Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Happy New Year!

The Night Watch - by Paul Kidby

I would like to wish you, your families and friends all the very best for the New Year!  Let's hope it's full of gaming fun!

Goodbye 2013 and Hello 2014!

With the old year on its way out and the New Year hoving into view I thought I would have a quick look back on my progress in 2013 and forward to my gaming plans for 2014.

At the start of the year I was rather cautious about declaring my projects for 2013 and only announced a single one -  Muskets & Tomahawks in 28mm.  As a result I can claim to have completed my planned projects for the year (for the first time ever)!  Of course I do have a few other things that I mentioned I might do (most of which were hang overs from previous years) and towards which I mad rather poorer progress:

28mm Mahdist War - The second phase - Khartoum - was a possible for 2013 but didn't make it past the budget review!

28mm Indian Mutiny - finishing off the figures in the painting queue and picking up some additional Gentlemen Volunteer and additional Bengal cavalry was to be part of my 2013 plans.  I did indeed pick up the additional figures but none of them have seen a brush as yet (although I do plan to get them moving in 2014).  I still haven't got around to trying out John Company yet though...

28mm Early War Polish - I am currently basing the (understrength) platoon of these but the SdKfz 221 and TKS are still in the (possibly in appropriately named) WIP box - so I am remain somewhat behind my original plan (2012) and also behind my revised plan (to get them on the table early in the first quarter of 2013).

15mm Marlburian - Not only have all of the figures for the second phase been purchased, most are painted and a goodly number are being based up at the moment.  I am a little late on this one (largely due to real life intruding - or I might have made the planned date).  I am now contemplating phase 3 (which will see Bavarians being added to the French and some more Allies) but that will depend on the budget review for next year.

28mm Montrose - Not only did I get all of the figures based I also managed to get them to the table.  I am still not entirely decided on Pike & Shotte for the rules and I suspect I may need to add some more figures.

25mm French Revolution - The only thing continuing to hold back the basing of these is making a decision on the ground terrain (i.e. what colour).  Not terribly impressive as this was my excuse two years ago!  I will be finishing them in 2014 (probably...)

28mm RCW/WW1 Eastern Front - I didn't really plan to progress this project again this year!

28mm WW2 Paras - I have picked up the further squad for the Bolt Action US Paras to make up the platoon and plan to get these off for painting in the new year.  I have also picked up a couple more Bren guns for my British Paras to bring them up to the proper Chain of Command platoon strength.

28mm WW1 Belgians - I was hoping that these would be used before the end of 2013; however they remain in the WIP box - I would really like to get them to the table in 2014 if possible though.

15mm Early WW2 - I still have quite a few more of these to base up - so that's another thing for the new year- but did manage to add a decent amount to my collection of 4Ground buildings.

28mm Dark Ages - I didn't even get started on the refresh for this one!

28mm Crusades - Deus Vult entirely failed to spark a resurgence of interest for this project and so I didn't actually do much other than set up a single game with my existing figures - only to find that I don't really have enough (which may explain why I haven't done anything more)!

As to plans for 2014 I have settled on two new projects - one large and one smaller:

15mm Wars of the Roses - I have been meaning to start a larger medieval project and, having visited Towton this year I think that was what swayed me to WotR.  I have already started to supplement my library and have decided to go with the Peter Pig range.  Now I just need to decide between the Canadian Wargamers Group Flower of Chivalry rules and A Coat of Steel rules from the Perfect Captain.

28mm Ronin - I really liked the look of the rules and also the various Buntai being produced by North Star.  And now that 4Ground have added some buildings I am struggling to resist.

I still have some other ideas, largely revolving around expanding some of my existing collection - 28mm WW2 (mainly for Chain of Command) and 15mm ACW (Fire & Fury) but all of the above will depend on how the finances look for next year (and having just received yet another bill through the post I have some concerns there!)

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Where has he been?

Unfortunately a combination of work and DIY has given me precious little time for gaming during November and December, hence the lack of posts.  Whilst work isn't likely to be any easier during January I have completed my big DIY project and the next one shouldn't be for another couple of months.

But having had some time off over Christmas I have started to get back up to speed and am currently basing up the figures for Phase 2 of my 15mm War of Spanish Succession project - so I should be able to get some of those onto the blog in the next couple of weeks.  I am planning some gaming for around New Year so there is is more content on the horizon!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Happy Hogswatch!

