Not long back for my annual pilgrimage to Games Expo. This marked my 5th show and it was as much fun as always.
If you are a dyed in the wool historical miniatures gamer then this is not the show for you, its’s eighteen quid for a single day ticket and the number of historical stands is less than the fingers on one hand. Those recognisable names that do go, such as Annie at Bad Squido, Deep Cut Studios, Iron Gate Scenery and Black Scorpion, are aiming for the non historical community.
If your wargaming interests are across a broader spectrum then this is a bit of a must do. There is always a plethora of board games (well known and completely unknown), card games (collectable or otherwise), RPG’s, fantasy games, sci fi games, books, stands featuring kick starter products, an increasing number of 3D printed miniatures – mainly on the fantasy/sci fi genre but occasionally usable for historical skirmish games, plus scatter/clutter of various sorts and who doesn’t like a bit of scatter?
Where the show really wins, I think, is the many pick up games you can take part in for 20 mins to over an hour depending on the game, many are for the purpose of promoting a new product or upcoming kick starter but some are tried and trusted regulars. I played 4 different games today, one was a new Star Wars card game, another a sci fi miniatures game, a fantasy miniatures kick starter (really liked this) and a fantasy card game. There was plenty of other stuff but the the rest of the time I spent browsing the very large halls 1 & 2 which took quite some time!
The other thing that is very noticeable is the inclusivity and positive vibe. Yes it is big and corporate but at the hall level the overall vibe is positive, traders are pleased to be there and pleased to see you, fellow punters aren’t trying to elbow you out of the way and even at it’s most crowded you can still make your way round.
That’s it really. Worth going if you have a broad church gaming outlook not so much so if historical only is where you’re at.
Back from holiday we were into a multi command GNW game which saw two fairly evenly matched sides slug it out over a convivial afternoon of gaming.
The Russians deployed with half of their cavalry behind a stream on their right supported by a foot brigade and the rest in the centre hoping to use a patch of wooded scrub as an area where they could deploy their other cavalry dismounted to slow the Swedes. The Swedes themselves deployed all their horse on the left with the aim of smashing their way across the stream and thinly held the centre and right with their foot.
As always the Russians had the toughest job given the poor morale of their troops but the cautious advance of the Swedes rather played into their hands in the early moves.
On the Swedish left the massed cavalry attack was funnelled by the stream and marsh behind which the Russians were hiding and in the early moves they took losses from musketry fire but once they got going it was difficult for the Russians to hold on. The Swedish first wave were indeed repulsed but when the second wave crashed in the already weakened Russians collapsed and fled the scene which forced a morale test on the supporting infantry who decided that home suddenly sounded very appealing!
Across the Russian centre and left the plan of dismounting the dragoons worked and the Swedish advance in the wood slowed to a crawl but on the left where the village was located the Russian foot didn’t fare so well and after a stiff fight they gave up and fled.
All told, a strong Swedish victory. For those that are interested the bulk of the figures are Foundry with Old Glory in support.
Next up was another Successors game with the predominately Victrix collection, this time Eumenids v Antipatrid.
In this encounter Eumenes was significantly outflanked on his right so had to get on with it before the jaws closed.
Being superior in cavalry and elephants, as well as having the better quality infantry, Eumenes got a bit cocky and galloped his right wing cavalry across the face of his infantry in order to overwhelm the Antipatrid sole cavalry force on their right. Not surprisingly this was a fail, the cavalry got tangled up with the enemy foot resulting in the loss of the Xystophoroi and the slowing of the Eumenid infantry advance.
The Eumenid left wing cavalry did the job they were meant to do which was slow up the Antipatrid shock cavalry and in fact such was the accuracy of their volleys that they saw off the opposing Thessalians, although the nearby elephant might have been a bit of help 🤨
In the end, of course, it was the infantry centre that settled it and the better quality Eumenids burst through their opponents before the jaw could close about them although in reality this was more to do with over timid play by the commander of the Antipatrid left – problem of a Napoleonic player being more concerned about nice neat lines and not getting stuck in 😂🤣
After the intensity of a couple of big battles we changed the pace with a Franco Prussian skirmish game around two scouting parties coming to loot a monastery.
The rules were a set of amendments to an existing Napoleonic set held together by a rough narrative and making up stuff along the way that we hadn’t catered for – surprisingly it worked and both sides managed to get off with something although the French lost their officer and several troopers.
Although this was a bit of fun we reluctantly came to the conclusion that we just don’t get enough out of gaming this so the collection is going to have to be sold on. If you are interested then drop us a line on the site and we’ll get back to you with details and photos.
Another skirmish was next with a medieval away game which was a tourney to select those who would be sailing away on a campaign using the old Lamming rules. Nothing else to say really.
Final game of the month was an Ottoman v Swedes game circa early C17th.
The terrain was split by a stream which flowed between two large hills (on the Swedish deployment baseline) and had two formal crossing points (a pontoon bridge and a ford) although the stream could be crossed by anyone albeit at a reduced rate. A burnt out village and a wood anchored both flanks on the Ottoman baseline and a small village sat in the middle of the more open plain beyond the stream.
