Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Battle (near) Barbarian Town

It's become a firm New Year's holiday tradition to play a wargame during the week between Christmas and the New Year holiday. This year it was a big Gloranthan Hordes of the Things game.

The following pic shows the battlefield on the edge of the Storm Hills in Prax. The thin line stretching across the board is the dry bed of the Sounder's River. On the left are the combined Heortling, Sun Dome Templar and Beast Valley forces. On the right are the Praxian Nomads and their Chaotic allies-of-convenience.

Matt Zunder (left) commanded the Heortlings whilst his dad Tom took the role of Muriah, Witch Queen of the Broos.

It took a while but eventually Tom managed to summon Cacodemon (a God in Hordes terms). Here he comes!

Gus wonders what to do about a pair of wondering Sylphs threatening the left flank of his Praxians.

Soon after the arrival of Cacodemon, the Praxian Fire Spirit Oakfed arrived. So that's two Gods for the defenders to face! To the right we can see Argrath White Bull (Magician) and a giant spirit Rhino (Behemoth).

Andy Sangar looks concerned as Cacodemon threatens the allies' left flank.

No need to worry though - Matt's Heortling chieftain (now known as Nietzsche) manages to kill Cacodemon by surrounding the God and getting a lucky die roll.

In the centre the Sun Dome Militia repeatedly win combats they should lose. Eventually, Andy's Minotaur Hero and my Sun Dome Templars (Spears) kill enough Morocanth to see off the Praxians. Oakfed had lasted a couple of turns before Gus rolled a 1 and he decided to bugger off!

In all, an enjoyable if a bit one-sided battle. The defenders had three contingents and hence three lots of PIPs. The attackers had two, larger contingents which should have had greater staying power but I suspect the relative lack of PIPs was too much of a disadvantage - that and their inability to roll well in combat!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Don't Try This In Winter

It's Christmas Eve and the village is deep in snow so of course my thoughts turn to... outdoor wargaming! Actually, no, these are old pictures I found whilst idly scrolling through iPhoto.

In May 2004, Gus Woodward and I were visiting our friend Andy Sangar when we noticed the paving slabs in his garden were just the right size for a Hordes of the Things Game. Naturally we just happened to have a toolbox full of figures with us!

The armies are Gus's - 6mm models from the Irregular Miniatures fantasy range. Here we see the Goblins (foreground) and the Dwarves drawn up in battle array.

On full-sized bases for 15mm figures the large numbers of 6mm figures look impressive. These are Goblin Warband.

Here my flanking force, a large (if suspiciously rectilinear) pack of wolves sets off to encircle the Dwarves.

Here is the Dwarf main battleline - Shooters in the front ranks backed up by Blades.

Two Dwarf Hero elements. The one on the left (as we look) is the Dwarf General held aloft on his shield.

I can't recall the exact result but here's the final shot I have. Clearly the Dwarf left has collapsed whilst the Dwarf Heroes have made mincemeat of the Warbands that faced them.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

...And More Ducks

The Ducks are pretty much finished. I've based them as a Shooter element for Hordes of the Things.
The base was still wet when the photos were taken and it's yet to have its dry-brushing and foliage added but otherwise I think they'll do. They will be seeing action a week on Wednesday as part of the Beast Valley contingent in my mid-Winter-festival-of-your-choice game this year.

Big CWC game progress report

Hi! I thought it would be useful to put together a summary of progress towards putting on a big Cold War Commander game in Sheffield in the Spring of 2011.


Over a dozen people have now expressed an interest to some level or other. It would be helpful if they could all join the Yahoogroup as this is likely to be the main means of communication at least for now.


I’m of the view that this isn’t a problem. There’s at least one potential player who could probably provide all the forces we need from his own resources. Now, I’m sure some players, like me, would want to use this game as an excuse to recruit a shiny new force of Danish reservists or whatever and I’m sure this can be done in the time available as soon as we have a scenario planned.


Ian Shaw has done some excellent working on putting together period-specific CWC-based organisations for the Northern Front (Scandinavia and Finland) and for Northern Army Group (NORTHAG) on the Central Front. These are in the Files area of the ColdWarCommander yahoogroup. Given the levels of attrition during an intense round of combat operations you don’t have to follow these exactly but they are a good starting point.