My compliments of the season to you all!  Thank you for stopping by, apologies for my absence of late and here's hoping you get some gaming goodness under the Christmas tree!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

First Look: Regimental Fire and Fury

With the original (Brigade level) Fire and Fury rules one of my favourite sets of rules and now, sadly, no longer available I decided to take a look at their Regimental little brother.

Regimental Fire and Fury comes as a 96 page full colour hardback book and are set out in a two column format interspersed with photographs, diagrams and tables.  The format will be instantly familiar to anyone who has seen the original Fire and Fury.

The rules were written for 15mm figures but are easily converted for larger or smaller figures.  Units are made up on several, multi-figure, stands with each stand representing 40 men.  With the exception of some types of stand having moved to circular bases (more cosmetic than material) and a couple of new markers being introduced everything else looks pretty much the same as the original - which means you can use those troops without any changes. As with the original these rules are based around the d10.

Each game turn is divided into two player turns each of which has three identical phases - Manoeuvre, Musketry & Cannonade and Charge.  The Manoeuvre phase combines movement and morale in a single elegant mechanism.  Musketry & Cannonade allows the opponent to resolve defensive fire before offensive fire is resolved.  And finally Charge is where melee occurs.

Casualties from firing and melee are represented by the removal of stands.  Units have three states of effectiveness - Fresh, Worn and Spent - which is determined by the number of stands lost.  This allows different levels of effectiveness to be reflected (three are suggested Spirited, Reliable and Unreliable) by units being able to have more stands removed before they drop to the next level.

All of this will sound remarkably familiar again to anyone who has played the original rules but there are a number of changes which have been introduced to reflect the different level of engagement being represented.

In Brigade level Fire and Fury a unit's experience (Green, Veteran or Crack) was used to determine its effectiveness; however, in Regimental Fire and Fury these have been expanded to include Trained and contribute their own modifiers and have separate target columns on the musketry table.

Formations remain pretty much the same with line, field column and march column being represented with the main change being line is two stands deep and a single stand deep represents an extended line.

Command radii has taken on something of a new dimension as rather than contributing a bonus on the Manoeuvre table separate columns are included for units In Command and Out of Command which allows for a non-linear impact on the effects.

More granularity has been introduced with regard to weapons (which was mostly abstracted at the Brigade level) with entries for Rifle Musket, Repeater, Breechloader, Inferior Rifle, Rifle Carbine, Smoothbore Musket and Shotgun & Hunting Rifle appearing in the Musketry Fire Point table for example.

There are a number of other changes from the original rules but it looks as if they have incorporated all the changes within the original (excellent) framework and so I am very much looking forward to trying these on the table.  I suspect I may have to develop an aide memoire to the changes which I will post if it's any good.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

4Ground 15mm Parish Church

Continuing my 4Ground construction spree I have just finished assembling the 15mm Parish Church.  Here are a few photos with some Peter Pig figures for scale:

The obligatory sniper in the church tower

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

4Ground 15mm Grand Stone Hotel

Next up is one of the larger buildings from the 4Ground 15mm Europe at War range - the Grand Stone Hotel.  Once again in pre-painted laser cut MDF and very easy to assemble:

Here's a comparison with some other buildings from the same range:

I believe there is a separate kit to enable you to add a further floor if you want more height.

Monday, 28 October 2013

4Ground 15mm Stone Walls

I just finished assembling the 4Ground 15mm stone wall set to add to my collection.  As you might expect these are pre-painted laser cut MDF.

You get twenty 60mm long sections (4 damaged, 2 each with a large and a small gate, and 12 undamaged) and twelve 30mm long sections (4 damaged and 8 undamaged).

They fit well with the other buildings I have and scale fine with 15mm figures (in this case Peter Pig WW2 British):

Sunday, 27 October 2013

A to Z Book Survey

The latest meme travelling the blogosphere is the A to Z book survey originally created by Jamie at the Perpetual Page-Turner but which I first spotted over at Legatus' Wargames Armies.  It's essential 26 book themed questions starting with each letter of the alphabet. So here's my contribution:

Quiet Please - Copyright © 2012 - 2013 Paul Kidby
Author you’ve read the most books from:
This was a hotly contested one with Sir Terry Pratchett just pipping the late David Gemmell by a single book (32 to 31) and with Dean Koontz coming in a close third with 27.

