Sunday, 29 December 2013


These are John's Christmas present. A little late, but still in 2013!
Sorry for the fuzziness, I was experiencing all sorts of technical issues on a limited amount of time this morning.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

SAGAing away

I realise that the blog has been quite quiet lately, and that is very much a side effect of lots of work, the impending Yule-pocalypse and the resultant decision to spend spare time painting and gaming rather than blogging.
Nevertheless, things have been happening. First up, my Anglo Danes for SAGA are now a complete 6 points. I played a battle against Michael a couple of weekends back and we had a leisurely enjoyable game. He played Welsh and used the Arthurian Romano-Brits as stand-ins.
Nice shot this one. Victory conditions were to get as many units to the other side of the river as possible. Obviously this led to battles on bridges!
'Right lads, if we just stand here, we lose - but if we charge across we will win eternal glory! Oswic - you go first, we'll follow!'
'I hit something! I hit something! Oh, wait, no I didn't.'
'Get off the bridge you twits! I don't want to sit and have arrows shot at me all day!'
'Right behind you, Oswic!'
I won the battle by getting two units across the river - we won't talk about how many imaginary men were killed in the making of this victory. Needless to say my Warlord didn't need to set too many places at the banquetting table that night.

Then we moved on to a game of Lord of the Rings. Adam has collected and painted lots of little men for this, and we finally got some of them on the table for a small scenario. I played Orcs and Adam played Rangers. Basically we just had to kill each other. I devised a cunning battle plan of running into his men with my men and hacking them up. Such subtlety is what makes me a fearsome general...
My Orcs charging onto the table. Everyone is always in such a hurry in Middle Earth - they run everywhere!
Orcs closing in on a Ranger. This was only ever going to end one way.
Oh yeah baby. Ain't no party like an Orc party!
Ummm. Aren't the good guys supposed to win?
The answer is, of course, no. So two games and two victories. Freddy Mercury's lifting vocals soar in the back of mind as my self-esteem takes a welcome boost due to the antics of little lumps of lead and plastic.

So what is coming off the painting table at the moment?
'Let's conquer England and give them words like mutton, beef and rendezvous!'
That's right, I'm in the process of putting together a Norman warband for SAGA. Well my Anglo-Danes have to have someone to fight.
'Bloody Normans!'
'Oi, you! Bugger off back to Normandy!'
'I'm the boss!'
'I hope he doesn't whack me with that bloody stick again.'
'If I get this flag in the right place you won't need to look at his ugly mug anymore.'
The Normans are Conquest Games plastics, and I really enjoyed painting them. They have good detail. I was a bit annoyed at having to cut the bosses off the round shields and glue them to the kites, but it worked OK. I've read the rationalisation for going without the bosses, but I would have liked it if they had come with optional glue-on pieces, because no matter what research has revealed, the fact is that the Bayeux Tapestry has shield bosses and that is the 'classic' Norman look for 1066.
The two foot figures are actually from the Black Tree Designs 2nd Crusade range and I've had them floating around for the last 5 years, though they fit in well nonetheless - but no bosses once again. Never mind, they share their base with their boss (thank you, I'll get my hat).
'Look, I've been pointing in this direction for bloody ages and you still haven't taken the hint!'
I realised that I haven't posted my upgraded Warlord with a standard bearer, so here he is.
My final photo is a Legolas that I've painted up for John as a Chrissie present, as he has been inspired by Adam's collection to go mad and buy a whole pile of second hand LotR figures. I'm also painting up the four hobbits of the fellowship for him at the moment (along with another 2 points of Normans).
'I'm in the Hobbit movies too, you know.'
Have a great Xmas everyone.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Fast Flames Early War Tournament

This event was actually held a fortnight ago, but I've lost my blogging mojo in amongst the amount of work coming my way at the moment.
In a repeat of the tournament set up from February, we had eight 800 point early war armies squaring off against each other in one hour games. No aircraft or heavy artillery or tanks with armour of 6 or above were allowed. Allied players were John (last year's winner) and Jeremy with Brits and Chris and I with French.
My French stalk the streets
Chris' French advancing
Jeremy gets an armoured company
John's infantry supported by Matildas - wait - what was their armour again?
Axis players were Terry, Paul and Shane (who didn't turn up but was ably replaced in one game by John's wife Rose) with Germans and Michael drew the short straw with Italians.
Paul's infantry advancing
Terry's motorbikes led by a man on a horse
German armoured army of Shane

The deadly Italians

Three rounds were fought, with three objectives placed across the centre line of the table. Each objective was worth 3 victory points and each destroyed enemy platoon was worth one victory point.

