Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Big Weekend at Frammie

We (members of the Loose Association of Wargamers) returned to Tim H's very pleasant home village of Framlingham this weekend. We were last there for a wargaming session in 2014, time has flown! Ten of us gathered on Friday evening, got quickly caught up and enjoyed a good curry and a decent amount of beer. The banter was lively and continued throughout the weekend.

There were some very good games put on, two on each day. I was crap with the camera and only managed a few pics (my apologies to Tim for not getting some of his excellent FIW and Sci-Fi - both in 54mm!), but others did a lot better and Andy's blog is a good place to visit to see a lot more - here

When Alex and Peeler offered a big DBN game of Vittoria I volunteered like a shot. They made a custom battlefield in the last week or so, especially for the game - a brilliant effort. Alex was Wellington and Peeler took the part of the King Jerome. I took the part of 'Daddy' Hill and Gary got the late arrival columns under Graham and Dalhousie. On the other side of the table were Simon and Andy as the two French sub-commanders. The scenario was an interesting one, with the French deploying in their historical 'caught on the hop' positions and the allies piling on the pressure and trying to close in from various angles.

Alex setting up on Friday:


The start of the battle, with my command aiming straight up the road and looking to get around the French flank on the slopes to the right.

The first of Andy's rearguard are dead and we're on our way, albeit a bit slowly due to being unable to make additional/march moves.

Mid-battle - Dalhousie has arrived on the other side of the river and Hill and Wellington are chasing the fleeing Frenchies up the valley:

Gary did very good work trying to storm over the bridges, taking big casualties but dealing the same out to the waiting French. The fighting intensified on the river line, but was petering out on the other flank as we failed to pursue as fast as Andy routed. The highlight was Alex canistering Andy's command figure with a deft bit of horse artillery work - a quality moment (for us) and I was forced to drive my battery over the remains as we intensified the pursuit. In the end, we didn't get as far up the table as we would have liked but we did bring the battle to a successful conclusion a couple of turns from the end by destroying the requisite number of French elements.

As always DBN provided an excellent big battle experience and the game was a pleasure to participate in. Thanks to Andy and Mark for the effort that went in, and for everyone for the great spirit in which the game was played.


The second day's gaming involved an excellent fictitious colonial game set in the pre-pith helmet era. This was all Paul's creation - terrain, scenery, most the of the figures, the plot and even a full set of rules. Very very impressive stuff all-round. We were 3 a 'side' (there were some cunningly conflicting player objectives) and each of us had an interesting force with its own background and characteristics.

I got sailors (for which I got to provide most of the figures) and there were forces of sepoys, jungle-loving natives, semi-regulars and fanatics from various factions. None-the-wiser we all got stuck in and Paul ran the game from a nicely illustrated set of cards he'd made. The rules were simple to learn and we could focus on the action and the fun. There were events to keep us on our toes too, such as tiger, snake and monkey attacks!

As you'll see from the pics it was a lavish affair, and kept us occupied, and laughing, well into the afternoon. By the end, Alex's regulars had been wiped out in the jungle in their own special 'Nam by the local savages, Andy had been wiped out by Simon's accurate muskets and bayonets and I had been finished off by Simon's backstabbing ambush. He declared innocence, it all being a big misunderstanding, and so on. Yeah, yeah. Simon and Gary were the ones to achieve their missions in a thoroughly entertaining game. Thanks again Paul - awesome!

And so, a long drive back home on Sunday and now I'm already looking forward to the next get-together - November's ancients bash in Newark.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Bear Clan!

A couple of months ago I painted some 15mm fantasy figures for use with Dragon Rampant and my dungeon adventure game. Before I went back to the 6mm SYW project I did paint a force of Bear Clan/Cultists but have taken forever to get the bases done.

Now they're finally finished, here are some pics:

Leader, champions and shamen:

Shapeshifters (Copplestone):

Crazy bear:

The men are mostly Splintered Light, with a few Copplestone and a Demonworld leader. The bears are from a variety of companies too, in small, medium and bloomin' big sizes. I've kept to a very simple pallet and, with most figures having some bearskin on them, that's provided the overriding look.

