Saturday, 15 February 2020

Event Cards in Pike and Shotte.

 I know it appears like Ive been quiet on the wargames front but that isn't the case, well not really. John and I have played several games, all of which have been defeats for me albeit very close calls. A case of only if. But then if can be a very big word. Anyway I have been painting various figures and renovating old units. I had read a lovely article in an old Wargamers Digest about the history of the Cherokee Braves and decided I wanted the unit in my rebel army.  Company D figures produce the mounted and dismounted versions so I treated myself to them. This little company have excellent mail order and also added a couple of freebies, so whats not to like.
I understand the braves were one of the last units to surrender and had been an effective combatant unit and not just the usual irregular marauders.They even captured some Union artillery at the Battle of Shiloh. 
 So these are my version of the dismounted unit, they are armed with a right old mix of weapons but I like them.
 I was also able to locate an old painted ECW unit containing a number of Garrison figures, so naturally I had to have them and basically given them a bit of a touch up. They're not brilliantly painted but I like them.They are now carrying the Queens Lifeguard standards and will hopefully add to the glory of the regiment.

I used them in my latest battle of the civil war, except they were rated as raw for the game.We scatter the odd preacher amongst the units so I gave them a Catholic preacher to lend them some steel.Sadly he wasn't needed as they failed to act with any real enthusiasm. 
 I also utilized the event cards that Eric the Shed had created and tested them to see how they added to the game.Eric very kindly sent me a download so I was able to get a set printed up on card by a local print shop.They are lovely things with a nice image of the wars contained on them
 Each side had a large pack of various event cards and we dealt each side five.
 These could be played during the game to add a bit spice. Or so we thought.....
John and I used the Pike and Shotte rules which give a decent game with little need to task ones brain too much.Naturally I commanded the Royalists while John acting as Essex led the nasty rebels.
 Because the Royalists are pike heavy it pays not to hang around too much as the royalist shooting isnt very good. So I naturally decided to take the battle to the rebels who were tardy in their initial movements. Things seemed to be progressing well, my dragoons had succeeded in their task of seizing a field where they could annoy the rebel cavalry. My infantry in the centre were doing okay and on the left wing my infantry were causing John's larger cavalry brigade some discomfort with the musketry.

 And then as I ordered Rupert to lead the cavalry reserve across the river to tip the balance on my right everything suddenly imploded.The reserve consisted of the best cavalry on the field led by the best commander with a 9 rating. Simples really....
 First Rupert blundered. Then the subsequent throw caused the reserve to retire two moves causing chaos as the reserve split into smaller units leaving a couple of troops in the middle of the rive! The 'pile of ordure' says it all. This causes a minus one on the command throws until the next sucker rolls a blunder.
 The same move I rolled a double one for my main artillery battery which caused it to blow up.
 And as my timings went awry. John encouraged by the lack of firepower somehow managed to charge into the flank of my Kings Lifeguard led by Charles! and things were slowly unwinding to put it mildly.
Because Rupert had scattered his command, my right wing cavaly were in deep trouble. Well actually the whole lot collapsed in a welter of shaken markers as the rebel cavalry ploughed through them.

 Somehow my Lifeguard refused to collapse but was forced to retire led by a battered King who was stuck in the middle of the confused unit. It didnt matter because the remainder of the command became shook following a desperate charge by the Duke of Yorks regiment that succeeded in the melee but tipped them into a shaken status.

 And the cards. Well John used a 'sniper' card that failed to shoot my cavalry commander. My double volley card failed to hit anyone! John's similar card also hit no one! I did manage to use one card to disorder the charge of the Lobster's but my infantry didnt need that help and basically repulsed them easily.
 But I did enjoy using them and I can see them becoming a regular feature of Pike and Shotte games.
 So another close defeat but it really didnt matter because it was a really fun? game and sometimes losing is as good as a win.
 Just to prove it wasnt just me that blunders.A Parliamentarian commander ends up in the poo.

