Monday 18 December 2017

2017 wrap up

This is my last post for this year, as we are about to head over the ditch to the land of Oz for Xmas. As such, this post will be a reflection on 2017 - achievements and otherwise.

1. The 6 x 6 challenge
This idea from Kaptain Kobold at the Stronghold Rebuilt to get people blogging more about games rather than, 'look what I just painted', was a brilliant one, and got me playing the most games I've managed in a year this century. I didn't actually finish the challenge, but I ended up playing 40 games - four more than the 6x6, but just not in the right categories. As such, the 6 x 6 was a fantastic challenge and helped me develop some of my own rules, explore DBA v3.0 and have plenty of fun along the way.
The highlights for me were playing through Clobberin' Time and slowly building figures for the NDC Universe - the comics characters Dan and I began to invent 30 years ago. It is a bit of a kick seeing them come alive on the table. The other highlight was the discovery of Tony Aguilar's and Musashi's DBA battle reports on Youtube, lately added to by NZ's own Greg Kelleher and Mark Baker.
Aphid (foreground) was one of our first ever creations. Tiger Girl came into being this year.
Crazy fun - Delta Wave versus the Snowmen from Mars in a random dinosaur park.
2. Acquisitions
This is a big category this year, fueled by being gifted stuff and purchases made with commission money. Most importantly, I completed my Practical Wargamer magazine collection this year. So inspirational that I have several magazines next to my bed at the moment where I've been reading through some American Civil War articles and getting sidetracked by things like 15th Century Ireland - FOCUS!
Paul's gift of 15mm American Civil War armies has launched me straight into a new period, and I only have about a third of the armies that I need to complete for this project.
The English Civil War in 28mm are all sitting there partially assembled now - 2000 points for Warhammer English Civil War per side. That one is going to be a biggie, and is ear-marked for 2019.
Multiple DBA armies have also found there way into the cabinet, with most of my favourite eras in ancient history now covered.
Collection complete!
3. Painting Commissions
A slightly quieter year commission-wise in 2017. I started the year by finishing off some German 15mm Flames of War figures for Craig, then some 15mm British Paras, followed by painting some 28s for Geoff mid-year, and then the Walking Dead figures at the end of the year. Wanting to get some of my own projects finished got in the way a little this year, and I have a queue waiting for me in 2018 - John's Napoleonics and some more 15mm WWII from Craig, but I'll get there...
The top tray of Walking Dead figures just prior to sending.
4. Painting for my collections
I rounded out a number of Seven Years War 15mm units, although I still have more to go (next year). I painted 28mm Marlburian armies for the Pikeman's Lament (and then sold them), 4 DBA armies, Chaco War and Vietnam War armies for the Portable Wargame and several factions for Song of Broken Legions. Alongside this there have been numerous experiments and other bits and pieces just for something different to paint. In total, it has been a good painting year, aside from the month where my back packed up.

5. Blogging
Including this one, there will be 55 posts this year, 5 down on 2016. I haven't posted anywhere as many photos of painting as I have in the past, and this is in keeping with my resolution to try to have more games blogged and not just pictures of figures. I do now wish that I had some record of the 15mm Britsh paras, though, as I had forgotten that I'd painted them!
The 6 x 6 has been a great blogging event to participate in. Thanks you Kaptain Kobold for organising it. In August I started a 'Project Management' blog challenge to try to get people to link to each other's blogs a bit. I have to say that Mark and Jonathan have been the best at sticking to their plans. Me, not so much...

6. 2018
Two big anniversaries dominate next year's plans: 100 years since the end of WWI and 260 years since the battle of Zorndorf. Hence my goal is to have the 15mm Russian Seven Years War army ready to fight by August, and my 18mm Russian and German armies ready to go in the same month. If I get the time I will also try to complete the Flames of War Great War British and Germans. Alongside these I aim to have the American Civil War armies finished by the end of February.
Commission-wise, I have 15mm Grenadiers, a platoon of 28mm Luftwaffe infantry and several helicopters to paint for Craig, 28mm Napoleonic Rifles, Highlanders and artillery for John, 9 Samurai for Dan, a platoon of 15mm Goums for Chris, and some Prodos Space Marines for Glenn. It looks like another busy year of painting, but hopefully also of gaming.
Without the 6 x 6 I am going to set myself a target of 3 games a month, and see if I can make it work.

Merry Xmas everyone, and we will see you in the New Year.


