Sunday, 27 November 2011

Mahdist War: KRRC

Here are some more of my 28mm Perry Sudan figures - this time from the 3rd Battalion of the King's Royal Rifle Corps - for the Suakin Campaign:

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Quick Project Update

What with the house move and a rather nasty surprise from HMRC I have had to revisit my project plans and do a little trimming and rescheduling.  So here's a quick overview:

Indian Mutiny: With the Sikhs and Highlanders currently away for painting I am just sorting out the next batch of figures.  These are some Mutineer cavalry, light infantry, artillery for both sides and the civilians and personalities from Mutineer miniatures.  I suspect I will close this project after these have been done and I have found an appropriate source for some suitable flags.

Sudan: SELWG saw me purchase some more figures for my Sudan project.  These represent the last I need to complete Phase 1 - the Suakin campaign - including the Yorks & Lancs, Black Watch, 10th Hussars and some Naval Brigade. I may get the additional figures I need for Phase 2 - Khartoum - at Salute next year.

WW2 NW Europe: I just need to base up my Foundry Paras and this can be counted as complete (always assuming any wargaming project ever reaches that stage!).

Cold War: Lenin has my additional BAOR and the additional Soviets I need are off with Roger so it is just down to me to assemble and paint the BTR (and possibly get a couple more vehicles - I've always fancied a Scorpion - but that will have to wait a while unfortunately).

Falklands: No real progress on this one since the last update - although it would be nice to have this progressed given next year is (believe it or not) the 30th anniversary.

Russian Civil War/WW1 Eastern Front:  I keep get the figures out and then popping them back on the shelf as I don't have any desperate need to move this project along (which is handy as I'm not sure I can afford it with the other ones planned!).

Montrose: Still being rebased (or if you really want to know the truth - about to start being rebased - i.e. I haven't actually done anything yet...)

Scarlet Pimpernel: I still need to decide on what finish I am going to do on the bases for these and then assemble and paint the guillotine. 

Marlburian: These are next on the list for cleaning up; however, I still need decide which units I want them to be and which rules to use in order to get this moving along.

Maximilian in Mexico: No actual progress here.

Vietnam: Lenin tells me these are on the workbench - so I am hoping to get a game to the table in the new year.

Greek Myth: This is still a bit on the back burner; however, the new figures from Foundry are rather nice ... (must resist!)

WW2 Polish: This was one project I had intended to reschedule but with North Star having some of the Bolt Action Poles on sale (and the sale coming to an end) I thought I'd better secure the saving!  Not much of an excuse but I will be popping them on the shelf as I will need to supplement them with some figures that North Star didn't have on offer.

Everything Else: is being delayed/rescheduled as there is plenty to be getting on with without starting something new (always assuming I can get treatment for the "ooohhh shiny" syndrome I seem to have contracted!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Mahdist War: 19th Hussars

I didn't get much time this weekend to devote to gaming stuff but did manage to base up a few more of my Perry Sudan figures.  This time it's the 19th Hussars:

Friday, 18 November 2011

First Look: Cold War Gone Hot

Hot on the heels of Ambush Valley comes the fourth source book for Force on Force but the first covering an conflict that never actually happened.

Unlike Ambush Valley, Cold War Gone Hot is focussed more on scenarios.  In its case there are 22 of them.  They are split into three groupings, Col War Fears, Cold War Realities and Cold War Fantasies to suit the approach you wish to take to this alternative history.

Cold War Fears is based on the views held at the time (irrespective of whether these were based on fact rather than speculation).  So you get a Soviet and Warsaw Pact with significantly superior numbers of forces and worryingly similar capabilities to the West.

Cold War Realities is based in the real world following the release of hard facts after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the break up of the Soviet bloc.  The scenarios in this section also focus on a somewhat more aggressive NATO in order to spice things up.

Cold War Fantasies is based more in the world of Holywood than the real one, taking its inspiration from films and fiction set in the period.

The balance of the 120 odd page book contains special rules, unit and vehicle information etc.  It is a useful reference work if you are interested in a counter factual conflict in the 1980s that's for sure.

Currently at Amazon for only £9.71: Cold War Gone Hot: World War II 1986 (Force on Force)

First Look: Ambush Valley

Ambush Valley is the third source book for the Force on Force rules and covers the Vietnam War.   The book is over 180 pages packed with useful information on a wide variety of units which were involved in the conflict.

