Monday, 9 November 2009

Using all your figures at once - well, sort of

Over on the Lead Adventures Forum someone mooted the idea of basing a game in the same universe as the comic Grimjack. I read it back in the eighties and have a complete set of the originals tucked away in the cupboard. I drank this comic up and could not get enough of it. Grimjack is actually set in the city of Cynosure at the centre of all the dimensions. The city actually consists of the intersections of many dimensions. Thus, you can cross the street and the rules of reality will change. Some dimensions are more stable than others, which means that you can be fairly sure of not getting stuck in some of the dimensions, while others might move off and drag you with them if you stay too long.

In some areas of Cynosure magic works but guns don't and vice versa. Occasionally both work together. In some areas people are gods, while they are just ordinary winos when they are in other areas. Worse still, some dimensions are totally inimical to most life forms. Better stay out of those. Still, it does provide plenty of variety.

So, what does this have to do with using all your figures at once? Actually, very little. What it really has to do with is using all of your figures in the same game setting. You see, and most of you will be way ahead of me on this, in a world where all the dimensions eventually meet, any type of figure could find its way there. So, your Conan figure could fight alongside your Space Womble figure in an epic battle to save the multiverse, or just a squalid fight to earn a few Creds and buy more beer. The question, though, is which rules to use. The setting is hard-boiled detective fiction; think Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. However, it also introduces science fiction and fantasy into the mix. So, the rules need to support the hard-boiled feel of the comic, while also permitting pure fantasy games, pure science fiction games, science fantasy games, the occasional superhero and a god or two. Not much to ask, eh?

My current thinking is that the core rules should be something like 45 Adventures. The narrative approach to the games and their small size would suit the episodic nature of a comic. You also have the other rules by Rattrap Productions, which use the same system and cover different genres: swashbuckling, Conan-esque fantasy and pulp science fiction. With a little work, these cover most of the bases, especially when you add in the Weird War Two and mad science supplements. The only problem I foresee is the need to work up some character archetypes that suit the core setting specifically rather than peripheral dimensions. Another alternative would be GURPS. Although it is a role-playing game, GURPS has at its core a solid skirmish game for its combat system. There are also zillions of supplements covering most genres that you could want. The only problem with that is the sheer expense of getting all the supplements you might want. Similarly, TwoHourWargames has several rules sets that could be combined to fit the setting and their Rep system makes characters easily portable between sets too.

My question to the audience is, what other rules might handle this well and have good flavour? Have any of you done anything like this before? Could this be the future of my skirmish gaming?

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Shrike and Shuttle Models

I've not done any painting in a couple of weeks now. Life seems to be driving me in other directions. However, I have also not bought anything, so I guess that means I have broken even overall. However, I did print out a couple of card models that I bought some time back as pdfs from Ebbles Miniatures, and I have now built them. Ebbles Miniatures sells a variety of downloadable pdf buildings, terrain items and vehicles and I have bought a few in the past. The prices suit me nicely and give me the chance to print out as much as I need for my games. The first model I built was this TA160 Shrike Transatmospheric Fighter (click the pictures for larger versions):

I now see from the picture that I forget to edge part of the base so there is an ugly white line showing. This is not actually as visible in real life as it is in the photo. The pdf is scaled to 15mm, but a 28mm version is also available. What you get when you buy the download is a zip file with instructions for building the kit, a pdf for the display stand and eight colour variants of the Shrike. This means that you could have eight different versions of the model without doing any editing for yourself. Woohoo! Of course, you could always drop the file into Photoshop and add your own touches if you are that way inclined.

The model itself consists of three pieces: upper body, lower body and wing structure. The wing is very easy to put together, while the upper and lower body are not difficult but do require a little care to get them to the right shape. Overall I am pleased with this model and I shall produce a couple more to provide air support for my 15mm Bwendi army.

The second model was a 28mm Utility Shuttle (apologies for the poor lighting on this one):

The utility shuttle is a neat little piece that measures approximately 4.5" long by 4" wide (110mm by 100mm). It has more parts to it than the Shrike but is not really any more difficult to build. The parts are: nose cone, central fuselage, rear fuselage, two engine pods, two skids and two landing skid supports. All of these are simple to fold together but I found that the fuselage sections did not want to sit exactly flush with each other. You can see the joins where I have edged them in black. As with the white line on the Shrike, these are not as obviously visible in real life.

The zip file for the shuttle contains three named shuttles and eight coloured shuttles, as well as a landing pad tile and the instructions. In the photo above, I have glued the landing pad tile to a WorldWorksGames concrete tile from their Urban Mayhem sets so that the landing pad will fit my other card terrain sets. I think it needs blast walls on three sides and a few more shuttles so that I can make a small spaceport set for our games.

Although the shuttle is designed for 28mm, it has no features on it that fix it to that scale. For this reason, although I do plan to use the shuttle for our 28mm games, it may well feature in our 15mm games as a dropship. It certainly looks about the right size to deliver an APC and its troops into the battle, so the Bwendi army now has near earth orbit delivery capability. If I wanted a 15mm version of it, it would be simple enough to print it at 60% size and my 15mm troops could have their own utility shuttles. There are no complex folds in the set that would make producing it at 60% scale difficult or impossible.

Overall I am very happy with both of these models, which I built while sitting watching TV with my wife and drinking wine. Admittedly the wine may have resulted in some less than careful building, but the finished products do not look much the worse for that and the brownie points scored for not hiding in my man-cave are worth it.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Another Slice of Pi

My latest 28mm figure is one that has been on the painting desk for some time. I am not completely happy with the highlighting on her legs in particular but she is at least ready to lead my Syntha forces into action in Urban War now.

Neo Pi (click for a larger image)

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Shadowforge Dark Temple Slingers - Mid-September Update

Just to prove that I am actually still painting figures, here is a shot of my newest unit. These ladies are some of Shadowforge's finest and will feature in my warband at the Wargods tournament in Canterbury this November.

I like the Shadowforge figures, but agree with their critics that some of the figures have a distressing tendency to look like inflatable dolls. Well, at least their faces do. Still, I like the figures just the same. They have clean lines and nice animation.

I originally bought these figures to use with a Wargods of Olympus warband. Wargods of Olympus is the Greek variant for Wargods of Aegyptus. It has been in playtest since before I can remember now, so I do wonder if it will ever see the light of day, but at least the figures are pretty and I shall probably use them in our Warrior Heroes: Armies and Adventures games instead.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Demonworld Elves

For about three or four years now I have had a unit of Demonworld Elven Unicorn Riders sitting undercoated on my desk. I finally decided to get them painted and so here they are in all their Elven glory (click the pics for larger versions):

I can honestly say that I did not enjoy painting them. To some extent this is the fault of the figures; they are too nice. These castings are exquisite, beautifully detailed and beautifully proportioned. They have little details on them that set them off just right too. And this is the problem. I wanted to paint them quickly and clear them off the desk. The figures wanted to be painted with oodles of shading and highlighting. They demand a level of attention that most would lavish only on 28mm figures and I did not want to do that. I wanted figures that look good enough at arm's length and I wanted to clear them quickly off the desk to make space for the next phase of the Towton project. Poor Unicorn Riders!

