Monday, October 10, 2016

By Crom!

Well look what arrived in the post!
Yes, after over a year, my second Conan game has finally arrived.  In two massive boxes (about the size of three GW big box starter games all told).

It comes with quite a few miniatures:

And a few more!:

Not to mention tonnes of shiny components.  

I've no idea when I'll get time to play this, never mind paint any of it (though I can see the troops for at least two or three Conan themed Dragon Rampant armies in the above!), but it's nice to finally be able to drool over it in the flesh.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Enter the Dungeon

More Reaper Miniatures oddments completed over the last few months in the happy season between university semesters.  Now sadly passed.  I should be working now!

Bar staff - Not the prettiest couple!


Also known as a Mindflayer

Clay Golem - pleased with the eyes

Only took an hour or so all in

Armoured Cave Troll

A great little model, really shows the benefits of the Bones range

Additionally, I picked up some of the Old Wargames Factory Orcs (now available through Warlord Games).  To me these would not work as Orcs, as they are simply too small and spindly, but with certain reservations about the animation of the poses they are pretty good models.  With the development of my Dungeoneering collection and Dragon Rampant force I took another look at these - inspired as they are by Angus Macbride's classic Lord of the Rings art - and felt the would fit a different race rather well.  Hobgoblins:

Lovely red skin as a result
As with a lot of Wargames Factory models the detail is a bit soft and the poses a little wooden, but it's hard to fault the value and they certainly packed a lot of options into a tiny sprue.  I have enough left to do another 18 models should I get around to it.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

A Crusading Bunk for the Night

Inspired by my game a few weeks ago, I used a little free time between regular projects to knock up a simple piece of scenery for any future games.

 This basic Middle-Eastern house could serve in any number of periods, but is mainly intended for ancient-medieval settings.  Given it is going to be club scenery I focused on durability, so there are a minimum of extraneous details to knock off, and the interior is heavily reinforced to allow it to cope with heavier scenery ending up stored atop it!
 For scale I include a recent Fireforge/Conquest miniatures mashup from my Feudal English.  The model has large scaled details so that it will serve for fantasy games with 'Heroic' scaled mini's up to 32mm.  The door and window frames are just thin card.
For painting I mixed a little acrylic Burnt Sepia into white and basecoated the entire model.  Then I took a small amount of the base shade and kept adding more white to subsequent layers building them up with initially an overbrushing style, and for the last layer or two, dry brushing.  Highlights come down from the top of the model to leave the base coat at the bottom.  Then the wood and sand were highlighted separately.

Building the model was little more than an hour, painting maybe another hour.  It's cheap and cheerful, but it is at least the right scale and will give a nice objective for any future encounters.

Monday, September 26, 2016

King of Dogs

Many moons ago, Two hardy souls in the Leeds region set upon a mighty quest; each to build a Dogs of War army long after Games Workshop had given up on them as a viable state in the game once called Warhammer.

Long each toiled, in ignorance of the other's efforts and struggle, but in time their paths crossed, and they knew of each's self appointed task.  Each took their own route to their desired path, one using almost exclusively Games Workshop to create his soldiers, the other, any manufacturer who took his eye.  Each admired the others work from afar, but considered that theirs was the true path, and lo it came to pass that they spoke of the question of who would rule triumphant being settle uponst the fields of battle.

Many moons more passed. And much talk was had, but no battle arose.  In time Games Workshop more than just forgot its' past, it destroyed its' present too.  And Warhammer was no more.

In time this spurred the generals on, for lo, Kings of War stepped up to take the mantle of Warhammer and provide a realistic prospect of facing their armies off across the scorched fields of combat.  And so it came to pass that two mighty armies....

Also many moons ago.  Well, three anyway.

Yes so, cod-fantasy twaddle aside, Myself and Matt finally arranged a game of Kings of War between our Dogs of War armies, a.k.a Kingdoms of Men and assorted allies.  The oft discussed 'Dog-off' happened nigh on three months ago, but I'd sat on the report through writers block/gaming apathy until now.  I can't as a result be too exhaustive on the details of the battle; but I can provide a ton of pretty pictures...

My deployment

Matts, he had a lake to contend with
 The battle was Pillage based, and three treasure markers would be the focus of the battle.  We each set up our battle lines, naturally featuring many arrayed hordes of pikemen.

