Monday 28 March 2011

1 Thaumont 1000AC - Night Manoeuvres

The group debates the merits of giving the blue liquid to Elias for what seems an age before deciding to settle in for the night. Elias is tucked up in the corner, still unconscious and his wounds only seeping a little now. The rest of the group agrees the watch order: Miroslav, Breccia and then Lacrimos. Each is to take a four-hour watch. With that sorted, Miroslav tucks into a hearty meal of dried meat, while the others dine well on rat prepared by Breccia. This uses up all the rats, but leaves them with full bellies. Then Miroslav divides up some gold coins that he found in the room. Each group member gets 25 of them, although it will be fewer when they are exchanged for legal currency. By now the fires in the main room have died down and the only light comes from the fire in the side chamber where the group is. 

Miroslav takes the first watch. The night wears on. His eyes become heavy as he peers into the gloom and listens for the enemy but he hears nothing. Suddenly a javelin arcs out of the darkness hitting him in the shoulder (2 damage). Another follows it almost immediately, thumping into the ground next to Miroslav. Stunned he watches as two large humanoids suddenly sprint yelling into the firelight with swords drawn. Desperately Miroslav defends himself, only just turning the blades of his foes as they press their assault. The noise has awoken Breccia and Lacrimos, who leap to their feet unarmoured but with weapons to hand.

Sunday 27 March 2011

Snowing in March!

Steve and I had a productive day yesterday (Saturday) working on the terrain. We covered the frames for the final two boards in plaster-soaked t-shirts, added green scatter material to the three boards that had only been painted and added snow to the first four boards that we had worked on. It looks like we might actually have a game to put on at Salute after all!

Friday 25 March 2011

Towton terrain

I have been slowly plugging away at the last of the figures I need for Towton, while Steve and I have been spending our gaming night progressing the terrain. We have a big day tomorrow as we have the whole day to crack on with it. We are planning to get the majority of the terrain finished or at least into an acceptable state for Salute by the end of tomorrow. Here's part of the terrain before the snow gets added with a view looking towards the Cock Beck and where Castle Woods will be.

Saturday 12 March 2011

Moving camp

Deciding that the chamber that Miroslav has just checked out would be a better place to camp, you spend an hour moving everything into there. The chamber has no secret doors, false walls or anything else as far as you can tell, so it seems safe enough. It contains a small stone chest full of ancient fruit pips in the centre of the floor. A stone lid lies next to the chest and small darts are scattered around the dusty floor of the room. Old faded and peeling paintings on the wall show humanoids (the paintings are too faded to determine if they are humans, elves, goblins or what) approaching a tomb with baskets of food on the walls to your left and right. On the far wall is an image of the tomb. The painting of the tomb shows a catafalque with an armoured warrior atop it at the centre with a small table in front of it. The humanoids are placing offerings on this table. 

Monday 7 March 2011

Lead Wars: A New Beginning

Following on from yesterday's post, it strikes me that I have too many rules sets that I want to try. Obviously, given my circumstances and my general levels of impatience, painting armies for all of these rules is out of the question, so I need to focus. It strikes me that focusing on a small number of rules sets might be a solution. However, rather than doing that, it seems that focusing on the figures used might provide a more satsifactory solution. So, I reckon that if I pick a figure set, a scale and a basing system then I can match the rules to suit. I shall allow myself half a dozen choices and see where it goes. My usual opponent, Steve, could do the same and that would give us monthly target once more. As I wrote yesterday, the Towton project is almost complete, but will still dominate our painting and terrain building until mid-April. It may also require additional input after that if we decide/are persuaded to expand the size of it for the Derby show in October. Anyway, here goes with my picks. As you will see in the list below, I like flexibility and variety.

1. 6mm Wars of the Roses on 60mm x 30mm bases
Rules: Poleaxed 2, Impetus, Warrior Heroes, Rally Round the King.
These are the figures for the Towton project. Their functionality covers all of the above rules sets, although it seems unlikely that we shall use them much for the latter two rules because those are a feature of our Talomir Tales campaign which uses 40mm x 20mm basing.