There are around 20 pages of the book taken up with new or modified rules for Force on Force (including special rules for civilians and for boats) but the remainder of the book is full of data which aren't FoF specific.

This is a great resource for anyone interested in information on the forces involved in Vietnam and given the volume of data is great value.  It is much lighter on scenarios though, with only six being included, and so is more useful as a reference work rather than for game ideas.

Available from Amazon for only £9.71: Ambush Valley: Vietnam 1965-1975 (Force on Force)

Friday, 11 November 2011

Lest we forget

Photo courtesy of dougbelshaw

They went with songs to the battle, they were young. 
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow. 
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted, 
They fell with their faces to the foe. 

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: 
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. 
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, 
We will remember them.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

First Look: I Ain't Been Shot Mum III

I never thought it would happen but the Too Fat Lardies have actually produced a full colour professionally bound rule book!  It's the new (3rd) edition of their I Ain't Been Shot Mum company size WW2 rules in fact.  So I felt compelled to buy it.

The rules are now beautifully presented in over 100 pages interspersed with diagrams, examples and some nice photos.  But what else has changed?

If you weren't familiar with the previous edition of the rules, you can find my overview here.

The core rules are pretty much unchanged but with lots of improvement in layout, explanation and the introduction of some concepts from some of the other Lardies rules (e.g. Command Initiative).  Some of the terminology has been improved - particularly "wounds" (which was confusing) which have become shock.  The main change for infantry has been with the Big Men who are no longer rated by dice but rather with a Command Initiative rating.  This is supplemented by Command Initiative cards within the deck which may only be used by Big Men of that rating or above.  The rating and the cards provide a number of actions that the Big Man may perform, activating a unit for example.  The rating also determines the Big Man's command radius.

The armour rules have been overhauled too which was a rather weak area for the previous edition and the concept of "Aces" has been introduced to allow for those really exceptional individuals who crop up in various accounts.

There are six generic and four historical scenarios included along with a "handbook" section covering the organisation of forces for Normandy.  This shows the model the Lardies will be using as they update their theatre specific supplements for the new edition.  Fortunately the changes aren't substantial so the old supplements can still be used with some easy tweaks (as outlined in the Lard Island News blog).

In addition to the new rules the Lardies have also produced an official printed set of cards to use with them.  There are 104 cards, which are larger than normal playing cards, which allow you to field two companies of infantry, five platoons of armour and eight Big Men per side along with three off-table support units and all the bonus characteristic cards you will need.
There is also an official set of tokens to accompany the rules which include low ammo, artillery aiming point,  pinned/suppressed, reduced actions, AFV reduced movement, AFV immobilised, AFV main gun damaged and AFV main gun disabled markers as you can see below:
The rules are available in softback, pdf or tablet enabled pdf and also in bundles with the cards and tokens.

I am glad I bought them as I have now got my 15mm WW2 figures out of the boxes and am starting to plan a game with them!

Wargames Week - The Photos

First Look: Tomorrow's War

Having enjoyed reading Force on Force (FoF) and been in search of a set of rules suitable for my collection of 25mm Denizen and GZG figures I decided to take the plunge and picked up a copy of Tomorrow's War (TW) - the science fiction rules based on FoF.

TW is presented in a very similar way to FoF but at 260 pages is even thicker.  The rules are clearly based on FoF but provide a series of additional concepts to allow to deal with different technology levels, robots and the like.  As with FoF the rules concentrate on the capability of the troops rather than the individual weapon types.

It is clear that these rules are intended to be used for hard science fiction rather than science fantasy with little provision for alien races and the like (although there is some guidance as to how you might add them).  Which suits me as hard SF is my preference.

In addition to the rules themselves, which are organised in almost exactly the same way as FoF, provides a backstory with a mix of Nation states and major Corporations vying for control of various colonies and resources.

Having recently played FoF and enjoyed them I am really looking forward to getting TW to the table.

First Play: Force on Force

Our final tabletop miniatures game of the week was a chance to get the new edition of Force on Force to the table along with my Mongrel Soviets and Afghans.  I decided to try a asymmetric engagement as I thought this suited the forces better so we still need to try a kinetic game in order to properly try the rules out.

