Monday, 5 October 2015

A SAGA of beginners luck!

It has come to that time of year when the DDWG is once more scheduled to elect or re-elect the committee for the 2015/16 year. The AGM is rarely more than 45 minutes but it means that gaming time will be short; on the plus side my good friend for over 40 years, Paul Martin, will be there for the meeting.
Paul lives in North Dorset and is one of DDWG's affiliate members (a discounted rate for living over 20 mile from Devizes) and only come to the club on the occasional Sunday. The gaming is usually preceded by a curry and it makes a great opportunity to catch up. Yesterday was no different; curry and gaming but what to play?
Not having played SAGA for some time I decided to dust off my Vikings and Normans for a couple of hours of fun. I have almost finished the new huts and fences for my Dark Age village so they made a first outing to the table top.

My Dark Age village is a mix of mdf buildings from a number of manufacturers and scratch built buildings. Wattle fences are from Renadra
Paul opted to use Vikings so I had the Normans and had worked out two matching forces of 6 pts each: 1 general, 1 unit of 4 Hearthguard, 3 units of 8 warriors and one unit of 12 strong Levy bow each.
The fearless Normans deployed for the Viking onslaught
The  Viking raiders prepare their advance
Paul took the initiative and advanced into the village pushing his Thrall bowmen to the fore. The Normans had a fortunate first roll of their Saga dice and managed to fire double their normal range with an ability that killed two of the Thralls facing them. After that it all went downhill for the Normans!
A nice view of the scratch-built huts - maybe the Normans would have been better off hiding in them?
It should not be that difficult to roll high numbers on a D6...but it was yesterday. As for Paul who had brought what he laughingly calls his 'lucky dice' as he normally has dreadful die rolls; well he couldn't throw much below a four for the whole game.
Two Norman units melted away in two moves leaving just four Saga Dice for the Normans to use. The Viking luck held and although two units were down to one man they managed to keep out the way and therefore retain the Saga dice needed to keep the Viking steam-roller coming forward.

Erik the Pink (illegitimate son of Erik the Red and Snow White) leads his unit of Bondi forward to smash the Norman cavalry. The Viking ship grave in the background would not be needed for this game!

It was a fun game and even though the Norman general issued a personal challenge to the Viking leader, deployed as many abilities as he could with four Saga dice he died horribly to the Viking axe.

As it was only Paul's second game of Saga in two years it was a worthy win...or beginners luck? And that is how Sagas are made.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

DDWG Chain of Command weekend

Today is day 2 of the DDWG Chain of Command weekend. At the end of a hard fought Day 1 the British had won a minor victory by achieving their objective. We had to break through the German defences and get at least a section off the German side of the table (at the top of the photo).

The White blobs are smoke laid by he British 2" mortars to block the Germans' line of sight. The red round poker chips are the British jump of points and the blue ones are the German jump off points.
The White poker chips in the centre of the picture covering the woods and fields mark the barrage laid down by German off table heavy mortars. These caused considerable damage to B platoon, pinning them for several phases and killing the Company Commander - lots of bad things happened as a result.
A Platoon was to the right of the road and came on as a our reserves once the Germans had committed troops to capture the right hand jump off point. They then continued to push troops into that flank whilst our 
C platoon pushed forward on a left flank Attack on the weaker German flank - most of whom couldn't see much due to our accurate deployment of smoke.
Today the table has moved such that the British advance will start amongst the fields and over the river bridge towards a German held village. 
We have been having a lot of fun with this set of rules.
God Save the King.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Exploring l'Arte de la Guerre

Last Sunday I played a new(ish) set of rules called l'Arte de la Guerre for ancient and medieval games. Figures are based as per FOG/DBM so I could also use my 10mm Warmaster Armies to play these rules.

However, for this first game I played using my 15mm Khwarizmian (some are over 20 years old!) against Paul's Sassanids.

The terrain system is quite straightforward and as I was to be the attacker  I had the chance of moving some pieces or removing them totally depending on a die roll. We drew deployment maps before setting out our troops. This is done by placing one corps (you split your army between three corps) at a time with the defender placing the first and then the attacker and so on.