Best Sequel Ever:
I think I may cop out on this one - I have read some good sequels but I'm not sure I could really designate any of them as "best sequel ever".  If I have to I'd probably choose any of Terry Pratchett's novels which feature Death!

Currently Reading:
I usually have more than one book on the go at a time and typically it's one fiction and one non-fiction; but I'm actually reading two non-fiction books at the moment:

Firstly there's Boulogne from the Pen and Sword Battleground Europe series which I picked up as the Kindle version is only 99p at the moment.  I'm hoping this will help inspire some more early WW2 games.

And secondly there's the third volume of Marlborough, His Life and Times by Winston Churchill, part of my background reading for my War of the Spanish Succession project:

Drink of Choice While Reading:
More years ago that I care to remember this would certainly have been a glass of red wine but these days it's a nice cup of Earl Grey!

E-reader or Physical Book?
I love reading but I'm also a bibliophile and so, whilst I do have several e-books, I much prefer the physical book.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In Secondary School:
This is actually a difficult question, if it related to films or TV it would be difficult for a different reason - too many choices - but when I think back to the books I read when I was younger very few of them had any real female lead characters so there's actually very little choice and none who actually made a lasting impact.  Something I find strangely worrying...

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

There haven't been many books that I've started and had to persevere with (largely as I known for being careful and so try to do some research before I pony up for them) so if I had to put something in this category it would probably be The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane by Robert E. Howard.  I had heard some negative things about some of Howard's writing and so I was a little hesitant about getting this anthology but even though some of the style is a little dated I really enjoyed them.

Hidden Gem Book:

Being of roughly the right age I could really relate to Harry Pearson's book, Achtung Schweinehund! and found myself immersed in the nostalgia and chuckling a lot whilst reading it.

Important Moment in your Reading Life:
Without a doubt, reading with my daughter.  The opportunity to open the door to an endless world of wonder, imagination and knowledge would be difficult to match.

Just Finished:

The last book I finished reading was The Splintered Kingdom by James Aitcheson, the second in his Conquest series set in the period following 1066.  I have a fondness for dark age and early medieval fiction and whilst there are a couple of predictable moments in the story I found it easy to picture in my mind which is always a good thing.

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:
There are actually rather few types of book I won't read.  Obviously I have my preferences and there's a whole range of fiction my wide reads which I wouldn't be considering anytime soon, plus biographies are probably rather lower down on the list than they should be.

Longest Book You’ve Read:
To be honest this isn't something I pay much attention to (unless the book is particularly hard going) so it's difficult to be sure but I suspect that given it was intended to be a single volume (and I originally read it as such) it would have to be The Lord of the Rings .

Major book hangover because of:
David Gemmell.  It was bad enough waiting between books in any of his series but, with his untimely death back in 2006, the knowledge that there will be no more...

Number of Bookcases You Own:
At last count it's nine, although three of them aren't full height.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

There are quite a few non-fiction books I have re-read, although very few from cover to cover (more for reference) but for a full re-read I think I'd choose The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov.  It was one of the first Asimov books I read and not only did I enjoy the story, the ideas and the imagery but it also got me into the Robot series which led into the Foundation series.

Preferred Place To Read:

My Stressless recliner - I've had it for rather more years than I remember but it's still the most comfortable chair I have in the house.

Quote that inspires you from a book you’ve read:

Now this may, at first reading, seem like an odd selection for an inspiring quote; but Adam's use of language stuck in my mind and always makes me think carefully about my own.

Reading Regret:
That being forced to read Shakespeare for English Lit kept me away from his plays for too long.

Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series):
Having a bit of OCD I'm pretty good about continuing to buy series of books and ploughing my way through them.  I could cite A Song of Ice and Fire but despite the fact I haven't read all the published instalments it technically isn't actually finished anyway.  So I have two candidates - Marlborough, His Life And Times by Winston Churchill (I'm currently reading volume 3 and so I have 1 left to go after that) and Montrose, The Captain General by Nigel Tranter as I have read the first book The Young Montrose but have yet to read the second.