2. 6mm Fantasy/Ancients/Medieval on 40mm x 20mm bases
Rules: Warrior Heroes, Rally Round the King, Warmaster Ancients, Impetus.
We already have a selection of armies painted and based like this for our Talomir Tales campaign which currently uses Warrior Heroes for the massed battles and will upgrade to Rally Round the King at the end of the current campaign year. The campaign is on hold while we finish the Towton project, but I plan to add Vikings, Amazons and Elves (all Baccus 6mm) to it when time permits. I also have a painted WMA Hoplite Greek army, which will see use in Talomir Tales, and I could expand some of the Talomir Tales armies for WMA too. As a further option, there is nothing to stop us using these armies with Impetus either, which will expand the range of armies available to us.

3. 28mm Fantasy skirmish on individual bases
Rules: Warrior Heroes: Armies and Adventures, Broadsword Adventures, Montjoie, Retinue.
Talomir Tales uses a variety of 28mm fantasy, ancients and medieval figures for the skirmish element. Combining the massed battles as background with skirmish games enables some great storytelling and allows us to have heroes that get involved in the events in the wider world rather than just having small adventures that focus solely on them. We already have a selection of painted figures for a small number of nations. I really need to paint more of the figures I have for this, so this must be on the list. We are both interested in playing Broadsword Adventures too. It requries very few figures and suits our schedules well, so we plan to play BA at some point soonish. Retinue is an old favourite of mine from back in the eighties. I might inveigle Steve into playing an occasional game just to feed my nostalgia. Montjoie is a game I am interested in trying because it allows for your character to start small and eventually command whole armies. As an alternative, I might transpose the advancement system from Montjoie into WHAA, because that would save learning a whole new rules set. WHAA would cope well with purely historical battles too.

4. 15mm science fiction on individual bases
Rules: 5150, Laserburn, Imperial Commander, Stargrunt II, Striker, Striker II.
I have had vast numbers of 15mm science fiction figures since the eighties, when I got into Laserburn and Imperial Commander. Some of them are even painted! We are planning to play a small campaign using the 5150 supplement 'First Contact'. The Bwendi will take the role of Earth Force, with the Albion Defence Force (Steve's mob) taking the role of Gaea Prime. Steve also has Sahadeen from Rebel Minis for this one. I shall need to rewrite the background slightly for this on the grounds that the official background winds me up a bit and the Bwendi cannot be seen as the bad guys. In every campaign I have ever used them in from their first incarnation as a fantasy army in a play-by-mail game back in the late eighties, they have been the good guys and this must not change. It should be easy enough to intersperse this campaign with Laserburn and Imperial Commander games. As for the other rules, well, they may well have to wait. I have a real yen to play Striker II, because it derives from my favourite WW2 rules set, Command Decision, but I am not sure if I can be bothered learning new rules at the moment. If we did play it, then the plan would be to either just put a couple of figures together and call them a stand, or use sabot bases, because Striker uses element bases rather than individual figures. Another option with these figures is to use them for a variety of post-apocalypse games. Steve is keen to play a 1980s post-apocalypse game and a lot of my less military figures would suit that.

5. 6mm 18th century on 60mm x 30mm bases
Rules: Polemos: Great Northern War, Volley and Bayonet: Road to Glory.
I already have two large armies for the GNW painted and based. I also have a small Saxon GNW army and a small Prussian SYW army. I would like to expand these latter and have a fair few figures for them awaiting the attention of my brush. I would also like to expand the Saxons into a full army for Kliszow by increasing the Saxon army size and painting the Polish army that I have, while the plan for the Seven Years War is to put together a Prussian army for Lobositz. The place of the Austrians in that battle will be taken by one of my other armies to save on painting. I know that Steve has a Russian GNW army to paint too, so I should encourage him to do that by playing games using my armies! Another consideration here is that I have a couple of campaign systems that I rather like the look of and it would be great to play some kind of imagi-nation 18th century campaign. Options could include running the campaign by email so that we can expand our player pool or just running our own armies and having a system for controlling non-player armies. Anyway, these plans aside, this period has the massive advantage that I should not need to buy any new figures for it.

