Warhammer World Visit

For those of you in the UK Warhammer World is somewhere which is accessible – maybe not with ease depending on where you are in the UK, but you can get there. For us colonials that’s is not the case. So as I was in the UK this weekend and passing Nottingham on my travels, I decided to take a slight detour and investigate the GW HQ – which they call Warhammer World for this of you who did not know. That means you guys get a ‘bonus blog entry’ on this.

Now I am not the greatest GW fan, but at the same time I enjoy some of their games. Like most people in the war gaming hobby I have known the background and their games for a long time. I do use a decent amount of their paints and washes etc. So why not take a look.

The place is a group of buildings which includes a factory etc so that was interesting to start with. The factory is not open to the public though. This first thing I will say is that they had some very nice displays as you walk in the main building. Below are a couple of samples.

The place is fairly impressive, with a decent gaming area and a good retail space. In the US and Canada I have seen stores with larger areas for both, but for the UK it’s a good size. When I was there an Age of Sigmar competition going on – with some nice looking armies on lots of tables.

They have lots of the Forgeworld figs on display. I was impressed with many of those. 40k is not really my thing but I have to say they did have a nice set of big and unusual models around . Here are a few sample shots. There were many more of these types of thing.

A nice thing was they had I think most/all GW models to be purchased. With planning you can also pick up forge world models there. So if you are looking for something then you likely can get it here with just a little planning. I bought a couple of things – nothing crazy though. The items were things I was thinking of getting anyway, oh and a white dwarf mag. But I could not really not comeback without buying something after all.

I will close the post by saying that they had a fun set of painted armies and displays around. I’ll show sample set of photos below. I am not sure if these are customer or in house painted mini’s I did not have a huge amount of time to spend reading labels etc but overall it was worth a quick stop over in my opinion anyway.

Posted in 28mm, After Action Report, BloodBowl, Necromunda, Review, Warhammer Fantasy | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Flocking around – Kallistra non hex terrain

So a simple one this time… I have had the kallistra non hex terrain for some time (see here for them: https://www.kallistra.co.uk/?page=14). I bought them just before lockdown and decided that I really needed to get them finished and use them out. You can buy these flocked but I decided to buy them plain and then do that myself. Thus the title of the post. That way they would more match the boards/fabric I use as a tabletop as well as the basing I do. I will say it was also cheaper, well I am a gamer after all.

With some games we have been playing recently again at my house I wanted to get these plastic hills/lakes etc finished so I could use them. Now they are and below you can see them all – with a 40x20mm base for scale on the pictures. In the end I like how they have come out.

There is no variation in the design at each hill size and I have 4 small hills – these will be good for general games and especially ADLG/DBA etc.

I also have 2 medium sized hills. These are ok for larger hills and as you can see the models seem to hold onto the flocking well. So no sliding down the side which was a concern for me. That was one concern I had especially with trying the non flocked hills.

I also just have a single large hill. Overall, I tried to do the flocking so it will work for a variety of settings. I just used white glue and very fine flock. I am sure that they may ware a little with use as well but so far they seem to be holding up ok. The hills themselves are just formed from moulded hollow plastic so are very light but seem sturdy enough for gaming. All the same, I would not want a person to lean and put all their weight on them though.

I also had ordered a couple of small hills with escarpments. Some grey paint and highlights has got those done as you can see below. Overall again I can’t really complain. I should have got a medium and large version of these. Maybe soon if I expand my collection of them,

Lastly, I also go a pack of their lakes. I did those at the same time – but obviously I needed to paint the water. So a coat of white gesso for undercoat and then a couple of different blues and the lakes are done. It’s always a nice day for a battle, so I did them nice a blue. That is rather than the typical Northern Europe lake which would be a much darker shade.

Overall I’m quite happy how these have come out. They were not hugely expensive and are a great alternative to styrofoam hills. They store easily, especially as the are hollow so multiple slot into each other. They are light as well which helps. I may at some point even order a few more. We will see on that as it depends if I really need more. But at this point I know these will get a lot of use in my home gaming. They already have…

Posted in Review, Terrain | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Dark Ages – Other Bases

I have shown a lot of Dark age models in the past year or so, but these are slightly different than the typical fighting units. There are two different types of odd models here. First I have four more 40mm square bases with civilian models on them. They can be used as ambush markers or just natives in the local area. They can also be raiders returning with loot.

They could also be locals trying to escape such raiders hauling the few goods they could gather while trying to escape. They could at a push even be hordes/levy troops but I am not sure on that as for one thing the bases are the wrong size for true levy in mots of the rules I use. I must admit I was quite happy how these came out and was tempted to but more bushes etc on the bases but in the end left them sa just grass.

The basing is the same as I have used previously, so I am sure they will find a use in some game or other. They may well even work for first crusaders on the move, as I suspect many of those armies were nothing more than a horde most of the time. The soil is a little too dark for that really but I doubt anyone will complain too much.

The second set of models are a group of 4 warhounds. I based these on cavalry sized bases and although not really used in many historical big battle games they again can be used in smaller ones. Some rules such as SAGA and Dux Bellorum have specific units for dogs so these can be used in those rules without a problem. In others I can always use them as cavalry if I really want.

I have a few more dogs on order from other manufactures – as I liked these and wanted at least 2 if not 4 more bases of dogs. These will work for quite late into the medieval period as the dog handlers are wearing pretty generic clothing and dogs do not really change.

The models are from splintered light, if anyone wants to know, while I think most of the general people above are from PeterPig.

So there we are a few more models for the Dark Age forces. Believe it or not this is the last set of Dark Age models I’ll be showing for a while, as I have started on the next 15mm project – Gauls. So I am going back a little in time, although it another horde of troops army. Although if the dogs come then I may paint those up to complete that unit.

Posted in 15mm, Dark Ages | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Warcry game report

So, this time I’ll do a quick write up of a recent Warcry game. This as most will know is a game from Games Workshop. It’s a fast a furious skirmish game with quite a bit of tactical choices but its not poses as realistic – it is very quick and bloody. We played 2 games in an evening and had a lot of fun doing it. We actually played a couple of weeks ago but I have just got around to finish this write up.

