Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sudan Campaign Skirmish

My resolution for 2107 is to actually put some stuff on this blog! Life takes over and as a result it's been a while since anything meaningful went up.

From a wargames perspective I've been churning out Napoleonic Austrians for a Wagram re-fight that's scheduled for June 2017 in Wellington. I've also been adding to my ACW collection steadily and have a reasonable number of units for both sides painted. Like all good wargamers however there's no lack of additional lead and plastic still to get through!

However the purpose of this particular post was to extol the virtues of  large scale skirmish games. I made the mistake before Christmas of buying a set of "The Men Who Would Be Kings. It's always a bad move buying new rules, especially when things are tight financially and this was no exception. needless to say I'm now the proud owner of a bunch of Perry Plastic Victorian era Brits and Sudanese as well as some metal Highlanders and Afghan Tribesmen for the same period.

Now I've still to actually fight a game with the rules but on reading them they look interesting enough to get the juices flowing. I'll do a proper crit of them in due course but for the time being, suffice to say that they look interesting and quirky enough to be worth considering if you are looking for an alternative to the elikes of Sharp Practice 2 which I rate very highly and have had a huge amount of fun with.
Black Watch 42nd foot. 
Anyway. here's my first effort at Sudanese campaign British. namely the 42nd Black Watch. These are from the Perry range and as with most of the Perry stuff the sculpting is first rate. There was little or no flash to speak of apart from some scraps on the bases. Next up will be the Sudanese but more of that later.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Pulp Alley

August is always a fun month. Apart from the fact it's my birthday it's also Call To Arms month here in Welly and the chance to have an entire weekend devoted to gaming with mates. I'm pretty sure my long suffering wife might disagree with those thoughts though.

So this year Dan Wade, Tyrone, my son Michael and myself decided to do something a little different and out on a decent sized Pulp game. With the arrival of "In Her Majesty's Name" and all of the superb figures it has spawned I've built up a reasonable collection of Steampunk / Pulp figures so it was a good excuse to put them to use. Dan also has a fantastic Egyptian pyramid that he built a few years ago so it also gave him a good excuse to pull that out of mothballs.

We set the game on the banks of the Nile with 4 teams all vying to be the first to get into the Pyramid and escape with the Treasure. In order to do so each team had to recruit a gang of diggers form the local town and fight their way past one another in order to actually reach the pyramid which stood at the end of a board 16' long! To be honest we hadn't played the scenario through so we were flying by the seats of our pants on this one. Thankfully everything worked out perfectly and we managed to get the game fought to a conclusion  by mid Sunday afternoon (which is a first for us).

The Town complete with Market and Rick's Café Americain

Entertainment out Rick's café to keep the locals amused
So the gangs represented were Dan's Nasty Nazis lead by Herr Flick with his notorious sidekick Helga,  hell bent on using the treasure for the Fuhrers own nefarious purposes. Michael's gang represented the Cult of the Golden Ankh. Dedicated to using the treasure to fund their plan to resurect some long forgotten Pharoah and take over the world (Bwaa ha ha). Tyrone and I had the good guys. Tyrone's Cooper Team represnted a group of British Archeaologists trying to get the treasure for the British Museum while my Eton and Roedean FP Antquarian Society were trying to get there hands on the treasure for their own glory.

Nazir Moamen "The Eternal One" leads the Cult of the Golden Ankh towards the tomb!

Percy Cooper's gang move tentatively into the town

Lord John Roxton and hired hand "Indy" lead the Eton and Rodean FP Antiquarian Society through the town. Who is that strange person in the corner?

Herr Flick and the Nasty Nazis heading towards the local prison.
We decided to use Pulp Alley as our rules of choice. They have a great mechanism that's really easy to get your head around and give a great feel for the period (I think we only had to refer to the rules once or twice over the course of the weekend). The rules themselves operate around plot points and perils. The plot points have to be collected along the way with the final plot point being the ultimate goal. We set up the game with 4 plot points scattered throughout the town each one successfully achieved gave the winner the opportunity to hire a team of diggers from either the local townsfolk or the convict gang breaking rocks in the prison. having collected a gang of diggers each of our groups had then to make their way to the pyramid by one of three entrances and fight their way past the assorted gribblies to get the treasure.

The ultimate Plot Point. well guarded by assorted Mummies and other minions.

The other unusual aspect of the game is the perils. basically anytime one of your gang tries to do something remotely perilous (climb the side of a building, walk up a dark alley, wade through a stream etc. etc. your oponnents have the opportunity to throw a peril at you. these take the form of cards drawn at the start of each move which demand you to take tests based on your skills (dodge, Might, Finesse, cunning) the tests always require you to score 4 + on a dice but what dice you use depends on how adept your character is with that particular skill. a leader may have skills at D10 and D12 while a follower will be D6. Major plot points also require you take a random peril (drawn from the top of the pack) over and above any that your opponents may throw at you.

