Saturday, 13 August 2016

OGAM The First Olympic Games The lots are drawn.

I want to thank all of you for your support for my bid to get wargaming recognised as an Olympic discipline in the spirit of the original. Don't forget those games were a strong contributing factor in the Trojan War, which at the time bordered on being the first world war.

I'm using a strict format and only 1,000 points. Easy to replicate in 25mm. If you and your club can field several nations, then go for that! I toyed with allowing substitution for destroyed units and allowing each side one terrain item but decided against as this lot used virtually every figure I've got and I'm looking for speed.  Where mortals are different than the book I've taken values from my earlier post on Trojan War troop types as opposed to the later Greek types used in the official lists.  Please feel free to alter.  One way to "cheat absolutely" is to run it as a Roman or Medieval spectacle, substituting contemporary or mythic types.  Look, just have fun, OK?

I've taken the “2nd rank” gods. Strictly 3 Legends per side. I've a big circle, anything going over is “owt!”. The inner circle holds the 5 rings objective. All units start betwixt the 2, to win one side must hold the rings. Losing one's god is also an out-.

Oooops, 'oops- do your research first. Now I find the rings logo originated in the early 20thc with no reference to the historical or mythical past. Still, I needed some new urban movement trays. My first batch has been going strong for a couple of years rough handling. These have a much thinner no-more-nails skin so will be interesting to see how they last. Although they are harder to pick up as the edge isn't so proud.

The sides:
Ares. Group fighter, Combat master, Hammering blow, 376
Legends Achilles Q3 C3 Dashing, Invulnerability @ 108, Hippolyte Q3 C3 Armored @ 80,
Chariot Hero Q3 C3 Armored, Mounted @ 96 *
8xMymidion (CO) Q4, C3, Armored, Dashing @ 33, 8xOO javelin, Q4 C1 shooter short @ 11 1,004

Artemis Forester, Shooter (Long), Shoot into melee, Legendary shooter, Good shot, Animal mastery
Legends Hydra, Q3 C4, Combat master, Armored, huge 116 Nemean lion Q3 C3 invulnerability, Chariot Hero, Q3 C3 Armored, Mounted @ 96 8xOO Stampeding cattle Q4 C1 Dashing, Animal, Long move, 8xCO/OO archers, Q4 C2 shooter medium @ 20, 5xOO javelin Q4 C1 shooter short @ 11 1,003.

Athena Q2 C4 Prophesy, Protection, 248
Legends Odysseus Q2 C2 Stealth, Free disengage, 2 Chariot heroes, Q3 C3 Armored, Mounted @ 96
4x8 Early tower shield spear (CO) Q4 C2, Greedy @ 12.
8xOO Javelin Q4 C1 shooter short @ 11 1,006

Dionysus Q2 C3 Transfix, Drunkard, Confound 232
Legends Minotaur Q3 C3 Dashing Labyrinth @88, 2x centaur heroes Q3 C3 dashing, drunkard,
8xOO Satyr, Q4 C2 Drunkard @ 15, 8xOO Satyr archers, Q4 C2 Shooter medium Drunkard @ 20,
4xOO Centaurs, Q4 C3 Drunkard, Long move, Dashing @ 35
4xOO Centaur archers Q4 C2 long move, Shooter long, Drunkard @ 20, 996

Hermes Q2 C3 Super speed, Free disengage, stealth, v difficult target.
Legends Medusa Q3 C3 Poison, Turn to stone, Stheno Q3 C3 Armored turn to stone,
Euryale Q3 C3 Flying, Long move, Turn to stone.
12xCO Early tower shield javelin Q4 C2 Greedy, Shooter (short) @15
8xCO seapeoples warband Q4, C3, Armored, Dashing @ 33 1,008

Pan Q2 C4 Forester, Transfix, Tremble before my might
Legends Herakles Q3 C4 Group fighter, Hammering blow, Cyclops Q3 C3 Huge, Shooter medium Chiron Q3 C3 Long move, Dashing @ 35
8xOO Satyrs or cyclops Q4 C2 Drunkard @ 15, 8xOO Satyr or cyclops missile Q4 C2 Shooter medium Drunkard @ 20, 4xOO Centaurs Q4 C3 Drunkard, long move, dashing @ 35 1004

The Draw:
Hermes v Athena 1,008 v 1,006
Dionysus v Pan 996 v 1004
Ares v Artemis 1,004 v 1,003

The survivors will be ranked by points remaining and 2nd & 3rd will battle to fight 1st for winner

  • A chariot hero is both mounted and armored.

Hermes has gone with a very strong Legends line-up backed by plenty of punch in the mortals.
Athena is weaker in the Legends but has the more numerable mortals.

