Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Got'em By God!!

Finally ,after a bit of a panic anda phone call to the local post office depot the new Drabant 28mm releases have arrived. They should appear on the OGUK website in the next 24hours or so. They are eveery bit as good in the flesh as the photos promised. Weapons and shileds are separate castings and the facial and clothing detail is excellent. Pictures of both the painted and undercoated models have already appeared on this blog but here is a shot of the bare casting of ther Saxon Fyrd just as I pulled them out of one box picked at random- no cleaning up - straight from the box.
the second picture is a size comparison for the heightists amongst you. The painted figures are from the Old Glory SVS- Somerled the Slayer range and as you can see are in the same ballpark but perhaps a little smaller though posing is more energetic than the Drabant figures.
So as ever its a matter of choice. The hands of the Drabants will need drilling to take the weapons but thats no chore at all and IMHO is far better than the "cast guttering" that passes for hands on say Gripping beast. By careful drilling you can actually get the hands to grip the weapons instead of merely resting lightly upon them. Once I've finished the crop of Moderns I'm painting at the moment these will migrate to the painting desk. I await the next releases with impatience.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Shorties in Major Macedonian Mash ups.

Time again for our almost monthy games down at the pub. This time Jim the painter was in the chair and he elected to dig out his fine colection of 15mm Ancients for a Macedonians vs Persians punch -up. The armies are fairly substantial the Macedonians having 3 by 32 fig units of Phalangites a unit of Hypaspists one of Mercenary Hoplites(in this case) plus Companions- a unit of 20(!!)and assorted skirmishers, peltasts, light cavalry, thessalians etc.About 200 figures in all The Persians were simlar in number but with more cacalry3 units of Heavies 1 light and some Sythian Horse Archers. 2 units of Persian Infantry 3 units of Fott archer skirmishrs and 4 units of Mercenary Hoplites again around 200 figures. Attendance was down - initially only 3 TWATS being present- with Floating Jeff turning up later after some kind of household crisis- it happens to us all mate !. So with Jim umpiring it was your gentle Author who too the part of Darius and Andrew the Tekkie becoming Alexander. Jim's chosen rule set for this game was Tactica, a1990s set we were familiar with but had not used for a while. This game was to -re-affirm my liking for this set. The rules are basically simple only D6 are used but in numbers... The core of the system is the "Battleine Rule" which severly limits the manouverability of battleine units- Hoplites, Phanalgites and the like. Indeed the set lays down some pretty severe restrictions on quite a few things which may seem odd at first but once you getused to the ideas behind the restrictions the result is a very historical feeling game that is nevertheless fast playing and simple to learn. Its sort of IGOUGO but not quite as each turn each side rolls for "activation" the winning side choosing to move first or second- in the following turn the winner ofthe last turns rioll deducts 2 from his roll so its possible to get movemnet choice for 2 or even 3 turns its very unlikely. No orders are written.and the most important part of the game is the initial set up- which ,within its restrictions must be carefully thought about.
This picture shows the initial dispositions of the armies- the sun slanting through the pub windows making photography difficult.
Once begun the action is fast and furious. The Persian plan was- put simply- a double envelopment- smashing the Macedonian flanks whilst holding off in the centre. Now no battleplan survives contact with the ememy- but this one did - sort of. On the persian left a cavalry fight developed which we looked likely to lose until a unit of our famous(ask Jim) "Yellow Hats" infantry intevened. On the other flank a long drawn out cavalry battle ensued which the Persians eventually had the worst of whilst in the centre the main battlelines clashedand carnage ensued. Now came the crux of the actionand unusually a bit of respectable dice rolling by the Persians.
this picture shows the Persian left just before the Macedonian Horse was destroyed.
.The battlelines are- in Tactica vitally important in terms of the game the rest of your army can leg it but if your battleine units are untouched you fight on. However you are defeated if a proportion of your battleline units are routed or destroyed. Its that simple. Non battleline units ,up to a point, exist to protect your battleline and damage the enemies. In this case the 2 battlelines were grinding away with Persian luck offsetting Macedonian superiority when the Left Flank Persian cavalry Crashed into the Flanksd of the Macedonian line. Game as they say OVER. We the broke for some of Landlady Jeans beef butties- and more beer- before having another bash-2 games in 1 day a miracle!!. We swopped sides. This time I took the Macedoniansand quickly decided to simply "get tore in" with all the sublty of a halfbrick round the earhole
The Macedonians going for it Hell for leather.
I almost came an almighty cropper. On my left my cavalry punched a hole in the Persian right but died doing it- only the Companions could exploit and did so. At this point Andrew managed a 2 moves choice in succession and gave my right flank a right sorting outscattering my prodromoi and doing over my peltasts something awful. Fortunately for me his timing was just a tad out- in the centre the grinding had begun but was soon over as the mercenary Hoplites broke again Game over. In analysis both games had been nail biters- even the second which only lasted an hour. The rules are simple and can appear limited in scope but a reasonable umpire can sort that out without difficulty. Simple is not the same as simplistic. TYactica is far from the latter. Thought is required. I like thse rules. I can feel some 15mm Ancients in my water...