We fought the game on a 16' x 8' board which is a tad bigger than the 3' x 3' board recomended in the rules but as were intending to string the game out for two days it seemed like a good idea. Anyway. to cut a long story short it was thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a weekend, we didn't have spend months (and a small fortune) painting up armies and much of the terrain was already in our assorted collections.

The game ended with all three gangs fighting each other and the guardians of the tomb over the treasure. The Cultists actually broke into the tomb first and made life slightly easier for everyone by taking out a good number of the mummies guarding the pyramid. As luck would have it Tyrone's gang (which was the last to break into the tomb) won the plot while everyone else was busy trying to wipe each other out.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Call to Arms - Wellington 2013

It's nice to have such an understanding wife! I spent all of last weekend wargaming at our local show in Wellington and not a cross word from my other half! It doesn't get much better than that!

I'm not one for getting involved in competition games, partly because I'm a crap gamer but mostly because I find it brings out the worst in people.  Instead I like to get involved in some sort of display game. This invariably involves having boxes of new terrain taking up space in our garage and spending a small fortune on new lead.

This year I had the chance to do a demo using Skirmish Sangin.  Colin has been working on a World War 2 Supplement for the rules and that, coupled with the fact I'd just bought a heap of Western Desert figures proved too good a chance to miss.

El Adem

Together my son and I came up with a scenario involving an SAS raid on the Italian township of El Adem where they were holding two senior British officers as POW's.  The idea was  that the Brits had to get in and release the prisoners before the Germans arrived to take the prisoners away for interrogation. The British we're all classed as Elite while they Italians were either Novices or Average with

Axis troops defending

The game was set during the dawn hours with most of the Italians asleep except for a few sentries. These moved randomly until they managed to spot the enemy, at which point everyone woke up and the Cack hit the fan! I should also add that as well as 3 teams of SAS (12 in total) the Brits were beefed up by a couple of LRDG vehicles and a South African Armoured Car

David Stirling's team doing their best to sneak around without waking the sleeping Italians
 On day 1 Michael took charge of the SAS raiders while I controlled the Eyeties.  There were two ways for him to proceed. Either go steaming in all guns blazing and waken up the whole place, or take it easy and try to knife as many Italians as possible before they were spotted. Mike chose the latter and managed to clear one building of Italians before being spotted by a lucky sentry - It turned out to be not so lucky for said sentry as he immediately died in a hail of lead after raising the alarm.

The games up! LRDG gun it into town, all guns blazing!

Once the Italians got there act together things became a little harder for the Brits but, that being said, the casualty list for my Italians grew steadily while I only managed to seriously wound 1 of Mike's SAS guys! However the fact that the place was swarming with sleepy Italians was slowing Michael down quite significantly.

Team 2 Outflank the Italian positions
 He did manage to lay a Lewes Bomb on the Italian armoured car which exploded just as the crew charged out of the compound and started to mount up!

I had timetabled the Germans to arrive at the end of the first round of phases and this came all too soon for the SAS. It didn't help when the Gerrys brewed up the Marmon Herrington on their first move!

The Germans arrive on the scene

Anyway the game panned out with the few surviving Italians smuggling the 2 POW's to the Germans just as the SAS jeep hurtled around the corner to stop them.

So close but no Cigar for the Brits on day 1.

We reversed roles for the second day with me taking the Brits and Michael taking the Axis. We also gave the Germans a little less firepower by taking away one of there armoured cars. Unfortunately for the Brits, the game went the same way as day one. The Eyeties woke up a little too early for them and slowed up proceeding enough to let the Germans arrive on the scene to save the day. British casualties were also higher.

Wary German NCO sneaks around the courtyard

Bottom line is, the rules work well for WW2.  Watch the website for detail of when they go "live" I'd tweak the scenario a little by getting the Italians to set up without knowing which side the Brits are coming on from. What we both did was stash the prisoners in a house as far away from the British start line as possible. It made it just a little hard for the SAS.  For anyone that is interested, I'll post the scenario on the Skirmish Sangin Yahoo group 

I've been a regular at Call to Arms for a few years now but I thought the standard of the display games this year was particularly high.  My mate Dan put on an excellent Robin Hood game with some stunning terrain he has scratch built. Check out his Blog for more photos of this game:

Dan's scratch built Sherwood Castle

There was also a very nice Spanish Civil War game along with another two Skirmish Sangin games, one set in Mogadishu, the other in Afghanistan.

