Saturday, January 13, 2018

The first sight of Flashing Steel

Having drunk some cheap wine Howard's man waves his swoard at Nate's men
I didn't get the camera out much during our first try of Flashing Steel from Ganesha Games . Nate and Howard came over and we did a quick game. I had spent a little time setting up the character sheets giving us each two characters. The scenario was taken from the Gloire rulebook but moved from a tavern to a market square. We mostly used the QRS sheet to play and only refered to the rulebook a few times. It always takes me a few time with the rules to get a grip on them but I felt the game went well. I had given all the characters the best quality and combat skills. Reading through the book latter and looking at Song of Muskets and Tomahawks I realized the numbers should have been bit more moderate. For the next outing a game with six to eight characters per player  should provide a better feel for the rules.
A wider view of the action.

For the game I had painted the reverse side of my gridded board in a greyish which provided a suitable backdrop. Good for small games we'll need a bigger area for the next games. Since I had the miniatures out and hadn't taken many photos during the game I set up the board and took a few shots.

Brigade Games figures

 Redoubt figures

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Sticking to the plan.

Wednesday night saw the first game of the year. A forcasted storm had Matt decide he was available on Wednesday so he could get a game in just in case the storm did come. Good decision!

We chose to play The Pikeman's Lament. Matt pulled out his Samurai and although there was not enough for a 24 point game we still managed four units each. The forces were balanced with One Samurai (forlorn hope), two Shot and, one Yari (pike). I placed my leader with the Samurai, Matt put his with the Pike unit.

Matt's force

My Force

More of my force with the only Samurai I own in the foreground.

This was the first time that either of us had played these rules so the game was a little slow moving as we looked things up. It still moved quickly taking us about an hour and three quarters to finish. I think we got most rules right and decided we should give it another try. The main concern is that with the activation system one side may not get much of a chance to move. Playing a few more games should show if this was just how we rolled last night or if it's a legitimate complaint. 

My Samurai attack.

I'm pushed back with two casualties.

What's left of my pike prepare for a charge by Matt's Samurai.

The Last Samurai dies with honor.

A good game to kick off the New Year. A plus in that this was one of the games I've been wanting to play for awhile and that I used figures that someone else had and didn't rush off to buy some for myself. I'll admit I did visit the Perry website this morning:-).

As usual more photo's here at Saltflats1929
Exotic Army Lists for the Pikeman's Lament
DuxRampant Forum

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

2018 The Plan part 2 the decision

I've spent much of the last three days reading reviews of 2017 and aspirations for 2018 on others blogs. All of the interesting, inspirational and helpful in making a more detailed plan for my own 2018 hobby experience. Some that particularly stood out are Palouse Wargaming Journal , Battle Game of the Month , Grid Based Wargaming , The Stronghold Rebuilt , Commission & Regiment , Gleaned from all these blogs as well as various forums have been strategies for painting more,tracking methods, rules reviews and various ways others deal with the pitfalls of human nature in their quest for having fun.

With all this in mind here's the breakdown ( until it does)

I will continue the Pledge on TMP as motivation to paint and a control to not buy too much. I've also join a similar painting challenge on the LAF which has a additional goal of painting 365 figures in the year. Since my average over the last three years has been 224 figures this may be a bit of a stretch but it's good to have a target.

Link games to be played with figures to be painted. This was a strategy from last year that worked fairly well. The bonus to it this year is that the group I'm gaming with has developed an better understanding of each other and what we want to play. It may take a few more weeks to shake this out but I'm seeing some new periods and systems popping up.

Now here's the laundry list of games, periods and figures to be focused on.

The Portable Wargame. This has some qualities that make it attractive. Easy to set up, plays within the allotted time frame, covers a few periods. The main attraction is as stated by the Author in his When Empires Clash is "the armies needed ... are small... this means that I can raise lot's of small armies"

Dragon Rampant All the Mersey rules could be included in this but I'll focus on these as I can use my LOTR figures and paint a force using my Warring States Chinese.

Battle Troll As a campaign. The group has everything needed so for the most part it's ready to go just working out linking the games.

AWI Skirmish. No commitment to a rule set yet Song of Drums and Tomahawks and Sharp Practice II are on the list. I've heard people are using The Men Who Would be Kings for this period as well. Listing AWI has more to do with getting figures and terrain painted than any one rule set.

The figures I'd like to get painted are quite a mish mash. The Warfare GNW figures are the one I'm most anxious to get started on with 15mm WWII being next, a few artillery units would give me complete armies for PW. After that it's AWI, 40mm Knights and Warring States. 