The scenario was adapted from one kindly published by [insert] (the adaptations were largely due to the fact I didn't have the vehicles).  Lenin, as Soviet commander, was required to identify, isolate and neutralise the Mujahideen forces in the compounds.

The basic concepts behind the rules are fairly straight forward; however, the way they have decided to cover all the aspects in each section of the rule book makes them a little daunting at first.  We weren't phased by the reaction based approach as we are both very familiar with the Two Hour Wargames rules which use a similar approach.

The scenario did not start well for the Soviets.  Their first fire team advanced cautiously from behind a field of crops into sight of a group of Mujahideen concealed within one of the compounds.  This resulted in my group opening fire and causing enough casualties to effectively eliminate the Soviet fire team.  The other half of the Soviet squad then advanced to try and extract the casualties and a similar thing happened.  This rather gave us pause as, if this was going to be repeated each time the Soviets came into sight there was no way for them to get a team onto overwatch and hence be able to make any headway at all.  In fact I had rolled rather well for all the tests and firing rolls on both occasions (which happens some times despite my reputation!) so we decided to reset the game and try it again.
 The second time I rolled somewhat more normal dice which gave the Soviets the chance to fire first and get a team into position.  This completely changed the situation and we both breathed a sigh of relief that it was simple chance and not any failure of the rules themselves (although it is something to bear in mind with small groups vs large ones when designing scenarios!).

With the Soviet left flank engaged they also began to advance on the right.
 When they came into sight of the main compound another fire fight broke out, with the Soviets getting the drop on the Afghans again.

With things going well for the Soviets some Afghan reinforcements arrived.  This gave the Soviets pause but didn't prevent them from rushing and taking the first compound on the left flank.  The Afghans now concentrated in the larger central compound.  The Soviets brought up some reinforcements for an assault.
The Soviet launched their attack and quickly secured a foothold in the buildings on the edge of the compound.  A firefight broke out between the Afghans reinforcements and the Soviet ones but the Soviets quickly got the upper hand.

Even with more reinforcements arriving directly in the compound, the Soviets, now in position, make quick work of them and secured the entire compound.

The game was a lot of fun and so we will be giving the rules some outings in order to test the other aspects of them, particularly the kinetic (regular vs regular) engagements.

Wargames Week: Up the Arsenal

Next up was a first outing for my Indian Mutiny figures from Mutineer Miniatures.  For easy I decided to use the supplement and scenario for Sharp Practice from the Too Fat Lardies 2008 Christmas Special.  The scenario adopts the usual Lardies Carry On style humour (as you can probably tell from the title) with Lenin playing the part of the ubiquitous Flashman and me as the Mutineer leader Ram Dittin.  Flashman's mission was simply to raid the old arsenal and bring back much needed ammunition and supplies all under the noses of the Mutineers!

Flashman decided to split their forces with Lieutenants Jarce and St James leading the assault on the arsenal whilst he protected their rear.  The attack didn't start too well with the allegedly stealthy Sepoy sent to take care of the gate house guard altered him instead.  The British decided to try rushing the gate before the Mutineers reacted.  This went rather better with the British quickly taking the yard and stables.
Unfortunately for Flashy the rear of the arsenal wasn't quite as safe as he was hoping as some Badmashes from the bazaar heard the firing and began rushing to reinforce the arsenal.
 Flashman formed his men into a firing line and let loose a volley into the advancing Mutineers which gave them a little pause; however, another unit appeared on their right flank.
Meanwhile the arsenal garrison had eventually organised themselves and counter attacked.  After some fierce and bloody fighting the tables were turned on the British and Lieutenant St James was forced to make a last stand against the arsenal wall where they paid the ultimate price.

Arriving too late to save St James, Lieutenant Jarce led his furious men in a vicious assault which put paid to the Mutineer garrison.  With the arsenal secured, Jarce organised his men to load mules from the stables with supplies.

Behind the arsenal Flashman ordered a few more volleys and then had his men fall back in good order.  Some Mutineers who slipped past Flashman managed to run to the front of the arsenal where they came under murderous fire from the remaining unit of the Madras Fusiliers and made a hasty retreat.

With the flanks covered the British made a organised withdrawal with the necessary supplies.