Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy New Year! ! !

It's the final post of the year, so a Happy New Year to all my visitors.  2011 was a fairly successful wargaming year.  I accomplished most (but not all) of the goals I set myself:

  • I managed to play my arbitrarily set number of games (12 - not a lot, but I managed none in 2010!)
  • I joined the local Wargaming club (although not the most welcoming club overall, there are some great, friendly guys there who've made me feel at ease there!)
  • I completed at least a unit/model each month (mostly for sale and mostly Flames of War units)
  • I rationalised my gaming collection, managing to get rid of most of the minis I know I won't paint and games I won't play.
  • I managed to start this blog!

So what was missed?

  • Errr, I haven't "completed" a single project for myself this year (by that I mean I'm not able to field any different forces for a game I couldn't in 2010.)
  • Inconsistency, there were a few periods this year where I didn't manage to get any painting done at all.  Understandable, you may think, but it really wasn't - on occasion I simply stopped painting for no specific reason.
  • The blog has been great fun to write for and has got me involved in the blogosphere in general, but I've been very inconsistent.  I had a modest idea of how often and with what content I would post, but I've not been able to meet that. Not due to having nothing to write about though, more difficulty in actually getting it written down and published!

Given the fact my non-wargaming resolutions were also fairly successful, I'm going to make another list for 2012, with a larger and a bit more specific set of goals for 2012.  These will go up on here for all the world to see in the next couple days.

In the meantime, a Happy New Year to everyone - I'm away to start on the beer!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas

Whether or not it's a religious event, a secular holiday, or just a good excuse for some time off and indulgence, the Mrs and I wish everyone out there a very Merry Christmas.

Just remember, the terrible TV schedule is the government's secret plan to force everyone to spend quality time together and be nice to each other - best just play along (it's only for one day!)

Monday, 19 December 2011

Just A Quick Update

An early Christmas present is (hopefully) on it's way to me this week!  Tabletop Fix ran a competition recently for a Spartan Games prize, which I didn't win.  However, the actual winner never claimed their prize and I won the subsequent rerun!

So a Covenant of Antarctica fleet box and Dystopian Wars rulebook en route.  After this drubbing, maybe these guys will perform a bit better than my Prussians.

On the Italian Wars front, however, actual work has yet to start.  Seriously, what is it with the Royal Mail? There's one day of flooding and a couple days of icy weather up here, and our mail delivery is running five days late?  I've some miniatures on order from Vexillia Limited and Museum Miniatures, although when they arrive is anyone's guess.

I have been having a look through the various army lists and have decided to start off by building up early French and Milanese armies.  The deciding factor boiled down to the local book store only having Osprey's Fornovo Campaign book in stock.  This has been a fairly entertaining read, charting the first campaign of the Italian Wars, leading upto the Battle of Fornovo - a score draw between the French and Italian City States.  It's also given me some great modelling  ideas, including a command stand of Charles VIII taking a leak (where he was almost captured!)

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Common Gamer Afflictions #1 - AKA Losing Badly

Last night, I suffered from our most frequently encountered affliction; namely, I got absolutely stonked at games night.

Turn one, so far so good
Gaz and I set up a 800 points Dystopian Wars game with his trusty Brits against my Prussians.  This was my first  time running the Prussians and hoped to make use of their powerful guns and plentiful assault troops.  Ahem. . .

This was the table after the first couple activations; top to bottom I had:

Bombers x 2
Cruisers x 2 and Frigates x 3
Frigates x 3
Cruisers x 2
Scoutships x 2

The Kingdom of Britannia had:

Destroyers x 4
Frigates x 3
Vanguard Sub
Frigates x 4
War Rotors x 2

Initially, I enjoyed some success with my scoutships doing a lot of damage to the war rotors and, later on, the frigates.  I tried to avoid the dreadnought in the first couple turns and swing everything on the left round to catch it in the flank.  Unfortunately, the Brits Destroyers and Dreadnought moved straight up and blew both bombers out the sky, as well as putting a lot of damage onto the two cruisers.

End of turn two - note the red (damage) numbers next to the battleship!
On the second turn, the Dreadnought got four of his turrets in range of the battleship and tore chunks out of it.  On my right, the Brit frigates carefully positioned themselves to hammer the scoutships and cruisers.  Finally, my battleship and frigates tried to salvage some honour by taking down the Dreadnought.  It didn't go as planned.

Wreck Row
On the third (and final) turn, The Brits tried to mop up the remnants of the Prussian fleet. Despite my battleship only having one hull point left, no Ack Ack or CC and zero assault marines, Gaz tried to sink it with his Destroyers.  Some terrible dice rolls saw the battleship still afloat, barely.  Lastly I tried to take out the Dreadnought with the Tesla Generator, but disappointing, it failed to activate.

Still, as far as heavy, HEAVY defeats go, this was fairly enjoyable.  Gaz is a great opponent, and I'm starting to relax at the club now (I'm still a bit of a noob there.)  As always, it's important to try and learn from defeats, so:

i)  There's a difference between knowing the rules and knowing the detail of the rules.  My first turn was hampered by Gaz playing a game card that made me discard my own hand of cards - I simply didn't think I was allowed to cancel this action using the Sturginium mechanic.  In turn 2, when I tried to trash Gaz's hand of cards, he stopped my straight away. So, know the details.