6. 6mm World War Two on element bases
Rules: Command Decision: Test of Battle, PBI 2, Blitzkrieg Commander.
I have medium-sized British, Italian and DAK forces for the Western Desert in 1941 all designed for an Operation Brevity campaign that I have never yet run because each time I return to it I find new evidence that invalidates my previous research. I need to put a stop to doing research, finish basing these figures and start playing games instead. One thing I need to do with the DAK and Italian armies is add some more infantry to them for generic battles. As they stand, they are well-suited to the one campaign, but the basic army generation systems in all the rules sets proposed require more ordinary infantry than I currently have painted. Therefore, the project will be to add a couple of battalions of infantry to the DAK and Italian forces so that we can use the Test of Battle system in Command Decision and play the other two rules as written. With that done, I might well get around to expanding these armies further by painting more of the stuff I still have tucked away in the attic for them. It also occurs to me that I could use these armies with FutureWarCommander quite easily and so they will permit me to field my Bwendi 6mm army without deviating from plan! Cunning, eh?

So, that seems to be the main focus that I wish to aim for. I'm not sure how happy Steve will be with some of the rules choices. I suspect that Command Decision may be a bit too techy for him, but he will no doubt read this and tell me I am talking bollocks as usual. The next step will be for Steve to come up with his wish list and then we can agree a programme that will see our lead mountains turn to lead molehills ... ooh, was that an airborne pig that just flew past?

Sunday 6 March 2011

Miroslav returns from the right hand chamber

"The chamber to the right seems empty. It is a desserted old musty place with a mural of human figures leaving offerings to some dead armoured warrior. Hard to say whether these figures are men, elf, goblin or whatever as it is quite faded. It had the aura to me of some once holy place, although to what I cannot be sure. In the centre of the room was a stone box which I managed to open. This set off some darts which fired into me but I was protected by my stout armour HA! In the box I found this vial"

He displayed a small corked vial of some blue liquid.

"And also some gold coins of antiquity. There was about 100 of these. I was going to share these amongst the 3 of us but now we have a further arrival- Good evening sir dwarf. What say the rest of you 33 gold is more than 25 but we are in poor state and gold is a good way of bonding folk together and an even better one of alienating them if not used wisely."

Miroslav winks at the dwarf.

"The room itself seems relatively safe and clear. With just one door it may be a better spot to hole up for us than having to hold 4 doors and it remains near enough to the exit should we need to break out. What say you all? Shall we move our injured friend here there where he may be safer? Then we may be able to explore better? A 100 gold in one small box at little risk may point to more profit elsewhere in this place if it be some tomb. I do not know this as any tomb for my folk and so my gods will protect me from any evil here- that or my axe will- and gold is better used by the living than by some rotten corpse. What say you?"

A lack of focus?

Yesterday I suddenly had an urge to catalogue all the wargames rules that I owned. My idea was to review what I had and work out which rules I could focus on using this year. The result of this cataloguing process was quite startling. I only counted up the rules I had in my office, which is where I keep the rules I most want to play. I did not count all the rules in the attic or those that currently only exist as pdf files on my computer, and I did not count different editions of the same rules set as multiples thereof. I also only counted up actual wargames rules, rather than including all the boardgames that I own. It turns out that I am eager to play 68 different rules sets! Yes, sixty-eight!! Looking at this number, I realise that I am already stretching myself too thin, before I even start painting. Now, before I get all depressed at this state of affairs, many of these rules sets can be played using the same figures, so the various sci-fi skirmish rules sets can all be played with my 15mm sci-fi figures. This means that I can sample different rules if I feel the urge. However, I cannot help but feel that it would make more sense to focus on just a few rules sets, play them more and learn their subtleties better so as to enjoy a better game. I certainly think that it would make more sense to reduce the list to half a dozen rules sets and focus my painting and playing on those rules. The question really is how to take control of my butterfly mind and pin it down to just a few rules sets. If I could do that then I might well be able to focus my playing and painting properly. I think I shall have to return to the system of picking one set of figures each month to paint and focusing my painting on that, as I did when first I started this blog. At present all my painting and terrain building is focused on our Towton project. That debuts at Salute in April, so I shall be able to concentrate on other games once more from May. So, which rules and which figures should I aim to paint in May? I think it will probably be reinforcements for my 15mm Bwendi (sci-fi) army, because I have some armour that it desperately needs to support it, but then I did recently get some of the new Baccus 6mm Vikings and I am rather partial to Vikings. Oh the choices ...

