Rum and Bones – squid sword undead

So after a battle report and a few posts of the desert troops, its time to change it up and show some more Rum and Bones models. These are more of the undead pirate crew from the first game, this lot with dead squids on the end of their swords! They are another of the ‘odd’ poses for the undead pirates but heck. I’m actually looking at my Zombicide Black Plague figs I have and may start doing those as well, as that’s one of my favorite games… The current Zombicide in space game is another that I’m going to buy into so I need to start to get some of my to be painted backlog done. I have said I want to try to get 2 of my large Kickstarter games done this year so maybe it’s this and that system… I will say that having the models painted in a game does make a huge different to the overall feel and enjoyment of the game, in my opinion anyway.

So back to these figs. I tried to make these nice and colourful, I actually did the squids with 4 colours so you can see them all below. I nearly did each one unique and then decided that the set of 2 was alright. It’s hard to claim these are realistic so it seems silly to try to do too much in that style. So better to just go with it – weird undead pirates. They  will be bright and I wanted to ensure that each model was a unique color scheme even if they are the same models.  Below are the close up pictures of each one, which will allow you can see the models in detail. Again they are done to IMO a good tabletop level. They won’t win awards but are way better than the bare plastic. The models are the usual CMON plastic and have a decent amount of detail but not the same level that you get in metal models. So they do take a little different style of painting. Thick paint hides the details so it’s thin coats and highlights/dry brushing which I find works best.All these have the same ‘deck planking’ base effect. Although not great it is fairly simple to do and does work, especially on the table top when playing the game, as you can see in the first photo. I’d love to do real wood as that adds a lot to the texture but I have some many toys to paint that I just want to get these done and to a decent tabletop state.So there we are. Still more of these to go before I even finish the full force is done but this is now moving towards getting the undead crew table ready.

Posted in 28mm, Board game, Pirates | 2 Comments

Hail Caesar – Biblical 15mm game

I have been showing a lot of models recently so as a change of pace here is a write up of a the game Hail Caesar and a mini review of it as well. The Hail Caesar (HC from now on) rules are not new but at least around here do not get too much table play. That’s a shame really and one thing I’m correcting. It’s the Warlord ancients set and is based on the similar concepts as Black Powder. It’s legacy is in Warmaster and is aimed for ‘lots of toys on the table’ gaming but in a fairly fast moving gentlemanly gaming style. All these rules were written by Rick Priestly. Overall, it’s a fun set of rules for big games which move at a decent pace. It’s not a competition set of rules, and not one for rules lawyers or those wanting loads of fine details – it’s a big picture game.

It does work well for that it’s aimed to do and is a good set of rules. They allow a decent amount of tactics and dice rolling without getting bogged down in too many details. They allow for big games and many players – which I believe was the aim. As an example the game this week had 6 players, each with 2 commands of troops. This was on a 12×4 foot table, with 15mm figs to give room to maneuver. I umpired the game and provided all the figures. The pictures and over narrative here are from last weeks game.img_5126The game was new Kingdom Egyptians with Sea People allies vs. Hittities in a stand up fight. The battlefield worked for chariots, with generally a lot of open flat ground with some gentle hills and a little rough terrain on the edges. After all they would not fight in an area which did not suite chariots at all.

All the figures are my 15mm armies. I don’t have any good command stands for these armies though. So I used 20mm round circles for those – white for Sea People/Egyptians and black for Hittites. Not sure what I really want to do for those in the long term…I don’t really want to use (and paint more) chariots but may have to…img_5128Like most of the games in this family of rules (Black powder etc.) command and control is based on stating what you want to do and then rolling 2D6 roll under the commander target number (usually 8 but can vary depending on their skill). The better the roll the move activations troops get to complete the stated actions. They get up to 3 move actions. If the roll is failed then the commander can order no more units in that command. A 12 and they roll on the blunder table – which I have to say is somethings a little tame and I may have to tweak that a bit for 15mm figs.img_5132The first moves of the game were typical, with some commands doing nothing while others moving rapidly forward. Units in column get a single move even if the command fails to move them. That’s cool and provides a good way to ensure units away from battle keep moving. But fighting in column is a really bad idea, so you need to get out of column when close to the enemy. Also units close to opponents get the option to make a single move a single move if the commander does not want to roll for them. This is often a good idea as well for commanders and another cool idea.img_5129We played using cm’s not inches but that was the only change to the rules. Standard units were 80mm wide (2 DBx bases) wide. This works well for 15mm figs and allows a decent amount of maneuver on a 4 foot wide table. Skirmishes are always in one order when using y 15mm miniatures which makes things simple as well.

