project. As this will not be a main effort of mine or frequent game here in GHQ this seemed the best approach to me to get the figures on the table and start tinkering with some rules. You'll have to judge for yourself now you can see a few more  finished figures than I could muster last year.

Friday 25 January 2013

Blandings:Top Secret

Phil and I spent a jolly day here in GHQ playing a Bolt Action WWII game set in our fictional world of Lord Emsworth and Blandings Castle. Top Secret experiments were being held deep in the Shropshire countryside, attracting Churchill in person, and of course some unwelcome Hun!

Well known scientific genius Professor Braynestawme was planning to test his latest device, the D-Ray which it was hoped would "...shorten the war by at least two years!"

The BBC's Film Unit were here to record another triumph in the British War effort!

The castle is heavily defended by units of the Regular Army.

While units of the Local Defence Volunteers are deployed in a wider field to screen the castle from prying eyes.

Meanwhile, the first 'unwelcome visitors' make an appearance.


And soon the LDV are under heavy pressure defending Home Farm and the approaches to Upper Blandings Bridge.

While the Regular Army defending the castle's perimeter come under heavy mortar fire.
Soon Home Farm is in the enemy's hands.

Churchill arrives admidst all the fighting, eager to see the D-Ray deployed in action against the Hun!

While Lord Emsworth, Connie, Freddy and Galahad lend a hand against the Hun!

The D-Ray is ready to be deployed for the first time ~ against a totally unexpected enemy!!!!!

 First blood to the Prof!

Bitter fighting ensues between the Da-Leks and the defenders of Blandings.

Aided by the mysterious 'Doctor', Professor Braynestawme and his assistants soon deals with those bothersome Da-Leks.

But, in his moment of triumph, Braynestawme and his wonderous D-Ray are destroyed by a hit from the Hun's 80mm mortar!

Time ran out for the Hun at this point!  Although the D-Ray and its creator were destroyed, the remaining force was unable to enter the castle to steal the secret documents of the ray's creator and in addition found its flanks threatened by the stout fellows of the castle's own LDV. We decided that the game was a draw!

Thursday 24 January 2013

Confederate Generals

I've been mixing some ACW figures into my general painting of Ashigaru this month for a little varriety. As usual with my collection and preferences they are Dixon Miniatures in the main, but, tiring of waiting for Trevor to make Joe Johnson, two personalities are from Redoubt Enterprises.
First up, to oppose my Union army under Sherman, an Army Command base featuring Joe Johnson ~
Next up is a Confederate Division Command base: again Dixon Miniatures in the main, with a Redoubt McClaws personality figure~
Finally, a Brigade Command base featuring only Dixon figures ~
I'm quite pleased by the way these turned out in the main, although the Redoubt figures are somewhat less detailed and sculpted than the Dixon ones. I'm no real fan of the Dixon horses to be truthful, but they match all the others in the collection so they will do. The bases as ever are from Warbases, who I highly recommend for quality and service, with the static grass and clumps from Silfor via Mutineer Miniatures.
As ever, comments and observations welcome, though not really expected!

Saturday 19 January 2013

The Siege of Pyddle Down manor

A recent game between Phil and me to celebrate the publication of my new ECW rules, A Crowning Mercy, available from Caliver Books, a siege game from our ongoing campaign in Staffordshire, the Great Siege of Pyddle Down Manor.

A General View of the Hasty Defences of the Manor



The enemy gather for the assault

A mortar shell sets the Manor roof ablaze
A Council of War considers the defence of the Manor

A mine explodes under the corner of the outer defences
The defenders are forced back and the outer defences breached

Royalist Foote storm into the outer defences

The Manor ablaze Obadiah Bykleigh must seek the mercy of his enemy

 Sorry about the layout and caption mess, Blogger seems to back to its stupid tricks!



Saturday 5 January 2013

One More River...

Phil and I kicked off our 2013 schedule of games yesterday with a whole day's gaming here in GHQ. I should perhaps explain that Dianne, Phil's wife, has a new job literally just up the road from our house and that Phil's days off from his job include Friday. The two factors happily coincide to allow us a whole day's gaming as and when we can arrange it now. We planned to play a Musket and Tomahawks game in the morning session, followed by lunch which Sue kindly provided for us, with a Bolt Action WWII games set in the parallel 1940 of Operation Zeelowe {See Wargames Illustrated #300 for a full explanation}.

The general premise of the first game was centred around an attempt by a force of British Regular to surprise a Paddoquoi Indian encampment on the banks of the the Great River, burning the village, if possible, and killing as many of the Paddoquoi as possible. Naturally, the Indians were not at home to callers but returning from a hunting trip up river.
The Indian plan, such as it was, centred on an ambush of the Regulars in the dense woodland which lay along the river's course, linking up with the small party which had been left to guard the village.
A prolonged firefight developed between the Indians and the Regular Infantry, who were hampered by the narrow path through the dense woodland. In the foreground you can see the Indian Sachem, whose trait turned out to be 'Afraid', rather hampering any close fighting on his part.
The Indians sprang their ambush and for a while it looked as if the Regulars might not prevail. However, superior discipline and firepower eventually told and the Indian force dissolved away, leaving the village to burn. Oh well, there is always next time I hoped! Muskets and Tomahawks seems promising for our occasional F&IW games, preferable to Sharp Practise which I found confusing and disappointing! As I said just, the rules used were Muskets and Tomahawks while the figures are from my collection of Redoubt Miniatures and the woodland from The Last Valley. As you'll all know, Phil made my terrain boards specially for GHQ.]
Time for lunch!
Unfortunately my camera battery chose just this time to run low, meaning that I only have two shots of the afternoon's Bolt Action "Battle of Blandings Bridge" game. As I won that one its doubly galling really! First up, a general view of the table with the attacking Germans in the foreground, with the Blandings Bridge and the Dower House in the distance. The gallant lads defending this vital crossing point can just be seen moving into position.


Next, the gallant defence of the perimeter of the Dower House by the bicycle mounted reconnaissance squad, who held off two squads of attackers for the whole game, despite heavy fire from the 80mm mortar!
The figures for this game are from my 1940/Pig Who-o-o-o-ey! Collection: mostly Wargames Foundry with a smattering of BEF/Warlord, Artizan and Crusader. The bridge and walls are from Hovells, the Dower House a Scenix prepaint which does stirling duty from the ECW to 1940!
Our next scheduled game will be over at Phil's later in the month: a Bolt Action WWI game! In the meantime I have to collect my ECW rules, "A Crowning Mercy",from the printer next week and deliver them to Caliver Books. An exciting start for me to 2013!