Three of your All-Time Favourite Books:
I'm not sure I really have things as "all-time favourites" but here are three I have enjoyed more than once:

Unapologetic Fanboy For:
For fiction,  prior to his demise it would have been anything from David Gemmell, although Bernard Cornwell comes a close second.

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:
To be honest I'm not sure there's a book I am "very excited" for its release at the moment.  Now if you were referring to wargames rules it would probably be the next thing from the Too Fat Lardies.

Worst Bookish Habit:
It may sounds rather weird but my worst habit is taking care of my books.  My wife constantly moans at me that she can't tell whether I have actually read a paperback because I try to do it without creasing the spine.  I also tend not to lend my books to people because they won't take proper care of them!

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

This was a little random but starting with the left most book case in the study it turned out to be Cold Zero: Inside the FBI Hostage Rescue Team by Christopher Whitcomb.  It's been a good while since I read this one...

Your latest book purchase:

For e-books this would be Boulogne (see my current reading above) and for physical books it would be  A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

I have to say that I don't often stay up late reading books (although later in the evening is one of the increasingly limited times when I have some peace and quiet).  The last books which kept me pushing back my usual turn in time was actually the last book I read in the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin - A Storm of Swords, Part 2: Blood and Gold.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

White Star Rising: Nations At War

I've been thinking of adding to my board war-game collection so when I spotted a discounted copy of White Star Rising from Lock 'n Load Publishing at Infinity Games I decided to pick it up.

White Star Rising is a platoon level game set in WW2 based on the World At War moderns system.  The game comes with a 33 page rules and scenario book, one each of 2 different quick reference sheets, 200ish counters, four mounted (11 x 17") geomorphic maps and 4d6.

Here's what's in the box:

Units are activated using a chit pull system with two end of turn chits - which ensures that all units activate at least every other turn.  The counters have all the information you are likely to need printed on them and the rules seem relatively straightforward (they're about half of the booklet with the remainder being 16 scenarios).

If you want to know a little more here's a video review of the game from Marco Arnaudo:

Having already tried a game from Lenin's copy of World At War: Blood and Bridges I'm really looking forward to getting this to the table.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Yet Another Milestone!

Yesterday The Wargame Shed hit another milestone - 150,000 pageviews - which was a pleasant surprise.

Even more so given that, when I hit 100,000 in February I had just passed 500 posts and I hit 600 in the last week.

To be honest I have always been a little surprised as to how many of you find my slightly unfocussed witterings interesting enough to keep coming back but you have my thanks!  And an even bigger thank you to those who take the time to comment.

So where next?  I'm currently trying to re-evaluate where I am with my various projects and so prioritise the growing list of things I've started but have yet to finish (and new things I am thinking of starting!).  Of course that will only last until the next shiny thing hoves into view...

Saturday, 19 October 2013

First Look: Longstreet

Longstreet is the latest set of rules from Sam Mustafa (the creator of Maurice, Lasalle, Grand Armée and Might & Reason) and are for the American Civil War.

As with Maurice the rules require the separate deck of cards although they are used in a slightly different way.  Frustratingly you actually need two sets of some of the cards and so despite buying the rules and card set I can't actually play without either buying another full set or downloading, printing and cutting out the cards from the website.

The rules themselves are 160 pages long and in colour but have been printed in a smaller format than Maurice.

The rules use base width measurements and so rebasing isn't typically required and a single stand is intended to represent 60-80 men.

As with Maurice the cards play an key part in the game.  In this case they aren't used for their "span" but rather are discarded to invoke actions and then (as with Maurice) used to modify or interrupt them.  The deck has a number of other types of cards other than the action ones - some of which are only required for the advanced game.

At the beginning of a turn a player may choose to reshuffle (which has an inbuilt penalty as a number of cards are discarded if you do) and then, as with Maurice, there's an option for a fire phase followed by the player choosing from movement, combat or passing.

The advanced game introduces your character who can then be developed through the campaign system along with a variety of advanced rules (for heroes, sharpshooters, repeaters etc.).  There are sections on club games, scenario games and the grand campaign.

This is all rounded out with three appendices covering FAQs, a card manifest and the quick reference sheets.

I will be interested to see how the rules compare to Regimental Fire and Fury (which I will also be trying out).

Some sample pages from the rules and a "lite" version are available for download from the Honour website.