The first game was my Undead Legion vs. Untamed Beasts and it was an objective holding scenario. I got to choose whether to the the attacker of defender so decided to defend. Undead in Warcry are numerous and so have some key advantages in that, but movement is not their strong point. So defending seemed like the best idea.

You can see the start of the game below, with my undead clustered around 2 of the objectives – the third objective was on top of the ruined building. The Untamed Beasts started just short of the middle of the table. They at this stage matched numbers with the undead on the left side of the board, while on the right they just had their leader and a powerful harpoon armed fig. Roughly a third of our forces would come in on turn 2, we knew that was going to effect things as well.

In turn 1 on the left the undead took the initiative and moved past the objective to defend it and keep the Chaos band away from it. I created a screen of Skeleton figs, all armed with spears for more range. The more powerful grave guard hanging back a bit. The idea was for him to be able to strike and effect a combat after the skele’s took the first attacks.

You may notice that there were only 3 of the Untamed Beasts above though. That was because one of them raced towards the central objective. That figure was stalked by a lone skeleton sent by my Necromancer on the other side of the table o try to hold that objective. In fact that skeleton did way more than that and although it took some damage it managed to kill the chaos follower straight out! Skeletons are not the best fighters that was a good and surprising turn of events

The slowness of the undead was shown up though by the two powerful Untamed Beasts figures on my right. They ran around to attack from 2 directions and close off options for the Necromancer. The Chaos Harpooner managed to drag a skeleton slightly towards him, but the skeleton survived that attack. This left the Necromancer a little exposed – not only as the leader but key to the undead’s chance success, as he is the most useful fig by far in the warband, that was not great. So the Necromancer decided to erm ‘hide under the stairs’ or make himself harder to attack/target at this stage. No one said Necromancers have to be brave after all.

The next turn ‘things got real’ though for both sides…

On the left side objective battle was joined and it did not go well for the Untamed Beasts. The skeletons with spears really managed to do a number of the chaos supporters. They killed one of them for no deaths in return and engaged the other with the grave guard. Some of the skeletons had taken damage but that is unavoidable in Warcry. So things were looking good on this side for the undead.

Only 2 Untamed Beasts came forward though as a second figure had chased up the stairs to avenge his colleague on top of the building. Its obvious target was that my loan skeleton on the second level had been so successful. So, although the 4 undead on this side looked good and to have secured the left objective all was not stable on the others.

That was also because a whole bunch of Untamed Beasts had come in from my table edge and raced into combat with the skeleton and grave guard which had started on the right side objective. That was along with the 2 figs already on that side. My reinforcements had come on on the opposite side of the table and even moving at a ‘run’ but were not going to get in the fight till some of these combats had been resolved. The lack of speed in undead forces again being a factor in games. You can see those at the top of the picture below.

Things were not going all the Untamed Beasts way though even on this side. The Untamed Beasts leader just failed to do enough damage to take out the grave guard. That did help the sneaky Necromancer though and allowed the grave guard and him to focus attacks on the Chaos harpooner and kill him outright. The Necromancer was slowly moving away from the objective and all the Untamed Beasts, but that was heading towards his reinforcements.

Back on top of the ruins, the skeleton which had seen off one chaos opponent in single combat fell with ease to the second who had a big axe and wanted revenge. This means that at the moment the Untamed Beasts held 2 objectives and the undead only one.

The good news for the undead reinforcements were coming (slowly… very slowly, but they were coming) and the Necromancer was still around and safe. I have found even more than some other forces in Warcry the Necromancer is key to winning with the Undead. It does ‘feel right’ that way as well. So the plan was to keep him safe and use the reinforcements to win in the end.

Those reinforcements included a powerful Grave guard and the Seneschal grave guard champion. The grave guard started climbing the stairs ready to take on the axe wielding chaos cultist. On the left the collection of undead there managed to overpower the final chaos gang member on that side as well.

On the ground on the right side of the table though, the Untamed Beasts hound (or doggie as I call it) tried to get to the Necromancer. It took a good bite of him but he survived and before the doggie could do more it was mobbed by a group of undead. They did not kill it in one round but were busy trying and at the same time worked to keep it away from the Necromancer.

To add insult to injury the Untamed Beasts leader did kill the original two undead in that area (the skeleton and the grave guard) but the Necromancer used one of his special powers and re-incarnated the grave guard (with a single hit left but still it was there). This meant it was around him to help with his own defense if nothing else. Chaos gang to deal with it as well as the undead reinforcements which were finally close enough to effect the game.

In a key point for objective control, the Undead grave guard which that had been sent to up the stairs to secure that objective managed to take down the Chaos axman. That was a big factor as that again meant the undead now controlled 2 of the 3 objectives.

Some of the undead from the left which had been cleared of the chaos host had also shambled over to contest the one objective still in the Untamed Beasts control. There was only 1 chaos gang member there so they could stop him scoring that. This highlighted that the numbers in the undead side were playing a key part in the game.

On the floor around the ruin though the unfortunate Untamed Beasts hound and leader were surrounded and taken down by the undead mob aided by the Necromancer. Yes he was brave with all his minions around… It was an epic ending for the Chaos leader in a big fight. He very nearly took the Necromancer out in that fight.

However, the reality is that it would not have mattered if they had. The Untamed Beasts had run out of figures really and the undead won because of their clear control of 2 objectives. So after 4 turns of frantic activity it lead to a clear victory for the undead.

Just for the balance of reporting we played a second game the same evening. This time saw me using my unpainted Cypher lord figures rather than the undead. I’ll not post pictures as they do not look good with unpainted models. This again was vs the Untamed Beasts. However, this time my luck (and possible skills) were not able to best the Untamed Beasts. They won at the start of turn 4 by assassinating the Cypher Lords leader, which was the mission in that game. I had tried to be clever and keep the leader safe by moving him around but it had failed miserably.

