28 December 2017

2017 Reflections

Time for another reflective post on my hobby year - seems this is the 8th time I have self indulged in this manner.  In terms of playing I would put this year right up there for consistency of playing and number of games played.  In terms of hobby and painting I firmly believe 2017 was the most productive I have ever had.

Starting with AHPC VII, I cracked a personal best of 1200 points (my former record was 850) and while the pace slowed a little I never stopped painting afterwards.  Amongst other bits 'n bobs, this year I have built a Dragon Rampant Army, a FIW British Army, bolstered my WW2 Brits and painted some Weird WW2 stuff - all in 28mm
My AHPC VII output: a personal best
This year at our Odin's Night gaming club we've played quite regularly (usually weekly), and had some big battle days and multi-player games. My FIW games with Alan earlier in the year were a particular highlight:
My British Regulars in action!
British Infantry advance...
...under the watchful eye of their Commander! (I think this is probably my best painting ever)
...as were Patrol level Bolt Action games (particularly the smaller Patrol scenarios from OP SEALION) and lots of Dragon Rampant - all of which inspired more painting throughout the year.
Herr Flick interrogates General Urquart!
Squadron Leader "Topper" Redfern, RAF
Winston ready for Action!
1st Leichestershire Scout Group at the Bexhill-on-Sea Jamboree
Angry Dwarves assault a fortified city!
Trolls! One of my most fun units to paint ever!
6mm ECW action with Barqoue
I also rediscovered Colonial gaming by unearthing my Anglo-Zulu collection which had been buried for 23 odd years and then popped it back to the table for some very enjoyable games

In terms of Cons, I went to CanCon (Jan), MOAB (Oct) and Little Wars (Nov) - didn't play at any of them but enjoyed all the socials and of course bought lots of treasures :-)
Unfortunately I wont be able to make it to CanCon 18
As always, the best bit was sharing it all with mates:

2018 will see a dramatic shift in my hobby routines due to life changes and going back to sea.
Will be interesting to see what I am able to achieve in between, though I have a few project ideas up my sleeve of course :-)

May 2018 bring you all lots of hobby happiness!

24 December 2017

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and yours a happy and safe Christmas
Edward the festive Emu 

May Santa bring you cool hobby stuff in your stocking!

18 December 2017

Review: The Men Who Would Be Kings

To play with my recently unearthed Anglo Zulu War armies we picked up Osprey's The Men Who Would Be Kings, by Dan Mersey - the same author as our much played Lion and Dragon Rampant.

While the rules are definitely in the same family tree, they are not just a carbon copy but a definite development with adjustments for the period and which reflect not just the improved technologies but the way in which armies were put together and used.

Bottom Line up Front: A lot of Fun, we had a blast.  Highly recommended.

The system will be very familiar to Lion/Dragon Rampant players but there are some key nuances which you will likely miss on the first swing (as we did).  One of these is that charge moves are not double your normal move, but now the addition of d6 inches. I like the uncertainty this presents as a Commander's decision point.

The moral effects are interesting and disrupting the enemy is all about pins.  Pinning the enemy really stops them in their tracks and if you can set up a crossfire to inflict multiple pins they will likely take another turn or two to recover.  Of course, if you focus all your firepower on one enemy units to do that, the other enemy units will close in with impunity...

The rules are definitely a simpler system to achieve speed so there are a few abstractions which players need to adjust to - for example, there is no reaction fire, so if your dapper redcoats get caught in the wrong spot they wont be getting a chance to fire a volley from their Martini-Henrys before those Zulus crash into them with those sharp assegais!

To achieve of intent of big battle vice a skirmish game, we adjusted the rules so that units are 3/4 strength from those in the book. Thus, Regular Infantry units are 8 points not 12, Tribal Infantry 12 vice 16 etc.  As the ratios remain the same, I do not believe this made any significant impact. We also used one stand (of 3 x 15mm figures) per unit strength vice 1 x 28mm Figure, and thus we were able to achieve a satisfying massed battle look vice it feeling like a skirmish game.
Under our adjusted unit sizes, this is a Regular Infantry unit at full strength with 8 stands of troops plus its Leader
There are also some neat rules for your tribal opponents to play on automatic rules, allowing the humans to play cooperatively and try to survive together; my very favourite way to play colonial games.

Finally, you get 30 different suggestions for different Colonial armies and their foes.
These include the usual Sons of Empire type lists, plus the French in Africa and the Italians in Ethiopia.

Dan Mersey has also published some additional rules on his blog which will be of interest to TMWWBK players: TMWWBK extra rules  you may also find this of interest: A little bit about Command & Control in my games

Another cracking and inexpensive offering from Osprey and which deliver a heck of a lot of fun. TMWWBK is the fourth of Dan Mersey's games now on my shelf and I'm sure it will not be my last.