Dionysus again, a weaker Legend force but a host of mortals that will cover a lot of ground, looking to swamp any opponent.
Pan has the stronger but slower Legends force and a similar mortals contingent.
This game is going to cover a lot of ground and the initial setup will be critical.

Ares as you would expect has a very strong Legends force backed by a small, brute power mortals.
Artemis has a Legend force to equal Ares. All eyes will be on the impact the cattle can make. But the initial betting is on a strong head-to-head battle of these two hotheads.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Flying Lead Mini Campaign Pirate Raid - raid from the sea

The Prologue. I've given this some thought since starting. Although I set it in the West country (UK) and pirates, the basic format would work for Achaean Greeks and Seapeople raiders, Roman militia on the Saxon shore to troops getting back to a port at the fall of France.

Ok, I admit this is a crap map, but it does the deed. I diced for between-movement distances with a D4 on the kings road and 2D4 the rest. We used the parent Flying Lead as we didn't need the more involved Flashing Steel.

Quick chat on scenery. Note my old wattle & daub, thatched buildings looking right here. As they're meant to be Vietnamese just shows how universal such builders were. The cloth is my Mars one, painted, that didn't work too well. There was a recent article on a clever chap who bought a cloth and chalk to make a convention groundsheet from scratch. Chalk, so simple, although not the easiest thing to find in the highstreet. I got a pack of large (only ones I could find) pavement chalks for £1. I think you'll see more use.

There are 3 sides, the raiders, militia and angry locals. I worked through the pirate raiders. These are Q5 (held back by cattle & captives) for each hour I rolled 3D6, each 5&6 was a success allowing the party to move forward. This group I decided would keep to the rough middle ground. A simple notation keeps track say J1-3 and rote J-K 1-3. So I now had the complete track plotted. I knew where they had rested or had problems and (should) stop overnight at H.

The locals. People come, go, move and act as they will. So the exact number who actually complete the race will be decided upon the event. Lets invent the local nobs, the De Vience family, who came over with William for the days sport and decided to stay for a bit. Naturally they have an aire Squire Eustace De Vience, one to the army, Major Husting De Vience and one to the church, the Reverent Ignatious De Vience . Among the captives will be a niece or, more likely a ward Miss Angelica Short Cummings.

Militia. A good all-round term. Such coastal towns usually kept a quick reaction force on hand, there will still Barbary pirates, smugglers and revolting natives requiring a firm hand. These will be ready to go a (D3) short while after the alarm has been raised. As for the nature-
A crack squad of hunters, Q3, mounted infantry.
Mounted Dragoons Q4, note only the Kings Road is suitable for cavalry, who make double time along it.
County Militia infantry, part timers doing their service.
A combination. D3 bases of militia infantry, D6 of Dragoons for use as scouts, 2D6 revenue/hunters.

The Game. We decided on the latter. I diced for the officer (cautious, competent, rash) and got rash. So the dragoons set of on the Kings road at a cracking pace. They set up an ambush at Cabot village.

The locals set a slow pace arriving 6 turns after the pirates.

Tony set up a dismounted ambush in the heart of the village and a mounted just outside.

I came on slow – in fact NEVER have we had a game with so many turnarounds. Most movement was reaction based-. We nearly forgot about the locals, and when they started tpo arrive they just-stopped.

My initial probe met the ambush and the lead was knocked down (where he stayed, probably got away at the end-)

I spread out into cover and the loot and prisoners (on reactions) started the long way around. My idea was to come at them from all sides, making movement impossible.

Tony mounted and did a short, sharp charge, killing one (a 6:1 gruesome death) knocking down one and pushing back another. I got in a few lucky shots (I'd deliberately pruned the number of guns) I killed the sergeant and unhorsed the officer. That reduced him to individual movements, which gave me the opportunity for more reactions. I got another trooper.

This was the turning point.  The officer was down and isolated.  I sent in a couple of pirates in, but he cut 'em down in one go.  He could then resume command.  If he'd lost, I'd have won as Tony would have no commanders left. The 2 pennies represent the figure is unloaded.

Then the locals turned up in a very slow trickle. That stopped my outflanking move and a trooper (probably trying to link up) cut down another pirate from behind. Outnumbered & surrounded this lot surrendered.

Now the officer was back on is 'orse he managed to rally the troops and pushed hard. I got my captain away and nearly the captives. Tony pushed through the straggle in the centre and captured the captives and loot.

I would have got about ½ the rest away but didn't have enough for offensive action.

Worked well. The campaign approach gave each side a reason to be there and why. The choice of dragoon officer was probably the most telling. A cautious leader would probably have found then then followed. A more “ by the book” would have scouted and probably set up an ambush at the farm at G or H.

