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Saturday, 23 November 2013

Second Foray onto the NW Frontier

So, last Sunday, Cameron and I played a second NW Frontier game using my 'cobbled together on the spot' rules - one of these days I must re-read LoTOW properly and actually use the rules properly with this period, as, with a few weapon tweaks (why do breechloader rifles have to take the same amount of time to reload as a musket???!!!) it'll work jolly fine for Colonial bashes!

So the scenario this time was a 'retreat from Maiwand' scenario, with the Brits being the remnants of an army that had been trashed, trying to get to safety.

We had great fun once again, but this time, the resurrected Sgt Cameron did not heed Daddy's wise advice! I advised him to, in effect, do a 'covering-fire and move' thing where half his men shot and the rest ran - he did that for a turn...then just decided to shoot me up...and had some really (uncharacteristically) bad dice which meant that I got up close and personal too quickly and chewed him up, wiping out his gallant command at the very wall of the village.

Again, apologies for poor pics. I was still using the phone!!

The British retreat from Maiwand, hotly pursued by the enemy

Sgt Cameron begins an ordered withdrawal with covering fire  from his other soldiers...

The withdrawal goes to plan, as the Pathans advance quickly in the centre, taking to cover on the left and sniping at the Sikhs from the right

The British stop withdrawing to maximise their firepower...bit of an error, methinks

An error indeed...a sudden Pathan rush traps Sgt Cameron in combat...his men cannot abandon their leader...

Vicious hand-to-hand combat, poor shooting by the Sikhs and great shooting by the Pathan sharpshooters has the Britsh force significantly reduced. This is looking like another classic last stand against the odds...

The Pathans close in..Sgt Cameron is still smiling (but also moving while I was taking the picture...doh!)

The British get the drop and move back, but surely now it's too late...

The village is in sight...can the brave Brits get over the wall and form a defensive line?

Errrr....that'd be no then!!! 

The last British soldier is hacked down, surrounded by Pathans who had infiltrated the village and trapped them from behind....

The evening of this game, I finally applied a highlight to all the Pathans. I dipped them AGES ago - my first dipped models and literally did dip them! They look a lot better with the highlights, I can assure you! Once I have based the 4 Sikhs, dipped and highlighted the remaining 8, have finished a (layered painted to match his unit) British infantry officer and have dipped and highlighted the 25 Pathans that are being basecoated as we speak, I'll post some new proper pics.

Am also doing some NW Frontier terrain, specifically loads of rocky hills, so I'll post some pics of those when they are done. I basically intend to be able to take this all to the club to run some (initially) skirmish games using modified LoTOW, working up to decent size games of T&T by March/April next year. The basic painting of troops is going well and is quite quick - I also have 12 Ghurkas ready to dip. There are then 2 units of 12 Castaway Arts Sikh Infantry, a unit of 12 Foundry Guides Infantry, a unit of 12 Pontoonier Brits, a unit of 12 Perry Highlanders, a Perry Mountain Gun and  a Foundry 9pdr gun, plus 2 units of 6 Bengal Lancers (half Castaway Arts, half Perry), a Foundry Maxim gun plus a mountain of Pathans. This doesn't include 2 units of 12 regular Afghan infantry, 1 unit of Afghan regular cavalry, 2 guns and a unit of Pathan cavalry up in the loft!

The priorities after the current crop will be a unit of 20 Pathan Ghazis and a Mullah, then the Mountain gun, a British Colonel, a British mule-train and 6 Bengal lancers, plus a unit of 12 Pathan sharpshooters and a unit of 20 warriors and we'll see where we are. If I can get them done by March, we will be on track. Of course, my interest levels will wane as the new Hobbit movie propels me back to my LoTR stuff, so we'll see how we get on...

Saturday, 16 November 2013

First Foray Onto The NW Frontier

So, it's Saturday and the missus has toddled off to her school reunion wot she has organised via Facebook, so me and Cameron were left at home on a cold day with nowt special planned.

