Wednesday 29 February 2012

Begrüßen Alle!

Well once again another month draws to a close and the wargaming muse ( I assume there is one?) has been pretty active in this neck of the woods, with a bit of painting getting done, research into a few of the ongoing projects and a bit of modelling to boot, some of which has found it's way onto the Warblog.

The Warblog has been pretty well visited this month and thanks to all for their interest and comments, both kind and otherwise, on the goings on in the house of ALBAtwo Warblog.

A couple new welcomes are due to a few wanderers in the blog-ether who have stopped by and paused a while;

SADA was the first of the visitors who paused a-while and his interesting (by way of the pictures only as I don't read Japanese) blog Pages of Sada's Blog which has a fair few nice pictures on it of a Napoleonic nature.

thehermit also dropped by though I'm not sure if he has a website/blog as none are indicated on his profile, perhaps you can enlighten me if you do, but welcome none the less.

A trackhead going by his monicar StuG also joined in on his wanderings. His blog ARMOURED FIGHTING VEHICLE has some quite spectacular scratch built models, and being a bit of a trackhead myself, I think that's just fine. 

The last but of course not least of this band of travellers is Oleg (I'll not try and write your full Russian name if you'll forgive me, I couldn't find the cyrillic characters on the key board), once again blogger is not showing your blog on your profile but I think that the blog All World Game is yours. And any one who is doing a version of the Garde Ecossaise in miniature is OK in my book, and the miniature from Leonid does looks absolutely spiffing.

Lot's to come in the month ahead, looking forward to some games of Impetus with the first Monday coming which should be good, and progress being made on various projects, hopefully 
I'll have some good things to report in the coming days.

Thursday 23 February 2012

The Knight and the Three 'Bears'

The Knight and his three 'Bears'
Just a bit of fun, having just finished off these generally skirmish types, I thought I'd post them up on the Warblog.

While I'm painting up units or what ever I usually have a few other bits and bobs on the painting desk to pick at while painting the main event as it were, to break the tasks up and to use spare mixed paint, and just because really.

So while painting up Sudanese Mercenaries for my Almohad Army I happened to get these finished off, a knight and a couple of billmen, the three being old Copplestone 'Grenadier' medievals (which have gone through a few incarnations but now still available through Vexillia Miniatures I think). Really nice figures as all Copplestone stuff is and pretty easy to paint up.

The four figures are intended for skirmish gaming generally and are pretty generic in that they can be used for historical or fantasy games, and are non-specific enough to be usable in quite a decent time span.

I have quite a few of the Copplestone medieval figures about and intend to put them to use  in a variety of guises. The crossbow figures for instance will be used as Italian Crossbow for the Italian Wars Project and a couple for skirmishes etc.

The bear is another oldie, I'll see if anyone out there recognises him and can put an name to where he came from? (not one for anyone under the age of about 30). Again a useful figure and initially for my Mordheim Kislev Warband but will no doubt star in other games.

Wednesday 22 February 2012

25th Birthday 40K game

This week, having been looking for a bit of a change for the weekly club game, myself and Barry got together to dust off the old 40K rules and figures to have a game of 40K using the latest (I think) set of rules, as much to give a nod to the games 25th birthday as to play something different, (Barry having just taken part in the two day Warhammer tournament, playing that again might have been too much).

I dug out my old Eldar Iyanden figures and Barry looked out his Chaos followers of Khorne and after doing a few repairs to some of my figures, (so unloved that some of the glue had simply stopped being glue after so much time) we threw down some terrain and had at each other in a straight forward battleline barny.

Suffice to say, the game was a mixture of lots of dice rolling and general carnage but as I always say, as far as GW games are concerned, 'He who throws the most dice wins!', the Eldar threw a fair few more dice and having fought to almost annihilation the Chaos Khornites eventually went down in a hail of shuriken and plasma fire, but not before making a fair mess of the Eldar forces.

Good to dig the Eldar figures out as I had been thinking about using them for some games using the Tomorrow's War rules. They are some very nice figures and vehicles and I always liked the styling of the range from the outset, starting to buy the figures and only after some time playing 40K as I had the figures anyway.

Don't think I'll be playing the game again for quite a while, having played them this week reminded me that the rules never inspired me, as they just didn't give a feel of futuristic combat. An enjoyable game none the less. No photo's taken of the battle as my camera batteries had died unfortunately.