I retreat after first contact
I start to envelope-
Captives & loot move away from trouble
Sergeant is down!
First charge

Dragoons regroup and press on

First of locals turn up, standoff.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Making Plant bases. Here be shrubbery.

Even urban environments need plants. I don't have time to waste, but this is a fun exercise and a hundred odd individual plants do make a table look good.

Aquarium & model railroad plants. Take apart. I mount all my small scenics on (UK) 2p coins* using carpet tacks. It's worth the time to snip off the point. My usual No-More nails substitute works well. Drop of superglue secures the plants. Flock as if an infantry base, but consider that areas under trees are relatively free of undergrowth. Put a figure next to it, trim with (ruthless) regards to height and ease of handling. I go for 2-3 times the height of an average figure, clearance for larger.

This comes with white beads, ideal for urban flower pot!
The offcuts use flat, thin wooden beads. Look in cheap shops, charity shops. One necklace can give you 200 odd beads. You can get through these in a messy day. Lots of no-more-nails, push plant into hole. Some need propping up or a drop of superglue. With close spaced plants like bamboo colouring the mix first advised!  This method works well with pebbles and other small scenics. Use pipecleaner as stumps and fallen plants, you can make a base in very little time. Any natural woodland would be at least 1/3 of this scatter.

2 hours messy work

Part of a days work, over 100
Watch out for larger trees and shrubs, as these are often made up of smaller “trees” such as these. Made as above, but with a quick flick of grey over the trunk and tea leaf flock on base.

Attached bases. The round bases these plants come on can be fixed to a coin with copious amounts of No-More-Nails, as it shrinks on drying, by covering the “roots” you can get it to stay. A bulldog clip or similar helps. Flocking or sand/PVA mix helps. I like the root look so I don't trim. Some come on plaster rocks, these can be very useful in making hedges.

Pipe cleaners. If you have kids, they will enjoy this method. Very basic, cut into short length and stick in bead as above. Paint (try rolling in) the bottom ¾ of the plant with a thick brown paint, upper part dry-brush with light green. Different colours will give you a completely different plant. The metallic ones give you fantastic cactus like results. You can make rows of crops or thick alien hedges very quickly. Larger plants can be made by twisting, adding aquarium plant offcuts. Spread bottom out to fix. I use feathers for my prehistoric ones. They shouldn't work, but they do.

Palm trees. Based on an excellent article in TMP. These are made from plant tie, on a reel from a discount shop, cut into roughly equal strips. The bottom is spread and glued down as above, top is spread. Paint, then when dry ink with Antelope Brown or Burnt Umber. This runs down the twist. Admittedly my tops aren't as good, but it's a wargaming model, you can pick 'em up, they don't fall down or get in the way. Proper job.  BUT considering the cost of cheap palm trees from china, I probably won't do these again.

Monday, 1 August 2016

A mini- Pirate campaign the old fashioned way Part 1 Methodology

Let me take you back to a different time. 

There were no home computers, so no internet. Once a month there were a couple of magazines, you know, printed paper? And you paid for them. When a manufacturer produced something new an advert was paid for and 6 weeks later or so we got to see it. You then wrote, yes pen and paper, your order out and sent it of with a cheque. Once cleared your goods were dispatched. Sometimes you sent money for a printed catalogue.

In these magazines there were articles, a sort of blog post. These were sent in by wargamers, unpaid, and selected by the editor. Some editions covered one topic, but usually there was a spread.

This is my memory of using one such. The concept of running a campaign using both sides on an A4 sheet of paper was not new, but this was quite, quite innovative.

I'm useless at graphics so use your imagination.

The map consists of a series of tables

Each table is your normal wargame table with all features marked

Travel between tables is a series of lines, each with a number of turns the journey takes. All scouting light cavalry double, baggage and artillery half.

Movement cost 1 across the table, 2 lengthwise. Scouting takes an extra 2 for light cav and 4 for everyone else.

Where the line meets the table is the entry point.

Battles, meeting on the road the larger force advances and the lighter retreats. If scouting light cavalry it can escape, but the enemy will see where you leave the table.

There was a time I had a semi-permanent (always there but requiring clearing) table & a couple of wargaming mates who lived in the same town. (Sigh, I live in a conconovation with 1% of the UK population and cannot make that today as I don't do grandma wendy games.) We had several 6mm armies, this being the days when Irregular Miniatures was a major player. I decided to do Romans vs Gauls. I think we used 6th ed. WRG. I gave each side the worst possible ally command. I think it was Armenian cataphracts for the Romans and chariot using fanatics (Gissafag of the Mickii).

The map was about 5-6 maps square width to the top, length down. The Gauls had the complete map, started at the bottom but had to assemble forces in particular spots. The top of the map was a Roman road and this was all they had. I'd drawn a master map then photocopied it, cutting one up as the Romans proceeded. Cut and paste as originally used.

