Saturday 30 December 2017

The IWG Christmas Annual 2017 Issue Two

                                                               ..... Introduction....

     Welcome to issue Two of the Independent Wargames Group Christmas Annual. I started this idea last New Year and feel its a good way to cast a look over the year's wargaming. There is only one full day left of 2017 and to be honest I will be glad to see the back of it in some respects and yet whilst there were a few personal issues I did manage to complete my ACW project with only a couple of  small units left to paint. 
   Normally I dont ever finish a project and invariably return to it and add something new. With the ACW project I feel there is no need to add to it. I have sufficient units to fight decent sized battles. Granted I dont have enough to refight Gettysburg but then not many wargamers do. Saying that I have a couple of ideas about tackling one of the big battles of the war and would like to carry through these ideas in the New Year.
 I thought it appropriate to finish 2017 with a newly painted unit of figures. I purchased these six heavy cavalryman from Dave Thomas, nearly two years ago when I was scratching through his spares boxes at Claymore. The horses are from my spares box. I think the figures may have been some of Chris Gilder's first attempts at sculpting. I particularly liked the sallet and details on the armour.
 One normally does a quick review of the year and then creates a list of wishes for the New Year that are never achieved. I wont be doing that because there would be no point.I will however attempt to keep the text up beat if possible.
 Last year I wanted to increase the wargamers who visit my three blogs. It seemed to me that wargamers were moving away from blogger and posting their information on alternative digital vehicles.In an effort to locate these itinerant wargamers I entered the world of Facebook reluctantly.In some respects it has paid off and my followers and casual viewers has increased by quite a number. Somehow I am not certain it was a good idea in other respects.
 Its very clear that 'friends' on Facebook is a very loose term and to quote Frederick the Great;
                                         ''The more I see of men. The better I like my dog.''

Unfortunately I have an annoying trait that if I feel something is wrong I will actually say so which is not a great idea if one wants to keep their sanity in this digital age where any attempt at reasoned comment is greeted with either hysteria or threats. Its almost like being back at work, except at least the person who was making the threats was able to be physically chastised. So I'm afraid any 'friends' I have inherited on Facebook will be de friended next year and I will instead concentrate on only wargaming sites in order to spread the word.

 Anyway on to more relevant issues. Wargames rules. In the main John and I re visited some old friends, ie Volley and Bayonet, Black Powder, and Hail Caesar and very enjoyable it was to especially rediscovering the simplicity of Volley and Bayonet which supplied us with some great games. We didn't completely regress and bought and used the excellent Picketts Charge by Dave Brown.We have mastered the nuances of these wonderful rules and can appreciate their play-ability. Dave Brown has done a cracking job of creating a set of rules that capture for me a period feel whilst being fun to play.Well recommended and definitely my wargames rules of the year.

Out of favour for me are Honours of War which I feel need some 'work' to make them more playable.For me, and this is a personal thing, I feel the artillery rules need a lot of work because they seem to dominate a battle well in excess of their historical abilities. I also find the constant rallying a distraction, although it does make one think about the state of your units. So Honour's is a 'nearly'  set of rules which is a shame.

Wargames Shows;....
I enjoy attending wargames shows and 2017 was no different except I missed my favourite show this year through unforseen circumstances. I understand York was extremely busy but that the games were not up to their usual standard. Hopefully I will be able to decide for myself next year.
 Salute 2017 was its usual expensive experience and didn't live up to its hype.Having sat down with a couple of the Warlords committee I fully appreciate their problems.They are victims of their own success and are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain the shows standards due to several reasons including a shortage of volunteers to help run the show.It is a massive undertaking and I don't envy them their stress.
 Unfortunately Salute tends to showcase all the current wargames trends which are for smaller skirmish type games, fantasy and sci fi. There have been arguments about whether wargaming actually includes fantasy and the like. Personally I am usually impressed by the beautifully sculpted figures and scenery but wouldnt want to game with them. Its a step too far.But it is very popular and hopefully will allow a crossover of some younger gamers.
  I dont enjoy the spectacle of rows of small games at a show. By small I mean a couple of dozen figures.Big is definitely beautiful and somehow the current trend for tabletop games just doesn't inspire me to take up a brush. They are probably fun but then so is Pictionary. 

I did attend Partizan, twice, Leeds, Gateshead and Battleground which are all medium to large events. Less shows than I intended to go to, but sometimes real life intrudes.
 I think my favourite was Partizan where there were some fine looking games to stand and drool over although I thought Leon who runs Battleground did a cracking job........

Ranges of Figures;...
Well Warlord finally released their plastic landsknects they obtained from Pro Gloria. I was very impressed with them especially the facial detail.Yes they are a little static, but it is a very practical pose. I look forward to the release of their plastic gendarmes sometime soon. Although I dont collect the scale, I was very impressed by Pendrakens ranges which are really well sculpted and great value for money. 
 I think 10mm are the 'new' 15mm phenomena that began in the mid 1980's.Perhaps if I was twenty years younger I would use this scale.
My favourite figures of 2017 are probably the 'new' French SYW by Black Hussar of Germany and the small ACW ranges from FG miniz from France. Both are beautiful sculpts at a reasonable price for 28mm.
 I have yet to see the figures created for Game of Thrones in the flesh, but the images make them look something to consider in the new year. That is, after I finally watch the whole series.

 The New Campaigning Year;.......
  Next year is already penciled in to be a busy year for me with various trips and other little projects including a volunteering job. I am determined to fight even more wargames although John and I have fought quite a number of encounters this year. All have been tense but fun affairs. What more can a wargamer ask for really. Dependent on my stretched finances I have a hankering to start a new project and return to an older one, but that's in the pipeline and may never be started, we will have to see.One thing is certain, my wargaming continues apace.

 I like to record what I see happening in the New Year as regards wargaming, if only to prove just what I dont know.
 Given the constant comments about certain of the wargaming magazines I can see at least one magazine disappearing. This would be sad for wargamers in general, but for me its just not value for money. As regards the next big thing. Certain manufacturers are again pushing The West and Pirates. Again.... And now we are enjoying the delights of a Zombie West! Somehow I dont think these will 'do the business' for them. Hopefully the whole Zombie trend will simply disappear.
 My moneys on the continued resurgence of Games Workshop who clearly have got their act together and will once more dominate things, so I fully expect some 'new' fantasy ranges that will be compatible with the GW new ranges. I wouldnt be surprised if Brettonian like ranges appear alongside other old GW favourites except with new names.
 But for me personally I think ACW and Napoleonics will feature strongly in the New Year with a similar showing from WW2 in all its forms.I expect an increased interest in the Pennisular War which is perfect for smaller historical games. Not exactly a groundbreaking prediction really, but probably a safe bet for figure producers. Anyway enjoy the New Year festivities and always roll high........ 
The two images are how I see wargaming at its best.Probably not very practical nowadays but what can be more inspiring than hundreds of painted toys marching across a nice terrain.For me this is what I want to see at a show, the bigger the better.

Wednesday 27 December 2017

So Christmas is over.

 Well Christmas is over and I now have time to update my blog.I managed to paint this small group between making meals and entertaining my grandchildren during the festivities. The group are from Black Hussar and have sat in my spares ox for nearly a year. I hope to put together a review of the year before New Year, again depending on festivities and alcohol poisoning. Anyway I hope everyone got what they wished for and if you didn't then clearly you have been naughty.

Friday 15 December 2017

Georgia Cavalry Brigade.

Well I finished the third Confederate cavalry regiment to complete their brigade.I was determined to complete these before Christmas arrived.
  I have found when I have what I consider an interesting figure to paint that I am very keen to crack on with it. These Perry cavalry were just such ones.I especially like the guy shooting backwards and the one with the shotgun. Very Rebel like. I also decided to have a go at painting a pinto horse. Usually I stick to chestnuts, grays and the like.

Anyway I ended up painting two pinto horses and I found it pain free. I have been using the excellent P3 burnt umber as a undercoat for my brown horses and then highlight them with various reds or oranges before slapping my trusty GW wash over them and then highlighting the horse again.

So here is the finished brigade ready to take on their effete Union counterparts, hopefully. I just! need to buy a few more dismounts and horse holders to allow their deployment as per Picketts Charge rules, but that will be a small New Year project. Anyway back to my Steel Fist gendarmes and some SYW Saxons before Santa arrives..

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Over the Hills to Germany.

