Wednesday, December 31, 2014

CCA and Red November

Bruce swung by today for some gaming. I hauled out Clusium (225BC), which is the first scenario from the Rome and the Barbarians CCA expansion. I think I ran a big battle version of this at the club last year.

The camps play a central role in the scenario. The first game saw the Gallic cavalry in the camps die on Roman spears. The Romans then pushed up the middle to win. The second game saw different strategies on both sides. The Gallic cavalry slide to the right...and died on Roman spears while medium foot clashed in the middle.

There were some lucky dice (above) but control of the centre went back and forth with both sides being within a banner of winning twice. Eventually Gallic luck triumphed (as they did historically).

Bruce then brought out Red November, a cooperative game which includes a troubled submarine, a drunken crew and a kraken. The game was fairly fun--basically the crew has manage problems until they are rescued while a variety of things go very wrong.

You can fix stuff (and you do better if you drink grog... but then you character is drunk) but the opportunity cost makes it a close run game. Below you can see we were facing flooding, fires, jammed hatches and (unpictured) a variety of system failures. Fortunately we avoided the Kraken and managed to hold on until rescued. A fun party game.

Up next: The first post of 2014 will be some more 54mm AWI. I've started on the British but have some Americans still in queue. And the club meets Tuesday. I'm going to bring out Telemon (the next CCA Rome and the Barbarians scenario).

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Some 54mm rebel command stands

With the holiday rapidly coming to an end, I have managed to finish up the rebel forces for my 54mm AWI army (for now, anyways!). Today I have a bunch of command bases.

First up are a commander and drummer for the militia unit I painted last week. I put the officer in the duds of a regular (whether he was assigned the unit or is just a local land owner with pretensions, is hard to say). The drummer I put in the wine-colours jacket that matched one of the figures in the unit (perhaps the commander's sons?). No idea why his hat has a checkered band.

The unit of light skirmishers in hunting shirts also came with a command stand. These guys I painted as regulars with yellow cuffs and turn backs. I expect I will eventually have a unit of regulars in these colours so the stand could do double duty. The bugle is a nice touch.

The state troops I painted awhile back also needed some command units. These guys were painted to match. Ken supplied a lovely pdf flag that I printed out.

Here is a wider shot so you can see the flag. It is less washed out in person--the paper has a bit of a sheen to it.

Up next: Bruce is dropping by today for some CCA and CCN action. And I have the rest of the rebels (a cannon, crew and command) drying. Then onto the British in the new year.

Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 Wrap-Up and 2015 Plans

Looking back at my blog, I had a busy 2014 gaming-wise. The game I played the most turned out to be Pandemic, mostly because Jessica really likes it and other folks (wife, Jessica's friends, guests) can all be roped into playing a cooperative game. After much mulling, I'm going to buy On the Brink to expand the game. I like Pandemic but could stand some new challenges and On the Brink seems to provide the most bang for our buck. 
The Borg games (including Commands & Colors Ancients, CCN, Battlelore and Memoir) came second in terms of gaming time. These got a fair bit of play at the club and I just picked up the second and third CCA expansion. I'm hoping to play through all of the scenarios starting against Bruce on Tuesday. I've spent a fair bit of time miniaturizing the game with 1/72-scale figures but I find that the blocks are much easier to manage.

A game that has really redeemed World War 2 and modern wargaming for me is the World at War series. Bruce has hosted maybe 10 battles and I have found each one engaging (and frustrating). I find it operates at about the same level of abstract as DBA but the hex grid takes gimmicky geometry out of the equation. I don't have any hankering to buy armies or the rules but they have made many a winter night pretty enjoyable.
A game I wish I played more of this year is A Few Acres of Snow. This is a card game about the French and English race to conquer the new world. What I like about it is the asymmetry and the fact that each player is basically playing against his own hand. There is some interaction, but it is not much of a "war" game. I may break down and buy this one. I have also kickstarted Worthington Games' Wilderness Empire which is the same genre.
A game that got a lot of play is Academy Games's 1775: Rebellion. This is a four-player game that uses similar mechanics to 1812: Invasion but to much better effect. I've had this out at the club several times and have never lacked for players. I like that you can play with 2, 3 or 4 and that the mechanics allow for the asymmetries of the actual conflict.

