Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Finished something at last ....

It's been ages since I've posted, it has been too warm to paint here but I've finally got somethings finished

Last night we dragged our ACW collections out of storage for a run through Sharp Practice 2. I'm told it's been years, this is the first outing under the second edition of the rules and I'm converted to using the chips rather than a card deck. Card decks quickly become a bit tatty with all the handling, chips are so more resilient.

We played the Encounter scenario, in 1864, with the base forces brought up to 100 points, we were quickly in to the swing of it and we took our time with the game. We had a race to the high ground, the Union were fortunate and were able to first onto the Rebel line. Both Rebel groups were badly shot up, whilst their C in C was traumatised by stepping in something smelly.

A lone group of Rebel skirmishers made a break for the Union deployment point, their numbers were depleted by a group racing off after ladies of dubious virtue. At the end of play, A Union victory was declared as they had more troops on table and a higher force morale.

The General about to mess his boots up.

Meet the Ladies

The glue is still wet on the flock

In my last game of Antares, I managed to have my skimmer team crash, Warlord made an objective marker so it seemed like an ideal purchase.

I stocked up on drones, adding Targeters, Batters, Compression and Weapons drones, all in my red Algoryn colour scheme.

Nolzur's Magnificent Miniatures

Earlier this year Wizkids, in partnership with Wizards of The Coast, released the first wave of their primed plastics for D&D. Wizkids had done a similar deal with Piazo, there is also a Pathfinder range, both ranges are quite interchangeable.


Banshee and Ghost

Displacer Beast

Blink Dogs

Coming soon - the first box of ECW figures for Pikeman's Lament.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Free RPG day

Today I made a trip to Shadow Games in Rugby to pick up some of the goodies for Free RPG day.

I got the Runquest and Starfinder books I was after as well as the Numerera quick-start rules as recommended by the shop keeper. I did buy the 'Call of Cthulhu' Keepers screen whilst I was there as grabbing free stuff and running out the door is a bit unfair on the stores who participate in this promotion, they have to pay for the freebies.

Shadow Games is a modern, well stocked store with some gaming space and a well stocked board game library.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Games Expo 2017

Last weekend was Games Expo at the NEC, I popped up on the Friday after managing to get a slot in a game of D&D. Expo has grown to be the third largest game convention in the world, after only Gencon and Essen.

The show is massively different from the wargame shows I'm used to, not only three days and a big focus on gaming but the audience is very different with a good mix of ages and sexes. The trade is now all together in Hall 1, a massive hall which is quite easy to lose yourself in, perhaps exit signs up high would be a good idea.

There was a few familiar faces like Warlord, Magister Militum, Crooked Dice and War Bases but I'm not sure how they would have done with the additional costs of all the hotel costs, people were loading up on board games and RPG books.

After an enjoyable game of D&D fighting off kobolds, I did a little shopping picking up the keepers book for Call of Cthulhu ( a tenner off retail! ) as well a book of short scenarios from Chaosium. They had PDFs in my inbox before I went to bed - excellent service. I also managed to pick up a couple of packs of drones for my Gates of Antares Algoryn army.

Ian Livingstone, of GW and Fighting Fantasy fame did a great seminar on his career in the industry with some great slides.

In all a great experience, next year I'm planning for two days!

Sunday, 7 May 2017

More local history ....

Pershore Bridge was the centre of a skirmish in June 1644. King Charles was returning to Worcester from the siege of Oxford with Parliamentarian troops in pursuit. Charles ordered the bridge destroyed but the task was only partially complete when their pursuers caught up with them. In the ensuing melted the bridge was blown and 40 men drowned.

With the outbreak of WW2, the bridge was blocked with concrete anti tank obstacles.

Managed to get a little painting done, some more skimmers and drones for my Algoryn forces for Beyond the Gates of Antares.

I've started work on the ECW forces for The Pikemans Lament and I have another Stryker book to read on my hols for inspiration.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Keeping our military history local .......

