Wednesday, March 31, 2010

DBA: Arthur v the World

I drove over to Bruce's last night (yay ice-free roads!) and we played three games of DBA. My Romano-Brits took on his Romans, Picts and then Middle Saxons.

Here is the first game (the only one I photographed) with my Romans advancing up the left side to try and out flank his line.

Against a blade army, the cavalry are the main weapon, although I may have been a bit too aggressive with them. The spear wisely did not move all game, waiting for him to come to me.

I eventually got in behind his line, greased a couple of units and pushed his general about.

Finally our lines collided with my cavalry rushing up from behind. Bad rolls and a weakened army meant Rome broke before his blades to grind my spear.

The other two games were not as successful. Game two was dramatic, with Bruce's Picts manhandling my cavalry at the beginning. He then lost his general and my general managed to drive two of his light horse off the table while he suffered the double pip rule. Then his spear crushed mine with overlaps. Game three was a clear Saxon victory. A good evening!

Up next: A quick trip to the Sentry Box this week. Then back to start on 15mm DBA army (Carthage sand Rome). These are on paint sticks and primered. Now for the flesh!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

1/72 War of 1812 Militia

I finished basing up some American militia for the War of 1812. These are 1/76 Airfix figures from their Confederate Infantry set (ACW). I believe this set was sculpted in about 1962 (doubtlessly these are a more recent casting). The level of detail is surprising giving the age of the set.

I did two bases in a firing pose, selecting the floppy hat fellows from the job lot provided me by Dave Parker.

You can see a bit more detail here. These fellows are designed to look like a motley collection of southerners who headed north to glory. I went with a slightly deeper base and looser firing line than I will with regulars--reflecting the lack of discipline among militia. A third base (not pictured) has fellows advancing.

I also painted up one unit with a more uniform appearance, perhaps being a slightly higher grade of militia. It is hard to find much info on what these fellow wore so I made some guesses about brown being a popular colour.

Finally, there were enough figures left over to do a base of skirmishers--perhaps scouts for the main body.

Up next are two 15mm DBA armies, You can see the later Carthaginian army on paint sticks and beside it in a bag its Roman counterpart (Polybian, I think).

DBA Romano-Brits v Sassanids

Dave I managed to get in two games of DBA this morning while the girls played. I brought my Romano-Brits by Splintered Light while he fielded an Essex army of Sassanid Persians. A proto-crusade match up.

The first game went quickly with Dave rapidly enveloping my right flank and dispatching my cavalry while I rushed forward to blow a hole in his line of various and sundry mounted. He eventually pushed me past the break point. We also retired his black die which rolled 8 one's and 2 two's in the first ten rolls for me.

Game two was a mirror image of the first game. I rushed up with my left flank while slowly advancing in the centre.

Good luck on the flank allowed me to knock off two of his hordes and bring the centre to bear.

It was three-three at one point but he had some positional disadvantage and low pip rolls which were hard to overcome.

Overall, a fun two hours! And I apparently took hostages at the end as one of his 3Cv bases came home with me.

Up next: 1/72 War of 1812 American Militia are being based and I finished flagging my 6mm American AWI troops. Then on to some 15mm, I think.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Washington's War

I dropped in on Bruce last night to give GMT's re-release of We The People (called Washington's War) a quick play through. This board game allows you to replay the entirety of the American War of Independence. It addresses both the political and military facets of the conflict and was the first card-driven board game when it came out.

The production values are high, with a nice mounted board, colour rule books and nice counters and cards. The core of the original game also remains with the changes appearing to focus on combat (competitive die roll) and accentuating the asymmetry between the British and American forces.

This is the board after turn one (1775) and relatively little has happened. The American player has focused on gaining political control in the south and confining the British to the coast. This is important because, when the game ends (driven by the cards), what matters is who controls the most states.

Here we see a close-up of the armies in year 1 stomping about the Hudson River basin, each led by a famous general. As the game progresses, the American must maintain control of states and nibble away at the British control while only giving battle when necessary. This reflects that winter attrition diminishes American forces by half (excepting the core of the continental army). This gives a significantly different feel to the game than the original.

