Monday, 21 November 2016

Reading Warfare - scenery grab and Bloody Big Battles! game

I had a very productive day at Reading Warfare last Saturday. I spent the morning accumulating scatter scenery for my Gruntz 15mm Sci-Fi skirmish project and some 10mm houses suitable for my Chinese Warlord Era Red Actions project. In the afternoon I was privileged to participate in a game of Bloody Big Battles! organised by its author Chris Pringle and his comrades from the Oxford Wargames Society.

Scatter scenery. I regret that I didn't note the names of the suppliers.
I'll write in more detail about my Gruntz scenery plans another time, but this shows the sort of thing I'm collecting or making for my grungy, post-Apocalyptic environment. Scatter scenery will be either low enough to provide cover or high enough to block line of sight.

10mm Far Eastern houses.
The houses come from two sources. The painted ones are Epsilon buildings from Pendraken while the remainder are from the Timecast Vietnam range. The Epsilon buildings are a slightly larger interpretation of 10mm but I think they will work well enough together. I was a bit unsure whether Vietnamese buildings would do for China, but I did a lot of Googling and am satisfied that similar buildings could be found in China.

The fallback position of the Bavarian I Korps at Loigny.
I arrived at Oxford's Bloody Big Battles! table at about 2pm, just as their second game of the Loigny/Poupry 1870 scenario was about to start. I was keen to play with the experts and was delighted to be given command of the I Bavarian Korps on the German right.

I was tempted to take advantage of the towns near the enemy edge of the table, but this forward defence was overwhelmed by the superior French numbers. I then fell back in line with the objective I was defending (Loigny). Hanging on to this was very touch-and-go the whole afternoon, but I just managed to do so. I was a bit rusty on the rules but got a lot of guidance, including tactical advice. After a while I began to make my own decisions, not that these always proved to be a good idea.

I didn't have much chance to take in what was happening on the German left or centre but did witness the final German assault on the left wing which, in the last (tenth) turn of the scenario, regained Poupry. This was very exciting to see and put all three objectives firmly in German hands. The game was over by 5pm, so it had taken four plus people nearly three hours of playing. Once again I felt I had relived history or an alternative history.

I also had a chat with Chris about doing the Urabi Revolt (Tel-el-Kebir) with BBB. I have been thinking about that for quite a long time because of an ancestral connection (British side) but Chris pointed out that it was a bit of a walkover and I realised that it wouldn't make for a very balanced game. I am thus able to cross something off my to-do list!

 I really enjoyed the afternoon and must make the effort to play BBB more. I will probably send off for some sample Baccus 6mm Franco-Prussian War figures, decide how I am actually going to base them and then put in a full order.


  1. Great to meet you at last! Thanks for joining our Loigny game, and I'm glad we entertained you.


    Bloody Big BATTLES!

  2. Likewise! The experience reinforced my interest and inspired me enough to put in that initial Baccus order...


    1. My Baccus FPW armies are based:
      4 figures per Skirmisher base
      4 figures per 'Flag' base
      8 line inf (in 2 lines) per infantry base
      About a third? of my line inf bases are triple bases - 3"x1" - and another third are on doubles - 2"x1" - for ease of movement and 'tidiness'.
      3 cavalry per base.


    2. Thanks for your response which is appreciated as I've never had any Baccus figures before.

      I'm expecting to follow your precedent with the cavalry, but, subject to trial, I'm hoping to get two ranks of five infantry onto a base so they present a continuous line when the bases are arranged side-by-side. This will mean clipping the strips, probably after painting.

      I'm also thinking of putting all formed infantry at the back of the bases so the skirmisher bases have room for a couple of figures at the front.

      In a possibly more controversial departure from convention I'm also planning not to use any command strips, though I will depict guard units as appropriate. I know you use 'Flag' bases to denote quality, but I like to put all the unit characteristics on a unit ID marker.

      Finally, I wasn't planning to use multiples, although I appreciate they can speed up movement.

      None of these decisions really matter that much, they're just personal preferences. I'll post pictures of my experiments to show if they work or not.


  3. I like that scatter scenery..maybe from The Scene?

    1. Thanks. Yes, it looks like the skips came from them. The big stack of oil drums may have come from The Square. All the rest came from a company in the middle of the room.