Wednesday, 4 July 2012

"A conquering army on the border will not be stopped by eloquence"

These are pictures I took last night of a fantastic piece of work by Brian at the club. This is a scratch built model of the Bismarck. He built it using spares yoghurt pots and even 6mm napoleonic gun carriages. Brian ability to build stunning terrain and centre pieces fot the club never ceases to amaze me.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

"I beseech you in the bowels of Christ think it possible you may be mistaken

I didn't play a game this week at the club so spent the time chin wagging instead. Mick and John were playing an English Civil War game in 28mm using the Forlorn Hope rules. I think rather than a game report some wargamer's porn in the shape of John's beutifully painted miniatures would satisfy most

Tuesday, 29 May 2012


More 6mm buildings. This time a Granary with enclosed front yard.

Friday, 25 May 2012

On the work bench

A few pictures of completed projects.

First an Insurgent "technical" (Toyota to you and me).

Also some woodland terrain stands that I have scratch built for my 6mm games.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

"Absence diminishes mediocre passions and increases great ones, as the wind extinguishes candles and fans fires"

My apologies for gap in postings over the last month or so. A change in my “life circumstances” has meant that everything has been up in the air and I have neglected by Wargames and Blogging responsibilities. However I have kept my faith in God and my powder dry. (which given the weather is no mean feat!).

That is not to say that I have  been absent from Leeds Wargames Club regularly and indeed getting a number of games in. It is just that I have found it difficult to find the time to write and publish battle reports etc.

The Saga Rules have become popular with our small group and we spent a number of weeks playing these excellent rules. It is not often that you come across a rule set which has a refreshing rule mechanism most are variations on a theme. The idea of the Saga Dice and Battle Boards for the various factions are an inspired idea giving a level of tactical depth to these otherwise simple rules. Let’s not pretend that they are a “true” wargame as such and does not attempt to replicate Dark Age battles as such. It plays more like a board game-come-collectable card game but is excellent to play on a small table over a few beers and a bag of crisps. My biggest criticism is the cost. The best part of £30.00 for a very thin paperback rule book and they don’t even throw in the Saga dice which you have to buy separately! Shame!

Other games played include Black Powder and Everybody’s Dead (Craig’s home grown Zombie Rules) and Blitzkrieg Commander which I am becoming a big fan of.

Here a some photo’s taken during various games.

On the work-table.
I am currently looking at a 1/144 scale Apache Longbow model kit for my sons bedroom and some 1/35 scale plastic Taimya German troops for Firefight Normandy which is a new set of WWII Skirmish rules which look great fun. Reports on this no doubt to follow. I am also writing a Scenario for a re-fight of Quatre-Bras for 6mm Black Powder. I have full Orbats for now plus a battle map but need to complete my own French figures for the game and bully Craig and Rob (B) in to doing their Brits and Brunswickers. I am hoping to create a scenario dynamic which means if the battle is not concluded at the end of an evening there is a mechanic that lets one “pause” the game and return to it the following week without having to leave the table up and the miniature out. I will keep you advised as to how this goes.

As far as the blog is concerned I am going to try and new approach to the Blog with shorter but more regular posts covering my own projects and battle reports together with pictures and comments on what other people at the club and around the gaming community are up to etc.  At least that is the plan, and we all know how that can work out!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

“I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. “

Impetus Ancients game prepared by Bob and loosely based on the Battle of Hydaspes between Alexander the Great and Porus the Indian King of Hydaspes.

Bob did not have a true Alexandrian Macedonian army so made some slight changes so that the game was effectively an Alexandrian Successor, Bactrean Greek army trying to emulate Alexander’s achievements.

It was an interesting set up as the battle was played between 4 players on two tables.

There was a larger battle where the Bactrio-Greeks were attempting to force a crossing of the river and then on the other table a predominantly cavalry action set up to represent an crossing further upstream and attempted flank march by the Greeks.

I played Porus and Andy played Porus’ son who had been sent upstream to shadow the Bactian flanking force. Craig and Mick played the Bactrian King and their flank march force respectively.

Each player was given a separate briefing and though we all were aware of the other game we had no idea if and when reinforcements or a flank march would occur.

