Sunday 29 April 2012

Carronade 2012 Update

Pretty much everybody has now confirmed attendance with all the Traders and Clubs in place for next Saturday and just about everything organised for the event, bar the shouting (and the lifting, and the carrying).

For those who don't know, the show is being held next Saturday 5th May at Graeme High School in Falkirk and doors open at 10:00am and runs until 4:00pm.

You can check out the FDWC website for a full list of the Clubs and the games they're putting on here and for the Traders here.

The day promises to be another great show with lots of good demo games and quite a few participation games plus the usual traders, flea market and painting competitions. You can check out the details for the flea market, get directions etc from the Carronade 12 page here.

Hope to see lots of you there.

Friday 27 April 2012

Avengers Assemble!

Just been to see the new 'Avengers Assemble' movie, taken out for my birthday (which was nice). 

I've been an Avengers fan since I was ten and had been looking forward to see the film since I heard it was in the pipeline a couple of years ago, in fact since I saw the first Iron Man movie and Mr Fury made his entrance at the end of the film I figured out that was where things were going.

All I can say is I enjoyed the movie immensely. A very clever movie full of all the things you would expect; CGI, action, sexy spy types, violent combat, cool gear, really bad bad guys, plus a lot of jokes, some of the jokes are really unexpected and all the more funny because of that. Generally all the things you go to see that kind of movie for, or at least all the kind of things that I go to see a movie like that for. Left the cinema with a big grin on my face anyway. Great stuff.

If you liked any of the previous build up films, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America then it's a must see. I look forward to the next in the series.

Thursday 26 April 2012

Pike and Shotte Rules

I pre-ordered the 'Pike and Shotte' Rules from Warlord and I was pleasantly surprised when they appeared pretty speedily last friday, pleasantly surprised in that I thought they'd appear after Salute but no, so good point already.

Since I saw that Warlord were going to do the Pike and Shot period ruleset I was immediately interested. I was quite impressed with the Hail Ceaser rules I picked up recently and you could see the obvious pedigree of the rules and who had created them. Pike and Shotte follows this trend.

With the production values and easy going 'fluff' style of writing that the Warhammer Historical team had set up and with Warlord having the now well known 'ex's' it is no surprise that this style continues, one which I quite like.

The trend for hard cover rules, coming from the RPG genre, makes this rule set almost a coffee table book for wargamers. This would also appear to be a trend in the hobby with high production values being high on the list of priorities, coupled with lots of nice pictures and set ups, scenario's and ideas, the rules set out to be a hobby book rather than just a rule set in the old sense. Again this coming very much from the background of WAB, Warhammer et al. This is something I have no problem with as it's the whole hobby I'm interested in and I don't think there's many out there that don't like another source of ideas for there chosen period of wargaming.

The rules follow the now pretty much standard format of; this is what you need to have a wargame (pretty much un-required for just about every reader, but I still read through this sectionh in every rule set I buy), basic terms described and troop types and classifications, a fairly brief resume of formations, the basics of game rules, commands and how these are used (an idea Ilike with a fairly old skool ruleset building block put in pretty up to date terms), terrain, and then onto the particulars on shooting, hand to hand combat and then morale and victory and defeat.

The 'rules' take up about half the book, the second half is made up of five period specific scenario cum army list sections where they apply the rules to particular events, primarily for 'and this is how it works' purposes, these being Italian Wars, Anglo-Irish Wars, Thirty Year War, English Civil Wars (really two scenarios) and Lace Wars. Then a final Quick Reference. My one gripe is...why is there no bloody index. Rules never have an index, why not?

All in all following an pretty much standard format, but nicely done with a few typing errors which don't really bother me. And as standard too now I got the ubiquitous figure on the cover figure, which is a very nice 17th century ensign, which I know will come in useful.

The rules follow the style of Black Powder, and are really BP with some tweeks. If you have bought BP you might feel a bit peeved as the differences (Mainly in flavour and formations) insufficient to warrant a new rule set but as I haven't then this isn't a problem.