Both sides opted for the ‘smash through with all your cavalry strategy’ 😂 The Swedes deployed almost all their cavalry to the right of the big hill (where the two landskap regiments spent the whole game) comprising 3 units of Danes, 3 units of Swedes & 1 unit of Finns covered by a skirmish screen of Transylvanians; on the other side of the hill, ready to cross the stream via the ford were 2 units of German cavalry and a Scots brigade on the other hill. The Ottomans deployed their 6 units of Feudal Sipahi and 2 units of Sipahi of the Porte in the centre, just short of the stream, screened by 3 units of Azabs, the pontoon bridge on the left was held by the Voyniks and the right by 2 units of Tartars.
In the initial stages it was all about the skirmishers; the Transylvanians got the worst of the shooting from the Azabs who had waded across the stream and retired hurt, the Tartars got tied up with the Germans in a back and forth which eventually saw the Germans retiring having been unable to get up close enough to fully utilise the caracole.
Out on the Swedish right the Finns avoided what would later become death central further over and in a brief, but too late, affair drove the Voyniks back across the bridge in rout – this was the single success the Swedes enjoyed.
In the centre the Sipahi’s took longer to get over the stream than their general would have liked but the Swedes & Danes were held up by the over enthusiastic Swedes pushing through the Danes and disordering everyone and then realising that being disordered as the arrows started to fly in wasn’t such a good idea!
The early Swedish attacks went well, sending the Azabs scuttling back across the stream but by then the Sipahi’s had dried themselves off from the crossing and, after a volley of arrows, charged in and the rot started 😓
The repulse of the initial attack wasn’t the end of the world for the Swedes and the units that retired would soon rally but in order to keep the Sipahis back the cavalry general committed his Danes to the charge rather than shooting (carbine armed). This just didn’t work out well, a couple of the units refused to charge which meant that their opponents were able to get the jump on them next turn and the one that did charge just got mashed up. Suffice to say the Sipahis “got their dander up” and were all over the Danish cavalry who then retired into the the Swedes who off course couldn’t get organised quickly enough to repulse the following on Ottomans.
Realising all was lost the Swedish commander and his downcast cavalry general conceded. A crushing Ottoman victory.
In other news some more figures were added to the future wars project, cheers Mark.
Extras for the GNW collection were recruited, thank you Neil.
Additions to our Mexican bandits for the western gunfight project, thanks Vlad.
Iraqi command stand stand for the Iran Iran Cold War Commanders project.
More for the modern skirmish collection, wonder if they’ll actually get used? This is such a rabbit hole 😂
Well that’s it for the month, not a bad one, next month is Partizan and we’ll be taking the Successors on tour so if you’re going to be there find us and have a chat 😀
Not such a busy month what with holidays and a show to distract us but we did our best 😀
First up was an Italian Wars game, Venetian v Florence, so lots of crossbows and condottierre 😁
The focal point of the game was the monastery on the hill which the Florentines made a key part of their attack sending 4 units of militia crossbow to scale the walls and occupy it, the Venetians decided to ignore it and advance across the plain towards the waiting Florentine pike.
I’ll admit it was a painfully slow game; both commanders were overly cautious, trying to keep their troops aligned rather than striking out with a select few, a tactic that suited the Florentines and negated the Venetian strength in better cavalry.
Lots of crossbow shooting was the predominate feature of the game which blunted the Venetian piecemeal cavalry attack and made the Florentines almost impossible to dig out of the monastery. When time was called we ruled a narrow Florentine victory, not because they had done anything outstanding but because the Venetians hadn’t done anything at all 🤣
Next up was a clash from our Timurid collection, Muscovite v Golden Horde, lots of cavalry zooming about.
The Muscovites deployed all of their Boyar cavalry (6 units) on the right behind a hill with the intention of sweeping up and over it to turn the Golden Horde left. Their centre was weekly held by Polish spearmen and Prussian allies out on the left covered by a wood.
The Golden Horde deployed their Cuman allies to cover the hill (not realising an avalanche of steel was coming their way!) and deployed their own Mongol troops in the centre (light horse covering the heavy horse), leaving the right devoid of troops, reasoning that the woods would slow down whatever the Muscovites deployed there.
The main part of the battle was the fight for the hill where the Cumans did a fine job of holding up the Boyars with some deadly arrow storms which halted the lead units. This in turn negated the Boyar numerical superiority as they traffic jammed behind the lead units.
Eventually the Boyars were able to drive the Cumans from the field and swing inwards to attack the vulnerable Horde centre – or so they thought……
In the centre the sheer volume of arrows did serious damage to the spearmen and a couple of well timed charges from the heavier Horde cavalry sent them packing after a brief fight. In the time the Cumans had tied up the Boyars the Horde had swept away the Muscovite centre and left.
Undeterred the Boyars swept down the hill seeking glory and exposed flanks but the Horde now committed it’s as yet unbloodied Guard for the decisive encounter.
The Guard were the decisive factor, one charge, one round of melee and their opponents were galloping away pursued by the triumphant Mongols who then ran over another unit and Boyar morale collapsed. The battle was over and the Golden Horde was triumphant.
Next on the agenda was an away day sci fi game with friends in the Coventry & Warwickshire area.
I can’t say I really had any clue what was going on but fun was had.
Back at the ‘eagles nest’ we indulged ourselves with a big SYW game featuring our Prussian and Austrian collection.
