Saturday, January 14, 2017

Aurelian and 54mm AWI

I missed the club last week but I did get some gaming in this week. Braving bad roads (mostly in the city!), I drove out to Bruce's and we played a battle in our Boudicca campaign. Similar to last time: Romans must control two objective markers (sheep) in 10 turns.

The choice for the Britons is set up mid board and hope to fight the Romans in bad going (where the Romans are penalized) or set up as far away as possible and hope to run the Romans out of cards or turns. I tried the bad-going option last time and narrowly lost. So this time I set up and waited.

Bruce eventually got to me after five or six turns of movement and skirmishing. He had to burn some good cards to do it and also left about 1/3rd of his force behind. Eventually the lines came to blows. I took the worst of that (weaker units and some bad card play) but I managed to stall him. I then used my chariots to flank attack from the right to great success.

So I won this one. But it barely. Like two or three cards difference barely. That pushed us back to the board game Druid that we used as the campaign engine and we played out the last six turns. Things were fairly uneventful and, to my surprise, the Britons won.

I was really aggressive at the beginning and burned the crap out of SE Briton and I think that was the difference. But I was pretty surprised to have won because I thought Bruce clearly outplayed me on the game board and the miniatures table.

Our thought is to try a Punic Wars campaign next. I'm keen to try out a more complex set of armies (you got your phalanx in my elephants! and you got your elephants in my phalanx!). The board game mechanics also look a bit more contemporary (man, I hate stacks of counters).

I alo did a bit of painting. This week I finished four 1/32-scale A Call to Arms Maryland infantry to flesh out the continental units for Tricorne. Nice figures--I wish they did more AWI boxes.

Here are a couple of snaps with All The King's Men, A Call to Arms, and Armies in Plastics, side-by-side. You can really see the difference in the sculpts.

The left two are clearly wargaming miniatures while the right is clearly a toy soldier (pudgier, less detail). To be fair, I also painted them differently to emphasize the best points of each sculpt.

I received a shipment of A Call to Arms and Imex plastics to help round out the rebel forces. This will be a bit of a back seat as I finish of some British lights and grenadiers. I am also waiting on a shipment of Hessians.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

More Pandemic Legacy and 54mm militia

I missed the club this week due to illness. But I did get some gaming in at home. We played the February and March turns of Pandemic Legacy (Season 1) and managed two more wins.

As the months have worn on, we've been introduced to new mechanics (an incurable disease, the quarantine action), a few new characters and structures (army bases), and we've been modifying the game board (recording outbreaks, making certain diseases easier to cure).

Because we've been successful, our research funding has been cut which limits the number of event cards we can put in the deck each time. This is a nice balancing mechanism (when we lose, our funding goes up) but it shortens the game if you are successful and takes away important events! We've started to select as upgrades a few events that always appear in the deck (i.e., stickers that attach to city cards).

I've also continued painting in anticipation of meeting the orbat for Tricorne when it is released. These American militia are from A Call to Arms and are very nice plastics. I wish they did more than two boxes!

I painted these guys mostly with washes to give them a more ragged look. I'm pretty happy with how they turned out, especially given how fast the painting went.

The one figure I'm not super chuffed about is the third one (below). I often forget how washes mess with colours and he turned out super bright! Not as bad as the red wash I did last year (pink shirt anyone?) but a bit of a surprising result nonetheless.

Anyhow, they will fill out the ranks of the American militia and lights well enough. I was painting them to match some similar guys in hunting shirts from All The King's Men.

The ATKM figure is on the left (below) and I think the match is close enough. The details on the A Call to Arms figures is about the same (versus the chunkier sculpting on the Armies in Plastic regulars I have been painting).

Up next: I hope to finish an Aurelian campaign with Bruce on Tuesday. I have some more American regulars ad some British grenadiers underway. And I have two orders out to (almost) finish up the figures I need for Tricorne (also need to place an order with ATKM but that requires more cash!).

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!

Rather than writing a 2016 wrap-up, I thought I'd start out the new year looking forward instead. At home we're working our way through the opening stages of Pandemic Legacy. While permanently altering a board game (thus making it disposable) rubs me the wrong way, I'm thinking of this as an experiment.

Below you can see we've had our first outbreak in south Africa and Johannesburg has a level one panic sticker attached to it. As panic rises, it gets hard to access the city and it may fall into rioting and implode.

I've also been painting. This is the British part of an Armies in Plastic box. I think there are 13 fellows here, representing a generic regiment of the line.

Nice figures, only one really bad bend I could not remedy (droopy bayonet), and I painted them to match an earlier unit so the figures are interchangeable for when Richard Borg's AWI game finally drops.

Below are two recently painted figures and one from an earlier grouping--close enough that I have to look to tell them apart.