To find out what would happen within this rule set my tactics were basic and simple: advance, shoot and charge. That was about it other than the rout after the first three! Well not with all troops. Charging the Sasssanid elephant is not really the sensible option in most rules but I managed a shot before I closed to attack and I managed to pin it for a second round of melee when I managed to kill it. Fortunately the elephant randomly rampaged through adjacent Sassanids rather than my cavalry.

It was a bloody and relatively quick game all to be lost or won hanging on one melee - the victor would win as we were both within two points of breaking our opponent. I came second! The game was great fun and can be played on a relatively small table so contact is quick. A second game is planned for a few weeks time but using 28mm figures.

Unfortunately I did not take any photos but the official web page is here

There are some video guides on YouTube that give a good insight to the game

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

It's this weekend - Attack! 2015. 18-19 July

We are looking forward to an exciting weekend running our annual club show Attack!
With over 30 traders, 15 participation games and six competitions there is something for everyone.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Siborne's Waterloo diorama

If you read the June 2015 issue of Miniature Wargames there is an interesting article on the Waterloo diorama created by Captain William Siborne at the Royal Armories in Leeds.

This article and some of the photos in it took me back over 40 years and reminded me of the generosity of a lady who lived in the same village as I did.

I lived in a north Dorset village called Pimperne and there was to be a village event one day called 'Pimperne can do it'. Friends of my mother convinced me to take part and give a demonstration of making jewellery - something that had become a lucrative sideline and addition to my pocket money allowance. I dutifully did as I was told - despite being 16 years old.

My display showed the various stages of polishing stones and making mounts and I was quite pleased with how it looked between the cake-makers, button-makers, wood carvers and any number of people who were demonstrating their hobbies. I was caught out when a local man who knew of my military modelling interests asked where my models were? I ended up running home and bringing some back,

The models generated more interest than the jewellery and I ended up on the front page of the local paper holding a model Polish Lancer in 54mm from Airfix. However, a lady who had recently retired to the village with her husband asked me lots of questions about my hobbies and the next day arrived at my parent's home with a box.

The box contained her father's mineral collection - he had been a geologist and worked around the world. It was a great addition to my own collection as I once had aspirations of being a geologist myself. However there was a smaller box too.

The smaller box contained four lovely looking French Napoleonic figures about 25mm scale - 1" from sole of foot to top of the head and they are based on thin brass sheet.

The four figures that I have had for over 40 years were old when I got them

The lady, whose name I have unfortunately forgotten, told me that she had inherited the figures from her grandfather and all she knew was that they had come from a large diorama of Waterloo that was displayed at an exhibition. Could these figures have come from Siborne's display? Maybe we will never know but the similarity is certainly there.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Advance of the Austrian cavalry

It has been a busy work week - four evening meetings and Friday night out with friends for dinner, so painting has been slow.
I've caught up a bit this weekend and finished off a couple of units of cuirassier that I had started and finished two units of hussars from scratch.
The foremost unit CR2 is from Adler Miniature and everything else from Baccus
I have been working my way though the Baccus Miniatures Austrian Napoleonic starter army but found I had an old unit of Adler Miniatures cuirassier that I had never finished. Not sure why I had these as my Adler armies are Napoleonic French and Bavarian.

As you can see from the picture above the Adler figures are quite a lot larger than the Baccus. I like both makes but don't think they sit well together in the same army.

Austrian hussar regiment no7 to the front
I have another two units of hussars to paint but need to buy more dragoons and cuirassier at some stage. So next will be more hussars before returning to the infantry.

One for the woad...

Not Napoleonic but I umpired a great game of Warmaster Ancients at the Devizes club yesterday. It was an Ancient British civil war using 10mm Pendraken and Magister Millitum figures.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Neglecting the small guys...

Yesterday I met up with the recently retired Will for a quick coffee in town. We talked about the forthcoming Waterloo game the club has planned to help commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the famous battle. They intend to use the Age of Eagles rules, a spin off from Fire and Fury.

Will is furiously painting his Prussians for the game whilst I am taking my Prussian painting at a more leisurely pace because I am not going to be playing in the game. Whilst comparing notes on our progress, figures used and many details about uniforms and equipment, I looked to show Will a photo on my iPad and stumbled on a couple of shots I'd forgotten taking over Easter.