One of the things I like with these rules vs.  the square based movement ones is the flexibility of movement. No protractors for angles or weird specific known move distances in this game. With a reasonable table space there is no end of the world issue which is seen in many games as well. It’s very flexible till you get close to the enemy and even then it’s fairly simple. There are a few basic rules about facing the enemy when close to opponents, but in many ways these are common sense. No sneaking past a flank of an unengaged opponent in a single turn etc.img_5134 One of the interesting things with the stated verbal commands and having an umpire is you can force people to do exactly what they stated. So when one Hittite commander issued the order to move onto the hill for a command that’s exactly what they did. This was not the straight forward move that was desired but what was stated. That was not lost on others in the game and as this was early in the game it just got a laugh but can make for some fun circumstances in games. The verbal commands are fun – especially with an umpire in the game to make players follow up on their stated orders (not what they wanted). It makes people think a bit before just moving.img_5169So with the  two forces moving towards each other in a somewhat uncontrolled manner – some commands sat back and did not. One of the Hittite commands refused to do much all game – which I’ll cover more later. This is where putting units in column helped as even with a bad command roll the means they move 1 activation.
img_5138It turns out that both sides had a similar plan. Each planned to concentrated 3 commands on 2 opposing ones on the respective right side of their line. This of course meant that the center commands could face off one to one, but at a bit of an angle.  So 3 Hittite commands focused on the Sea People allies (as you can see above), while on the other end of the table 3 Egyptian commands focused on 2 Hittite ones (below).img_5139The sea peoples sent their chariots forward and inflicted first hits on the Hittite chariots in front.img_5160But, the Hittite skirmishers came forward and from the chariots flank inflicted a hit and forced them back to be right in front of their infantry. Shooting does limited real damage in a single round but can start to inflict a few hits on units and if a 6 is rolled then the opponent has to roll a break check – which can force them back as in this case. The results can also disrupt units which stops them being given orders (and fight worse) in their next turn. The break test a 2D6 looked up on a table. Over few turns though shooting can start to become effective so it’s to worth sitting too long in missile range of an opponent if you can help it. This seems about right for this period of warfare.img_5154At the same tine, the Hittite Chariots closed in on both sides of the Sea Peoples. This mean there were 2 chariots commands, with a supporting infantry command in the middle of them facing the sea peoples.  It looks like the 3 on 2 plan is coming together on this flank for the Hittites… but it slowed down as many of the Hittite commanders started to fail giving orders on this flank. It seems the Hittite troops were not as enthusistic about this plan as the commanders! Maybe they know the Sea People troops are quite good fighters…img_5158In the center the commands closed, the Hittites keeping their formation better than the Egyptians. But the Egyptians managed to get to the high ground and set up on the slopes which would would benefit them if and when it came to hand to hand fighting.

Most fighting works by rolling a 4+ (with a few modifiers) for the number of dice for the type of fighting. These types are long range – over 6 cm away, short range and support – not touching for full combat to 6 cm away and then melee. Melee has two factors, one for the initial clash and the second for subsequent rounds of combat. I actually like this breakup of the factors and feels right to me. You also get to use your clash for the first round of combat so none of this oddness of having the turn to get the best combat factors for your troops – so Gauls and Knight still can do much more damage in the initial impact than in a long drawn out fight. However, being the charger still give you a bonus modifier to hit. Any hits can be saved by their opponents – on a score based on their stats. Losers of hand to hand have to make break tests, as do those shot at and hit with a 6. There are different result for they type of unit and the cause of the impact. This is fairly simple but give a nice effect to my mind.img_5152Both sides were hampered by poor command rolls in the center but soon the forces were in bow range. The Egyptians had many more bows and made them tell, causing damage and forcing some of the Hittite units to fall back. So much so that they took a risk and charged into hand to hand with some of their units. In hand to hand units which are close also get to support the fight and so this ended up in a big fight. This did not work out well for the Egyptians, but they did not lose a unit but did have to fall back onto the slopes they came from… It was lucky break that they were not destroyed! This was not the only case where a unit with in theory better odds of winning did not in the game.img_5141The middle bogged down though soon and the focus was already on the flanks by this time.

Talking of the other flank, it was a chariot on chariot game – and the Hittite Chariots are slightly better in combat and had more chariots to start with!  The other troops were really in a supporting role. However, the first blood went to the Hittites who again found their skirmishers and infantry able to deal with a scattered set of Egyptian Chariots units. After that though the Hittite infantry threw themselves at the Egyptian supporting foot (mainly bowmen) on the hill. This nearly worked and won them the center/flank. But, in the in the end it was a little too much for those units and the Egyptian bowmen held and fought off the attack.