I had a relatively simple brief. I was to stop the Bactrian King affecting a crossing of the river. I knew that I had sent a force of cavalry and chariots to shadow an enemy force that had marched upstream but I did not know the outcome of this. As such I may receive some cavalry reinforcements but by the same token I may be attacked in the flank by enemy forces.

I also had a problem in that the majority of my army were bowmen but I had to keep them well back from the rivers edge as the humid conditions affected their ability to shoot.

The game began and Craig quickly identified the ford. This was three units wide. He then had a juggle his forces round to try and reorganise his forces in to what was effectively an attack column in order to cross. He led with some light troops, elephants and skirmishers with two large pike phalanx’s following up behind.

I simply formed my mostly bow armed troops in to a crescent shape facing the ford ready to unleash on the enemy as they emerged from the river.

A glance over at the other table told me that the two cavalry forces had smashed straight in to each other and were slugging it out.

Craig’s tactics were sound in that he clearly knew that he would be advancing in to a storm of arrows and the priority was to protect the two pike phalanx’s and allow the other units to absorb this. Once the phallangites were safely on the other side they would hopefully be fresh and be therefore could be unleashed on the Indians.

The Bactrians started taking casualties the minute they entered the water and though my shooting wasn’t devastating it had sufficient effect that upon exiting the river none of the Bactrian units were fresh and all had lost their impetus bonus ( a melee bonus for troops that charge in to combat and only given if units have not suffered casualties).

However Craig was now in a position to close with my bow armed troops and start serving up some pay-back. Unfortunately things did not quite work out that way. Some rather lucky rolling on my part (3 hits from 4 dice!) and some poor rolling by Craig (2 hits from 11 dice) meant that my bow armed troops opened what can only be described as a “can of whoopass” on a Bactrian Elephant unit. The Elephant hung on and a few turns later swept the Indians away but they had suffered significant damage and were no longer much of a threat.

Unfortunately for me my Indians in the act of being destroyed fell amongst my elephant unit disordering and weakening it.

At this point my left wing remained unengaged and they angled in towards the centre ready for the advance of the Bactrian phalanx.

These emerged from the steaming waters of the River and surged up the bank in to my centre. Here they started to do some damage but with very little flank support I was able to start pouring Javelins and Arrows in to their flanks.

At this point the news came that the battle on the other table (upstream of us) had ended with both sides fighting each other to a standstill. There would be no flank attack but also no reinforcements.

This actually suited me as I was in the stronger position. A flank attack would have caused me serious problems but there was little I could do with reinforcements now the Bactrians were across the river.

My left wing and centre was in tatters but I still had an uncommitted right wing. These were well positioned to disengage and withdraw which seemed to me to the be right idea. Craig had crossed the river but had suffered heavy losses and was not in a position to pursue or indeed do anything but lick his wounds.

The ultimate result was a pyrrhic victory for Craig in that he did manage to cross the river.

I would have used exactly the same tactics as Craig but on reflection I wonder if he would have been better leading with the Phallangites who with their large units may have been able to absorb more damage than his auxiliaries and Elephants and therefore the army as a whole may have emerged more intact on the other side of the river.

Historically the battle is seen as one of Alexander’s masterpieces however as in this game the Greeks suffered high casualties and were seriously freaked out by the elephants. Alexander was so impressed with King Porus and his soldiers that he allowed him to remain king of Hydaspes as his Satrap. Alexander’s army took such a hammering by the Indians that ultimately they refused to fight them again and Alexander could not persuade them to advance and to attempt a crossing of the Ganges.

The good news for me is I did not have to resort to my game winning dice. Two large dice purchased which I bought on entry to Vapnartak this year (the excellent wargames show at York Race Course). All proceeds for these dice went to Help for Heroes. As such these dice must be brimming with positive Karma and so I am holding them in reserve for the crucial moment.

Monday, 30 January 2012

"Your Not Dead you Rascal!"

A long awaited game of Black Powder last night between myself and Craig A.

The game was Napoleonic, French versus English. A straight forward slugging match fought on the edge of a town and with a road intersecting the battlefield diagonally from south west to north east.

Unfortunately we did not get to finish the game as most of the evening was taken discussing all things Napoleonic. Craig who is heavily involved in the 33rd Regiment of Foot is a fountain of knowledge on this period and I can never resist asking him questions on drill, formations etc which tends to mean the game is forgotten for long periods.