I’ve heard no dissenting voices to the idea that we base the setting of our game on Hackett’s books. I’m assuming then that we are all happy with the August 1986 time frame and Hackett’s broad narrative thrust.

We have had a suggestion that we should game the operations on the Northern Front. My guess is that this would produce some interesting games that are a bit different to the usual Central Front armoured clashes. My only concern would be that if we go with this setting we might bring back in the question of whether we have enough available models.

I’ve tried to accommodate both this suggestion and the Central Front setting in the six scenario settings I outlined at the Land of Counterpane. I’ll copy these into the yahoogroup Files area. So far, we’ve had only one potential player express a preference. If you think adopting a broad scenario now is the way forward, please have a look at these options and let me know which you’d prefer.

If,on the other hand, you’d prefer some other approach, let us know. We need a range of options before we can choose one!


Construction of the hall is underway and continuing despite the bad weather. I’ve spoken to the Headmaster (the building will double as Village Hall and school hall for the local primary school) and flagged up that we’ll want to book the hall for a weekend as soon as the arrangements are in place to do so.

So thanks all who have expressed an interest. Now let’s make some progress on deciding what we’re going to do, eh?


Thursday, December 16, 2010

On the workbench - Ducks and More

The Green Stuff is now sculpted and the Ducks are undercoated in black, drybrushed in white to bring out the details and mounted on bottle tops for painting.

I’ve also been working on some Morocanth. My rule with these is that the army should contain no more than one unmodified example of each casting. As I need about twenty figures and only five or six different Morocanth figures have been produced, that means a lot of conversion work.

These two are by Games Workshop. Their heads have been swapped and are in the process of being repositioned. Much gap-filling Green Stuff will be required.

The final figure this time around. His arms have been slightly repositioned, his club removed and his right hand drilled out to accept a wire spear.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

On the Workbench - Ducks!

I'm running a big Hordes of the Things game over the mid-Winter holiday period and I always like to add a new unit if I can for these games. I've dug some old Tabletop Miniatures (previously Dragonclaw) Duck archers to see what I can do with them.

Ducks shouldn't, in my view, be uniform so I'm converting each of them to some extent. The figure on the left has had his helmet plume removed and his arm repositioned to look like he's reaching for an arrow.

The middle figure is in pretty much the original pose (complete with distinctively raised finger). Again I've removed his plume. The final figure (right) has had most work dome to him. His head has been turned through 180 degrees and he's gained a second raised finger from brass wire so he can show his opinion of his Lunar enemies. Next step will be to add green stuff to sculpt in the fingers and clean up the neck join.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How many games have I played?

I started my Saturday Afternoon Wargames (penultimate Saturday of each month at Stately Crawley Manor) because I realised I was spending a lot of time on preparation for wargames (modelling and painting) and relatively little on actually playing.

Of late, this train of thought has taken a branch line: which rules do I actually play and which are really just useless padding? I thought I’d try and work out how many games I’ve played over the thirty-something years I’ve been messing about with toy soldiers. After much cogitation (and a little creative blank-filling for some of the older stuff) I came up with this list:

Hordes of the Things, played over 130 games

Arc of Fire, played 20

Tac: WW2, 12

Cold War Commander, 8

Rapid Fire!, 7

Flight Leader, 6

Squad Leader, 6

Challenger, 6

Firefly, 5

My own Wars of the Roses skirmish rules, 5

Air Force/Dauntless, 4

Sixth Fleet et al., 4

DBA, 4

The Fire and the Rose, 4

Air War, 3

WRG 1950-85, 3

Airfix Guide WW2, 3

WRG Ancients, 3

Spearhead, 2

Square Bashing, 2

The Sword and The Flame, 2

Corps Commander, 2

Hell in Microcosm, 2

Dirtside II, 2

Disposable Heroes, 2

Hell By Daylight, 2

Future War Commander, 2

Shock of Impact, 1

Striker, 1

Megablitz, 1

Ancient Principles of War, 1

19th Century Principles of War, 1

Polemos GNW, 1

Volley & Bayonet, 1

Warhammer, 1

Bayonet Point, 1

Fox Two, 1

Dragon Pass, 1

Fistful of TOWs, 1

WRG 1685-1845, 1

General Quarters, 1

Plus various one-offs with a fine selection of home-made rules. I’ve probably missed a few - I vaguely recall some computer-moderated Napoleonic naval rules and a mid 19th century set that used cardboard counters instead of figures.