So 2 games in an evening – about an hour and 15 minutes for each game really. I have to say Warcry continues to hit that light fantasy skirmish game slot perfectly and really is a fun game. It’s not wonderfully balanced at times, but for quick games thats ok as long as it works out that one side is not with that advantage. The skirmish format with the different scenarios really allows that, and warcry does allow that. At the same time the games are quick and brutal, with lots of tactical decision points. I’d put warcry behind Bloodbowl for GW’s best game at this point, but it is better than most of them.

Posted in 28mm, After Action Report, Warcry, Warhammer Fantasy | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Dark Ages – Last of the Archers

No this is not about the end of a BBC Radio 4 program, (that may well outlive me) but a post that finally shows the last of my Dark Age archers. Here I have another 10 DBX bases archers. The first set are actually 4 figs per base not the normal 3 for most the period.

For some rules that does not make a difference – for others it shows that these guys may have a little more weight of archery and staying power on the battlefield. They visually are different so can be used for slightly better archers as needed in games. Obviously, for DBA it does make a difference.

Then we have just 4 bases of the more traditional 3 figs per base archers. These fit in with all the other bases that I have for this style of game so should work without an issue for the various armies of the period.

I have mentioned before that archery was not a core part of the fighting tradition of the early medieval period (aka the Dark Ages) but we know it happened and it was more popular in some area’s than others. The bow would also have been used by skirmishers and others as well so for smaller scale scuffles having a good selection of these does not hurt.

Many of the DBA armies for the period have a couple of bows so some will get used for those if nothing else… but I do have a lot. I have been looking at doing some large skirmish stuff as well with various rules and many of these need bowmen as well.

So there we are, no more bowmen at this point. However, I have a huge lead pile so you never know what I will find it in! But I likely will not be buying any generic archers for this period any more.

Posted in 15mm, Ancients, Dark Ages | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Oak and Iron – The English Wind

Well here is another battle report write up from Oak and Iron from a week or so ago. First, I have to say I do like the card set up for the game, as it makes the standard scenario for a pickup game very easy but interesting. It also gives different scenario options each time rather than a straight sail up and shoot each other game. This time I played as the English Admiral and Ernie played as the Dutch. We did 100 point fleets and played most of the rules right this time I believe. We organized the fleets, set up the table and played the game in about 3.5 hours. Thats not bad really as this was our second real game of the rules.

For this report I will avoid the specifics of the rules – you can see my previous game report for that (and other posts), and will concentrate more on the actions. Overall, though I will say Oak and Iron again gave a good, fun game which we both enjoyed. This definitely seems to be a great game for sailing ships. The sailing part of it has a real impact which is fun, without this getting into loads of minute detail or complexity.

The Dutch squadron had a 2nd rater (the flagship), two 5th rates and a smaller Brigantine. The Dutch admiral was an experienced commander as well. The English had a competent admiral, two 3rd rate ships, a 6th rate and a Fluyt which is another smaller ship. So at 100 pts we had the smallest size fleets acceptable, with some big ships. The 2nd rater is a big ship I have to say. Next time we should name the ships for as that would make writing a report like this easier if nothing else.

The terrain was laid out, with a large and small island, some shoals and a fog bank still hanging around. The wind was coming from right to left as you look at the table below. The Dutch had decided to be the attacker before the cards had been decided for the game. Their experienced Admiral would get to go first and have the initiative for a lot in the game. I will say the Dutch had a better selection on command cards as well. I need to get better in those choices…

For the victory conditions, the English fleet had 2 ships (half the fleet) which were carrying objectives and so were the prime targets of the Dutch. They were worth more if sunk/captured in the game. But if they were the still in the English control at the end of the game they gave the Dutch more strike points, meaning it is more likely they will lose if we run out of time. However, the Dutch had a victory condition which forced half the defenders fleet to start off the table – they would arrive turn 2, but they had to win the game before turn 10 or they automatically lost. So the Dutch had cut off part of the English fleet, but had to defeat the English to claim that real prize.

To add to the Dutch pain, the seas were high throughout the game, meaning that ships firing lots of cannons risked flooding and damaging themselves! With Ernie and I playing we knew that was going to be a factor in the game already as neither of us is lucky with die at times. 🙂

So, the English fleet are separated and trying to break out from the Dutch. I made one of the objective ships my admiral’s 3rd rater, the second objective ship was the smaller Fluyt. These two would be held in reserve – so starting off the table, as there was no point giving an extra advantage to the Dutch.

As the defender the English deployed first in the area I could from the card i got, and then the Dutch did there’s. The deployment zone cards did me no favor here though as the Dutch could deploy in front/by the side of the English. So I had a line of Dutch ships in front and their light ship hiding the fog cloud. The Dutch definitely had the drop on the English fleet right from the start of the game it would seem.

Things went from bad to worse for the English as their smaller 6th rater in the front of the line failed their seamanship test. The English sailors were obviously shaken by the Dutch getting the drop on them. This meant that they could not do any fancy maneuvers to avoid the Dutch trap though. So they sailed straight at the Dutch and started to turn, while the Dutch in turn moved forward. As expected the Dutch then hit the English lead ship with the broadsides of 3 ships.

However, as seas were rough and the Dutch were unlucky and suffered large scale flooding from their shooting. This was especially bad on the Dutch flag ship – the 2nd rater. So bad in fact the initial damage to both sides was about nearly even! However, that damage was spread over the first 2 Dutch ships in line vs all on the English 6th rater, which was already quite damaged. I guess for the English this could have been worse.

The second half of the English fleet now entered the game. They could be added anywhere on the board near a table edge. However, if they came in a long way off – i.e. safe then the Dutch, my fear was that the Dutch could then concentrate on the trapped English ships and win there.

So, I decided these ships would come on close to the other ships on the left (port) side of the existing English ships. So, the English fleet was not as isolated as the Dutch initially thought. This would allow the new arrivals to take the fight back to the Dutch – or that was my plan at least.

The original two English ships turned to sail parallel to the Dutch, but that was not good news for the English 6th rater really. That was getting targeted still by at least two if not three Dutch ships. The newly arrived English ships started to take target the Dutch back and the initial English target was the Dutch Brigantine. This smaller Dutch ship was away from their main line and closer to the English, thus an easier target.