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Wonderful Stories part 2

Opens to the strains of YES..... In his estimable Blog - Wargaming for Grown Ups Trebbian poses the question
Are Wargamers Boring?
Well it depends- stories about wargaming often are as I can surely witness..... A good few years ago OGUK used to have a stand at the show in Eindhioven in the Netherlands or this incident may have taken place in Essen Germany- certainly it was not the UK. Some years we'd put on games as well- unusual at the time as we were historically based and not All conquering Workshop junkies. I remember doing Dark Ages, Hundred Years War and WW2 games . After the show the evenings could get a tad convivial. - There should have been a sign saying
"Here Be Monsters".
On this occasion I found myself cornered in a restaurant by a Dutch Geezer who was boring the arse off me recounting his list of Workshop Victories. My eyes were glazing over, my brain turning to mush. I applied myself to my beer and looked about me in despair and at last gasp caught the eye of my savior. Todd Fisher - he of EHQ- also present- enviegled me into a more historical conversation. Sighs of relief were sighed and later after the meal Todd says to me in pure Chicargoan.
I was in a bar last week at home and caught sight of a biker guy I know sitting there looking deeply pissed. All of a sudden he cuts loose and wrecks the place. Just before he started He had EXACTLY the same look on his face as you had- so I thought I'd better rescue you
Thanks Todd you were not wrong. If you are a a show and see Jim the Painter - say to him
Pink Jacket
and even after a dozen of so years his face will screw up with distaste. This fellow was to put it mildly a complete tosser. For3 or 4 years we would dread his appearence. He'd demand to open sealed packets then scatter the contents- then ask why stuff weas missing. He'd usually do this at Salute when we had chaps 5 deep at the stand waving wads of cash at us. The last straw was when he demanded- never asked always demanded that I break open 2 packs of latex roads to give him the selection of bits he wanted. Now leaving aside the fact that this buggered up the product for other chaps his manner was so dammned offensive that- at Salute- I 'd had enough. No I didn't rend him limb from limb and dance in his blood- though for a fleeting second that was a possibility, I merely tore his credit card reciept in half and told him to make way for a bloke that wanted to buy stuff and never to darken my sight again. My restraint was admirable.
The other side of the coin.
Salute again. Two Spanish chaps are buying some toys. Both are spending sizable sums for the time. I start to process the first chaps credit card and it's rejected. The Spanish chaps is understandably dismayed. His friend gigglesand in a perfect Speedy Gonzales voice says
He- he he - He have no money
And then without a seconds hesitation hands over his own card to pay both bills. That of course is what friends are for.
Derby this time
- possibly my favouite story ABOUT wargamers and their foibles... Evening -after the show my team and I are booked into a Mexican restaurant of our aquaintanve along with our good friend Mike Mc Nally- now an almost famous Osprey author. A couple of chaps- aquaintances of Mikes inveigke their way into the company. In my memeory they are both Thirtysomethings overweight and bespectacled with the definite look of the- to use a splendid Americanism
about them. So there we are in this eatery when I and Mike notice on a nearby table several Toothsome females of the species- proper eye candy forsooth!- Phoarr - may have been uttered- were enoying a meal . One- a Blonde as I recall in a fetching LBD- is ,to coin a phrase, having trouble with her puppies. It's pretty obvious to Mike and myself that they need restaint. Jim - with his back to the action curses under his breath, eyeing us balefully. Finally the young lady succeeds in wrestling them more or less back into harness and I take a moment to look and listen elswhere and am shocked- not to say aghast ! While all the monumental events has been proceeding these tow wothies - despite the fact that they had at least as good a view as I, had I realised, continued the conversation I had noticed out of the "corner of my ear" . What you may ask was this about- eye candy? Blondes? Sassanid heavy Cavlary.. A games a game lads but sometimes.... Jeez...

