Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Games and painting 2015/2016

In 2015 I played 23 games which is sadly somewhat less than the year before. These were three games of Galleys & Galleons, two each of Maurice, Hammerin' Iron 2, Sword & Spear and Impetus, and one each of Command & Colours Napoleonics, Crossfire, Popular Front (SCW boardgame), Red Actions, Lasalle, The Crescent and the Cross, Warhammer Age of Sigmar, Bloody Big Battles! and Micro-Armour. I also played three games using rules homespun by fellow club members.

I additionally 'facilitated' quite a few games, but I've given that up because it's taxing and I miss the chance to play myself. Quite a bit of the facilitation centred on the preparation of the 'Crossfiregrad' public participation game.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Bloody Big Battles! - scenery options

Terrain for the Bloody Big Battles! Langensalza scenario
using Hexon. This was my first attempt. There is room
Terrain is a big issue in Bloody Big Battles! Each battle/scenario requires the recreation on a 6'x 4' (or occasionally 8' x 4') table of a contour map with one or sometimes two levels of elevation above the table surface.

Various options are discussed on the author's blog, but my immediate thought was to consider a modular approach that would both look good and be reusable for different battles.

My ideas eventually coalesced into three options:

(1) Tiles
(2) Shapes
(3) Hexon

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Hexon hills

WARNING: I'm leaving this post up for now, but experience has shown this is actually a very bad idea. Although the hooked pads do improve adhesion on Hexon, they also exert a vice-like grip on felt roads and templates. Simply adding another paper label to the underside of the blocks provides quite enough friction to keep the them in place on 2-tile high Hexon slopes. 29 January 2016

I've used my ceramic blocks with flat Hexon tiles before, but not with Hexon hills. I was just setting up a game when I discovered that the blocks slide down Hexon slopes like an ice-cube on a hot tin roof.

I subsequently bought some self-adhesive hooked pads designed for gripping textile surfaces. Partly for reasons of economy and otherwise to minimise damage to the Hexon, I cut these into quarters and applied them to the backs of the blocks. A small amount is quite enough to get a grip on any Hexon incline.

My steel-based figures have more traction, but any future Hexon slope purchases will be of the 1-tile-high variety rather than 2-tile-high type in order to minimise the ski-slope effect.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Bloody Big Battles! - some thoughts reconsidered

When I first tried these rules I misunderstood the movement table which marred the game and skewed my review. I'm yet to retry them, but having realised the error of my ways it was only fair to withdraw the original review and rewrite it.

I've had a long-term, if largely unrealised, interest in the Continental wars of the 19thC and wargaming them at grand tactical level. The interest was originally stimulated  by Phil Barker's forever draft of Horse, Foot & Guns. I joined the Continental Wars Society, collected a load of books on 19thC warfare, collaborated in a couple of other rule-writing projects, and bought some Pendraken 10mm figures for the Franco-Austrian War of 1859. But no wargamer fulfils all their dreams and the project was relegated to the back-burner.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Maurice in lead: 10mm Seven Years War

My first job is to sort out the figures into units
and bases. These are improvised but efficient
sorting trays created from milk
bottle tops and parcel tape.
I was keen to do 3mm Seven Years War armies for Maurice but was put off by the modelling of the artillery so I finally opted for 10mm Pendraken figures. The SYW offers a good balance of arms within each army and a good balance between armies.

I have chosen to do Prussian and Austrian armies, an interest that goes back to the launch of Phil Barker's Horse and Musket Wargaming Rules 1685-1845 (1979). I never played them as it was a project I never got round to, but I remember being inspired by an article in some wargaming magazine referencing the folk song 'The cruel wars in High Germany'.

Ready for figures to be dropped in. I'll then put the trays
into A4 boxes with paper or card between the layers.
In accordance with my new doctrine, the figures will be based before painting and used in games as the painting proceeds. Painting will generally follow the approach I took with my 10 mm American Civil War armies, but I need to be more ruthless in leaving the internal areas 'in shadow' while lightening the external edges so the uniforms look clean and bright in keeping with Eighteenth Century standards. Wish me luck with that.  It might be an issue.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Impetus: A rather telescoped Pavia

View from the main French force: Gendarmes,
arquebusiers, Black Band, artillery.
I've previously played a few games of Impetus but not with my own figures and not set in the gunpoweder era. It was thus a great if somewhat delayed pleasure to table my 25/28mm Early Italian Wars armies in a recreation of Pavia 1525. My armies were originally raised in the 1970s and have been supplemented with some eBay purchases, but they have not been used in a game for at least twenty years and probably longer.

I apologise for the look of the bases which are temporary card affairs. Rebasing has been a saga in itself. When I was first planning to try Impetus, I put the figures on temporary 80mm frontages (intended for 15mm figures) to give myself more real estate on the tabletop, but the three-base pike blocks ended up deeper than they were wide and that didn't look right.