The English Fluyt and the Admirals 3rd rater started to concentrate on that Dutch Brigantine. Unfortunately for it, it was not much faster than English ships chasing it as they all had the wind across their stern. It started a somewhat isolated but was heading back towards the cover of the bigger Dutch ships. The English 3rd rater was on it’s tail though – and I had decided to focus on that vs. the bigger Dutch ships. I had had found that the 2nd rater was a hard ship to damage and put out a lot of firepower, so better going after an easier target which was closer.

It was not long before the English 6th rater that had been the initial target of Dutch ‘Struck it’s colours’. That was out of the game now. The ships crew were now concerned about keeping it afloat if possible. It would play no further part in the game and we just checked at the end of each turn to see if it would sink. That got the Dutch more than halfway to their objective of making the English withdraw from the engagement. So less than third the way into the game advantage to the Dutch.

The Dutch Brigantine made a surprising move though after this, and rather than move behind their line of bigger ships it turned aggressively to deliver a broadside on the chasing English admirals 3rd rater. This also had the effect of bringing their 2nd rater into close range as well. The Dutch were up for the fight and now targeting the English Admirals flagship.

Broadsides were ‘shared’ between the various ships in this ‘hot work’. However, although some damage was done to the English Admirals ship neither side really impacted the other significantly at this point. Both the Dutch 2nd rater and the English 3rd rater were about 50% damaged though with medium levels of crew fatigue. Most of the Dutch damage was done by the heavy seas though. From my viewpoint the outlook though did not look great for the English Admiral as yet again a ship – this time his own 3rd rater was outnumbered. But it was not as bad as before.

Meanwhile, the other English 3rd rater – which had not been in action yet, sailed through the fog bank and tried to get some extra speed/better positioning. The aim was for this to be a factor when it came out out of the fog bank. Its crew had failed sailing tests consistently until this point in the game but now they started to get their confidence back, and started passing those tests. The remaining Dutch ships were moving to try to get into the action as well, but were further away. A lack of seamanship and sailing knowhow on both sides meant that not all the ships were engaged or effective at this time.

The English Admiral got the initiative and took that rare opportunity to move into yardarm range of the Dutch Brigantine and attempt to board her. In this his crew succeeded. This was not as obvious a move as it may sound, as the Dutch had bonuses for boarding actions. So although the English was a much bigger ship the fatigue on both sides meant that this was a more even fight than may have been expected.

However, there was a second and ulterior motive to this move as well. By doing this move it put the Brigantine between the English admiral and the rest of the Dutch ships. Also, the ships locked in a boarding actions do not move so the other ships will sail around them. Yes they would get a passing shot – luckily not a raking one, but it avoided the continuous sailing side by side in a mismatched (in the Dutch favor) shooting exchange. Without doing something this was going to continue and looked to not end well for the English.

This boarding actions allow the other English and 3rd rate ship to catch up to the fight as well. It also put the Dutch line at a disadvantage as they were out of position. The only problem was the English Fluyt was already in a vulnerable position. Now it may have the same issues as the Dutch small ship just had i.e there were bigger enemy ships chasing it down. This was not helped by it having had some damage to it’s sails earlier as well, making is sail slower than normal.

The boarding action was inconclusive at first, with the Dutch getting slightly better of the fight even though that was against the odds. Meanwhile the Dutch line had been broken up by the islands and the other ships in the way. This meant that for the first time they could not bring at least one broadside into play that turn.

The problem for the English was that the Dutch 2nd rate looked like it had a good chance of catching the English Fluyt, or at least shooting at it at close range that if things worked out for it in the next couple of turns.

Then lady luck played her part in the day. With both admirals having the same in initiative card an event was picked and that was a shift in the wind. The English won the roll off and had wind shift to the left. Thus, the wind turned to be head on to most of the ships! This left most of both fleets facing the wind with the crews working hard to get their ships back under control.

The English Fluyt was just able to sail and so moved away but was too tempting for the Dutch 2nd rater. That stayed to face in the wind to get a broadside off at it. So it sacrificed moving to get a good broadside shot. Unfortunately for the Dutch, their aim was off and it did not do much damage on the English ship. The boarding action continued with about even results. Neither crew seemed to be skilled in the boarding, or maybe it’s just our crap die rolling showing…

By this time the other Dutch ships were in a better position and could also aim at the English Fluyt, but again it was lucky and managed to avoid major damage from the Dutch gunnery. The fresh English 3rd rate ship finally got into the action at this time though. It had not done anything up until this point. Now it moved to sail as close to the wind as it could, which allowed it to pass by the boarding action. It was aiming to get some revenge on the Dutch 2nd rate flagship, or at least distract that from attacking the Fluyt.

At this point the day was coming rapidly to a close now, and time was running out for the Dutch to win, as they had to, otherwise they lost the game. Rather than try anything clever with the Dutch 2nd rate flagship it stayed in the wind, just rotating slightly to continue to have the English Fluyt in broadside. The fresh English 3rd rate crept up to it on the other side though and managed to get the big Dutch ship within its broadside. This English shot was more successful and the suddenly the Dutch Admiral’s ship was starting to get hit hard, An added bonus for the English was that because of the positions of the ships the Dutch had a limited ability to return fire on it. But the Dutch focus was all still on the English Fluyt.

The rest of the Dutch squadron tried to sail around the small island which now blocking their view of the English Fluyt. Oh and yes believe it or not in another round of boarding action the English started to get the upper hand but the Dutch were still in the fight (just).

As the night fell (the game ended on turn 10), finally the English Admirals ship crew finally overpowered the Dutch Brigantine. Great cheering went up – well I was thankful of finally getting a decent roll for this. The fresh English 3rd rate ship also sent another telling broadside into the Dutch Admirals 2nd rate flagship. Shooting at things when they do not shoot back seems the best way of doing things!

For the Dutch, especially in this last turn it all depended on taking the English Fluyt out of action. However, their gunnery was not telling enough and the Fluyt still had crew fatigue and damage available after the Dutch attack. Not many but enough to win the English the game.

