Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Invasion of 1910

We played a game of Black Powder for the first time and the results were satisfactory.  Oh, did I mention we were playing with... 54mm figures!?

The forces were my British and German imperial troops, each with six units infantry, three units cavalry, and two units artillery. The artillery pieces were Britains 4.7" naval guns.  The scenario was the German guns were dug in at two redoubts.  The British needed to capture just one of the redoubts for victory.  The German cavalry was required to start the game off table.

Truth be told I forgot to take pictures of the game, but everything was still in its final positions the next day so I took pics of the end game.

Long and short is that the British took a very long time to get their assault on the northern gun position ready. Meanwhile the "keep 'em honest" attack on the southern redoubt took heavy casualties, and was entirely driven off by the late arrival of the German uhlans (whom I forgot to try and activate to bring onto the board two turns in a row!). 

However, as the uhlans tried to continue across the field to assist the northern redoubt, one unit blundered off table, and a second was broken whilst trying to follow up a successful attack with a sweeping advance.  This caused the entire German cavalry brigade to break and withdrawal. Subsequently, the gun in the southern redoubt was destroyed by British artillery fire.

Things got hot around the northern redoubt but German small arms fire was ineffective (i.e., my dice went ice cold and couldn't hit ANYTHING). The British capitalized and the cavalry finally closed for melee, causing the complete breaking of the German left (and infantry brigade) which meant that the German army began a general retreat.

Sticky-tac'ing the figs to wood trays worked like a charm, by the way. 

Apologies the plastic toy redoubts are not painted or flocked. The scenario was a last minute decision.

This ended the game and although the British had "won the field" and assault on either redoubt had failed to materialize. Count this one as a costly victory for the lads in khaki? 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Early Imperialists/German Medieval Army

Lighting array in the basement being much more photo-friendly, I decided to document some completed armies that had not been photographed yet.  First up is these 'Early Imperialist' themed German medieval troops: mounted knights, some townsmen infantry, Bohemian archers, and some Hussite crossbowmen.  

The shield motifs are just itty bitty designed printed in color on paper which I cut out and glued on. Then I did my best to use paint to blend the paper to the rest of the shield.  With a "two-foot rule" they look good. If you stare at them you can see the cut line sometimes...

The Old Glory set IDs are ME-24 (German Knights with lances), ME-36 (Dismounted German Knights), DIF-20 (Hussite Crossbowmen), DIF-25 (Bohemian Infantry Archers) and DIF-26 (Bohemian Town Militia).

The German knights do not come with lances. I drilled out the hands and made my own lances from brass rod.

Now that its done I realize the personal appeal was the crests on the knights helmets.  These Germans line up roughly with the early-mid 1200s.  The Hussite crossbowmen are lets say 1420-1435. Neither of these are the best match for my medieval Battle of Crecy-era French which is square in between at the 1340s.  This is all fine from a Lion Rampant mash-up medieval game standpoint, but makes envisioning something larger and grander like a Hail Caesar! game a little harder to wrap one's brain around.  If I could do it again I would have built a Hundred Years War-era Flanders army instead...

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

54mm Colonial British

Not too long ago I finished up painted the Armies in Plastic British and German imperial cavalry units in addition to the 4.7s I had acquired recently to bring the combined collection up to "table-ready" status.

This includes me converting (quite nicely, I think) some BMC-type cheapo American Civil War artillery crew members to British and German crews with a simple head swap and a little exacto knife carving (the lower crew in the below photo).

The cavalry along with the new artillery crew conversions are not gloss-coated in a "shiny toy soldier" style and I have admit I am now rethinking that look because I am quite fond of the final look.  I used my "as few paint colors as possible" plan for these as with the others which moved things long quickly.  If I had just done the horses in the same brown I could have cut probably the total work time in half. In occasional 20 minute bursts I painted 18 cavalry in about 3 weeks.

The only other thing missing is a field marshal or similar commander in chief.  My cheapest and therefore best bet is probably a BMC ACW General Grant fig that could be head swapped easily. Hesitant because I tried such a conversion before and was not satisfied with the result.  

I'm looking at setting this up as a Black Powder game because its just so wonderfully absurd.

Monday, September 19, 2016

LizardRat War

I swear I've either been painting this army on and off forever or finished painting it forever ago, but as the fall wargaming season lurks upon us I finally played a game of Dragon Rampant, Dan Mersey's fantasy spin-off of Lion Rampant.  I was running a Ratpeople army of figures by Games Workshop, Black Tree Design, and Reaper Miniatures.  Gabe was running Lizardmen from a similar field of manufacturers.