Some of Matt's classic metals and converted plastics

For my part, Perry's take the place of rare GW mini's 
 With battlefield essentially divided into two halves by the lake the game boiled down into two separate battles, not least as we both deployed our allied forces facing one another.  Ogres and their allies for me against Undead for Matt.

 A major face off on my left would develop between the various human knights and pike units.  This would last all game and swing between the two of us.

 On the opposite flank both sides proved incapable of delivering a telling strike, and mixed fortune led to a long grinding match despite committing relatively few troops.

 In the centre the gigantic megabeasts eyed one another up but kept a wary distance from one another.  My cannons were doing sterling work but gaps were starting to show in my line, at this stage I assumed Matt was going to walk me over.

 But things were turning on the left as I managed to outflank my enemies.

 Simon the Giant turned from Nethermaul the Dragon to attack more delectable targets.

 Though not successfully.  Now I could generously suggest my centre was being held by the mansion, but otherwise I was a split force.

 Still on the left I was down to mopping up a handful of troops.  Meanwhile Nethermaul made merry with my Cannon.

 Somehow, the cannon survived, and the dragon headed elsewhere, needing to wrest the objectives from me.

 At this stage the end of the battle was in sight, and I held two of the three objectives.  The desperate attack of the dragon should have worked; but my men stood firm.

 Whilst on the now bleak right flank only my troops remained standing.  I was on the back foot, but for Matt time had run out, and despite his every effort, I held more objectives and could claim the win!

A real close battle with some inspired and frustrating performances all round.  I think tactically I conducted myself well enough against and opponent who probably bought the more honed fighting force.  It was a spectacular looking game with Matt's army being a joy to look at.  Sadly the table got a little untidy  and some of the photos are a little sullied as a result.

I have no doubt there will be a rematch, probably around the time of the next blood moon!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

16eme Regiment d'Infanterie Legere

Pleasingly swift production of another regiment of French troops for my Penisular War forces.  The 16eme were formed in 1793 and served in Germany, Austria and at various stages, Spain - fighting at Talavera, Fuentes De-Onoro and Albuera amongst others.

 These are the Hat Light infantry set once again, a set that whilst they may lack a little detail are comparatively easy to paint, and anatomically some of the best proportioned models available.  One box of marching poses and one box of command is enough for two 24 man regiments plus plenty of spares, add a third box of marching or skirmishing poses and you could just about squeeze four regiments out of them, not bad for £20-30!

Grenadier Company with Sappeur
This is my third French or allied regiment this year and brings the army to a respectable 10 regiments of formed infantry.  Still some way to go, not least as my Anglo-Iberian opposition already have 13 regiments.  But this is all heading in the right direction...

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Dragon Rampant: a Small Battle

Another game, out of order as is my want at the moment, at least I'm catching up on some overdue wargaming activity.

A few weeks back I was at a regular home venue for a game against Joe.  We were to try our hand at Dragon Rampant, in a battle of the weakest and feeblest fantasy warriors; my Kobolds dwarfed by Joe's Night Goblins!

As best I recall we went for a simple Bloodbath scenario, but the troops drifted into the battlefield using move orders rather than open deployment, as the book says to add a little spice.  The battlefield itself centred on a ruined evil temple, clearly recently dispossessed of its' old master and open to new tenants, it would be the case that one group of nefarious scavengers or another would try to take control of the place.

 My Kobolds swarmed onto the field, showing more initial enthusiasm than the Goblins, and rushing the edge of the temple grounds.  Their Jabberwocky influencing their drive forward.

 Eventually the Goblins decided to turn up.

Add caption
 The Jabberwocky encircled the temple whilst Kobold Skirmishers and warriors clambered the temble mount.  My brutal monster fell upon goblin Squig riders, and in a short bloody battle was...

 Not victorious.

Soon after attacking goblins dealt with my collection of giant insects too.  The Kobolds somewhat recoiled, but from this stage onwards we began to depend on our weakest troops rather than the mightiest.  In particular my scouts were to prove MVP on the day, whittling away at the enemy with crossbow bolts, whilst routinely evading attack.

 The Bugbears and trolls lined up for a battle, but after a little encouragement from the Kobold sorcerer and his spells, they gradually found other more important places to be.

By now the Goblins were trying their best to take control of the temple, but they couldn't pin down my feisty scouts.
 Indeed by this stage, many of the goblin troops had withered away, and the surviving Kobolds were starting to encircle the temple and the handful of Squig riders left in it.  At this stage the game ended.

