Saturday, June 30, 2012

Canyon Try-out

Jamie, George and I tried out our scenario for next Friday's Song of Blades and Heroes game today.  As a play-test it was really useful giving us and idea of how the game will play and what changes we need to make to improve it.

The scenario involves two groups of explorers (led respectively by the British Professor Threatener and the American Idaho James) trying to escape from the Lost Canyon of Oaxaca.  The pic below shows the canyon from its entrance where the riverboat Susanna Salcita (Saucy Sue) awaits.

The boat was guarded by Don Luis Habanero and his men.  They had built a makeshift fort from stores and brushwood to protect the landing area.  I need to build a gang-plank before Friday.

We used a card system to determine who moved when and what extra events occurred.  The Wild Thing! card would lead to animals arriving.  Idaho James's Chinese servant Wang was mauled by a tiger (a tiger in Mexico?).  Here we see the Countess Ilse Viktor rushing to his aid.

James, meanwhile, had got lost in the bush (another Wild Thing! result) where he was set upon by a Troglodyte chieftain.

Meanwhile, over the other side of the canyon, Professor Threatener had encountered a small, herbivorous dinosaur!

Back at the other end of the canyon, the Mexicans came under attack from a horde of troglodytes.  They briefly broke through the barricade but fled when one of their number was gruesomely killed in the melee.

One of the Mexicans heads off heroically to rescue
the Professor's daughter from quicksand.
"Deadeye" Idaho James takes out a Stegosaurus with a pistol shot to the head.
After three hours it was apparent that the explorers weren't going to make it.  We'll use a smaller table on the day and add some more Leader units to the troglodyte forces.  Overall I'm happy with how it went.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

28mm Riverboat

I'm running a lost world adventure game (using Song of Blades and Heroes rules) for the kids at Millie's school shortly.  The scenario I had in mind called for a 28mm scale Mexican river steamer so I decided to have a go at enhancing a model boat that Jamie had made as a woodwork project in year 7.

So I've scored planking on the decks, added a lid to the over-scale funnel to turn it into a boiler, and added a new funnel, a roof for the bridge, windows and a couple hatches, and a tube mounting for a flag.

With future use in mind, the flag can be replaced.  Here's the riverboat in Latvian guise; handy if I ever have a go at Latvijas Brivibas Ciņa in 28mm.

Royal HOTT Report

Game number one at Saturday's tournament saw me take on Jamie.  I was using my Saunders V Colonists (3x Shooters, 2x Warbands, a Rider and 3x Dragons) and Jamie was using his new Barbarians (3x Shooters, 3x Warbands, a Dragon, A Hero and a Paladin).

Jamie's dragon arrived quite early on and proceeded to have a prolonged fight with my starport runabout (Rider).  Several times the Rider was recoiled but I kept moving it up to just in front of the  Dragon so Jamie had to spend 3PIPs (it was out of range of the General) to move it back into combat.  Eventually the Dragon destroyed the truck but then I got a Shooter into range and managed a lucky roll to see off the Dragon.

Meanwhile, I was wondering how to cope without my Dragons - I just couldn't seem to roll at six.  Whilst I waited I managed to get my Shooter General isolated in some Bag Going in front of my line.  Fortunately, and despite my advice to the contrary, Jamie sent his warrior spirit Paladin in to get me.  He lost and died.

The Grav tank Dragons arrive on the last game turn we played as I just managed to kill two 2AP elements and take the game 12-2.

My next game was against Pete Duckworth with his Bayeux Tapestry Norman army.

I the grav tanks arrived reasonably early but I then started to run out of PIPs and Pete nibbled my army to death mainly thanks to the personal intervention of William the Bastard and the "Hairy Star".  I managed to kill Odo of Bayeux but went down 12-4.

We broke for lunch and as usual Dave's pies went down well.  Steak and Kidney and a pint of Yorkshire Farmer for me thanks.

Now the Royal wouldn't be the same without Gus and I meeting, and usually drawing.  I didn't get any pics of our hard fought match but here's shot of Gus's luminous Lizardmen taking on the Border Reivers.

This time my Dragons didn't turn up at all so I pleased to scrape a draw, losing just 4AP.