Up next: Well, Bruce has promised to bring some Aurelian to the club and then I hope we can finish out Aurelian/Druid campaign the next week. Bruce has offered to act as quartermaster if I run some Musket and Tomahawk games so I need to make some play aids and an orbat. I also have a bunch more 54mm AWI on the painting table and I'd like to plan for an Xmas-themed 2017 club game.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Some holiday 54mm AWI

Merry Christmas, gamers! Hopefully Santa left you a mountain of lead, rather than a lump of ("clean") coal. I've been busy painting in my spare time, with the weak British pound helping expand my 54mm AWI forces. In retrospect, I should have done some Hessians for today!

These Americans are part of an Armies in Plastic "Any British Regiment" box. It has the same content as the "Any American Regiment" box, but the figures were cast in eye-searing red instead of a horribly unnatural royal blue. To try and differentiate my forces, I have been painting the advancing poses as Americans (and nipping off any bayonets) while the Brits get shooting and charging poses (with bayonets).

The figures are okay. There is not a lot of detail on them and I further muddied it with an overly heavy coat of gesso. This was my first go with paint-on primer (a nod to the extreme cold we had last week which precluded spray painting) and getting coverage over the red plastic required two coats. I think I have that sorted out now and future priming will be better! Great teeth on the primer, though.

As you zoom in, you can see my painting gets less impressive (this scheme is a Maryland regiment, I think). I also picked up some 1/32 figures from Accurate Armies and they are much better figures (with detail more akin to metals--kind of like when Italeri upscales their 1/72's). I am looking forward to painting them!

I also managed to finish three terrain pieces I have been avoiding for a year (one emplacement and two walls). They are big pieces and don't really fit my terrain. But they are now done and I don't have to avoid looking at that shelf anymore!

Up next: Probably some more 54mm AWI (a full British unit to finish off the box I opened). Then I'll turn my mind to the Accurate figures. Some will be Hessians. Others will be American rabble. I'd also like to game a game of muskets and Tomahawks going in the new year. Bruce has agreed to supply the troops so I need to put together some orbats and get a couple of practice games in.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Aurelian at the club

Our last night of club play this year saw 10 guys out. There was both Blood Bowl (below) and Dread Ball (no pic), which looked fun.

Bruce was keen to bloody his Persians so brought some 15mm Aurelian out. He and I took the Romans against Chen and Dave's Persians. The Persians are a tough army to play--lots of light troops, some terrible rabble, and then a few terrifying heavy elements.

Having never played before, Dave's announcement that the Persians would try a double envelopment was greeted with derisive laughter from onlookers. But damned if it didn't almost work!

Here is a mid-game shot with the Roman's closing in the middle (they were under time pressure) and the Persian wings staring to nibble at the flanks. The Romans would get lucky in the middle, damaging the elephants before closing for some decisive combat. The game could easily have gone the other way if the elephant and cataphract fights had gone Persian.

In the end, the Persians ran out of cards. This was my exact experience last week playing British warbands in the same scenario. There just aren't quite enough cards for the defender to run an active defence and run out the objective clock on the Romans.

The defender either needs to play a static delaying action (tough for the Persians given their crap infantry) or do something decisive to cost the Roman cards through cohort loss. That said, it was a closer game that is should have been: Dave and Chen are wily card optimizers.

Up next: Some more 54mm AWI!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Aurelian campaign continued

Bruce and I continued our Aureleian campaign this week with the first large battle between the dastardly Romans and the British freedom fighters.

Bruce had 10 turns to march across the board and seize two objectives. I managed to drop some nasty terrain (light green oval) in his way early on. I then moved to try and jam up his legions in bad terrain. Tactically this was right (bad terrain levels the playing field for the Brits) but strategically this was an error (burned too many cards).

I knew I was in real card trouble just about the moment when the armies collided. The first skirmishes were pretty indecisive.

Then this started to happen....

...and now everyone has party hats and I'm low on cards and Bruce is also working horse around my flank.

I tried a hail Mary attack to run him out of cards through unit loss but he had a special card that negated the flank benefits for one turn and that was all she wrote. I should have just waited him out.

We then returned to Druid to move the campaign along We played another 5 turns (so we're 50% of the way done). Bruce has supply problems but I have not rallied enough tribes. We stopped when we got another big battle result and we'll game that out.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

54mm AWI Cavalry

I finally finished off six mounted British troops for my 54mm AWI armies. Have I mentioned how much I dislike painting cavalry! So much surface area.

These were Armies in Plastic figures, from the same boxes I used to make up some American dragoons a few weeks ago. Nice dynamic poses. Only a few spots where production requirements compromised the sculpts.

I've posed these fellows next to a metal All The King's Men officer I painted. The horses match (more or less). The metal horse is a bit shorter and also not as long.

The details on the metal figure are also crisper and deeper. The trade off is the greater price.

Up next: Some Aurelian with Bruce on Tuesday, I think. I'm working my way through some terrain and also a few small projects while waiting for another shipment of troops.