Just in case you are interested, here is the full list:
.45 Adventures
A Coat of Steel
Age of Blood
Battle Troll
Black Powder Battles
Blitzkrieg Commander
Chaos in Cairo
Chaos in Carpathia
Combined Arms
Command Decision
Dirtside II
Fantastic Worlds
Field of Glory
Glutter of Ravens
Hellswords and Sorcery
Hordes of the Things
Imperial Commander
Larger than Life
Ludus Gladiatorius
Martian Empires
Over the Top
Pieces of Eight
Polemos: FPW Commandant de Bataille
Polemos: FPW Kommandant der Armee
Polemos: GNW
Polemos: Mythic Armies
Polemos: War of the Spanish Succession
Polemos: Wars of the Roses
Rally Round the King
Red Sand, Blue Sky
Regiment of Foote
Soldier's Companion
Song of Blades and Heroes
Square Bashing
Stargrunt II
Striker II
The Company Rules
Urban War
Valhalla's Gate
Volley and Bayonet: Road to Glory
Wargods of Aegyptus
Warmaster Ancients
Warrior Heroes
Warrior Heroes: Armies and Adventures
Wastelands 3: Meltdown
Wastelands v1.2
Wings of War
Wings of War: Dawn of War

Saturday 5 March 2011

Ratatouille ... with real rat!

As thunder crashes outside, a diminutive figure steps through the main entrance to the room from the outside. The dwarf, who had introduced himself as Breccia Feldspar on the journey northwards, was soaked. It would appear that he had got separated from the group. Now that he was with you, he immediately set to helping to bandage the injured. With the casualties bandaged, he began gutting the rats to prepare food for later. Lacrimos was sorting out the fire now that he was bandaged. With the main tasks dealt with, Miroslav took his axe into hand and set off down the western corridor. A short while later, a dusty thump was heard in the distance. Soon Miroslav returned, reporting a chamber at the end of the corridor with no exits and no enemies. 

Miroslav's Diary

A dreadful night of rain. We found shelter in an old Tor. Dry at least and out of the rain. I took some time to observe the storm from the enterance way then made something of a camp. I gathered together some dry sticks and begun a fire which I warmed myself by. Pushka stood nearby looking dejected. Ha! Like she would prefer to be outside. Silly mule. I fed her then looked to feeding myself. I spoke some with my travelling companions now we were inside it was easier to hear them. Lacrimas is a smith by trade, probably travelling to find work for some reason of his own. He kept to himself in the corner. Elias played some Traladaran folk song on his flute and was good with it. Or perhaps it was more the scene Traladaran music always stirs the blood with it's melancholic melody and nod to our past glories and struggles. Makes sitting in a cave something of insignificance and trivial. It was good to hear it so far from home.

I refused his offer of a game of chance thinking it best to settle down for the night and be refreshed for travel the next day. Also I did not have much money and gambling is not a good way to gain money from little.

Wednesday 2 March 2011

Rat Attack Tat!

