Sunday, 6 June 2021

Boots on the table.. a 1940 game

Every wargamer in the western world seems to be posting 'first game back at the table' posts on social media these days.. here's another one!

Yesterday I took a short trip over to Toms wargames shed for a game of 'Chain of Command'.

About a year ago we agreed to have a go at a 1940 campaign and during lockdown we've been building up forces and terrain to play the 'Fighting Withdrawal' mini campaign from the TooFatLardies Summer 2016 magazine.. I'm playing Germans and Tom the BEF.

Neither of us have had lots of CoC experience (yes, yes..) so a 'practice game' was agreed. Tom set out the terrain before I arrived with a silly amount of boxes, adding a few bits to the table. We decided to play the Attack/Defence scenario from the main book, with Tom fielding a 1939 regular platoon, and me taking the 2nd Wave German platoon, both from the 1940 handbook.

As tempted as I was to take a StugIII for support, (because I have one), I settled on a pre-game barrage, the IG18 infantry gun and an armoured car (SDkfz221).. all of which proved to be pretty essential players on team Deutschland today. The BEF as I recall, brought a Vickers HMG, a Boyes AT.. and I think an adjutant.

I won't  go through the game blow by blow.. the patrol phase was a disaster for me.. rolling a 1 for initial moves and some questionable placement, meant I was starting on the table edge and going to have to work hard to push into cover and force some morale checks. The pre-game barrage really worked in my favour here, limiting Tom's ability to bring stuff on, and encouraging me to get as much on the table as soon as I could before that advantage was lost.

The infantry gun did solid work, I seemed to get a 1 on every turn, keeping heads down, and by the time the first turn was up, I was in a slightly better position to push.. actually taking one of the BEF jump offs and using a CoC dice to end the next turn. Not long before that I had actually said that I thought this was going to be a very quick game with the Germans coming off worse, as the initial force morale setbacks were all on me. Such a pessimist!

Tom used Ambush to spring an Boyes AT attack on my stationary Armoured car, but the shot missed, and although the team worked their way around the field for another shot, that one bounced.

We played until the BEF were down to 3 or 4 Force morale points.. the Germans weren't much better at 6, but we agreed that the outcome seemed pretty certain, with pressure on remaining jump offs and not much of the BEF remaining on the table.. Tom called a withdrawal, leaving the field to the Germans.

It was great to get back to 'proper' gaming and despite inevitable rules mistakes, we enjoyed the game. Might be another 'warm up' next.. or perhaps we'll just jump into the campaign.

Infantry sections advance under Bren fire

German senior officers were very useful
German senior officers proved very useful

Germans mass their fire 

A cautious approach

Sdkfz221 adding MG fire

Plucky BEF HMG team under heavy fire

The Germans try to sweep around the British held buildings

A horrible German patrol phase!

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Like falling off a bike, or something.. (a return to the blog)

I'm at that age now when any event marking the passage of time prompts me to declare "Blimey!" .. for example, apparently it's 25 years since Alanis Morissette released Jagged Little Pill ?!

Conversation in recent months about wargaming blogs made me realise that it's almost five years since I last posted here!


So, I've been sitting on my typing hands for a fair bit of 2021, wondering whether I ought to start this blog up again, and where to start etc, as the realisation dawned upon me that this really is a 'first world problem' and considering that nobody is likely to read the thing anyway.. why not just pick it up again as a way of recording and encouraging myself to keep up hobby momentum!

I won't try to recap the last five years.. games have been played, new shiny projects have come and gone.. but in fairness, playing with trains definitely took precedence up until around 2019.. and Youtubing became very much my route to 'share' hobby stuff, rather than using a blog. (See my channel here by the way, I've even posted a couple of solo Dragon Rampant games, which hasn't pleased the model railroad followers!)

I got talking to Tom and James at one of the shows, rolled some dice.. and we started organising games..Tom's covered much of it on his excellent blog. 

