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 29 June 2017

Road Trip {Part the Second}

Up bright and early today and after a super breakfast at The Village it was down to the action at Wargames Illustrated HQ. Colin had the initiative in Turn 1, but little good did it do him, most commands failed to move and one that did Blundered forward onto the French guns. It was n't much better in Turn 2 and the French managed to advance their cavalry on both flanks and their infantry in the right centre. "On Avants, mes braves!" ~

Turn 3 saw the action developing as more Anglo-Russian units marched forward. Firing rippled along the French front, casualties were inflicted, and mostly saved! The French on the centre left were
driving the Highlanders back but without being able to break them. On both flanks the cavalry after some initial successes found themselves outnumbered and on the back foot. Blunders abounded by now, three to Colin and one to me!

Despite doing well against the odd, the French infantry cannot hold the town against superior numbers, Nor can their cavalry on the right flank stem the Russian juggernaut as it rolls steadily forward. On the right flanks the fortunes of war turn against the French Light Cavalry Brigade in Turn 4 ~

With the town lost and the cavalry Brigade on their right Broken, De Bykli transfers the Light Infantry to hold his flank while desperately trying to force the issue in the centre. Russians and British infantry regiments are driven back time and again, but the telling blow cannot be delivered!

Despite successes in the centre the French position has had its right flank turned successfully by first the Russian cavalry and then their infantry. The French on the centre right begin to waver and the Russians and British begin to sense the battle is swinging their way at last.

With thei cavalry routed on the left flank the French maintain a stubborn defense against ever mounting numbers. Despite valiant efforts though the main town defending the beach falls to the British and reinforcements begin to pour ashore from the fleet anchored off the coast.

The situation is grave, but not yet hopeless for the outnumbered French. Despite facing mounting odds the centre is holding and the right is being shored up by infantry from the second line.

The French centre right is pinned by ever increasing numbers of enemy infantry, but they cling tenaciously to their position. On the centre right one Demi-Brigade breaks and the French army is Broken!

Its all up for De Bykli! The Duke of Durham surveys the shattered remnants of the enemy and muses on the butcher's bill his victory has cost his army ~

A great couple of days at Wargames Illustrated HQ. A fine game with a good friend in rather splendid locale too. The armies you've seen are respectively Colin's British and Russians, aided by a small number of my Light Cavalry and one late arriving Infantry Brigade. The French are mine of course, I never managed to win a reserves 'dice off', so Colin's French stayed safely in their boxes! Thanks are due to Dan and the staff of WI for generously hosting our extravaganza and keeping s generously fed and watered. Thanks are especially due to Jamie who took the 'Official' photos for the magazine and its Facebook page and to Duncan for generously helping out with rules questions and advice in general. I hope he had more luck than I did with his French army in his own game later on in the evening! Our game was several months in the organising and planning, but it was all well worth it I assure you. We are already planning next year's extravaganza, a Seven Years War game!

Geriatric Road Trip {Part 1} ~ with apologies to Colin!

I'm off back to Wargames Illustrated HQ a little later this morning, where Colin & I are fighting a large Wars of the French Revolution game set in Flanders of 1799, pitting an Anglo-Russian force under Colin's command against the Revolutionary French army commanded by General de Bhykli, a well known military incompetent if ever there was one! Here are a few pictures taken after we set the game up yesterday ~

Monday 26 June 2017

Reaching the half way point

It was too hot to paint for a while back there, but I did my best over those few very warm days! The second part of the Eureka 'Field Bakery' set is finished, as are the three Perry Miniatures 'British High Command', from their new Egypt 1801 range, which will do service in my Wars of the French Revolution project. Also the first of my additions to the Burma 1943 game in the shape of Warlord's Ghurka figures, small chaps, mostly with big choppers! The less said about the casting of my F&IW French Militia and Indians from Redoubt though the better! The final addition, two Lledo Croseleys which Phil painted for me to give some transport options in the VBCW or Rhanzlistan games ~

As we reach the end of June, and so of the first half of the year, I can look back on what's been going on in GHQ and in my wider hobby as well as forward to what is for me a new venture. More of that
later in the post though. For now, a brief recap on the past few months of 2017 seems the order of the day. Since deciding at the turn of the year not to start any new projects painting has been a liberating experience, focusing as it has on painting what and when I liked. It's all been 28mm stuff of course, but a real variety has trooped across my painting desk. In total I've managed to complete 337figures and items of equipment. In game terms I've played 30 games, winning 16 and loosing 11 altogether, continuing my form of being average! When it comes to Wargames Shows I've been to two Table Top sales in Penkridge and attended several wargames shows in WMMS, ROBIN, Partizan, and Carronade, a reduction on previous years I think. Of those I shan't be bothering with ROBIN again.
On Wednesday I shall be off to WI HQ in Nottingham for two days of FRW gaming with Colin Ashton of 'Carryings On Up The Dale' fame. We are combining our collections to stage a game set in Flanders 1799 pitting the French, under that underwhelming commander General de Bykli, against the Anglo-Russians under steely eye of The Duke of Durham! Hopefully you can read about the venture in a future issue of the magazine, with pictures by Dan of course! Well, I could ramble on but I think I will keep my powder dry until after the game. Off to finish that Warlord Blacker Bombard and crew for next Monday's Blandings/Zeelowe game here in GHQ. Toodle Pip!