Monday, 3 February 2020

Vapnartak 2020

Well yesterday was the start of this years wargaming campaign season marked by a visit to Vapnartak staged at York Race course.
 Because I wanted to offload some of my wargaming ephemera we arrived early expecting to queue prior to a mad rush to book a bring and buy table. I was very pleasantly surprised that the organisers from York Wargames club had recognised the issue of the last few years and completely changed the set up for their table top sale.
 We were allowed in straightaway, that is 09.30 and sent via one of the lifts to the new location for the sale. The club have designated a whole floor to the tabletop sale, and after paying a £1.00 for half an hour I was allowed to set up ready for the 10.00 opening.
 The tables had plenty of room and there was ample space for punters, result.
 I found I sold a lot of stuff prior to the show actually being open, so even though I paid a princely £2.00 for an hour I stopped selling ten minutes before my allotted time.
 So well done York Wargames club for making their bring and buy a very pleasurable experience. Only one gripe and that was a box of lovely painted buildings I had sold prior to the opening were up for sale again with another wargamer at very, very inflated prices. Clearly I was too naive/ generous in selling them to someone I thought wanted to wargame with the buildings. My own daft fault I suppose.
 So how was the rest of the show?
 Busy, very busy, but strangely pleasant to walk around.
This is the first time I have never examined the demonstration games at a show, hence the paucity of photographs. Between doing some buying and a lot of time gabbing and setting the World to rights I didnt get to check out what the games were like.
I was impressed by the small participation games on the top floor which were very well set out and looked interesting. I didnt really circulate on the ground floor where I could see four large games which looked okay as I was too busy doing a deal with Tree Fellas for some hills and fields.
 I examined a few new traders selling their 3d wares which is going to become very common and hopefully cheap, they are very good in the main.
 Overall impressions were that the games were an afterthought which is a bit sad but to be honest I can see them disappearing in the next couple of years to make way for even more trade, because between the excellent tabletop sale set up, the popularity of competition and participation games and the large number of trade stands something will have to give.
 I can state I thoroughly enjoyed the show. Its probably because of the fact I found offloading my spare stuff very stress free, or it may have simply been the buzz around the show as wargamers emerged from their Winter hibernation.It was great to get the gossip from various wargamers I talked to although I wish the organisers would stop letting the Westerhope hoi-poloi into the show. Talk about lowering standards.
 On the retail front I picked up two lovely ACW painted regiments at a decent and fair price in the tabletop sale and somehow managed to buy even more brushes and paint.
 So thanks to York Wargames Society for making the start of the wargaming season a very pleasant experience.
 Only complaint, just the usual lack of soap use by some members of the fraternity.

Friday, 17 January 2020

Some SYW Hinchliffe goodies.

 I would love to take credit for these lovely painted figures but apart from the mounted officers they were obtained ready painted from Ian Hinds. However actually painted these Hinchliffe SYW Austrians truly deserves some credit because they are quality painted figures.
 I added a couple of Pete's Flags to the units and look forward to using them soon.

 Similarly I cannot claim credit for these beautiful SYW mounted dragons that are probably meant to be Saxon chevau legers. Well thats what I will be using them as. I particularly loved the use of pins to replace their swords a la Peter Gilder.

 I also purchased some badly painted Garrison SYW artillary which I repainted/ touched up to make several French battalion guns and one heavy piece. Its not that I really needed anymore guns but as I regress wargames wise I felt the need to have some Garrison figures in my armies. Its not the sum total of my painting efforts come the New Year but its the only finished figures to speak of.
I have been a bit busy with other matters but have managed to begin the re jigging of my wargames room with the intention of creating more space and less weight on the joists. I think it would probably be easier to simply start a diet.

Thursday, 9 January 2020


Just a heads up for any wargamers looking to brighten up a dark damp Sunday. I've attended the last couple of years and enjoyed a couple of hours browsing toys, terrain and such like while chatting to fellow gamers.
 This year  I think I'll take some stuff along to sell off. Its free so whats not to enjoy.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Independent Wargames Annual 2019.

Welcome to the Independent Wargames Annual for 2019. I initiated the Annual in an attempt to produce something that was more than just a review of what I did, where and when in whatever year I was posting about.
That said as the year 2019 closes and 2020 beckons one is naturally allowed to mull over the campaign year and record what stood out and what could be done to improve the pleasures of our wonderful hobby for me.
 The standout moment of 2019 had to be the weekend giant refight of the Battle of Waterloo in Glasgow, where wargamers from across the world met up at the university to take part in using 23,000 figures to raise cash and awareness for injured veteran soldiers.