In our scenario an advance guard of Prussian Frei Corps and other assorted light troops had seized a crossroads and nearby hill in anticipation of the advance of the main army. The Austrians had been alerted by their scouts and their main army was closing fast, hoping to crush the advance guard early and gain the initiative.
The game became a race against time as both sides tried to push troops piecemeal into the combat zone.
The big moment was the crash of two Austrian cavalry brigades into the lately arriving Prussian ones. The fight went back and forth and by the end of several turns the Austrians were triumphant.
Unfortunately for the Austrians however the Prussian infantry had formed a decent enough line to dissuade any further attacks and as the Austrian infantry had been fairly dilatory elsewhere the day was the Prussians and the road junction was held.
Our final game was a multiplayer FIW game with British regulars and Rogers Rangers trying to get to an abandoned fort before opposing French regulars and allied Hurons.
Entry points were randomly chosen – which rather favoured the British, and off we went for an enjoyable couple of hours of sneaky Hurons, volley firing British and dying Frenchmen.
Clear winners were the Hurons, who occupied the fort with the loss of only one brave although, as the British player pointed out, “what the hell are they going to do with it now they are in it?” 😂😂
March of course is also Hameerhead month and so we ambled along to Newark and met friends we hadn’t seen for a while, caught up with the Twitterati and even spent a bit of money. Some nice games on offer which we just didn’t get round to playing in and an eclectic collection of items available at the table top sale. A good day out and worth the trip.
In other news some more of the 10mm Iran Iraq project got finished, not far off doing an actual game soon I think 😉
Also some pack animals, Danish troops for the GNW collection and Austrian artillery. Slow and steady wins the race 🙄
We’ve also spent some time talking about slimming down the collections to a manageable size. The Prussians that featured in this blog are definitely going so if anyone is interested in a sizeable Prussian army (mainly Front Rank) please get in touch. The rest of the ACW collection is going to go as well plus some of the skirmish themes that just never went anywhere. Maybe I’ll do a separate blog post prior to banging stuff on eBay.
Anyway, that’s it for this month, see you next month 😃
Our first game of February was our first run through of the Battle of Paraetacene, originally slated for a visit by our good friend Gareth Lane but unforeseen circumstances prevented that so Dave and I hacked on anyway.
Dave took on the role of Antigonus and I shouldered the mantle of Eumenes.
Contrary to history, the Antigonids did well on both cavalry flanks, driving back the Eumenid forces and killing Peucestas on the Eumenid right.
In the centre however the Eumenids repeated history and drove in the Antigonid centre despite being numerically inferior. Three Antigonid foot units routed and Asander was killed in the fighting, the rest of the foot failed their morale and grudgingly ceded the field.
As a run out for Partizan in May it was a worthwhile exercise and gave us a couple pointers on massaging the deployment. Confidence is high for Partizan 😀
Next up was a WWII Eastern Front game; Partisans v Germans. A simple game featuring 2 squads of Partisans attacking an occupied village receiving supplies.
The game was fast and furious; so fast we had to add an extra Partisan squad after one was effectively wiped out 😏
End result was, the supply column was shot up as it tried to escape and the command bunker was overrun. A good morning of fun and fury 😄
Our next game was late war WWII Eastern Front with Sgt Steiner and his squad running short of fuel and needing to leg it for the last bridge into Germany.
In hot pursuit was a Soviet regular squad and a Radachevski squad whose entry points were randomly generated.
In a somewhat one sided game the Soviets were victorious and none of the Germans returned to the homeland.
Next up was a rerun of the ‘last bridge’ scenario this time with more players and revised forces. This time we had 2 under strength German squads and the pursuers were all motorised regular Soviet infantry – 2 squads and an HQ section. The randomising for the Soviets was more detailed this time featuring, time of arrival, place of arrival and method of arrival. The German players were in the same start point and had the same route home but unbeknown to them there was MMG & Mortar support on the far bank of the river that would be triggered once they had passed a certain point on the board.
This was a much better matched game and gave us a tense running firefight game with a nail biting finish.
The support fire did the trick and 3 Germans made it across the bridge, the rest were lost to the earth of Mother Russia.
Next was the refight of Paraetacene with Gareth which has been described in the previous blog post.
Our final game of the month was an away game set in WWI East Africa using The Men Who Would Be King rules.
We had a laugh and moved the figures over some very pretty terrain but I can’t say the rules did it for me but hey, we had a social.
On the getting stuff done front I managed to complete an Iranian tank battalion for Cold War Commander in 10mm – all a bit new to me but quite pleased 😊
A trio of messengers for the Successors project.
Iranian Scorpion recon tanks ready to roll.
Another month done. Thank you for reading and see you next time.
So, the excesses of Christmas and New Year are long gone, although strangely the expanded waistline isn’t🙄, and we’re slowly back to gaming.
Our first game was actually an ‘away game’ with ‘The Regulars’ an ad hoc group of Warwickshire gamers meeting kind of regularly playing all sorts of games. On this occasion it was south of the border 1913 and the Mexican revolution where 4 separate factions vied to complete their objectives.
High point of the game was the Federales firing squad that missed the prisoner and then proceeded to chase him Keystone Cops style across the board until he ran into the arms of a revolutionary gang who exchanged a few shots and then exited the table.