So it ended with an English victory, as the Dutch could not make the English ships withdraw. On strike markers it was closer but still an English victory with the final turn surrender of the Dutch Brigantine. As a final comment the English ship which had struck its colours in about turn 3 was still floating much to the disgust of the Dutch who wanted it to sink. So maybe those English sailors were not as bad as all that in the end. 🙂

Overall, we both had fun and it was a good fun game. I think the wind change had a dramatic effect on the game. Without it I suspect my Fluyt would have been boarded and captured – making me lose the game. The Dutch Brigantine turning back to be aggressive and me getting the first move to try to board it also was a key points looking back as well. Had that run behind the bigger Dutch ships I would have been in more trouble. So, a lucky escape for the English with the wind doing me a favor, as the title suggested.

This was an interesting game of sailing ships. It shows the difficult in getting the sailing ships at the right place at the right time for commanders as we both had that problem. I am also seeing that between ships of roughly similar sizes the battles become a slogging match – as they were. But mismatches are deadly, as the English 6th rate ship was lucky to survive as long as it did – 3 turns when very exposed to fresh opponents. On the opposite side to this though luck and movement play a part and the English Fluyt got lucky surviving much longer than I had expected. This was helped by the fact that the Dutch ships started with fatigued crews which blunted some of their broadside power against it.

We definitely will be playing more of these games, and we still have not got the pirates out yet either!

Posted in After Action Report, naval | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

ACW – building 3rd post

Ok after a couple of game reports, time for a quick post on some painted stuff I think. Here we have the 3rd post on my 10mm American Civil War buildings. These are more terrain for that period and especially for larger skirmish style games.

So first as you can see a couple of farm/rural buildings – let’s be honest most ACW was in a rural setting so there should be no shock or worry about using these in games. These are the last of the buildings I got from Pendraken as well.

These rest of the building here I scratch built. They are actually mostly made from scraps from wooden clementine boxes! The aim is to provide some additional simple buildings for games. These are so basic that they definitely could work for 6mm and other periods in 10mm such as the French Indian wars or even Vietnam.

First as you see are three simple barn style buildings. Nothing clever or flash about them and I tried to model the faded grey wood look that many older buildings have here in North America. They do not have nice straight/clean lines but when I look at such buildings here they often do not have them I’m real life either.

Next we have a couple more of those type barns and a small walled enclosure. This was a test really and the walls are way too wide. But on a larger size version maybe for 15mm should work. But I thought I might as well finish this, so I did.

These home made buildings are far from perfect, but they were basically free. They are ok for all that and in combination with the Pendraken ones they should fill out a table nicely. They are poor really but for the few times I need extra 10mm buildings I will put up with them.

Posted in 10mm, American Civil War, American War of Independence, Terrain | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Test of Honor game report

So for two weeks running I’m doing a post on a game report. This one is Test of Honour – a Samurai skirmish gaming. This week Ernie and I played while Jahan put the game on (using his terrain and figs) for us. This was a learning game for Ernie and I so I include some comments on the mechanisms of the game, so this will act as a mini review as well. This is not a full review though as there are many better ones of that out there on the web if you want to look at them.

The scenario is one of 6 standard ones. I took on the Samurai force going to a village to secure it from a load of rebellious bandits who had been roaming the area. It’s a simple object securing at the end of the game scenario really. There were questions/jokes about who was the real good guy here – let’s be honest the Samurai were no more likely to be fair and balanced to the peasants than any other ruling class in the feudal ages.

My leader Usleskenshi-san. Yes there is a hint in the name as to what he is all about and I named him after the game. He was the only model mounted on a horse and he brought 2 samurai, a sergeant and 3 groups of ashigaru – 2 with spears and 1 bow to secure the village. Not being especially skilled/lucky in combat (the stats were actually exactly the mounted leader but that’s not how he played out as you wills see) he was pushed into the village clearing exercise. Against him was an equal force of bandits (some armed with muskets (tempo in Japanese) who included a bandit leader, a ronin samurai, plus a thug with mace/club and a ninja !

The game board was set up by Jahan and the objectives were village figs who did not move. I set up the ashigaru in the center with 1 lower level Samurai on the left flank (I called him the red Samurai due to his armour colour) with Usleskenshi-san and another samurai retainer the on the right. Opposite the bandits set up with their leader, the ronin samurai and a group of bandits on the left of one of the houses and the reminder in the center or the the eight. The ninja lurked on the far right of their line as I looked at the table.

All skirmish games need a little something to make them interesting vs just being a dice fest I find. Test of Honor has a couple of different rule hooks to do that. The player moves are alternate but the action you can give is determined by pulling a token out of a bag. At the end of the turn you reset and start again. There are 3 tokens – hero, commoners and skill. The skill token means you do not active a fig, but take a skill card and assign it to one of your hero figs. These are temporary bonuses for the hero figs and a figure can only have a limited number. The third skill pull of the turn ends the turn and you do not get a skill card for it, but get to go first next turn. The other two types of token allow 1 activation for a fig. Most hero’s have 2 or 3 activations per turn while the commoners typically have a single one. The twist is that actively defending is an action. So it is much easier to hit figures without any activations left and it is possible to stop figs doing things/attacking by forcing them to use their activations in defense.

This means there is tension and decisions in which figures you activate and actions attempted as well as just dice rolling. The move vs. shoot vs, defend option and not having complete control of the order of activation adds the interest here.

The combat mechanisms are quite simple with custom dice used (with swords not numbers) but you could use D6 if you want. I think it’s basically 4 or 5 for 1 success, 6’s are 2 successes and 1 is a fumble. You are always looking for 3+ successes and 5+ are a critical. Fumbles are more fumbles than successes. The figures skills/stats determine the number of dice to roll – typically 2 to 5. So modifiers change the number of dice rolled not the the target number.