Some time back I painted these Demonworld Elven Heroes, so I thought I would photograph them while I was at it since they have not been seen here before:

I did not have the same problems with these heroes. Instead, my real problem with the heroes was that I was out of practice painting detailed figures. At the time I painted these, I was in a groove speed-painting 15mm Peter Pig figures for AK47 Republic and PBI2. I was out of practice painting the additional detail that these figures have.

Still, overall I am happy enough with the final outcome on both sets of figures. They are not great but I would not be shamed in front of the wargaming community putting them on the table. That leads me to my next dilemma. For the sake of completeness I have based them up for Demonworld. I have Demonworld and Empires and have actually played and enjoyed Empires, which I originally intended to use as a campaign system for other games. I have not played Demonworld yet and really wonder if I ever shall. I have enough figures for a small Elven army of about 1000 points (5 units plus characters) but the specific figures for it are OOP at the moment so I cannot add more of the same to my army and I do not have an opposing army, although I do have Harpies and Goblin Spearbearers. I could expand the armies using other ranges for the most part. Some troop options (e.g. Goblin Bear Riders) are not readily available though but I could proxy other troop types instead if need be. The problem is whether there is any point to this. After all, how many people actually have the rules and how many would want to play? So, what do I do? Sell the armies? Finish painting them and just keep them for display? Rebase them for another system?

I could always rebase them for HotT, which I have and have enjoyed in the past. That would give me three or four Elven armies and most of a Goblin army. I could add additional troops to the Goblin army from other ranges to complete it. I am tempted to use the Harpies as 6mm minor demons and 28mm imps for our Warrior Heroes campaign. That could certainly work. Whatever I decide in the end, at least I have cleared a bit more of the lead pile.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Black Tree Design

BTD have a terrible and well-deserved reputation for abysmal customer service. On 4th August 2008 I ordered some BTD Normans to use as Border Kingdoms armies in our Talomir Tales campaign. About three months later, part of my order turned up. The infantry were fine but I was not impressed with the quality of the cavalry; one of the horses only had three legs and others had minor casting defects. Still, given how long it had taken to get even these figures, I was not going to send these horses back. For all I knew, I might never see them again or any others besides! So, I painted these figures up and waited for the rest of my order. A couple of months down the line, I enquired about my order by email and through their website queries forum. I received no reply. I repeated this every couple of months, even adding a couple of written enquiries by post. I received no reply. Then suddenly I actually received a response completely out of the blue on 31st July 2009 informing me that the rest of my order would be due in a few weeks and offering me a free pack of figures of my choice. I replied immediately that I still wanted the figures and informed them which free pack I would like. It all went quiet again and I never expected to see the figures.

- Cue fanfare -

Today (12th September 2009) I received the rest of my order! One year, one month and one week after I originally sent it in, it turned up on the door mat. It even included a pack of free figures as an apology. The freebie pack was not the one I had asked for, but it is still useful to me, so that is all to the good. I doubt I shall ever use BTD again. I shall certainly not use their mail order service again despite the hefty discounts available. I might consider buying from them at shows if they are present, because I do like the style of the figures. At least at shows I could check that the figures are not miscast, and I would know that I was getting what I wanted when I wanted it. It's a good job I still want these figures for our games. The Border Kingdoms can now recruit some new troops to their army.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Bwendi Heroes Save Bwendi From ADF - FWC BatRep

Once more the perfidious aggressors from Albion have tried to invade Bwendi and been thrown back by the heroic Bwendi people. Their technology is truly no match for our spirit and elan. Thus spake Throckmorton P. Gladiolus, President for Life, at a press conference late yesterday following the startling news of a new Albion incursion onto Bwendi. The Albion invaders had landed in the back country of Bwendi near a vital industrial facility that produced much-needed fertiliser for the stout Bwendi yeoman farmers. The Bwendi Fast Response Team had reacted quickly (well, obviously!) to deal with the threat and had rapidly neutralised it. This is the story of that heroic action.

We played FutureWarCommander last night. It was my second game ever and Steve had not even read the rule book, so it was all down to me. I had played one game previously against Steve Kelly, who had played before so I had some grounding in the game but not much. At least I had read the rules though. That did help a bit. Nevertheless, I am sure that when I re-read the rules I shall find plenty of things that I got wrong.

The scenario was a simple 2000 point encounter battle. I had two troops of Thor MBTs, each with one Smart Missile carrier to provide heavy fire support, and one platoon of infantry in IFVs (Breakpoint 7). Steve had three troops of armour and two platoons of infantry, one of which was in APCs (Breakpoint 12). The game began with me taking the first turn.

The leader of the FaRTs looked at the oncoming enemy armour and ordered his tank commander to engage it at long range. There were a lot of guns heading their way and the FaRTs looked a little thin on the ground. His radio hissed and squealed as he spoke into the microphone and he watched as the entire armoured column advanced at full speed before suddenly stopping without even firing at the enemy. Fire was coming in thick and fast but the FaRT tankies were happily just motoring along. What the heck? Then he ordered the infantry forward to the small township of Gladioli ahead of them. The radio hissed and squealed some more and then it went dead. The IFVs stood stock still. Meanwhile the ADF commander was making the most of things and firing for all he was worth. Very soon three FaRT tanks were in flames and others were buttoned up and hoping for the best. Confusion reigned among the FaRTs and there was no doubt that their CO would be raising a stink about this if any of them survived. Things improved marginally as the missile tanks began to engage the enemy and smoked two of the enemy in return. The IFVs engaged an APC heading for the town, leaving it a blazing wreck too. "Well," thought Colonel Neryngia, "at least we are giving a reasonable account of ourselves."
(Click the pictures for larger versions)

Turns 1 to 3 passed very quickly in a welter of command blunders and failed command rolls for the FaRTS, while the ADF used the opportunity to engage and destroy a bunch of FaRT tanks. The FaRT HQ blundered with his first two command rolls, while the FaRT CO just failed the first three completely and my troops did nothing except fire using opportunity fire at the enemy. At least that did some damage although I was still losing on points at this time. Every vehicle of mine that was hit in these turns also managed to be suppressed, while none of Steve's were. It looked like the game would be a total walk-over for Steve.

After performing some percussive maintenance on his radio, Colonel Neryngia was finally able to talk to his troops properly. An ADF recce vehicle had taken up station in the woods near his command post so he ordered his infantry to assault the woods and clear them. This they did very easily before mounting up again and heading towards Gladioli. Enemy infantry had been sighted within the town and his men would have to clear it. The enemy armour was now advancing on the FaRT tanks though and another of his precious Thor MBTs was in flames. Things were really not looking good and it looked worse when one of the IFVs was hit as it tried to flank enemy positions within the town. Fortunately the infantry inside were able to dismount in time and survived. The rest of the infantry pushed into the town and assaulted the enemy troops there, only to find that they were power-armoured and pretty tough. The men retreated back through the town. At least Colonel Neryngia's radio was working properly now.

