Thursday, 19 January 2017

SCW Action - Attack and Defend 1936

Anarchists Advance

Just before Xmas I had a last minute call from the guys at the Leeds Club, the lad who was putting on our display game had fallen ill and we needed an emergency display game for the local (less than 2 miles from my house) Recon Show held at Pudsey.

Luckily the gaming room shelves and boxes here at YG are always ready to go, nearest to hand and needing least prep was the Spanish Civil War collection.

Set Up
Firstly apologies for the photos, the table was set up on the stage of the main hall with a particularly bright light shining down on the table from behind the Nationalist lines which made photographing the action interesting to say the least.

Guardia Civil Forces
With little time to set up anything fancy I went for straight up Attack and Defend game but had the Republicans attacking for a change, I set the table up with a Crossroads in the centre with a small village clustered around it. The table we were given was roughly 6ft square so that's how big the table was !

La Legion
The Nationalist forces consisted of a company of Legion and a company of Guardia Civil, each has a command of 4 Figs and 3 x 8 Fig company's,  the Legion have an LMG section in each of their companies. They set up 9" in from the base line giving them the head start on getting to the village.

A Company of International Brigade and a Company of Milita
The Republicans were given 4 Companies of troops, all starting from the base line (as they were attacking). There was our favourite Company of Anarchists, a Company of Milita and 2 Companies of International Brigade. All with the basic organisation as above. Each figure fights with what the figure is armed with so we have some interesting  (realistic) mixes in our Republican Units.

We have a home brew rules system so the lack of support weapons may seem a bit strange in the initial orbats. Each side rolls dice at the end of a turn which generates cash (I even have some old Spanish currency to use) and the players use that to buy there support and ammunition from a central pool of resources.

Ground Attack
As expected the Nationalist forces grabbed the first group of houses and formed a defensive line, the Republicans hadn't been hanging around either and the forward houses in the village proved just out of range for Francos troops. Thankfully for them an early air attack on the Guardia Civil missed it's target.

Legion sniping from a house roof.
The Militia especially suffered under heavy fire during their advance, their poor Morale didn't help them much in the quest to go forward.

Elsewhere on the table the Republicans were making steady progress on their left flank, the Anarchists threatening to get round the side of the Guardia.

General Game Chaos
The Nationalist forces invested wisely in a T26 however before it could make an impact a Republican T26 rolled onto the table. You WW2 gamers may smirk at a T26 but in the SCW it's the equivalent of a Tiger Tank.

The Nationalist tank got the bounce on its counter part, finding some cover it opened up, the God of Accuracy was appeased as 3 hits in 3 turns were obtained however the God of Destruction was in a bad mood as epically poor dice throwing resulted in no damage. However with three hit markers the Republican Tank was an unmissable target and it had to seek cover.

Polis In Da House

At the end of our allotted time, the game was nicely in the balance, the Anarchists has broken a company of Guardia Civil and has out flanked another. The Legion had neutralised the Militia but the International Brigade were giving as good as they were getting in the village.

The Nationalists had however managed to purchase a second T26 and as soon as it entered the table it engaged the Anarchist troops causing consternation in the ranks. But it was pack up time. A lovely little show Recon, made all the better as I always seem loads of old gaming chums there.

Brigade Command.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

A Matilda called "Tubby Toad"

A quick show off post today with this, the latest addition to my WW2 1941 British Desert Force, a Blitzkrieg Models 28mm Matilda Infantry Tank with a Warlord Games Commander.

I haven't done any WW2 stuff for a while but those of you who follow the blog will know that I have taken part in this year's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. Every two weeks or so there is a bonus "theme" round and this time the theme was "Armour".

I had a quick think and it was either a tank or some Crusader Knights, this won hands down as the Knights are a real pain in the backside.

There are 50 or so entries in the Armour Bonus Round, why not pop by and vote for your favourite  (open until 24th Jan) there are some great entries. This LINK will take you straight to my entry and then you can explore the others from the links on the right of that. The voting panel is there too, a word of warning, it will only let you vote once and it doesn't save your choices as you move round the pages, so have a wander then vote in bulk.

So let's get down to the name, of course it's made up but there is a story behind the name. A couple of three years ago I painted my first Matilda and that was christened "Fat Badger" in honour of a local restaurant and the fact that it looks, well, like a Fat Badger. During our Ctesiphon refight our little group where talking about the new tank when The Wind in the Willows came up with and the four main characters in the story, so I decided on "Tubby Toad" stand by for Rotund Rat, I am open to suggestions for Mole.

It would be remiss of me not to show a picture of "Badger" and "Toad" together so here they are. Badger has a greener Light tone on the Caunter Scheme whilst the Tubby Toad has come out darker in the photos but with the scheme paints were sourced locally and the sun caused all sorts of fade effects, so a bit of variation is fine with me.

I did a tutorial a while back on my tank painting which is HERE if you are interested.

It's been quite good fun painting these as a one off, the next theme is "East", let's get searching for something to paint.