Now, he's been watching with interest as I paint my NW Frontier models and today was asking about them, so I dragged out the old Kenneth Moore movie classic 'NW Frontier' to watch after lunch. Obviously, as he's 5 with the attention span of a gnat, I fast-forwarded the dialogue-heavy bits and focused on the action and he LOVED it.

So, when I asked if he'd like a game using my NW Frontier models after we'd dashed to Sainsburys, he was well up for it!

So, we got back, I left him in the lounge with a snack and set up the table... Apologies for photo quality, as I'm using my old Nokia (the missus has the camera) The table is covered with a piece of upholstery vinyl I picked up from the market. Truth to tell, it's a bit too dark and a bit too 'yellowy-brown', but it's still cheaper, easier to store  (and quicker to do) than making 8x4 foot of sand-covered MDF. I may see if I can sponge print it with some lighter colours, as I think the material would take paint and still roll up. I will test the edges (I actually bought 3 metres length) and see. But it did fine today as it was.

The Imperial forces consisted of 10 British infantry (incl Sergeant Cameron as force leader) accompanied by 4 Sikhs (including a Havildar - the Indian Army equivalent of Sergeant, for those for whom Colonial gaming is a mystery) who had to secure the safety of two supply wagons in their care and drive off any Pathans who attempted to molest them.

They were opposed by 26 Pathans, of whom 8 were 'marksmen' and 10 were sword-armed Ghazis, with the balance being rifle/sword armed warriors. Their job was to loot the wagons and kill all the British/Indian troops.

I used a 'make it up as you go along' ruleset based mainly on Legends of the Old West, with some Warhammer-isms thrown in. I made the British troops uber-good with shooting, as this was supposed to be 1897 and they would have had Lee Metford magazine rifles, whose range and rate of fire blew anything the Pathans had out of the water! They were therefore allowed to move and fire and did not need to reload. The Sikhs were not allowed to move and fire but did not need to reload, as they were armed with Martini Henrys.

The Pathans were not allowed to move and fire and they did have to reload, as I treated them as having Enfields or Jezails. This meant that, in the first few turns, once the Brits reached the village and began defensive fire, they killed tribesmen like there was no tomorrow. The Pathans could do little in return, although I had bad dice on a few turns of shooting.

Sergeant Cameron of the North Cambridgeshire Light Infantry prepares to defend the village to the last

Despite serious losses from deadly Anglo-Indian shooting, the Pathans are closing with the walls

However, once the Tribesmen reached the wall, it became a different tale and the vicious hand-to-hand fighting went the tribesmen's way...
Vicious hand-to-hand fighting erupts round the walls

Sergeant Cameron's breezy smile betrays a certain anxiety as Pathans gain a foothold inside the village

The battle hangs in the balance

...until the British soldiers who had been on the roof of one of the houses launched a fierce counter-attack. At this point, both forces were testing courage each turn, but superior training gave the Brits an edge here and the Pathan force quit the field leaving only two of the Brits alive with the supply wagons. It had been a close run thing!! 
The Pathans are taking courage tests and most of their survivors have 'run for the hills'
The lone British survivors! The Pathans have been driven off and the victory won!
Sergeant Cameron died bravely, surrounded on all sides by 4 enemy warriors (who he actually beat off in one round of combat!) and will receive the Victoria Cross for his heroism!!

I obviously helped Cameron with tactical advice ("Just go into the village...if you don't, your force will be dead in 3 turns!" and  "Line the walls and shoot with as many men as possible" - to be fair, he decided for himself to get men on the roof!)
This pic says it all!!!!
It was a lovely way to pass an hour on a dull, cold Saturday. Cameron really enjoyed himself and we are going to have another game tomorrow morning!

Friday, 18 October 2013

Catching up...

Hi all

Sorry for lack of updates, but I have been extremely busy with all sorts of 'stuff' and what gaming I have done has not made it to the blog, largely because most of it has been showing folk how Dux Brit and Dux Bellorum work, or I've forgotten to take a camera to my gaming sessions, which has happened at least once.