Spanish Civil War

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Skirmish Sangin

I've always been a keen WW2 gamer but never really gave a thought to anything more modern (other than the odd foray into 40K territory when I was young and stupid (and had waaay more money than was good for me).

I recently had the opportunity to try some ultra modern games,  playtesting a set of rules that couple of mates of mine have been working on. The rules are Called Skirmish Sangin and are written mainly with the current conflict in Afghanistan in mind. In saying that they are perfectly adaptable to any modern conflict and indeed almost any period as the mechanics are some of the most flexible I've used.

My initial reaction to gaming this period was one of slight uneasyness. I'm not overly PC by any stretch of the imagination but it does make me a wee bit uncomfortable gaming a period where men and women are still dying. In saying that I was willing to give it a bash and found that I thoroughly enjoyed the rules and researching the piles of background information that is available on Youtube. Needless to say I'm now hooked and have bought a pile of Eureka Taleban with some Empress British Infantry to take them on.

The Eureka figures are superb, reasonably expensive but excellently sculpted.  I know some people think that the Empress figures are a little skinny and lack the bulky look of modern combat soldiers but I like them and they paint up well.  There are some shots of each below so you can make up your own mind.

Eureka Taleban

Eureka Taleban Commander

Empresss British infantry and the Imprint Warrior

More Empress Brits

I also purchased a couple of vehicles from the very impressive range made by Imprint .  I must admit that I haven't looked at the other manufacturers of vehicles for this period but the Imprint ones are as good as any resin vehicles I've seen over the past few years. So far I've got a British Warrior APC and a technical for the Taley's. My son (not to be outdone by Dad) has gone nuts and bought an Abrams and two Humvee's for his Yanks - If you read the rules you'll see why an MBT is slightly over the top!

Anyway. The rules themselves are very detailed but give a great feel for the period.  They are very much a set of Skirmish rules. a section of ISAF infantry or a band of a dozen or so Taleban are more than enough to give you an excellent game. So if your after a refight on a grand scale then these rules probably aren't for you.   The rules are available either pre-printed or as a downlaodable pdf. file and at 170 odd pages are very good value for money.

They do seem a little daunting at first but I found that once I had played a few games I soon got my head around the mechanics. It certainly helped having the two authors on hand to give an idea of the mindset behind why certain things had been written the way they were.

Anyway my latest foray involved a scenario (devised by the author Colin.) whereby an American F22 Raptor had been shot down by Insurgents and the pilot captured. US intelligence had ascertained that he was being held in a Compound in the Green Zone and a rescue mission was planned.

Rangers drop from the Blackhawk to assualt the compound

The rescuers consisted of a section of Rangers, dropped in by Black Hawk helicopter supported by a ground based unit of Marines in Humvees. The defenders were a motley band of 10 or so Taleban in the compound with the pilot and 15 or so scattered around the rest of the board to try and stop the marines. The game itself turned out to be very well balanced - The superior armament and equipment of the ISAF forces are balanced by the fact that they can't go in all guns blazing for fear of injuring innocent civilians, coupled with the fact that the Taley's also get IED's !

Anyway, we played the scenario out twice over the course of the day. The first time was an American victory, despite the Ranger's taking heavy casualties, especially when they kicked open the door of the compound only to have an RPG blast take out 4 of them. The Marines managed to negotiate a Taleban ambush succesfully, despite losing 2 out of 3 Humvees in the process.

Our second attempt didn't go quite as well for the ISAF forces. The Apache attack helicopter took an RPG hit on the first move and had to head for home. Then to top it all the Taley's smuggled the pilot out of the compound into a nearby wood, only to have the Yanks drop a 40mm grenade on them killing the captors and the Pilot!

Allah Ahkbar. The infidel helicopter takes a direct hit!

The board - Compound in the background

Anyway, yet another period to drain the budget on. Oh well. at least it won't cost a fortune for figures!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Battle of Yasger's Farm

Having been very industrious over the past few weeks I finally managed to arrange a game with my FIW new figures using "Muskets and Tomahawks"

The game in question pitted a motley force of British troops consisting of 2 units of Rangers 6 Mohawk allies and a unit of Regulars from the Black Watch against a French raiding party of Hurons and Canadian Militia. The British regulars were held off board as reinforcements leaving the Irregulars and Indians to bear the brunt of the French attack.  My son Micheal and myself took the Brits while my mate Colin and his son Josh took the Frenchies.
Yasger's Farm. General shot of the battlefield

 I changed the scenario details slightly from the book by splitting the built up area in to two parts to make the French job just that little bit more difficult (we needn't have bothered as it turned out).