Our game saw the British move about the middle of the board trying (successfully) to split the colonies, while the Americans played the edges, trying to have enough states at the end of the game to win. Some good tactics by the Brit and an extension of the war to 1781 meant the end was a narrow British win (both sides met their victory conditions so the Brits won by default). This happened Just as the French entered the war on the American side and Congress belatedly issued the Declaration of Independence. Here is the board at game end with armies removed.

Overall, this was an interesting revision to the game. I think our own inexperience affected the game play. In the past, we have both been quite bloody minded and fought a lot. The rules change meant we were both more cautious and focused on the area-control aspect of the political game. A bit more balanced strategy would have resulted in a different game. So too would an American strategy of keeping Washington in the middle states where he could pose a credible threat to the British armies.

Overall, a good modeling of the complexities and limitations of both sides during the war. There were relatively few important battles but they were very important, including a British army surrendering in the NE (shades of Saratoga). This revision would still work well as a driver of miniature games to resolve table top battles, as Bruce and I examined in our article in Battlegames 20 (or 21?) on using AWI boardgames as campaign mechanics.

Up next: I've been painting away on some 1/72 militia for the War of 1812 and taking stock. Probably back to 15mm DBA armies shortly.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

6mm AWI Reinforcements

I managed to crank off about 240 6mm AWI fellows this weekend. Amazing how much time there is on the weekend if you don't work! Among the first to roll off the assembly line were three bases of grenadiers.

I also did two bases of light troops in campaign hats. Wow, that glue ever still wet!

There were also four bases of cannon: two British and two American. Here is the business end of one of the British bases.

And here is a friendlier view. The earthworks are from Irregular Miniatures. Figures are all Baccus.

Then there was a handful for Americans in floppy hats.

There are about seven bases of these fellows. I think they turned out fairly well and represent irregular formations such as Morgan's riflemen.

And a different angle.

Up next: I have a bunch of 1/76 Confederates to paint as US militia in the War of 1812. Then I'm not sure. I have several 15mm DBA armies to get done and sold this year--perhaps a bunch of Egyptians. Wednesday I have my first game of Washington's War scheduled with Bruce and am off to punch the game out right now!

Friday, March 19, 2010

15mm Saracen Foot

I finished up 76 15mm Saracen foot I agreed to paint for a friend, thereby bringing this foray into the Crusades to an end. The first group are some heavy infantry (chain mail) with some axe-men on the right hand-side.

The axe-men have some sort of padded armour (as far as I can tell).

Then there are some medium infantry.

And a whack of skirmishers (combination of bow and javelin).

This close-up on the bow shows the level of details in the figures. In some places, the figures exceeded my ability to adequately paint them.

And then here are some formed bow men from the right.

And from the left.

In prep for MayDay, I have also been attaching flags to my rebased AWI regiments. Here's an example. The flag adds a nice finishing touch to the base.

On the bench is a bunch of Airfix 1/76 confederates who will double as 1812 militia. I had these same figures in my first army (about 1976) that was donated to me by the old fellow down the street. So much damned enamel paint flaked off them that I eventually pitched the lot. It will be fun to try my hand at painting these again.

Up next: Perhaps a short review of the new GMT Game Washington's War (reworking of We The People). I also have a some 6mm AWI guys on paint sticks for MayDay.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

March 16 Games Night

We had about 14 guys out last night with three games running. First up was Chen's game of Ambush Alley in which he hosted John and Andy. There was a sci-fi element to it which looked pretty cool. Unfortunately, I only got one (blurry) shot. I suspect the CIA tampered with my camera to quell rising panic about the alien invasion. Must go find my tinfoil hat.

Dave C hosted a mob of guys (six? eight?) using a HYW version of his MayDay Impetus game. You can see full details on his blog here. I have one shot of some motion in the backfield prior to the ball snapping.

Speaking of snapping, I ran a playtest of my MayDay game: an AWI adaptation of Basic Impetus Freeman's Farm. Although the game ended in some disarray, the playtest accomplished its end and I think the scenario works. The game began with some map movement. Here we see the troops coming onto the table (Brits marching from their central entry point.