This flank did have the big chariot on chariot fight. In the end two of the Egyptian chariot units were initially flanked and held overall but one was ground down and destroyed in subsequent melees rounds. This allowed the Hittites to get on the flank of the next Egyptian unit in the line – one which had been holding their own in the fight. It looked bad for the  the Egyptians here.

It’s worth pointing out the dice on the table you can see in the pictures. Each unit can take usually 6 hits before being shaken – if they ever take doubt this then they are install destroyed. So I use a die to show the hits taken. At the end of the turn if shaken extra hits are removed so usually only a single die is required at the end of turn – multiple are used to show the hits taken that round. A commander can try to rally off a single hit for a unit per turn as their last command – which means this happens rarely.img_5149Surprisingly, although against the odds the Egyptian chariot unit which was flanked won their fight and drove off their opponents. In the other fight both units are shaken.  Being shaken is a penalty to hit and a major factor in the break tests – making it much more likely for a unit to route and disappear from the table. So the Egyptian chariots fought the Hittite challenge to a standstill on this flank. The gamble of taking on the Hittite chariots seemed to pay off.img_5146Back on the Sea People flank, a massive struggle was going on between the Hittite chariots and the Sea People line of units. Although the chariots initially drove back some of the Sea People they decided to try to overwhelm the remaining units in combat vs. pursue those pushed back units. In the end this did not work, as although they had more die to roll the Hittites still did not get the breaks and win by enough to defeat the Sea People. img_5148So, the Sea People foot held the Hittite chariots and even though the chariots had a the better odds it was not enough for them to win with enough for victory.

To prove themselves and hold the center of the attacking forces against them a single Sea People unit charged nearly all of the middle Hittite command, the central infantry between the 2 chariots forces facing them.  The remaining units in this command were still facing the second unit of Hittite Chariots – who kept rolling high command rolls and failing to do anything. This single brave unit faced one Hittite infantry with 3 supports.

Showing how good (or lucky?) they were they forced the Hittites back and won this fight! The nice thing with Hail Caesar is that although it does have a number of die rolls for combat – usually between 3 and 12 for a fight that’s not enough to always balance out the randomness. So fights like this happen and the break tests on 2D6 can mean although unlikely results happen. This makes for a good game as you can judge the odds but still lose.
img_5140Interestingly, the other Hittite command of Chariots kept failing to move. From the middle to the end of game. So their lack of engagement was a huge factor in the result. If they had been able to attack the Sea Peoples as well then I think the story would likely have been different. But their inactively made this a 2 commands vs. 2 fight so the outnumbering on this flank by the Hittites failed. As the umpire I joked that maybe bribes/a deal had been give before the battle. After all maybe that reluctant Hittite commander was just waiting to take over after the loss of this battle…

But time was closing in and so we ended the game with the Egyptians just in control of their own destiny. The Sea People had held and the other units were marginally winning over the hittites that they outnumbers. So, overall, the game was a slight victory by the Egyptians. But the Hittites were very close and both sides would I suspect would claim victory. To be fair, the real winner were us players with all having fun and playing a big game like this in 3+ hours.

So overall, I really like Hail Caesar for big multi-player games. We did a few rules wrong but playing again soon should get those sorted out. All 7 of us had fun last week and I’ll do something similar in a few moths to get the toys on the table again. I need to sort out better command elements though…

I still like ‘too the strongest’ but I think this is rule set is better for the big flowing games I like though. Both work for the same type of game, and have similar command & control system. I just prefer the feeling of movement and the different combat factors which HC provides. This feels more flowing with movement decisions in the game. But both are fun on the table. As a aside, Hail Caesar also has some glorious ‘miniature porn’ rule books with loads of great pictures and scenario idea’s. So although not cheap, if you want a fast playing game which can support loads of toys on the table for ancient games then I recommend you have a look at Hail Caesar.

Posted in 15mm, After Action Report, Ancients, Review | Leave a comment

8th Army – Jeeps and Quad tractors

Just a quick post this week. I have been posting some completed infantry and tanks for this force, so time to change it up and put some of the utility transport items in the limelight.

First up are the standard Willis/Ford Jeeps. These are all Battlefront ones and in the end I’m not sure what I’ll really use them for in games. They are useful for moving a squad or two around and getting places faster than you can on foot. In the desert that becomes a big issue. I can see these being used for some scenario’s where I’m using the trucks etc for troop transport as well. After all, you can’t expect a commanding officer (or big man as the Too Fat Lardies call them) to sit with the troops… My gosh what a concept!