Turns 4 to 6 were much better from my perspective. My armour still spent most of its time suppressed, but at least my troops were able to do stuff as I passed a couple of command rolls. The ADF meanwhile was still pressing on and getting their command rolls just fine.

Then the battle really started to improve. Seeing the casualties caused by assaulting in the town, Colonel Neryngia ordered his men to just lay down as much fire as possible against the enemy. They would drive them out by superior firepower. The IFVs and the infantry concentrated their fire against one enemy position after another. Very soon they had cleared large areas of the town for only a few casualties. The armour was starting to get the range too. Several more enemy tanks went up in smoke. As night fell, the enemy withdrew in good order. The FaRTs held the field.

Neither of us reached our breakpoint by the end of the game. My force had taken 6 casualties in total and was one point away from breaking. Steve's force had taken 8 or 9 casualties and was further from its breakpoint than mine. We totted up the casualties. I had amazingly caused more damage than Steve had so I won a minor victory, which the Bwendi press wrote up as a stunning defeat for the ADF.

All in all it was a good game despite lack of familiarity with the rules. We played it straight and removed hits at the end of each turn. There is an option for retaining hits. Had we done that, I would have had no armour by the end of Turn 3 and the game would have been over much more quickly. Steve would have taken more casualties too, but not nearly as many as I would have done. My main problem was that most of my armour spent about half the game suppressed and unable to do anything except fire in opportunity fire. One it got moving though, it was able to do a bit of damage. The command system is really good fun in FWC. It is frustrating that you are not guaranteed at least one action per turn, but it also offers the opportunity for some really good bouts of action. At the end of the game, in the final turn, I managed to make loads of command rolls with my infantry and we were able to clear a large chunk of the town as a result.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

September's Targets

I just realised that August is over and that I have not set any targets for September. Eek! Time really does fly by, doesn't it. Anyway, looking at what I need to get finished and how much time I actually have spare for doing it at the moment, I am rather concerned that painting will have to go by the board for a bit. Still, I need some kind of distraction and there is the big Wargods tournament in Canterbury in November. As the reigning champion I must attend and ignominiously lose my title to some young whippersnapper. I have had an idea for a warband for the tournament but will not announce it here just yet. Suffice to say that it is a rather silly idea that has tremendous potential for amusement rather than for winning games. I look forward to seeing my opponents' faces when I lay out my army. Mind you, I did the same last year and won the tournament by accident. Oops! What I am trying to say here, in my usual, rather rambling manner is that my target for September and probably October will be to paint the additional elements I need for my warband. Pictures will follow as and when pieces are completed.

I have begun fettling my GHQ Terrainmaker hexes. Many have been damaged in the years since I first started collecting them. I am also not too keen on the shade of scatter material I used on them, because it is too dark. Given that I have a load of this scatter material left, I have mixed it with a lighter 'spring mix' and am much happier with the new colour. So, a secondary objective will be to fettle the rest of my hexes and finish the terrain for Helsingborg since I already have the armies. I am also planning to build more hexes, especially with a view to creating some pieces specifically designed for modern and future wars games in 6mm. The hex-fettling will also include additional detailing on all the hexes and finally getting around to texturing and finishing off the roads. The rivers need some additional work too, so they will receive a new coat of paint and probably a colour change. I just need to decide what colour to use for them. At least the blue indicates 'river' to people. Were I to go for a more realistic hue there is no telling what people would think my rivers were, especially given my inability to mix colours properly.

Old style hexes on the left, new style on the right (click for a bigger picture)

With the hexes fettled properly, I plan to use them a lot more for our games. I have more than enough to cover my 6' by 4' table and the addition of new hexes will help ensure that I have enough pieces to provide plenty of variety.

And finally, the other project is the Towton project. I shall continue with that over the next year. It will certainly be part of every month's project for the next year or so to complete several stands for this project each month, and it may well actually be a whole month's project in its own right.

But first, before I can properly begin on these, I need to complete the unit of Demonworld Elves that are sitting on the painting table taunting me at the moment. The figures are absolutely gorgeous, but I am really not enjoying painting them so they are taking an awful lot longer than they should.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Basic Impetus - Wars of the Roses Armies

As those of you that have read the Rather Large Towton Project blog will know, I have embarked on a rather daft venture to refight Towton as close to a 1:1 scale as possible. One part of keeping this project fresh is making sure that I can use the figures I am painting before I have painted the whole Towton order of battle.

So, bearing in mind that I have tried the Impetus rules and enjoyed them when Steve Kelly dropped by, I have downloaded the Basic Impetus rules and produced a couple of armies for them. Basic Impetus is the free 'light' version of Impetus and there are dozens of army lists available for the rules. Having tried Impetus, I think that BI can help me regain the joy of my early forays into DBA when it first came out. The armies comprise around 7-10 elements, so it is possible to collect large numbers of armies if you wish, or just enjoy the game cheaply, a must for a thrifty gamer!

I already had a few packets of Wars of the Roses figures before I began the Towton project. Ok, well, maybe I mean more than a few. Not all of these will be used in the Towton project because they represent troop types that were not present. I dug these out and added what I needed to the painting pile. As a result, in short order I had enough elements to field all of the options for Lancastrian and Yorkist armies. Each army consists of 8 elements, and each has 3 options that can be added in exchange for elements already in the army. The number of options in BI armies is not ridiculously large, like in the most recent DBA rules, but reflects the sensible nature of the first edition of DBA. Hooray for Dadi e Piombo, say I!

The armies below are arrayed with their core elements at the front. The three optional elements are arrayed separately to the rear. The figures are 6mm Baccus, based on 60mm x 30mm mdf bases from East Riding Miniatures using the Baccus Basing System.

The Yorkist Army (click the pictures for a larger version)

The Yorkist army consists of the retinues of Edward IV, Lord Hastings and Lord Berners.

The Lancastrian Army

The Lancastrian army consists of the retinues of Lord Grey of Codnor and Sir John Heron of the Ford. It also features the retinues of Viscount Bourchier and Lord Fitzwarin standing in as Lancastrians until I actually get some more Lancastrian running dog lackeys painted.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Shiva - Urban War

I have not painted much 28mm recently and Shiva has been sitting on my painting desk for a while, half completed. I decided to quickly paint her up the other day and have just finished her.

Shiva is a human that has been infected with the spores released by the Koralon (greebly aliens) when they invaded. She is a character figure for the Urban War game from Urban Mammoth. Steve and I both really like Urban War but we play it all too infrequently, because we keep getting distracted by other projects. It's a shame really because it is a game that is well worth playing.

Looking at Shiva, I think she may well appear in our Warrior Heroes: Armies and Adventures games. She would make a great minor demon figure, as would a lot of the other Koralon I have. Now, where can I find these figures in 6mm for our Warrior Heroes games too?

The Martians Are Coming

I finally got around to finishing some more Martians. My poor Shastapshian Martians are still outgunned by the perfidious British of Syrtis Major, but at least we have more of a chance now. The figures are all 15mm and are from Black Hat Miniatures, except for the Small Bird sky galleon, which is a paper model produced by squirmydad. You can download this model from the Sky Galleons of Mars yahoo group. Big thatnks to squirmydad for that.

