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.