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.

Friday, 18 October 2013

First Look: By Savvy and Steel

By Savvy and Steel is the latest release from Two Hour Wargames and is obviously intended to capture the spirit of the Three Musketeers.

The rules are 90 pages can be purchased as either a pdf or in hard copy.  As you might expect By Savvy and Steel is built around the Two Hour Wargames' reaction system but with a few extra elements in keeping with the genre and combined with a campaign system based around the fictional country of Edenstein.

Character generation is somewhat more detailed than many of the other THW rules - largely as these are based on having a much smaller number of characters.  In addition to the usual Reputation, players have to determine their character's Birthright, Social Standing, Age, Nationality, Class and Attributes.

Once you have your main character you can then try to recruit some Grunts to help you on your adventures - this can actually form part of your adventure.

The core rules will be very familiar if you've used the reaction system before; however, you can supplement the standard melee mechanism with a special more detailed duelling system if both participants are of sufficient social standing.

The rules are about half the book and are then followed by a campaign and scenario system which takes up the remainder and provides plenty of variety of genre appropriate situations and encounters.  It includes everything you need to generate non-player characters and PEF (possible enemy forces) rules which will allow players to play against the system or for the game to be played solo.

Given that I have suitable figures for the Musketeers, Cardinal's Guard etc. I could hardly not try these rules out and I'm looking forward to getting them to the table.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Punish the Village

Our second pre-SELWG game was a medieval skirmish.  The Peasants are revolting (aren't they always?) and the Lord is taking his retinue to punish them for their temerity.  I had command of the vanguard and gleefully charged my knights over the bridge with our surcoats flapping and the sun glinting off our armour - straight into the pits which had been dug on the far side!

Two of my knights went down and whilst the others managed to pull up before the pits they then cam under a hail of crossbow fire.  Obviously the villagers were not only prepared but had some help (from seven mercenaries it transpired - I think you can see whether this might be going...)

We advanced into the village with one of my rather impetuous knights trying to charge down some of the villagers.

He turned the corner to be faced by a barricade - which he jumped majestically - only to find himself alone and cut off from the rest of my troops.  Of course he was then mobbed, pulled from his horse and came to a sticky end.

The Lord and remainder of the retinue followed across the bridge somewhat more cautiously.

My remaining mounted knights rode on through the village and found some carts blocking the other main thoroughfare.  These were easily pulled apart and they advanced.

The villagers scattered once again and my knights pursued them into an alley where they tried to make a stand (somewhat more successfully than I was expecting!)

The remainder of my men on foot advance to the first barricade and encountered some rather better armoured and skilled opposition than we had been anticipating.  Meanwhile the villagers attempted to ambush my soldiers who were starting to fire their houses.  One of the villagers attacked one of my knights and was almost cut in half and the remainder were soon chased off and a couple of houses set ablaze.

With the Lord and his knights advancing on the left flank and my knights having pushed through the alley the mercenaries were near to being surrounded.  With a couple of their number having been killed they decided to withdraw and the day was ours - although with rather more casualties than we would have liked!