My forces are based around the Shastapshian army in the Space: 1889 rules. Their army is organised into 'flags'. Each flag is a combined arms battalion comprising two warbands of infantry, one artillery battery and one cavalry warband. My ultimate goal is to be able to field three or four of these flags with supporting walkers and sky galleons.

A Red Flag Warband

These new infantry are the first warband for the second flag that I am producing.

Small Bird Class Screw Galley

This is my first air support unit. The Small Bird is normally used to support troops in siege situations by providing high level bombing. I am hoping that its sweeper guns and aerial mobility can also level the playing field against the British machine-guns.

Storch Mk2 Walker

This light recon walker is armed with a 0.5" Gatling gun instead of the more usual two-pounder that the Prussian Storch walker carries. Prussian renegades have provided the Shastapshians with three of these walkers so I had better buy and paint the other two as well. Let us hope that they prove resiliant enough to deal with the British steam tanks that I have heard are in production.

Shastaphsian forces march on Syrtis Major.

This is all of my painted Martians so far. I need to add some cavalry to complete the Black Flag. They are currently sitting undercoated by the painting table awaiting their turn.

In the near future, I plan to complete the Red Flag by adding an infantry warband with melee weapons, because the Black Flag is the only flag whose troops all have rifles. They will also need the cavalry and artillery, so I shall have to buy these at some point in the future. I have also printed out another Small Bird and plan to build it shortly. I think I would like a squadron of three of them and it would be nice to have crew figures for the Small Birds, so I shall print and build another at some point.

In the longer term I plan to expand the army to three or four flags, as mentioned above, and add the extra two walkers. After that, who knows? I am tempted to add an allied Piedmontese mercenary battalion to the Shastapshian forces, with the Piedmontese taking the role of the Fenians and Prussians in the rulebook. Whaddya mean you never heard of the Piedmontese space effort or their holdings on Mars? Well, you will ...

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Italians buy British boats shocker!

In shock news, the Italian government has recently purchased a number of Stingray Class Torpedo 'Nefs from Britain. This is thought to signal British support for the newly formed Italian nation in its struggle against the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires. The new Torpedo 'Nefs are the first part of a larger order that the Italian government has made. The 'Nefs, designated S1 to S5, made a fine site as they escorted a small flotilla of Italian vessels from the British naval dockyards at Scapa Flow. The Orkney islanders turned out en masse to cheer the ships as they left. Reportedly this new order has saved a number of jobs at the dockyards that were previously threatened due to a downturn in wars.

I finally got around to painting some of my 'nefs last week. Now I just need to paint the rest. Click the pictures for larger versions.

The Italian Fleet leaves Scapa Flow with the newly purchased Stingray Torpedo 'Nefs:

Palestro Class Destroyer:

Re D'Italia Battlenef:

Stingray Class Torpedo 'Nef:

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

More Clearing The Decks - TYW Swedes

I recently rebased my Thirty Years War Swedes to make a couple of armies. OK, so technically it is not two completely separate armies. It is two armies with a core of models in common and additional elements to make up the rest. I played Impetus the other day and really enjoyed it, so I decided to quickly rebase my Thirty Years War Swedes for the Basic Impetus variant Basic Baroque. I am hoping that BI and BB return the same level of fun to ancients and renaissance gaming that DBA did in the early nineties. I have had this Swedish army for a goodly number of years but, like many other armies I own, it was never completed due to lack of opponents interested in the period. The army was originally put together for Renaissance Principles of War, which means I have quite a few spare bits for the BB armies now. I am thinking of reworking some of these to provide a Danish or Imperialist opponent for the Swedes. Given the small size of the armies, that should be feasible with minimum additional expenditure.
The figures are all 6mm by Irregular Miniatures on mdf bases from East Riding Miniatures.

The early Swedish army (Click the pics for larger images):

Later Swedish army:

The figures are all based on 60x30mm stands, because I had them to hand and am getting used to using them. I am not sure that this was the right choice but it is done now. I think I should have opted for 80mm frontage stands instead, which is another option that the game gives. This would have given the cavalry a bit more space for the commanded shot. Still, it gives me another army that is ready to use, and the point of wargaming for me is rolling dice and talking shite with my mates. This army is ready for another bout of that.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Play Day! (Impetus and FutureWarsCommander)

Yup, I had a play day yesterday. Steve (of steves blog) was in the country visiting his brother, who lives about an hour or so up the road from me, so we arranged to meet up. He brought his Wars of the Roses figures with him (all Baccus 6mm) and a couple of Dark Realm Miniatures armies for FutureWarsCommander. If you have not read Steve's blog, you should at least check it out; his figures are beautifully painted.

He managed to find my house eventually, after a dreadful journey down past York. One brew later and we set up for the first game. Steve had mentioned Impetus on his blog before and I have been reading reports by other people too, like JET on Geektactica. These all made the game sound interesting. I had also downloaded Basic Impetus, a free DBA-esque version of the rules from the website, which had whetted my appetite for the game. It looked interesting, and I was not wrong. Steve had mentioned on the phone earlier in the week that he had some reservations about the rules after his first game, so I was wondering if they would live up to my expectations. We set up the game. I took a Lancastrian Wars of the Roses force and Steve took the Yorkists. Both armies were Steve's.

We deployed roughly opposite each other and commenced the archery duel, which was not particularly decisive but did disorder my archers fairly quickly. Our mounted units charged towards each other on my left flank, while the rest of the troops tried to remove disorder and advance. As we closed the archery became more furious and units started to really get hurt, with Steve's men taking the brunt of it. Meanwhile the mounted knights were in a ding-dong battle that raged back and forth across the field. My knights got the worst of it in that melee and were quickly reduced to a strength of 1. Ouch. However, despite, or possibly because of, being outnumbered they rallied and fought back even harder. Meanwhile, my archers had destroyed a couple of Steve's archer units and my melee troops stormed into the combat. Very soon the battle was over and the Yorkists were fleeing for their lives.

This was a great fun game. I don't think we used all the rules in the Impetus rulebook, but it flowed well and was thoroughly enjoyable. I liked the idea of selecting which body of troops you wished to move and dicing for their initiative versus your opponent rather than rolling initiative for the whole side. That keeps both players more involved in the game all the time and adds a layer of interesting decision-making to the game. I also really liked the fact that melee continues until one side is destroyed or has fallen back beyond the pursuit range of the other side. This makes melee quite deadly really but also led to a real back and forth battle between our knights. The quality of the rulebook is also exceptional. It has thick glossy pages that feel like they will last well. The illustrations are inspiring and there appear to be plenty of examples too. Overall, I have to say "thumbs up" for Impetus and it is now on my shopping list. Oh, and Steve's reservations about the rules? Well, it turns out that he had drunk rather a lot of alcohol before he even began that first game ...