We decided to try and experimental “house rule” to introduce an element of ignorance of opposing forces. I suggested using the system in Principles of War where figures are not placed on the table but unit markers a deployed together with 3 or 4 “dummy” markers. The type and size of the unit is only revealed when within musket range. However we felt that this was probably a bit too draconian (unless  the game is meant to take place at night or in fog). So we deployed as cards instead of miniatures and units were revealed only when moved. I think this would be very interesting in larger games where you may want the enemy to think you have a whole Cavalry Brigade in reserve when really you have some half-strength militia but with this smaller  game where both sides had very few reserves it was a bit of a waste of time.

As suggested above, we both deployed with few reserves. I decided to occupy some woods on either flank and focus and frontal assault in the centre of Craig’s line. Craig moved off but deployed his Brigades in to a continuous line across the table anchored against the town. He had a single Cavalry brigade that took up a flanking position, echeloned out on his extreme left.

The Brigade occupying my extreme left moved off quickly and got to the wood on the left. They could not enter the wood as they were not light troops but I now had an opportunity to skirt round the wood and engage Craig on his right. My two central Brigades moved forward and formed in to Attack Columns to drive at the heart of the English Line. The Brigade on my right moved beyond the woods and formed square. The idea being they would block the English Cavalry from being able to charge the Attack Columns in the centre.

Unfortunately the Commander of my left Brigade trying to get round the wood had an attack of incompetence and for the rest of the game I was unable to get them moving beyond the wood.

My Brigades attacking the enemy centre in a traditional French manor got raked by Cannonade and Musketry and were soon stalling an taking casualties. However they pushed through this and smashed in to the English line. Unfortunately some disastrous saving throws (I only needed 3+ save and failed 3 out of 4) and an even worse break test saw my first column destroyed.

At the same time and error on my part meant that on of the English Cavalry regiments managed to get past my squares and charge another attack column in the flank, causing it to retire.


Things were not looking good for the French but luckily we had run out of time and so I did not have to suffer the shame of an all out defeat!

I enjoy playing Black Powder and there is no doubt that if we had not been gassing then the game would have reached a conclusion. It does lend itself better to larger games however with 7 or more Brigades which allows for a tactical reserve. When only playing with 3 or 4 brigades you can find that a large part of your force sits doing nothing which can be quite decisive.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

That's much more sensible than just Thorfin getting killed. Shall we all go and pack now?


I had been wanting to play these rules for some time. I downloaded them a few years ago and they looked good fun but I had never quite got round the trying them out.

Rob (B) wanted to try them before investing in some Dark Age miniatures and everyone else was at a bit of a loose end so were happy to give it a go despite the fact that nobody had read them. Too Much Lead had also popped down for a mooch so was happy to join in.

I don’t have a lot of Vikings so the numbers were made up by some Normans that I have.

We threw some terrain on the table, Rob (B) insisted on using some sections of Castle wall we found in the depths of our Terrain Shed plus some other bits and pieces. We wanted to keep things simple so I threw a load of “treasure” markers on the table and split the miniatures in to 4 Warbands. Who ever collected the most treasure won. Simple!

At first the game stumbled along as I poured over the rules and we got used to the mechanics of the game and the various statistics of the troops, armour and weapons. However things speeded up rapidly as everyone got the hang of it.

You roll for initiative each turn and then get to perform up to two actions for each warrior. Combat is simple and based on “opposed rolls” against the attributes of the warrior (each warrior has a list of attributes that look similar to what you would see in Warhammer). We found this worked really well, It was quite easy to score a hit but if the target had armour, shield and a helmet then it was quite difficult to wound. There were no tables or other references to make and once you got to know the modifiers for your weapons all you had to know was the Strength, Prowess or Fortitude of your warrior and roll a D10

Mick and Too Much Lead were very civilised and advanced on each other steadily before forming a Shieldwall and trading blows. Craig and Rob (B) on the other hand threw themselves at each other in a flurry of axes which had no order and was a effectively a large beardy scrum.

Of course this does not lead to a great deal to write about as there was little in the way of tactical nuances or manoeuvre. Basically Mick repeatedly beat Too Much Lead over the head with an axe until he ran away and Craig repeatedly beat Rob (B) over the head with an axe until he was dead. (not literally you understand).

The result a draw between Mick and Craig.