We are currently playtesting our scenarios for the upcoming WAB day 'Carve Out A Kingdom' which recreates the battle fort Italy in the late 11th Century (places still available if interested - Sunday Nov 24th - drop me a line for details) It promises to be a great day!

Painting is slowly progressing. I am currently working on a large batch of various models that will be done with 'dip and highlight'. This includes a dozen LoTR Elves, a dozen LoTR Orcs and a bunch of Colonial Indian infantry and Pathans, plus some WfB High Elves for my son. I aim to basecoat as many models as possible then have one mega dip session, as I have found that the more you open and close a tin of dip, the faster it goes off. So, this time I plan to prep up as many as possible prior to opening the new tin!

The LoTr models will, as previously hinted, be used with a fantasy variant of Dux Brit; the colonials are for Triumph & Tragedy or possibly a variant of Sharp Practice (although I have also bought 'Smooth & Rifled' by the same guys who do Impetus as that looks like it could be fun and easy to play.)

Then there is the mass of WfB High Elves which are currently languishing in the painting pile. They are the knights on barded horses and are proving very difficult to do!! They'll look great once finished, I'm sure of that, but it's hard to be motivated to work on them as progress is son painfully slow, unlike on the 'dip & highlight' models.

I\ll post pics of all of the above once I get them done. Colonial Sikhs likely to be first.

Am playing Dux Brit on Monday - not a campaign game, but I'll try to remember the camera this time!!



Saturday, 31 August 2013

Hurrah!!! Prize Draw Winner Announced!

...And I can proudly announce that the winner is.....

Note, please, my faithful assistant...

(....Cue dramatic 'X-Factor-stylee silent pause.......)

(Cue fanfare, cheering, mass hysteria, etc)

David posted the following...

"Congratulations on the 100k! I particularly enjoy the large quantity of historicals, especially the eye-candy of well painted miniatures. I like the Arthurian stuff, but I would enjoy seeing more of the Colonials also!"

Well, David, thank you. Congratulations on winning the Gripping Beast Romano-British 'Arthur' figure!! 
Glad you like the historical stuff. There will be some Colonials at some point, but lack of opponents means that it always gets pushed back in the schedule. I do have a handful of Sikhs nearly completed, which only need basing and dullcoting. Maybe I'll get round to doing that in the next week or two.

If you could please reply to this post, leaving your full name, postal address and email address, I will be in touch about sending you your prize. I won't publish your response on the blog, so your contact details will remain private and confidential.

Many thanks once again to all who entered and to all who read my blog.

I am currently working on more Fantasy stuff, both Oldhammer and LOTR Elves, but I do have a load of Huns, Arthurian characters and other historicals in the queue. There should hopefully be some battle reports soon as well, so basically more of the stuff that most of you seem to like.

Here's to the next 100,000 views!!



100,000 Views Prize draw CLOSED!!!!!!!!!

The draw is now officially CLOSED! Many thanks to all that entered.
Tune in later today when the winner will be revealed!!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

100,000 Page Views Prize Draw Details Revealed!!!!!!!!!

In honour of all you great folk who have patiently followed my interweb ramblings on this 'ere blog, I offer you the chance to win this lovely Romano-British character model from my Arthurian collection. He has been mounted on a 40mm round base since this pic was taken, but aside from that he's as you see him here: (Cue drum roll, fanfare, etc)

He's the Gripping Beast Arthur with a head swap, so, apart from the other figure I did exactly the same but with a different paint job (the Geraint figure from my Dux Brit force) he's totally unique!!!

To be in with a chance of winning this (rather lovely) prize, all you have to do is this:

Post a comment onto this post telling me (and everyone else) what it is that you particularly enjoy about the content of the blog. For example, it could be a favourite post or series of posts, a favourite theme, a combination, or whatever really.