My last game was against Tony Green with his Sharpe's Eagle army.  This battle started off with a cock-up on my part.  I watched Teresa Moreno approaching my starport runabout convinced that she was a Sneaker and that I'd be able to to move through here when she drew near.  She then charged into contact and Tony pointed out that he had described her as a Hero.  In my defence, I'd been thinking about a Sharpe army myself of late and had already tagged her as a Sneaker if I did use her.  Anyway, she destroyed the Rider and I thought things looked bad.

I needn't have worried though.  I rolled a six and the Dragon/grav tanks arrived.  I then proceeded to roll a series of fives and sixes in combat that allowed me to chew through Tony's forces in very short order.  Tony's a much stronger player than me but a run of luck like that is unbeatable.  Sorry, Tony.  12-6 win to the colonists.

The prizes, then, went to Pete Duckworth (Lando's Starport Bar for first place), John Saunders (a sci-fi fuel station for second place) and Andy Sangar (a large bar of chocolate for propping up the table).

Sunday, June 24, 2012

HOTT Royal Tournament Results

Thanks to a gathering of very friendly and sporting HOTT players, Saturday was a really enjoyable day in Dungworth.  The results of the 2012 Hordes of the Things Royal Tournament were as follows:

NOTE: Edited results below; I originally got John's scoring wrong.
  • 1st place Pete Duckworth, 12 points, 46 enemy AP killed, two generals killed
  • 2nd, John Saunders, 7, 45, none
  • 3rd, Richard Crawley, 7, 30, none
  • 4th, Tony Green, 6, 27, one
  • 5th, Gus Woodward, 5, 21, one
  • 6th, Richard Sangar, 4, 17, one
  • 7th, Jamie Crawley, 3, 26, one
  • 8th, Andy Sangar, 1, 24, none

Tony (l) and Andy (r) consider their moves. Pete (background) reaches for sustenance.
Click to embiggen.
Pete was a clear winner, though he would have been run closer if I hadn’t beaten Tony in the last game with a run of the most outrageous die rolling I’ve ever seen.  Sorry, Tony.
The Swiss chess matching system (I’m getting quite good at running this using a system using recycled business cards rather than a sophisticated computer system).  Looking at my records I note that our winner met opponents who eventually finished in the next four places in the table.  Our eighth place player, meanwhile, played 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th but somehow managed to avoid 7th.
The armies used were:
Andy - The Army of Cornetto - Semi-historical Renaissance Italian
Jamie - Barbarians
Richard S - Border Reivers
John - Elizabethan English
Gus - Lizardmen
Tony - Sharpe’s Eagle - literary Napoleonic British
Richard C - The Saunders V Colonists - sci-fi 
Pete - Bayeux Tapestry Normans

Battle reports and pics to follow.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Busy, busy

So we're off to what is without doubt our closest wargames tournament today.  Jamie and I could walk there and back if we had to, though I'd take less terrain if we did.  It looks like this year's HOTT Royal Tournament is going to feature about eight players, which is a nice amount for the size of the venue.

And then this coming Friday I've allowed myself to be volunteered to run a game for the kids at the school's Summer barbecue.  Song of Blades and Heroes worked well last time so I think we'll do that again.  Jamie and George have volunteered to help.

And then a weekend later it's Gauntlet with a 20mm Vietnam game from Will and Pete on the Saturday and a 6mm Cold War Commander in Finland game from me on the Sunday.   Oh and I want to get stuff sorted out and painted for the Bring and Buy.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Grav Tanks vs Mounted Knights

With the Hordes of the Things Royal Tournament on this coming weekend, it seemed a good idea to get in some practice with our HOTT armies.  Andy and Richard Sangar came over last night and, with Jamie and I, played four games using our armies for the weekend.

I used my Saunders V Colonists (Three Shooters, two Warband, a Rider and three Dragons).   In both games the Dragons arrived early enough to win the battle albeit I nearly lost my Stronghold to Richard's Reivers.
Andy's Border Reivers, having 6:1'd my Vargr warband, close in on my Stronghold.
The games saw a first outing for Jamie's new (uncompleted) Barbarians (Hero General, Paladin, three Shooters, three Warband, one Dragon).  Richard used my Border Reviers and Andy borrowed Jamie's Army of Cornetto.  
Richard's Army of Cornetto renaissance Italians clash with Jamie's new Barbarians.

My Grav Tanks (Dragons) arrive against the Cornetto lads...

