Friday 22 January 2010

Basic Impetus

Steve and I played Basic Impetus last night using our 6mm Wars of the Roses forces. It was an interesting game and the battlefield looked huge with the small forces on it. Unfortunately I did not get any pictures of the game, but I shall do so next time we play. The game went very smoothly for a first-time playing and we had few questions about the rules, although we did forget half the rules for half the game. We shall get it right next time around! What was important was that the game flowed nicely and that we both felt like we had a chance to win.

Steve's Lancastrians (boo, hiss!) were the attackers, brutally assaulting my poor, heroic Yorkists. We both deployed in proper fashion with archers to the fore and billmen/men-at-arms behind the archers. I had a unit of mounted knights on my left flank and a unit of handgunners on my right. My plan was to pin his troops in the centre with my archers while the more mobile troops went around his flanks. Steve had chosen to dismount his knights and had two units of border spears, so he had the advantage in heavy infantry, while I had more archers than he did. My left flank was on a gentle hill, while Steve's right flank was anchored on a pond.

So, the battle began. We advanced towards each other until we got to archery range, at which point we began to exchange arrows. My knights and handgunners began their move around Steve's flanks. Feeling threatened by this, Steve pushed his billmen forward too quickly. My men-at-arms and billmen charged forward to counter their advance and routed them in short order. "Ha!" thought I, "He has let himself get sucked in and will pay for that mistake." I promptly charged my heavy foot forwards and suffered the same fate as Steve had. Oops! meanwhile, his spears were marching around my flank and trying to engage my archers from the flank. They did not quite manage this and were soon suffering as they took a couple of volleys of arrows and then found that the archers were actually a match for them in the melee too. Blimey! My handgunners were now causing problems by harassing the flanks of the rest of Steve's formation, but in return my men-at-arms were getting the worst of the melee in the centre. Then my knights finally finished poncing around on the flank and charged home against Steve's archers, driving them from the field in short order. They promptly turned around and charged home against the rear of Steve's dismounted knights. Caught between two of my units, his knights chose discretion rather than valour and fled the field. Game over.

The game took around an hour and a half to play through including time spent scratching our heads wondering what the rules meant, and was very good fun. There are some gaps in the rules, but that is hardly surprising because they are a stripped out version of Impetus, but they worked well, so I would recommend them to anyone else. I also like the smallish size of the armies in the game. It makes it easier to collect several different armies, which appeals to me. The armies are larger than DBA armies and the games are slightly longer, but I preferred the game play to DBA, which is the nearest equivalent style of game I can think of. So, which army shall I put together next?

Wednesday 6 January 2010

A 2009 Retrospective

Well, 2009 has been and gone and I have had a year of supposedly thrifty gaming. It has not been an easy year all round, beginning poorly and getting worse as the year progressed. As a result of the problems faced throughout the year, I seem to have spent most of it as a bit of a psychological train-wreck. Still, that is not the real issue. The question is whether I have succeeded or not, I suppose. So, what were my goals for the year?

1. Finish pre-existing projects;
2. Play newly finished projects; and
3. Spend my money more wisely.

Finishing pre-existing projects
Well, this worked to a certain extent. I began the year well by picking an old project and painting figures for it. Unfortunately, everything sort of fell away at the back end of the year. I managed to work on and complete a project for each month up to July. I skipped August because of university coursework that demanded my full time attention, but did manage a new project for September. After that, though, I did not allocate any new projects. I must only score a partial success for this part of the mission

Play newly-finished projects
Yes. Full marks for this. Each project that I completed was used in the following month. We also played a bunch of other games in addition to the project-based games, so this aspect of the mission was a success, in my opinion.

Spend the budget more wisely
I think I did manage to spend my gaming budget more wisely this year. I certainly spent much less on figures than I have in previous years and the lead mountain has decreased a bit in size. I think I would have accounted this part of the mission a total success had I managed to spend nothing on new figures, but I did buy a bunch of stuff. On the other hand, I also managed to paint most of what I bought, so it is not all bad. A quick glance at my progress log leaves me feeling relatively satisfied with progress but also feeling that I could have done better.

Final Score = Moderate Success

How did it go?
Well, I know that I could have done better at my goals, but I also know that I probably achieved more than I might otherwise have done in any given year. According to BoardGameGeek I managed to play 58 games throughout the year, which is pretty good going. My most-played games were Warrior Heroes, Warrior Heroes: Armies and Adventures and Wargods of Aegyptus. I managed to paint thousands of figures (literally, even though most were 6mm and therefore quick to paint). I managed to reduce my spending considerably too. I am happy with that for now.