The game was fun and has a lot more depth than we explored here. In particular the campaign system which is based on you creating, maintaining and attempting to develop a Warband by raiding and other such scenarios.

There is also an optional mythical element which introduces random events (Fate Cards) and event Sorcery and fantastical beasts should you so wish.
Rob (B) was convinced enough to order some Gripping Beast Vikings and expect further posts about this game in the future.

Age of Blood is free to download and kudos of Tom Hinchelwood for creating and sharing a really good set of rules.

Thanks to Mick for the photo's as I left my phone at home.

Next week. Black Powder!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

"A revolution is an idea which has found its bayonets"


Impetus Grandeur – Napoleonic Variant of the Impetus Rules.

Well Christmas is over and it was back to the Club to catch up with everyone and to focus on the important things in life like pushing toy soldiers around a table top. I did not have any new toys to play with as I don’t ask for miniatures for Birthdays or Christmas. This allows me to keep up the premise of “official” cost of the hobby compared to the “actual” cost.

I had a game of Dark Future with Craig last week with some brilliantly converted matchbox cars that Craig had "liberated" from his Children's sand box.

However it was back to historical games this week.  The Grandeur rules are available from the Impetus Website as a free download and provide rule variations to play impetus in the Napoleonic period on the grand tactical scale.

We were simply trying these rules out and so Rob (B) and Mick fudged together an Austrian and Russian army from old Great North War and Seven Years War figures. They were not too concerned over the accuracy of the miniatures but just to see how the rules played.

I have played the 17th Century and 18th Century rules supplements for Impetus and have found that they are really well thought out and easy to play. The 18th Century variant (Le Roi Soliel) is particularly well done and comes with extensive army lists for the War of Spanish Succession.

Granduer changes the game slightly as the units represent a Brigade sized body rather than Regiment size units so the scale is bigger. As such the “melee” phase actually includes musketry as well as hand-to-hand combat as it is simply representing one Brigade engaging the other. The only “shooting” phase is to represent Skirmishing between the Brigades.

I didn’t actually play the game. Bob and I looked on and we all discussed the rules and the issues raised while Rob B and Mick fought it out. The first thing that jumped out at me was unlike the other variants, the translation in to English was pretty poor. (Impetus is an Italian rule set). This led to a bit of head scratching over the rules.

Rob (B) and Mick set up in a more 18th Century formation with cavalry on the wings the Infantry in the centre along with large battery of Artillery. Then in a more 17th Century way the Cavalry both engaged their opposite numbers to try and sweep the enemy wings away before the Infantry engagement.

Mick had better quality cavalry with a lot of Cuirassiers supported by a second line of light cavalry. Rob (B) had Dragoons. Rob (B) had some early success on his Left but could not consolidate. His Right did not do so well against the Austrian heavy cavalry but a unit of Cossacks pushed wide on the kept the Austrian thinking and their concern about being charged in the rear stopped them turning in to the Russian Centre.

Unfortunately that is as good as it got for Rob (B). The Austrian Cuirassiers counter attacked on Rob (b)’s left and swept the Russian Cavalry away. The Russian Infantry were then pinned to the front and attacked in the flank from the left. A desperate charge by the Cossacks failed leaving the Austrian cavalry to envelope the Russian foot from both flanks. The result was an annihilation of the Russian forces. At the end Rob (B) had only his artillery battery left while Mick has only lost 3 Brigades.

I have to say that I was not that enamoured with the Grandeur rules. I love the Impetus Rules Set and the 18th Century Le Roi Soliel are really well made and work well but these are designed at Regiment level (ish) The Grandeur rules are attempting to be, well, grander and I don’t think this has been achieved. Firstly there is the issue of fire and melee. At this scale, Brigade coming in to contact represents two units engaging in combat whether this be musketry or melee. As such there is not firing aspect in the rules other than skirmishing which seems to be very effective.

However the combat factors and combat result are the same as at Regiment level. The result is that on the tabletop the figures and the aesthetics of the game look like a regimental engagement which is confusing.

The guys at Impetus have consistently come up with good ideas for their supplements and I am not going to critisise them too much given that this is one of many free supplement they provide and the figures we used would have looked better if based differently. I have no doubt that things will improve over versions 1.3 and updwards but will wait for a few updates before giving it another go.

Next week it is Age of Blood. The excellent free Dark Age skirmish game.