Equally funny (or frustrating, depending on who you were) was the gang of gringo gunslingers hired by the government forces who did absolutely nothing to help the government. Oh well 😕 Lots of laugh were had so a good start to the year.
Back at base we had a short Successors game to try a couple of rules mods which worked quite well so they’ll be incorporated into the set.
Next, the gang was back together after a very long absence and we celebrated with a French Wars of Religion game.
In this clash the Huguenots were largely cavalry based plus a couple of Legion shot units facing a Catholic army of gendarmes backed by more serious foot, namely Swiss and Spanish.
The Catholics decided to gamble all on their gendarmes sweeping away the more numerous Huguenot gentry in a series of charges and it nearly worked 😮. However in a game of rolling cavalry melee’s which saw all 3 Catholic cavalry colonels killed numbers told and the gendarmes were shattered.
With their cavalry gone the Spanish and Swiss departed unharmed and the Huguenots wisely watched them go. An exciting game from a period that hasn’t seen the table for a while and the rules held up which was nice.
Next was another group game, this time our beloved Arthurian, featuring a Pict invasion of Powys & Gwynned.
The Picts deployed their infantry in the centre and left of the largely open field but placed their cavalry beyond a river on the right hoping to use this to shield them as they attempted a long flanking move – it nearly worked!
As always the nice neat battle lines soon became disjointed on both sides and bodies fell into melee piecemeal with the Romano Britons generally getting the better of it.
The Pictish cavalry attempt at turning the flank was stymied by a Powys division which managed to defend the banks in what turned into a very bloody affair.
Ultimately the loss of a sub leader undermined the Pictish assault and they returned north with nothing to show for their efforts.
Last game of the month was ourselves hosting a ‘Regulars’ meeting and we chose to get out the Syrian cityscape for a multi player game.
Our scenario was two Spetsnaz detachments heading out in BTR60’s to rescue a downed Hind crew stuck in the militia end of the city. The militia players had a number of entry points they could choose and the entry point for the BTR’s was randomly diced for.
As is always the case in these multi player games nothing quite went to plan 🤨
The militia plan was for two groups to advance toward the crash site, one on the road with a truck mounted ZSU for support and the other through the rubble to overlook the crash site. The third group was to ambush the BTR’s near their entry point as they came up the road. The Spetsnaz only had one plan, get up the road, get the crew, get out, shoot anything that gets in the way.
The ambush part of the militia plan failed almost immediately. The RPG shot missed and exploded in the street alerting everyone to trouble and the BTR’s kept going. Rather than then stalk the BTR’s by using the buildings as cover the militia player decided to take on the army check point (which was only there for scenic affect) and by the end of the game had lost all of his squad. Strangely this was the same player who screwed up the Mexican game with his non participating gunmen 🤣
The other two militia fared better to start with. The ZSU brewed up one BTR but was itself taken out by an RPG. A brutal gunfight in the street and some desperate hand to hand fighting finished off one militia squad leaving the third to attempt to stop the rescue but superior fire power suppressed them and the rescue was complete.
It was a tough fight but enjoyable for all and great to get the buildings out.
On the project front I managed to get back into the 10mm Iran Iraq painting and some Iranian Chieftains are virtually done. A lot of time has been taken with amending the Successors rules and I’m hoping for that to be completed by the end of February.
Not a bad month, seven games and a visit to Warfare at the new venue in Farnborough.
The new venue for Farnborough was very nice, two rooms, a big one and a very big one; light, airy, catering where you didn’t have to queue forever, plenty of trade and some nice demo games. It’s a bit of a drag coming down from Coventry and I’m not sure I’d do it every year but on this occasion my good friend Mark at M&C Painting was there with the last of the Successors so well worth the trip.
Our first game of the month was a western gunfight set in the fictitious Dardenell County where a pair of Texas Rangers came looking for the Bald Eagle gang and found trouble! A fun little two hander that played out well.
Next up was another gunfight game, this time a multi player game, being a take on the film ‘3:10 to Yuma’ but this time the law were escorting the prisoner off the train and down the main street to the County lock up pending trial. Much miniatures blood was spilt on the streets of Mal Paso as the gang freed the leader and several follow on games were created.
Next up was a big game Cossack v Muscovite encounter which lasted over two sessions. In a game where Tartar allies raced around the table wearing down their slower opponents and the Streltsy performed badly we eventually ended up with each side having a collapsed wing and everyone else in no shape to press for victory. A draw!
Next up was an ‘away day’ WWII game featuring retreating Germans and pursuing Soviets for which I lost most of the photo’s 😪 Suffice to say that only a few Germans managed to avoid their pursuers but we did have the ‘fun’ of the NKVD squad opening fire on troops they deemed not to be vigorous enough in their pursuit of the fascists.
Next was a cartel game where a DEA/Federales task force sprung a trap on two sicario gangs exchanging gold for drugs at an abandoned airfield.
This was probably our best game of the month; the scenario flowed well, players were on good form and the rules covered everything we needed to.
When the game wrapped we had most of the Federales dead or gravely wounded and not a scratch on the DEA agents 🤔, a significant number of dead sicarios and a haul of cocaine but both leaders fled the scene along with the gold.
