Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Big Battle Weekend - Punic Wars with To the Strongest

On Saturday four of us (Goat major, Essex Boy, Count Belisarius and I) played a big 15mm Punic Wars game at Wargames Foundry's premises near Newark.


We planned the weekend months ago, and more recently did the final prep to ensure we had everything we needed on the day - scenery, tokens, army rosters, and so on. As these things tend to, it came around very quickly at the end but fortunately there was little last minute panic painting to do (except for the Count of course!)


We chose the Punic period because 3 of us had suitable figures (most of which hadn't seen the light for day for a lot of years), and To the Strongest because it offered a relatively quick-play experience and, being grid-based, wasn't going to be fazed by mild variations in people's unit basing.



We collated a list of available figures and drew up two armies, each about 550 points in game terms. As a first go with the rules (apart from a solo test game I played a while back) this was rather ambitious, but we wanted a bit of a spectacle and the look and feel of a big battle. Hopefully the pictures give the impression that we achieved this.



You do need quite a few bits and pieces to play TtS - playing cards, activation markers, ammo markers, as well as a gridded battlefield. We chatted through all this beforehand and were able to turn up with the right items on the day. We used two 6'x4' Mat-o-War cloths, foliage clumps placed at 6" intervals, and some other scenery, then deployed the armies and got stuck in.

Inevitably we were playing more slowly at the beginning than we were by the end, but we soon got the gist of things and enjoyed the way the rules worked.

EB and I drew the Carthaginians, with their various Spanish, Numidian and Italian allies (plus some elephants of course). GM and CB each had two Roman legions, plus hordes of Gauls and other allies.




Naturally everyone advanced and got stuck in, infantry in the middle and cavalry on the flanks. 4 or 5 hours of play later we hadn't quite got a decisive result, but we had had a lot of fun. Elephants had rampaged back through friendly troops, generals had died and hat-tricks of aces had been drawn (an unlikely occurrence but repeated several times - mostly by the unlucky GM). By the time we had to stop and pack up I had a slight positional edge over GM's Romans/Gauls, and hadn't committed many of my doughty African Spearmen, while to my left EB and CB had fought out a fairly bloody draw. A close thing all-round then, and a very enjoyable day.







Great company as always and the game was played in a friendly spirit all-round. We had a good night out in Newark too, with a few ales and an excellent curry.

There are some tentative plans for games next year, which will hopefully happen. It'll probably be mine and Simon's turn to travel, if EB and the Count can get their gaming spaces sorted!




Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Big Weekend at Frammie

We (members of the Loose Association of Wargamers) returned to Tim H's very pleasant home village of Framlingham this weekend. We were last there for a wargaming session in 2014, time has flown! Ten of us gathered on Friday evening, got quickly caught up and enjoyed a good curry and a decent amount of beer. The banter was lively and continued throughout the weekend.

There were some very good games put on, two on each day. I was crap with the camera and only managed a few pics (my apologies to Tim for not getting some of his excellent FIW and Sci-Fi - both in 54mm!), but others did a lot better and Andy's blog is a good place to visit to see a lot more - here

When Alex and Peeler offered a big DBN game of Vittoria I volunteered like a shot. They made a custom battlefield in the last week or so, especially for the game - a brilliant effort. Alex was Wellington and Peeler took the part of the King Jerome. I took the part of 'Daddy' Hill and Gary got the late arrival columns under Graham and Dalhousie. On the other side of the table were Simon and Andy as the two French sub-commanders. The scenario was an interesting one, with the French deploying in their historical 'caught on the hop' positions and the allies piling on the pressure and trying to close in from various angles.

Alex setting up on Friday:



Saturday

The start of the battle, with my command aiming straight up the road and looking to get around the French flank on the slopes to the right.



The first of Andy's rearguard are dead and we're on our way, albeit a bit slowly due to being unable to make additional/march moves.



Mid-battle - Dalhousie has arrived on the other side of the river and Hill and Wellington are chasing the fleeing Frenchies up the valley:




Gary did very good work trying to storm over the bridges, taking big casualties but dealing the same out to the waiting French. The fighting intensified on the river line, but was petering out on the other flank as we failed to pursue as fast as Andy routed. The highlight was Alex canistering Andy's command figure with a deft bit of horse artillery work - a quality moment (for us) and I was forced to drive my battery over the remains as we intensified the pursuit. In the end, we didn't get as far up the table as we would have liked but we did bring the battle to a successful conclusion a couple of turns from the end by destroying the requisite number of French elements.