I'll need to do some required repairs to the Eldar troops and finish of painting the bits and pieces still to do so another little side project maybe for the year, with a fairly easy paint scheme, should be not too difficult, especially as now there are lots of juicy accessories for painting up these kinds of armies, Army Painter here we come. We shall see.

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Third Age Total War - Lord of the Rings

Dale Swordsmen finish off an Easterling General
I've been playing Medieval Total War II PC game since the game was released some years ago and it is one PC game that has generally kept it's interest for me especially as there have been a good number of very good mods available for the game. I had been looking for a new mod to see if there was something out there to bring some new life into the game. What I stumbled upon for a very good mod for Lord of the Rings, The Third Age.

The mod has been developed by a group of LOTR modding enthusiasts and they have put together a very convincing game of the War of the Ring complete with all the appropriate factions, history, maps etc all true to the books and using some of the where-with-all from the cinema trilogy for graphics and cut scenes etc.

Easterling Cataphracts charge into the Dalesmen lines
Campaign map - Part of northern Rhovannion
With all the functionality of the Medieval TW II game and some smoother graphics and all the armies and races included, the game has certainly peeked my interest in the game and given it a new lease of life not to mention a renewed interest in LOTR gaming.

The Dalesmen Heavy Infantry receive the Balchoth
Tribesmen's onslaught
I've only tried the campaign once and I'm in the middle of the campaign as the Men of Dale and so far I am enjoying success against the Easterlings of Rhun with some minor skirmishes against the Orcs of Gundabad in the north.

A Dalesmen General is ambushed by Balchoth
and Variags but goes down fighting
If you have the game, maybe buried away somewhere and are a fan of LOTR, I thoroughly recommend this mod to while away the odd hour or three. Easily findable if you google Third Age TWII mod and can be downloaded from a number of sites in two parts and installs very easily. A good find from out there in Interweb Land.
The final confrontation - the Easterlings get it!

Sunday 19 February 2012

Falkirk Free For All 2012 - A Success

FFFA '12 in full swing - 2nd Day
This week end the Falkirk & District Wargames Club hosted it's first wargames tournament, a Warhammer 2 day event, the 'Falkirk Free For All'. Organised by the young (younger than me anyway) Warhammer Crew and has been well supported with around 34 entrants for the 2 day event.

Not a strictly GW event, as non GW figures and even unfinished painted armies were allowable as long as the entrants fielded an event competition rule legal army. The event being about enjoying the gaming and having fun with like minded players and gamers, and not just about the GW 'One True Way', but about gaming the way you want to do it, which I think the guys achieved in spades.

There were some interesting armies on show and a couple of unusual ones too, not just the Tournament winning types, and some really nice looking ones too. I was impressed by the fellow from 'Dragon Slayers' who had dice which even matched his army, a nicely done Bretonnian.
The food for the event was pretty good for these kind of do's with plenty to go round, I think everyone should have gone home with a part bag of goodies (pizza, chicken, spring rolls and cake and more) when they leave. (Great sausages and chocolate eclairs BTW!  ;-) )
Don't know the scores on the doors as the event is still running as I post this and just winding up about now with the prizes etc. but I'll get the low down on the winners (and runners up) tomorrow and post the results when I get them.

The event seems to have been a success, well done to the lads for organising the event and hopefully this will be the first of many.

There will be a full run down of the event and results on the FDWC site once the results are in here.

Wednesday 15 February 2012

The Library Rubble Rumble

Being the fourth episode of the Mordheim Occasional Mini Campaign, the warbands were really and truly into the rubble of the city, having fought their way through swamp and marsh, forest and jungle, field and farm, the Warbands had now ventured into the Academic quarter of the ruined city, in search of dark and forbidden secrets.

Once again, the terrain has shifted, this time from the fairly open suburbs to the ruined and rubble strewn streets and alley ways of the city proper. Things closing in yet more.

Along with my Gunnery School Cadets this time, were Kens much vaunted 'Kings of Bling' Reiklanders, Kev's 'poorer cousins' also Reiklanders and the previous victors of round two Barry's Skaven.

All the Warbands were there to search for scrolls and tomes of lost and dangerous knowledge left amongst the ruins of the old city library and it's surroundings, (and to do some GBH to any one they happened to encounter along the way of course).

The Rubble Rumble
The initial deployments meant that the Skaven and Ken's Reiklanders were pretty much side by side and almost immediately came to blows in one corner of the field, but with Kev's Reiklanders moving in from the opposite side from Ken soon joined the fray and helped pull some numbers of Skaven away from the out numbered Bling Reik. The Gunnery School Cadets started at the opposite of the field of battle from the Skaven and a fair distance from the all the action, so they entered cautiously trying to keep to cover until they got into range of their black powder weapons.