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Wonderful Stories.

For those of us of a certain age and diposition the current continuing trend towards eye candy above all is at best lightweight at worst mind numbing. Rows of minor Z list celebrities with enhanced silicon knockers parade before us with the glassy eyed stare of the truly vacant (and that's just the blokes) . We are told that a picture is worth a thousand words and so it might be if your vocabulary is that of a ten year old - and a retarded 10 year old at that. No I'm afraid there are times when I'm reminded of the old fella who upon seeing TV for the first time opined that he preferred radio as the pictures were better. In Wargaming terms- we are supposed to OOH and Ah over the magazine eye candy and because we bask in its magnificence entirly miss the fact that the intellectual content is nil or less. These pictures are meant to inspire us. Gawdamighty!! Mind you at least the pictures are usually respectable. I have before me the book "The Wargame" edited by Peter Young published in 1972. It contains chapters by Young Grant, Featherstone , Chandler etc - all the Wargaming Luminaries of the day on famous battles Austerlitz, Gettysburg Agincourt- 10 battles in all and -with a few exceptions- the photographs of the wargames are horrible- even by the standards of the time they are at best average. The written narratives are fine enough- tasters for those interested but inexperienced if you like and on that level the book succeeds. Its succeeds with the stories it tells rather than the mediocre pictures it shows. The writing is far better than the eye candy. Wheras now the reverse is often the case which is a shame. While I am far from averse to a bit of eye candy whether it be in the wargames arena or otherwise it should never dominate, surely the story is the thing, every picture might indeed tell a story but the caption is always worth reading- or at least should be. Are we no longer capable of using our imaginations to conjure the pictures we need?. Or do modern publishers think we must be patronised or are too thick for long words.... The pictures should add to the story not BE the story.

Friday, 12 October 2012

More Moderns

I've finally got around to doing some infantry to go with those tasty Charlie 1s I did a month or so back. I have even kind of sorted out an organisation. each stand will - depending upon game level represent either a platoon or a section so a base unit will be 4 stands ie Platoon HQ and 3 sections or Company HQ and 3 platoons. HQ stands or "Command stands" in CD ese will have less firepower. At the company level a "Weapons stand" can be added at platoon level such are more likley to be in the Fire Support Group.
So the first pic here shows a "Company" with attached weapons stand
The next show British troops patrolling the streets of Ghob City in southern Harraq sometime in 2003 (What I hear you cry is this a fictional country- well yes sort of but NEVER an imagi-nation -abominable term) Harraq is of course to the south of R'hagidistan.......
A small firefight between the British and Harraqi Republican Guards.
More British troops . Two companies with most of "Support Company" - which still needs a command stand and an 81mm Mortar stand and probably a sniper stand when I work out how that will fit into the higher level game. In theory the battles in "Harraq" will have tanks APC's Helcopters the lot using Orbats taken from CPQ and similar."Harraq" will be a tougher nut to crack than its erstwhile origonal of that I'm sure.