By focusing on one game to paint and play each month, I was encouraged to keep going. Playing the game immediately after painting the figures made sure that I got some quick pleasure from the painting pain, so I was encouraged to keep going with the next project. I admit that I did not set myself arduous goals, but that was intentional. If completing each project was too difficult I might have given up. I also found myself painting more figures for non-mission projects, because I felt like it. Achieving the mission goals encouraged me to keep going in those other areas too.

Overall, I would say that the approach I took worked, and I would recommend it to others. Completing a series of smaller projects is easier than completing one large project and encourages you to keep going.

What is in store for 2010?
Rather stupidly I came up with the idea of putting on a 6mm Battle of Towton game in 2011, 650 years after the original battle was fought. Throughout 2010 I shall be painting figures for this project. I shall need to buy quite a few more figures for it, so my spending this year will be focused on that. Fortunately, this project is being supported by Peter at Baccus Miniatures, so I am getting a good discount on the figures I buy, which numbs some of the pain. However, it does mean that I shall have to think very hard before buying figures for other projects. To keep us going on the project, we shall be refighting some of the battles that were fought in the build-up to Towton, starting with Blore Heath (1459) at Triples. The idea will be to do games at three or four shows this year to give us practice of running show games and to also keep us enthused about painting our figures.

In addition to the show games, I have quite a lot of rules sets that cover the Wars of the Roses, so I am hoping that Steve and I can play one game a month using our Towton figures. This should keep us enthused for the project and also hopefully keep us painting.

With regard to other games, we are considering picking half a dozen rules sets, or possibly periods and focusing on those as our main projects for the year. This should hopefully provide some light relief from the Wars of the Roses stuff, while also not intruding too much on it. We shall see ...

Tuesday 5 January 2010

The Prussians Are Coming

I should be painting 6mm Wars of the Roses figures. Naturally this led to me getting distracted and gave me a desire to paint some Seven Years War Prussians that have been lying around for ages. Upon looking through my collection of unpainted lead, I realised that I had enough figures to produce a small Prussian force for Volley and Bayonet: Road to Glory. This is the start of that force.

Prussian infantry with a converged grenadier battalion at the back.

Prussian field artillery.

The figures are all Baccus 6mm and I still need to paint a few more battalions of infantry and several brigades of cavalry for the force, but it is more than half way there now. I am back to painting Wars of the Roses figures for the time being, but will return to these later this year. I really want to try out the new Volley and Bayonet rules but have other projects on my plate at the moment too. Once the Prussians are done, I plan to do a Swedish force for the Seven Years War too. It will look very similar to my Great Northern War army, but I think there are enough noticeable differences even in 6mm for it to be worth my while doing a paint-job conversion on the figures.

Maelynn, an Elven Mage

My brother used to like Confrontation. I don't know if he still does, but he never talks about it now. While he was still enthusiastic, I picked up some Cynwall Elves, thinking that I could use them in skirmish gaming and also try Confrontation against him. That never happened, but I finally got around to painting one of them: Maelynn, an Elven mage with some kind of construct on her back. I am not completely convinced by my painting, but at least she is coloured in so I can use her. The only problem is that she towers over all my other ordinary elves that I plan to use for games of Warrior Heroes: Armies and Adventures, so I may have to relegate her to ebay or to the display cupboard. The same problem applies to the other Cynwall Elves I have. Perhaps I need to rethink how I plan to use them. One thought that occurs is to use them on their own as a Song of Blades and Heroes warband. I have enough figures for that with a couple of extras for reinforcements.


Chaos in Cairo - My Warbands

I have intended to play Chaos in Cairo since I picked up the first edition rules a few years ago, but never got around to it. The rules looked like fun but I was not entirely sure about the approach to the game taken in them. With the release of the second edition, I find all my reservations removed. As a result of this sudden burst of enthusiasm, I dug out my pulp figures to see what I could do. I had enough figures already painted to produce a full Servants of Set warband, with plenty left over for reinforcements.

Servants of Set warband:

I had some figures ready for the Archaeologists, but needed to paint a couple more (the chap in the fez and the Connell look-alike):

It also spurred me on to paint some of my Wargods Eater of the Dead figures as well as their human accomplice. Here is the Mummy warband:

I am now looking forward to playing Chaos in Cairo and will report on our games as and when we get around to playing. Steve is also very keen to do a BlackPowderPunk version of Chaos in Carpathia, so I am working on a warband for that too. More on that at a later date.