In the first turn my forces cautiously moved up towards the village. The Bandits with muskets exchanged shots with my ashigaru bowmen but they were ineffective. I likely was too cautious early on but it’s easy for your heroes to get too far out on their own. They can move 6″ an action or 3″ and have a single banked defend action so with their multiple moves they can outpace the commoners. I guess thats battle experience and training for you.

The bandits also advanced on the village, with half their force going around one building., the other moving straight towards my forces. So we had ended turn 1 with just moves and nothing that significant happening. My red Samurai was waiting around the corner of a building for the bandits to come close and for his support to catch up with him as well.

The next turn the Samuari on my right side decided enough of caution and after 3 bandits and the ninja had each had an activation to move closer, he used one to charge the bandits. A swift move with his katana and there were only 2 bandits in the group! First blood to the samurai.

This did leave him exposed though, as the ninja and the thug with a club (likely not his real name but it works for me) were on that side with activations. Luckily the ninja showed why he was with the bandits not a ninja clan, by fumbling and inflicting a minor wound on himself when trying to attack the samurai! I suspect the Ninja liked of a taste for sake too much as he did not have any luck/skill in this all game.

The thug also ran up and took a swing causing the last of that samurai’s actions to be used as an evade. With the coast clear (no one having actions left) my leader Usleskenshi-san charged in and of course did not kill the thug with the club, he just caused a minor wound. But hey he was in combat and doing his bit, or trying to at least.

On the other side of the village the bandits had claimed one objective and their ronin moved forward and my red samurai. The bandit ronin moved to start in inconclusive fight with the red samurai. Generally if you have actions for dodges in fights, they tend not to wound the heroes – unless you roll poorly. So ganging up on opponents or them missing their strike, thus using an action themselves but not forcing an opponent to use one to evade become important shifts in combat advantage.

The supporting bandits and ashigaru were close behind these two so it looked like the next turn or so things would get deadly here all depending on activation order.

At the start of the next turn (below) you can also see at the top of the picture that Usleskenshi-san had taken the opportunity to charge the tempo (musket) armed bandits. He did this and made them burn their action this turn to dodge his attack. This failed to hurt them but did stop the doing anything. So an ‘aggressive’ move on his part but not that successful a one. Those of a cynical mind might also say attacking those musket bandits also got him away from the ‘outnumbered situation’ where he left his retainer samurai to deal with a whole bunch of opponents…

The samurai on that side had tried to attack the thug with the club and again just injured him. He was setting up to be the ‘hard man’ of the bandit side. The ninja also tried to again throw shurikens at the mounted Usleskenshi-san. Of course he fumbled again and impaled his feet! So he was doubly injured without doing anything effective. However, collectively the bandits over this side did take the samurai out – I think the bandit commoners doing it in the end. This had happened just prior to the red samurai

In response, soon in this turn the bandit ronin in the center was mobbed with me getting both my ashigaru troops to attack him along with the red samurai. So the bandit ronin went down before his allies could come up to support him.

Usleskenshi-san thought to be clever and aggressive at this point. He attacked the tempo (musket) armed bandits to burn their action again and then as he activated again he charged the thug with club hoping and expecting the at least burn his action as well. That would leave him a little exposed but not too bad. Unfortunately, he completely fluffed the attack and so the thug never needed to use his activation! Usleskenshi-san thought he was going to be ok initially though, as the ninjas ‘drink problem’ hit again – yes the ninja fumbled a third time so injured himself a third time trying to throw the shuriken in response to this. Don’t drink and fight boys and girls…

However, response to all this the thug with a club activated and beat Usleskenshi-san off his horse with a great hit. Usleskenshi-san as a leader had an ability to save this hit. as he is the leader of the band and they typical have a save for their first kill against them. Of course with me rolling he dismally failed this and so he was dead or at least out of the game. All those skipped Kendo classes for the paint brush calligraphy sessions with the daimyo’s daughter did not pay off i guess. So Usleskenshi-san attacked 4 times, missed completely once and never did more than a single minor injury to opponent. Not a great showing by the samurai leader.

To add insult to injury, the thug did a critical roll on the damage and so followed up into the ashigaru spearmen close by. Then with some good rolls (balancing out the ninja’s poor and repeated bd ones) followups managed to kill all three of them! Now to do this in a single action was impressive but he had collected a set of ‘dishonor’ cards. These are bonuses that players can take to hit better but have negative effects. We played these cards wrong so got more than we should and for the wrong figs but at least we played them equally wrong for all. As I said before it’s easy to get minor rules wrong as you start playing new games.

Anyway, the major effect of this was that after the action was complete all the bandit force had to make multiple morale checks. This meant that even though the bandits killed Usleskenshi-san most of them proceeded to then run away!

In fact both the ninja and the thug with a club left the table never to return. All the others apart from bandit leader moved at least 6″ back towards their table edge. That left the village pretty much empty of bandits other than their leader.

The bandit leader though was a tough cookie and proceeded to attack the red samurai who was a little exposed as all the surrounding samurai troops had been killed/removed. The red samurai tried to play this cool but that failed when he got the first activation in the fifth and final turn of the game. They both had saved evades so he had hoped to move second and offset the action advantage of the bandit leader.

So the red samurai decided to test his luck and went to attack the bandit leader instead. Well, as with the other samurai on my side you may have guessed the result and after a few activations he was dead. Usleskenshi-san swordsmanship had definitely rubbed off on his followers as they were not an inspiring or impressive force when in combat.

This death was close enough to cause morale checks on the sergeant and one of the remaining ashigaru groups and they both failed – so moved 6″ away and out of control of objectives. This last move was critical for the bandit side as all their other troops were out of position for scoring any objectives.

However, after this the game ended and as we looked around it was clear that it was a draw as far as the objectives in the village. The bandit leader was close enough to claim two as were a pair of the ashigaru spearmen from my side. So as per the objectives this was a draw. But the very dishonorable bandits – they had collected a lot of those cards, were in a better position. If the game had been another turn I think the bandits would have been on top.