Monday, 9 January 2017

The Walking Dead - Days Gone Bye - Expansion Review

Following on from my recent review of the core box set for Mantics Walking Dead, All Out War game I have, through enjoyment of the game decided to expand my collection.

My first choice for my next addition was this expansion "Days Gone Bye" which focuses on the early part of the story when the group of Survivors are camped outside Atlanta, this is a true expansion and you need the starter set to use its contents.

Of all the current expansions available this one provides the most extra kit for the player who is looking to game in a group (there is a similar sized Solo expansion available).

You get another gaming mat, which is quality gloss paper and very cleverly it has a small section of road which fits with the game mat from the initial game to give a double sized playing area.

Added to that is a booklet explaining the Days Gone Bye set, it has some new rules and explanations along with a narrative Campaign of 6 linked scenarios. Here is my one quibble with this set, the scenarios in the booklet use figures outside the basic set and this edition meaning you need to buy more booster packs to get the figures. Agreed it's a good marketing tool but we were looking forward to having a go at the Campaign when this box arrived and both my and YG Jnr were disappointed.

You get 6 more character cards covering the 4 miniatures in the box plus upgrade "Veteran" cards for Patrick and Sandra from the starter set.

Then you have more Event, Supply and Equipment cards. Fire is a new addition to the game with this set and the event cards cover that and the addition of woodland to the gaming area.

The equipment includes a lovely Gory clothing card for those of you who wish to add Stale Zombie to your Cologne collection. There is however a nice Rain Storm event card to wash away the smell.

Most useful game wise (I think, haven't tried it yet) is the Remington Rifle which gives you a decent ranged weapon, my set is one of the early misprints where the Rifle range is 10", it should be 30" (or 36" can't remember).

Apart from the miniatures the last items in the box are these two thick card game and terrain counter sets. They include trees, tents, fire and woodland themed supply tokens. The art work is great and quality superb.

On to the minis next, they come in the dark grey hard plastic that the starter set comes in, however I forgot to photograph mine before I put primer on them. Here we have Dale on the left in his lookout pose, you can just imagine him like some Chief Meerkat stood atop the RV looking for danger. Next to him is Allen.

Then we have Jim and Donna.

Before we have the two exclusive Walker Miniatures for this game, a guy with a fetching Mohawk hair style and an undead female Police Officer, nice character on these Figs and something that stands out from your general Walker horde.

Hope that's been helpful to some, this really is a great game, the quality of the kit is lovely and I would recommend it it to anyone with a passing interest in the comics or TV show and that's from a dyed in the wool historical Gamer.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

28mm WW1 Indian Infantry (Brownlows Punjabis)

20th Punjabis (Brownlows)
The advent of our traditional Xmas Game which is set in WW1 Mesopotamia along with my entry in the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge got the brushes working early this year and spurred me on to complete this little lot.

The above figures represent a battalion in our games, 4 x 8 Fig Coys with a 2 man HQ and an attached HMG stand, 37 figures all 28mm from Woodbine Design Company.

Officers in the Battalion where recruited from the British residing in India, a great advantage as they had some knowledge of the language, culture and religion of the men they were to command. A problem arose later in the war as casualties amongst the officers grew. New officers from the UK simply had no idea how to look after their troops and Morale suffered as a result.

The 20th Punjabis were part of the 6th Division which was holed up in Kut-al-Amarah, they suffered dreadfully during the siege.

There was no rest for my representation of the unit, as soon as the varnish dried they were on the gaming table for The Battle of Ctesiphon.

None Caucasian skin tones are always a challenge, mostly due to lack of practice. I used Vallejo Hull Red 70985 as a base colour and it gives the faces a nice "warm" tone. After that I used Panzer Aces 312 Leather Belt as a midtone with Beige Red as the highlight with a wash of Army Painter Strong Tone.

A nice unit to add to my Mesopotamian Collection, that's all my WW1 figures painted now, I feel a reup coming on at York.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Battle of Arroyo dos Molinos 1811

And the endless search for Napoleonic Rules

Fire !
The ongoing saga to find a set of Napoleonic rules continued recently here at Castle R with another crack at General de Brigade. My problem is that I have over 6000 15mm Napoleonic Figs all based at a 33:1 ratio, all in single ranks so not only am I looking for a set of rules I like but I also need to adapt them to the figures I have, as they are based now, because there is no way I am re basing and adding figures to existing units.

Spanish Infantry marching to the sound of the guns
General de Brigade of course is a 20:1 double ranked system so for my figures to work changes are required. Last time out we tried to change the tables in the rule book to 33:1 by simply multiplying the figures in the tables by 20 (to get the number of actual men) and then dividing by 33 to convert back to number of figures. It worked ok, but we ended up using a lot of half and third casualties and this tended to slow things down a bit.

Cavalry Action
For this game I decided to try a different approach and use the tables as they are but instead use a written unit roster to keep track of the figures. So a 30 man British Battalion would still be represented on table by my 20 Fig units but treated as a 30 Figs unit for firing etc.

