Sunday, 17 November 2019

The Sun King Attacks

Also published on the NDC handbook blog

In this exciting issue:

The Sun King has been hired by the Proud Pound Pups gang to take out an informant. The only problem for the villain is that he has the time and place of where the informant will be, but the chapter of the PPP he is liaising with have been taken out by Captain Kiwi and Samurai Mouse. As a result, the Sun King has no idea who his target is. So in his typically methodical way, he and his court are to kill everybody in the area!
Captain Kiwi and Samurai Mouse, getting this info from their recent raid, are heading for the scene!

The intersection where the informant will be.

The Sun King and his Courtiers stride down the middle of the street, guns ready!

Captain Kiwi and Samurai Mouse appear from the other en of the street.

Before killing the civilians, the Courtiers must move into base to base contact and say 'This is from the PPP, nark!'. The first civilian goes down.

On the other side o the street another one bites the dust!

And so does the first victim's lovely companion! 'Captain Kiwi - Help!'

Charging across the street, CK clobbers a Courtier and sends him reeling backwards.

The SUn King himself comes forward to blast Captain Kiwi with his Solar gauntlets!

CK avoids the beams damage and counter -charges, knocking the Sun King back!

With 3 on 1 Captain Kiwi is outnumbered, but shrugs off a few bullets and knocks out a Courtier.

Followed by a second devastating attack on the Sun King himself! The arch-villain is down!

Meanwhile, Samurai Mouse is also in the action. He fronts up to a Courtier in the middle of the intersection. In the background another civilian is shot down...

CK deals with the last Courtier in his vicinity, then rushes to the aid of a civilian.

This time, the civvie had been tustling with the Courtier, an it was easy for Captain Kiwi to take the crim down!

Samurai Mouse deals to the Courtier

The charges through and takes down the last of the Sun King's retinue
At the end of the game I rolled for the Sun King, who managed to revive and escape while his opponents were otherwise distracted. There were 10 civilians on the board at the start of the game, and four had been killed. I rolled a D10. On a 1-4 the informant was one of the victims. On a 5+ they had survived. I rolled a 1. The informant had been the first guy assassinated. So victory in this game went to the baddies, despite all of them having their butts handed to them.

Captain Kiwi with his nanite regeneration bots gets 3 red dice in defence, so every time he was hit he shrugged it off. It makes him damn hard to take down. He also got a lot of reactivation face cards, which enabled him to be suitably heroic. He got some lucky breaks, but I need to run him in another game to work out if he is just too resilient. All of the Courtiers are Level 2 characters in Clobberin' Time. I find that henchmen need this or they last about 10 seconds in the game.

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Hoogh's Farm

In memory of the late Stuart Asquith I decided to bring out the toy soldiers for a replay of the 'Hook's Farm' scenario from HG Wells' book Little Wars. This was a scenario that Stuart apparently played many times, and in accordance with his love of simple rules and 54mm glossy toys, I set it up for a Great War game.
The assault on Hoogh's Farm.
Unfortunately I only have two units a side painted, so there is one unpainted British unit in this game. I also played with the set-up a little. A German HMG was hunkered down in Hoogh's Farm, while to the east a small force of 5 Germans held Faerphlaae Church. Two German units of 8 figures each were placed on the table edge to help counterattack against the British assault.
The British force consisted of 3 units, each of 10 infantry.
The battlefield. Hoogh's farm to the left, Faerphlaae Church to the right. Notice I'm using what kid's blocks I could find for the ruined buildings.
Each turn a British shell would fall on a unit to represent creeping barrage.

Faerphlaae Church seen from the British trencehs.
The German garrison awaits the attack.

The British started by getting out of their trenches and advancing. Immediately they came under fire from the garrisons in the buildings.
The British on the left leave their trenches.
The maxim gun opens up
Casualties are suffered - but morale stays strong!
The exact same story on the right.
The Germans had begun to move up for the counterattack as well.
Using move and fire, the Tommies advance. Luckily the German counterattack is pinned by the barrage.
Around Hoogh's Farm the Germans are moving up
Surging forward the British infantry take a toll of the Germans, but they are unable to assault the Church.
The German HMG is pinned and the middle unit starts hitting the counterattacking German infantry in the flank.
Carnage around the Church - The German counterattackers are pinned, but the Brits stay strong.
The German HMG is unable to rally and is knocked out in the next turn.
The Faerphlaae Church garrison have defeated the attack, but at huge cost.
Only 3 men are left standing, and they are pinned - unable to move or fire.
Leaving the centre force free to flank the Germans around the farm and wipe them out.
The battle ends with the triumphant occupation of Hoogh's Farm. 
The simple one page of rules I have stood up extremely well - except for one problem. I hadn't thought about how to deal with the HMG. The morale rules as written don't really work, and to have it wiped out by 2 hits would make it of very limited value indeed. So I devised rules for crewed weapons. Not just HMGs but mortas and field guns for when (if) I get them. Essentially no matter how many times an crewed weapon is hit in a turn, it will only ever count one hit and become pinned. All crewed weapons rally on a 3+ on a d6, which means that they are 66% likely to get back to business in the next turn. A second pin means the weapon and the crew are destroyed.

