Tuesday, December 27, 2011

All I want for Christmas is...........an eye infection !!

Busy but fun time with family over Christmas but had hoped to get some painting time in today only to awake to find my left eye almost closed and both eyes raw and itchy !! seems I have developed an infection or an allergic reaction to something ? thankfully part compensation in watching a rather decent documentary on Military Channel about Stalingrad.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

SHAKO II............Happy Christmas to me..................

Shako II arrived today just in time for some seasonal reading (once I finish work that is !). I loved the original Shako and brief whizz through seems to show same basic and solid system.

Been mega busy in run up to Christmas, and with better half in hospital for lady OP, its been a hectic period with painting and gaming relegated to nil status. Working between Christmas and New Year but first week in 2012 off so hope to get at least one unit of Prussian Grenadiers finished and might (he says hopefully) get a start done to the AWI British Infantry I have had since July !! and thats not mentioning the rest of the lead I bought at Warfare !!

A very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to one and all.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Napoleon At War Playtest

Gave Napoleon At War rules a run out today at Stephens. My Prussians vs his French. Found the battle/game rules to be quite good. Movement outside of engagement range (Artillery range within 12" of Mounted or 6" of Foot) very flexible ala Black Powder and more restricted as lines close and an end of turn Support move for units far enough from enemy, which all worked fine. Shooting straightforward dice fest as is close combat with end of turn ability to rally casualties if outside engagement zones. Every 4 hits from shooting causes a 'stand' loss whereas each hit in melee is a base gone (winners of melee take a hit loss) Squares seem more durable than in Lasalle and we liked the simple support rules (all units mutually support each other within 4"). Command and Control fairly generic with Commanders exerting a 12" Command range but no orders system. I am not fond of active player having the ability to move then shoot first and inflict casualties before defender gets to return fire. This would be ok if classed as simultaneous. We used the first scenario which is a basic attack vs defence. Terrain generation was simple with one player rolling for number of terrain pieces then players alternating a random roll to generate terrain which is placeable anywhere. The defender has increased odds of selecting desired table edge via a die roll. Defender then sets up first then attacker who also moves first (Stephen did not like this)
By far the biggest bug bear for us both (and Stephen in particular) is the points system, army lists and force characteristics which are quite simply broken (I appreciate the lists etc on line are only generic starter/sample lists) Prussians had numerous advantageous characteristics (bit like those in Black Powder) compared to French (such as ability to pass morale tests with extra die rolls, ability to counter attack in melee with extra die rolls etc) and yet the French costs more in points. Also the French force list is very restrictive compared to all other nationalities and indeed those online contradict the book examples (book has French Brigades with 4 units of Foot but lists only allow 3 per Brigade). In our test I fielded some 15 units versus Stephens 9 and had he have been attacking it would have been farcical especially as his units inherently inferior in many ways. For instance a French Brigade of 3 foot units cost 420 points whereas the equivalent 3 unit basic Prussian Brigade was a mere 270pts and a battery of 4 Heavy Guns was 10pts cheaper for Prussians and yet no difference in stats/capabilities (in fact Prussians guns could be split into 2 gun units).  Also basic confusion/errors such as units of Prussian Cuirassier Brigade is given points for being on table support as well as (cheaper) off table Reserve status and yet army lists only allow them as Reserve. Not a biggy as such but annoying.
All in all I enjoyed the game rules but not sure they are sufficiently better than Lasalle or Field Of Battle to draw us back to them certainly not with army lists as currently supplied.

iPhone pics (of set up) as yet again I forgot camera !

French deployed

Prussian left wing

Prussian Infantry Regiment on right

French defend the village

And the central hill

Prussian guns ready for artillery duel

Prussian Landwehr in center

Prussian left wing again

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

A couple of books I highly reccomend

Just finished these titles and felt moved to share how much I enjoyed them and to recommend them. I have read several others recently, notably Redcoat and Marlborough (both by the late Richard Holmes), but these two stand out for me :

1812 Napoleon's March On Moscow by Adam Zamoyski
An exceptionally good read with lots of detail (often harrowing) of the Grand Armee and its advance into Russia and the grim reality of the battles and the fabled Retreat from Moscow. Lots of personal accounts  interspersed among the historical overview of events. I found it nicely balanced between stories from both the  French & her 'Allies' and their Russian opponents.
Gripping and highly readable.

Tommy The British Soldier On the Western Front by Richard Holmes
This is simply an astounding read which often had me close to or in tears at times. Much like 1812 its chocked full of personal accounts and anecdotes and brings home the grim reality of WWI warfare for the British Army on the Western Front (no coverage of Mid-East or Dardenelles). Great insight into the stresses and strains put onto the mainly Colonial army in early stages and its vast and rapid expansion and its change from a army of Regulars and volunteers into a massive Conscript citizen force. A nicely balanced, reasoned and objective approach to many highly subjective aspects, not least the 'Lions lead by Donkeys' quote (not exactly dispelled but certainly well diluted). Holmes covers just about every aspect of the soldiers lives you could think off and so many passages are full of such pathos, humour, horror and reality I found the book hard to put down. Maybe its my upbringing (full blown Ulsterman) and family connection to war (my great grandfather served and his three service medals hang proudly on my wall) but as I said above I found myself often deeply touched by some of the stories and wiping a tear or two aside (only Ken Touts excellent Tank has affected me similarly). Not a book to reveal the ebb and flow of great battles but very much a narrow focused worms eye view. I cannot recommend this one highly enough even if like me the  'appeal' of WWI was/is limited.
If 1812 is 10 out of 10 this scores 11 !!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

DBMM Maurikian Byzantine vs Norman

A 'proper' wargame today against Stephen using another couple of armies we are considering fielding at Munster next month. I used my Maurikian Byzantines and Stephen used a 1066 Norman army (mainly as he has a lot of newly painted figures). A good game and pretty bloody in the end with both sides having a command broken in same turn, but my lot falling by wayside with two turns of pretty awful combat dice.
We discussed pros and cons of the armies in Dbmm (and FOG for some reason) and decided that we should just get back to playing and enjoying the games and not 'worrying' about their merits or otherwise in a competition.