Friday 15 December 2017

The taking of Seminole Ridge

This morning I had a bit of time to set up a battle with the newly based American Civil War troops. I decided I'd do a set-up based on the map form the Battle of Seminole Ridge, which can be found in Charles' Grant's book, 'Wargames Tactics'. This battle would involve a single Brigade of Confederates trying to hold a ridge-line against an attack by two Union Brigades. It was a chance to try out some slightly modified Neil Thomas rules which included a command system and chance cards .
The original battle-plan from the book. I had less units and no cavalry.
I don't have a full battle report, as this was just to try out the rules and see how they went. I randomised the morale status of the units, and the die rolls came up with a lot of militia units, which didn't last long, although one green Confederate unit managed to charge and defeat an average Union Regiment in the centre.
I have included a couple of photos from the end of the game, which finished rather spectacularly with the death of the Confederate Brigade commander and the triumph of numbers on the Union Left flank. Things were much more closely contested on the opposite side.

The close of the battle,as seen from the Confederate HQ on Citadel Heights. The regiments on the left are holding on, but on the right they are about to be forced back over the Blick Bridge (yes, that is spelled correctly).
Before each turn started, the two sides would roll off to see which would have the first move, which led to a couple of interesting moments. At one point the Confederates looked like they would be able to get in the first shot at Union regiments just advancing onto the hill, but the Union got the initiative in the next turn. The Brigade Commander then rolled a 5 for command, which enabled him to draw a card which doubled the power of one unit's volley. The poor Confederates were left barreling back from a position where they thought they had the advantage.
The Rebs hold onto the end of Seminole Ridge next to Saucer Bridge, having seen off two Union Regiments already.
A lone battery covers the retreat of the last Reb regiment defending Blick Bridge. The Yankees are sweeping around the flank.

There's still a couple of things that need to be added - for instance, there are no limbering/unlimbering rules at the moment. But overall they work well, and allowed me to play a game to a conclusion in an hour or so.
It did highlight that I need to invest in some terrain, though. I have no suitable buildings, fences or walls. This will be on my list for the new year.


Monday 11 December 2017

Large scale painting

I'm still working my way through the Walking Dead for Craig - e.t.a. is early next week to have them all complete, but this weekend just gone I used a bit of my time to paint up John's Christmas present. He has had a resin bust of Napoleon sitting around for the last 10 years or so, and his wife said to him, 'I'm sure that should be painted.' He brought it around to me and I said, 'I'm sure it isn't supposed to be painted'. It had a faux marble wash on it and the eyes were sculpted with indented pupils to allow the light to bounce and look a bit more natural. However, he said have a go if I want.
So I did,
The Emperor painted up
A slightly different angle with a 28mm Napoleon for size comparison.
I'm pretty happy with how he turned out. The eyes don't quite look right but that is because the iris of the right eye (left as you look at it here) is engraved deeper than the left. It actually looks much more natural 'in the flesh'.

Zombie painting continues apace, of course, and I'm in the middle of survivors at the moment, but here are the last few zeds:
Imagine how they must smell..
In other news, I have just been gifted Paul's American Civil War 15mm figures, and am now in the process of rebasing them and organising two armies for a campaign to play in 2018.
Close ups

All the painted stuff, and as much again is unpainted!
So I'm looking at two armies each of 15 regiments (3 brigades), 3 cavalry (1 brigade) and 6 guns, to be used with some adapted Neil Thomas rules. More on that in the new year. Thursday week I'm off to Sydney to spend Xmas with family and then visit buddies and occasional commentators on this blog, Dan and Marcus, in Canberra for a few days.


Thursday 30 November 2017

Nothing November

The last day of November already? I haven't posted for over a month! I must have done heaps of wargaming stuff.
Well, no.
The end of year has never, ever, been this busy. Education is changing, and with it the slow wind down at the end of the year where you had time to review, reflect and prepare your courses for the next year has effectively disappeared. Now gone is the concept of a deadline, to be replaced by students leaving their assessments to the last minute. Not exactly teaching them life skills, is it? But I'm just a cog in the machine...

Anyway, the spare time I have had for hobbies has gone to painting for others, in particular, Craig. He sent me through his Walking Dead board game and I have been working through the figures trying to get them all painted for him by Xmas.
Below are some samples of what has come off the painting tray intermittently in the last couple of weeks:

(These guys have since been finished off with eyes and stuff)

So tonight I'll get the latest load of zombies completed and then onto the next lot of survivors.