The whole, including the terminology used throughout is most definitely early to mid 17th century, with the majority of the first half of the rules eye candy being from this period, possibly because Warlord Games do a PIke and Shotte range, but as the figures are drawn from a variety of the wargaming worlds great and worthy, a variety of manufacturers and once into the period half of the book that obviously changes. One thing I did notice was the surprisingly high proportion of Scottish troops on show in the eye candy department, a pleasant surprise though, and indeed I also noticed that the Warlord Highlanders painted up to illustrate the 'Warband' unit type was the Stewart of Appin regiment, whose clan I am a family that was nice. (Though I did think they all looked a bit too well dressed to represent my ancestors ;-) )

All in all I liked the book and look forward to try out the rules in anger sometime soon to see how they 'feel' as I'm sure the rule mechanics will hang together as a rule set. My one fear is that they will not demonstrated 16th century conflict quite as well as they may do 17th but we'll see.

Saturday 21 April 2012

Tomorrow's War On Trial

The game on trial on Monday was a trial of the Tomorrow's War Rules for Sci-Fi combat that several at the club have picked up to have a try to see how they play, with a number having already picked up the Force on Force rules and after a couple of games, seemed OK for Modern Warfare, so worth a try.

To keep it simple we tried the basic start up scenario in the rule book, the old faithful - 'Rescue the downed pilot from the midst of of occupied territory' story. With three squads of Marines against four squads of local type regulars on a 3' x 3' table.

We played the scenario twice with each of taking a turn at being the Marines and both times the Marines walked it, in my case literally strolling in shooting everything that moved and strolled out again, Kev doing it slighlty with more alacrity but the end result the same - a walk over for the Marines.

We realise the scenario is just an introduction to the rules but it's not very balanced and the Marines could probably succede with two maybe even one squad at a push and would probably give a more interesting game. But the game did what we set out to do and get a trial of the rules.

The up shot of that is...not quite sure really about how I feel about the rules. Something didn't sit well with Kev in agreement with this. His felling was that the game would probably feel better in 15mm and this did seem to make sense (we were using 28mm figs) as the whole thing seemed wrong scale wise with the apparent closeness of the figures and the lack of much happening as lots of troops blazed away at what appeared to be point blank range, and nothing very much happening, just didn't feel right.

In reality, another couple of games will be required to get a better handle on the rules and we've organised an urban fight-fest next month with two even (not to say identical forces) battling it out and see if it was just the scenario that sucked. Watch thyat space.

Other than Mondays' game this week has been a bit of a non starter for me all in all as round about Monday, I started getting the  first signs of the bug that's doing the rounds in the town and by Wednesday it was the worst flu I can remember having since, well pretty much ever.

As a result the rest of the week I have been laid low feeling like I've been kicked in the face by a very angry horse (which I haven't) plus the usual snotters, temperature etc etc so generally bugger all done really. Feeling better now and feeling like I want to get things done again but with tomorrow being the Impetus tounament I've prudently called off my inclusion in the event rather than give one and all the bug from hell (Hopefully I haven't given the bug to Kev ;-) ). Hope the tourney goes well for all and everyone enjoys the event. Maybe can make it next time.

Thursday 12 April 2012

Impetus - Berbers vs Spanish

Another game of Impetus and a bit of practice to get to know the rules better before the first leg of the Scottish Impetus Championships which I'm going to take part in, as is Dave K my adversary for the evening, who is also organising the event.
Initial Deployments
I fielded the army I'm going to use which is my Berbers (masquerading under the Later Andalusians beta list as it's a slightly better list) and Dave used his El Cid Spanish (again using the beta list which for 300pts was almost all compulsories) for a historical match.
Mid game and just getting interesting
As you can see, my Berber's still haven't seen much paint over the last month that I'd planned to do, and are unlikely now to get finished for the competition. I'll see what I can get done before then though.