Pulling yourselves together you quickly respond to the rats' attack. Elias draws his sword and skewers a rat. Miroslav grabs a burning brand from the fire and his axe and starts moving towards the rat pack. As he closes, he throws the burning brand but the wood falls wide of the mark, narrowly missing Elias' pack. Lacrimos draws his sword and grabs his shield before moving towards the rats. Meanwhile, the rats have swarmed all over Elias, although his armour protects him from any serious harm, but he is knocked to the floor. Elias struggles back to regain his feet but fails as the other two sprint to save him and the rats seek an opening in Elias' armour, eventually finding one (4hp damage). Elias' body ceases to struggle and goes limp under the rat horde! Both Miroslav and Lacrimos strike at the horde of rats, killing more of them. The rats turn their attention to Lacrimos and attack him instead but his armour is proof against their onslaught and he manages to stay on his feet despite the rat's swarming onto him. Lacrimos strikes at a rat crushes its skull underfoot, while Miroslav, careful to avoid hurting his ally is unable to strike a telling blow. He tries again and this time hits. The rats squirm in their fury and find gaps in Lacrimos' armour (5 damage) but Lacrimos returns the favour and another rat dies. The other rats quickly run away out of the door and into the storm. The room is still once more. 

Elias is alive but in need of urgent care or his lifeblood will leak onto the dusty floor of this ancient tor. Otherwise, once you have treated your wounds, you are free to search the area or to just bed down for the night.

Tuesday 1 March 2011

It's fun to stay at the ...

Y - M - C- A

Mirholmen Death Dealers for our Talomir Tales campaign (aka fantasy Vikings from the new Baccus 6mm range). As usual click the pics for larger images.

I recently took delivery of some of the new Baccus Vikings and could not wait to put paint to lead, because these miniature beauties are just fantastic. Peter has produced a most excellent range of eleventh-century Vikings for invading England with, and he has also just released the Normans, who are also stunning. My painting efforts are currently focused on Wars of the Roses, so I decided to scratch the Viking itch with this stand of half-naked berserkir, who would be quick to paint. As naked berserkir belong in the realms of fantasy anyway, I did a base on 40mm frontage for our fantasy campaign, rather than a 60mm frontage base for the Impetus army I plan to produce. Naked berserkir are a nineteenth-century fiction that seems to be enduringly popular despite the total lack of actual evidence for them. They derive from confusion between Celtic and Norse cultures at that time.

‘Grenjuðu berserkir,
Guðr vas þeim á sinnum,
emjuðu ulfheðnar
ok ísörn dúðu.’ (1)
(Berserkers bellowed,
Battle was about to begin,
Wolfskins screamed
and shook steel.)
One emendation of the above verse reads 'ok ísörn bítu' 'and bit iron'. These Mirholmen heroes are clearly sword chewers.

(1) 'Haraldskvæði' in Snorri Sturluson, Heimskringla, ed. by Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson, Íslenzk fornrit, 26, 3 vols (Reykjavík: Hið íslenzka fornritafélag, 2002), I 4th edn, 116.

February Update - More 6mm Wars of the Roses

This month we have mostly been building terrain for the Towton refight. My target for painting was to add two more contingents to the Lancastrian army, which I have done after a fashion. I did not paint them all myself though. Peter at Baccus kindly lent me his Warmaster Ancients army on condition that I rebased it to the 60mm x 30mm standard bases that he favours. The army was on 40mm x 20mm bases before. So, rather than spending the whole month painting, I have spent a large part of it rebasing stuff. This has actually put me ahead of schedule as I now only need to paint ten more stands to have a complete single iteration of the Lancastrian order of battle, once Steve finishes the contingent he is painting for me. With this done we should be ready to rock at Salute. I shall then get the rest of the figures I was meant to paint myself done so that we can add some extra figures to the battle when we attend Derby in October.

The Yorkist army has also benefitted from Peter's kindness to the tune of one contingent, but I forgot to photograph them when I took these other shots. This leaves just twelve stands of troops remaining for the Yorkist army. Those are currently in the capable hands of my friend John, who has promised them soon.

In addition to these figures, I have included a teaser shot of the Towton terrain at the bottom of this post. As usual click the pics for a larger version.

Here we see the whole Lancastrian command that I am working on(empty bases show what remains to be painted):

This is what I have painted this month:

And here we have some of the figures that I rebased for Peter:

Proto-Towton terrain (everything you need to build Towton properly):