In the Flames of War rules you need these for command elements etc. but I don’t see myself playing those much any more though so we’ll see what real use I make of them. Maybe to transport of infantry art spotters etc.img_4645Overall, I like the way they have come out. They were a little fiddly to put together but when all glued they are ok, and seem solid enough. They have the same base colour as the tanks but I decided that few were likely to have a camouflage job on them – after all, if you go anywhere near the fighting you’ll be off them in a hurry. I have seen few shots of them done that way but I think the majority were one color in the desert. It’s not a fighting platform but will allow for rapid re-deployment, if needed as well as to give the bosses a chariot of sorts. img_4646Lastly, this time are the Morris Commercial C8 FAT (Field Artillery Tractor) ‘quad’ transports from the gun kit. These are for moving the big guns I showed earlier here in this post. They are the transport element of those and in many ways I really doubt they will ever hit the table in anger, although if I got any 17 pound AT guns for the force then they could pull those. The 25 pounders I have I suspect will always be ready for the fight – but you never know.img_4679-1They are nice models and although very different just remind me of the modern hummer’s for some reason. Anyway more stuff ready for the table.

Posted in 15mm, World War 2 | Leave a comment

8th Army – Individual infantry

So after showing some tanks and various other stuff, it’s time to show some of the PBI – the Poor Bloody Infantry, as they are commonly known. Actually, there is a game of that name which I have and have not tried/played yet, but that’s another matter.

So here we have a selection of infantry which are individually based. These have come out ok but not great IMO, both from the photo and painting point of view. The models are all the ‘new’ plastic models from Battlefront. I have to say I’m really not impressed with those. OK so the weapons won’t bend but the detail, especially on the faces are a lot less pronounced than the metal models. I got these to support my local gaming store vs. ordering from Peter Pig, which was a nice move, but means I got poorer models overall. Peter pig are by far the best WW2 15mm infantry figs I find.
img_4648 img_4647I just have 12 models here in this post – the remainder have been based in 2’s and 3’s which will shown in another post or two. That’s so I don’t overload a single blog post with pictures and also to ensure I have content, because as I mentioned last week I have not been painting for a month!

I have shown the front and back shot of the models in these picture. This ensures that you can see the webbing and other details on the models. One of the most interesting items is the socks – which were worn even in the heat of the desert. Then again, anyone with any military experience will relate to how important socks are to morale and fighting spirit, so it makes sense! You do see the socks in some of the period pictures as well.
img_4649img_4650What is interesting is that in trying to black line the nose it looks really bad/rough in these closeup shots but looks a lot better on the table. It’s not perfect but at table level it shows up and is less drastic. I did try to correct faces a bit and use less drastic shading, but it did not look that good either and tended to fade into the models. I’m sure would be possible with a more skilled painter but heck. At least this does show up and does seem to frame the face/nose quite nicely in reality.
img_4651img_4652These will be used for small units and when casualties occur in games such as Chain of Command/Force on Force/Battlegroup and likely other games. That’s part of the fun of creating a force for various WW2 games vs aiming just for one rule set. These should be useful in all sorts of games.

Posted in 15mm, World War 2 | Leave a comment

8th Army – Matilda 2 Infantry tank

Well so far this month I have not touched a paint brush in anger! With me back on the road this week for work I suspect that will mean I won’t do anything till at least Easter. Maybe Easter Friday will allow me to do something. This weekend I spent most of the time trying to sort out some of my ‘lead pile’ and much to the horror of the Mrs I’m not getting rid of any of it. But it’s all sorted out a little more now and I remember all the projects I have to start. I do have a large painting backlog I will say that, but so do most of us…

Anyway, back to the desert for this post and one of the mainstay tanks of the British campaign the Matilda 2. This was an effective infantry tank – i.e. designed to support the infantry vs. charging around in anti-tank actions. Not great but not bad. They were slow, fairly well armored and with a reasonable gun. This turned out to make them much better than some of the other British tanks, which were lacking punching power as well as protection. For this time of the war a fairly well rounded tank. That means it makes sense that I needed some of these in my desert force.img_4673These have the same paint scheme as the tanks I showed earlier and it still works for them. These models are all from Zvevda (the Russian manufacturer). They are decent models and approx. 50% the cost of the battlefront versions. The tank barrels are a little thin in plastic but they would have the same problem in metal and so that may be more of a problem for them.  img_4672I could have ‘gone to town’ and got a lot more of these. However, as I mentioned in a previous post I prefer smaller scale fights in WW2 rather than big actions. So a platoon and a command tank are likely enough for what I need/want. With all the other platoons of different tanks I have they should be ok.img_4664Finally, a shot from above just to show them from this angle. So these are another nice addition to my British desert forces.

