Friday, 30 December 2011

Austerlitz 1805 re-fight

Spending the day refighting the Battle of Austerlitz round at a friends house. We are using 20mm figures and Grande Armee rules by Sam Mustafa on a 12' x 6' table.

It has been a real see-saw game with each side launching attacks and counter-attacks. I've not taken many photographs of the game as it progressed  as they would have looked quite similar.
The rules have been around for a number of years but I've not played them before. So my nominal appointment as Napoleon was a bit wasted. I was pleased that Nigel, one of my co-players, was well acquainted with them.

Grande Armee are a tactical set of rules with bases representing whole brigades. I suppose this is quite a common concept these days but it is unlikely to appeal to everyone as the visual appeal is limited due to the basing all being the same. It did appeal to me once the game got going.

The variable length turns also appealed to me. Turns are taken in 'phases' and after each phase in which each army will have had an equal opportunity to skirmish, shoot, move and fight a six sided die is rolled; a score equal to or less than the phase number means that the turn has reached an end and you then get a chance to rally troops. I was told that it was rare for a turn to go to six phases but I managed to keep rolling sixes and we had several 5 phase turns. They took the die off me in the end!

As you would expect each brigade had variable strengths (SP) but there were also different capabilities in terms of march speeds between the French, who were faster than the Austrians and Russians, and skirmishing abilities. You will notice the use of 'death caps' in the photo above to help record casualties.  This method was the choice of my host for the day but you could equally use casualty figures or even dice. You would just need to do what is best for you.

Once a brigade had reached a number of casualties equal to its SP it is removed from play. However, when a turn ends (regardless of how many phases it may have lasted) there is a chance to rally lost brigades. The ability is easier for a Guard unit than a Raw unit and if you fail the test the brigade is lost for good. Brigades that return will still have casualties and be recorded as having broken thus reducing their effectiveness in subsequent rounds.

This made the game most interesting; as you thought you had created a gap the turn would end and you would be facing more brigades albeit weakened ones. I've not played a game that ebbed and flowed so much but there again I've not played a game that started at 11am and finished at 10.20pm. Not that the game really finished - we just needed to get back to our respective homes. So some of the players will be continuing it next Tuesday but I, unfortunately, won't be able to due to a prior commitment.

On the whole it was a very good game indeed; excellent company and a generous host who fed and watered us all. So thank you Peregrine.

I shall look forward to trying the rules again on another occasion.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

DDWG AGM Preparations

It doesn't pay to be organised.

After the AGM of the Devizes and District Wargames Group last year I diligently typed up my notes from the meeting.

As I strive to wrestle information out of the treasurer and combine the whole lot into one useful handout do you think I can find my notes anywhere? Can I heck! I'm just hoping I didn't do them on my computer at work one lunchtime as this would be less than convenient having been made redundant and having no access to the computer nor the office.

With the 2011 AGM tomorrow it is an outside chance that I still have my hyroglyphs scrawled in haste on a scrap of paper during the last meeting. Thank goodness I have the show accounts complete.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

A decidedly good afternoon

Apart from the return of the cat without any mice* it was a quiet afternoon, with a good play on the radio and a fair bit of painting completed.

I've managed to complete four stands of Prussian Landwehr, although two of these were almost finished apart from drummers and bases.

I'll need to add some flags when I get the chance to draw some up and print them out. I knew I should have bought some when I was at the show last weekend.

The two stands that I had to finish off are the ones on the right with red facings as Kurmarck Landwehr Regiment. I painted their coats and trousers yesterday when I was finishing off some bases of Adler French generals. I also managed to get well underway with seven French limbers and horse teams today.

Here's a closer view of the Kurmarck. Just another 20 stands to go if I wish to re-fight the Battle Wavre!

I'll finish the limbers off this week and make a start on the next four stands of Landwehr infantry.

* The cat has managed to bring a live mouse in which we have just been trying to catch as it, followed by the cat, ran around the sitting room. The joys of country living!

Decisions, decisions...

... to go up to the club or stay at home and paint?

I have a 'free' afternoon - although there are plenty of chores in the garden requiring attention! Jane's out visiting friends in Bristol and even the cat has deserted me for stalking imaginary mice in the fields.

