Sunday, 20 November 2016

Warfare

Sunday took us to Reading for Warfare, traditionally our last show on the Wargames show calendar. After sitting in traffic due to an accident on the M40 we eventually rolled up about 9am and began setting up our Somme game. Figures and terrain provided by Paul and Sally at Kallistra.



No trip to a show is without a shopping list, here's today's haul;

  • Zulu huts from Empress - these are for next weekends game, got to get them painted this week.

  • SwordPoint from Gripping Beast - new ancients and medieval rules

  • Tufts from Great Escape Games

  • 1/2400th Napoleonic ships from Tumbling Dice, inspired by my recent game of Trafalgar, the Langton 1/1200 models were too complex and delicate. This is a good compromise, 8 ships for the price of 1 of the bigger and easier to build.

  • Movement trays for more Zulu units

  • Queen Elizabeth I from Bad Squiddo Games

  • 10mm ECW Parliamentarian army bag from Pendraken - I've wanted to try Pendraken for a while, I'm hoping this pack will build two forces for Pikemans Lament as well as get me started for Pike and Shot.

  • MDF Fountain and summoning circle from Blotz - spotted these as I was leaving the show, super cheap kits for Frostgrave but I could see that fountain in Three Musketeers type games.





  • Friday I went in to Birmingham Waterstones to see and hear Simon Scarrow launch his new book. Was great to hear how he started on writing, his method and plans for the future. He was kind enough to sign my last paperback.



    Sunday, 13 November 2016

    Field Forces for TMWWBK

    Here are my first field forces for The Men Who Would Be Kings, first up in the British Infantry for the Anglo Zulu War. We have a large selection of manufacturers. The British infantry are a mix of Foundry, Empress and Black Tree Design, the artillery is from Rapier Miniatures, the NNC comprise Foundry, Wargames Factory and Casting Room Miniatures, finally the Natal Native Horse are from Empress.

    Coming soon, a Gatling gun and crew, rocket batteries and some vignette pieces.


    The Naval Brigade where often used in Victorian times, being immediately available, deploying from ships where needed. This is a versatile force useable all over the colonial world from Africa to Asia. These figures come from Perry Miniatures Sudan range.


    My Zulu force is made from Wargames Factory plastic figures mixed with Casting Room Miniatures and some odd Foundry figures from eBay. These six groups will be added to with more Wargames Factory and Married and Unmarried tribesmen from Warlord Games bringing the total to 12 groups. These need reorganising in to regiments based on their shield patterns.


    I am currently working away on the Boer figures from Black Tree, as they are in mixed civilian dress they are taking a while.


    A Nautical Evening

    Last weekend at Wyvern Wargames we had a couple of games with a nautical theme;

    First up Chris and I played Trafalger, the napoleonic naval games written by Mark Lathan and published by GW in the Warhammer Historicals brand - now sadly no more. The ships belong to Chris and are in 1/1200 scale from Langton Miniatures. The game was lots of fun I've been wanting to try it for a while after picking up a very tatty copy of the rules on eBay. 

    I'm very tempted to pick up some ships of my own but I'm not sure if my patience will stretch to all the rigging, it does seem to make the ships fragile and more like scale models then gaming pieces. 


    Stu debuted Cutlass along wide some Atlanteans and mysterious fish men.



    I'm going to have to pull my finger out and make my jungle terrain for Congo and trips to the Lost World.



    Monday, 7 November 2016

    Midlam Miniatures Wizards Apprentices Kickstarter

    Midlam ran a nice little Kickstarter for six wizards apprentices and there was just a single freebie on offer. To some that might disappoint but I think many Kickstarters over promise and undermine their business. See AQOTWF as a good example of this.

    So we have, clockwise from top left; female carrying a selection of scrolls, tubby male brandishing a frog, young woman puzzled with a wand, youth carrying spell books, another young with a wand and over large hat, a concentrating potion mixer completes the initial six with 'sanloss' tentacles bursting from his spell book.


    Midlam's next Kickstarter is for 'Halfling Wizards and Apprentices', the figures are completed and I'm expecting them to be dispatched soon. If they keep up like this, small contained projects suitable for RPGs like D&D, I will keep backing them.

    Friday, 23 September 2016

    The Men Who Would Be Kings

    Finally after whats seems like months of waiting, TMWWBK was finally published at the end of September and I have a copy of my own. Our Colonial collections have been languishing in their storage boxes for a couple of years now since we tried them with a unpublished version of Warhammer Colonials. We've also played Black Powder but that's more for bigger games and The Sword and The Flame, which is closer to the spirit and scale of these rules but with limited distribution outside America.