 My command, part of the Young Garde that since the game have moved on to pastures new. The weekend was a wonderful example of how to run a very large wargaming event and also a perfect example of how to publicise the hobby to the unknowing public.

Anyway back to other matters;
Colin over on 'Carryings on up the Dale blog posted the article that originally appeared in Practical Wagamer way back in 1990 of John and my re enactment of the Battle of Blenheim in 6mm. It was a real trip down memory lane although sadly I could remember very little of the event.
 Luckily John who has religiously kept a dairy of his wargaming since the beginning was able to provide me with details of that fateful weekend at Hunwick Community Centre. It was quite an event for me made extra special by the great Charlie Wesencraft accepting a command.
 John was able to tell me the battle was staged on 24th September 1989! hence the '89' Beano annual picture and we used the excellent 200 Years wargames rules. They were and are still very good and if I remember correctly were easy to play.
  The battle was a very tight victory for the allies and needless to say my French command was virtually wiped out. So nothing changes really. I sold the actual armies last year which was a shame but needs must sometimes.Some of the original terrain boards were given away this year, surprisingly still in very good condition. Clearly I poured some real love into their construction. What struck me about the actual game was just how enthusiastic we were about the whole event and how driven John and I were to get every regiment on the battlefield only to discover a year later that we had painted the right number of units but included some units that hadnt fought at the battle. Important in 1989 but now, well at least we had the unit numbers correct and the game looked right.

I found a couple of old photographs from that eventful day, the first one of the great Charlie Wesencraft throwing the allied command over the stream towards the Bavarian command with John's 'young' son Neil watching. Young Neil who was tea boy that day now has large 40K armies so something must have stuck.
  The second photograph is of the same part of the table pre combat, we always liked to do things big, even in the 1980's.

 In the weeks on the run up to Christmas John and I fought several English Civil War battles in both 15mm and 25mm. The rules we used were Victory Without Quarter that John had downloaded from 'The Lily Banners' site. The rules have been around a few years but I had never played them. They gave a really tense series of battles with uncertainty and real friction. Whilst this is not a review of the best rules of the year, I must admit I have thoroughly enjoyed using them and considering they are free to download are definitely worthy of my recommendation of 2019 even though I have come late to the party.

Normally I dont keep a count of what figures Ive painted and based simply because its something I have never seen as needed. With retirement I can paint regularly and luckily I am still able to paint unhindered by illness or injury. So I just put my head down and crack on. I know that in 2019 because of the Waterloo game my ECW project was delayed by the painting of my Young Garde Command but it didnt really stop me from completing most of what I wanted for the ECW.
My deviation into SPQR again stopped me painting some additional ACW units I have ready but again they are just extra regiments I wanted to add, simply because I bought some 'interesting' new figures that had just been released last year.  Hopefully the next couple of months will allow me to add to both the ACW, ECW and SYW armies. [all those W's]

Another thing I try not to do is announce that I have several resolutions for the new year, especially because any good intent lasts only as long as I can remember them which is usually about a nano second. I have however determined that I will re jig my wargaming room and also sell all my 6mm Napoleonic armies. Given how Napoleonic's was always my first love this will be difficult but to be honest I have whole corps of figures that have never been used since they were painted some 10 years ago. As a sign of my intent I finally disposed of all my terrain boards [sorry Dave] which was a shame in some respects, but weight and space have become an issue. I know they have gone to good homes.
 So the logistical nightmare of shifting several thousand 6mm figures beckons, hopefully I will be able to carry this task through quickly.

 2019 did see make a concerted effort to locate and collect the remaining Wargamers Newsletters that I needed??? for my collection. Only last month I believed I was nearing completion only to discover that the magazine started two years earlier than I thought! So now the difficult task of locating the magazines for the years 1962 and 1963 lies before me, and given the poor printing quality that Donald Featherstone and Tony Bath were forced to use Im not holding out much hope.
 Not wanting to boast I was really pleased when I was able to obtain some War Game Digest's which were the precursor of the Newsletter and it is very noticeable the quality of the magazines production in comparison to the English Newsletter. Even then the US wargaming scene prided itself on quality magazine and book production, and yet the British articles seem more relevant to what I term modern wargaming and historical research.