No doubt there will be several games on at the club; most seem to be WWII or 40K these days but occasionally there are ancients or 18th century. Napoleonics seem to have taken a back seat at the moment but if I stay in and paint my 6mm Adler French or my 6mm Baccus Prussians I could change the Napoleonic gaming situation quite quickly. Both armies are nearly finished. At least as finished as any army ever can be!

Then again I could make a start on my Baccus Austrians that I picked up on the B&B at Warfare  last weekend. No, definitely staying home and painting Prussians as I only need a few units to complete the army for a medium sized game. We are basing the figures for and using the Polemos rules published by Baccus.

I wonder if there is a good play on Radio 4 to listen to as I paint?

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Warfare Today - Leipzig 1241

Pictures and more text added am Monday 21st November

With the mobile uploads having totally failed to work I am now having to try and recall the events of the day.

Using Kallistra figures, terrain and rules, four of us re-fought the Mongol invasion of the west and their battle against the Teutonic Knights at Leipzig in 1241. The two shots below show the Teuton and Mongol deployments - Paul at Kallistra had 'tweaked' the OOBs since the last time the game was played out. Even the tweaks didn't help the Teutons!

 Teuton deployment - should be safe enough in that castle!
From the Mongol side

The game started well enough with the Mongol light horse coming forward backed up by heavies. The Teutons had mixes of infantry spear and crossbows inter-spaced with cavalry - mounted knights and mounted crossbow.
Obviously the Mongol light horse moved further and all could shoot being bow armed. I watched whole units of Teuton foot vanish in single arrow storm. Our crossbows just couldn't seem to hit a thing or to do enough damage to worry their target.

Teuton Foot

Mongol Heavy Horse
 The above photos were taken on my phone and the ones below were taken on a camera that  show the rest of the depressing story of Mongol victory!

Teuton left flank - it all seemed so solid!
Then on came the Mongols with their bows...
The driven and the isolated!
Murray, Will and Dane
 The above shot shows the other three players; note that Murray and Dane played the Mongols and they both are on the 'wrong' side of the table - here's why:

The crumbling Teuton right
It was a good game using simple rules and D6 and D12. No morale as such - attrition based combat/shooting results drove you back, disorganised you or simply eradicated you.

It all looked very good and it was nice to see so many old friends dropping by the table. The rest of the show (on the Sunday) was quite busy and the competitions were well supported.

As ever there was far to much to tempt you to part with your cash. Will and I picked up lots of things for others and found a great bargain on the bring and buy in the shape of 6mm Baccus Napoleonics. Three armies all unpainted with bases and buildings for about half the bare metal cost. Will has the French and Russians and I have the Austrian army to paint but in that scale and those armies it shouldn't take too long.

Saturday, 19 November 2011


... I'm going to Warfare in Reading. Look out for the large medieval game using Kallistra figures and terrain.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Disappointment - damn you eBay!

It seemed like an opportunity to expand my 10mm collection of ancient and medieval Warmaster armies; an addition that would fill a gap and provide me with a pike army. I won and it arrived in the post at my office today - always an unusual event when the postman brings something to me at work! When you have recently started a new business it is always a novelty when the phone rings or there is something to open in the post. I digress.

Advertised on eBay a week or so back I saw a 10mm Successor army. It seemed like a good start as it was described as: 'This is a reasonably well painted 1000 point army for the Alexandrian Successors for the Warmaster ancients rule set. Figures are from Magister Millitum.'
It was hard to tell from the one photograph as it was rather poor and showed figures from above but I could see paint on the figures and bases. Even if not up to my standard I could touch them up and re-base with my standard flock and gravel finish. And soon I would be trouncing Romans with Early or later Selucids. There would be a great start to an army as someone else had asked for details about the contents got this response:
Hi What is the composition of the army?
The army is a 1000 point army for warmaster from Magister Militum. Composition is a follows:
18x10 Pikemen,
1x5 pikes,
10x3 Javelins with round bucklers,
5x3 javelins with half moon shields,
2x8 spears,
5x10 archers,
6x4 shock cavalry,
2x4 cavalry, plus unbased command figures both mounted and foot to match.
All based on 20x40 bases (widest frontage) apart from the shock cavalry which are mounted on a 20mm frontage and 40mm depth. Hope this helps

Well my idea of 'reasonably painted' and that of the seller are worlds apart!!! Undercoated (here and there) with a very inadequate wash would have been a better description.  Here are four random examples (photographed very quickly) for you to see:

So the bare metal legs of the bowmen, brown wash of the pikes and white undercoat showing through in large areas of the cavalry and peltast types counts towards 'reasonably painted'. Sigh!