As for the Six by Six, I'm going to have to put up my hands and surrender. There's no way I'm going to get any games played between now and when the family head to Australia for a holiday. Still, I don't think I did too bad overall with 25/36 games played and 3 of the sets of six completed. And I did play every game, including one of systems that I abandoned.
We'll have to see how I do next year...


Thursday 19 October 2017

Thrashing the DBA

This week I've been getting back into work and the paintbrushes haven't come out yet, as I readjust to just how full on teaching is at this time of the year. I do aim to get stuck in with them from the weekend on, I have some figures for John and Craig that I want to knock out in the next couple of weeks if I can.
Anyhow, as I sat watching the news tonight, waiting to hear who the government would be (happy with the result by the way, due to where the previous government was taking education, but this isn't a political blog), I pulled out the DBA armies again for the Persian-Spartan rematch. These aren't 6 x 6 games, I've played all my DBA for the challenge, this was just to get to grips with the nuances of the armies and get some more experience with the v 3.0 rules.
In all, I played 4 games. Two Spartan-Persian match-ups, a later Spartan vs. Gallic and then an anachronistic Persian vs Gallic.

The first game deployment. Sparta is invaded and there is minimal terrain as a result.

The Persian Light Horse begin a flanking manouevre

The Spartans ignore them and just keep going

So the Light Horse comes to play tag

oops - they weren't invited...

Poof! - first Persian element down.

What about another solo cavalry dash to try to disrupt the Spartan line?

'Oh, come on...!'

Zap! Another one down. I'd like to say right now that I had nothing to do with these dumb Persian tactics (but that would be a lie...). To be fair, I remember bending flanks in earlier versions of DBA to be quite successful - but not so much any more.

The main lines get close

And crash! A number of elements are sent reeling from the Persian line.
Butthe psiloi rally and head back into it.

But it is on the far end of the line that the final damage is done, as a bow element bites the dust.

The final line with the missing bow element conspicuous by its absence

First game to the Spartans - 4-1

Let's try again. Game 2 is also on Spartan home ground

This time the Persians will try to create a trap, advancing their flanks and holding back the bow to maximise archery.

The Persian cavalry in the open hopes to nibble at the ends of the Spartan line

The Light Horse line up for a bit of flank turning...

Only to be charged by the Spartan reserve

Attrition time - archery starts recoiling the odd element, but can't be decisive.

The light horse don't like those pointy sticks!

But come back as the Persian main line advances again.

Yes! The tactic worked!

Now lets deal with this annoying chap and we can really get on to some stabbing people in the back!

Drat! The end of the Spartan line turns to engage the Persian cavalry while the rest of the Spartan line just keeps on keeping on.

The result is a recoil and the Persian cavalry are destroyed as they hit their light horse colleagues...

Whack! The Spartan line hacks into the Persian bows and spear.

Spartans win 4-1
 Was it close? Not according to the score, but I think with a couple of good PIP dice the Persian plan might have come off, or at least created a narrower margin.

Right. I'm over the Persians. Here is a Gallic invasion of Sparta c.400. Note the Spartans have replaced their Helot horde with a psiloi element - otherwise it is the same as the earlier Hoplite Spartan army.

'Here we come!'

Neither side is holding back. And the Gauls have a sneaky flanking element.

Which is forced to flee. How many times have my flanking units rolled a 1 against a 6? (answer - lots)

Crunch! The lines meet

The view at the other end.

The Gauls come off the worst in terms of recoils, but the quick kill for a victory sees one part of the battleline steam on through.
The Spartans counterattack, getting overlaps and turning flanks.
But the Gauls survive, and then scythe through another spear element.

And then the Gallic left consolidates and ends the game.

Gaul wins - 4-1. Ha ha, take that Spartans!

Last game. Can the Persians do any better against the Gauls?

The lines close on each other.

Persian Light Horse are intercepted by Gallic psiloi near the Gallic camp. Mustn't interrupt the chicken sacrifice you know!

As the Gauls advance the archery bounces a few back and disrupts their line.

The psiloi and the Light Horse begin their long stand off at the rear.

What a mess! I can't even tell you what's happening here! A lot of hacking I believe.

Oh dear. The Gauls seem to be much better at the hacking.

A 6 and a 1 means that the Persian Light Horse are destroyed. Oh the ignominy...

And as the first double element counts as 2 for victory points, the game is over. Gaul wins, 4-1.
The upshot of all of this is that warband are nasty against anything they auto-kill, spears are nasty when they are in a battleline with reserves, and the persians are nasty to the person playing them.

I remain confident that the Persians can perform better than this. Their day will come.
I better play a 6 x 6 game tomorrow.