Our final game was an Indochina encounter with the Viet Minh attempting to ambush a convoy and take out two Foreign Legion camps. It wasn’t our best game and we might give it another run in December but the column just about got through, losing only one vehicle and a few troops, and one camp was hanging on by a thread.
So, another month gone and Christmas is getting closer! Enjoy your gaming however you do it.
The month started off with our bi annual trip to Newark for Partizan (The Other Partizan as it’s called) where we put on our Battle of the Scheldt WWII skirmish game, so not quite the battle, more of an action within it 😄
We bought a new mat from Tiny Wargames custom made to depict the sea of the Scheldt estuary, the beach in front of the town of Flushing and a standard green area for where the actual town would be depicted – looked good.
The game played well, the initial commando landings crept cautiously into the town, encountering some machine gun fire from the bunkers on the hill but little troop resistance as the Kriegsmarine squads (specially painted by Dave for the game) were up on the high ground facing out to sea and organising them for a counter attack proved quite the task for the German player 🙄
The arrival of the allied 2nd wave, comprising the Kings Own Scottish Borderers and the armour, gave the sole ‘big gun’ in the sector some juicy targets for the German player and in some unprecedented die rolling managed to sink two of the landing craft! While being some amazing shooting it was also quite the comedy moment because the armour that sank to the bottom had just been finished by Dave and so never actually got their maiden outing 🤣😂
As the battle hotted up German reinforcements started to arrive and the fighting became a bit more intense with the commando’s taking some significant losses.
Ultimately the Allies were unable to gain significant ground and by the days end we could confidently say the Germans were still comfortably holding on.
Regarding the show itself, it seemed to be busy until well into the afternoon so from a numbers point of view the organisers should have been pleased. In terms of games some of these were quite magnificent and were a credit to those that put them on and added further to the shows reputation for top quality games. Trade wise it seemed to be the usual faces and business seemed to be steady but our perspective on all these aspects is limited to a quick run round the show by each of us taking time out from the game.
Back at the ‘Eagles Nest’ we managed to get a number of games in through the week. First up was a return to our cartel layout which hasn’t seen the light of day since pre Covid.
A simple game of a cartel gang ambushing a bullion truck on the way to the bank provided some deadly action and several comedy moments.
In the inevitable shootouts the body armour of the cops kept them in the game longer than the sicarios and the final body count left more dead sicarios than federales.
The comedy moments were provided by; two police cars running into each other, a police attack dog getting distracted by a stray cat and running off table, a sicario shooting out a plate glass window and then realising he was an open target and the female sicario sniper getting frustrated by a fellow sicario blocking her line of sight so started a brawl on a drive thru roof 😂
Next up was an Arthurian era game; Saxon siege of a section of dike disturbed by Romano Britain relief force. We had a number of player available and so were able to have 3 Saxon commands and 4 Romano British.
The game was quite the slog – as it should be, and saw some vicious action which pleased us all.
The major event of the game was the death of three commanders in one turn – two were fighting each other with their bodyguards. Not surprisingly this rather tipped the game and the Saxon king fell back with his command begrudgingly leaving the bodies of his two sub commanders with their bodyguards.
Our final game of the month in fact turned into two games!
We planned a large GNW game which we judged would last over a couple of evenings but the first game was a disaster for the Russians with the Swedes forcing a stream crossing and routing the opposing cavalry quicker than we expected which led to a collapse of Russian army morale.
So the table was re-laid and the Russians defended a large village with some linking defence works.
In this fight the Russians kept one brigade of cavalry as a reserve while the other held the right flank. All the infantry were distributed amongst the buildings and defences.
The Swedes deployed all their cavalry on one flank and all their infantry on the other, facing the entrenched Russians.
This was a far more even battle. The Swedes certainly saw off the Russian cavalry on the one wing but their own significant losses and fire from artillery and infantry who had turned to face on that flank plus the arrival of the Russian reserve cavalry saw both the Swedish brigades head for home.
The infantry fight was brutal. The Swedes took losses from the artillery and long range musketry to which they couldn’t give an effective response, however once they were up close they charged into melee and the Russians reeled.
Ultimately, the left hand Russian brigade routed from it’s entrenchments leaving the Swedes exhausted at the defence works, the other brigade, however, held on and actually caused the Swedes to rout, so honours even.
The difference of course was that the Swedes had Charles XII around to rally them, the Russians had no significant senior general who would have a similar effect. As we rolled the last dice we figured the Russians would withdraw covered by their intact cavalry and the Swedes would hold the ground they had gained.
On the getting stuff done front, another unit of Huguenot cuirassiers were completed which should be the last one for the collection 🤔
Also some additions to the western gunfight collection were finished, ready for our first game in November.
So, another month draws to a close and the days get darker and colder, hopefully we can keep the lights on for more games next month 😁 Keep well everybody.
Wow, September has been and gone! Holidays and building work reduced our meeting schedule so only three games this month and precious little done on the painting/modelling front.
The month kicked off with a Carlist Wars game at the Bunker and for the first time in 3 years we had everyone present 😁
The game was fictional and involved a surprise attack by the Carlists on the Liberals camp unaware that more Liberal troops were on their way.
