Friday 28 February 2014

Across the Dead Earth Kick-Starter Live

I am guessing many of my readers will already know about the Kick Starter 'Across the Dead Earth', especially if you read Brummies Blog, as he has been banging on about it for ages. We- in case you missed out it is basically a small skirmish games using 28mm figures- about 5-6 a side I think, and the setting is a post apocalyptic Britain, three generations after a nuclear and biological world war. - Think Mad Max- only with more trees. 

The art work really sold it to me, especially this picture with the ruins of a Tescos. It's very evocative and imaginative. It reminds me of the ruins of the town by Chernobyl- I have always been fascinated by the way nature reclaims the land once we leave it alone. 

I have backed the KS for the £30 level- that is a great deal as you get a soft cover copy of the rules and all 12 minis- good value if you ask me. I am looking forward to making some nice post-apoc England scenery- should be cool!

Here are some of the minis- with the concept art

The Kick Starter can be found here...KS LINK

and the Dead Earth website is here...DEAD EARTH

Thursday 27 February 2014

Dead Man's Hand Game

Last week I had my first game at the Earlswood Wargamers, a (very) local wargaming group that meet just up the road from were I live, just south of Birmingham, England. 

I have to say I was somewhat apprehensive about joining a wargaming group- being something of a virgin when it comes to being part of a group. In my imagination, historical wargamers are stuffy, beardy war-anoraks who will cheerfully point out to you that your lovingly painted soldiers have the wrong colour bootlaces for the period they are meant to depict, or whatever. I also imagined they had would field rank upon rank of not particularly well painted troops, as they endlessly re-fought Waterloo.

As soon as I walked into the village hall where they meet (we meet?) I knew my preconceived ideas where dead wrong, as they were welcoming, friendly and interested in my many and varied collections. They did have huge armies, but rather than the paint-daubed Napoleonics I have seen at shows and on the internet, these were rank upon rank of beautifully executed paint jobs! And even more exciting for me- they like smaller skirmish games too- like Dead Man's Hand

The scenery and figures they were using just blew me away. The Dead Man's Hand board, the handy-work of David, was first class- featuring Lasercut MDF buildings from 4Ground and Sarrissa Precision that David had 'Pimped Up', and some scratch built additions- was easily as good as the best display boards I have seen at the wargaming shows like Salute (and better that many). His figures were simply stunning too. 

I played the game (using three of my own Mexican Banditos alongside David's). I played with David and his nephew James. Dead Man's Hand is a fun, fast paced small skirmish cowboy game, inspired by the Hollywood and Spaghetti Westerns. We had six men apiece and the board is just 2 foot square, so it really is small. Never the less, it was great fun, full of dramatic moments, cinematic scenes and laughs. 

David's dusty western town

A marshal takes down a wanted bandito

A Marshall with a Winchester takes up a good firing position

Low-life Billy Bob takes the fight to the law-men- killing a Deputy and a Marshal, before the Sheriff guns him down. 
All in all a great night (even if my banditos were all killed). The whole group made me feel welcome, especially David and James. They also had a big American War of Independence game on too- I took some pictures of that and will post them in a few days- look out for that because it looked just as good as this game.

Saturday 22 February 2014

Games Workshop Castle

My son Charlie and I have just finished painting the Games Worksop Mighty Castle he got for Christmas. It is a lovely model, very large and nicely detailed. Charlie plans to use it for Lord of the Rings and for his Greek myth game, while I secretly plan to sneak off with it to use for just about anything I can think of.

 It could be the walls of Chester for VBCW, it could be an old fort in modern Zugando for Force on Force, or even a Iberian castle for the Napoleonic Peninsular Wars (a bit of a tease there- for the Peninsular wars will be my new project- more on that very soon!)

Uruk Hia storm the defences of the Free People of Middle Earth

US Special Forces search the ruins of an old fortress for Zugandan insurgents. 