I have finished all my 6mm Baccus Napoleonic Prussians and based them up for Polemos rules; having finished them doesn't mean that I don't need more!

Anyway here are a couple of shots of the recently completed project.

The garden is looking good in the background!

Whilst talking about the 6mm figures we are working on - Will is building both French and Russian and I have French with Bavarian allies (Adler Miniatures), Prussians and I am currently painting 6mm Austrians when I am not getting sidetracked by 15mm Prussians and many other projects - the subject of rules raised it's head once again.

Rules are a very subjective matter. We have one club member who wants to change rules as soon as they are published regardless of if he has played them or not and others like me who are still looking for the Holy Grail of rules in each period. Polemos Napoleonics are OK and possibly we just need to play them more to get the best out of them? To me they seem a bit slow.

I mentioned to Will that I had been reading a bit about the Blucher rules by Sam Mustapha and found a video on YouTube that had piqued my curiousity.You can see the Blucher Introduction Battle Report Video here:

Will, however, surprised me by saying he already had them and fancied giving them a try with our 6mm armies. So we need to set a date to meet at the club one Sunday and set to. So watch this space for our own battle report in the not too distant future.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Napoleonic Progress

It has been a productive week or so painting Napoleonics. The intention to finish my 6mm Baccus Austrians has slipped a bit as I have been tempted to just 'test' a few 15mm Prussians that I bought at Salute.

The first of the 6mm Austrian Cavalry - Dragoons
The 6mm Austrian cavalry has been started - it makes a nice change after 5 infantry regiments. Prussian cavalry and infantry on 15mm were also 'tested' and I was quite pleased with the results.
15mm Prussian cavalry - command figures are from Warmodelling and the troopers from Black Hat. On the right is the first stand of Prussian line in greatcoat from Lancashire Games. I'm trying to decide how I want to base this army.
What I was less pleased with were the Warmodelling figures I bought from Stonewall Figures at the Legionary show. Notwithstanding the fact that I accidently bought three packs of command figures instead of troopers the quality was very poor. As you can see from the pictures below one of the two packs had a figure missing and both packs had badly crushed horses.

Brent figures and one rider figure missing

Bases and legs bent at almost 90 degrees and difficult to straighten
I have already painted some of the other pack as a command for the dragoons shown above. The horses however were so badly bent at the legs that even with the best and most careful  of straightening they still looked as though they had a really bad case of rickets! Luckily I had a few spare Old Glory horses to replace them with.

On the painting table I have some Old Glory Landeswehr Cavalry and some more 6mm Austrian dragoons.

On the painting desk tonight - 11 May 2015

SAGA Grand Melee 2015

I was just wondering if there was to be a SAGA Grand Melee this year. It is about 12 months since I booked to play in the 2014 Grand Melee at Firestorm Games in Cardiff. Although I couldn't go on both days I had a terrific time losing playing.

Just had a look on the Gripping Beast site and there are details about this year's event which is to be held at the Derby Worlds in October. Not as convenient as Cardiff but I've not been to that show so it could be fun.

Take a look here for details.

Maybe it's time to dust the Vikings off? Perhaps a mini comp at Attack! 2015 this July even?

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Legionary 2015

Next time I go to a convention with Mick I'll make sure I am ready really early!

Our planned departure time of 8am meant Mick arrived with 30 minutes to spare and I was still in the shower!  Just as well Jane was up and about to make him a mug of tea whilst I had a rapid rub down with the towel and got hastily dressed. We were ready to leave for Exeter on time and arrived at Legionary just after 10am.

There was already a buzz about the place with many games and traders already busy. The show is held at a livestock market on the edge of Exeter; there's plenty of space and has a good restaurant where we enjoyed the 'Farmers' Breakfast' before tackling the show .

The bring and buy had some interesting things on offer and I kicked myself for letting a bargain offering boxes  of Warlord Games 28mm British Napoleonic infantry for £10 each slip through my fingers. 

It was also great to catch up with old friends some I'd not seen for at least a week in the hubbub of Salute.

There were enough traders to provide more than enough ways to spend your money, including two from Wiltshire - Forlornhope Games (Gary Tate shown below) and EM4 Miniatures.

