Thursday, 25 June 2020

More bits and pieces

So I have been doing some hobby work but recently it has been curtailed due to starting a large outdoor project where I am building a shed. Slowly.

Before that happened I had managed to finish up some 28mm British Napoleonics all part of getting ready for some Sharp Practice games:

And a load of 6mm Baccus French and British Napoleonics. I've not settled on a ruleset but have Over The Hills and am looking at General d'Armee as the Lardy stables seem to suit my temperament best!

That's all. Short update, might try one on the shed soon!

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Rangers of Shadow Deep - Mission 1, Scenario 1

Rangers of Shadow Deep - Mission 1, Scenario 1 - Deserted Village

My first game of RoSD. The setup is on a 3x3ft area, the group starts in the centre of a deserted village with 5 abandoned buildings. There are 6 clue markers, 4 in line with each intermediate compass point (NE,SE,SW,NW) and about 14 inches away from the centre. The final two are in two random buildings.

The scenario starts with 2 Giant rats on the table and 2 zombies. As companions I selected the following: Templar, Rogue, Man-at-arms, Conjuror, Arcanist. I passed the task roll for perception and was able to move 1 clue marker closer to the group starting position.

In the first turn my Ranger attempted to shoot a rat. Missed. Arcanist, Rogue and conjuror moved north, the rogue towards a building with a clue. To note here I probably shouldn't have allowed myself to know which buildings had clues, it would be easy to simply roll once the door had been breached, it would have made the mission more complicated at least!

The Man-at-arms and Templar moved south to another clue marker in a building and closer to the southern zombie. I then moved the zombies and rats, which was wrong, they should have activated before the companions moved. No harm on this round and a good lesson to remember the proper sequence!

The Templar was getting good rolls and she twatted the zombie in one hit. The Arcanist was fortunate that the zombie closing in on her required both actions to move to get to her. The conjuror was well placed to send a bolt of magic into the zombie allowing the Arcanist to move away, in some panic! The Rogue set to work on picking the door lock and succeeded. However the clue marker inside resulted in a zombie being in the house and surprising her.

I got this bit wrong, I allowed the Rogue to move away which when having an enemy in base contact, I don't believe is allowed.

At turn end more zombies started deploying as a result of the event deck. The basic strategy involved utilising the Templar, Man-at-arms and Ranger to use their combat skills to kill off the enemies while the others tried to sweep up the clues. It largely worked. The ranger had to move north and support the squishy types at one point but withdrawing and consolidating towards the fighters allowed them to survive and continue uncovering the clues.

The conjuror even managed to pick up some treasure, which turned out to be an explosive flask. The zombies and rats came on thick and fast but the waves were defeated without too much hassle luckily although the Arcanist took a big hit but limped through on 2 hit points!

It was a fun game and moves quickly when you get a grip on the basics. There is a good amount of uncertainty so works as a solo game nicely. And as mentioned earlier I can ramp this up by "hiding" the clues in random buildings, or more accurately, rolling for them once the door has been opened.

All in all a great wee game, plays well and easily and not much of a burden in order to get on the table. 

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Swayed by Shadow Deep

oooh dearie me! I have been very bad at any updates despite actually being relatively productive hobby wise. So I'll break it up into a few chunks and posts.

First up, Rangers of Shadow Deep. A friend and I send each other pictures on what we are working on, helps with motivation and nice to get feedback! He mentioned Rangers of Shadow Deep some time ago in relation to the Burrows & Badgers figures I had got. Not a bad idea, but then I liked the B&B rules and once I picked up the Rangers rules (a fair bit later, I got the deluxe version!) I liked them and even more, I liked the opportunity to paint some different stuff. So decided to do some collecting and painting.

So to start I painted up the free Ranger figure that came with the ruleset, yes it may have swayed me into buying the deluxe edition.

As I would be playing this solo for the foreseeable future (and that is a big part of the reason for doing it) then I'd need some companions. Bad Squiddo have a really good range as I wanted something a bit different.

 The beer maiden on the far right would be a civilian model, to be saved, hopefully, by the adventurers. I couldn't find exactly what I wanted for a rogue and Conjuror model so on the recommendation of the aforementioned friend I looked at reaper miniatures. A vast range and it was a nice surprise when they arrived that the detail is actually pretty decent.

The Conjuror is taller than all the others, including the rogue from the same range. I don't mind some variation as I think it looks better but he did look a fair bit out of whack, I cut out the mdf base below him to allow hide the plastic base he was on and try bring the overall height down. For comparison the rogue is on a 3mm mdf base, with the plastic base stuck directly on top, essentially making her taller. Anyway I think it worked out alright, and will work for now, if I find a model I prefer I may well get some new ones!

