Friday, February 17, 2017

What Monster Have I Created?

My learning this week is that I shouldn’t have offered to give this game away.

If you are an old school board war gamer, you will remember that Avalon Hill did a card game based on its popular WW2 game of infantry combat, Squad Leader.   It was notorious for the ridiculously handsome, almost angelic SS guy on the cover.  I’m surprised that image has not been resurrected by the Alt-RIght.    The bits below, including AH’s Pacific War expansion, Banzai!, was gifted to me by an Army friend of mine.  I tried playing it a few times solitaire, and it didn’t really seem that much fun.

This week I offered the game up on a Facebook group called Wargamer Pay It Forward.  The deal is that members can place dibs on games they want, and if they win one, they have to offer a game in return.  It’s a great system.  I had won a copy of GMT’s Labyrinth, a game on the US War on Terror against international jihadism in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.   It seems like a good trade to me, as I like contemporary games and am a fan of the thoughtful work done by Ruhnke and his sometime collaborator,  Brian Train.

However, I wasn’t prepared for the 90+ claimants that have put in their dibs for Upfront!  I am fully expecting the number of entrants will top one hundred by the deadline of noon tomorrow.  Yikes.  I think I’ve found a robust random number generator that will do the job, but it will be a big job.  I suppose I could write the names on slips of papers and let Stanley the Cat draw one.  I’ve done it here before.




Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Landscaping the Elven Realm

Just after Christmas I was with Madame Padre at Michael’s, a big box craft store in these parts.  It’s a place where determined looking housewives scout the latest Martha Stewart DIY projects, macrame sets, yarn, or hand painted signs with inspiring slogans such as “This Household Runs On Laughter” or “Dare To Follow Your Dreams”.   Sometimes these women are trailed by sad-eyed, bored men glued to their smart phones.    Not me.  I’m scanning the shelves looking for wargaming terrain ideas.   

Case in point, these plastic flowers plants which I think might do nicely as forest terrain stands for the Elven Woodland Realm.  My idea is to cut up the big thing on the right to make a multitude of small shrubs, and glue them onto these round MDF bases along with the smaller shrubby looking things.

I think the plants on the left look reasonably strange and suitable for fantasy terrain, don’t you?


No clear plan yet, just thinking out lood.  More to follow.

Blessings to your terrain making!


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Some Heroes of Spain

Not much to say about these chaps except that I painted them for MS Foy, proprietor of Prometheus in Aspic, in return for many kindnesses he has shown me.   These chaps are part of his 1809 Spanish army, and represent the Voluntarios de Campo Mayor, a light infantry regiment.  Tony has some learned background on them here and here.   A learned chap, Foy 

 The figures are 20mm, by Spanish maker Falcata.  They are lovely sculpts, but according to Foy, Falcata has had a troubled business history and one would think twice about sending them one’s hard earned dosh.





I had great fun painting them, but I think if I was to do Napoleonics in a larger scale than 6mm, I would go all the way up to 28mm.  

I am happy to report that these fellows made it successfully over the waters and are now in Foy’s possession, where it does my heart good to think that they will certainly find the best of wargaming homes.

Blessings to your brushes! 


These figures bring my 2017 totals to:

15mm: Vehicles: 3

20mm: Foot figures: 18

28mm:  Foot Figures: 31;  Mounted Figures: 2

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Some Women Of Valour

These 28mm igures arrived over Christmas and are now primed and on the painting table.  They are from Bad Squiddo Games, founded by Annie Norman (the Dice Bag Lady) to promote a more realistic kind of female figure and body type for war gamers.  These Dark Ages warriors seemed to me to be useful for my Lord of the Rings Project, where they will serve as Rohirrim.   No doubt a village will be attacked by raiders while the menfolk are away with their lord of the Riddermark, and so these shield wives and maidens will turn out to defend their homes and children

I am hoping to get them painted as an entry for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge and maybe even attract the attention of the lovely Sarah for her choice of the best female figure of the contest.  A lofty goal, but I have my hopes.

These figures are generally well cast.  The two leaders, the lady with the banner and her companion blowing the horn, are exceptional.  The rest are good to fair. with the worst being the left most one in the bottom row.  I think they’ll paint up well.  They are on the average for 25 to 28mm figures, and should mix well with the primarily GW figures in my LOTR collection.

 Here’s another Woman of Valour.  On Thursday Madame Padre went in for her second chemo treatment, and sported a very appropriate Tshirt from the Canadian Soldier On charity for wounded warriors.   She is indeed a warrior, who has never uttered a word of self-pity and is determined to maintain a positive attitude.   I am very proud of her.   

Blessings to you and those you love, be there for them.