Posted in 15mm, World War 2 | Leave a comment

Hotlead 2018

Well another Hotlead convention weekend has come and gone. Again as is usually I went for the full day on the Saturday. If you are around southern Ontario next year and like wargames then I highly recommend you come and try it out.

Overall, I think it was again a great event and from taking to some of the organizers it matched or was very close to last years attendance, with more games being put on. The number of vendors about the same but there was more variety in what they offered with the number of raw generic mini vendors was down. That’s not a bad thing – but it also shows a bit difference between Canadian and Uk shows. Canadian ones are much more about the participation games and the event while UK shows are about shopping. I will say though that still found ways to spend my cash though and the bring and buy did a good trade from what I saw.

I helped run a game of gaslands in the morning with Anthony and that seemed to go down very well. These are the Osprey ‘mad max’ car battle rules and the game played fast and deadly.img_5004We had 8 players in an arena style game. Each player was on their own and looking to pick up tokens for points as well as kill each other. In the end 3 players came in joint first but all the players had fun. As an intro to the game everyone soon got the hang of things and the fun event for all is the main thing. It did not take long to teach people the game and several already had it and others asked about how to get it – so I’d call this is s success. img_5003After lunch at the gourmet burger place down the road Boomers (which is Soooo good) I joined in an air game- using the Check your 6 rules. This was 1939 Poles vs Germans.

I love these big con CY6 games and was doing ok till I had my two 2 planes collide in mid air. Being too aggressive and my die rolling failing to match that aggression at all. Sigh…my usual disastrous die rolling made a fireball that took out three planes and damaged s couple of others. Shall we say the game was over at that point really on our side . Still everyone seemed to have fun which was the main point and we had a fair number of jokes about the poor piloting skill.img_4915Even wth my poor rolling I was not the only one as no damages German bombers got home as they also could not roll the pilot skill checks to avoid the off board hazards. Lets just say it was a poor day for the Germans but fun for all the players.img_4916In the evening I wandered around and talked to people in general. I did not play just one game. I spent some time watching the ‘flint and feather’ demo games and I must admit that’s becoming harder and harder to resist. Especially with the full rules due out later this year. The models look so good as well – but more of that another time.

Below are some shots of various games on being played in the Saturday. I did not get pictures of all the games (I missed over half by playing games) but this should give you an example of games on offer. All I can say is I had a great time and lots of interesting games were available to try if people wanted too. You should be able to click on any of them for a bigger view of the picture.


Posted in After Action Report, Review | 2 Comments

Run and Bones – First undead pirates

Ok now for something different. As I have mentioned before, one of the ways I keep painting things is to swap when I have had enough of a project and do something different, then come back to it. So now is one of those times – but don’t worry the 8th Army will be back next week.

However, a long time ago now I backed the first Rum and Bones Kickstarter. I really liked the models that it had and we played a few games but I never really got around to doing anything with the figs. I also did not play it that often as it was unpainted…So now, long after Rum and Bones v2 was backed an delivered and is also sitting in my to be painted pile, I’m going to change that.

Here you can see the first set of undead pirate figures I have competed from the original base game. These are 8 identical models. In fact in the base game there are 3 sets of 8 models and then one set of 6 which make the standard ‘troops’ of a force. Just because these are pirates though I wanted to have each of the figures be unique. For the human sailors I may make them more standard but Pirates (even undead ones) I don’t believe roll that way. Maybe I have seen too many Adam and the ants videos as a kid…You can see what I have done with the basing below. Because the game is based on a ships I wanted to make the bases planks. It does not make sense to flock the bases and as a board game I dislike flocking figs for them anyway.  It’s not prefect, but hopefully I’ll get better at that. But it works for rough planking which suits an undead pirate group as well.img_4823Below you can see the close up pictures of the first 4 miniatures. You can see the details of the models and the different colours – both of clothing and skin. In the end I went a little brighter than I would have done normally to making them stand out. After all there is no point doing a dark wash just because they are dead!img_4828img_4827Below are the second set of 4 models. This set nicely shows the various skin colours and effects I used on these models. Although it makes no difference in the game it does at least make me feel that they have some different character. img_4826img_4825So there we are the start of another project from my side of things. There is a whole collection of really cool character models in this game for me to get too but I need to get the standard troops done first. Do hope to use these for the Osprey Ghost archipelago rules as well as the board game.

Note, one of the things which I have noticed is most of the painted Rum and Bones figures shown on the web are done by ‘professionals’ or really good painters. I try but I believe you’ll find this thread will show a reasonable painters attempts at the models.

Posted in 28mm, Board game, Pirates | 4 Comments