I have another batch of about 20 to finish, which will allow me to field more options for a Dragon Rampant force. When I'm fed up with painting 6mm I'll switch back to these and get the rest finished off.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

One Hour Wargames - Now with Added Pikes

The other two games I played at the weekend saw a switch to the 17th century, with my Medetians and Fleurians fighting it out over a couple of scenarios. The pike and shot rules differ a bit from the horse and musket ones, with more melee and some changes to the troop types. Very interesting nonetheless.

Game 5 was scenario 18 - Counter Attack
Fleurie held the bridge against a major Medetian attack, while they hurried their own reinforcements forward. Inevitably a big scrap ensued when the Fleurians used the two flanking fords to get at their enemy's flanks and eventually win the battle. This game was played on a slightly extended 2' x 2.5' board as I need to use specific terrain tiles to get the river to run across the middle of the battlefield.

Game 6 was from scenario 3 - Control the River

For this game I decided to up-scale a bit, going to a 3' x 3' board and increasing the unit sizes to 5" wide. This meant much bigger regiments and (comparatively) lots of figures on the table. Infantry units had 80 figures and cavalry had 32. Naturally it played the same, it just looked more like a battle! :)

Both armies approached the river with the aim being to control both the east and west river crossings. Although initially both kept a central reserve to see where it might be needed, inevitably you get two separate fights with this scenario. Fortunately the movement rates are sufficient to re-deploy quite quickly and in the end it was the Medetian army that managed to crush one enemy flank and move along both sides of the river to overcome the remaining Fleurians at the other crossing.

This was good fun to play and, like the other games, an interesting challenge in trying to get the best from the different unit types. Sticking to historically inspired tactics does seem to be the most effective approach, which speaks well for the rules.

Pics from this final game:

I will definitely be returning to this type of gaming, probably for a mini-campaign of linked games.

Monday, 3 October 2016

One Hour Wargames - Some Solo Games

I picked up a copy of Neil Thomas' book a little while ago and the scenarios in particular looked interesting and worth a try. We used one in the recent first game of Sharp Practice 2, which worked well, and I fancied trying a few more. The rules included in the book are, obviously, designed to give simple games in under an hour. However, the design principles make a lot of sense and there are some clever touches. I thought I'd give them a go at the weekend, so dusted off some terrain boards and picked a few of my freshly painted SYW 6mm figures to give them their first outing.

I basically played these solo games 'straight', making the decisions for each side in turn, as I thought best at the time. The mechanisms are easy to learn and remember after the first couple of turns, and the tactical challenges made even small, simple games like these a lot of fun.

Games 1 & 2 (scenario 4 - Take the High Ground) Prussians vs Austrians on a 2'x2' board

In the first game the Austrians pushed the Prussians off the hill and consolidated a decent line that was able to deal with the counter-attack. The cavalry pretty much took each other out along the road, and the Austrians secured a solid victory.

In the re-match the outcome was much the same although the Prussians put up a stiffer fight, only to be cleared off the hill again!

Games 3 & 4 (scenario 5, Bridgehead) Prussians vs Austrians again.

A more interesting scenario this one. Both sides receive reinforcements in the early turns - the Prussians (top) were coming on randomly from 3 potential arrival points while the Austrians were having to cross at the bridge to join the action and hold the crossing. Both sides need to clear the enemy from the north bank of the river.

I decided to make the board look a little less plain, with some additional terrain features that were just for show and could be moved a little if they got in the way.

The Austrians put up a good fight but the Prussians, coming from both directions, kept them penned in near the bridge. Prussian artillery fire and cavalry charges caused some damage and the Austrian Grenzers couldn't make sufficient use of the wood to disrupt the Prussians. In the end it was a victory to the Prussians as they closed the vice and cleared the Austrians from the north bank.

Game 4 also saw a Prussian victory, despite the sides being swapped round. The Austrian arrival point rolls (4 units coming on from the west behind the wood) allowed the Prussians to spread out to the east and gain room to operate. They managed to drive north and destroy the Austrians piecemeal. Again the Austrians had suffered from a bit of a traffic jam, and this prevented them from forming a more coherent line to maximise their firepower.

The green numbered markers next to units denote hits suffered (collect 15 and you're dead). The one on the yellow background is my turn counter.

Even with just 6 units a side (some scenarios give one side fewer units than this) these scenarios still deliver a challenge and no two games are the same. I was keen to try out some of the other periods for which rules are provided, so in the next post there will some pics of a couple of further One Hour games, this time set in the era of Pike and Shot.