Lots of pics (mainly to show off Stephens new figures)

Norman foot, dismounted Knights ans Crossbowmen 

More dismounted Knights and Breton Cavalry

The Norman Knightly array

Byzantine trained Khazars ready to march to opposite flank

Byzantine Kavallorii ready to impact the Norman foot

Byzantine Optimates in support

The Kavallorii arrayed

Opening moves

Late in game opposing wings have disintegrated

Khazars and Bretons squaring up

Arab allies come to support Kavallorii (after 3 turns sitting unreliable !) 

These also arrived today just after Stephen left but not had chance to even open (for requisite smell test !!) yet.

An interesting departure............first ever RPG !!

Played my first ever role playing game at Stephens tonight with 3 other 'adventurers'. Using Middle Earth role play system (good for me as at least I had a recognizable frame of reference) Continuation of an adventure the others had been playing earlier in the year. I was a Rider of Rohan named Frealof riding his war horse Skallagrim armed with a Spear, Short Sword and a Crossbow (I pictured him as a lesser Eomer). My role play had me as a direct straight talking if somewhat tactless individual (this role was written with me in mind perhaps and requiring minimal roleplay), also a stoic and fearless warrior. A very enjoyable night (not least for social aspect) with an interesting scenario.....sorry adventure...... and some action against a couple of marauding Trolls.
Fantasy type stuff not my forte or preferred option but definitely a fun game and a nice diversion from 'proper' wargaming plus who doesn't like Lord Of Rings universe. System quite intuitive to play but lots of table cross referencing involved to generate actions, monsters etc. Glad to see we used miniatures to represent our alter egos especially helpful when it came to combat as aid to visualizing relative positions of characters and actions. Since I like wargames to have a narrative type structure or background it was easy to enjoy a game based primarily on this aspect. I guess I essentially role play to an extent in most wargames anyhow whether consciously or unconsciously (I really must stop shouting out loud during games !) so again easy slip into the required 'mode'. Different feel to a game where you represent a single character as part of a team and without massed ranks or units. Bit like a very low level skirmish game.
Hopefully the rest of the chaps enjoyed (endured ?) my participation and look forward to continuing the saga. Not so sure I would continue to blog about as not a big visual feast but maybe key incidents might inspire me  to.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Prussians based

Finished basing latest batch of Prussians this evening. One Lassalle type unit of Prussian Line Infantry 7th West Prussian Regiment 1st Battalion (Black Hat figures). Also a Shako unit (ie 12 figs) 4th Battalion 7th West Prussian using the painted figures I bought (manufacturer unknown and 90% re-painted !) at Warfare along with 4 bases of Jager and a Lasalle unit of Foot Artillery (again don't know which figure range ?).

First unit of Old Glory Grenadiers now on painting table.

Photos bit underlit as usual

7th West Prussian Regiment 1st Battalion

Foot Artillery

Shako sized unit


Last but not least some finished Battlezone buildings

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Some painting amidst the rule-fest

Managed to get some painting done today. Finished off another unit of Black Hat Prussian Line Infantry and touched up (oh er missus....) a few painted Prussians I bought at Bring & Buy at Warfare (no idea what manufacturer they are from) including more Line Infantry a few Jager and a unit of 4 Guns. Also finished a few Battlezone buildings I bought as well.  Hope to get them based this week.

Very poorly lit iPhone pics (will get better pics once based)

Oh well just another 120 or so Prussians to go, plus the British AWI army plus Russian and British Adler 6mm (bought at Warfare 2009 & 2010 respectively !!) plus some nice WW2 15mm Late War British from Forged in Battle line oh and a bunch of 10mm Malburians. Not much if I say it quickly and enough to keep me going to next years Warfare !!

Almost forgot my father is buying me Kampfgruppe Normandy rules for Christmas (whilst on half-price offer at Warhammer Historical site)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Yet more.......................

These arrived today in post (an early Christmas present from my brother) and jolly nice they are too, no matter that I have not yet finished a single Battalion of my British AWI forces which were obtained end of last July !! or indeed that I have not yet tried the Peter Pig Washingtons Army rules I bought for the period !!

Also just ordered these as well !! :-)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

DBMM Turgesh vs Sui Chinese

Played another DBMM game today at Stephens as practice for our up coming trip across the border to Cork for Munster competition (28 & 29th January). Not sure what army to take for the 'themed' 473AD- 1073AD period but thought I would try another version of the Central Asian Turks. Interesting game with my use of ambush and a delayed command (although trying to work out how it came on was a bit of nightmare !). The Sui managed to set up in the inevitable 'terrain fort' for their BowX and their Regular status allowed a potent on table flank march by their KnX command. In contrast the Turks had woeful Pip dice (especially the CICs who rolled relentless 1's !!) throughout. I used an all mounted version (only Psiloi as foot) but think that at Munster a command of some form of foot might be better to contest rough going. Regular Avars with Slav subjects or Irregular Early Bulgars with KnF and Slavs both options that appeal.
Turks set up

Sui advance along the valley

Turk CinC command

Tibetan ally in center

Turks stuck with no Pips to deploy

Sui Cataphracts and Light Horse march onto Turk right flank
(delayed Turk command later came on behind this but moves very restricted as it turns out)

Turks approach the wall of bows

CinC still stuck (only one column able to move to support right flank)