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.

Monday 31 March 2014

Desperate Action at Le Ferme Rouge

A 1914 game played out recently here in GHQ between Phil and yours truly saw Phil's growing Early War German collection pitted against my BEF lads. The action centred around the ruins of a farm and was mainly designed to try out the rule amendments we had worked up since our last run out. As my BEF force currently outnumbers Phil's vile Hun we diced for opening positions, dividing each 2' square of the table into four 1' squares and then allowing one third of the forces to be deployed as each of us chose in the square chosen by a D4 throw for each. The table with the opening positions, BEF to the left ~

The BEF's cavalry brigade, supported by a battery of artillery, boldly advanced on what they thought might be an open flank ~

While on the BEF's opposite flank the Lowland Scots occupied the ruins of the farm and the Gordon Highlanders moved forward on their flank ~

The BEF's centre was held by the South Staffords ~

Meanwhile, the BEF's commanders plotted the downfall of the Hun, from a safe distance to the rear!

Mindful of the fact that his force was outnumbered, but favoured by his dispositional dice throws, Phil drew up a strong centre with his infantry, leaving the artillery and cavalry to cover the exposed flanks. A strong position for a Jaeger battalion on the Hun's left flank ~

British cavalry swept forward on the right flank ~

Only to run into Uhlans lurking in a wood ~

However, while the Uhlans were engaged and then suppressed in the wood, the British got one cavalry element behind the flank ~

The Jaegers had the initiative in the next turn and were able to fire and fight in turn, meaning the cavalry were temporarily beaten off ~

As you can see in the distance in the previous picture, the Highlanders had finally overrun the second Hun battalion, while the South Staffords struck the beleaguered Jaegers in their rear! Despite Hun reserves finally arriving on the table it was all too little too late. With his force overwhelmed and fleeing the fight Phil graciously threw in the towel and accepted defeat!

The game was fast, furious and fun. We've identified a few minor areas we want to work on before the next test game, so look out for the next encounter later in the year. In the meantime, from 1914, "Goodbyeee!"

Sunday 23 March 2014

Additions to the French Revolutionary War project

A few extras bits and bobs have made their way across the painting table and into the awaiting varnish queue. By Trent Miniatures as before, first up is a Demi Brigade Command stand featuring a mounted General and a dismounted regimental officer ~

The first elements of the British contingent for the Allied forces, again by Trent, the 4th Foot ~

Some artillery support {a second gun and crew are underway} ~

I'm still waiting for Duncan to provide me with the few missing figures to complete the other two British regiments, so in the enforced hiatus I shall probably start the Light Dragoons and then the Heavy Dragoons if the figures have n't appeared by then.

Wednesday 19 March 2014

A chance find

I have been taking advantage of the recent fine weather to clean out our garden pond and waterfall. Its a messy and smelly job I found, but one which was reasonably straightforward once I worked out how to get down low enough to handle the bottom few inches; not so easy when you have a bionic knee! Having cleaned it out and re-potted the Lily we headed off to a local garden centre to buy new plants and related odds and ends. While Sue was paying for the stuff we'd bought I wandered into the indoor aquarium section.
Now, on past visits I've found all manner of odds and ends, most notably a 'mountain range' and more recently a 'Japanese bridge'. This is what I found this time ~

With just a little work (cue Phil, I hope) and a repaint it should make a nice centre piece for Pulp Adventure games set in Egypt and complement the various Hovells pieces and scratch built buildings I already have. I see it set into  a rock face on a triangular board to fit in the corner of a 2' square table. More when we get on to it later in the year! Oh, it cost £5.99 and is a great scale for 28mm figures; large but not overwhelming! Its also very light weight, some sort of plastic by the look and feel of the interior. It gets my vote as a 'good buy' anyway!

Thursday 13 March 2014

"Dusst you were..."

Phil, Jon and I recently played a Western Gunfight game here in GHQ; a three handed game in which the bad guys ~ Phil and Jon ~ tried to intercept and make off with a mysterious 'shipment' due into New Paddock City. No one was quite sure what it was, but if it was 'mysterious' it was bound to be valuable they thought. I took the part of the forces of right and justice in the form of the Sheriff and his trusted deputies...
The peaceful town of New Paddock City

The Dusst clan, lead by their patriarch Jedediah Dusst rode into town, skirting Main Street and moving behind the buildings to take advantage of the cover provided. Perhaps unfortunately Jed had not got his bearings and ended the move right behind the Sheriff's Office! The card draw did not favour him and he found the Sheriff and one of his Deputies overlooking him from an adjacent window. While the Sheriff's shooting can be glossed over, the Deputy hit his target, leaving Ol' Jed with 4 wounds...
Jed and the Boys take shelter from the hail of lead

Meanwhile, El Blanco and his Bandidos has dismounted behind the Liberty Bell and made straight for the establishment of Madame Moustache. The building's balcony gave a good view over Main Street towards the jail and bank.
El Blanco and his men overlook the Noon Stage

As in all good Gunfight games there was much lead flying and bodies dropping all over as the game developed. While Jed's boys fought it out with El Blanco's henchmen and the dwindling band of lawmen, Jed entered the bank by the rear door...
Sadly for Jed, El Blanco had beaten him to it!

Jed had used two actions to enter the bank, meaning he could not shoot straight away. In a tense draw of the turn cards El Blanco came out next! Two shots saw Jed gunned down! While mayhem reigned on Mani Street and lawmen and the bad guys were carried off to Boot Hill, El Blanco calmly made his exit with the strongbox from the bank's safe and rode away into the sunset...
"...and to dust you shall return."

We use Astounding Tales for our gunfight games, with some in house additions. I made the turn cards myself using mostly period images I found from the net ~
The Turn Cards

My figures are mostly Dixon Miniatures and early Foundry figures, with some from Pass of the North which I bought a long time ago at Historicon. The buildings are all bar one by Battleflag, the exception being a Herb Gunht wooden kit I received for a present one Christmas from Dave Paddock. Some extras are by Gamecraft. In all the game lasted 17 turns and was a great exercise in fun and tension with Jon running out a close winner, Phil coming a close second and myself, well, we'll draw a veil over that I think for now...

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Artillery, Light Infantry and Personalities for the Republican French

I have just managed to finish the first section of my French Revolutionary Wars project by painting up the last of my first purchase of Trent Miniatures' Revolutionary French {and a handful of Dixon Miniatures officers, for a command base, together with a Eureka mounted officer}. The latter two manufacturers are far from compatible size wise with the larger Trent figures, but, as the figures will inhabit their own base I see no real problem in using them in a game. First up, some French Horse Artillery ~

A Battery of Horse Artillery with Command

A closer view

Battery Command base

Some Light Infantry to start a second Demi Brigade, the 14th in their distinctive head wear ~

A few close up shots to show the character of the figures ~

The command elements, with mounted Eureka officer to the rear

One Flank Company

The other Flank Company

Dixon Miniatures Bonaparte & Staff


Staff Officer

The colours are a little washed out I feel, as I photographed them in strong natural sunlight, and don't do the shades justice really despite a little editing on my part. I've got the first British figures on the painting desk now. I hope to have that part of the project completed for May. Next to be added will be some more French figures I hope and then later in the year some Austrians.