We can find the inspiration for our gaming in many different places, we often overlook the most local sources. Living in Britain we are never far away from history, when you think of Evesham, my home town, the obvious thought is of the Baron's War battle in 1265. That battle took place on the hill outside the town, however in 1645, Parliamentarian forces stormed and captured the town.

Evesham, stood out in Worcestershire as being one of the few towns to favour Parliament over the King. The town itself lies in a strategic location, not only is Parliamentarian Warwickshire just a few miles away but it lies on Parliament's route to Gloucester and the west country from Coventry, and on the major Royalist supply route between Worcester and Oxford.

This area also proved to be an excellent recruiting ground for the Clubmen movement, several thousand were known to have congregated on Bredon Hill for a meeting in 1645 before declaring their support for Parliament.

Malcolm Atkin, a former county archaeologist, is a respected author on the Civil Wars and I have four of his books, covering the events in Worcestershire and in a slim volume, on the storming of Evesham itself. There is some great detail to be found here, raids and skirmishes were commonplace during this time, just the sort of thing to be recreated with The Pikeman's Lament. Some of my books are shown below;

Michael Arnold writes a series of books based in the English Civil War, with a 'Sharpe' like character called Stryker, a veteran of the Thirty Years War in mainland Europe. Lots more inspiration and ideas for scenarios here. In the fourth instalment, Assassin's Reign, Stryker finds himself down the road at the Siege of Gloucester. Knowing the city I've had fun looking at Google Earth and seeing where the defences were located.

Unbelievably this isnt this first time I tried to do ECW, over the years I bought 6mm, 10mm, 15mm and 28mm both twice. Previously I have been focused on the big battle but Im more motivated zooming down to skirmish level. I've started putting my figures together ( currently all Warlord) and what I've built and undercoated so far is shown below;

As with my WoTR project, I'm going to cover both sides, luckily all this needs is additional command figures painted with their Red or Tawney Orange sashes and the figures can swap sides. I'm going to paint up the troops in fairly generic colours.

My first box of the plastics are going to be blue, (not only were the Gloucester Trained Bands dressed in Blue but so were some of the opposing Evesham garrison) I'm thinking of green for the second box, the Dragoons will be in red and the firelock armed troops perhaps grey.

I'll post another update on this project as I move it forward, luckily Amazon have delivered the next two paperbacks in the Stryker series.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Tales from oddly shaped dice

A couple of years ago I started playing D&D again regularly joining in a localish adventure league game. AL is an organised play program organised by participating retailers, sessions are limited to 2 hours and characters will not rise above 4th level, as fun as this is, players can easily drop in and out as needed, its rather like starting a book and giving up after a few chapters.

Early this year I managed to find another group locally. To start we played a few sessions of "The Black Hack" an old school inspired cut down fantasy game. The rules are available from their publisher Squarehex at a bargain price of £7.50 including the DM screen and a scenario.

We have know progressed on to Labyrinth Lord, a classic clone of D&D (and AD&D with the advanced supplement), this is available as a free download or as a printed version with added artwork.

My character, a cleric called Bartholomew, is mastering turning zombies and casting "Cure Light Wounds" whilst we battle through the lair of a long dead wizard. Great fun! 

All this has proved so much fun that we've started another campaign playing "Call of Cthulhu", another game I've not played since the mid 90's. There's a new 7th edition out now and all existing material is backwardly compatible. 

I plan running my own Cthulhu game too but I will move the action to Victorian England rather than 1920s New England.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Snowshill Manor

We recently payed a visit to Snowshill Manor, a quite local National Trust property which contained the collection of eccentric former owner, Charles Paget Wade. Wade collected anything which interested him, the collection became so large, he moved out of the house and in to a former priests house in the grounds.

There's lots to interest visitors but nothing is labelled and any questions on the objects have to be directed to the volunteer guides which is a bit of a pain. But whats there to interest the wargamer and history buff?

Wade seem to have taken a liking to the orient and managed to collect a great selection of Samurai weapons and armour. 

Here's me wearing a heavy reproduction helmet and face mask.

Some Civil War period breastplates and helmets, here paired with buff coats.