We started off playing the 'hunt-for-crystals' scenario but using sheep instead of crystals, but quickly realized that my preference for 4'x3' play-spaces caused that objective to be accomplished with absolutely no one getting in combat at all - not even any harsh language!

So we just added the 'Bloodbath' scenario objectives on and kept playing.

My big moment then finally arrived! My summoner conjured the demon Orcus to appear on the battlefield!  I had not told Gabe that I had purchased or painted this model so that was a fun surprise!

Less fun but also a shock to both of us was that greater warbeasts like Orcus and a hydra can kill each other really fast or weaken each other really quick!  The hydra dispatched Orcus back to the helldimensions, but some determined ratpeople managed to eventually slay the hydra.

Many slayed figures later, Gabe cakewalked to the win, having achieved the bloodbath objective and several self-imposed objectives as well. Me? Well the ratpeople stole more sheep so that's something!

Monday, July 18, 2016

"Altogether elegant"

Good fortune has landed me several W. Britains diecast spring-loaded breech-loading toy soldier artillery pieces, including two of the 4.7" naval guns as described in Mr. Wells' Little Wars (or at least the 1960s W. Britains' re-release version of said gun, to be specific).  Mr. Wells called these toys a "priceless gift to boyhood" and noted them "capable of hitting a toy solder nine times out of ten at a distance of nine yards" (!).

I must admit my existing gun crew look quite nicer with the four point seven than with their plastic seven pounder... I shall have to decide on whether to give this play-worn toy a coat of fresh paint or not.

Sadly, the addition of these pieces underlines the notable absence of appropriate cavalry for my British and German armies (1900-1910 period).  This can easily be cured with a purchase, but I cringe at the thought of painting cavalry (for no real reason).

Monday, July 11, 2016

Pikes Rampant!

Continuing to toy around with a Lion Rampant variant for the English Civil War now nicknamed 'Pikes Rampant'.  Two previous outings were enjoyed by all and I'm planning on offering this for 2-4 players at our next get-together.  Having never played a 4-player Lion Rampant game before we took it for a test spin first.  Each of us had two 'commands' of 18 points each, usually one of entirely foote units and other having all the Horse.

It really went rather well and we laughed a bit and things got rather frantic for a few rounds as basically every unit on the table almost seemed to converge quite close together all at once.

As usual the ending was a bit 'meh'.  We were using the vanilla 'Blood Bath' scenario but with
the "dice to determine if the next turn is the last" threshold kicked up from 4 to 8 units remaining.  The last turn rule roll was successful immediately and we totaled our eliminated unit points and the game was as dead tie.  We were lazy and did not issue boasts so there were no bonus points to break the tie.

What I should have done was purchased a 3" x 24" strip of basswood, flocked it, and deemed that the "objective" to be held and used the 'Hold on Tight' scenario instead.  That one at least gives you the "who has won the field" type of conclusion rather than a mathematical "who has more toys on the table" one.

New unit profiles were included this time for freshly painted Scot Covenanters: lancers (which were Mounted Yeomen from Lion Rampant straight up with shorter range because pistols not bows) and frame guns (a cheaper but more fragile cannon than a light gun).

Monday, March 21, 2016

Land Wasters and Raven Feeders

Tried Dan Mersey's own Arthurian/Dark Age Britain variant of Lion Rampant.  Same rules, just some units renamed, some not available.  We set up 24 points per side, "Britons" (a mix of Welsh and Romano-British figs) vs. Saxons.  Each side has 2 units foot Companions ("men-at-arms" in Lion Rampant) , 2 units Warriors ("fierce foot" from LR), and 2 units of skirmishers ("Bidowers").  Scenario was "Hold on Tight" from LR, which I assumed would move us to a quick conclusion.

The central piece of terrain each side was trying to hold was the rock-strewn ford of the river.

I was playing the Saxon dogs and was perhaps to hesitant.  I could have easily dropped a unit of companions on the crossing early on but instead tried to set up a situation where my warriors could stream across either on their own or via wild charges.

Instead what happened is the Briton companions got there first. And then the Saxon warriors who were all in position to attack those British companions got shot to pieces by British skirmishers and broke and ran.

On the other flank British and Saxon warrior wild charged each other in the river and both units broke and limped off home to lick their wounds.

The British Companions, meanwhile, were racking up the five points necessary to win the scenario by just always starting their turn at the crossing.  The Saxon warlord and his personal bodyguard (the other unit of companions) risked an assault, and were repelled, the fifth and final point went to the Britons.

This game was ridiculously fast.  Somewhere between and hour and 90 minutes long.  Recommend!