A game I hope to play more of in the New ear is 1776: New York. This is an under-represented campaign in gaming and have a sense of chasing about it, with hidden units and time pressure on the British. I also hope to do some 54mm AWI gaming in the New Year, either using All the King's Men or perhaps Hold the Line. And most of my spring painting is aimed at completing enough troops to game with. I also have a Memoir '40 project in 1/72-scale that had stalled (but will come back) and perhaps a 28mm superhero project that I will get moving again.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Last of the 15mm WW2

As 2014 draws to a close, so too does a large 15mm WW2 commission! It has been an interesting bit of painting but I also look forward to some more time to paint my own pile of lead down some.

The last of the commission includes a Flames of War hero (Creighten Abrams. I think), an M-20 armoured car and four M-36 Jackson tank destroyers.  There were also two planes I didn't take pictures of: a P-47 and an artillery spotting plan.

I spent some of yesterday sticking the blocks for the CCA Expansions 2 & 3 that GMT finally put back into print and i will be bringing these out to the club in the spring.

Up next: Some 54mm AWI command stands plus a retrospective on the year and some 2016 plans.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

15mm Half-track riders

Today I finished off a bunch of 15mm riders for the half-tracks I painted before Xmas. These are Scotia miniatures riding in Plastic Soldier half-tracks.

There were a nice pix of poses (strips of 2, 3, 4 and 5 guys) including several guys wearing toques (knit caps) instead of helmets. All were painted up in the camo I was asked to do. But of a tight fit in the passenger space!

Up next: I'm just finishing a tank destroyer platoon (repairing an accidental decapitation!) and will be priming some planes this afternoon. I'm also chipping away at some 54mm command stands.

Friday, December 26, 2014

WW2 US Engineering Company

Over the holiday, I finished off a company of engineers that were a part of this commission i'm working on. These are 15mm Battlefront models.

In addition to 11 bases of infantry (in a variety of uniforms), some armed with engineering equipment, there were two bases of flamethrowers.

There were also two bazooka stands and a CO.

To flesh out an existing company the owner has, I painted a 37mm ATG. Here you can see all three uniform type in some detail.

Finally, I painted some HQ elements. These include two rifle squads and a pair of bazookas. I thought I was all done except for a plane (which is now stripped) until another platoon of tank destroyers, a spotting plane and who know what else appeared in my mailbox. I hope to have this all wrapped up by New Years.

Up next: I'm working on some 54mm American command stands before returning to the 15mm WW2 stuff. Then eventually I'll be onto the 54mm British.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry post-apocalyptic Christmas

I hope everyone is having a good holiday break and perhaps received gift-wrapped reinforcements under their tree. No post today but I did want to reprise my favourite holiday-themed post.

This fellow was from Black Peter's HoTT Santa Army which I cobbled together from various bits and pieces. I believe Santa is a GW Gimli on top of a Heroclix reindeer. The rest of the army (click the link) included a bunch of elves (snowball armed hobbits), hounds and stone-faced snowmen.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Some 54mm rebel militia

Yesterday, I finished up the last of the 54mm American infantry units I picked up. These are a militia unit (suitable for either side in the AWI, really) from All the King's Men.

There are twelve figures in the unit and they are cast with separate heads, which allows a degree of mix-and-match if you want a second (or third...), scruffy-looking unit. There is also an officer and drummer that are still on the painting pile, along with a bunch of other command and artillery figures.

I tried my best to create a "come as you are" look to the militia, using a mix of blocking and washes.