The Brits deployed one unit of Rangers in the buildings at Yasger's Farm while the Indians and 2nd Ranger unit did their best to protect Old man Yasger's neighbours.

We diced for side plots and the French commander was accompanied by his good lady while the Ranger officer swore an oath to protect the lives of one of his units.

The game began reasonably well fort he Brits with unit of Rangers at Yasger's farm taking up a decent defensive position and waiting for the Canadian Militia to appear on the scene. On the opposite flank the Mohawks and Rangers advanced to put a stop to any Huron activity in front of them. Unfortunately for the Brits. The regular reinforcements failed to arrive until the 4th move and played little part in the battle.

Yasger's farm (left) and his neighbours property (right)

 The French began the game reasonably tentatively but always seemed to be in a better defensive position than the Brits so consequently suffered less casualties. . On the British right, the Mohawks held off the Hurons for a few moves until numbers began to tell and they started falling back through the corn field. At the same time the second Ranger unit disturbed a grizzly bear in one of the woods and promptly fled (a random event) leaving two of there men behind. A similar story unfolded at Yasger's farm where the British defenders were coming off second best to the Canadian Militia and eventually fled, leaving old man Yasger to fend for himself!

Huron Indians cross Yasger's Creek to engage the British defenders

By this time the Black Watch had arrived and despite charging on as quickly as they could, failed to  stop the French from burning old man Yasger's place to the ground and routing both units of Rangers.So ultimately an easy win for the French. The French succeeded in defending the Officers good lady while the Brits failed miserably as the unit our leader had pledged to defend were either decimated by Indians or eaten by a bear!
The Mohawks advance to engage the Huron
Canadian Militia move in to torch Old Man Yasger's farm while their officer and his good lady look on.

 I love the rules, especially the random events and sub-plots. The only thing I have any doubt over is the casualties that retreating or fleeing units take after failing a morale test. In the 3 or 4 games I've played since buying the rules there have been quite a few times where a unit has broken after losing  1 or 2 casualties and been decimated by casualties suffered as they fell back. I've tried leaving this out of my latest game and find it plays a lot better.

Toodle Pip

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Muskets and Tomahawks

First of all. Apologies for the fact that this is the first post I've made in ages.  . Anyway, on with the report!

Indians by Conquest
The French Indian Wars has always been one of those periods I was planning to get round to, ever since I saw Daniel Day-Lewis in "Last of the Mohicans". I finally galvanized myself to do something about it when Muskets and Tomahawks came out and I stumbled across the Conquest figures for this period.

These are the first figures I've bought from Conquest but I can thoroughly recommend them. The detail is superb, the poses are perfectly suited for skirmish games. I particularly like the Indians they produce. I was, frankly dreading painting them but I have to say that I haven't had so much fun painting figures for many years.  I also procured some of the Perry AWI figures which sit side by side with the Conquest stuff perfectly.

Magua by "Conquest"
I'm now at the stage where I've painted almost all of the figures I have (which is a first for me by the way) and I'm keen to get some more. The other range for this period that's on my radar are the figure produced by Galloping Major. They do some very nice looking American provincials that I'm keen to purchase !

42nd Black Watch by Perry
I've also been gathering together some terrain for the period and after ferreting around on the net I bought a couple of the Pegasus Miniatures 1/72nd Russian houses. They work perfectly as log Cabins and don't look out of scale against the Perry and Conquest figures.

Anyway.we had our first game with the rules a week or so ago so I'll post some pics of that and a report on how it all panned out soon.

Ta Ta

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Kiss Me Hardy

Hello all.

It's been a while since I posted anything. I've been so caught up in family stuff that Wargaming has been pushed onto the back burner.

Anyway. I've been a big fan of Napoleonic naval games for a while now and love the models that Rod Langton produces. I've tried quite a few sets of rules out including Rod's own "Signal Close Action", "Warhammer Trafalgar" and "Fire as She Bears". They all had some flaw, too complicated, too simple etc but I recently had a crack at "Kiss Me Hardy" by Too Fat Lardies and seem to have found a perfect compromise!

Like all Lardy rule sets they are card based and work really well. I've tried a couple of games with my son and had a great deal of fun in the process.  if this is a period that you have any interest in and are after a good fun set of rules that still have a feel for the period then give them a try. You won't be disappointed.

With regards to ship models, I can only speak for Langton's 1/1200 stuff but I've been blown away by the quality of the castings and attention to detail on these little things.  While they are more expensive than most other manufacturers in this scale they are beautiful little kits, if a bit fiddly to put together. It's well worth the effort however as the finished article looks very sexy, especially with the rigging and ratlines on.