Sunday 9 February 2014

VBCW The Stonehouse Farm Road Block- A Battle Report

Regular gaming Buddy Pulp Citizen and I managed to get together for a game of Very British Civil War. For a change we played Bolt Action, which is a new rules set for the both of us. Because we were using new rules we decided to keep the game small, and so we had just 450 points aside.

The Forces

I was The Manchester Legion of the  British Union of Fascists (BUF) , commanded by First Lieutenant Thompson.Thompson is an inexperienced officer keen to impress his captain, Captain Webster, with his competence. He had two experienced (Regular) infantry sections, a Vickers MMG and, to instil a little 'shock and awe' in the locals, a Vickers Light Tank MKIII.

Pulp Citizen was the Wirral Socialist Worker's Council (WSWC). They were commanded by Commissioner Lunn (a rank equal to First Lieutenant) Lunn was an experienced officer, having fought in the Siege of Liverpool.  He commanded and experienced MMG team, a 3" mortar team, a soviet trained sniper team, and three sections of green militia, dragged in to make up the numbers. One of these teams had been designated as 'tank hunters' and equipped with satchel charges, crowbars and molotovs.

The Missions 

The BUF have information that smugglers from the village of Frodsham are shipping in arms from the continent to supply to the WSWC forces in Helsby. On Captain Websters orders they have established a road block on the road in-between Helsby and Frodhsam, near Stonehouse Farm, and are stopping and searching any vehicals passing down the road. There are also rumours that they are charging a 'toll' to any passing travellers and, being Mancunians, filching goods off the local farmers. 

WSWC forces in Helsby are understandable incensed by the road block, which local hot-headed agitators have started to refer to as 'The Siege of Helsby'.
Lieutenant Lunn has gathered a force of the local militia, together with a few of his more experienced men, and is determined to drive off the BUF and 'lift the siege'.

Stonehouse Farm

The starting positions

Lieutenant Thompson's men manning the roadblock, with the terrifying visage of the Vickers Light Tank standing by. 

The WSWC MMG on the Crag- good sight-lines but too far away to hit anything without redeploying. 

Lunn and his tank hunters take up position in the woods. 
 The battle began in earnest when the BUF patrol in the field came under sniper fire- the WSWC sniper shot and killed the sections Lewis Gunner. The section dived into the broken ground for cover but to no avail- the sniper also took out the sections NCO too. 
The sniper was well dug in in the stones of the old ruins, and try as they might the BUF couldn't draw a bead on him. 

The BUF patrol dive for cover. 

WSWC Sniper- well dug in
 Lieutenant Thompson came under fire from the WSWC in the woods, and leapt over the hedge to hunker down, while ordering his men into Stonehouse Farm. The farmhouse proved to be an excellent defensive position with effective sight-lines across a wide area.  The Vickers MMG team moved up and set up their gun behind the road block- from their they could rain lead down on the militia in the woods, or coming up either road. Eliminating the infantry section in the Farmhouse became a priority for the WSWC militia.

Thompson directing his troops whilst 'Down' behind a hedge.

The BUF Vickers MMG Team at the roadblock  added serious fire-power to the BUF Force throughout the battle.
 Seeing the BUF parole pinned down by the sniper in the broken ground, Lunn ordered one of his militia units to advance, and finish them off. Unfortunately for them the BUF Vickers Light Tank spotted them and entered the field to support the infantry. The tanks machine-guns proved decisive,and the militia unit found itself pinned down in open, and eventually destroyed, by the withering fire from the tank. The tank was screened from the bulk of the WSWC by the worker's cottages, and the WSWC had nothing that could penetrate the tanks armour on  this flank, giving the tank commander free reign. 

The Tank is King!

The WSWC continues to exchange shots across the street with the BUF section in the Farmhouse
 The militia lost the momentum of their attack, as the BUF section in the farmhouse, and the MMG team at the roadblock continued to poor fire into the woods, effectively pinning the militia, while the tank chewed up the flank. Suddenly the WSWC 3" mortor zeros in on the Farmhouse, and begin firing 'for effect'- the section in the farmhouse start taking a pounding. The BUF section fight on, but as the shells start getting more accurate they can do little but keep their heads down and exchange a few shots. The WSWC MMG team move up to support the advance,and suddenly things don't look so rosie for the BUF in the farm. 