We broke for lunch and then set up a game of FutureWarsCommander. I have had these rules for a while and it is on my regular opponent Steve's and my list to play. Yes, my regular opponent is called Steve too. That makes it rather confusing but I shall not mention him again so any references to Steve will henceforth refer to Steve of 'steves blog'. So, as I was saying, I have had these rules for a while and have been really keen to try them out. I painted up my Scandinavian Union force a while back, as regular readers of this blog will know, and had previously only used it for Dirtside 2. Steve used an Andrayadan force from Dark Realm Miniatures for this game. We picked 2000 points of troops and set up a quick encounter battle so that we could get rolling dice asap.

It all started so well. I discovered that my troops had firepower and range over Steve's force. Brilliant. In the first four turns and almost completely annihilated one wing of his army as it tried to advance on me and had reduced Steve to one point from his breakpoint. My own casualties were minimal so far. At this time I was feeling rather guilty. After all, I had won the first game and it would be rude to win the second game in such a manner. Then on Turn 5 both my HQ and my CO failed their first command rolls. My troops stood there like lemons while Steve's advanced. I started to take more casualties. On the following turn my CO again failed to activate anything while my HQ was trying to manoeuvre his wing over to the other side of the table. And that's when it happened. Steve's troops activated and activated and fired and fired and my troops started falling like flies. In the space of one turn the whole game was turned on its head and suddenly my troops reached their breakpoint. I now had to roll every turn to see if the commander would order a withdrawal. He passed the first time but the troops took so many casualties on that turn that there was only a minimal chance of succeeding at the withdrawal roll on the following turn. I rolled. I failed. My troops fled the field. Victory to Steve!

This game was brilliant. The command system is very neat and offers all kinds of possibilities for problems and amazing successes. The game flowed really well and there were no problems. We did spend a bit of time looking things up, but that was because neither of us was particularly familiar with the rules. I can't wait to get another game of this in and am even wondering whether I should collect a new army for it. The question is, which army?

So, a big thank you to Steve for an excellent day's gaming.

Monday, 10 August 2009

The Rather Large Towton Project - Update

I have just completed my first contingent for the Towton project we are doing. This consists of 294 figures in 6mm. You can see the results on the Towton Blog. Here's a shot of the whole contingent to tempt you to look there (click for a larger version):

My own contribution to the whole project will be about 8500 figures. I hope that the others can contribute half as much each. If they do then we shall have a truly epic game to play. The figures are all Baccus 6mm and they are awaiting the flags we are due to get from Freezywater/Lance and Longbow Society. Watch this space or, better yet, follow progress on the other blog.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

The Danish Army at Helsingborg

I have previously posted pictures of my Swedish army for the Battle of Helsingborg. As part of my clearing the decks process, I have now finished rebasing my Danish army too. As usual, click the pictures for larger images. If you want to see more picture of this army and the individual units, you can find them in my Photobucket account.

The whole army for Helsingborg using Polemos order of battle:

The army is now based on 60mm x 30mm stands. Originally, when I first conceived of the Helsinborg project, I envisaged using Koenig Krieg to refight the battle. However, further experience of Koenig Krieg suggested to me that those rules might not suit my schedule and available gaming time. Therefore the project stalled with both armies painted and stuck to KK bases. Then along came Polemos. I decided to rebase to that standard. I figured that I could then use the armies with Volley and Bayonet too. I like Volley and Bayonet, although some find them a little simplistic. I also think that Volley and Bayonet may well suit my available gaming time better, although I intend to try both out.

As an example of how the units look, here is a picture of the Guard infantry:

And here is a picture of Bulow's Ungarske Dragoon Regiment.

Just to show how truly geeky I am, here are the casualty markers that I put together for the original Koenig Krieg project. There is a full set for every regiment in the army, painted in regimental uniforms.

Some figures that are not needed for Helsingborg, but which I rebased anyway:

Following the rebasing, I also find myself with a lot of extra figures left over. The Koenig Kreig battalions are larger than the Polemos / Volley and Bayonet ones so I have the equivalent of half a dozen regiments of infantry spare, as well as some additional commanders and dismounted dragoons. The infantry will have their facings changed and will become regiments that fought at Gadebusch in 1712. These spare figures will need command figures adding to them too, but I have plenty in the lead pile so that is not a problem. I shall be assuming that most regiments had not received their new red uniforms by then, but if I need to begin afresh with some units then I shall paint them in the red uniforms.

Clearing the Decks

With my first batch of figures for the Towton project staring reproachfully at me from the side of my painting desk, I need to make some space for them. I also need to minimise distractions from other projects. Therefore I have set out to clear up what I can. First up are some Viking Age shepherds and their trusty dog, Gnasher. I know he is not a gnaschund but I could not think of a better name and he really does look like he is up to no good:

These figures are Gripping Beast, I think. They were already painted by my brother as part of a 28mm Viking army for DBM or some similar system. I was not keen on the ink wash my brother had used. It was brown over the grey cloaks, so I repainted the main details on the figures and dipped them in a magic wash solution using dark grey paint as the pigment. Then I rebased them. It seems to have worked well enough. These figures are extras for our WHAA campaign so I did not really want to spend ages getting them perfect. As it is, they should not be too embarrassing to field.

The other mob that I have finished up is my Swedish Hussars for the Seven Years War. These are 6mm Baccus figures. Baccus does not produce a Swedish range for the Seven Years War, but it is perfectly feasible to use similarly accoutred figures from the Prussian and Austrian ranges. On the left we have the Yellow Hussars (Gul Husaren) and on the right the Blue Hussars (Bla Husaren).

The Blue Hussars were the original unit, formed in 1757. The Yellow Hussars were formed in 1761. They are the only hussar units in the whole Swedish army at this time so any Swedish army of this period will need to include them or do without light cavalry. Pengel and Hurt note that they cannot find any evidence for standards carried by the hussars. I have chosen to give them generic livfanor because I think that a hussar regiment really ought to have flags.

Until I paint the actual Swedish regiments of the Seven Years War, I plan to use my Great Northern War Swedes as stand-ins. The uniforms are close enough so it will not be glaringly obvious except to the most pernickety of people.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

The Rather Large Towton Project

I believe I mentioned this project in an earlier post on this blog. I have hit upon the idea of producing a 6mm refight of the Battle of Towton. Towton was fought between the House of York and the House of Lancaster on 29th March 1461 during the Wars of the Roses in England. It is reputed to have been the bloodiest battle on English soil and was fought in a blinding snow storm. The numbers involved are disputed, with some scholars claiming around 30,000 men in total, while traditionally there are supposed to have been around 70,000 involved. At the end of the battle, 28,000 men are supposed to have lain dead on the field, most of them being slaughtered in Bloody Meadow as they routed. Again, the number of casualties is disputed, with those favouring a lower number stating that insufficient burials are known from the area to support the higher numbers. All I will say to those scholars is that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

The Plan
So, on to the project. I have started a new blog to chronicle the project as it develops over the next year and a half. The new blog can be found HERE. I have recruited half a dozen other people to help with this project and we are planning to field armies comprising upwards of 8,500 figures with an ultimate goal of 25,000 figures on the table. That said, I am now wondering if 33,000 figures is a feasible goal now that I have received my first order (Edward IV's command).

We plan to take the Towton game round several shows in the UK in 2011, the 550th anniversary of the battle. I hope I shall see some of you there.

