Sunday 20 July 2014

Peninsular War: Drums and Shakos Battle Report

My son Charlie and I managed to get a game in last week. We played Songs of Drums and Shakos, a game from Ganesha Games. Based on the same mechanics as Songs of Blades and Heroes and Fist Full of Kung Fu. As you might have guessed Drums and Shakos is set in the Napoleonic wars and introduces rules for muskets, rifles, cannons etc. It has two advantages (as far as I am concerned) over Sharp Practice: you only need 10-20 figures a side, which makes it much easier to get a game together, and it is a really simple mechanic, which makes it great for Charlie to learn. In fact Charlie said that this, and Blades and Heroes, are his favourite games, even better that Lord of the Rings!

The game was based on a shore party from the HMS Endurance, attempting to find a well or spring where they can replenish their ships depleted water reserve (following an unfortunate accident involving a rat and a cabin boy). Lieutenant Ragley was in charge of the party, which consisted of 13 sailors.

Lt Ragley (Q4+ C2, Leader, Pistol, Sword)
Able Seaman Stumpy (Q4, C2, Sword)
4 Big Lads (Q4, C2, Strong, Sword, Pistol)
4 Salty Seamen (Q4, C2, Muskets and Swords)
4 Jack Tars (Q4, C2, Muskets)

Unfortunately for Lt Ragley and the crew of the HMS Endurance, the area of coast line they had landed on, was being paroled by Jean Bonnet, a lieutenant in a French imperial line infantry regiment. He was accompanied by 9 grenadiers and 2 fusiliers.

Lt Bonnet, (Q4 C2, Leader, Pistol, Sword)
Grenadier (Q4, C2, Strong, Muskets)
Fusiliers (Q4, C2 Muskets)

Lt bonnet lead his grenadiers to the orange grove, where they formed up a firing line, ready to repel the sailors. The grenadiers were all big, strong soldiers, and didn't think much of the sea rats they were to fight- they hardly compared to a red-jacket!

The Battle began with the crack of musketry as the grenadiers and the jack tars exchanged ineffectual fire at long range. The big lads, armed for boarding actions and close quarters battle took advantage of the French reloading to sprint forwards, vaulting over a rickety fence and closing to within range of their pistols. 

 The Salty Seamen moved up, fired a volley with their muskets, before drawing their cutlass's and charging in. The Grenadiers shot one of then as they advanced- killing him, and knocked down one of the Big Lads, but nothing was going to stop the cutlass armed sailors closing to melee.

The two fusiliers moved up one flank to snipe at the RN officer, but their fire wasn't terribly accurate, and all they succeeded in doing was driving him into cover. 

The encounter ended with a sprawling melee. The French grenadiers found the cutlass armed sailors to be quite a lot tougher in melee that they had expected, and gradually their numbers were whittled down until the sailors started to get the upper hand. Lt Bonnet was frantically running between his troops, barking out orders, when a lucky long range shot from one of the Jack Tars caught him under his knee and sent him down in the dust. His men, seeing him fall, broke and fled the battlefield, and the French officer was captured, and taken to the HMS Endurance, for the expert ministration of Mr Cutter, the ships surgeon. 

It was quite a coup for Lieutenant Ragley (RN). He lost only one sailor, but captured a French officer.  Who knows what intelligence the navy will be able to learn from the prisoner. As for Bonnet, well it is likely the Frenchman will spend the rest of the war as a prisoner-of-war, or else be ransomed back to the French in exchange for some British prisoners. 

As for the game, both Charlie and I thought that Songs of Drums and Shakos was a great system, full of fast pace action, and very easy to learn. The sizes of the forces involved were ideal for my mini table and for my collection. Personally I get bored if I have to paint 20-30 minis of the same type, but these sizes of engagements are ideal. 

Friday 11 July 2014

New Terrain Board

Here is a neat little gaming table I have been working on, principally for my peninsular war campaign, but it should also be useful for small games of Force on Force or wild west games (or in fact any game involving a dry dusty landscape).
The idea for this came form a tread on Lead Adventure Forum, and it is basically a decorating table (normally a long thin table used for applying wallpaper paste to wallpaper). This was £12.99 in B&Q. By removing the legs, then taking of the hinges and repositioning them on the sides, I was able to turn it from a long thin table into a roughly 4 foot by 3 foot table- ideal for small skirmish games. The hollow inside was then filled with foam card, cut to the contours of the land, then covered in sand. I had some problems with warping, especially on the biggest piece of foam card, but generally it went well. I painted it with an emulation paint that was similar in colour to the way I paint my desert bases. The river was painted with acrylics and then given a coat of clear gloss varnish. 
  I then used woodland scenic scatter to add a bit of colour to some of the areas, and GW grass tufts for add vegetation.
the whole thing is very light weight and conveniently folds up into a 3 foot by 2 foot case with a carrying handle!

