Saturday, 30 August 2014

Phew! What a Day!

In all my years of wargaming I have never had a day like today.

It started at 10am with a trip to Ade's house. We started with a game of Bolt Action in 20mm using Ade's lovely British and Germans. We are far from experienced with the rules so got a couple of things wrong but had a cracking game anyway. I took the role of the Germans attacking the British trying to secure 3 objectives spread out across a line a few inches in from Ade's baseline. Unfortunately Bolt Action doesn't , Pleasure and Pain. compensate much for the fact one person is attacking and both sides had equal points. I think tactical doctrine dictates odds of around 3:1 to contemplate an attack. A limited effectiveness pre game bombardment didn't quite balance things up and the Germans got shot up pretty badly. A great game though and I look forward to playing again.

We then played two games of DBA, a game I haven't played in probably 15+ years. Ade has several lovely Biblical era armies, I chose late Hittites up against Sea Peoples. I should add were playing DBA 2.0; what difference there is between that and version 1.0 I have no idea. After a bit of head scratching we were soon into the swing of things and we got through two games very quickly winning one each.

By then it was time for the club. First up for me was a game of Dreadball. I used my Orx team, the Dakka Dakka Smashers up against Keith with his female Corporation team, Pleasure and Pain. Keith scored a 4 point strike early on. We booth suffered with rotten dice but around the 5 rush I managed to draw level with a 4 point strike of my own. The very next rush Keith scored a 3 point strike and despite my best efforts i couldn't score. Like every game of Dreadball I have played, there was a chance right up until the last dice roll that I could get back into the game but alas the dice remained poor and Keith ended up winning by 3.

On finishing Dreadball myself, Keith and Ethan played a game of Zombicide. Great fun but we didn't manage to finish. At various points it seemed we were doomed but so far all 6 survivors are still alive. We have left it set up hopefully to finish next week.

So 5 games in one day. An all time high for me. Great fun, great company and all played in the right spirit. Long may this rich vien of gaming continue.

More soon...

Thursday, 28 August 2014

I Love the Smell of Wargaming

Ade and Keith came over for a Vietnam game last night using Men of Company B from Peter Pig. We have started to game semi regularly outside of our activities with Stoke Wargames Group.In homage to Graham Evans and his group, I think I will christen these mid week sessions the Thursday Night Gang, or TNG. The homage part being that we wont be necessarily meeting on Thursdays. In fact, there is an ad hoc meeting of the TNG tomorrow at Ade's house to play Bolt Action all day.

I have taken MoCB down to the Stoke club a while ago but it didn't go to well. This time it went a lot better with Keith playing as the US Infantry and Ade as Victor Charlie. Keith had a small force of two platoons at his disposal, travelling in 3 M113's. Included in his force was the commander of Company B, James Lazarus, 3 rifle squads per platoon plus a specialist 'tunnel rat' group (Elias?). The US mission was to move out from the deserted ville of Ad Hoc to nearby Ha Tai where VC sympathisers had been identified and to capture as many as they could for interrogation back at base.

Ade as the VC commander was given a choice of forces and went for the one with a bit of everything. This included several bases of Local VC Militia, a couple of bases of Hard Core VC, a couple of RPG's and a HMG.

Mid game picture, Ha Tai is towards the bottom of the picture.
In MoCB, the VC use a system of zones represented by tokens initially to indicate where their forces are. The US patrol the locale, engaging with these zones to activate them. The VC spreads his forces across the zoens, with the only stipulation being one zone must be empty and the others contain at least one 'stores' token for which the US gain points at game end for recovering. I got this bit wrong when explaining it to Ade and when splitting his force across the zones, sneakily put most of the stores in one zone. A zone located fairly centrally contained 2 RPG's, the HMG and the 2 Hard Core VC bases to pack a heavy punch in an ambush. Keith set off with all haste to get the mission done hoping to catch the VC sleeping but on passing the loaded up zone was hit in a devastating ambush that saw him lose two M113's, and two bases including the Company Commander. 