    We played our first game recently using Stuart's Boxer war collection in 15mm. Great fun was had dispite us generally rolling up some quite poor leaders. Pinning units is quite key in this game, quality can win over quantity but it's in no way certain.



    On to the game, this is another 'grand skirmish' sized game. Expect European forces around 40 or 50 figures, whilst their colonial opposition will be larger, say 60 to 100 figures. This is achievable in 28mm especially with plastic kits from Perry or Warlord. The rules will also happily work in other scales, so long as you can break your units down to show and track casualties. 

    Players take turns activating units. They can take their free action, which depends on their type, or you can roll to carry out another action. Typically European Regulars can shoot for free whilst Tribal Infantry might be able to move. Shooting and Combat are rolled per figure involved and units must take a test if casualties are inflicted, fail that and you are pinned and unable to move. Subsequent rally actions are easier to perform but rely on your unit leader, failure will result in a retreat move.

    Many players will be pleased to find a set of rules for solo play, Mr Babbage, who typically will play against the Europeans. This could also be used for a large multi player game where the players play against the game rather the each other.

    We are planning a large multi player game in November and I am needing to get some painting done soonish, I already have the following;

    • Six units, 24 points of Zulus painted and a further 4 units, 16 points unassembled and unpainted.
    • Two units, 12 points of regular British and a gun and crew painted with another unit, six points unpainted.
    • Three units, 24 points of Boers unpainted.
    • Two units, 12 points of Naval Brigade plus a Nordenfelt gun painted.

    Finishing that off will keep me busy.



    A Tale of Two Castles Part 2 - The Tower of London

    Last weekend we made a trip to London specifically to visit the Tower of London, cheap tickets on the train also got us half price entry in to the Tower.  when we thing of the Tower we usually picture the Norman 'White Tower' but the Tower has been expanded in to a enormous complex almost like a village inside.

    The moat was drained and filled in on the instructions of Wellington who also had all the animals shipped out to form London Zoo.


    There is so much to see you could easily spend most of a day here. The shot below shows the inside of the Byward tower. To the right is Mint Street, the original location of the Royal Mint.


    Traitors Gate


    The White Tower now a Royal Armouries museum 


    Waterloo Barracks, now the home of the Crown Jewels


    The Itish Guards were on duty


    The guns were captured at Waterloo


    The Yeoman Warders AKA Beefeaters are all servicemen with at least 22 years service, a good conduct medal and have reached at least the rank of Warrant Officer or Senior NCO. 37 Warders plus the Chief Warder live on site with their families. They give tours of the site and are very funny.




    The 'Bloody Tower'


     Tower Green and the Queen's House


    The Scaffold Site - Royalty and Nobility were beheaded here, others had a public execution on Tower Hill



    The Norman keep was built on the site of a Roman Fortifications



    The White Tower is full of armour and weapons, much related to the Tudor and Stuart era.










    You could recreate the inside of the Tower complex with some suitable castle walls and a cobblestone mat, buildings line the inner walls of the outer bastion. The mint could be robbed or rescue attempts on famous prisoners could be made.


    A Tale of Tale of Two Castles Part 1 - Berkeley Castle

    In recent weeks I have had the opportunity to visit two castles, both impressive and playing an important part in our history.

    First came a visit to Berkeley Castle, normally just a trip down the M5, essential roadworks closing a railway bridge meant a diversion which took very close to Nibley Green, the location of the last private pitched battle fought on British soil. The battle was fought over the ownership of the very castle we were visiting.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Nibley_Green


    Berkeley Castle is the oldest inhabited castle in the UK, it's history dating back to the Normans who built a chain of castles in the Marches to prevent invasion from Wales. Edward II was imprisoned and believed to have been killed here in 1327 on the orders of Roger Mortimer after he was recaptured after an escape attempt.



    The castle changed hands a few times during the English Civil Wars eventually being besieged and taken when cannon were fired at point blank range at the walls until breached. Castles were usually raised once taken but it is believed cash changed hands and the castle still stands today.


    The breach from outside


    And shown from inside

    I have included a few shots of the castle, its outer walls and rooms.


    Spot the Venetian influence


    The castle was expanded over many years and shows many differing styles



    A murder hole is located below the middle crenellation and was used to pour hot liquid or sand on to the attackers once they have climbed the stairs which are oddly sized to trip the unwary.


     The minstrels gallery



    Jacobite standard taken at Culloden


    And another from Flodden


    The moat


    The former chapel, reputedly the most haunted room in the castle




    There is also a great tea shop in a yurt in the grounds along with a butterfly room and the museum of Edward Jenner who used to live in the grounds. Jenner discovered the link between Cowpox and Smallpox and has the distinction of saving the most lives in human history.