The Romans had to scout, which meant sending troops out then waiting for them to return. Very frustrating.

The Gauls assembled at a slow space then went hunting once a half decent unit was formed.

I cannot remember all the details but one warband came across the scorpion unit and persuaded them to change sides. I do remember that with a ref it worked very well. Its use was superseded with the arrival of DBA and HOTT.

I will also note a late Medieval DBA game we played with or re-enactment group, each taking a country and making movements via a ref, me as da Pope. I encouraged communication by “in character” letter. Games were played out by the wargaming minority. Again, worked very well with some excellent roleplay by people not used to such things.

Coming next, a quick 3-sided pirate game.  As in my previous article, how do you play multiple sides with 2 people?  Would also work as as a solo game.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Battlesworn: Death of Sherlock Holmes. The Gangs of Gravesend.

This game has grown in the waiting. I was planning a series of games, using different rules, ending in a large game. 

 Life got in the way. After our Battlesworn game of February 2016, “One of our dinosaurs stolen by vampires” we moved shop and I came up with this as an “emergency” game playable in the new shop.

Scenery. I wanted to recreate the cramped feel you get in old town that has grown organically. There are several around here and we had gone on the best of the Jack the ripper tours. Amazing what has survived both Hitler and the 60's planners. A modern trip down Brick Lane on a winters night is not a comfortable experience. To then dive into a poorly lit sidestreet-. Although this scenery was aimed at a different place, I think it did us good here. I'd picked up a bag of plastic Britains fencing a few years ago. Cut down, mounted on stirrers, sandwiched between cork tiles with more no-more-nails than plastic.

The board was made of layered tiles on an A3 foamcore sheet. This made everything removable and provided texture to be used as terrain, slowing the figures down whilst giving a more realistic play. 

 I think Tony's monochrome aftershots gives the idea, but it's difficult to simulate poor streetlighting without giving yourself eyestrain!

The Story. You may like to acquaint yourselves with the events of “One of our dinosaurs stolen by vampires” of February 2016. The lorry is tracked to Gravesend (a port below London that handles coastal trade) and Shrerlock Holmes and a police squad race in pursuit. The game is afoot!

The lorry is spotted in a backstreets yard. As they arrive they are accosted by a frantic gaggle of local, um, ladies who are “fed up with being food for the undead”. It seems that the problem with Gravesend is too many vampires. The trap has been sprung.

The figures Whilst I stated in my last article that “Old Glory will provide the great detective, more vampires and Victorian civvies”. The 2 former are featured here, the latter have yet to be painted, as they were a back order. These packs are a wealth of ready made forces. I don't think we've ever done a game so easy to replicate. There's a Tarzan pack and Africans with figure 8 shields that would do for Trojan War- I must watch the new Tarzan film.

The sides. Don't be put off by Battlesworn's apparent simplicity.

The Villainous Vampires of Madame Synn
8 vampire fighters (those with arms outspred)
Brute Leader Madam Synn herself
Brute, top 'at 'n cane, a propa swell
Tank, the old one 7ft of Nosferatu

Law and Order
Holmes fighter/leader
Watson, Inspectors Whatt and Why, shooters
5 police constables, fighters of the legal law
4 ladies of the night (rabble, killed on first hit)

Playing. As the defender, I had to be careful to “play the game” and react to what I could see rather than what I knew. There was (from Holmes point of view) a gaggle of street women policed and some sort of altercation at the main gate well in the capabilities of the constabulary.

Tony played the vampires. And a blinding game too. He based the bulk of his forces in the road to my right, feeding in vampires (fighters) in a steady flow. This pulled my constables and inspectors to the gate. Two constables would lay to a vampire while the inspectors used their service revolvers to good use.

What's this! A vampire has broken through and attacked a poor young lady! The sergeant steps up and he is no more. There is always a cusp, and this was it.

From the dark menacing figures are moving. Down the back passage towards the back gate a silent shape approaches. Mere cast iron is no defense and the back passage is broached! The crack! Of Watson's pistol warns the party of his approach.

 A constable is the first to feel its icy touch. Meanstwhile the sergeant and a young lady tackle the Gent (brute) who underestimates the effects of a brick filled handbag & truncheon and goes down redeaded!
Watson, realising that there's still a threat to their flack from the survivors of the main gate heads for the young lady.

Meanstwhile Holmes grapples with the old one who dispatches him! That leaves the sergeant, Watson and the young lady to get away in a conveniently parked tourer. The papers say that the great detective has retired to Sussex for his health. But we know better, alas. There is a rumour amonst they who do say that his last words were “Clever girl”.