 Keith chose US Gunships for his support. He could have chosen off table artillery or airstrikes. The pciture above shows the first of two gunships roaming the battlefield. Ade was able to shoot at the them and also to make a roll indicating the pilot bugging out due to the zone being thought to be too hot but he failed on both counts during the course of the game.
 Here we see a quiet farmer going about his business. Keith was suspicious of him all game and contemplated shooting him. I reminded Keith that his mission was one of 'Hearts and Minds' chosen at game start. Civilian casualties would be bad for him.
 The surviving M113 crossing a field. Please excuse the handpainted star. I'm not much of a modeller and I didn't have any transfers to hand.
This is the scene of the ambush at the start of the game. Keith was able to bring superior firepower to bear and cleaned out the VC, At the end of the game points added up to a small US win. Keith didn't manage to find any of the stores but did manage to enter Ha Tai and secure a base of VC sympathisers which he raced back to his start line. US loses were 3 bases of infantry and 2 M113's. Ade lost 9 bases of troops. Had I got the rules right regarding placement of stores then Keith may have been more succesful. The rules felt ok, but I may look at using the firing mechanism from AK47 which is similar to MoCB but a bit more granular. The rules certainly reflected the frustration of US forces dealing with an enemy fighting in his homeland and able to appear and disappear with ease amongst the harsh terrain. For instance the VC move far more easily than the US when in scenery and with some thought can run rings around the US leaving them chasing shadows.

We had a suitable soundtrack throughout the game, with Ride of the Valkyries accompanying the arrival of Keiths gunships. Both Ade and Keith enjoyed the game and Ade on reflecting on his performance identified a couple of things he could have done differently which would have swung the result.

So, Bolt Action at Ades tomorrow day time followed by Dreadball at night down the club. Then an all day game at Jeff D's on Saturday to look forward too. Can't wait!

More soon...

Sunday, 24 August 2014

PBI Playtesting

I travelled down to Weymouth on Friday for a day of playtesting PBI3. The journey was hampered by bank holiday traffic and it took me 6 hours instead of the usual 4, but it gave me plenty of time to listen to The Bleeding Land by Giles Kritian on Audible. 

As usual Martin put me up and after a delicious meal cooked by Julie we moved upto the Peter Pig workshop to play a game in the evening. The below picture shows Rob Roriston who played Panzer Grenadiers all mounted in half tracks up against my Russian infantry company supported by 3 T34's Rob made a big push against my objective to the left of the picture and eventually took it using a flamethrower to kill my bases in the bunker. Rob won in the end, but not by much.
Once the game was finished we cleared away and I was bedded down in the workshop. I reckoned I was in the company of around 50,000 Peter Pig figures. I was in Piggie heaven!

The remaining pictures are from the Saturday which saw about 12 of us playing with Martin floating around as rules official. Fred Cartwright was there too who has done sterling work on the armour side of the rules. The Weymouth Levellers club have been playtesting this new version of PBI for over 12 months and I think Martin is getting to the position where he is happy with how they are playing. I think he would like to get them out around October but sometime before Christmas may be more realistic.

The new PBI is a streamlined version of the previous incarnation. It still represents a company action with some support which might be a couple of tanks or guns. I didn't play PBI2 much to be honest as WW2 isn't a main interest of mine, but I am really enjoying this version and have made a few purchases to get my own armies upto strength. I have late war German and US companies plus a Russian force that will do for any period of the war. I wont go into any detail of how the rules have changed; that is for Martin to reveal when he is ready, but I can say that if the rules were released as they are tomorrow I would buy and play them.

Ade and hopefully Keith are coming over on Wednesday for a game of Men of Company B, Vietnam action in country close to the Cambodian border. A suitable soundtrack is being compiled. 

More soon...

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Friends, Bloggers, Wargamers...

Its amazing sometimes when you realise how this hobby has changed over the years and in particularly how we communicate. Social media is a great way for wargamers to talk to one another from all points of the globe. You can buy, sell, seek information or just shoot the breeze. You can gain opinions on every subject you can think of and some that you can't.

Blogging has grown immeasurably since I started this in 2008. Everyone has a blog, some active daily others lying dormant for weeks or months. Most are vanity projects to show off what we have been up to. Some can get a tad boring, others political or controversial. I spend far too much time viewing them when I could be doing something more fruitful, like painting my late WW1 Germans.

On the whole, I do feel the hobby benefits a great deal from this wealth of information avaialble on line. I no longer wait all month for the latest Wargames Illustrated to be released to find out what is new and exciting in the hobby. A quick perusal of TMP or Tabletop Gaming News gives us an almost hourly update.

I said a few days ago that I had considered deleting this blog as I had grown disillusioned with it, but I am very glad I didn't. Afterall, it doesn't matter to meif any one reads it. For me this is almost an online diary of my thoughts and feelings on the hobby as well as recording what I was working on or playing at the time. There are a couple of photos of my old mate Martyn Smith who died a few years ago. A lot of the posts are pre fatherhood. It is apparent that fatherhood affected my hobby and blogging over the last few years. But looking back over some old posts, a smile comes to my face and it makes me realise just how much the hobby and the friendships I have made mean to me.