The game was more about getting more familiar with the rules as we are finding that though the rules are enjoyable, they do have a pretty steep learning curve in terms of getting the system and the rules fixed in your mind. This is not helped by the layout which is pretty different from most other rule sets I've seen for a number of years, and the pretty constant amendments, but we're getting there.

The game turned out to be a pretty slow affair as we quickly got into 'checking the rules' mode for various movement issues and then on through the rules. We did manage to get through five turns each and as we were both playing it canny, the game was really only getting to the interesting bit when we had to pack up.

The Cid charges forth
So in terms of the game it really was only a practice and getting to know the rules event and this it did as several points were picked up and several issues with my army list were high-lighted so all good really and I'm feeling I like the rules more after the game rather than any less.

The game itself was interesting with the Berber Cavalry keeping the flanks covered until right at the end when two rubbish cohesion tests in a row meant that the two units on the left flank disappeared. The infantry in the centre seemed to be doing ok while advancing cautiously against Dave's Spanish who were doing the same only slighlty slower. His impetuous knights though scary didn't seem to be doing well on either flank and in the centre the man himself The Cid charged into the right of the Berber line and that was where we left it when really the game was just getting to the interesting bit.

End of round five and end of game
All in all an education rather than a pleasure, but useful none the less. The Impetus rules are certainly gaining a particular popularity at the club at the moment with even a couple of seasoned fantasy/sci-fi players getting into it, so not a bad thing, and should provide a considerable number of opponents in the future.

The rules I think seem to suit a competition style of play and definitely give a more 'ordered' type of game in comparison to say WAB, or the newer HC or WaC and can be a bit linear in terms of movement.

I do enjoy playing the rules but I don't see myself abandoning the other rule sets just yet.

Thursday 5 April 2012

Benvenuto a Tutti!

And another month bites the dust and Easter is just about upon us. My plans for painting for March started off pretty well but fell to bits about after the first week and I've managed to get almost nothing achieved (wargaming wise) since then, due to helping out some friends get their new restaurant ready to open for Easter, so the time was well spent.

A couple of things did get done, both un-planned; firstly I was given an un-built Land Raider kit found in someones attic, and this was duly built and has now been undercoated. Not sure what I'm going to use it for other than adding to my Witch Hunters collection, but I did enjoy putting the model together without the instructions.

The other thing that I managed to get done was putting together some troops for my solo campaign, Lornian Imperial Breach Assault Troops which are looking pretty good and just need a little of green stuff to tidy up some joints and they'll be ready for painting. I'll get some photo's posted over on my Lornian Chronicles blog soon.

A few welcomes are due again to some more wanderers in the Ether-Web who have stopped a while on the oasis that is the Warblog;

Kapitan Hak and Chris Marquardt have dropped in and most welcome they are too. Rookie has joined us from the wastes of Mother Russia and his blog Rookies Wars has an interesting Half Life-esque feel to it along with some nicely done miniatures to peruse.

General Buggeration has joined in from less far a field and his new blog Daves Toy Box is pretty nifty already and he's taken to this wargame blogging bit like a natural, well worth a drop in.

From 'oop nawth' in Sweden Northern Wargaming and his new blog Northern Wargaming with some interesting Medieval Skirmish games also shows some excellent promise in this blogging lark.

In a more sunnier clime Juan Mancheno and his Playing with "Comic Books" is showing his medieval tendencies too and quite rightly so.

The Dark Templar and his blog The Dark Templar which he describes as being ' about wargaming and me' quite refreshingly honest a description as you can get. Definitely worth a visit for the terrain modelling bits alone.

The most recent visitor who stayed a while this time round is Felix Fox, his blog Bellulula; Teensy Weensy Wars who hail from the USofA and again his blog is but a newborn but has already bits worth a ponder.

On a review of the shout outs for this month, it has made me think on the global nature of this blogging malarky and how it does bring people from all round the globe in touch with common interests is quite remarkable. Just shows that a nice miniature can be appreciated from where ever you hail from. Not sure this is an earth shattering in-sight but interesting none the less.