The Bling Reik soon got the worse of their uneven struggle even though putting up a good defence but only one of the six sturdy Reiklander managed to flee the field in one piece, but they did manage to put a dent into the numbers of the Skaven. Meanwhile Kev's Reiklanders had moved into the ruins and his archers climbed up into vantage points in the centre of the field giving them good field of fire across the centre and fired off a couple of cursery shots at the advancing Cadets, while the rest of the band advanced into contact with the rest of Barry's Skaven.

Cadets move through the alleys
Having finished off Ken's band, Barry now moved towards Kev's band with a couple of ratty types now open to fire from the Cadets, who fired off a couple of ranging shots to no effect. Kev's band soon rushed into hand to hand (or hand to tooth) with the rats with a each giving giving the other as good as they got. By this time the Cadets had reached the centre of the field intact (mainly due to the fact that everybody had decided the greatest threat came from the rats and so were pretty much left alone).

Reiklander archers cover their fellows
from above
By now Kev's much abused archers (who hadn't managed to hit anything - again!) had managed to cover the rest of his band and allowed him to retreive two pieces of sought after loot and deciding that discretion was the greater part of profit beat a hasty retreat before his possible loses out weighed any gain. The Cadets moving into the library ruin and managed to climb (and not fall and hurt themselves) into the rubble and retreive a couple of the dusty tomes.

With all the Reiklanders gone, but a much depleted Skaven Warband left, the Cadets arrived in a pretty good position in a firing line with all guns loaded and blazed away at the remnants of the Skaven horde inflicting around five casualties in a single round to the already depleted band of rats.

The Skaven decided to make a sharp exit, but not before picking up a token scroll in recompense for the loses (plenty more rats where they came from says Barry).

The gun line begins to form
So finally the Cadets come good, (if helped considerably by the Reiklanders) and finally manage a victory and prove they can hit something and survive unscatathed this time.

Kev's and Barry's loses end up being fairly light in the end getting most casualties back (or replacable) but with Kens Reiklanders down to four, it may be the end of the Bling, but possibly not, time will tell.

The next time the bands will venture further into the ruins to see what terror awaits in what will be the penultimate battle in the campaign.

Wednesday 8 February 2012

'New Rule Sets' In Da House!

I've finally got around to picking up a couple of new(ish) rule sets that I'd been meaning to do do for a while.

The first set. Hail Ceaser, is probably familiar to most.

I hadn't intended to pick these up as I've enough rule sets as it is, and most of my historical opponents (not that i've been fighting historically, but you know what I mean) are using the Impetus rules and we're all enjoying these. Indeed, most are getting involved in the new tournament scene in Scotland, which is surprising, especially for me. Also, I had pidgeon-holed these as being 'Ancient' rules, a period I don't really play at all.

What decided me to get these rules was the number of blogs about which talk about using these rules for Italian Wars games. And that did peak my interest so, long story short, I picked these up on Amazon for a reasonable price. Having only appeared in the post this afternoon, I've not had time to go into them in any detail, but they do look interesting, though obviously aimed at a more ancient-ish audience, they do jump into the Dark Age and Medieval periods, though no mention of handguns and arquebus yet.

I'll do a bit of digging and reading up on this one but so far I think a reasonable addition to the old library in any event.

The second rule set ordered and arriving toiday was a set I knew more about, Tomorrow's War.

These have been planned for a while and now that I've got them, I'm looking forward to try them out. Again, a few club members already have these and so should produce a number of games in the near future (pun intended).

Lot's of eye candy as can be assumed with a rule set now adays, and a considerable amount of reading, which probably isn't usual. They do seem to use a couple of paragraphs where a short sentence would do. But still, they promise to produce some interesting games.

I did notice, while taking the books out of the packaging that they were both pretty weighty tomes and both hard bound, that most new wargames rule sets I've seen for a year or so are now of this type. A trend which I think is coming from RPG gaming where most rule sets are now like this (and there's a huge amount of them out there!) and one I don't think is a bad thing.

The number of rules I have bought over the years whether poorly photocopied or printed and bound in a spiral binder or just soft bound and with even fairly limited light use soon show signs of wear and tear.