So overall we all enjoyed the game and though it fun. I’ll definitely play it again and I have a huge collection of 28mm (and 15mm but let’s not go into that here), Feudal Japanese figures to paint in the lead pile. I thought I had these rules but can’t find them so have ordered them so I can play host games myself. The biggest negative I have is that you kind of need the cards to play the game. You don’t really but the stats are all on the cards and so that means I need to get those. Its a commercial things and I get it but I have a habit of losing such things which does not help.

My leader who was pretty useless in combat (I assume you got that from his name), never killing anything and mostly missing. However, the star of the game on that side has to be the ninja who managed to hurt himself and in the end run off the board after failing morale checks. As mentioned I suspect he was a failed ninja working with the bandits who got kicked out for drinking too much sake! The bandit side definitely had a successful star though – the ‘thug with a club’ who balanced out the ninja by being ultra successful. I guess that shows the ability of both Ernie and I to roll widely (and often poorly) in games. 🙂

Overall, the system works and the random activations with the somewhat swingy combat system combine to give a bloody and fast game. Players have some control but not complete control of tactics and outcomes. It is a fun and fairly simple system with enough uniqueness that it was a good game. It feels very different than the Ronin/En Guarde system which is the other game set in this period I have played. This system is all about activation order and management and ganging up/getting good matchups in your combats.

We got a few things wrong as mentioned but the honour/dishonour cards and I have to say that seems a little weakest part of rules after a single game. In our game it seems unlikely a normal player would do many ‘honourable deeds ‘in this system in a one-off game. It has a little extra impact in campaign games but I also expected at least in the end of the game sequence that having more dishonor would have more of an impact. For example, the side with most dishonour loses a draw or some such.

The skills cards also seemed extra fluff which impact the game occasionally but do add complexity/things to forget. Many of the skills are really items as well which is a little odd – as they just appear i.e. suddenly a character has a map/better armour etc. Some people love characters to get experience between games but I’m more into the story of joined games for just the scenarios vs character growth. The random nature of the skills/items appearing mid games though seems odd but its not that bad.

However, these are minor things and though and of course can be tweaked as needed as well. Overall we will be playing Test of Honour again I’m sure.

Posted in 17th Cent, 28mm, After Action Report, Japanese, Review, Ronin/En Garde | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Oak and Iron – Review/ After action report

So, for the first time this year and I believe with nearly a years gap (gee thanks COVID), a few of us managed to get together and play a game. Rather than meet at the ‘local store’ that we used to play at – whose gaming area is still shut here in Toronto, I hosted the game in my basement. Note the local store is still in Toronto but about an 45 min travel time from me.

I refereed and taught the game rules and had Ernie and Jahan play the different sides. I decided and format of the forces as well. We did not use some of the extra rules – such as we ignored nation characteristics special abilities for example. This was our first run out with Oak and Iron game so that seemed ok to do that. Also none of us are experts at naval warfare which will be apparent in the game write up. I also did a few minor things wrong with the rules as well – but that’s normal for first plays I find (for me at least). Nothing major though and this was learning/trying new rules for us.

To cut to the end, we all liked the game and it fit together well as a system. Oak and Iron really feels like a naval game. Although simplified to some extent compared to some systems you do get to deal with the wind and sail controls. It uses a movement system which feels a little like X-wing with templates but that I think is a good thing as it in the end reduces a lot of complexity of movement as well. The force creation rules also allows for a large amount of modification/customization of forces. I think the rules will work for small engagements such as what played through to ships of the line. With the game covering the 17th and 18th centuries this was before the time of the British naval dominance of the Napoleonic periods. This time has lots of smaller forces and pirates of course.

The game setup was two 50 point forces – the smallest size of normal game. You can see them set out above. That size also limits the size of ship so I went for an English for with 5 ships – some of them the smallest ships in the game, but a good Admiral vs a Dutch force with 4 slightly larger ships but a novice Admiral.

A nice thing in the game is that you use cards for deciding the scenario. This feels a little like Warcry but it works well IMO and adds a little interest and randomness to the game. The combination of different sides having slightly different victory factors and placements etc will be good for replay. We had some questions on one of the cards and that was confusing (we played it wrong) but a question to the facebook page got that resolved for next time.

The game started with the two sides facing one another with a large island in the center of the table and a point on the far side from both sides deployment as a target for blockading for the Dutch. The British objective was to keep 2 of their bigger ships safe for the whole game. The wind was coming from the top of the table as shown below, which meant the English had the wind behind them, while the Dutch were sailing somewhat into it.

Interestingly, in this game part of your force build out is your selection of initiative cards. These each not only control who goes first in a turn but also give your side a little boost that turn. The kicker is you have to decide the card for next turn at the start of the previous turn (1 game turn ahead). So some planning/luck is involved to get the right bonus at the right time. Then ships move and then fight alternatively, but in an order decided by the initiative on the command cards.

Each ship in turn calculates its base speed and then in most cases can try a steamship skill test. If passed a ship can make an extra turn or change its speed slightly. Then the ship moves using a template and after that the crew does an action. This action is like repairs, reloading a broad side etc. When all ships have moved then again alternating but by the initiative order they can shoot at other. Moved ships get wake markers as reminders that they have moved and those get removed after they have shot. It’s a simple yet effective way of doing that.

In the first turn the English fleet at the bottom ‘broke up’ and started gong in all sorts of directions – with large sails as well. The Dutch meanwhile realized that heading nearly into the wind (the wind was from the bottom of the board below), made for slow sailing. They had to do some fancy sailing not to crash into each other at one point as well. Putting the biggest and slowest ship in the front of the line maybe was not the greatest idea.

The English small ships in the front to their line maneuvered to get shots off at the leading Dutch Galleon. This was some of the the smallest ships in the game facing off vs. the biggest on the table. That said they could have done some damage but with Ernie at the dice that did not happen. Generally the Dutch Galleon was subject to raking shots at least 4 or 5 times and I do not think ever suffered a hit from it – so much for the gunnery of the English.

Damage on ships is measured in fatigue and damage. All ships as standard can take up to 6 of each but especially for bigger ships it takes more hits to do a point of damage. Fatigue effects the skill and other checks though so smaller ships can annoy and whittle away at the larger ones. I was unsure of the complexity of this system but in play we quickly got the hang of it.