I had hit up Bad Squiddo before this all started for some of their scenic range as they looked thoroughly lovely, so some of these were obvious treasure markers.

The game also needs markers for clues or areas of interest, this seemed like a good opportunity to delve into the bits box and use up some of all the little things I insist on keeping "just in case"

Finally the bad guys that need fightin' I picked up a single sprue of fireforge living dead peasants which got me six zombies. I'll probably get another sprue as I although I didn't get over 6 on the table at once, I may have had any not been killed so quickly!

I also picked up the Northstar Giant Rats (and Boar) which completed all I "needed" for the first scenario.

For the second scenario I would need some spiders and a cheap pack of plastic ones did the job, no painting just stuck onto some bases and flocked. Nice and easy and cost about £3 I think.

I'll end with the starting pictures of the first game, I may try a small recounting of what occurred in the next post.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

I Ain't Been Shot Mum - First game trial

So I finally got some toys on the table this year for a solo game of I ain't been shot mum by the Too Fat Lardies.

The battlefield, British enter at the left (North) and Germans defending the crossroads at the right (South)

I've read through the rules fully once, and parts of it more, and set up to play the first "tutorial" scenario from the main rule book - North of Caen.

View from the British entry side

The forces are both infantry only with the Brits getting one more platoon and a pre-game stonk to aid their attack. The Germans had two Zugs and an HQ with two MG42 in a sustained fire role.

and from the German end

I won't go through the game as it was a bit slow and stuttery to start with as I wasn't confident at how to approach it and it took me a while to get in the flow with the rules. Once I did it became very fluid and intuitive, a great set of rules and excellent fun. I found the solo play a lot easier than I thought I would, I felt before hand I may favour one side or the other but I don't think I did.

British deploying down the road, spotted by Germans defending a building north of the crossroads
I did however learn a lot about how to play IABSM, because the distances represented are greater, compared to Chain of Command, as as defender you can afford to bring some units on table early without just opening them up to fire. It does give away your position somewhat but allows you to have more of an influence on the game. I was intending to hold the Germans off table until the Brits approached and then unleash some devastating fire. This resulted in a disjointed defence as the German Blinds card didn't come up so reduced their ability to get the second Zug onto the table.

However what happened was the British managed to approach unmolested and tackle each platoon in turn, bad defensive decision from me but good to learn from!

Germans entered with shock and casualties from the pre-game stonk. Wonky, un-based trees in background!

The next scenario is utilising american forces so I will probably just proxy the brits for them.

The British press their attack

I also want to get some better material for fields in 6mm. The mat is from Cigar box battle mats, a double sided one from their kickstarter which I really like. I need to knock up some more hedges and I think some orchards. The trees could all do with some better basing. Some are just stuck onto 2p coins as I realised I needed way more trees than I had prepared!

I think I will also look at basing the 6mm buildings into small clusters, just to add a bit of a footprint and some details around the houses to make them look more part of the terrain than lone buildings in a field!

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Attitude in wargames

There have been a number of interesting threads on twitter and some blogs discussing or raising issues with various game mechanisms in Chain of Command with regards to dice. Essentially around the situation where one party takes a pre-game barrage or Stukas and the other fails to deploy or have a meaningful impact on the game. I have found them very interesting and to my mind it raises the question of tactics and friction, and realism.

I have had one experience of a particularly frustrating in-game barrage (here) and at the time I got rather annoyed at it. I felt I was beaten by a game mechanism rather than my opponent. When I reflected on the game later, what beat me was my own attitude. I ran out of ideas or my brain shut down and I couldn't/didn't think through the problem. Was the game an enjoyable experience? at the time no, but on reflection it was. I got to spend time with my mate, play with my toys and terrain that I spent ages working on. I got beaten by my own attitude, and my opponent utilising sensible tactics to assault a position.

So when I read about issues on enjoying a wargame when things are going badly I now feel it is down to that person and their attitude.

If you want realism in your games you have to accept that if you put yourself in the position of a commander with a very difficult task, expect that things may well go against you, and sometimes in a catastrophic way. In war you don't always get to do what you want, sometimes the enemy is more effective than you and that is before we even consider friction.

It is a natural reaction to be annoyed/irritated etc when things don't go our way, and I suspect the easiest reaction is to blame the dice, game mechanisms, over-powered units than to perhaps admit that our own attitude was found wanting. I doubt many will agree with me as it is easier to blame the abstract such as an ability to roll dice or a mechanism that prevented me deploying.

There is a reason that in the British Army, good humour is prized. Being cheerful in woeful situations is more useful than being the fastest, strongest or best shot. Too Fat Lardies rules really emphasize this on the table, perhaps it is worth thinking about that as we stand by those tables. Your mood turning sour can ruin your opponents game, is it really worth bringing down what should be a fun time because you aren't getting your own way?