The encamped troops were the ‘good’ troops being the Foreign Legion and the British Legion. Light companies were deployed forward of the position and visibility was restricted in the opening moves to simulate the dawn breaking. Once the first shots were fired (basically the Carlists running into the light troops) each battalion would dice for how many turns until it marched out from the camps. The Liberal reinforcements were pre programmed to arrive on the road emerging from the woods on the right flank but nobody knew when.
The Carlists duly bumped into the lights and the game was on! The lights fell back and the Carlists pushed on as quick as they could but some good dice rolls saw the Government troops spilling out of their tents and forming up on the left flank and behind the blockhouse.
In short, the Carlist attack on their right faltered in the face of the speedy deployment and eventually ground to a halt facing the tents. In the centre the Carlists did much better, sweeping away the opposition, isolating the blockhouse (which did prove to be a nuisance) and cutting the road. The left made hard work of the terrain and light opposition which meant it wasn’t in quite the best position when the reinforcements arrived.
When the reinforcements arrived (which was essentially the main army) the game took on a new dimension as they struggled to get off the road as it exited the woods quick enough to be in the right shape to fight. Both sides used spoiler cavalry attacks to prevent troops deploying and the cavalry even got to fight each other! The really bloody fighting was when the attack columns of both sides got stuck in around the ever expanding Government bridgehead.
Ultimately the Government were able to push out from the woods, despite some serious losses – the Guards cavalry regiments were practically destroyed and move across the back of their lines.
By late afternoon (our time) we decided to call it through sheer exhaustion 🤣 and declared a Government victory – this was not without some debate, the Carlists rightly claimed they had split the Government forces in half by occupying the centre but as the game organiser pointed out the objective was to overrun the camps before the reinforcements properly deployed and, because of the failure on the right, they hadn’t, so victory to the Government.
Our next game was another from the Successor project, this time the Imperial army of Perdiccas (so all the good stuff 😀) against one of the western satraps, Attalus.
The Imperials deployed four blocks of pike split evenly by an elephant centre with each pair combining a veteran block with a levy block; the left of the line was anchored on the Hypaspists and the right wing comprised all the companion cavalry.
The Satrapal forces were more numerous so overlapped their opponents but were not of the same class; they deployed with their cavalry on the right with a very clear plan of riding round the slow enemy infantry and striking the rear and/or looting the camp while the infantry, comprising two pike blocks and two hoplite blocks alternating with units of peltasts screened by psiloi, advanced to pin the opposition.
Once the armies were deployed Perdiccas realised the enemy plan and set about sending his elite cavalry galloping across the rear lines in a race against time 🙄. Other than that both sides commenced their advance.
The early action all took place on the Satrapal right where their cunning plan came unstuck because the Hypaspists got out in front of the pikes and basically got in the way 😏. A couple of javelin volleys pinned the lead cavalry which road blocked the others and once that was sorted out the only way forward was through the Hypapists and that didn’t work out so well 😢.
Ultimately the action resolved itself with the Satrapal cavalry either destroyed or fleeing and Attalus dying leading his companions in an all or nothing charge against the lately arriving Imperial companions.
On the other flank of the Satrapal army events were more in their favour, the clash of pikes saw one of the Imperial levied pikes flee the field with their opponent in pursuit and while the Imperial veteran pikes crushed a peltast unit they soon found themselves being circled by the hoplites and remaining pike.
The centre was a bit of a non event with the other two Imperial pike units being harassed by Satrap light cavalry for most of the game and the elephants facing off to the peltasts. Ultimately the light horse retired, which did leave the Satrap camp vulnerable but at least the peltasts killed an elephant.
The death of Attalus rather sealed it for the Satrap forces and so we called it.
Our final game was a sweeping cavalry encounter featuring the C14th forces of Tamerlane and Tokhtamysh an encounter facilitated by the slow repurposing of some really old figures from our Mongol, Russian and Mamluk armies of yesteryear and slogging away at a stupid metal mountain that accumulated when we had more money than sense.
The field was mainly open with 2 low hills with a wooded valley between on one flank and a lone hill skirted by trees on the other. Both commanders occupied the hills in their deployment area with their guards. The numerically inferior but qualitifly superior Timurids deployed their allied White Sheep Turks on the right with orders to infiltrate through the wooded valley, unfortunately the Horde allied Cumans had the same order and so the battle for these commands was a disorganised exchange of arrows that finally saw the Cumans retreat.
The centre of the Timurid line was 2 commands of heavy cavalry screened by lights and supported by elephants, the left was a similarly formed command behind the stream. The Horde had 4 commands in the centre, one was purely skirmish horse , one was allied Russian cavalry and two were Mongol heavy cavalry – everyone except the Russians were bow armed and the Timurids were generally better armoured than the Horde.
Tamerlane realised as soon as deployment was complete that his centre was in danger of being overwhelmed so he committed the Guard early and that diverted the Russian Boyars in his direction. The bow fire dissuaded the lead Boyar unit and then the hand to hand favoured the Guard – better armoured and better morale, end result was the termination of the Russian command (with extreme prejudice 😂)
The more even centre fight then saw both sides shooting bows for all they were worth and then exchanging blows. The Horde did manage a break through and one unit galloped off in pursuit of it’s opponent but overall the fight favoured the Timurids and the arrival of the force from over the stream tipped the balance; victory to the Timurids.