How can this be thrifty? Good question. We are being supported in this effort by Baccus and The Lance and Longbow Society. Baccus is giving us a hefty discount on the figures that we are buying for the project, which makes purchasing the higher numbers of figures more realistic. The Lance and Longbow Society/Freezywater produce a range of standards and banners for the Wars of the Roses and they have volunteered to give us all the 6mm flags we need for the project. I would like to thank both of them for their generosity. I really hope that our efforts repay that generosity.

The other aspect of thrift in this project is that I shall not be spending any money on it! Well, that is not strictly speaking true but I intend to make my spending on the project 'outlay neutral'. I have more than a few projects that have stalled and are never likely to be finished. These I propose to sell on ebay to fund the purchase of figures for the Towton project; my first purchase was funded by my recent ebay sales. I intend to repeat this process until I have all the figures I need to refight Towton. I shall also be begging all of my relatives to buy me the figures I need for my birthday and Christmas presents. With any luck, this will mean that I do not actually spend any money beyond what I can earn from my hobby on the project. Then all I need to do is get them painted. Wish me luck!

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Albion attacks Bwendi Again - Dirtside 2

I have owned Dirtside 2 since before 1997 and after 1994. I know this because I remember buying it in the comics shop in Bedford when I worked for the archaeology unit there and those were the dates of my sojourn in Bedfordshire. However, I had never played the rules until this Thursday just gone. That is a shame because we had a cracking good game and the rules worked really well. I had feared that they might be a bit crunchy, but as it was they actually played very smoothly. The only downside to the game is that it was very one-sided and Steve took the brunt of the bad luck. I do prefer a closer match.

We chose to fight a standard 3000 point encounter battle, with each of us setting out 3 objective markers. The markers were all drawn randomly from the pool of objective markers so we did not know what points values each of us had drawn. All of mine were worth one point each. Bah! I found out afterwards that Steve had drawn two 2s and a 3! One objective marker had to be placed in our rear areas (the third of the table closest to our base edge), while the remainder had to be placed in the centre third of the table (the main battle area). The red circles on the set-up picture below show their locations.

My force consisted of the HQ group, two tank troops, two armoured infantry platoons and a heavy SPG troop. Steve had, if I remember correctly, an HQ group, two heavy tank troops and an armoured infantry platoon. I outnumbered him significantly and, as I found out, he had taken a totally different approach from me to building his force. I bought small tanks with big guns and very few frills. Steve bought big tanks (his Scotia tanks were twice the size of mine, literally!) with smaller guns but loaded up with stealth options.

The Set-Up (click pic for larger version throughout)

One unit of Steve's tanks is missing from this picture (on the far right) because of the limitations of my photography expertise. The arrows show the approximate movements of the units throughout the game.

Steve began the game by advancing a unit of tanks down his left flank. I promptly proved that I had actually read the rules by declaring opportunity fire. Three hit rolls later, two tanks were in flames and one had suffered a catastrophic failure of all its systems and it had also lost its drive train. The systems could be brought back online but it would never move again.

On his right flank, Steve moved a heavy tank troop into the military industrial complex to seize the objective there. I responded by advancing my headquarters troop to try to drive him from it. Suddenly all the target training I had given my troops seemed to desert them. They were right up next to these tanks and could not hit a thing. Fortunately, Steve seemed to have forgotten to train his own troops in how to shoot too!

Meanwhile, in the centre of the battlefield, Steve advanced his infantry forward and I did the same. My green troops advanced into the woods in my rear area to seize that objective and never moved from there for the rest of the game. Did I mention that troop quality was determined by a chit draw? I drew 2 green units, 1 elite unit and the rest were average. Steve's troops were all average and mostly with average commanders, while my command ratings were all over the place. In the picture below you see me triumphantly moving my troops up to the edge of the middle woods, supported by an armoured troop, and loudly declaring, "Hah, this objective is mine!" I then realised that the objective was actually in the woods at the top of the picture and said, "Oh, bother!" Doh!

I did move my infantry up to the woods with the objective in later, and managed to hold it. Steve brought his infantry up to try to take it, but I countered with some devious tank movements to chase his APCs off. Meanwhile, I had managed to smoke two of his tanks in the industrial area, had finished off the third one on his left flank and had occupied five of the objectives. At that point I declared game end. Under the rules, once you control more than half the objectives, you can declare game end. That said, it had not been easy. I spent many turns failing to hit Steve's vehicles. Similarly, he failed to hit mine and the one time he did, he scored a firer systems failure; the gunner pulled the trigger and the blue screen of death showed up instead of brewing up my APC. Such was Steve's luck throughout the game.

The final situation with arrows to show approximate troop movements:

The game was great fun and we played it through in 1.5 hours despite never having played before. The rules worked smoothly and the only thing that spoiled the game was Steve's abysmal luck. I'm sure he will do better next time. From my own perspective, I got the impression that numbers will tell in DS2; the more shots you get off the more chance you have of hitting and hurting the enemy. Steve's lack of numbers was a contributory factor in losing the game. The stealth systems he had worked well though. I spent several turns firing everything I had at him and missing every single time! I do like the opposed die roll system for hitting. That works well and is fun. It also keeps both players involved all the time, as does the alternate activation mechanism, where each player alternates activating one unit at a time. All in all, DS2 s well worth trying if you like 6mm sci-fi and it is available free from the Ground Zero Games website.

Our next planned game will be FutureWarsCommander using the same figures. We shall also return to DS2 but with bigger forces and more variety of vehicles.

August's Objectives

My loyal followers will have noticed that I have not yet posted anything about objectives for August. That is because I have none. By the end of this month I have to get the next chapter of my PhD into a highly polished format for submission to my supervisor. Therefore, rather than balancing my painting and my coursework (usually in favour of painting!), I shall instead be focusing on writing stuff about Vikings. If I were to set myself any gaming objectives, I would be driven to complete them first, so I shall not do so.

This does not mean that I shall be idle on the gaming front. I am currently clearing the decks for a rather large long term project, so I do have a bunch of figures to paint, but I am not going to pressure myself into completing them yet.

We expect to resume normal service in September though.

The Rock Muppets March On

One of my July projects was completing my Totanem (Rock Muppet) warband for Wargods of Aegyptus. I had a unit of warriors, a hero and a Stone Colossus to paint. Well, I finished them with hours to spare, varnishing them on the morning of 31st July and finishing off the bases in the afternoon. Here they are in all their schisty glory.

Unit of warriors led by a hero:

I had a spare shield, so I added it to the hero, because I already have one of this model in the warband, so I thought it would make him a little different.

Stone Colossus:

The Stone Colossus is a creation that the harbinger of the warband can build when he gains enough Ka (equivalent to levels in an RPG or something like that anyway). It is a slow but tough juggernaut that can level buildings with its bare fists. I suspect that it will also be an arrow magnet in any game we play.