Well John and I finally fought the SYW battle that has been ready for a week. Due to unforeseen circumstances we couldnt get in last week's game. Anyway I commanded in the loosest sense of the word my French and Saxons against the Western allies of Brunswick and Hesse commanded by John.
In order to spice things up? I gave John a brigade of Grenadiers with the ability to rally from disorder on a throw of five. To offset that I allowed the French an extra light cavalry regiment and an extra half regiment of light troops. We also placed four objective markers on the table which contained various victory points but neither of us knew exactly what they were.
I seem to constantly write about my poor dice throws but to be honest they usually balance out through a game. This battle was no different except my command throws were so bad at the start of battle that I was unable to recover from John's ability to position his troops and await my advance.
I was unable to move my brigades for three! moves failing virtually all my command throws even though the commanders were mainly an 8 which is usually pretty good. So the Franco/Saxon advance was erratic to say the least. Move three was especially galling as a threw a double six blunder and watched as my Grenadiers of France and their supports head towards the river and away from where I wanted them.

                                             How not to command one's best troops!

                               My Saxons in a tactical muddle. Meanwhile the Hessians wait.

John decided to keep all his cavalry off table which had me attempting to second guess what he was up to. On my right I managed to throw forward the Polish/Saxon lancers unsupported and watched as they were shot away by John's light troops.The left initially was no better as the Arqubussiers de Grassin simply refused to budge and allowed my poor Saxons get shot up by artillery.

I finally looked like I was making progress as John failed to get his cavalry on the table through poor dice throws and I was able to thrust my centre brigade between his troops.It all looked good for the French after several setbacks.
My attack was then able to wheel left and right to engage John's off balance troops.So far so good.

The beauty of Blackpowder is the 'follow me rule' which can sometimes turn a desperate situation into a winning position. John had managed to get his cavalry on to the table but out of position on his left, meanwhile I had split his centre and just needed to push more troops into the gap. Enter the Duke of Brunswick, the allied commander, who had to take command of his cavalry after their brigadier failed his command throw. Brunswick didnt fail and led a 'follow me' onto my flank.So cuirassiers against French line who couldnt even fire at them.

 Dont be deceived by the 'steady' looking Saxon line. The far right unit was already shaken and the Von Rochow were on the brink.
One 'lucky' volley later and this was the result as both units failed their respective morale tests.
I had managed to get my third Saxon regiment to charge the Brunswickers on the hill, but only by using my brigadier. They still failed to decisively beat them and with the collapse of the brigades morale they were forced to retire.

 With my centre now pushed back and in a confused state, John managed to reorganise all his cavalry ready for the onslaught.
The hessians were by now firmly entrenched in the villages and had occupied the houses filling them with grenadiers.

 So with my left virtually gone, my centre reduced to a 'shaken' state and my right refusing to move forward even though they had forced a brigade of Hessians back, all I had left were my two cavalry brigades to cover the retreat of my shattered infantry. A conclusive victory for the Duke of Brunswick.
Blackpowder as I have described before is very much like Marmite. John and I have tweaked things a little but in essence use the rules as they are. They provide a fun game which sometimes gives a historical feel and at other times a frustrating affair. Yes I failed my key command throws which can be annoying, but to be honest it does make for an exciting game. This was an average size game for us, but contained a decent amount of units, but the game wasnt bogged down and moved along at speed. So a result was easily achieved. The moral of the story is, dont expect my French act in a decisive manner especially if I am in command.

Monday 11 December 2017

New post on my Renaissance Blog.

 Just the heads up really to say I have posted on my other blog, Wargaming the Borgias regarding my latest pike unit. This time for the French of Francis 1st..

Wednesday 6 December 2017

New to Battle.

 I've been busy setting up my next wargame. John and I attempt to fight once a week and this week is my turn. So for a change I have decided to use my Western theatre Seven Years War figures ie my Hesse and Brunswick troops.I have kept my Hanoverians off table. Opposing them I have put out a mixed force of French and Saxons.
As I set them up I realised that a lot of the units had never been actually used in a game.The allies [ Hesse etc] were collected, rebased and touched up approximately six years ago but through various circumstances I wont go into, they have sat in boxes unused and unloved.
 Some of the Saxons have only been used once, but my polish light cavalry have never been on a table. Nothing to be proud of really. For some reason the photographs may not be of the best quality.
 The Brunswick contingent are made up of Hinchliffe figures with a small number of Garrison fusiliers. Gilder only ever made a small range of SYW sculpts but they are still lovely figures in my eyes.

 Talking of Hinchliffe. I had a few spare painted odds and sods, so I bought a few extra models to make up a unit of Union.Although the additional casts are small and quite thin, I must admit I enjoyed painting them. Again Gilder sculpted some nice figures that are full of life.They are now a Californian regiment of volunteers.

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