In terms of stuff done, one of the guys painted up some striking pieces for the Successors project with a kind of Ptolemaic/Egyptian Pharaoh vibe. Could also be used in a fantasy setting?
Also another Italian Wars condottierre unit got done along with a couple of command stands, all from existing stuff that just hadn’t been got round to.
A few more random desert terrain clutter items got completed, suitable for any of our middle east modern skirmishes, or the Foreign Legion, desert WWII or even the Successors.
Well another month over and, given the amount of time we have, fairly lean pickings in terms of games done. We had a chat about it and can’t really put our finger on the why; age, lack of enthusiasm, other stuff getting in the way, too many periods; it could be any, all or none of these, certainly we have collections that are perhaps seeing the light of day once a year – the Timurids, the GNW, Dark Age, Sikh Wars, and some that haven’t been out all year – most of the modern skirmish, the ACW, the Byzantines, 3 Musketeers. Slimming down the collections has started but then the Successors is brand new so….
Anyway, that’s it for the month. Next month is Partizan so maybe we’ll see folks there.
The summer is almost over and we’ve played in some serious heat! Only managed to get 3 games in but did manage 2 ‘away games’ so that was a plus.
First away game was with some of the local Coventry and Warwickshire crowd – Bob, Pete, JC & James in a return to Vietnam after the last awful outing with BOHICA. This time Pete put together a two pager sampling from some 80’s/90’s sets from when we all played in 20mm plus some ideas of his own.
Basic scenario was a US patrol of several fire teams charged with occupying a local village and conducting hearts & minds to woo the locals away from the VC known to be in the area. The VC were aware of the approach of the ‘imperialists’ but reduced in numbers so would have to be sneaky – players had a series of ‘ambush points’ they could appear at during the game, take a shot and disappear, if the US moved over an ambush point it was lost and VC movement therefore reduced. Movement was I Go You Go based on initiative and restricted to one fire team per ‘go’.
It didn’t take long for the US jungle walk to be interrupted when up popped a fire team with an RPG, the round exploded in front of the lead US team killing one GI and sending the officer scampering back 🤣
The US split its forces, one group stayed the course on the road and the other split left into the jungle where a booby trap was triggered resulting in a man down who now needed medivac – one fire team spent the rest of the game trying to get the man back to the start line where the helicopter landing zone was deemed to be.
The VC continued to pop up and at one point flanked the US – a neat little special rule from Pete was that local villagers could pop up (but look like VC) who would fire ineffectually but would cause the US to chase shadows.
Ultimately the US withdrew with 3 KIA and 1 seriously wounded, so much for hearts and minds 😂🤣
Next away game was in darkest Wales and a return trip to Lord Raglan (aka Gareth Lane) in a long delayed return trip, this time we were playing Roman Civil War – Septimus Severus v Pescennius Niger using the Soldiers of Rome rules which are a spin off of Soldiers of God rules I believe.
As the visitor I was offered choice and I chose Niger, mainly because of the camelry and cataphracts. The western army of Severus was almost all infantry; legionaries, auxiliary and praetorians with a smattering of cavalry and the eastern army of Niger was heavy in cavalry – almost one entire wing, plus legionaries and auxiliaries. Both sides were divided into 3 command each (as per the rules); the Severan right was legions, auxilia and a lone unit of cavalry, the centre was the praetorians and the left legions and auxilia, Niger forces had the cavalry command on the right, the centre legions and auxilia and the left legions and auxilia plus cavalry. The rules are card driven (exclusive to the game) and similar to Dead Mans Hand in that you have permanent cards (in this case 3 – 1 for each command) and then 4 dealt cards each that are used alternately based on who has initiative; the cards allow you to do one specific thing, move, charge, melee, shoot, but also have a special event that you may use instead, shooting and melee is resolved using D6 and you can save hits.
The rules limit you as to what kind of battle plan you choose which in itself influences your permanent cards; I chose to hold my centre and attack with the wings, Gareth chose all out attack. This sounds fine but of course to fulfil the plan you need a run of cards and that is a frustration 🙄 It certainly took me a few moves to get into the rhythm of using the cards effectively and managed to throw away 2 units of camelry in the process 🤣 which made me think ‘this is all going to be over by lunch time!’
In short; after my disaster with the camels the right wing redeemed itself (led by the cataphracts) and ultimately broke their opponents and headed for the enemy camp which they duly looted, the left duked it out inconsequentially but it was in the centre where victory was clinched because as Severus looked on as his praetorians slowly pushed my legions back an ignored auxilary archer unit emerged from broken ground and killed the emperor in a volley of arrows! My thanks to Gareth for gentlemanly pointing out I could do this, I had just assumed you could only shoot units 😁.
I’ll admit I’m not a fan of card driven games but we had an exciting and fun game which lasted a lot longer than I thought it would. The reliance on the cards for what you can do did give some odd results, so units in melee didn’t actually fight because they didn’t have a melee card and this did mean melees dragged on longer than they should have and the stop start nature of the moving didn’t seem that realistic to me given the machine like nature of the Roman army. That said, I’d play again, just because something isn’t my thing doesn’t mean I wont play if invited to do so.