Monday, January 30, 2017

Slaughter By The Water: Dragon Rampant Meets One Hour Wargames

Here’s a quiet afternoon to report on a solitaire game I played recently, using Dragon Rampant rules but with a scenario from Neil Thomas’ One Hour Wargames.   I chose Scenario 5: Bridgehead, in which Blue is trying to cross the river below from left to right, while the Red army has units arriving from several sides of the table to the right of the river to try and throw Blue back.  Victory is achieved by there being no enemy units on the north bank of the river, within 12” of the bridge”.  North is the right hand side of the river in the picture below.

One of the interesting challenges in mating DR with 1HW is that the DR rules end a player’s turn when an activation is failed.  With the strictly limited # of turns in a 1HW scenario, I was curious to see whether it was feasible to play DR using a turn limit.

Using 30 points per force, vice NT’s six units per side, I came up with the following.


1 unit of 12 SP Bellicose Foot barbarians, 1 Unit of 6 SP Scouts, 1 unit of 12 Orc SP Light Missile Troops, 1 unit of 12 SP Orc Heavy Infantry, 1 unit of 6  SP Orc Heavy Riders, 1 Orc Shaman (lesser wizard treated as a unit of Light Infantry), and 1 unit of 6 SP Heavy Infantry including General.


1 Unit of 6 SP Elite Riders, 1 Unit of 6 SP Elite Riders with Bows, 1 Unit of 12 SP Heavy Foot, 1 Unit of 12 SP Light Missiles, 2 Units of 6SP Scouts with Sharpshooter upgrade.

The downside to Red’s force selection is that almost half of the points are tied up in the two units of Elite Riders, giving it a smaller force than Blue has. Also, with elite riders activating on a 7+ to move, this tendency to immobility may hinder Red given the limited time (15 turns) to react to Blue’s incursion.  

Blue can put one unit on the far side of the ford at the start of the game.  I opt for the Scouts.  On turn 1, Red, moving second, can bring on two units in one of three randomized locations.  The two units of Riders make their activations and are randomly placed bottom right of the river in the picture below.

The Bliue scouts have a good run and make it to the ruins.   The cover, plus the Scouts bonus of Hard Target vs missile fire, takes their Armour Class from 1 to 3, giving them lots of protection while they try to harass the Red cavalry.  Yes, those are my recently painted Vendel hlllmen, while the ruins were scratch built by my friend James.

Turn 3.  The Red Elite Riders are stuck where they started, but the Red Elite Riders with Bows are moving forward.  Blue makes an activation roll and brings on the Light Archers, moving them towards the ford.

Red’s scouts come on and they use their Ranger ability to flit through the woods, hoping to bring the ford under fire before Blue can start crossing.

Topper, Lesser Catbeast of Mordor, makes an appearance.   He looks a little sceptical about the Red plan, but like a good Observer/Controller, he is saving his comments for the AAR.

Meanwhile, the Blue archers are crossing the ford, while the Heavy Riders and Bellicose foot are coming on behind them.

By Turn 8, Blue has had good activation rolls and has four units on the North side of the river.   The scouts in the ruins have become battered due to the fire of the Elite Horse with Bows, but they in ten have taken one figure out of both of Red’s Elite Horse units, which was a profitable exchange for blue.  Red’s Scouts in the woods have taken a toll of attackers, but haven’t stopped Blue from crossing the ford.   The Blue bellicose foot are peeling off to clear the woods, while the Blue Heavy Riders are moving to face both the Red Heavy Infantry and Missile troops.  Blue’s archers are facing off against the Red Elite Riders, which have not had much luck making their 7+ to move activation rolls.

The Bliue Bellicose Foot surge into the woods.  Their Ranger ability means that they are not impeded by terrain.  The Red Scouts fluff their Skirmish roll and are butchered to a man (err, Elf) by the onrushing barbarians, who do pretty well for a newly painted unit.

By Turn 11, Red picks up the pace, its Elite Riders falling on the lightly armoured Blue archers and annihilating them.  Meanwhile, Blue’s heavy riders threw themselves on Red’s Heavy Infantry, supported by their archers.  The Blue wolf riders do some damage, but are wiped out in return.


Turn 12, the battle for the ford is now fully joined.  For fun I decided to depart from my usual practice and leave the casualties where they fell.   I blame Ross Mac.  In the centre of the scrum north of the ford, Blue’s Heavy Infantry have formed a Wall of Spears to deter the Red cavalry, but are suffering from Red’s archers.  

Red’s Heavy Ifantry wade into their Blue opposite numbers to try and push them back.  It’s a tough fight that bleeds both units, but Blue stands longer than expected, as the Blue Orc Shaman makes a series of successful spell rolls and “heals” the Blue heavy infantry, bringing a dead figure back to life for three turns in a row and helping them pass their morale rolls.

Red’s Elite Riders, 4 figures left out of six and almost at half strength, crash into Blue’s last reserves, the general and his Heavy Infantry bodyguard, whole the shaman cheers them on.