Back to our game and the Dutch galleon with their admiral on board carried on alone trying to get around the island in the original direction of travel. Meanwhile the other ships in the Dutch fleet turned to sail towards the other end of the island and their objective. The English fleet also split up with one small ship continuing to engage the galleon and chase the Dutch, while the rest sailed line abreast at full sail on the other side of the island to the Dutch. Their light ships continued to fire shots at long range with the Dutch Galleon, with little lasting success.

The next turn the Dutch played a ‘one use initiative card’ – with a little more effect but then it is taken from the game. This added some shoals to protect the galleons rear from the fast moving light English ship moving round it. Both players had revealed the same value initiative card so that trigger an event – which was a temporary hazel or some such which reduced fring ranges that turn. This saved the Dutch from more shots but the English gunnery.

However, the Dutch poor seamanship played a part as well and one of their ships hit the island! You might think it was an extra shot or two of the ‘Dutch courage’ to blame… but you would be wrong. A poor seamanship roll and continuing to misjudge how the ships moved was more the cause. Still, luckily for them no damage was done from this poor sailing but we had a laugh about it for sure.

The Dutch had an objective at the other end of the island and in the last few turns of the game they got close enough with half their ships to secure this. The English in the mean time tried to get their ships to hit them doing that, but the island and their own ships started to get in the way of effective shooting. The Dutch at this point had started to get their eye in on the gunnery side of things. The slightly larger Dutch ships had more cannons (i.e. more dice to roll) as well which started to hurt the smaller English ships.

I assume to avoid congestion one of the smaller english ships tried to sail on the inside of the island to get between the Dutch and the island. The problem with this was it exposed that ship to a lot of fire with little room to use it’s maneuvering to escape. It did allow for the bigger English ships to engage though and more boardsides were exchanged now between the sides. This started to have an effect on both sides with damage being scored.

The Dutch admiral was a little stranded in his galleon on the other side of the island. You can see the ship at the top of the shot below (yes I moved around the table). The small English ships had left him be by now and raced to the other side of the table to see if they could help their fellow ships.

In the last couple of turns the pounding of the small English ship near the island continued to the point that it was put out of action. The English fleets initial break apart in the end served them badly as their ships got in each others way. This made them overall them less effective than the Dutch.

The English had more guns and ships but getting the best of all of them is not always easy. I think the Dutch had a slightly easier time with fewer bigger ships. The Dutch ships tried to maneuver around the still floating but out of action English ship and keep close to their objective marker. This made them better able to support each other.

Both sides pounded each other in the last couple of turns, with cannon and musket shot. Each gave as good as they got but the Dutch being together allowed them to often focus on the same target. But although damage was done on both sides no other ship was taken out of action.

So, the game ended on turn 10, with neither side having a complete victory, The Dutch had taken an English ship and out of action and completed their objective, vs.the English who just completed their objective. So in the end it was a Dutch victory.

Overall, I made some mistakes on the rules (reading them for a 3rd time after playing the game helped see those), but everyone enjoyed the game and we will be playing it again. The models work well on the table and the overall feel of the game was great. It’s also good to be playing face to face games with people again.

So there we are. Oak and iron gets the thumbs up and the main thing is we had a fun time playing the game. I would recommend anyone wanting to play a naval rules for the age of pirates/age of sail to give the game a good look.

Posted in 17th Cent, 18th Cent, After Action Report, naval, Pirates, ship | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Dark Age – Last of the heavy foot for a while

Yes, yet more Dark Age figures – but believe it or not these are the last of the heavy foot I have done. I definitely went a little wild on the purchasing of these, but I have a good selection available for games… So in this post are 18 DBX bases or 9 ADLG ones. There are made up of three different types of troops (three bases of each style). The pictures are ok but not great so please bare with me on this one – I will get better for the next models I photograph, honest.

This first set of three are very much in the traditional Saxon or even Viking infantry. The round shields and a whole mixture of weapons and armour gives a nice look to my view. That of course highlights that these are not the formal retinue of a lord etc. just good old fighting troops.

These can be used all the way up to the First Barons‘ War (1215–1217) though to my view. I am sure that there were many fighters who did not have the very latest weapons and armour styles. They will do especially for the poorer troops in the later periods. They may even work for some Normans in Italy for their original invasion if nothing else, as that was far from an ordered force at times. Some of these have cloaks and so they look like they are not as organized than some bases I have done.

Second unit is a ground of 6 DBX bases Housecarls with axes. These will work well for Anglo-Norman as they will have the axes but also have the more Norman kite shields. You can see the difference between these and the figures above as these guys look much more professional with their full mail hauberks and no extra items to get in the way when fighting.

These will also work for the 1066 campaign as I am sure that some of the figures for that time would have had kite shields (the latest thing) vs. round ones. You can see that on the Bayeux Tapestry in fact – where many of the foot troops have these type shields on the Saxon side. They are at that point again going to be the formal string fighting force though and not the Fyrd.

As with all these figures the basing stays the same, so as to give me the most flexibility when using them. Of course that might cause a little confusion when I supply both sides for a game but I will deal with that when the time comes.

The last unit of three ADLG bases for this post are another set of Anglo-Normans. This time with a more Spear/Sword based. These again are professional looking in their knee length mail. These should be good to be used as either swordsmen/blades or spear depending on the rules and army. although I think they likely will be spearmen.

You can see all these have the same shield pattern on a base – yes different patterns but they have a little more consistency. The right two even have the same colours so could be a unit of 4 if need be.

From above you can see that the back rank has the same shields as the front. You can see 3 of them have flags a well, which match with the shield patterns. That allows me to use these for ADLG elite or even as general stands as needed. For something like Peter Pig’s Longships they may well be the unit command stands with the flags. Although their shield design is a little ‘late’ for that game really.

So there we are thats the last of the Dark Age heavy foot for a while. I know I have shown an awful lot of these but that is because I have painted a load. Time will soon come when I can get them all on the table for a bash I hope…

Posted in 15mm, Ancients, Dark Ages | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments