Sunday, 8 May 2016

So many games, so little time to write

The last couple of weeks have been fantastically busy gaming wise. I have had the chance to play Lion Rampant, Saga, Bolt Action, Chain of Command and Iron Cross. As well as wrapping up the Analogue Painting Challenge and of course buying more figures for my ever growing armies.
My first game in this great block of dice rolling was a game of Bolt Action against my boss Ian. I have the great fortune of working in the games industry but this doesn't mean that I get to play games all day. Quite the opposite. However, Ian and I had an evening free a couple of weeks ago and decided that a game of Bolt action was in order.
Using Ian's terrain and miniatures I had a chance to play Germans as opposed to my usual Yanks, and Ian played the US. It was a rollicking game, with artillery initially favouring me and air strikes redressing the balance for Ian. In the end it was a narrow victory for Ian but we had a lot of fun and we got to push around some well painted toys on a table with great terrain. An evening well spent.
       The following week Ian ran me through Lion Rampant against his friend Ian 2 (there are three Ians in the gaming group. It does get confusing.) with us playing the Crusaders vs Ian2's Saracen army. this was a great game, it allowed me to get my head around the mechanics of LR and be confident enough to play moderator to a game with the lads at Odin's Night club the following week.
        I provided all the forces so they ended up being a mish mash of Empire, Brettonian, Norman and Saxon armies. This is one of the great things about Lion Rampant, you can build historical or non-historical forces and still have a great game. 
The victims of the murderous rampage.
As the Analogue Painting Challenge was still in full swing I even provided a unit of old Empire Halberdiers that Paul and Alan (the murdering b@st@rds) tooking great pleasure in hunting down and massacring. Poor little purple plumed fellas. All in all, a rollicking good evening. You know that you are having fun when your table's "Yay" of victory makes the eight tables of roleplayers stop talking and all turn in your direction. We even picked up a new member for the Odin's with this game, Aled. Welcome aboard the crazy express mate!

Since then there have been so many games that I have lost track of them all but they have included;
  • Bolt Action one Sunday morning, Yanks vs Vichy French and then a follow up game on the same table using essentially the same forces but this time using Chain of Command. Admittedly we are not as familiar with CoC but the gameplay and results were hugely different. It was interesting to contrast the two. Both great for different reasons.
  • A brilliant game of Lion Rampant between Alan (Dux) and myself using The Messenger scenario. I set a new record for the number of failed Activations in a row. It was still heaps of fun.
  • Dux  "Cassandra Mouskouri"
  •  A four player game of Dragon Rampant. We were starting to get confident with the LR rules so thought that it was time to try the fantasy version. I have a couple (ahem) of painted Warhammer Fantasy armies so made up 6 different 24 point retinues based on the examples in the back of the book. Each player then chose whichever one appealed to him most. Once again, a brilliant day's gaming. So much fun that at least one historical stalwart was muttering "Must get some Dwarves, on goats or boars...." Dux had the "honour" of sporting the "Cassandra Mouskouri" wig of shame for predicting his own failing Activation roll.
  • Paul and new chum Aled show David, Stephen and I how to play X Wing.
  • Last week Paul ran us through X-Wing (it WAS May 4th). This was my first time playing this and really enjoyed the simple mechanics of gameplay. I won't be buying any ships, my long time gaming buddy David has taken care of that for us!
  • I'm sure that there were more games, I certainly saw more played but I can't remember which was when!

Lastly, time to update my most important Painting and Finished tally

Type Painted Finished
28mm Dark Ages Infantry 161
28mm Empire/Lion Rampant Infantry 8 32
28mm Empire/Lion Rampant Mounted 1
28mm Dark Ages Mounted
28mm Slaughterloo Infantry 4
28mm Fantasy Infantry
20mm WWII 18

Monday, 4 April 2016

Challenge done but not completed - lessons learned

I have finally finished the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. I loved it and it drove me crazy. When I initially considered the Challenge I thought that I could maybe get 250 points (based on 5 points per 28mm infantry, 4 per 20mm etc) because I am a very slow painter. However there was only the choice of 500 point intervals so I went for 500, lowest I could choose.
As it turns out I only made it to 216 points. There were many personal challenges along the way, not least of which was my eyesight. I ended up purchasing a flip down magnifying visor (as used by watchmakers) which helps a lot.
Me with my total output from the Challenge, wearing my new magnifying visor and traditional painting fez.
To be eligible for the Challenge a miniature could be cleaned up and undercoated before the start but no additional paint could be applied. It also must be completely finished, including basing, to be earn points. Herein lies the greatest lesson learned - I have way too many unfinished miniatures. Ranging from one or two colours applied, or nearly fully painted through to fully painted but no basing done. This is not acceptable.

So, from now on I am keeping a tally on the blog with two divisions;
Painted Miniatures - meaning painted this year from scratch through to finished as determined by the Challenge requirements.
Finished Miniatures - these are miniatures that I have started previously, or purchased part painted or similar that have done the extra work on to be totally finished. Including magnetizing the bases.
This will be a summary tally on the side of my blog and a more detailed running one at the end of each post. Maybe this will help my output. Or make my shame public.

Type Painted Finished
28mm Dark Ages Infantry 12
28mm Empire/Lion Rampant Infantry 8 11
28mm Empire/Lion Rampant Mounted 1
28mm Slaughterloo Infantry 4
20mm WWII 11

Sunday, 7 February 2016

A week of great buys and great friends

I just wanted to share this with you because if you read my blog, I know you will understand. Way back in the 1970s I received this kit for my 12th birthday and I loved it. It was probably the first non-Airfix kit I ever built and is part of the first real wargames army I ever collected. Sadly that original kit is long gone, the victim of air rifles, matches and the other stupid things we did as kids.

I was only talking about it at work this week and how excited I was to receive it so many years ago. I was at a swap meet today and they had one. Not the best or most accurate kit ever but an important nostalgic purchase. Of course I bought it. It will never be built but will be a reminder of how exciting it was to discover 1/72nd modelling and wargaming back in my childhood. Who would have thought that it would be how I made my living?

Another thing I found at the swap meet was a Meccano Spitfire kit. I collect everything named as a Spitfire aircraft and I have a particular fondness for only vaguely Spitfire-like objects called Spitfires. The brand vs substance of them really amuses me.The Meccano Spitfire is one of these. It "kind of" looks like a Spitfire, or at least parts of it do. I have wanted one ever since I saw it in a catalogue some years ago. Despite having worked in the toy business and having a good relationship with the Meccano distributor in Australia, I was never able to get one. Today I found one, still sealed (BNIB) and for about 50% of the original RRP. What a bargain. Straight into the games room with this one.

It has been a successful weekend hobbywise. I managed to get four more figures finished for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, Albion Orcs for Slaughterloo.
The cartoony style is deliberate and they are done to match some second hand figures I picked up a couple of years ago. Love this game and these guys.

I also had a chance this week to catch up with my good friend Shayne from Campaign Books and Game Logistics. A retailer from Brisbane, he was down for the Rugby Sevens and took the time to visit us at the warehouse. We also had a lovely dinner with our families at an Italian restaurant in Haberfield. It's great that I can work in an industry where friendship is as important as business.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

An entry finished at last for the Painting Challenge

It's taken nearly four weeks but I finally got an entry in to the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.
Building a US force in 20mm to be used mainly for Chain of Command and Iron Cross I have decided to do a squad and support team at a time. These are mostly AB Miniatures from that fine chap Nic at Eureka Miniatures with a couple of other brands from my lead pile thrown in for variety.
The first units completed are an Armoured Rifle Squad and a 60mm mortar team. As Chain of Command requires a 60mm mortar to have five crew I was was struggling with a way to make them look like a team. I decided to base them together but I wanted the versatility of casualty removal so I based them on a 40 x 45mm base
 however only one figure is permanently attached. I used putty to build up arond the small bases the figures come on to form "sabots". I then added the basing flock and static grass tufts to tie all the figures together visually. I then removed the figures leaving the sabot areas. Figures can be easily put on and taken off the base. 
I may add some small magnets to make them more secure if needed, depends on how they go in a game. Now, off to paint, there's plenty more in the queue.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

The Best Napoleonics Games Ever Made? Slaughterloo!

After a very long hiatus I managed to get in a game of Slaughterloo! with David K. We have always loved this Napoleonique Fantasy game. It has very simple but demanding rules that make for a fun and challenging game.
The Centre of the table
For those not familiar with the game, Slaughterloo is a mass battles game by Alternative Armies set in a fantastic world that roughly mirrors ours in the Napoleonic period with fantasy races representing each nation -the British are Orcs, French are Elves, German states are Dwarves and the Russians are Undead. With various other races scattered around the map - a personal favourite are the Todarini (Italians), frogs who don't do much at all except march around in pretty uniforms.

Zoltan's 666th Foot advance
Today we played the Undead vs the Living Alliance (Elves + Orcs) in a simple 1750 point per side game. Dave controlled the Undead while I took command of the Living Alliance division.

One of the mechanics of the game is that any living unit (ie not Undead) can make a single action such as move or fire automatically. To do any more than a single action you need to make a Form test with modifiers for the more actions you are attempting plus Disorder etc. Undead must make a Form test to do anything - they're dead so they don't exactly leap into action. So I tried to do more than one action with all my units in the second turn of the game. They ALL failed and became Disordered. The sneaky Undead passed all their tests. The game went downhill from there for me.
Umm, lads...are there Jagers in those woods?

On my left flank, my Orc Line Infantry ground to a halt in the face of withering fire from the Undead Dwarves of the Krautian Fleshless Legion and the Undead artillery. 
My Elf Line Infantry fired at no effect on the Licantzrop Jagers sneaking through the woods.

Sharke and the Rifles face down the Graviski Infantry
In the centre and right flank I had more success (just) with Sharke's Orc Rifles and 1er Velite Grenadiers De La Garde Mordred as they steadily advanced upon the Zombie Line Infantry. In the centre Sharke's Rifles took heavy fire from the Undead Gravinski Infantry but their stiff green upper lips held firm and they hung on and returned fire.

The Licantzrop Jagers leap out of the woods
Then disaster struck! The sneaky Jagers leaped from the woods and took on my Orc Line Infantry in melee - in the flank! We tussled for a couple of turns but the Orc's fate was sealed. They were soon annihilated and my left flank started to collapse. Soon my artillery piece was threatened, all was looking very bad.

On the right flank the Zombie Line Infantry were being steadily eroded by the combined fire of the Elf Voltigeurs, Chasseurs and Grenadiers. I killed their officer which rendered them unable to move and I took the opportunity to peel off the Voltigeurs to threaten Dave's centre and one of his Graviski Re-Animators (pesky devices by which the Undead can increase the size of their army by re-animating any casualties - from both sides!) and it looked like I could save the game.

Graviski Infantry flanked by the Reanimator Unit and Undead Artillery
My optimism proved to be unfounded when the Jagers continued their rampage across the field by assaluting my artillery unit, wiping them out in a single melee round. That took my army past it's break point and they fled screaming from the field, no doubt traumatized by their close encounters with the Undead Legions.

All in all, a rollicking fun game, perfect for the holidays. And yes Buck, I did use some of the 4Ground La Haye Saint set on the table.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

The Challenge

As an opportunity to try and improve my output of painted miniatures I have joined in the jolly madness that is the Analogue Hobbies 6th Annual Painting Challenge.

Lead down the road to madness by Dux Homunculorum and Steve from At The Double I attempting to paint 500 points (Challenge points) worth of 20mm WWII Yanks, 28mm Gebirgsjager and various other units that catch my attention. My intention is to paint by squad so I don't get overwhelmed by the masses of half painted troops mocking my completion rate. At 4 points per 20mm infantry figure or 5 pts per 28mm this is going to be a huge push for me. You can start with an undercoated miniature but to be complete it must be ready for the table, fully painted and with basing completed.

I will post pictures of my progress. Wish me luck!

The first ones to hit the painting table- 13 x 20mm Yanks + 4 x 28mm Gebirgsjagers.

Here we go!

Well, here we go. I have been a wargamer, miniatures painter and collector and history nut for more than 40 years. Perhaps the slowest miniatures painter in the world (I will finish that unit I started when I was 15 -I'm now in my 50s - soon!) I still get excited by the newest, shiniest miniatures and games to come along.
I have the great luck to work in the games industry on and off for more than 30 years and this blog is dedicated to the many friendships with wargamers around the world that I have made.

I currently work for Australia's largest specialist historical wargames distributor War and Peace Games and have the great privilege of working with great friends as co-workers and customers.Many of our customers are bloggers and I have wasted filled many happy hours reading their battle reports, sharing their excitement on new games and just seeing the enthusiasm for the hobby I love.

I intend to use this blog to share my experiences, friendships and happy gaming times. And all the gossip on the latest, shiniest new toys of course!