The General and his bodyguards are pushed back, but Blue throws its Bellicose shock troops into the depleted Red Riders, now at half strength, and throw them back.

Game end at turn fifteen.  Red has a handful of infantry, its foot and horse archers, but Blue has two units still on the north side of the stream, and its Scouts still hold the ruins.  The Shaman intones a chant over the bloody field.

The game ended in a draw and I considered this experiment a success.   On its own, DR tends to end with one side wiped out, but imposing a strict turn limit and clear objectives on DR makes the experience a little more tense and focused.  It may seem cruel to lose a precious turn when a unit fails its roll, but it does force one to think carefully about what units one wants to try to activate first.

As I think I said above, putting so many eggs into the Elite Rider basket seems foolish in retrospect.   I don’t think I would use this troop type for an army based on expert riders, such as the Rohiirrim.  I think I would class them as Heavy Riders, with some units Light Riders with Bows upgraded as Sharpshooters.  But more on that anon.

This game was great fun to p;ay and very tense.  If you read this far, I hope you enjoyed it too.

Blessings to your die rolls,


Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Portly Pasha Moustasha

I recently entered this portentous fellow in the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge as an entry for the Bonus Theme Round entitled "East".

A chap in a fez seems exotic enough to qualify as "East", to my mind, and I was relived that the estimable Sidney Roundwood agreed: " Nothing quite screams "EAST" to me quite like a capaciously large Pasha, a pair of Turkish slippers, a plate of delicious Baklava and an illicitly filled pipe of hashish. By the look of this chap, he's competing to fulfil all four of those..."

Exactly.   This sculpt is by Bob Murch of Pulp Figures, and was created by Bob as this year's Movember entry.  As Bob's many fans know, he has sculpted several figures for this charity aimed at fighting illnesses experienced by men, and if you send Bob your Movember tax receipt for your donation, he will send you the figure, charging only for postage.

Perhaps the Pasha was a veteran of Gallipoli, and now, as a senior Turkish politician or general, has returned for a ceremony, where he will doubtless give a fiery speech.

Another Turkish leader was Jon Freitag, proprietor of the Palouse Wargaming Journal, who played Turkey in my play-by-blog Diplomacy game in 2016, and who won quite handily.    As followers of this blog may recall, the game ended in 1907 when the German player conceded the victory to Turkey.  Jon, this figure will be going out to you by post next week, as promised long ago, to honour your achievement.  Well done.

There is still a prize still owing, to Ben (Johnny Rosbif) Gilmour who played Italy with brio and panache and won my very subjective prize for best diplomacy and role-playing.   Ben, I have decided on your figure and will start painting it this weekend.

With all that is going on at home, I don't see another online game of Diplomacy in the near future, but perhaps in the latter part of 2017 or early 2018.  

Blessings to your brushes!


15mm: Vehicles: 3
28mm:  Foot Figures: 32;  Mounted Figures: 2

Monday, January 23, 2017

Barbarian Prince and Champion

I entered this dynamic duo in the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge last week and am finally showing them here.

I ordered these lovely 28mm figures from the UK’s Heresy Miniatures as a Christmas present to me, along with some of their other fantasy figures, and am very pleased with them.  The young chap n the right will be the leader of my force of Wild Men of Dunland, and his friend to the left will be the prince’s pet half-ogre champion.

I found Heresy a pleasant company to deal with, their order was shipped promptly and contained three peppermint humbugs that looked suspiciously like eyes of Sauron.  Creepy.  Their figures are crisply sculpted with a minimum of flash.   The big fellow ships with an assortment of weapons and parts to position in his arms in various positions.  I am a little spatially challenged and so I could not get the arms positioned to mate with the hands sculpted to the two-handed weapons, so I opted for the sword and clenched fist look

In Dragon Rampant terms I think I would count the big fellow as a six Strength Point single figure unit, probably rating him as Bellicose Foot along with the rest of the Dunlendings.

Several other Heresy fantasy figures came with my order and I look forward to getting to them soon.  I am very pleased to have discovered this company.

The barbarian reminds me of a young officer I served with, whose blonde mane of hair was a thing of beauty if somewhat non-regulation, and who could usually be found during the workday in the gym with a protein shake in one hand and a sixty-pound barbell in the other..   I was delighted when he confirmed on Facebook that it was indeed a good likeness.

This completes my Dunlending project, though I may get another pack of eight archers to give me two units of twelve missile troops each.  Here Saruman poses with the graduating class of the Isengard Infantry School, serial 17-1.  

Thank you for looking and blessings to your brushes!

These figures bring my 2017 totals to:

15mm: Vehicles: 3

28mm:  Foot Figures: 31;  Mounted Figures: 2

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