Well hopefully over the next couple of weeks my painting mojo can be stirred and I can get some meaningful progress on my Berbers so they can be fielded in the coming Impetus tournament towards the end of the month and not show me up, and some other bits and bobs on the Italian Wars. Lots to look forward to; life, wife and work allowing of course.

Wednesday 4 April 2012

Urban War in the Spring

Suppressors target the oncoming Junkers
 through the pipe farm.
This week, for a bit of a change Kev and myself opted to have a game of Urban War using the 2nd Edition of the rules, which Kev had not used in anger yet.

With myself opting for the VASA, and Kev being stubbornly sticking with his Junkers gladiator types (as the last couple of outings his Junkers have been shot to pieces by my VASA before getting within arms reach) to see if the tide could be turned.

The table was laid out as you can see with a reasonable amount of terrain and obstacles but as it proved, insufficient to hide enough to avoid the hail of fire the VASA squad put down in the first half of the game.

Pretty quickly, as Kevs gladiator types advanced through the terrain they were quickly picked off one by one with some pretty efficient dice rolling on my part and after three turns or so I had nearly got the Junkers force to breaking point with a pretty effective gun line, helped by what was proving to be a 'no place left to hide' terrain layout.

Kev was beginning to loose hope as he reached break point and had only managed to take out one VASA with an eventual lucky shotgun shot taking out the VASA leader who had got over confident and placed himself in full view of the whole battlefield so he could pick off nearby targets and pounce when the time came. 

The Sniper and Spotter team clear the right flank
of enemies
The Black Legion Sergeant
 gets a vantage point
He proceeded to make three consecutive break checks as his force was reduced to less than half but it was then that my luck on the dice turned as it does and a couple of charges from Greater Pit Beasts and various others managed to get in amongst the VASA Suppressors and did what they do best and dismembered three or four in pretty quick succession. It was then that the much vaunted 'high morale' of the VASA troops began to let them down and several failed panic checks led to reduced shooting abilities.

Junkers make contact at last
As usual, just when you can taste the victory, it is cruelly taken from you. Of course, with the death of the Angel spotter to a couple of well aimed shots from the Junkers leader who had just eviscerated a second suppressor, the VASA had to do a break test which they duly failed. And Kev's Junkers had their victory at last!

VASA advance through the Pipe Farm while an
Angel watches over them
The totalling up the points bar the break VPs were surprisingly even at the end of the fight, with the break giving the victory. Victory though did not have the proper taste of success, as Kev felt that the battle felt already lost so the surprise victory was a bit hollow having won only by me failing one dice roll. The post game discussion revolved around this and it was pointed out that many games of whatever rules, invariably come down to who fails the break test first, especially skirmish games. It takes a scenario with set victory criteria to move this up a notch and remove the 'who fails first' syndrome from the game.

The Suppressors start getting
All in all though, this game being my third game of the 2nd edition Urban War rules and I'm beginning to warm to them with the simplified approach and less needless dice rolling removed it does become a much slicker game. A sort of sci-fi version of the LotR strategy game would be reasonable analogy.

Sunday 1 April 2012

Moebius - 1938 - 2012

Just learned today that Jean 'Moebius' Giraud the French illustrator/artist has passed away 10th March, aged 73.

The Pope of Comics, his artwork had a profound influence on my own art work from around the age of twenty and always a favourite of mine since, his works Arzach and The Airtight Garage in particular having a special place still in my library.

His original style had influenced two or more generations of artists and continues to do so and definitely ahead of his time and ground breaking back in the seventies and early eighties.

His artwork was the first I saw that had a sense of being pictures  actually depicting another world or place different from our own.

To quote him and paraphrase one of the art journals; ' He once described his life as a train racing to a full stop. ... Now Jean has reached his final stop, and left the world in a more interesting place because of his journey.'
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