Monday 19 June 2017

400 Not Out

This is my 400th Blog post apparently, must say I'm rather surprised at both the number and the simple fact that it, and my good self, are still plodding along merrily. As this is a milestone of sorts, it's apt that it features the usual post game report on the latest tussle here in GHQ between Phil and yours truly. Goodness me, I wonder how many games we've shared down the last thirty odd years? Must be a fair few, and never a cross word! Never? Well hardly ever! A long way from felt cut out roads, streams and string round a tree to signify a wood to today's bespoke terrain. My, how our wonderful hobby has grown and changed over the years. But, on to the game before I get carried away even further...

It was so hot today, even in the normally temperate GHQ, that I thought the dice would melt! We used Neil Thomas's Ancient & Medieval rules, the Dark Ages stats rather than the Classical this time. The battle was decided on Pompus Maximus's right flank, where the mostly cavalry force overwhelmed Baldinus's mixture of Hun Light Cavalry, Saxon Warband and Roman Heavy cavalry ~ see pictures 4 & 5 for the sense of the developing action. On Pompus's left the infantry took a seeming age to close but soon got the better of the usurper's infantry, aided by some deadly fire from the balistas! Star performers for the victors were a unit of Light Cavalry who repeatedly threw 6 to save, suffering only 2 casualties in the entire game! Good to give the armies a run out today but I venture that we both enjoyed the cold beer after more than the game...

Friday 16 June 2017

All Quiet(ish) On The GHQ Front

Sue and I are back home and refreshed after our Croatian holiday, a cruise around the Dalmatian Coast and Islands betwixt Dubrovnik and Split. That alone should explain the lack of anything new in GHQ, but of course it is always more complicated than that. My decision to stick to what I have in project terms, while personally liberating, has somewhat reduced the muse for painting on a day to day basis. I've managed to finish 8 ACW Rebs for a third Georgian regiment, 6 Indians to bring my French Indians up to scratch for Sharp Practice 2 F&IW games, 6 Ghurkas for Burma 1943 and that's about it. I've got 6 French Canadian Militia on the go for the same game and I've started five more Ghurkhas, but they're all being put on hold as I've decided I need to advance some odd figures for a venture in Nottingham later this month, but more on that in due course...
I managed a Black Powder AWI game last night with Jon, a see saw action which might have gone either way, but which I ultimately lost when my American army suffered two Broken Brigades out of four and could no longer advance, leaving Jon's British in charge of the ford which was the game objective. Old 'Independence or Death' Bykleigh had no option but to withdraw from the field! Still, a grand evening's gaming, following on from a splendid SCW game at Phil's on Monday, and hopefully the muse is on the rise again...
Just a few shots from the game to give you the flavour of the action ~

As I said, just a flavour of the game, as I'm not fully back in the groove yet. Next up on Monday in GHQ a return for Pompus Maximus and his nemesis, Baldinus.

Thursday 1 June 2017

A Country Garage

Ages ago I acquired a Scaledale English barn, which I used on the table in support of various Conflix rural buildings, or even as an outbuilding for Blandings Castle in our VBCW or Operation Zeelowe games. That it was a large OO scale building meant I could get away with that approach while the buildings remained individual pieces on the tabletop, but when I based them up on MDF bases in small groups it didn't fit in so well in size or style. After languishing in a box under the table in GHQ for several months I had a moment of inspiration when I found a couple of old signs in my bits box, one for an engineering firm and one for a garage. I decided to utilise it as an English rural garage from the 1930's. Searching the same bits box produced several items to clutter the scene and add to the effect, while Phil's bits box produced an oil drum, which he kindly painted, and a petrol can. Two spare Perry Mafeking civilians in my figure box provided some life to the scene, as did a Dixon Miniatures WWI bicycle. Just one problem: no petrol pump. Then by chance I noticed an old Gallia brick pillar on the floor in GHQ - it must have fallen out of a box a while back when I made my North European town. Phil seized on it and cleverly converted it into a Shell petrol pump! Trawling the web provided some period signage and posters to further the image and a win on an eBay auction provided a 1930's AA patrol van. A bit of work on the base with static grass, Tufts and the like and it was finished ~

It may be a trifle twee to the eyes of some but for me it captures the feel of rural England in the 1930's just right. Whatever, it will do nicely for me...