Next Time Tommy!
ii)  Squadrons of two medium class vehicles suck in Dystopian Wars.  In previous games, I suffered from having too few squadrons to activate, penalising me at the end of each turn (Dystopian Wars uses an alternate activation mechanic.)  However, having lots of small squadrons (I had 4 x 2 medium squadrons) is not the solution to this problem, as each squadron simply doesn't have the firepower to do any real damage with only two ships.

So, not an auspicious start for my Prussians.  Next time (apart from being fully painted,) the fleet should feature the Sky Fortress and hopefully some of the newly released ships.  We'll see what happens.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

New Project - Great Italian Wars

Wordy post alert!!!

As I've mentioned on a couple occasions, I've been looking for a new historical project to get my teeth into.  Lots of ideas have temporarily taken root in my brain, only to fly straight back out again.  Eventually, I decided to make a list of criteria to help narrow the choice down:

i) Historical.  I want an historical project; something that would combine not only modelling and gaming, but also give the grey matter something to do too.

ii) Something new.  Ideally, I want to try something I haven't collected before, so no Greeks or Romans, no ECW, neither of the World Wars.

iii) £$£ It's not the time of year to go spending loads of cash on yourself, so I'm looking for a relatively cheap project.  By that, I mean a project where any initial costs are relatively small, so I don't have to shell out a lot of cash to get started and a project where I'll be able to add small units/models at a time.  In practise, this means using either plastic or a small scale.

iv)  Variety.  Ideally, I'd like the chance to stretch my painting skills beyond your standard units/uniform and try some different colours and new techniques.  I'd also like an excuse to make more of my own terrain and create some interesting bases too.

So these were my criteria.  But what were the choices?

Initially, I thought of Saga and collecting a few dark age warbands.  I've read a fair bit of popular history on dark age Europe, so I wouldn't be approaching this blind.  There are also a load of plastic 28mm figures available (Gripping Beast, Wargames Factory, Conquest Games.)  In the end though, I want to try something a bit grander, something that takes up a lot more table space than a skirmish level game, something that takes a bit of dedication and commitment.

Thoughts then turned to a Samurai project.  There are plenty of great looking 15mm ranges out there, notably this range, and a quick google search suggested there are also plenty of ruleset options available.  I also know next to nothing about Japan in general (except what Akira and The Last Samurai taught me,) so a Samurai project would certainly scratch the history itch.  But ultimately, the lack of historical opponents available kind of put me off, at least for the moment.

But in the end, I decided to try something completely new to me - The Great Italian Wars.  So how did I settle on this?  Well, I mentioned months ago that the Mrs bought me Trade & Treachery a few months ago.  It's the second Field of Glory: Renaissance supplement dealing with 16th century Europe.  After flicking through the various army lists, it became clear that with a few common units, you can easily form the core of several armys.  That certainly matched my plan to be able to add to the project piece by piece.

Reading through the historical notes (and looking on Wiki) I very quickly realised that I know absolutely nothing about 15th Century Europe, either historically or militarily.  To me, the 1400s mean the Wars of the Roses, the HYW, Agincourt etc, while the 1500s are all about Stewarts, Tudors and Flodden.  Ruvo, Novara, Marignano and Pavia all (until recently) mean absolutely nothing to me.  I'm looking forward to some new reading material!

Lastly, there is certainly a lot of variety on offer.  From the outlandish Landsknecht outfits to the heraldry of city states and monarchs, there is plenty on offer to stretch my painting skills.  Militarily, the 16th century saw the demise of the traditional knight as the cavalry force, saw the rise of artillery, saw the firearm become ubiquitous on the battlefield and saw many changes in tactics and formations.  All of which can be represented on the tabletop!

Now, as many veteran wargamers will know, the secret to any new project is transforming your initial enthusiasm into some tangible results.  In this case, this means getting some units on the table.  To that end, I've placed a tentative order for some 15mm missile troops from a couple different manufacturers.   As mentioned earlier, I've opted for units that are usable in more than one list and don't need a lot of individual figures per base.  Pics to follow once they've arrived.

So there we are, my new project - purely for me and my own enjoyment.  I'm very happy with my choice and can't wait to get the first few units painted and get some games in!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

What A Christmas Present!

Just had to post this Xmas offer from everyone's favorite, Spartan Games.

Quality.  Unsurprisingly, the Mrs said no.

I think I'll add a "donate" button to the blog, just in case anyone out there is feeling particularly generous.

Still alive and kicking...

Wow, just where did the last two weeks go?  As usual, the real world has no consideration of my toy soldiers!

The only thing I've painted recently is a test base for a new Fallschirmjager army.  I'm quite happy with how the camouflage has turned out, but I think it needs to be a bit simpler with slightly bolder colours.  Taking photographs is still proving troublesome in the house.  Not enough direct daylight and some yellow lamp bulbs mean you get pictures like the two above and below.

Unusually for Aberdeen, I was able to pick up some nerd-related products while shopping with the Mrs.  A local shop (not one I particularly like though) had the new Hordes book, Dominion and the latest No Quarter magazine.

I've had no more than a brief look through each, but Dominion looks to be quite a good buy.  Skorne and Everblight are my Hordes armies of choice and both have some great new goodies.

Lastly, I'm still looking for a new project to get my teeth into.  There's enough sci-fi kicking around this blog, so I really fancy something historical for a change.  Despite looking through a lot of rulebooks and a heap of websites, I still can't settle on anything, not even what scale or time period to use!