There was supposed to be a War & Conquest competition somewhere but I cannot say that I saw it to be much in evidence. However there were some great participation games so here are a few pics:

Michael Stokin, more used to trading as Angel Barracks, was there with his 6mm science fiction game. Michael will be running his own show Blas-Tastic in October, a show dedicated to sci-fi gaming.
I cannot find my note on this game but I admired the terrain.

As much as I enjoy playing naval games they just don't have the visual appeal of a brightly coloured army on well-made terrain. The ships above were quite fantastic though ( and large).

28mm Bosworth - figures from the collection of Gary Cookson.

Bored with Borgias by The South Somerset Wargamers Group. Nick Turner's impressive 28mm Italian Wars figures and using Pike and Shotte rules.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Legionary Show in Exeter today

Even if there is no Saga competition and it is a bank holiday weekend it is still worth braving the holiday traffic to head for Exeter and the Legionary show.

I went last year to play Saga and had a great time and it was a good show; not overly large but plenty to do and see. More photos later.

Legionary show details

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Napoleonic Prussians in 15mm - the scale of the problem

It sometimes comes as a shock to realise what choice is actually available when it comes to wargame figures. Like most of us I have my preferred periods and consequently figures to match. But what happens when it is something new?

In March I spent a freezing four hours at the Corn Exchange, Devizes, playing a 15mm General de Brigade game. It was only freezing because the organiser of the Toy and Model Collectors' Fair thought he was doing us a favour by putting us right by the entrance of the venue. Unfortunately the doors stayed wide open and the outside temperature was hovering around zero!

It was nonetheless a good game; Mick provided terrain, figures, scenario and an up-to date version of the rules rather than my second edition that didn't seem very compatible with Mick's.

Over Easter I finished  (yes finished!!! ) painting all my Baccus Miniatures 6mm Napoleonic Prussians.

Of course I may need more at some stage but not for the moment. Intoxicated with the success of actually painting and finishing a complete army, down to the last figure, I recalled that I had 6mm Austrians from Baccus too so I made a start on these whilst thinking that 15mm Prussians would be good to have and play with.

After considerable research I pre-ordered figures from Time Cast - Old Glory and  Magister Militum to pick up at Salute last weekend. I also ordered some sample Prussians from Black Hat who make and sell the Gladiator range of Naploeonics.

Whilst at Salute I also bought some Lancashire Games figures. Maybe not surprisingly there is quite a difference in the size of figures and I should say that I hardly do anything in 15mm these days - 6mm, 10mm, 1/72 and 28mm is quite enough scales to cope with.

So here are some photos to show the contrast between the four makes of infantry I bought.

Above: Prussian Napoleonic Landwehr and Line infantry from four manufacturers side by side. Each with its own style of sculpting.

Here is a shot with a ruler to show the actual height of the figures.
And some cavalry too. I couldn't get any Lancashire Games cavalry at Salute as S&A Scenics had sold out of Prussian cavalry just before I hit their stand.
There is far more contrast between the cavalry figures than the infantry so it will be harder to decide which way to go when I start building the cavalry regiments up.

In the meantime it is the 6mm Austrians I need to get on with before I start 15mm Prussians...OK I confess I have been tempted to 'test' some of the Lancashire Games Line Infantry in Greatcoats.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Anyone in Wiltshire looking to go to Salute on 25 April?

Good morning. Next Saturday Devizes & District Wargames Group has a coach heading to London to visit the UK's largest Wargames show at the Excel Centre in Docklands.
We have spare seats on the coach if anyone wants a low fare for a day out to London. We will leave 7am and return around 7pm. £20 fare. Send me a message or email me through the club web site

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Making progress with Chain of Command figures

I'm about half way through my box of 1/72 Valiant WWII German infantry. Just finished basing these figures tonight.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

A good day at Crusade in Penarth yesterday

Yesterday I made my first ever visit to the Crusade show in Penarth. Not a good start by me as the show was celebrating its 20th year.

It was a nice show with a good mix of games and traders plus a DBA competition and some key talks on military subjects.

I had a good day bargain hunting and picked up a couple of things I was after to start my venture into Infinity and Dropzone Commander.