Now, while this could appear to some as nothing more than an exercise in my own vanity, actually, I am genuinely interested in what aspects of my wargaming world you good folk come here for.

The draw remains open until I turn on my PC on Saturday 31st August, at which point, I shall publish any remaining posts, then add a post to close the draw and will then put all names of those whose comments fulfil the criteria into a hat (well, a plastic tub, in all probability!) and will ask my son to draw one out! (He'll really like that, as it's an important job...aren't 5 year olds great!!?!!) I shall then post details on here of how the lucky winner can claim their prize. Seeemples!!!!!

BTW: Please don't worry if your post doesn't appear for a day or two. I have 'comment moderation' enabled to deflect spam and we are out and about a fair bit doing family stuff over the bank holiday weekend, so I may not get to the blog every day to publish comments. Please rest assured that everyone who comments appropriately will definitely be entered into the draw on 31st August.

I hope that this lovely prize entices you to enter and I look forward to reading your posts and to giving away this rather lovely model!!!

Thanks once again for your support and I hope that you keep coming back for more!!



Tuesday, 20 August 2013

100,000 Page views!!!!

Well, I'll be jiggered!! I've finally passed the 100,000 views mark!!!

Thank you so very much to all my visitors, both regular and occasional for all of your support. Without you, my blogging would be utterly pointless!

Please visit me again in a day or two for news of a rather nice little prize draw to celebrate this little milestone...

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Arthurian Banner Bearer

As promised a week or so ago, here are a few pics of the Musketeer Arthurian banner bearer I have painted for internet pal Tony. This is Vortigern's banner bearer model painted to join Tony's Saxon forces. The banner motif is a classic Arthurian boar design, taken from Pictish monuments (and also the Saxon symbol in Dux Britanniarum.)

Like all Musketeer models, he was a joy to paint. I have a whole bunch of these of my own to do at some point... Whether I'll get around to them any time soon is unlikely, as I'm in a Fantasy painting frenzy at the moment. Still, they may well make a nice change from Elves...

Anyway, here's Tony's Saxon bannerman. Enjoy!

Monday, 22 July 2013

Shock...Horror...New Painting!!!!

"Well, I'll be jiggered!" you are no doubt saying! "Has old Andy woken up his bloomin' paintbrush then"

Well, yes, I have!! After months of being unable to paint due to simply not having any desire whatsoever, I have finally managed to complete three miniatures!!! Sadly, I only have pics of two because the bloody camera ran out of juice! So you'll have to wait until tomorrow for pics of a Musketeer miniatures Arthurian standard bearer that I've been painting for interweb chum Tony for...oh, about 6 months now (sorry Tony...he'll be with you as soon as I've varnished him and got him down to Royal Mail...)

Anyway, the two I have pics of are two 80s Warhammer High Elves from the force I have been buying off EBAY and from various like-minded  souls for the past few months.

I do intend to play Warhammer 3rd Edition with them, but they'll also take the field for 'Ride to Ruin' as well, as they are such great models. They are actually in many ways more 'Tolkien' than any other Elves, being armoured in mail... I've always wanted some and now here they are.

The first two are the General and a Wardancer. I opted for not painting eyes, as my own are shot and can't do that level of detail any more. I also opted to do fairly 'modern' basing, rather than going all 'green base edges and flock' like some Oldhammer enthusiasts do. Each to their own, but I hate green base edges...mind you, a lot of folk hate my black ones, so not to worry!!

A unit of cavalry are sat on the table at the mo. They are all on the same armoured steed as the general and will look AWESOME!


Pics of the Saxon banner bearer to come as soon as the camera is recharged... Then it'll be that 'Ride To Ruin' AAR I keep promising you...

Friday, 12 July 2013

The Annals of Linnius Chapter 10: The Raid on the Village of Slea-Ford

It is now late spring in the 475th year after the birth of our Lord and most Blessed Saviour, Jesus Christ. I, Publicus Librarius, scribe to his most majestic King Mascuidius, do record the events of these days that witness the coming of the dread Saex.