The BUF patrol hunkered down in the broken ground decide enough is enough, fix bayonets and charge across the field towards the sniper. Miraculously the sniper, shocked by their sudden momentum, fails to hit them as they advance. 

Bayonets fixed!

The WSWC loose their momentum

The BUF extract bloody revenge on the snipers
 The mortar team continue to drop shells inside the farmhouse- turning the once safe haven into a bloody death-trap. The entire BUF section is destroyed. With that section gone, there is nothing stopping the WSWC militia from occupying the Farmhouse- and using its excellent sight lines to pour fire onto the MMG and Thompson command section. Thompson was killed outright when he tried to drive the WSWC section out of the farmhouse, and the MMG was destroyed by the militia unit in the farmhouse. 

Thompson tries to drive the Militia back out of the farmhouse

The BUF on the flank, having finished with the sniper, take up position in the workers cottages, and open fire on the militia in the woods from very close range, while the Vickers tank cuts down the mortar team and kills the WSWC Platoon Sargent. The 'tank hunter' unit is all but destroyed- only three remain,and they are pinned down, but despite this, Lunn manages to inspire them to attack, and they assault the tank, hurling molotovs into the engines- and destroying the tank!

The remaining BUF section in the worker's cottages, upon seeing their tank destroyed, decide discretion is the better part of valour, and withdraw, conceding the field. 

Commisioner Lunn might have driven the BUF off and lifted 'the siege', but at a terrible cost- most of his platoon were killed or seriously injured, including the majority of his more experience men- fighting had been fierce and bloody!

The Vickers tank flanks the WSWC attack and destroys the mortar team- one of the units that could threaten it. 

My VBCW inspired dice mug

Bolt action turned out to be a great rules set for VBCW, and it was very easy to adapt the game to suit the setting. Both Pulp Citizen and I  really enjoyed the game, and are looking forward to trying it with bigger forces very soon. 

Friday 7 February 2014

Subterranean Worm Monster Attacks New York!

"I don't know what happened! The ground started rumbling, and I though it was an earth quake, but then it got louder, like a subway train. I just looked at my buddy Max, and I was about to sey 'Hey, what the hell was that?' when the ground burst open and that giant purple maggot just out and swallowed Max whole! It's just a good job those superheroes turned up when they did or I would be worm food by now!"

An eye witness to the Worm attack in Central Park, NYC.

 Another Reaper Bones here- this one being the Purple Worm- I love this figure- its just fantastic. I intend to use it in my Four Colour Superhero campaign as some sort of subterranean burrowing icky monster, (perhaps enslaved by the Mole-men)but its also good in any sci-fi, post apoc or fantasy setting too- I could just as easily see it making it into a Lord of the Rings game, for example. I love versatile models

It's a big model- as you can see in the bottom picture- that  is with a 28mm Hasslefree figure! 

Tuesday 4 February 2014

French and Indian Wars: An Engagement at Yellow Tree Farm- A Battle Report

Pulp Citizen and I got our first game of Muskets and Tomahawks in this week- it was a (just over) 200 point game, and featured British army vs French Militia. 

For the British Lieutenant George Whittington-Smyth led 9 Regulars, 6 Light infantry and 6 Mohawk scouts.

For the French-Canadians Achille Bonhomme, a well known fur trader, led 7 Couriers de Bois, 8 Canadian militia and 5 Huron warriors.

The British Army scout out the farm for signs of enemy activity
We rolled randomly for the mission, and both got scout- basically we had to scout out all four quarters of the table top, then get back of the board the way we came in, with ant least 1/3 of our models. It was also a night-fight, meaning spotting ranges were drastically reduced. 

Achille Bonhomme lead his men through the dense forest, avoiding the open ground as much as possible, while Wittington-Smyth moved his regulars confidently through the farmland, while his Indians and light infantry covered his flanks. 