This method did seem to work better and we cracked on through turns very quickly, so we could better get a grasp of how the rules work. Our little band of intrepid gamers are already users of the AWI version of these rules, British Grenadier and the SYW version Die Kreigkunst so the basic concepts of the rules are not too hard to grasp.

The only real issue was one of frontages with a twenty (actual) figure unit putting out the firepower of 30 on a shorter front if double ranked, still a working in progress to solve this one.

KGL Hussars 
The game moved smoothly but for me it lacks something, those intangibles that make a rule set great. I have fond, no doubt clouded by nostalgia, memories of Bruce Quarries Napoleonic set and long for those National Characteristics which the author of GdeB has set out to remove and that's what's missing for me. I do, however, have a cunning plan to add them in (as soon as I get chance to put it in writing).

The perfect set of rules for me were the Hard Pounding Computer Rules, sadly they never successfully made the conversion from Atari ST to PC, the search goes on.

The Portuguese Infantry arrive.
The Game Itself

I wanted something simple and straightforward to test our GdeB skills so I picked this battle from the very fine Scenario Books sold by Caliver Books specifically designed for the rule set, this action is in book 2.

An historical action set in the Pennisular Was in 1811, a simple attack and defend game.

British Artillery
General Girard commanding a French division had crossed the River Guardiana and had been campaigning in Northern Extremadura. Major-General Hill had been given permission to intercept Girard with his troops and put an end to his roving. Hill learnt that the French had halted at the village of Arroyo dos Molinos and rushed his troops to meet them.
The game starts with half of the French Infantry in and around the village supported by a Horse Artillery Battery, the rest of the French have marched away already, the British and Allied troops arrive steadily on the field to attack the village whilst the French desperately trying and recall their troops back.

Objectives are simple, the French need to hold the village, the British take it. The Terrain should have a village in its centre (6x4 table) with small enclosures / orchards to its left and right with a road the length of the table. Add to that some random areas of light scrub befitting of the Spanish country side.
Our Layout
French Orbat
On table from the beginning set up in the village are,
C in C General Girard (Poor)
6 French Line Battalions all 24 Figs Strong in a single Brigade with an average Officer supported by a 6 Gun 6pdr Horse Artillery Battery.
The remaining French Troops are 3 moves off table and are activated by the issue of a successful Brigade order (rolled for separately as per standard rules).
3 French Battalions (Line) and 3 Infantry Battalions (2nd Line) with an Average Officer.
Cavalry Brigade of 1 x 16 Conscript Dragoons, 1 x 16 Chasseur (Line with inferior mounts) and 1 x 16 Hussars (Line).

French Artillery supported by Italian Infantry  (we used for 2nd Line)
British Orbat

On table turn at the start, all Commanders are Ave
1 Brigade of 1 x British Infantry  24 Figs (Line), 71st Light 30 Figs Elite, 92nd Highlanders 32 Veteran with 12 Rifle Skirmishers and a Spanish Conscript Unit of 14 Cavalry.

Marching onto the table on Turn 2
1 Brigade of 2 x British Infantry 30 Figs (Line), 1 x British Infantry 24 Figs  (Line) with 12 Rifle Skirmishers and a British Foot Battery with 9pdr Guns.

71st Highland Light Infantry skirmishing
Turn 3 1 British Cavalry Brigade of 2 x Light Dragoons 12 Figs Line Superior Mount's and 1 x KGL Hussars 14 Figs Elite.

Turn 4 1 Spanish Infantry Brigade of 3 x Spanish Infantry all Conscripts 1 is a Light Battalion.

Turn 10 1 Portuguese Infantry Brigade of 2 Portuguese Line Battalions 24 Figs, 2nd Line, 2 Portuguese Infantry Battalions 24 Figs Conscript and 1 x Cacadores 30 Figs Line.

More Cavalry Action
How did we get on ?

A real straight up fight with little room for subtlety, the British came straight on with their strong Skirmish screen chipping away at the French Lines. Initially a stalemate both sides Cavalry arrived at the same time and moved to the right flank of the French. Dice rolls often decide these things and this game was no different in one turn the whole game which had bogged down into a bit of a slog fest turned on three die rolls. The French were on the receiving end of all of them.

Two units of French Infantry failed Morale leaving them unformed and Faltering, an easy target for the British Infantry whilst in the first Cavalry melee between the French Dragoons and a British Light Dragoons ended badly for French when the British rolled a 12. A nice solid line now had 3 big holes in it !

The French Line under pressure.
We had planned to do another evening session with the game but frankly it was already all over so we called it a day. A very difficult fight for the French to get something out of but a nice small Historical action which could be fought in an evening with experienced players.

Highland Light Infantry
So there we have it another foray into the world of Napoleonic gaming, we will return but when and exactly with what rules I don't know, I really want to get my love of Napoleonics back, with 6000 figures i need to ! I'm so close but still so far.