The end result was a narrow Axis win, and the top two armies were Michael's Italians and my French on 21 points each (this despite being beaten in my first game by Rose who was playing her first game - ever!!!).
So the decision was that Michael should receive the newly made trophy as he was on the winning side. It was duly presented by the previous champion, John, in an elaborate ceremony.
John looks much happier giving it away than Michael looks to be receiving it.
 It was a lot of fun, and I think we'll look at it as a biannual fixture.


Monday, 14 October 2013

Dystopian Wars terrain

A while back I made an island for my Dystopian Wars Britannians to sail around. It isn't anything spectacular, but I took some photos the other day when I was preparing the blog post about the Dark Ages buildings.
Cardigan Island, Britannian outpost in the war against the dastardly Prussians and French
A Closer view from a different angle.
The Britannians and Prussians are all painted and ready to go, but John and I still haven't played a game yet, as we are too busy learning SAGA and Bolt Action while continuing to play Flames of War every other games night. We definitely need more gaming time.


Friday, 11 October 2013

Something worth fighting for

I've been plodding away at a bit of terrain recently, trying to create a small farmstead as a location for my SAGA games. I finally finished it off today.
Defenders of England prepared to protect their homes.
The defence includes those in charge of the pig sty
'No one takes my pigs alive!'
Another shot to show off the buildings and get a sense of scale.
The roof lifts off on the two houses enabling troops to be placed inside
The basic house was constructed from foamcore. This was glued to mounting board and then balsa and matchsticks were used for beams. Doors were made from balsa scored with a pencil. The roof was made from thin card glued to foamcore triangles, and then it has teddy bear fur stuck to it. The teddy bear fur was sprayed with watered down PVA (white) glue and combed with an unused comb. Once all dry the whole lot was undercoated in gesso and then painted. Drybrushed white for the daub walls while the wooden beams were painted in burnt umber and then drybrushed with a medium grey. The roof was drybrushed with raw sienna then drybrushed again with a mixed raw sienna/white highlight. And voila, my SAGA terrain is complete. I just need some pigs for the pigsty...


Monday, 7 October 2013

First game of Bolt Action

On Friday night we all met up at John's place for a couple of games. This was to be an all World War II affair, with one table running Germans vs US Flames of War, and the other table trying out the Bolt Action rules. I was nominally playing Germans with Paul in the Bolt Action game, but as I was volunteering to be the one reading the rulebook I virtually ended up being an umpire. Michael and John took control of the British airborne opposite us. Chris and his son Connor commanded the yanks against Shane and Jeremy with the Germans on the other table.

Bolt Action
The Germans begin their initial advance
British 6 pounder looks for targets
German mortar prepares to deal with the enemy
The British arrive in the yards of the buildings only to find them occupied by a German flamethrower team!
They do however manage to occupy the house next door 
On the British left flank things are not going so well.
The Germans rush out to try to assault the Brits in the building across the road. This is the last we will see of this section...
The German left flank is well supported by a Panzer IV and a StuG. Well, it was until it ran into a Firefly...
And the StuG fared no better.
A Panzershrek team bursts forward and manages to get a lucky shot on a concealed Sherman. Pity it wasn't the Firefly.
The sad state of the German left before the Brits launched their rather devastating assault.
This was a big game - about 1500 points aside, which made it quite slow moving as well were just getting to grips with the rules. Having said that, we covered a lot of different situations: fighting assaults in the open and in buildings; firing mortars and HE at buildings, doing tank to tank combats. Reaction of the players towards the rules was overall very positive, but next time some hedges or extra cover of some sort would be very useful. The units on the flanks in particular suffered very heavily from being quite exposed. The pile up of pinned markers on units in the open (see the picture above) effectively paralysed units until they rallied, and was quite a cool game mechanic. The Brit paras really had an advantage with their veteran status, being harder to kill and easier to rally. In a way we were also victims of not knowing the rules and trying things for the first time just to test what might happen in various situations. The result was that historical tactics were rewarded and gung-ho 'Rambo' moments suitably punished. Weapon ranges have been criticised in a number of reviews that I've read, but thinking of ranges as effective rather than total range makes up for this somewhat. Nevertheless, I wouldn't realistically put artillery on the table in this game unless playing an infiltration scenario where the artillery is an objective.

Flames of War
No need to talk about the rules here, as we have played them ad nauseum. The game resulted in a German victory, although I wasn't close enough to the game to work out why. I did take some photos for a bit of eye candy, though.