Yes, the high production values and hard binding puts up the cost, but comparing the £15 a soft bound, low page count rule set of maybe 5 years ago to the generally £25 hard bound, high page count rule set with lots of shiny, I think this is a trend in the hobby which is all to the good. I do wonder what the driver for this change has been though. I don't know if it's the guru's of the hobby who are involved in the production of these rule sets are often involved in the RPG scene and so getting cross fertilised as it were or just that the wargaming public is getting a bit more demanding for spending it's gaming dollar. Not sure.

Anyways, I'm off to have a read at my new purchases, but i'll report anon on my gaming experiences of these rules as they transpire, which will no doubt be soon. Likely first up will be TW and some urban mayhem. See you in the rubble...

Tuesday 7 February 2012

Grab the Guru!

Dawn - a peaceful town somewhere in Spain
As a slight change from our usual gaming fair at the club, this week Kev and myself had arranged to have a dark age skirmish game, which gave Kev a chance to use his newly painted up Saxons and just do something a bit different.

Leaving things with me to arrange what we were going to do (always a mistake at the best of times), I decided on a simple scenario where Kev and his un-named marauding horde would be attacking a badly defended Moorish settlement.

The local Emir and his household troops are away despoiling somewhere else and the raiders are taking the opportunity to raid the town and abduct the local holy man who is hold up in the town, who will be worth a kings ransom to the Moors to get him back. Attacking at dawn the locals will only be able to spot and  react to the attackers once within 12" and thye locals are generally poorly armed with little or no armour, spear and javelins and a few bows. The raiders are tooled up professionals with chain armour etc.

However, the raiders are on a tight schedule as they need to be in and out with their prize before the Emir and his mounted household troops return, from round 8 onwards a dice being checked each turn with an increasing chance of them appearing.

A simple enough scenario and I chose to use my old standard for medieval skirmish, the 'Retinue' rules from Table Top Games, though we ended up using a much abridged version of the rules to avoid any paperwork. Doug Thomson stepped in on the night to assist me on the Moorish side, and Kev leading his forces into the town.

Kev, decided on a sneaky approach through the town on either side, rather than the upfront approach straight down the middle and split his forces into two and advanced into the town at a run. His forces quickly got a bit bogged down being held up by small numbers in the confining alleys.

Though the plucky defenders were cut down, they did slow the raiders' advance, this being the result two or three times or six or so turns, with the raiders having to clear the way at several bottle necks. The raiders cutting down many of the defenders, for few loses but these did begin to mount..

Pretty much as the raiders finally reached the fortified rabat where the Holy Man was laying low, the defenders finally got their act together. Well Doug did and inflicted a series of casualties on his opponents on his side of the table in a volley of short range fire and then rushed forward into hand to hand, delaying the raiders on that side of the battle. While on my side the raiders had pretty much cleared the streets bar one or two hardier fellows and were sprinting for the gates when in true cinematic fashion the Emir and his troops appeared in the distance.

The battle on the streets raged on for another couple of rounds on Dougs side of the town as the re-enforcements cantered into the fray, having to slow almost to a walk to negotiate the twisted streets before entering the fray.

The first of the raiders entered the rabat, taking a couple of loses from fire from the walls and the lone (by this time) archer perched on a roof on my side, again in cinematic fashion, a bold raider dying in the gateway of his goal.

The game ended pretty much at this point. The towns folk having been decimated but taken a few of the raiders with them, it was likely that rather than escaping with their prize which they hadn't quite got yet they would instead have had to hole up in the rabat and try and escape when and if they could probably using the Holy man to buy their way out.

A good game and a victory to the Moors, since the raiders had failed to escape with the holyman, but a pyrrhic one as most of the men folk of the village had been cut down.

Kev did have his work cut out to get to the rabat and grab the Imam before the Emir appeared with really the only way to do this would have been to make a rush straight through the middle of the town but potentially having to then fight their way out through the then organised defenders.

The Imam keeps a watchful eye
on his flock
A quickly put together scenario in the usual gaming tradition and one that I'd like to play again but with a couple of minor modifications. One topic of conversation was that both Doug and Kev would have liked to use rules which were a bit more 'quick play' rather than the old school rules we used, and I'd have to agree especially with the limited time on a club night. Kev suggesting a version of the GW LotR rules being ideal. So that might be the way to go for next time. A bit of colour and depth sacrificed for speed of play.

It will be interesting to compare the different styles of rules on the same scenario, 1982 versus 2002 skirmish rules and see which comes up trumps. I've a feeling it might be the new boy on the block but we'll see.

Next weeks game is another skirmish, this time round 4 of our occasional Mordheim campaign, the Library.
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