Not exactly the solid plan I had hoped for but I've too many interests and partial things done to commit to much. Perhaps devoting a month or so to organization would help starting with the work bench.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2018 The Plan, part 1 the options.

Time to put into writing what the plans are for 2018. This years plan has been a little more difficult than I expected. The main idea is to work towards making the lead pile smaller while still indulging in purchasing new lead either for existing projects or new ones. As much as I'd like to think that I won't buy any new miniatures past experience has shown it's just not happening. I've always thought that if I was playing a game I should at least have some figures for it but now I have come to the conclusion though that just because I'm going to play a period doesn't mean I need to buy the figures. If someone else already has the figures I'm good to use those. If the group is getting into a new period and army size is small enough I can easily be convinced to buy and paint figures up.

The Figures 

With that in mind I went down to the work room and looked through what I had. An overwhelming experience to say the least. Warring States Chinese in 28mm, WWII Germans in 28mm and 15mm, AWI 28mm unit based and singly, LOTR. I stopped looking knowing there was more.

Of course there's new figure lines that are popping up on the Internet or ones that I've likes for a few years but never pulled the trigger on because of my awesome self control. Here's what I've been looking at recently. GRINGO40S has a Tonkin/French Indochina range coming out, 1898 Miniaturas produce some great looking figures for the SAW a period that's always interested me. There's also FPW 15mm Prussians I'd like to get to battle the French that are already painted.

Then there's the two new periods I've bought figures for but haven't painted any. GNW 28mm and Medieval Knights 40mm.

The que is backing up quickly.

The Games

Last year I was in the 6x6 challenge which gave some form to my gaming. This year challenge will be modified to some degree but what that will be has yet to be determined. 3x6 may be the practical option. The Lion Rampant series is on the list as well as Sharpe Practice. The Portable Wargame has grabbed my interest and can be played with existing armies. I'm still looking for a WWII game on the same scale as Chain of Command and Bolt Action and something to use all the 15mm stuff I have. Saga is releasing a revised version so I'm sure that will get a look. We've played a few one off games of Battle Troll, Mad Dogs with Guns and Flint & Feather but would like to see a campaign of four to six games played with a least one of these. Certainly some favorites will get played and I'd like to do a few games of A Gentleman's War 18th Century using historical scenarios. Song of Muskets and Tomahawks, Flashing Blades and Blood & Plunder were all purchased will most likely see at least some use in the coming year. Oh wait Too the Strongest is having a sale I may need this as I've become interested in gridded wargames.

So there's rule set options laid out. Now it's time to make some choices and work out how to coordinate figure painting and game playing to make it a productive year. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Hits and misses of 2017

Although there are a few days left in the year it's time to look back on the plans for 2017 and see what was achieved. A broadly laid plan was posted here at the end of 2016. I can't say that everything was completed but I do feel it was a successful year.

The NWF project fell by the wayside. The Gangsters saw a 40" x 30" table set up and enough figures for about three players painted. I'd still like to get some npc figures and more cars painted. AWI had a few more figures painted, a few feet of rail fences done and a I got few games in but not the Sharp Practice games I had planned on. My US forces for WWII in 28mm are pretty much complete and another squad of Germans were added. In 15mm some mortars, HMGs and 105mm artillery were painted.  I finished the last of my units for the 40mm Shiny Toy Soldiers so that project is finished except for the four bags of figures in the drawer😀. A few more vikings were added to my forces but still I need about eight more archers. This covers most of the planned gaming and painting but as is the habit of wargamers there were several unplanned games and figures that were painted but not part of the scheduled projects.

I covered the gaming aspect of the year in a post last week. the 6x6 challenge and other gaming As with the games painting covered a wide range of eras. Warring States Chinese had a chariot added, the Cave troll was finally painted, Skralings, Hurons and Iroquois were added to the collection, War of 1812 US Dragoons saw the dreaded cloudy varnish on them and then to add insult to injury I dropped them all while carrying them downstairs. Last of all I succumbed to temptation and bought some second hand Darkest Africa figures most were painted but some were only primed. I finished these off as well as a pack of figures I had bought several years back.

The stats for buying/painting worked out to 202/328. A pretty good year of painting if I say so myself. With the exception of the Darkest Africa figures I was fairly disciplined about buying figures most were small purchases of random figures for projects I was working on or knew I only needed a few more figures. The other big purchase was figures for the GNW which will be on the schedule for this year.