Lockdown happened which has obviously had an impact on all of that, although like many people, we managed to get some virtual games done too.. including a fun Muskets and Tomahawks campaign set in the French Indian wars played out on Zoom.

Tom and I are planning a Chain of Command 1940 campaign (we've even built terrain pieces and painted armies!), so looking forward to that.. as well as trying out some cold war gone hot with Scrivs, newly returned from the colonies..

So.. I'm going to try to post regularly again.. even if it's brief and rubbish.. I think it might be a good exercise.

A super-brief highlight reel of some stuff that's passed over my table in 2021 so far (excluding Zoom games):

Painting up Perry Wars of the Roses army.. 3D printing stakes for archers.. starting a 'Bag the Hun' collection for the Flying Tigers.. building, painting and rigging 'Black Seas' ships.. building and expanding fantasy Dragon Rampant armies for my own 'Nordmark' setting.. getting some HeHe based and realising how many more I need to start playing 'Death in a Dark Continent'.. building up a British BAOR force in 1/144 using Northag plastish models and 3D prints (and 3D printing Soviets) to play 'Seven Days to the River Rhine' with Scrivs any time soon! .. rebasing some ancient 15mm 18th century stuff for some ImagiNation solo games...

Playing some solo 1866 games using 6mm armies and Neil Thomas 19th Century rules.. starting a big project to rebase and re-arm my Arthurian armies back to WAB.. 3D printing tanks from 1/300 to 1/48.. more Dragon Rampant.. scratch building and kit building real estate for 1940 games.. and painting up gorgeous Aventine EIR romans for Infamy Infamy (which I will probably never play)

(the buildings are all actually the right way up in real life, that is to say, with roof skyward.. but I thought I'd get you to tilt your head to one side, just for fun!)

Monday, 5 September 2016

The Battle of Tribola 147 BC at Hereward wargames show

Made my first trip to the Hereward show in Peterborough yesterday, putting on a To The Strongest! game with James Morris and Simon Miller, along with Matt and Doug. 
James devised a scenario based upon the named action, where a column of Romans impetuously followed their Lusitanian foe into a valley where they were properly ambushed. I supplied the Romans, Simon is the author of these rather spiffing rules, and James brought his lovely Spanish army and all of the scenery - including the rather special mountain that was, of course, Keren in a previous life.

View from the mountainside

The Spanish start to realise that the Romans aren't running away!

Simon doing the wargamers point

Simon explaining finer points of the rules

All in all a very successful day. I didn't actually play - mostly hovering about chatting with punters and helping the gamers who joined in.

We all expected the scenario to pretty much lead to a Roman squishing, but the first game went on for ages and actually very nearly turned into a Roman victory as Tim (I think) , took grave offence at the audacity of these Iberians, and went on the offensive, not trying to withdraw his army at all, but rather crush the Lusitanians in toe-to-toe combat!
The Romans get offensive!

In the afternoon, a rather smaller engagement was played, using the leading legions , and I believe this went a little more to plan, with Matt being assisted by a young lady who took the glory.

I had a bit of a look around the show but didn't buy anything. (apart from a bacon cob!) It's noticeable how many smaller games there are these days - lots of 'big skirmishy' type of things - not that that's a bad thing - people seemed to be having a lot of fun over both halls, and many games were still in full swing as the traders were packing up after 4 o'clock.

Having picked up Sharp Practice 2 this year, I've yet to have a game, and I'm starting to work out the best way to do it. (I'd really like to collect stuff for the 'Maximillian adventure' but cost is a limiting factor).

A few crappy pictures from around the show..

This was actually a very loud and fun game, doesn't look like it here does it?


I was just thinking.. 'Could I use Sharp Practice' for Mars? And Yes, yes you can.

A real masterpiece this one - Benfleet

Now that's what 'Saga' should look like!

A few more pictures just didn't come out very well, but there were some other nice looking games on display.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Roman in the Gloamin'...

Strewth it's been  long while!! Quite a few reasons.. kind of lost my mojo and there have been some pretty big family issues to deal with. I have been able to keep up a little with some rail modelling, painting the odd figure (finally got my fourth Italian Ala painted up).. but haven't had a game in months. Until this week...