Fast forward to the game beginning to take shape (Brits on the left, Yanks on the right). Very little ended up happening in the foreground (the opposite of my playtest where both sides sought advantage by trying to turn a flank).

Below you can see the British lines formed up and advancing against the hill. It was interesting to watch an actual deployment from line to column take place within the rule mechanics (may have been boring for the players, though!). The some softening up and then a charge forward with steel.

In the end, the British took the hill but also took a lot of casualties. As the clock ran down to the metaphorical last minute and, for the Americans, dusk could not (and would not!) come quickly enough. In the last turn, both sides were within one base of their victory conditions.

Unfortunately, history does not record the outcome; I'd say (tongue in cheek) the ending is in dispute. Overall, a useful playtest so my thanks to the players. The unit adjustment I made after my playtest was the correct adjustment. I think a few rule adjustments (a reform/reverse option, some enfilading fire modifier to the cohesion test) and we're good.

Up next: I have a bunch of 15mm Saracens done (just require static grass) so those should be ready by the weekend. I also have some 6mm AWI reinforcements and some 1/71 militia on paint sticks. And I have started the process of adding flags to my AWI troops following the rebase.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Freeman's Farm Playtest

With club night looming, I decided to give my Freeman's Farm scenario a quick playtest today to shake out a few mechanics.Here is the table. Still some terrain fine tuning (this table is also about 5 inches too narrow) to do but the basic layout is there.

Here is Freeman's Farm. Which MayDay regulars will recognize as bearing a striking similarity to Chew House from last year's Germantown game.

And here is some bad news: two battalions of British grenadiers crashing into a bunch of Rebel state militia. Ouch.

On Tuesday, I popped over to Bruce's to playtest Republic to Empire, the last set of Nap rules for a comparison we submitted to Miniature Wargames this week (probably in the June issue). Not to our tastes, would be a polite way to evaluate it. The QRS was 11x26 inches (both sides) with 42 tables and charts. I pretty much gave up when I had to roll to see if the CnC had stepped out to visit le garcon de le pisse.

Up next: The 15mm Saracen foot fellows are coming right along. I have most of the main colours blocked in and will be starting to fiddle the trim and weapons this weekend. Painting in batches of 90-odd figures can be slow going! I'm not sure what to do after that. Some more 6mm AWI guys are on the way and at least on unit needs to be painted for MayDay plus all units need flags added. Also need to work out some more AWI scenarios.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

1/72-scale AWI Indians Based

With a few minutes this weekend, I managed to base up the 1/72-scale Indians I painted.

These are Italeri figures and there are 16 poses repeated three times each. This is a nice distribution with no poses that struck me as really bad or useless.

I gave them a quick paint+Future priming, then quickly painted them and gave them the dip to bring up the details. The details was sufficient that most of the figures turned out pretty well. The large amount of buckskin made the painting choices fairly simple--almost like a uniformed group.

Basing is my usual floor-tile+sand and rocks approach with some static grass and shrubs.

I wondered about adding a few trees to these bases but then decided against it.

Up next: I finished the basic terrain for my MayDay game that I will playtest on March 16 at the club. Dang is all-black foam-core pricey. I also painted the flesh on all of the 15mm Saracens I have left. These should go quite quickly once I get the robes done.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

AWI rebasing done!

It has been a busy week and I had to miss the club because of work. I have made some progress though. I finished rebasing the rest of my 6mm AWI fellow. This includes some American dragoons.

There are also a couple of bases of skirmishers.

And two bases of frilly militia. I think these are actually WSS figures.

I also glued to paint sticks the remaining 15mm saracens I have (76 foot), glued on the spears and shields and primered them. I hope to get some time to paint them this weekend.

I've also managed to get the terrain for my MayDay game roughed out and cut. So now I just need a moment to paint it up.

Up next: Some based 1/72-scale Indians should be finished this weekend. And perhaps some work in-progress shots of the saracens. And then a package of extra 6mm AWI guys should be arriving from Peter very soon... .