"It is now two full cycles of the moon since the Praefectus Andrucius foiled the Saex plot to kidnap the brave noble Maximus Minimus at the border watchtower and once again the enemy have raided our kingdom.

Since the sad loss of the fair city of Caer Lind Colun, the new capital hath been established at Caer Lerion. However, the province of Cavsennae doth bear the brunt of the Saex raids, so the Praefectus hath established a system of regular patrols to ensure that Cavsennae itself and the surrounding villages are protected.

On the day in question, the Praefectus did hear disturbing news that a large Saex force had crossed the borders. Spies did inform the Praefectus that it was approaching the village of Slea-Ford, a small place, but home to a pottery-maker whose goods are very much valued by his Majesty himself and many of the Royal Household and which fetch a goodly price in trade with other kingdoms both here and across the Saxon Sea. Thus the Praefectus knew that this village must be defended at all costs!

The Saex did enter from the North, their advance swift and surefooted through the woodland and marsh surrounding the village. The Saex lord did split his forces, keeping his hearthguard close in an attempt to draw our forces away from the village. However, the Praefectus did anticipate this and, keeping his hearthguard and some milites close, did advance to engage the Saex while the remaining milites and Pedyt under Geraint and Maximus did traverse the woodland and attempt to reach the village. However, they made poor speed and the Saex did enter the village and begin their foul pillaging. Fortunately, due to the excellence of the Praefectus' patrols and the rapidity of his arrival, the locals did receive plentiful warning and did escape into the hills, having done their best to hide anything worth stealing.

The initial combat did not bode well, as the Saex lord's hearthguard launched a tumultuous assault on our brave warriors, driving them back with volleys of sharp thrown spears. Nonetheless, undaunted, they returned to the fray, joined by Geraint with the remaining milites and the combined force did, after much brutal slaughter, finally rout the Saex hearthguard, much of which fled the field. The pitiful remnant did withdraw, harassed by our archers, until finally they were caught by the Praefectus hearthguard and annihilated in deadly slaughter, the Saex lord running like a cowardly dog for the shelter of the trees.

Meanwhile, Maximus Minimus, saviour of the army at Caer Lind Colun, did not do us proud this day. His pedyt, advancing in tight shieldwall found their half-hearted charge fall short, only to receive a deadly assault from the heathen that did send them howling back in disarray. The brave and diminutive noble did extricate himself from the wreck and did manage to locate the remnants of the milites who had been recovering their composure after the initial Saex assault. These he rallied ready to re-engage should the need arise.

At this point, the fight was in the balance. The Saex had looted half the village - victory was in sight for them. However, Praefectus Andrucius called upon his tiring heroes to one last heroic endeavour and, forming up, they crashed into the Saex who had so recently broken the levy. The fight was ferocious and brief. Gearint's milites, exhausted with the fight, did run from the combat, although the Saex opposing them did run also. This left the Praefectus and his remaining hearthguard facing one last group of Saex... Howling his battle cry, the Praefectus did lead the charge, ably supported by Geraint who had extricated himself from the wreck of his milites. The Saex line did crumble and the pitiful remnant fled the field, abandoning the loot! The village of Slea-ford was saved!!!

Praise be to God for such a victory! The Praefectus' forces did slay twice the number of men slain by the enemy. We may have lost the fair city, but this war is not yet over!"

Well, b*gger me, that was a cracker!!! Three solid hours of gaming, twice through the fate deck and goodness knows how many actual game turns.... Wow! The game was really in the balance til the very last combat. Both of us managed to gain enough decent carpe diem hands to add punch to the combats, especially Mike, to whom 'Strong Arm' cards are nagnetically drawn!!