British Light Infantry searching the farm buildings
The Indians got stuck in first, with the Mohawks running  into  the Huron in the depths of the forest. A protracted fire fight broke out between the two native forces, which was fairly inconclusive for a long time, as both tribes are adapt at using the forests as cover. 

The Canadian Militia advancing towards the light infantry

Upon hearing the crackle of musket fire from the woods, Bonhomme's Canadian militia worked their way forward to scout the farm buildings, where they ran into the British Light Infantry, who drove them back with some accurate musket fire. 

Lieutenant George Whittington-Smyth ordered his Line Infantry to advance 

Meanwhile Bonhomme and his Couriers de Bois took up position amongst the rocks to the south of the farm to ambush Whittington-Smyth the British Regulars. The exchange took place at quite long range, and given that the Frenchies were hiding in the rocks, and that it was very dark, the British Line Infantry had a hard time hitting anything, while the French hunters whittled down the British Regulars. After a few rounds of inclusive musket fire the British Line advanced towards the Frenchies. For some inexplicable reason Whittington-Smyth did not advance with the rest of his infantry- something that was later to prove to be his undoing...

At shorter range the British musket fire proved more successful, and the British drove the Couriers de Bois out of the rocks. The Couriers de Bois rallied and retuned to the rocks, only to be driven back again by the Regulars- the Couriers de Bois just didn't have the fight in them that day. 

Bonhomme being a fleet footed little bugger, made it across the open ground to the farm building and completed his objectives of scouting the British forces- while Whittington-Smyths men did likewise. Now all both forces had to do was disengage and make it back to their lines without taking too many casualties. 

The Huron Scouts drive off their hated Mohawk enermies

At this point things took a turn for the unexpected, as the Huron managed to break the Mokawks will and they fled. Deciding that there was no point in staying in the fight with the mission complete the remaining Mohawks withdrew. The British Light Infantry fired off another volley at the Canadians, wiping them out,  before withdrawing in good order without loosing a man. 

The Britsih Regulars drive the Couriers de Bois out of teh rocks for a second time

Bonhomme and his Couriers de Bois began to fall back, determined to get the intelligence he had acquired back to the French Army. It was at this point that the Huron, excited by their victory over the hated Mohawks, spied Lieutenant Whittington-Smyth on his own. They raced to the tree-line and fired a volley of shot into the English officer, cutting him down. The Huron, whooping like gleeful children raced into the open and scalped the officer, much to Achille Bonhomme's horror.

The Light Infantry start the withdraw in good order. 

The shock of loosing their officer caused the remains of his Regulars to loose heart and they routed off the board in disarray. Nothing remained to stop both sides withdrawing. 
Both sides had achieved their objectives, but at a cost. The Canadian Militia was destroyed, and the British Line Infantry was broken and routed off the board. The death, and subsequent mutilation, of the caddish George Whittington-Smyth will certainly have repercussions. 

This being our first game we made a few mistakes which might have impacted on the game play- but I felt that in general it was a fun game, easy enough to learn, with an interesting initiative system. It certainly felt right for the period and style of warfare it is meant to portray.  I think a bigger game would be a lot more fun- but I will need to prepare better next time. I also need to make some hidden markers and some smoke markers too. Pulp Citizen remains unconvinced (being a 'historical wargaming' scheptic) but I think with a few more games he will come round- though I doubt I will catch him painting a Mohawk warband any time soon-mores the pity.

Sunday 2 February 2014

French and Indian Wars: The British Army

Introducing Lieutenant George Whittington-Smyth, An officer in the British army posted out to the Americas, to keep the unruly Indians in line and the sneaky French out of the King's lands. George is something of a cad, and a spy to boot: Unlike many of the other officer he doesn't object to skulking about gathering information on the enemy movements. The one thing he is not, however, is a coward. 

Whittington-Smyth with his men, and a few local  women attracted to his caddish charm and looks.