As always DBN provided an excellent big battle experience and the game was a pleasure to participate in. Thanks to Andy and Mark for the effort that went in, and for everyone for the great spirit in which the game was played.


Sunday

The second day's gaming involved an excellent fictitious colonial game set in the pre-pith helmet era. This was all Paul's creation - terrain, scenery, most the of the figures, the plot and even a full set of rules. Very very impressive stuff all-round. We were 3 a 'side' (there were some cunningly conflicting player objectives) and each of us had an interesting force with its own background and characteristics.


I got sailors (for which I got to provide most of the figures) and there were forces of sepoys, jungle-loving natives, semi-regulars and fanatics from various factions. None-the-wiser we all got stuck in and Paul ran the game from a nicely illustrated set of cards he'd made. The rules were simple to learn and we could focus on the action and the fun. There were events to keep us on our toes too, such as tiger, snake and monkey attacks!

As you'll see from the pics it was a lavish affair, and kept us occupied, and laughing, well into the afternoon. By the end, Alex's regulars had been wiped out in the jungle in their own special 'Nam by the local savages, Andy had been wiped out by Simon's accurate muskets and bayonets and I had been finished off by Simon's backstabbing ambush. He declared innocence, it all being a big misunderstanding, and so on. Yeah, yeah. Simon and Gary were the ones to achieve their missions in a thoroughly entertaining game. Thanks again Paul - awesome!










And so, a long drive back home on Sunday and now I'm already looking forward to the next get-together - November's ancients bash in Newark.


Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Bear Clan!

A couple of months ago I painted some 15mm fantasy figures for use with Dragon Rampant and my dungeon adventure game. Before I went back to the 6mm SYW project I did paint a force of Bear Clan/Cultists but have taken forever to get the bases done.

Now they're finally finished, here are some pics:




Leader, champions and shamen:



Shapeshifters (Copplestone):



Crazy bear:



The men are mostly Splintered Light, with a few Copplestone and a Demonworld leader. The bears are from a variety of companies too, in small, medium and bloomin' big sizes. I've kept to a very simple pallet and, with most figures having some bearskin on them, that's provided the overriding look.

I have another batch of about 20 to finish, which will allow me to field more options for a Dragon Rampant force. When I'm fed up with painting 6mm I'll switch back to these and get the rest finished off.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

One Hour Wargames - Now with Added Pikes

The other two games I played at the weekend saw a switch to the 17th century, with my Medetians and Fleurians fighting it out over a couple of scenarios. The pike and shot rules differ a bit from the horse and musket ones, with more melee and some changes to the troop types. Very interesting nonetheless.

Game 5 was scenario 18 - Counter Attack
Fleurie held the bridge against a major Medetian attack, while they hurried their own reinforcements forward. Inevitably a big scrap ensued when the Fleurians used the two flanking fords to get at their enemy's flanks and eventually win the battle. This game was played on a slightly extended 2' x 2.5' board as I need to use specific terrain tiles to get the river to run across the middle of the battlefield.






Game 6 was from scenario 3 - Control the River

For this game I decided to up-scale a bit, going to a 3' x 3' board and increasing the unit sizes to 5" wide. This meant much bigger regiments and (comparatively) lots of figures on the table. Infantry units had 80 figures and cavalry had 32. Naturally it played the same, it just looked more like a battle! :)

Both armies approached the river with the aim being to control both the east and west river crossings. Although initially both kept a central reserve to see where it might be needed, inevitably you get two separate fights with this scenario. Fortunately the movement rates are sufficient to re-deploy quite quickly and in the end it was the Medetian army that managed to crush one enemy flank and move along both sides of the river to overcome the remaining Fleurians at the other crossing.

This was good fun to play and, like the other games, an interesting challenge in trying to get the best from the different unit types. Sticking to historically inspired tactics does seem to be the most effective approach, which speaks well for the rules.

Pics from this final game:












I will definitely be returning to this type of gaming, probably for a mini-campaign of linked games.