I would consider this a success, and a cost effective way of making a small board. I intend to do the same for Across the Dead Earth and possible a pirate board too... at some point in the future. The use of foam card might have been cheep but blue foam might be better as it is less prone to warping (although it is more expensive).

Wednesday 9 July 2014

ECW: Club Men

And now for something completely different!

English Civil War is not really my bag...I have never really been that interested in it as a period for wargaming or reading about, but I understand that it has its followers. When I joined the Earlswood Wargaming group I found out that they do a fair amount of ECW, and that Keith, the club's treasurer has even wrote a set of rules he is due to publish in the autumn of this year. 
Despite assurances that I didn't need to paint any figures as between them the Earlswood group have more that enough, I thought I would show some commitment and paint something to plonk on the table. But which side? Not being a fan of the period I had no particular favourite: I admire the politics of the round heads, but am equally seduced by the floppy hair and style of the cavaliers. 
The answer was the Club Men, by Warlord Games. Club men are so called, not because they wield clubs (although some of them do) but rather because they are local militias formed from mutual protection clubs. They don't really care about the politics of the war- they just want the soldiers off their land. This had the advantage that I could use them on which ever side I was due to be fighting on...brilliant. The fact that they are really characterful and fun figures helped too. 
I don't imagine that I am going to be tempted to paint a huge army of ECW figures, but I quite enjoyed painting these. I am a bit tempted to paint some artillery as Keith says that are short of that...but apart from that I think my ECW project is now complete (as far as any wargaming project can be called complete).

Squire Toby Fitzgerald, local landed gentleman and sponsor of the club men

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Monday 7 July 2014

AtDE: Wrecked London Bus

Another bit of scenery for Across the Dead Earth- a London bus. This is a repainted die-cast I have had in my cupboard for a couple of years (I got it from the entertainer). It might be a tad under scale for 28mm, but I think it will work OK as a bit of scenery. I really enjoyed going overboard on the weathering and rust effects. 
The only other problem is that these sort of red buses are not really found in Birmingham ( or the Rag Market as it is known in AtDE) and I was really planning oln setting my games in and around Birmingham. However, saying that, the thing that makes AtDE stand out (for me at least) is that it is a post-apoc game set in Britain, and what could be more ironically British than a red bus?

Also kudos to Brummie for his outdoor photography techniques- it saved me having to get the scenery out of the attic. 

The inspiration for this piece came form several cool bits of post apoc art like this one...

Friday 4 July 2014

Fist Full of Kung Fu: Yakuza

I am sorry that I haven't posted much recently but I have been a bit under the weather. I am on the mend now and I wanted to kick off with these- Dixon Miniatures Yakuza gangsters I painted up principally to play Fist Full of Kung Fu, but I can see these bad guys getting a lot of use for many settings, such as hired thugs for the Jade Oni in Pulp City or battling suave British intelligence officers in SpyFi 7TV.

I bought these cheep in a bargain bucket at the Wolverhampton wargaming show...£6 for all 8! It would have been rude not to buy them. They are fairly simple 'old fashioned' sculpts compared to the new ones by North Star (the official ones for Fist Full of Kung Fu) but then again they are £17.50 for 7, so I got a bargain. Wargames Foundry makes some nice ones too, but they are £12 for 6, so I still got a good deal- but I do like their sumo wrestler body guard!

My Yakuza are a bit more colourful than the traditional black suited bad guy, but that's because sometimes I like to go a bit bright to jolly my mood up a bit. I think the will look smart with my Kiss Kiss Bang Bang figures, and if I do any more I will use some of the Foundry or North star guys and do those in the sharp suits, and use these Dixon ones as street level thugs.

Gang Boss (Oyabun)
Couple of bad guys

Serious bad guy who likes knives. A lot.

Who brings a sword to a gun fight? These Guys.