The whole warband:

This is the whole warband. It consists of:
  1. The harbinger (front centre)
  2. A master of words or magic-user (centre left)
  3. An artifex, who crafts items of power for selected characters in the warband (centre right)
  4. The Stone Colossus (rear)
  5. Two units of warriors, each led by a hero

The figures shown here weigh in at between 850 and 900 points, depending upon how I rate the heroes (they could be bought as champions or heroes). To bring it up to the starting warband default level of 1000 points, I would add a unit of Khemru slingers to give me some missile capability.

You will notice that the newer figures are a different colour from the older ones. This is because I tried a different painting technique on these ones. Instead of doing lots of highlighting, I just washed the figures in a stone colour and allowed the white undercoat and the wash to provide the shading. Then I dipped the figures to increase the contrast a bit. I think it worked quite well and I would not be too embarrassed to field these figures on the table.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

What's Going On Now? - July Update

I'm sitting waiting for Steve to turn up so that we can play Dirtside 2 at last. When did we paint our 6mm sci-fi stuff? It feels like yonks ago, as if we have been putting off playing the game for years.

In the meantime, July seems to have gone slowly as far as painting goes. I did manage to paint my 6mm Border Kingdoms army and posted about that on the Talomir Tales site. I have been slowly working on painting my Totanem for Wargods of Aegyptus and have just completed them today. I need to varnish them before I can photograph them though. Pray for a sunny start tomorrow to give me time to varnish them then lots of rain to water our new lawn!

I did paint 130 15mm figures for my brother. I guess that took up some time too. Boy did I curse those Carthaginian figures with their nasty little overhangs. Still, they got done and I am being paid in lead. Thrift at work, or something like that. I paint his figures, I get new toys and the balance is maintained.

The Wargods figures mentioned in one of my recent blog posts sold, creating another opportunity for spending without upsetting the thrift balance.

I have also spent a lot of time editing and revising the Warrior Heroes rules for Ed Teixeira at TwoHourWargames. This seems to have taken rather longer than I anticipated. It might well have been easier had I just ditched his text and re-written it instead of trying to make his text conform to my ideas of how it should be written. I shall have the battle rules sorted out by the end of August at the latest. I promise (barring personal crises, existential angst and global apocalypse). I think they will be considerably easier to refer to than the old set. I hope so anyway, after my comments on this forum about the original version of the rules. Time to put my money where my mouth is!

Speaking of money, one of the goals of this blog was to chronicle my progress at reducing my lead mountain. Hmm. I seem to have slipped off the wagon a bit. If you have seen my posts on various forums, you will know what I am talking about. If not, all is explained on the Rather Large Towton Project Blog. It is clearly not thrifty to start such a large project, and yet, in some senses it is. Am I spouting nonsense? I don't think so. I am committing to buy for this project around £350 worth of figures. That's rather a lot of dosh. I plan to sell stuff to pay for it, which will probably double my workload but will result in clearing out things I do not need, while helping to build the new project. The other advantage of this project is that I am actually very interested in this period of history (mid- to late-15th century). It's not as interesting as Vikings or Scandinavia, but it is pretty interesting for a modern period. More on this later. Time for a game.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Tusk Junior

My wife and I have had her nephews to stay for the weekend (our weekend runs from Sunday to Monday). Yesterday we took them to the Walking with Dinosaurs live show at Sheffield Arena as a birthday present. It was a pretty good show, although I felt that the emphasis on the 'special effects' over story let it down a bit, but I am old and jaded, so what do you expect? The dinosaurs themselves were really good and the size of them was impressive too. It really gives you sense of perspective.

One of the boys has been pestering me to show him how to play wargames. They play Heroscape but are fascinated with the array of figures in my office/games room. So, one of them asked me last night if I would "show them my moves"!!!!! By this he meant, how to play the games, not anything else. Today I caved in and asked them if they wanted to hunt dinosaurs, to which the response was an enthusiastic "Yes". I dug out Tusk, set up a 2'*2' board, gave each of them a small party of cavemen and we set to. The table had one each of Tyrannosaurus, Brontosaurus, Stegosaurus and Triceratops on it. I explained how to measure moves and they set to with gusto, each charging his hero in as fast as possible. The Tyrannosaurus fell first. It was simply not as aggressive as a small boy. Then the other nephew brought the Stegosaurus down. Both boys were enthusiastically throwing rocks and spears at the other two dinosaurs and the Brontosaurus saw the writing on the wall first. It fled for the edge of the table and away to safety. The Triceratops was less savvy and stayed to fight, surrounded by cavemen. It gored and trampled one group of them but could not take on the full might of two cavemen tribes. The elder nephew slew it and took credit for the kill as well as winning the game with two dinosaur kills overall. The younger one had only killed one dinosaur but his tribe had been halved in size, so I think the food will go around well enough.

Both boys, who are 6 and 8 by the way, picked up the game really quickly. Even the reaction system for the dinosaurs, which confused them initially, became clear with play. Flushed with their first hunting success, they left the game very happy and I could bask in the warm glow of being a successful uncle and leading them into bad ways. I wonder what I should teach them next ...

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Progress and the future!

I have not updated this blog for nearly two weeks now, so it is about time I did. The question you are all asking yourselves is, what has he been up to? You haven't? Oh well, maybe it was just me. Well, my figures sold on ebay. I even had a couple of bids on them, although they did not go for the insane prices I saw a single Anubi warrior go for; £15 is a ridiculous price to pay for one painted 28mm figure, yet I saw several going for that much! I now need to sort out my next batch of ebay goods, although I am tempted to try alternative forums for selling because of the 15% cut that ebay and Paypal take in total. I know that I would pay 10% at a normal auction so I can handle that, but hitting you with the Paypal stuff too when it is all the same business feels like gouging.

In painting terms, I have painted my 6mm objective, the Border Kingdoms army for our Warrior Heroes campaign. It is featured on my Talomir Tales blog. I have also spent too much time helping my brother out by painting 130 Carthaginian types for a Field of Glory army in a very short space of time. He entered a tournament without realising that his normal army would not be eligible. What a numpty! Always read the rules!! :-) This has affected my targets for this month, but I think I can still meet them, and he is paying me in lead. I have also started making progress on the Totanem that were scheduled for painting this month. I still hope to complete them by the end of the month.

And finally, I attended the Baccus open day last Saturday. It was really good fun. I learnt about the miniature production process from green to final casting, which was quite informative. I had not realised how much effort went into the process so early on. I also got to see the first greens of a forthcoming Viking range that the nice Baccus people are working on. There was the opportunity to spend money and I spent about half of my ill-gotten ebay earnings on Sassanian Persians (Mirish in our WH campaign) and Amazons (Hykar in our WH campaign). The rest will be spent on figure storage. I have my eye on some figure trays from Kaiser Rushforth, since Figures in Comfort is between owners as far as I know. It's a shame because FiC produce a series of trays that fits my Polemos figures perfectly, which is exactly what I need. I shall see what Kaiser Rushforth have and report back later.

