Saturday, 27 November 2021

Reviving DBA armies - a heady mix of nostalgia and lemsip!

Despite being laid almost completely low by man-flu this week, I managed to stick some grassy finishing touches on to a project that I've been enjoying over the last month or so.

Fairly recently Steve (of Steve's Painting Shed) posted some Facebook pictures of some 15mm Greek DBA armies he'd been renovating. (obviously gorgeous!)

Although I pretty much only ever played DBA solo, (or maybe because I pretty much only ever played solo) I loved it. I played out a couple of mediterranean campaigns, and the first ever wargaming experience my son had (when he was about 3 or 4), was charging elephants into Roman hastatii. 

That was a while ago. Fred's 21 now and the figures have long been consigned to a rather scarily disorganised and uncared for pile of 15mm memories in a box in the loft.

Inspired by Steve's posts, I dug them out and worked out that I could salvage Roman and Carthaginian armies, (all Essex I think), and cobble a strange collection of Donnington Italians into II/8a italian army.

Following his advice, I picked up DBA 3.0, which definitely brings a few changes that I've had to get my head around, both to the rules, but also some small army list changes. I ordered some new MDF bases from warbases... and a few weeks later we have two DBA armies ready to rock! 

Nearly twenty years since they last met!

Polybian Roman II/33

Later Carthaginian II/32a

My old 2x2 board has been given a repaint, and a few bits of felt and stuff will provide the scenery for now, as I add suitably shaped and modelled bits. I've got an old scratch-built BAU which will work as a city but 3.0 brings some new BAU types, so that's something to look at.

Falling back in love with these little armies, no doubt mostly due to a heady mix of nostalgia and lemsip, and looking forward to playing more DBA. (next up, finish the Italians, then plan the next armies)

Monday, 15 November 2021

Death Race at Ruddington Raceway! A Gaslands Game

Recently Scrivs had his first game of Gaslands.. being Scrivs, within the space of a week he'd already got all the gear and built and converted a whole bunch of vehicles! I've got  a few cars and a rudimentary grasp of the game, having played some solo games, and one at the Polly club years ago.. so we met up on Sunday for a 50 cans deathrace!

Geek Villain mat I'd picked up from NorthStar earlier this year

The starting grid

We picked two teams without any Sponsors or perks.. my '99 Specials' consisted of ice cream van, Mr Whippy, and two cars; Firkle and Mazda Mike. Nothing was particularly powerful.. a smattering of MGs, a ram and a smoke dropper brought me up to 50 cans pretty quickly. Scrivs had the Reds with a car and three buggies, one of which sported a harpoon which I was mildly apprehensive of!

I won Pole and decided to stick Mr Whippy on the front row. He was the first out of the gate, 'Greensleeves' on full blast, as he rolled, pushed it and ended up with a slide and a slide, leaving him side on to the pack! Chaos predictably ensued, with shunting and swerving up the first gate, leaving Mr Whippy snuggling a container, one buggy wrecked and another wiped out!

The race started to open out. I'd expected the buggies to zoom up ahead, but somehow Mazda Mike dropped smoke on gate one and got into the lead. he then held on to it, cruising along playing the Eagles and enjoying a cigar. Further down the pack, the minigun buggy was tailing Mr Whippy, somehow managing to miss repeatedly with pretty much all of his shots, until finally deciding to zoom past him.

By Gate 3, it looked like the remaining sliding and skidding Reds were coming on at speed and were going to catch up with the leaders.. Mike panicked, shifting into 5th whilst still on the bend, causing him to spin off the track, leaving Firkle in the lead! The minigun buggy then took out Firkle with a well aimed burst and it looked like he might bomb through for the win.

At  this point though, Mazda Mike showed his true mettle, spitting out his cigar, he threw his vehicle into a reverse hard turn, right into the path of the buggy and fired his handgun.. this took out the buggy which flipped harmlessly over the Mazda.. calmly Mike turned the volume up and turned for the finish line, being the first winner at the Ruddington Raceway!

Good fun! Hopefully we can rope in one or two others for some multiplayer action (Although Tom is likely to refuse to play unless we can find some Sylvanian Families cars apparently?)

Thursday, 28 October 2021

Opening games in the 1940 Fighting Withdrawal campaign - Part Two; Holding the line at Risquons Tout

Last night Tom and I played the next game in the 'Fighting Withdrawal' campaign. In this scenario, the Germans had one objective, as per the 'Probe' scenario.. get at least one team off the opposite side of the table.. very Blitzkrieg!

The scenario map, Germans attacking from the left

I actually gave a little thought the night before as to how to spend my generous support points. In this scenario the BEF have a pretty good defensive line along an Anti-tank ditch, with barbed wire and concrete bunker.  I opted for more firepower than speed, reasoning that it was likely that a roadblock would impede a wheeled or tracked dash for that end of the table. I chose a pre-game barrage to try to delay some deployment, along with an IG18 gun, some engineers and an off-table mortar battery.

The line of defence, German infantry pushing on the top

We had a cagey patrol phase.. neither of us too sure of our intentions and I definitely lucked out, Tom cursing his angles!

A Jump Off Point on the flanking edge, followed by a double phase and some good dice throws, found an infantry section rushing hard up on the one weak point in the British line. Tom managed to get some infantry deployed just before the 80mm mortars opened up, but the german gun crew put some fire into a section in the house, wounding the Junior leader there.