Whilst attempting not to make this a true review I must mention he wargames shows I attended.John and I attended fewer than usual but this was more to do with circumstances outside of our control than personal choice.My favourite was the first Partizan of 2019 which had the balance between wargames historical and otherwise about right. A close second however was Battleground staged on Teeside which is a lovely show that is definitely going in the right direction.
Best wargaming product of 2019 for me was the Games Workshop range of Contrast 'paints? The company has once again produced the next generation of paint to make wargaming even more pleasurable.
Declaring the best figures of 2019 is clearly a subjective thing and I love most wargaming ranges, but thats simply because all toy soldiers have a charm of their own. My personal favourites were however the Victrix plastic ranges of ancients and the new Steel Fist landsknects. Not cheap but real works of art. But then of course I also rediscovered the old Mini Figs ranges for the ECW and once more fell for their charm. Wargaming is a tough hobby sometimes. 
One thing that I clearly failed at was increasing the numbers of wargaming followers of my blog. The Facebook experiment became a real nightmare and frankly a waste of effort. I appreciate that blogs are somehow passe but for me they provide a great way to swop ideas, viewpoints and knowledge. Something that other more instant platforms dont. But at least I tried and I learned a little more about the curse that is the internet. 
But to end on a more positive note, the hobby for me appears vibrant and full of potential.There are clearly some wonderful and very clever wargamers out there who simply get on with enjoying the hobby and continue to produce some great rules and wonderful figures. So a happy new year to one and all and dont put off until tomorrow what you can do today.   

Monday, 30 December 2019

The Eve of New Years Eve.

 Well its the eve of News Years Eve and its about now I post my Independent Wargames Annual. Hopefully this year will be no different except it might be after the start of 2020 when I get around to posting the whole thing. Christmas was a busy time again which isnt a bad thing although young excited grandchildren can exhaust you. Parenthood is definitely a young persons game so God knows how Ronnie Wood manages. It perhaps explains why he is touring again with the Stones.
 Anyway I have completed my little painting exercise to sharpen my painting appetite and can now say the Lord of the Rings Chess set is complete....I managed to fit in a few hours painting between various festivities. I did enjoy the exercise, so much so I hope to locate another set to paint, except this time I will probably complete and sell the set on, depending on how it goes.
 Im now ready to go on to a couple of small painting projects after I bought some old Garrison SYW artillery crews and guns which will become battalion guns for my French army.They are more decorative than effective, but it adds to my army.
 I also picked up quite a number of painted Hinchliffe SYW Austro Hungarian grenadiers which will complete a unit that was too small for my armies. The actual small unit of grenadiers were bought from Ian Hinds and are beautiful Old School figures painted to a great standard. I think Ill find it hard to match the black lines created by the original owner. They are very nice figures and I 'had'? to have them.
 I was also lucky enough to trace a number of Garrison ECW figures which will be re painted and drafted into my armies. Garrison produced some lovely sculpts, well in my eyes they did and Im looking forward to painting them. So that is my short term plan for January but as of yet I still haven't decided what to do next.

                                 I did also manage to complete my 'henge' for SPQR.
   I also squeezed in a couple of preachers to inspire a couple of ECW units, +1 to morale.
  In between visiting my family I finally completed another unit of Romans and some slingers for SPQR. These were put aside but look okay now they have their shields.
 So there you have it. Not a very productive period, but Christmas never is and neither should it be really. Anyway a Happy New Year to all and hopefully you will find something to interest you when I post my Annual for 2019.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.
Austria 1809.

Austrian Hussars

Austrian Hussars
Hinchliffe figures

Austrian Grenzer

Austrian Grenzer
Austrian Grenzer

Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2013
Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2012

Smoggycon 2012
Smoggycon 2012

Smoogycon 2009

Smoogycon 2009
My French getting another beating