I have now finished painting the Saxons for Longships along with all the various markers and buildings. Close to 200 figures painted, based and varnished in a matter of a few days.I am ready for a game as soon as opportunity allows. I hope to get some pictures up later, but a day with Ava beckons as Lisa is out at work until this evening.

Anyway, I'm off to have a look at TMP. More soon...

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Painting Again

So I have been painting quite a bit over the last week or so. I have actually painted quite a bit over the last few months but that has been Warmachine, Deadzone and Dreadball stuff that I may post another time. The stuff in the photos is actually Peter Pig Vikings for the game 'Longships'. I have really enjoyed dropping back down to 15mm from the 28mm fantasy stuff.

 I have stuck to my tried and tested formula of basecoat and dip.

 Sorry about the pictures. They seem to have come out very small. The picture above is of the new chickens Peter Pig released a while ago. They are used as plunder for the Vikings to raid. Funny how you can get enjoyment out of painting something so obscure!

The above picture is the product of one afternoons painting. Mainly casualties but also pigs, barrels, sheep and a unit of Saxons. They are all at the stage of having been dipped and are awaiting the bases to be finished and then sprayed with a matt varnish. I have been painting up more Saxons this afternoon and I am fairly close to being able to put on a game.

I was interested to hear that the BBC are adapting the Saxon Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell. Hopefully it will have a suitable budget to do the series justice link here to the news story .I am actually two books behind in the series, the last one I read being The Burning Land. It looks like there is another book out this year titled The Empty Throne . I think I will pick up the two I am missing to get me in the mood.

I'm off to brush up on PBI3 ready for the weekend. More soon...

Thursday, 14 August 2014

I have considered many times deleting this blog. Apathy is the word best describing my attitude towards it for some time. I still really enjoy other peoples blogs, whether it be describing their latest purchase, paint job or just thoughts on the hobby. But with my historical gaming at an all time low, I just have had no enthusiasm to post here.

Ironically, last few months have seen me attending the club more than ever but playing non historical games like Warmachine, Dreadball and Armies of Arcana. My recent history in the hobby has seen me fluctuate regularly between historical and fantasy gaming to the extent where I completely abandon whichever is out of favour. It is almost as if I couldn't fit them both into my thoughts.

Of course, this is ridiculous. There are many people who blog about both sides of the hobby and they sit alongside one another quite comfortably. Over the last week or so, I have resolved to allow both aspects into my hobby life simultaneously. I have really enjoyed my first forays into Warmachine which is a game unlike any other in that the rules are incredibly well written with the various factions well balanced. It is a very competitive game, which is slightly against my own gaming ethos, but I think if you choose carefully whom play against then it isn't a problem.

Dreadball is another game I have really enjoyed lately and interestingly the club have several people also interested. Keith is loving it as is Jase and Ethan. I am sure one or two others would have a go given a chance. Ade has played and I think I enjoyed it. There is talk of a league being formed which so long as we don't get too ambitious should be easy enough to run.

Turning to historicals, I am of course talking about my Peter Pig games. A few weeks ago I took Hammerin Iron to the club for a multi player game. Unfortunately I didn't prepare very well with game handouts and the like. I also failed to brush up on the rules. Add to that one player reknowned for a loud voice, argumentative nature and tendency to talk over anyone else and my enthusiasm for the game was drained. In fact I have never come so close to packing my things up and going home. I promptly did what I said I would never do and went on to sell my ECW, WotR and AK47 collections on ebay. I got good money for them which I immeidatley reinvested in other projects (Zombicide, Deadzone and Warmachine mainly).

True to form though I now regret every figure sold and am planning rebuilding each one. I have decided to do it in a far more structured manner ala Kev Lowth, aka Fat Wally. He builds Peter Pig armies very quickly using the range to its best advantage making unique looking units. I intend to emulate him with ECW and WotR armies. I will start with WotR as I have heard whispers that the ECW rules are being redone once PBI3 is finished and I want to see what route they go down especially with unit sizes and construction.

OK so for now my mojo seems to be returning for historical gaming. I am away in Pembrokeshire at the moment but before coming away we had a commemorative game of Squarebashing at the club which went down really well. I have started on my Saxons for Longships. I have undercoated units for AWI and ACW. So I am on a bit of a roll which I hope will continue on our return home on Saturday. On the 23rd August I am down in Weymouth for a PBI playtest day. All in all, things are looking up.

You never know this blog might just comeback to life.

More soon...