An eclectic mix of the medieval and renaissance weapons, including a pair of German Two Handed Swords, "Zweihänder"  wielded by the Landschneckt.

Civil War / Seventeenth Century Cuirassier armour 

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

March Painting Part 2 - Beyond the Gates of Antares Algoryn

So just before the end of January I popped up to the Warlord Games grand opening of their onsite store and played a demo of Beyond The Gates of Antares. I liked the look of the Algoryn faction - I though they would make great generic aliens for many games.

I split the newer, smaller starter set with Dane and I have added a few bits from eBay sellers and from Warlord at Hammerhead. Just less than two months, they are complete! Well as complete as any army can be, there are some skimmer bikes heading this way from eBay as we speak!

Here is the complete force now its been flocked and tufted.

In real life there is a little more contrast in the red shades but otherwise its a pretty standard paint scheme.

Here's the metal command squad - soon to be replaced by a plastic multi part kit.


Mag Light Support

Avenger Attack Skimmer with Mag Cannon

Medic Team

Armoured Infantry

Armoured Infantry Assault Squad

They have already had one game, which true to form with newly painted figures, they lost although I'm sure we got a few things wrong.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Painting March Part 1

Painting has been patchy lately particularly due to the lack of suitable undercoating and varnishing weather which mainly takes place in the garden. I've got a few fantasy bits and pieces first.

Maggots from Heresy Miniatures

Mummy by Northstar, Liche from Otherworld, Kobolds are Reaper Bones, I don't recall where the dog came from.

These two are Frostgrave retainers.

And now Historicals .....

From Perry Miniatures we have a pack of civilians from their AWI range that will serve for the French Indian War and up to the Napoleonic wars.

Finally from Wargames Illustrated and their 'Giants in Miniature' personalities range, we have Colonel Durnford and Harry Flashman. The final figure is Patton, a freebie from Warlord Games.

Monday, 30 January 2017

The Pikeman's Lament and Warlord Games HQ Shop Grand Opening

Last week saw the long awaited publication of 'The Pikeman's Lament', the 17th Century rules based on Lion Rampant by Daniel Mersey and Michael Leck. (My copy arrived today!!). Despite being interested in the English Civil War, it has mainly escaped my wargaming despite me buying and selling figures in 6mm, 10mm, 15mm and 28mm over the years.

What I think was holding me back was the lack of a rule set I was happy with and not wanting to paint hundreds of figures. The announcement of these rules has once again wet my appetite for the period, especially relating to my part of the South Midlands. Furthermore I have recently discovered the Stryker novels by Michael Arnold - labelled as the Sharpe of the English Civil War, inspirational stuff indeed which led me to find a couple of very cheap Warlord Plastic Pike and Shot regiment boxed sets on ebay. Clicked and Bought.

We popped up to Nottingham on Saturday for the grand opening of the Warlord Games new shop, lured by the 20% discount, I thought I would pick up some bits and pieces. I have bought much of the additional figures for the ECW apart from Dragoons which are the next purchase.

On arrival in Lenton, we were each given a goodie bag containing four sprues of plastic miniatures (US Marines, Caesarian Romans, Antares Concorde and ex WF Malburians) along with some order dice and sent across the car park for a free breakfast butty.

The store is modest in size but well stocked with boxed sets and blisters from all the Warlord ranges along with Osprey books and Army Painter paints and supplies. I imagine anything out of stock could be quickly fetched from the factory.

After picking up my ECW troops we headed upstairs for some gaming and chats with the Warlord luminaries. I've included some photos below of the various game tables and played a couple of turns of Gates of Antares which led to Dane and I picking up the new starter set and hardback rulebook.

Here's the special (and free) figure available on the day.

Here's Warlord Maus, sold out in moments when released on the website. I hope we are not going to see people trying to field platoons of these in Bolt Action,.

Some fab Russian armour painted by the model designer himself.

Project Z

Antares dome game table

The Antares table we gamed on, that's a great mat from Deep Cut Studios. 

Konflict 47

Sarissa Precision terrain for Gates of Antares.

Finally a few shots from the display cases in the store.