Another result of the Baccus open day was a discussion over a pint of beer with Peter Berry about possible games. Someone (no names, no pack drill) had mentioned that Towton would be a good battle to refight and hinted that others might like to do that. No one picked up the gauntlet. Peter suggested that I might project manage such an event, so I mooted it on the Baccus forum and received positive responses from several people. We are now in serious discussions about producing a demo game for shows in 2011, the 550th anniversary of the bloodiest battle on English soil. With any luck we shall be in a position to show off a large game with around 10,000 figures per side by that date. If we really work at it, we could double that number of figures and still have a playable game. My ultimate goal would be to produce a totally epic 1:1 man:figure ratio for the game but I think we might need a bank loan to buy the figures, even in 6mm. Therefore a smaller game is more realistic. Watch this space. It's not thrifty but I shall probably have to fund it buy selling stuff and painting figures, so it may well still fit the definition. Anyone want to buy my lead mountain before I start?

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Slowly Clearing Things Out

I don't know about you, but I find it hard to throw stuff out, or even to get around to selling it. I am not particularly enamoured of EBay these days either. It is getting more and more expensive to use, is not particularly friendly to the individual that occasionally wants to sell something and you hear more and more stories of fraud too. To my mind, EBay is no longer really an auction house and more like a department store. This is a shame.

Another problem I have is that I dislike selling my unpainted lead. You don't get back what you paid originally. This means that I tend to hoard the lead until the walls are fit to bursting and will rarely sell it off unless I get around to painting it. If I get around to painting it, then I have completed the project, so why would I then sell it? Tough problem!

So, I was looking at my collection and wondering about rationalising it again. I have done this in the past and usually wind up buying the self-same figures all over again at a later date when the enthusiasm resurfaces. This time around I decided to sell some Heru from the Wargods of Aegyptus range. I have two units that are painted and based, so my prospects for selling these figures ought to be reasonably good as long as I pick the right price point. Another consideration was that I only kept the Heru because I wanted the option of fielding them in a game, and I wanted them available as an enemy for my Typhon warband. I have no particular desire to field a Heru warband myself, but it is always good to have a spare warband in case you can entice others to play the game. I have other, unpainted, Heru in my collection and Wargods also allows for human contingents in each warband. These humans count towards the compulsory element of the warband. This means that I can retain a unit of Heru, add some humans and still field the Heru warband if I so choose. I don't need to keep these other figures and can use them as a means of earning a bit of money towards my wargaming budget, assuming they sell.

This leads me on to the next issue. How much do I list them for and how much do I rate my painting at? If I were to send these figures to a professional painter it could cost me £5 per figure plus postage, were I to use a UK based service. I could send them to Sri Lanka and get them painted for around £1 per figure for a basic paint job (more for a better job) but then I have to take the risk on shipping them around the world. Also, these prices do not include the cost of the figure. Surely other people consider these too when deciding to bid on an auction. Well, I hope they do but I suspect that most do not. They come to EBay with expectations of getting a bargain. This has been my experience in the past when selling figures. People do not want to pay the going rate. In the end, I have looked at similar figures on Ebay and worked out what the minimum I would accept is. I listed the figures at that price. It covers the lead cost and the cost of my painting without being as expensive as a professional figure painter in the UK would charge. Let's see if I get any bites.

On a side note, I did see that someone was selling Anubi warriors (basic warrior figure, which retails for around £20 per unit of ten) at £9.99 per painted figure. There were bids on those figures too. I wonder if I should have broken up my units and sold individual figures at that price instead. It would have massively increased my potential profit margin!

The figures I am planning to sell are a unit of Heru Archers (EBay Link):

and a unit of Heru with Polearms (EBay Link):

Thursday, 9 July 2009

A Mammoth Task - Tusk Battle Report

Og hunt big food. Big food drink. Og hunt big food while big food drink. Big man dead. If Og hunt well, Og be new big man. If Og not hunt well, Ug be new big man.

We played Tusk last night. The scenario was that the chief of the tribe had died and the hunter that killed the most mammoths would become the new chief.

Mammoths at the watering hole (Click the pictures for larger versions)

Ug know what to do. Ug send hunters forward fast. Og know what to do. Og keep hunters hidden. Ug's hunters drive big food towards Og's hunters. Og clever. Ug stupid.

The game began slowly with my hunters not wanting to move (low activation die rolls), while Steve's troops advanced quickly forward. The mammoths started having to take reaction tests. Most grazed, but one decided to withdraw quickly away from Steve's hunters and toward mine. I pretended that this was all part of the plan and moved my hunters up behind a low hill.

First contact

Og send dogs in. Push big food into swamp or over edge. Big food attack dogs.

While Steve was moving his troops forward I used my few activation points to send my dogs forward with a view to driving the mammoths into the swamp or towards the cliffs on the right of the table. The mammoths attacked my dogs, who fortunately survived. I think I must have had particularly irritating yappy dogs because every time I tried to drive the mammoths with my dogs, the dogs were attacked.

Hunters slow. Og lose patience. Og attack big food and kill it. Og do happy dance. Ug not happy.

With Steve's hunters advancing rapidly and low activation points I took a risk. Og is a hero and has a fifty/fifty chance of dying if he attacks a mammoth. I charged him in and he won, killing a mammoth that Steve's dogs were about to worry. Meanwhile my dogs were attacked by a different mammoth and Steves hunters were trying to bring a mammoth down with slings and bows.

First Blood!

Og happy. Og kill more big food. Ug very not happy.

While Steve's dogs worried more mammoths and my dogs irritated them more, Og attacked and killed another mammoth, and still survived! The rest of my hunters were still lurking behind their hill, refusing to come out, while Steve's hunters were advancing rapidly towards the watering hole.

Og 2, Ug 0

Og happy. Big food step on Ug hunters. Squish! Ug dogs squish too. Og not happy. Ug kill big food. Ug hunters kill big food. Og hunters still hide.

Then suddenly Steve's hunters started to get lucky. Well, sort of. First his slingers got too close to a mammoth, which killed them. On the same turn his dogs disappeared under mammoth feet too. But, shortly after that Ug, Steve's hero, and his spear-armed hunters both killed mammoths. The scores were tied and it was going to come down to the final mammoth.

Ug and his hunters hard at work

Og race Ug to last big food. Og swift as wind. Ug slow like mud. Og kill big food. Og new big man. Og make Ug cook dinner.

With only one mammoth remaining and the scores tied, our heroes were the closest to the last mammoth, so we raced as fast as we could. Og got there first and, wildly improbably, killed his third mammoth, while his hunters finally started to come out of hiding. Victory to me!

Last mammoth standing

This was a brilliant game. Although we got a couple of things wrong at the start, largely from not reading the rules properly, we did manage to get things sorted out and we had the rules working properly by the end. We both had a great time and the result was very close to the wire. The reaction tests for the mammoths worked well, although interpreting how they should be adjudicated sometimes required some thought because of the presence of lots of humans in the area. We shall definitely play this one again, but next time we plan to hunt dinosaurs!

The game took about an hour and a half in total, so we had time for a game of Pirates afterwards, which Steve won. I did not photograph that because of the lack of a suitable seascape, but I plan to sort out that issue later and produce a battle report for Pirates next time we play. It was a good game and the rules were surprisingly subtle for a simple game. I definitely need more ships for next time though. Good job The Works in Beverley is selling them off very cheaply.