The first thing that strikes me is how few games I’ve actually played a large number of times. It looks like just over half of all the wargames I’ve played have been Hordes of the Things!

I say “played” but I should add that a lot of the time my wargaming takes the form of setting up and refereeing games. If you were to restrict me to games I’ve actually played in, HOTT would probably be closer to 90%.

The next thing that this exercise has flagged up is the “acquired but never played list”:

WRG Renaissance

Renaissance Principles of War

DBR (sensing theme here?)


Hell and Uncivil Disorder

Hell and Fateful Decisions


Mr Lincoln’s War

AK47 Republic

Les Gens Braves

Tactical Commander

Six Gun Sound




They Died For Glory

Perfidious Albion

Blitzkrieg Commander

Chaingun, and finally...

... the almost unplayable WRG 1950-2000.

It’s scary how much work I’ve put into some of these games in the past!

Finally, some good news is the high position for Cold War Commander. It’s only relatively recently that I started playing this game but it’s already in the top four. It seems the Saturday Afternoon Wargames are having an impact!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Potential Scenarios from The Third World War

I'm planning a big Cold War Commander game next year and we need to decide which scenario to play. So far I've found the following possibles in Hackett's The Third World War and its sequel The Untold Story.

OPTION A - 4th August, 1985

One Division of 2GTA, supported by two Polish divs (one tank, one MR) pushes toward Kiel Canal. Polish 6th Airborne and East German Willi Sanger diversionary unit in support.

Interesting mix of units, possible major terrain item (the canal).

OPTION B - 5th August, 1985

I (Be) Corps pushed back west of Kassel. Soviet attacks open a salient between I (Be) Corps and III (Ge) Corps on the NORTHAG-CENTAG boundary. Soviet thrust develops towards Giessen. V (US) Corps counterattacks into the flank of the Soviet salient between Alsfeld and Schluchtern.

Good mix of nationalities (no Brits though)

OPTION C - 10th August, 1985

After days of heavy bombardment Soviet amphibious forces land at Bodö. A Norwegian bde and a British RM Commando move the oppose the landings.

Could be spectacular, no heavy weapons on either side

OPTION D - 12th August, 1985

SOUTHAG, now consisting of II (Fr) Corps, II (Ge) Corps and a couple of brigades of Austrian troops, under heavy pressure along the Lech. (TTWW p169)

Interesting mix of forces, possibly interesting river crossing scenario

OPTION E - 14th August, 1985

0400, Soviet 7th Guards Army launches attack on Venlo position (no chemical weapons used). Bn strength airborne attack on rear areas at Roermonde and Neuss. The MRRs lead the attack. An additional attack by Soviet MRD west of the Maas, southwards towards Roermonde is held off by a US bde with two Dutch regiments under command.

Crucial battle of the campaign, good mix of forces,

OPTION F - 14th August, 1985

Battle of the Lippe - Soviet forces attack southwards across the Lippe down the east bank of the Rhein. They are opposed by regular and Heimatschutzkommando West German forces plus a Dutch bde and elements of II (Br) Corps. Flooding, minefields and close air support help to slow the Soviet advance. (TTWW pp235-238)

Another part of the crucial battle, interesting terrain.

OPTION G - 14th August, 1985

This option combines Options E and F into a single, huge game. This may need to be “bath-tubbed” (using, say, battalion-sized forces to represent brigades) in order to fit everything in.

Big, epic in scope, too big?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Grav Tank

This 1/300th scale model has been sitting unpainted in a drawer for about fifteen years.

No idea who the manufacturer was. Now that I've bought Future War Commander I'm looking to recruit some suitable toys. I picked up some plastic Games Workshop Epic space marines today and ill be basing them shortly.

The model is based on my standard artist's mounting board textured with sand. It's raised above the base by being glued to a 1/76th scale Panzer III wheel.