The mounted Lusitanian flank apply pressure

James Morris was in touch recently and I've signed up for putting on a Romans in Spain game at the Hereward show in a couple of weeks, with Simon Miller (we'll be using his 'To The Strongest! rules) and Matt Moran.

Simon has tweaked the Roman infantry rules, or at least, provided an alternative, to try to counter the frailty of the small legion units, and to reflect some recent thinking in "Slingshot", the journal of the Society of Ancients. The Hastatii and Principes join to form a standard unit and have some special rules that allow them to swap places, bolstering the saves and re-arming the pila.

I was keen to try the new rules out, and just to have a refresher really, as I'd rather be fairly au fait once punters turn up at Hereward and ask what we're doing!

Anyhoo.. the other evening I drove over to James' house and we spent the evening playing a very enjoyable 155 point game with my Romans vs his Lusitanians, and of course, chatting generally about gaming, history, figures and basing, and ideas for the upcoming demo game.

James setting up the Lusitanians (Romans opposite) note the attractive cloth with subtle grid

I won't provide a battle report, as James has done a cracking job of that over on the Lead Adventure forum, along with some nice photos of the game in action.

See here:

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Miss the Kidd! WW2 Pacific Participation game at Hammerhead

Never been to Hammerhead before.. But when Quint asked if I fancied 'Helping' with his fun 'Miss the Kidd' game, I was more than happy to come along.

Hammerhead is all participation, getting punters to play lots of games - so lots of ingenuity on show.. nobody wants to spend 3 hours looking up charts in this environment.

Our games hosted 2 to 5 players mostly - they took the part of AA gunners on the Kidd, trying to stop waves of Japanese planes  - players plotted their fire by placing flak markers on the table, predicting a hex and height band before we moved the flights randomly. Most games lasted about 15 minutes and as well as trying to stop the Japanese planes, the players were in competition with each other to score the most hits.

Pleased to say that most of the winners were youngsters - I'd say under 10 years old, and were very happy, not only with winning, but the badges that Quint had made up as prizes too!

I didn't get any good pictures of the game in full flow, as I was busy pushing planes around.. but a random selection, and a few random ones from around the floor too..

(PS strangest thing, the only thing I bought all day was two cups of tea! A good thing, but a little boring!)

James Morris' WW1 Fortress


Wings of Glory

Trevor's Cape Wars game

Saturday, 2 January 2016

The Battle of Kolin

Steve M organised a big bash for our New Year game at the Polly..a refight of the Battle of Kolin, using his own cast and painted traditional semi-flat Seven Years War figures as described over on his blog.. today the Prussians were commanded by Greg, Trev and Rich, whilst Quint and myself took the Austrians, assisted by the Austrian umpire (Steve).. we were using 'King of the Battlefield' rules, with which most of us were fairly unfamiliar.. we were assured that they were fast and bloody.. as it turned out, a lot more saving of hits than is apparently the norm took place.

I won't go into too much detail as I'm knackered (!) , but it was a great game, lots of fun and always a pleasure to take part in a big one like this... just wanted to get some pictures up.

Steve took lots with his camera, so hopefully he'll have them posted soon. As ever I was using my phone, so not so great pictures, but hopefully capture a feel of it here..

Not sure who won.. that was down to classic wargamers debate in the end, as the Prussians were still pushing on the ridge, but the Austrians still had a large uncommitted reserve. I suspect that Frederick's actual defeat may have been repeated had we played on to the evening!

Greg and Trev decide on tactics, much to Quint's amusement

The huge cavalry melee on the Prussian left about to start

And the ArchDuke is still tickled..

The Austrian centre

Austrian cavalry feeling rather misplaced

French, er Austrian, er Spanish... our side anyway!

The Austrian left flank brace for successive cavalry charges

Austrian right, reserves moving up

Prussians put pressure on the ridge, but are challenged by Cuirassiers

The Prussian centre