Back to our own games and the first of the month was a post Normandy action with Canadians advancing on German town held by Panzer Grenadiers and Volkstrum. Basic scenario had a full platoon of Canadians in Kangaroos supported by a troop of Shermans advancing on the allegedly undefended town, Germans have a weak Volkstrum platoon and a reinforced Panzer Grenadier squad plus a dug in Pak 40 and a Puma.
The Canadians advanced on a broad front (too broad actually), two sections advancinging right, the Shermans and platoon HQ taking up position on the central high ground and a lone section advancing on the far left.
After a few quiet turns the action got underway with the Shermans and the deployed mortar shelling targets as the HQ spotted them. The two sections on the right got into extended fire fights on the outskirts of the town with Volkstrum and Hitler Youth who they quickly eliminated although not before the Pak 40 took out one Kangaroo.
Having revealed itself the Pak 40 was picked out by the Shermans and silenced. The fighting continued into the town with the Panzer Grenadiers doing better but numbers told and they were eliminated along with their transport and the Puma.
Over on the left the lone section struggled to cross open ground and got itself shot up pretty badly but supporting fire from the Shermans saved them especially when it acidentally took out the Volkstrum HQ squad in a random shot on a building.
With the loss of all their heavy weapons and the panzer grenadiers the remaining Volkstrum fled the town and the Canadians took control. A good game, plenty of excitement.
Next up was a large scale eastern renaissance, Poles & Imperialist v Swedes.
Both sides deployed with a strong cavalry wing which in this case ended up facing each other, a weak centre and then a strong infantry wing battling to control a large hill.
On the cavalry wing it was a bloodbath. First of all the Finnish cavalry caused some shock losses on the Poles but strong counter attacks saw them off and momentum saw the Poles smashing into the Swedes & Danes in what became a long rolling cavalry action over several moves. Ultimately the Poles prevailed and 5 regiments of enemy horse were either destroyed or fled.
The battle for the hill was a see saw affair with 10 regiments of foot ultimately battling out what became a stalemate with nothing to show but some very bloodied regiments.
We called time when the victorious hussars started to swing around the rear of the swedes, it was a hard fought game.
Final game of the month was a Sikh Wars game. As usual the Sikhs were defending – high ground on their left and centre with regulars (foot & guns) plus a brigade of cavalry, village on the right with irregulars.
The British/EIC deployed an infantry brigade to march through a village on their left and attack the Sikh village supported by a horse brigade, the centre was two brigades of foot and the right two brigades of horse.
On the British right the horse were held back while the guns pounded the noble cavalry forcing them off the hill enabling the British horse to sweep up and dispatch the remaining horse and turn inward on the guns.
In the centre the British infantry slogged forward under accurate fire from the Sikh guns taking serious casualties before the rear regiments were able to get close enough to volley fire the defenders out of their position.
On the British left the cavalry and infantry acted in concert and forced the Sikhs from the village and then turned in on the other flank of the hill. Sikh regulars wisely retired.
And that was August. Not much done on the painting/modelling front just bits and pieces finished off. Holiday breaks coming up so September might be a bit thin but we’ll see.
A bit of a crap month for gaming, only two games done, one was the Bicocca re-fight and the other a pick up western gunfight. The reason? Well reasons really, car crash, relative hospitalised, covid, you name it Dave experienced it!
I’ve already posted about Bicocca so our only other game was a pick up game set in our fictional western gunfight county. In this adventure one set of cowhands saw beef bearing their brand in the stockyards that had been rebranded and went seeking the culprits.
It was a pretty simple set up, 3 cowhands per side, average stats to start then random amendment by die rolling. The Van Hee boys started at the stockyards and the Burton boys were just coming out of the blacksmiths.
Although it should have been a simple shoot out at the stockyards Dave made it all complicated by going commando (no, not that commando!) and sneaking off round buildings in what became a bad interpretation of Open Range.
In what became ‘here we go round the mulberry bush’ the Van Hee trio were trailing around asking civilians where the other guys had gone. Eventually the Van Hee’s cornered ‘Two Gun’ Brookes at the stockyards and literally filled him with lead while the other two Burton hands fled across the street.
Out back of the Telegraph Office scores were settled with the Burton boys firing from the cover of an abandoned shack and a half built building; in the shoot out at the building Adolphous ‘the Gent’ Rogers was laid low with a serious wound but his assailant was then put down by Van Hee firing as he came out of the back door of the Telegraph Office, out back of the Office Billy Blue went down with a shotgun blast in the leg but when ‘Shotgun Bob’ walked over to finish him off with the other barrel at close range Billy recovered enough to put a bullet in Bob’s head – shouldn’t have gloated Bob!
In other news, three pike blocks and the Hypaspists were based up for the Successors project which has made a big difference; a couple more pike units to go and the commanders and this project will be done.
On the 10mm front got some APC’s done for the Iran Iraq project, might do a separate blog post on this.
Also went along to the Devizes show, Attack. This is one of those shows that has been around forever but I’ve never been, mainly because it’s a bit of a hack from Coventry. However, the stars aligned and I went down for the Sunday and it was a fine day out, very much in a late 70’s style (which is no bad thing) and if I hadn’t had other reasons to be there it might have been a bit ordinary but I did some shopping, did some chatting and came away pretty pleased with the day. Well done the organisers.