The whole game took an hour. Short, sweet and fun. With more luck the Germans could have done better, but even so they retained one objective while losing the other, so it was a draw. This bodes well for these rules, which, I must say, are extremely simple. I think they capture the flavour of the Great War well though - the high body count would certainly attest to that.

Nate

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

A sad delivery

Normally when a new book arrives in the mail it is a moment of great joy as I open it up, look at the index, and decide which chapter I'll read first (don't ask). But today's delivery was tinged with the sadness that the author passed away yesterday. And not just any author, but a man, along with Charles Grant and Donald Featherstone, I consider to be one of my greatest wargames influences.

Stuart Asquith (photo from Henry Hyde on Facebook)
I first encountered Stuart's writing through Practical Wargamer magazine when I was at University, and it was this magazine, (which I have now collected in its entirety) that is still my go-to for inspiration. I also have his Solo and Siege Wargaming books, along with the scenario book that he wrote with Charles Grant; not to mention the more recent Marlburian Warfare book released by John Curry's History of Wargaming project. These have been read and reread A couple of years ago I was able to send Stuart a message thanking him for the inspiration he had given me via Keith Flint's blog, and was humbled to get a response. I'm glad I got the chance to say thank you - there are some real giants upon whose shoulder's our hobby has been built, and I will miss his ability to inspire me with the written word.

The book that arrived was the latest from the History of Wargaming series, 

I will sit back this evening with a beer and enjoy this one, Stuart. Thank you so much for all you have done.

Nate

Thursday, 31 October 2019

HMGs

A few months ago I started searching for 54mm World War 1 Machine guns for my British and German armies. In fact, it has literally been a year since I stated as much in this blogpost. In all this time, all that I have managed to find has been expensive collectors toys, many of which are out of production. So I bit the bullet and wrote to Irregular Miniatures, asking Ian Kay if he would be prepared to sculpt some HMGs for his 54mm range. He thought it was a good idea, how many did I want? The answer was 4 - 2 of each, which is hardly ground-shaking stuff in terms of an incentive to do some sculpting. I asked around of Facebook but aside from some thumbs up and a couple of comments, no-one seemed prepared to commit to buying any.
I gave it up. I was going to have to buy something incredibly expensive. And then I got an e-mail from Ian saying that he had a window and was I still interested? Was I! Needless to say he has finished the HMG sculpts, they have winged their way halfway around the world and the first two examples have been painted. I sent Ian the pictures for his website as the least that I could do.

So, without much further ado, here they are:
Vickers HMG. The figures have optional heads, so that they can be early or late war.

As a result I may yet get out some green stuff and sculpt a gas mask bag to sit on their chests.

The German Maxim '08. I love the stand on this weapon.

Again, the cuffs suit early war better, so I haven't painted the detail on them.

The HMG next to Armies in Plastic figure. The AIP are a bit bigger, especially in the head

A second picture with the AIP figure brought forward, and the difference still doesn't seem too great at all.
So I am one happy little digger with my new support weapons for the Great War. I've built these guys a sandbagged defence, and I'm just deciding whether to attach them in it permanently, and if not, exactly how I'll go about basing, as they are not fantastically stable by themselves. I'll work on that this weekend.

A big thanks to Ian Kay for doing this, and I've nominated him for best customer service in the Wargames Illustrated awards. Hopefully he gets the votes that he deserves!

Nate

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Some light relief

Just off the painting tray for Craig's Seleucid army - a unit of 18 peltasts.




Next up from the Seleucid list will be the heffalump, which I'm really looking forward to painting.
Also on the painting tray are my 54mm WWI HMGs (up next) and the La Couronne regiment for the War of Spanish Succession. Variety is the spice of life after all!

Nate

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

The Jorger Dragoons

The latest reinforcement for the Grand Alliance in the Peninsular is the Jorger Dragoon Regiment. Originally formed by Count Ludwig Herbeville, the regiment soldiered in Italy until 1708 when it was sent to Catalonia for the Hapsburg cause. It would later go onto become the Kollowrat-Krakowski Dragoons in the Seven Year War and be disbanded in 1802 as the Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld regiment.

Resplendent in the blue coats and yellow facings that they wore when first arriving in the Peninsula

A close up of the colonel and the drummer - being a Dragoon regiment I decided to use one of these guys rather than a bugler.

From the other direction with a Spanish vineyard in the background.
These guys are painted in my new fast painting style. The horses are painted with a base colour and then washed with Army Painter dark tone ink. I did consider a highlight of the original colour, but forgot, and they don't look any worse for it. Certainly a lot faster than my 4 layer technique! And although it doesn't look as good, for gaming miniatures I'm fine with them.
There's some ancient light infantry up next, and then I'll be getting into some French Dragoons to even the sides up a bit.

Nate

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Reinforcements for the Spanish enterprise

Charles Hapsburg and his friends get some extra support this week with an Austrian gun and general recently added to the Confederates.
Uniform details were taken for the watercolours by Rudolf Donath

Gun colours as suggested in Nick Dorrell's 'Marlborough's Other Army'.

Brown coated Austrian Officer based on the famous painting of Prince Eugene by van Schuppen


Hopefully by Sunday they will also have the Jorger Dragoons ready for action.

Nate