Pivotal moments in the game as follows:

1. Mike's first charge on my elites/warriors combo: I was driven back and in a bit of trouble, although the elites were (miraculously) unscathed at this point;
2. Getting my other milites within 2" of the Saex when they came in again - this took me from being outnumbered to outnumbering with the dice thrown and made a huge difference, as the Saex elites were beaten off, one group losing their amphora and the warlord's group significantly weakened;
3. Me failing two charges by an inch! In one, the pedyt had to throw anything but a 1 to charge with a kick-ass carpe diem hand. Guess what I rolled!!! This was the point I thought I'd lost, as Mike did to the pedyt what I'd hoped they were gonna do to him!
4. Mike being a not very successful looter (again!)
5. Being able to catch the remaining Saex hearthguard who had been weakened by my archery and destroying them, thereby significantly reducing Saxon force morale
6. The British Lord's card coming up at the right time to get in the final charges and break the Saxon force.
7. Me rolling few kills on my troops through most of the fight, although I received LOADS of shock!

I also played my cards MUCH better this time, choosing my moments to play them and playing the right ones at the right time, which I have not always done in other games.

I have to say that three hours just flew by! The raid scenarios are really such great games. We have played this particular one at least three times now and each game has been completely different to the others.

In fact, while playing/tidying away, we were discussing why this campaign continues to inspire us after 10 games. Some of the thoughts we came up with were as follows - I can't remember them all:

1. The scenarios are bloody brilliantly designed - they make you want to come back again and again;
2. The game mechanics are really good. There is nothing we really don't like. The Fate cards are genius and add such great period flavour;
3. Mike makes sh*t-hot brilliant terrain that is a pleasure to fight over (new game boards new the PVA was still a bit soggy!)
4. The period-specific flavour we have put in with our 'in-role' batreps and the way the heroes really have developed characters all of their own;
5. We don't overdo it. A game once every 3-4 weeks, ish. That keeps us interested but doesn't overload us;
6. The blogging: we enjoy writing this stuff for you and taking the pretty pics!

Talking of which, the pics!! Enjoy...

The village of Slea-Ford, ripe for the pillaging (Quote Mike: Let's pillage da village..." ahem...)

Saex deployment and pre-game move (we remembered the watchtower rule this time!)

Andrucius leads his men into action...

Initial Briton moves. See Geraint's men b*ggering about in the woods...sigh...

End of turn 1...

End of turn 2. The Britons are beginning to get some kind of battle line going now...

View through the Gedriht...

After the first combat, the milites have taken a mauling but the Saex are not unscathed...

View from behind the Saex after that first fight...

"See there, men! Slea-Ford...we must save the village!"

After the pivotal combat where Geraint's milites joined in by being 2" from the Saex. This was a real early turning point for me and momentarily put Mike on the back foot - not that he was there for long...

Wide-angle view...

The Saex lord withdraws out of charge range (boo, hiss!)

It's now about to get interesting...

My archers about to get clobbered...

MAXIMIS ACTIVATES!!! YAY!!! Now, you get one D6 for levy in shieldwall...just roll anything...

...but a one...Oh sh*te, b*gger, feck and a*se!!!!

The milites similarly failed to contact the Saex 1 inch (sob!) Now it's me on the back foot! Mike is really back in this now...

Yes...this IS going as badly as it looks (bloody 'Strong Arm' card!)

Oh dear, large hole where pedyt used to be... Now, will I be able to catch those Saex elites? (Err, yes, actually, but the photo was abominably blurred...sorry!)

Where have all the pedyt gone???

"Brave men of Linnius, form up on me and CHAAAARGE!!!!!!"

DIE, Saex scum!!!  Saex amphora lost, force morale zero...victory to the Britons!!! By 3 points, as it turned out, as I had suffered moderate losses and Mike heavy losses...
Many thanks as always to Mike for being a fabulous opponent, against whom I never tire of gaming. Thanks also to Mike's lovely wife who put up with three hours of noisy wargaming in the rrom next while trying watch her favourite TV programmes...with nary a complaint!

Next up, that bat-rep of the Ride to Ruin game I played the other week.