And let's be clear, that is what it comes down to. It may be framed as bad dice, poor mechanics or inadequate rules, but regardless of those the one thing we can bring to any game or rule set is a positive disposition. Yes we all want to be competitive but it is not hard to be good humoured in defeat. If things are going well for your opponent and not for you, smile, chin up and let him enjoy it. By all means keep thinking and planning about how to ruin it, but let that happen on the table and not your face.

You may feel like nothing is going your way and the game itself is broken. So what. The commanders in history faced worse and kept plugging away. There are few things more toxic in leadership than a poor attitude.

Maybe we need to reset our outlook, because frankly shit happens and war is not fair. 

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Starting 2020

Ah yes a beginning of year post, only two weeks late!

Actually this is a nice way for me to think through what I want to try and achieve this year in the hobby.

Under the 6mm WW2 category, which is pretty much ready for a game, I've got universal carriers for the brits and some kubelwagon and motorbikes for the germans to finish off.

I'd like to finally get started on some 6mm Napoleonics. I have a few packs from Baccus that I would like to paint up and start working out how much and what other types of units I want.

While I am in that period I'd like to rustle up some small Sharpe Practice forces, already have them, just need to assemble and paint.

More terrain. 6mm hedges, fences and walls. I've picked up a fair amount of 28mm MDF buildings over the past year and would like to get them made up and finished off.

I just picked up a box of  commandos and commonwealth infantry from the Warlord sales, it was a reflex purchase as I was prepping some Black Ops units at the time and these screamed out to me. The latter would be used to make up some SAS. I'll aim for some additional commandos made up and painted, and if I get round to it then some SAS too.

My main aim is to try some solo wargaming. I asked Henry Hyde about it a few weeks ago when he had a patron question session. There was a lot of good information in the podcast and also in the comments afterwards. Luckily CoC, IABSM and Black Ops all rather lend themselves to solo play due to their mechanics.

Now you may look at that list and feel it is rather short but there is more afoot. A lot of this hinges on a rather enjoyable and larger project which has finally had some movement on it. I am aiming to build a shed that serves a few purposes. Firstly it is to give me a quiet area to work in when I work from home occasionally, without disruption from the other half. Secondly to have a dry area to do my wood working (making, repairing chicken coops, pig houses, stable doors etc) and finally I will have an area to store all my wargaming stuff I have accrued in my short time in the hobby, and even perhaps have a dedicated gaming table! Oh the excitement!

Now if this moves ahead as planned then the first part of this year from spring onwards at least will be largely focused on building/sorting the shed. I am waiting on the architect submitting the plans to obtain a building warrant having had planning go through already. I intend to have it finished off, at least externally, and watertight by June.

Monday, 30 December 2019

An attempt to sprint to the finish....

The rather daft title is in reference to my recent attempt at trying to rack up over close to 500 points in about 30 days to reach my target of 1000 points for the year.

Around the midway point in the year I took stock of where I was in my own personal painting target (post here). Aside from the fact I was clearly demented and due to work thinking about the financial year rather than calendar year, I was about 50% of the way through my target of 1000 points (Using Vis Lardica scoring) and slightly more than that through the time period!

Forward a few months and as we close in on the end of the year I have spent some of my time off on finally sitting down and painting.

As part of the push I've painted:

Sorting out somr 6mm WW2 in the form of Baccus' new Panzer IVs with some complementary Shermans for the Brits. A few more supports for both, AT guns & crews, PIATS, mg34 (light role) and vickers (sustained role). A test game of IABSM is in the offing now.

The three sherman tanks in the top right of the picture above are from Anyscale Models to replace the two diecast ones I have been using in the Chain of Command 29 Let's Go Campaign. I also tried out a technique I saw on The Tactical Painter's blog for adding camouflage netting to vehicles. Rather pleased with the look of them, I feel it makes them look a bit different and less like "out the box" models.

At long last getting round to some of the EXCELLENT models from Oathsworn Miniatures last Kickstarter (I have ended up backing the recent one too, I am a sucker for these models). I love the character of these miniatures, they are so much fun to paint. And that is coming from someone who struggles with painting figures, both in terms of motivation and skill.

And finally I painted up a few commandos and German guards as I intend to try and get a (probably solo) game of Black Ops in at some point over the holidays. This has been inspired by a WSS article on the rules set in WW2, and also re-reading Tiny Hordes report . My usual opponent is AWOL so can't get the next game of our campaign in, which would have been nice over the holidays.

Now a drum-roll please, that gets me up to 943 points. Ah well. Not quite the 1000 mark I was aiming for at the beginning of the year but I have got a lot closer than I thought I would when I was sitting at the 520ish mark less than a month ago!