It may have been a simpler job if I'd bought an unpainted army and started from scratch. On the plus side there is the lonely saving grace that they were cheaper than bare metal cost - just.

More work to be added to the painting list.

An early start

Having awoken even earlier than usual, despite it not being light, I thought I'd get up and paint - what it is to have a real deadline to work to. Nevertheless I managed to roll over and eventually emerge from my renewed slumbers when the alarm went off.
Realising that I could have had two hours valuable painting time I decided to get on with my day with a bit of basing instead. Enthused with my results of yesterday's brief efforts to get some 6mm Adler French Napoleonics on the table - not to mention getting my friend Will worried by having another period on the go at the same time as the 10mm ancients - I managed to mag base another eight infantry stands and three artillery stands, fix figures to them and leave them to dry.
When I get home from a busy day of magazine editing and production I should be ready to relax and  flock the bases of my latest units. Maybe I shall also finish off my latest 10mm spear unit? Better still will be to start something completely different just to wind Will up even more!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

A good Sunday afternoon

It has been a good Sunday afternoon; apart from having to make a dash to the shops I managed to get some painting done. I didn't even drop into the club as would have ended up as a prolonged stay!
Shopping safely done - without the drunken procurement of a frozen lobster and a bottle of Advocat as once happened (no I really don't know why either but the several large G&Ts may have played a part) - I managed to get several hours painting and basing done.
I've prepped three more 10mm units and undercoated them, I've almost finished a new 10mm infantry unit for Warmaster Ancients and I've based three units of Adler 6mm French Light Infantry for Polemos rules.
All in all not a bad afternoon at all. I've even worked out what I need to buy at Warfare in Reading next weekend. After all I'd hate to see the lead mountain shrinking.

Remembrance Sunday 2011

This is the first Remembrance Sunday when there hasn't been a survivor who fought in World War One.

I was thinking about an elderly lady I met through work, Rose Rawlings of Marlborough. Rose was over 100 years old when she recited the following poem to me; it was originally sent to her in a letter when she was a young girl by her brother who was in the army and fighting at the front somewhere in France.

There's a story now current, though strange it may seem
Of the great Kaiser Bill and his wonderful dream.
Being tired of his allies he lay down in bed
And among other things he dreamed he was dead
On leaving the earth to heaven he went straight
And arriving up there he knocked at the gate.
But St. Peter looked out, In a voice loud and clear
Said, "Begone Kaiser Bill, we don't want you here."
Then said the Kaiser, "That is very uncivil
I suppose after that I must go to the devil"
So he turned on his heel and off he did go
At the top of his speed to the regions below.
But when he got there he was filled with dismay
For whilst waiting outside he heard Old Nick say - (to his imps)
"Now look here boys, I give you all warning
I'm expecting the Kaiser down here in the morning,
But don't let him in for the warning's quite clear,
He's a very bad man and we don't want him here.
If he ever gets in we'll have no end of quarrels
In fact I'm afraid he'll corrupt our good morals"
"Oh Satan, my dear friend, the Kaiser then cried,
Excuse me for listening whilst waiting outside.
Oh do let me in, I'm feeling so cold
And if you want money, I've plenty of gold.
Let me sit in a corner no matter how hot."
"No, no," said Old Nicky, "most certainly not.
We don't admit folks for riches or wealth.
Here's some sulphur and matches, make a hell for yourself!"
So he kicked William out and vanished in smoke
And just at that moment the Kaiser awoke.
He jumped out of bed in a shivering sweat
And he said, "Well, that dream I shall never forget.
I shan't go to heaven, I know that quite well,
But it's really too bad to get kicked out of Hell."

Thursday, 27 October 2011