... and rip through the enemy.
In the background Jamie's ghostly Paladin takes on some Reiver Beasts, whilst on the  right the two Generals clash.  Jamie would win, push back the enemy Rider General which would pass through the friendly Sneaker and die when it hit the enemy Shooter beyond it.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

New Citadel Paints

I had a day off on Wednesday for what turned out to be a five minute appointment at Liverpool Crown Court to swear an oath in connections with the probate on my Dad's will.  I then had a couple of hours to kill before meeting a colleague for lunch so I popped in to the Liverpool branch of Games Workshop  to have a look at their new paint range.

The new system assigns paints into bases, layers, shades, dries, glazes, and textures.  There's no laid down links between colours in the various categories, though, so you don't get the explicit three-colour shade/colour/highlight family we're familiar with from Foundry paints.

After a pleasant chat with Rob the manager I decided to try a selection of colours that would work together.  Reds are traditionally hard to get right so I came away with Screamer Pink (a crimson-ish base colour), Wazdakka Red (a scarlet layer colour), Changeling Pink (a pale pink drybrush colour) and Bloodletter (an orange glaze).

I'm not sure the base and layer colours are different in texture. Possibly the pigment may be a little denser in the base paint but as I'm mostly working with them slightly diluted there's nothing to choose between them.

The drybrush colour is very different.  The Changeling Pink is powdery and thick.  Invert the pot and it doesn't move.  So far I've only used in very small amounts highlighting the edges of this Pantangian Pirate's coat, a purpose for which it isn't particularly well-suited.  I suspect a large red dragon or similar would be a better subject.

Finally, there's the glaze.  This is the most impressive find as far as I'm concerned.  It's very watery but a little goes a long way, giving a warm orange glow to the pirate's skin as well as tying together the various reds on his coat.  The glaze flows very well so I suspect there's some kind of detergent in there to lower its surface tension.

I painted the Pantangian over two sessions Thursday evening and Saturday morning.  As is so often the case I'm happier with him in the flesh than in the photos.

I don't think these paints are a game-changer but I'm certainly tempted to experiment with more of the glazes.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Money out, money in

The hard drive of my iMac has been filling up steadily and this morning it finally started announcing that it would no longer co-operate until I removed some of the crap filling it up.  So before lunch I headed off to PC World and bought myself a new external hard drive (a 2 Terabyte Seagate GoFlex as it happens) for ninety quid.

After lunch, however, a bunch of my eBay sales reached their climax and I was able to recoup more than half the cost of the drive.  It seems there is some value in old Traveller supplements after all.  The Darrians book cleared £12 and Grand Census made over thirteen!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Ilmavoimat - part 1

Saturday afternoon has seen the house empty but for me and I've got some painting done whilst listening to Test Match Special.

Here's a MiG-21 for my new Finnish battlegroup.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Speed Painted Indians

What it says on the tin.  Speed painted 20mm Eighth Army Indian troops from Friend and Foe minis.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

200th Post!

When I started this blog I didn't know if I'd keep it up.  It was a way to keep track of my wargames progress but I suspected I'd lose interest.  To get to 200 is quite pleasing.

By way of celebration, let's have an extra-large random photograph. This is an element from a Hordes of the Things Pirate army I photographed at Berkeley.  I think it was by Dave Thomas.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

On the workbench - a real mixture

A shot of my current workbench shows the typical wargamer's butterfly syndrome.

I've been working on my 6mm scale modern Swedish force for a week or so so of course my brain has decided to take me off into other directions.  Those 6mm figures are Irregular Miniatures Ottoman Turks.  In 20mm scale we have a mixture of 95th Rifles (Revell plastics) and WW2 Indians from Shellhole Scenics.

Recently finished is this unit of Ottoman Turk skirmishers.  They're based up with Black Powder in mind.

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Small-scale Project

The first battalion of my 1990s Swedish armoured brigade is nearing completion and will need testing soon but to compete it I'll need a Model 4140 105mm howitzer.

Actually, I'll need three - one for each of the brigade's three battalions.  Having consulted on the Cold War Commander forum with the ever-knowledgeable Mark Bevis, I've decided that I need to acquire three each of the Soviet D-30 122mm howitzer (for gun barrel and wheels) and the German FlaK 18 for the cruciform ground mount.