Despite the fact that the British Force morale was holding very well, some more lucky dice rolls ran the german section off the table and ended the game.

As it happened, the road had been left clear, and maybe deploying a 221 and gunning it might have yielded the same result? the Probe scenario is a tricky one to defend.

This was a really quick game, but it wasn't really a disappointment in that this is one chapter of the story. The British didn't suffer any losses and the next game sees them in a much tougher defensive position.. I suspect that I'll be hard-pushed to win that one on the first run!

See Tom's page for more photos and his account of the battle: 

Opening games in the 1940 Fighting Withdrawal campaign - Part One; Counter Attack at Avelghem

Tom and I have been planning for some time to play this 1940 campaign which we found in the 2016 Lardy summer special. Rather than a 'typical' pint sized campaign, where both sides track their losses and successes, this is much more of a narrative, a series of linked scenarios that follow the withdrawal of C Company of the Beds & Herts as they are pursued by the advancing Germans across Belgium and into France. 

Tom has taken charge of the BEF forces and I'm looking after the 'NPC' German forces (I don't need to track any losses and just need to keep piling it on to push the British back to Dunkirk).

Game One was the 'Counter Attack at Avelghem', where a small group of Germans had made their way across a demolished bridge, and Tom needed to push them back to prevent them forming a bridgehead. The table is quite open, drainage ditches providing some light cover.

German section on the bridge ramp took heavy aimed bren fire

British lined the ditches

Despite my initial doubts, the Germans managed to put quite a bit of damage onto the British and crucially manage to bring more forces over the river, although their morale was falling steadily.. Eventually Tom pushed forward, making really good use of smoke from his 2" mortars, and despite taking losses, managed to over-run a JOP. 

The assault goes in on the weakened German section

Shortly afterwards, I remembered that the Germans had a special rule; 'Handgranaten!'.. without hesitation, I decided that sounded like a great idea and soon learned that charging an enemy, even a weakened one, when your Force Morale is at 2 is really not a good idea! 

Game One, although a costly victory, went to the BEF. This will determine the number of games that are played. 

See Tom's write up and pictures here:

Friday, 15 October 2021

Partizan.. an actual show.. in real life! (El Cid battle of Bairen 1097)

On Sunday I had the great pleasure of joining James and the chums (Scrivs and Tom), to 'help' in putting on a beautiful El Cid demonstration game at the Partizan show.

I've been going to Partizan for many years (Grove sports centre .. so 1980-something!) and it's always been my favourite, so it was great that this was the first 'proper' wargames show in England for a very long time.

My contribution was small.. I performed my usual function of Tshirt designer (quite like this one) and I've been 3D printing some rulers for the 'Midgard' rules, which we used on the day.. but really when you look at that gorgeous table and the spectacular armies.. small potatoes!

Anyway, as well as enjoying playing the game (James rules work very well even on this epic scale), it was great to meet gamers old and new again and we're all very grateful to Laurence and the team for arranging the show and taking care to make sure we felt safe

Many more pictures and information on the rest of the crew's blogs:

James Morris (mogsymakes)


Tom's Toy Soldiers

The team sporting the El Cid T shirts; James, Tom, me, Scrivs. (we 'masked up' soon after this photo, and stayed that way for the day)

setting up

And some pictures from around the hall. Typically, I miss half the games at the show and spend the next week viewing blogs and Youtube declaring "I didn't see that!", so not a very representative collection!

Simon Miller and pals 'To the Strongest' scaled up!

the participation game zone always has some oddball treats!

HUGE Zama battle

A couple of gentlemen looked to be playing Rapid Fire with 54mm figs

The Perrys gorgeous South American game

I really like this idea of raising the table.. in model railway circles there is often debate over the height of a layout, but wargames tables tend to all be pretty standard

I didn't really get any good photos of this neat 1870 game from the Stonewall group

I'm still not sure of the value of the Blog.. whether anyone reads it, but I had to share ;-) Off to Tom's tomorrow to play Chain of Command and make a start on our 'Fighting Withdrawal' campaign.

Sunday, 29 August 2021

Frostgrave.. the rivalry begins

Not managing to arrange a 'proper' game for various reasons, I had finished off a few more scenery bits recently and thought I'd have another solo bash at Frostgrave. Rather than play one of the solo scenarios, I rolled up two warbands - Zaleus the Summoner and Brankus the Enchanter and thought I'd just play a 'standard' game.. I may try a little series, taking these two warbands in head to head 'campaign'.. we'll see.

It was a fairly close fought affair, with Zaleus coming out on top with 3 of the 5 treasures. Although his apprentice was struck down by Renauld's crossbow (a natural 20), she survived. Both warbands escaped any 'serious' losses in fact.. Brankus lost one thug, but they don't count!

During the game I realise that I had picked a few of the same spells for the two opposing wizards, so that could have been better planned, but we'll see. Brankus has gained 1 level and learned a new spell from a Grimoire they found, whilst Zaleus jumped up 2 levels, improving a couple of existing spells. 

Stan and Cnut investigate an alleyway

Brankus in sullen mood

Zaleus commands a zombie to join Astrogoth fighting the skeleton

Izith about to catch a crossbow bolt badly 

Stan and Cnut encounter two wild dogs

Aggie, Brankus' apprentice, looks over the scrapping bands

Having dealt with the dogs, Stand and Cnut are jumped by thugs

A snow troll wanders into the street, must have heard the fighting

Lucius and a construct are outnumbered by Zaleus' men

New britches for Ulf!