Some of these turned out better than others. I was pretty far outside my comfort-zone in terms of home-spun dye choices and went a bit too heavy into the greens.

For some reason, the guy above on the right has a hat that matches his rifle stock. And the fellows below all appear to be looking to the left of the (apocryphal) camera.

Overall, with three poses to choose from, I think I managed to steer away from the uniform look of the regular troops.

The workbench is covered with a few rebel figures (far left) a bunch of British troops (on trays) that are all ready to paint up. I also have four bags of Indian allies on a shelf.

Today was the first day Jessica was off school so we started out with some Pandemic (bad news there, folks...) and we'll see what the afternoon holds.

Up next: Hopefully the last of the AWI Americans for a bit as well as some more 15mm WW2 US troops. I also have  a plane in some Pinesol ("you're soaking in it...!") to get a bunch of nasty silver paint off. Might be a few days before I get any of these done!

Monday, December 22, 2014

54mm American standard bearers

I'm continuing to paint on some 54mm US militia but thought I would post some pics of two flag bearers that I finally attached flags to.

The flags are huge (ergo the thick poles) and were printed from my computer. I see I need to add a bit bit of paint to the edges (amazing what jumps out of a photo at me).

Up next: Twelve AWI militia are almost ready. I have also spray primed all of the the British and am mounting them to bases before painting. I will, however, likely turn my paint brush on some more US troops (officers, drummers, flag bearers, cannon crew before I get to the British.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

15mm HMG platoon

Despite skiing and other holiday-related pursuits (napping, drinking coffee, reading a book), I pushed out a platoon of 15mm Battlefront machine guns. These are US troops that are part of this large commission I've been whittling down.

There are four bases of MGs. I painted these up with a mix of camo and regular uniforms.

There are also two bases of bazookas and a command stand.

Up next: I'm currently painting on twelve 54mm AWI militia. This is forcing me into some colours that are outside my comfort zone (black cherry, basil green, colonial light blue) to get a mix of coats and pants suitable for a militia unit. I also have another company of 15mm WW2 Americans to finish plus a plane to strip and paint. This week I'll also be sorting through my hobby shelves to see what is what.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

15mm WW2 US Company

I'm slowly making some progress on this large 15mm WW2 US commission that I took on. Today I finished a company of infantry plus support elements.

The instructions I had were to give them the camo uniform that some of the 2nd and 30th infantry divisions wore during the Normandy campaign plus mix in some older uniform types. Now painting camo in 15mm can be a challenge, especially when using a dark wash to put in some shadows. You can see a bit of the camo pattern below.

In addition to 11 bases of infantry, there were four bazooka teams and a command stand.

The command stand gives maybe a slightly better view of the camo.

There were also two MG bases (only one shown), a 37mm ATG and a mortar base. I would think manning a 37mm ATG in Normandy is "Italian tank crew" brave!

Up next: An HMG platoon is almost ready to base and then I have a company of engineers, and some miscellaneous pieces.

Friday, December 19, 2014

December 16 club night

Our last club night of the year was Tuesday and we had about 18 guys out with a huge mix of games: various sci-fi and fantasy plus some historical.

 Neil brought out the new Battle of Five Armies game that had just arrived in the mail that morning.

Dave hosted Terry, Andy, Scott and Dennis in a game of WW2 Chain of Command (I think).

There was also a Battlelore variant (Westeros?) and some Warmahordes (below).

Dave ran a game of Zombicide with Wiley and Ryan playing. The club is so large I'm having trouble keeping everyone straight these days.

And I hosted Phil and Sean in two games of 1775: Rebellion. I believe we had a draw the first game (new result for us!) and then maybe a narrow win for the rebel in the second game.

Memories are vague but I recall the Brits thumping the Americans in the second game but being unable to control enough colonies to win in the end (which is nicely historic).

Up next: I have a huge pile of 15mm WW2 to finish over the holidays and then onto a bunch of 54mm AWI. First some US militia and cannon and then a new box of British.