So I missed a few of the goals I had set but did some other things that I hadn't planned on but hey it's a hobby and I had fun. Another thing I did get to do was visit the Wargame exhibit at the Armemuseum in Stockholm, Sweden. This has to be one of the best exhibits I've seen,truly a work that showed the passion and knowledge of the curators.
My blog post trip-to-army-museum-in-stockholm-sweden

Here's a few posts by others I follow showing their year in review. All great stuff.
A Terrible loss of Lead and Wealth

Battlefields and Warriors

Natholeons Empires

Plans for 2018 will be worked out over the next few days and posted for a final reckoning in December 2018.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The 6x6 Challenge and other gaming experiences of 2017

Around this time last year Kaptain Kobold of  The Stronghold Rebuilt organized the 6x6 Challenge. The idea behind it is participants would choose six sets of rules of which they would play six games each. The thinking behind it is that it takes playing six games to really get to understand them. It sounded like a good idea and so I joined. Playing thirty-six games in the year was going to be challenge enough. The Rules chosen were; Chain of Command (CoC), A Gentleman's War(AGW), Mad Dogs with Guns, Saga, The Lion Rampant family and Sharpe Practice.

So how did it go? Ok. I felt it achieved it's goal for the games I played. I didn't get the chance to play Lion Rampant or Sharpe Practice and only played four games of Saga.

I got the six games of CoC in.  It took about four games to become comfortable with the rules. The last two games I found I was focusing more on the tactics than the modifiers and other mechanics of the rules. I'm still on the fence as far as liking CoC and will still look for another set but will happily play them. I do wonder if the two hours I generally have for a nights game is not enough for these rules.

AGW was played nine times some of them were the 19th century version others the Colonial or 18th century variant. This is my favorite set of rules. The mechanics are fairly simple. There's enough decision points and I feel it captures what Toy Soldier gaming is all about. Both the variants play well for their eras.

Mad Dogs with Guns was chosen to motivate me to paint up the figures and buildings. The rules were being published by Osprey mid 2017 and so I started with the original publication. The learning curve on these was quicker than CoC, of course having the author at the gaming table helps. These are a fun set of rules that lead to lots of banter among the players.

A campaign had been set up for Saga so it looked like this would be an easy way to get six games in. With family obligations, work and distance among the participants it didn't quite work out. I did get in four games and enjoyed them all. I liked these rules, the battle boards add to the decision making and forces a small enough that they can be built quickly and you could do more than one. I'm waiting for the new version to come out before committing more time to these though.

I see the challenge as being successful. I would think that a 3x6 or 4x4 challenge may be another approach, by the fourth game either you like the rules enough to learn more and continue playing or the system just isn't for you. Picking games others in your group are interested in helps to get the games in or maybe doing something solo would be a way to go.

I played forty games this year. Twenty-two were part of the 6x6 challenge. There were three extra games of A Gentleman's War. Several others were part of Howard Whitehouse's stable of rules, Battle Troll, Flint & Feather, Alien War and a Darkest Africa game. I enjoy Howard's rules the systems are similar but tweaked enough to capture the feel of the period that's being played. Other games were LOTR SBG used in a Dungeon crawl using Matt's beautiful terrain, The AWI rules from Der Alte Fritz of Fife & Drum miniatures, theses were easy to learn and quick to play. It took us two game nights to set up and finish the battle with Matt spending some extra time breaking down, Thanks for that. Lastly, The Portable Wargame was played using 15mm Romans and Carthaginians on a 2.5 inch grid. This is a game I hope to explore further next year. I like the grid movement and firing system.

Since no blog post is complete with out pictures here's a few from our game of Battle Troll the other night.
My men defend their women folk and beer barrels.

The Hero of the village mostly fend off blows whilst an unnamed karl does some real damage to the attackers.

Twin sisters of the attacking warband offer encouragement.

As the men folk fall back the women step up to nag the invading Warlord. 

Rather than face the women rushes off to battle my Hero.

Sub coming to his wounds my Huscarle dies.

The fight rages on until realizing it's the Hero's life or loosing some chickens and beer my men run off and the game ends.

2017 was a good year for playing games. Many exciting nights were spent in great company with nice miniatures and terrain. Over the next week I'll start to look at rules to be played in 2018 and how they'll dovetail into painting projects and purchases.
Thanks for reading!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Blasting away at The Empire.

Thursday saw us on a distant planet in a galaxy far away. Howard suggests Empire, Matt thinks Star Wars and I pack up a model from 1968.

Matt set the game up and used Mad Dogs with Guns as the rules. they worked well for this as Pulp games mostly vary by setting. I didn't get a lot of pictures as the game was moving quickly with lots of action.

Rebel forces assault the storage bunker.

Luke skirts the village to attack the Power generator.

Jabba and crew party down in the club.

Empire HQ

Moon bus getting on the table again after 49 years.

Han Solo blowing open the door to HQ. It didn't go well.
For a more detailed report and some great photos check out Mad Wookies with Blasters, its a trap.