Now I'm thinking about how I might combine TMWWBK and Dragon Rampant to play some VSF colonial gaming on Barsoom Mars...

16 December 2017

Boardgames Day

Dave of our Odin's Night Games club had the team around to his awesome gaming shed for a play date the past weekend - and a great day it was.

We started off playing an old favourite Memoir 44, in the multi-player Overlord configuration which I hadn't tried before.  10 players; on the other table a Stalingrad scenario, on ours a Tobruk game.  I really enjoyed the back and forth nature of the battle and our strategy to attrite the Germans eventually delivered an Allied Victory (heavily enabled by my partner's unbelievable dice skills, it must be said).  I understand the Soviet defenders prevailed on the other table too.
The Tobruk board laid out ready for action
The Axis commanders

After lunch the other table broke out Robo Rally...
Slowpainter John takes charge of the Robots!
...while we played Blood Rage.  I hadn't tried this out before and found it to be a fun game. The minis are just beautiful too.  Somehow I managed to jag a beginner's luck Victory on that one too.

And I have to show this pic of Dave's Gaming Emporium. He skipped the Man Cave and went directly to a full barn. Most awesome!
Thanks for a great day everyone and for hosting us Dave!

11 December 2017

Fighting Sail action ahoy!

A squadron of Royal Navy 6th Rates
A fun night last week playing Fighting Sail with Comrade James, Colonel Bish and the Canberra boys.

Admiral Comrade James in action!
I enjoyed the rules, which are quite abstracted when compared to most other Napoleonic naval games.  All the usual chain vs grape vs shot options and tracking of hull and crew points etc are all missing. Instead, they are abstracted to enable players to take charge of multiple ships easily without bogging down play.

As a result, I felt like a Commodore fighting a squadron, letting the ship Captains fight their ships. We managed to play a 3 v 3 and a 2 v 2 game all in an evening.  Great fun!

Fire as she bears!
A lovely Langton ship under French colours with ratlines and rigging 
British Squadron of 3rd Rate Ships of the Line deploy smartly in formation

All these lovely ships belong to the other players, but they have given me some inspiration to break these out during the upcoming painting challenge.  Long have they daunted me..

Other inspiration from around the www:






01 December 2017

The Fighting Retreat to Dusters' Drift

Our Colonial game this week was a LOT of fun!  It saw a British Column, led by the 3rd Foot & Mouth Regiment (Major Backsight commanding) conducting a fighting retreat to the small logistics base at Dusters' Drift. Opposing them were the Impis of Zulu noble Oomagooglies (the Zulu King's cousin twice removed, on his mother' side)

I've done something a bit different and stitched together a video BatRep:

28 November 2017

"We come on the Orders of the Great White Queen!"

My Imperial Force
As promised, here is the British and Boer forces for the Zulu war.  The British Cavalry bore the worst of the damage to their lances and swords but otherwise this whole thing is a testament to the wonderful Testors' dullcoat - and always use two coats!

The lad helped me build this - my first wargaming video. Its a but self indulgent but it was fun to make

For those who prefer stills, here are the key ones.

24th Foot: The Thin Red Line

The 60th Rifles
Stout lads of the Naval Brigade - with Gatling Gun!
Fire support of the Royal Artillery
Breach loading 9pdr - note the VC on the right most figure (painted on during a game in which this gun, down to the last man, held off and then broke the last Zulu Regiment to claim the day!)

British Cavalry - 17th Lancers and Hussars
Boer Irregulars
Hoping to get them onto a table for some action shortly!
Lord Chelmsford and the senior staff

26 November 2017

"Why do you come to the Land of the Zulu?"

Massed warriors (around 350 of them)- how a Zulu Impi should look!
This is a post some 24 years in the making! Some time ago I quite enjoyed Colonial gaming and the Zulu War was my conflict of choice.  Some mates and I put together armies in 15mm and had a great time.  Early in 1994 I had a major life change and the figs were packed away.  I've since moved house some 18 times and the figs have remained opened; the awful noises that came from the box made me shy away.  Then last week when there was interest at the club abut doing some Colonial gaming and I realised I (might) have all the figures.  Depending on how they fared at least.

Here is what greeted me once I plucked up the courage to open the Zulu Box...
The Horror... The Horror...
And after 23 years this was the sum total of damage - other than bent spears and knoberries which needed reshaping

The vast majority of these figs, if not all, are from Essex 15mm colonial range
I love the warrior in the bottom right corner wearing a captured British flag as a trophy!

And if one of going to cross the Buffalo River into Zululand, you need some terrain to fight over right?

Semblance of a small veldt hamlet named after an Irishman
British tentage and a Kraal
Next Up: The British and their Boer allies.