Although Joe held the high ground, I had managed to inflict heavy losses, completing key boasts in the process.  IN the end I think it was about an 8-2 victory to the Kobolds.

As is the case with both LR and DR, it was a swingy game with lots of challenging moments, but good fun as ever.  These are a brace of rules that just keep giving in my opinion.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Gift of Command

My main opponent for the Napoleonics these days is James S, but he's not the healthiest fellow of late and hasn't been able to paint mini's for a while due to his eyesight.  But he has been able to amass a decent collection of rank and file French troops thanks to those souls in China who'd rather be painting miniatures than assembling trainers.

However he had a distinct lack of command figures, and so asked me if I'd be so kind as to paint up a couple of Regimental command sets from Perry Miniatures to give him the necessary leadership for his rank and file.  Given they needed only to match the 'Dip' quality of his main troops I was more than happy to oblige.  I even threw in a couple of mounted commanders (not pictured), because if nothing else he has enough troops to need a Brigadier or two...

The quality of the originals is reflected by the two chaps on the right hand side.  I used a heavier mix of Strongtone than I normally would, over flat unhighlighted shades; much like my 15mm Austrians but on a larger scale.  In some ways I wish I'd done my Napoleonics in this style all along, it would've saved many, many hours effort.  But I is certainly not as nice in the end.

But for James it's proved more than satisfactory, in keeping with all his other troops.

Only too pleased to help.

Also we've scouted out a new venue for big games, giving us time and space to properly play out grand battles; we may start small to get back into the swing of things but an agreement to try and get things going again has been made.

All good.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Crusading we will Go...

I make no apologies for the fact that if I manage to get some actual game reports up in the next few weeks, those who played in them will be aware they are out of sequence, and for usual readers they may seem a bit scant on detail.  One of the things that really slowed down my blogging of late has been finding the time or willingness to write up long-winded narratives for games.

Which cyclically leads to my eventual recollection of the game being limited to what the photographs remind me of.  Which is less than the fresh memory would've recalled.

Anyhoo.  James T at the club had been itching to try Lion Rampant for a while, having made a start on a Muslim army to fit the rules.  I was happy to oblige and figured my English would double as crusaders without any real issues, other than perhaps their basing!

We rolled the scenario and it required me to traverse the battlefield in the face of the enemy.  Suddenly a 6'x4' table seemed enormous.

My desert cloth set off a reasonable battlefield
 The Muslims began in two forces split ahead and to my left.  I decided to try and beat them in detail and so set off to my left to engage the enemy.  If I could defeat this force before the other arrived I might spare my strength and be able to overwhelm both groups.

A general advance
 For JT's part, he appeared to want to encircle me, but his commander and some infantry held beck, steadily failing activation rolls.  This left a gap; I covered my right flank with my billmen and pressed to the left.
 Eventually after some wily manoeuvring on his part, I was able to catch the enemy and swiftly put one troop of horse to the lance point and sword.

This is what you get for being unpainted! ;-)
 Alas a counter attack caught my men off guard and in the retreat panic set in amongst them, carrying my leader from the field.  A classic command disaster for me!

Run away!!!
 The rest of my force held, but with no mounted power and few missile weapons, against a force largely of mounted bowmen, things looked dire.

 Slow as they were my foot were made of steely stuff, and men at arms without horses bravely took on JT's leader, and gave great sacrifice against him.  Before also falling or retreating.  My spearmen finished the job, and the enemy proved less than happy.  Elsewhere my skirmishers were proving man of the match, outfighting, out manoeuvring and outshooting the enemy horse.  Suddenly we had them on the back foot with only infantry left.

 Indeed at games end only one beleaguered unit of Muslim infantry was left.  Tactical victory was mine.

However such is the way of Lion Rampant, that the terms of the scenario, plus the Boasts meant that I in fact lost, as my key troops had gone and tactically JT had achieved more of his aims.  Strategically he had won the long game.

All in all good fun, and nice to get some historical gaming in.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Runewars - A new major Player?...

Fantasy Flight, the people behind the X-Wing and Armada franchises have recently announced a mass-battle fantasy miniatures game

Featuring 48 unpainted miniatures in the base set, this is very definitely a game of regiments and heroes, and looks to be borrowing heavily from the aforementioned Star Wars games for its' on board rules mechanics.  Unlike those however, this is not tied to a specific franchise, and allows players the liberty to paint miniatures as they choose (or not) to.

Now in fairness, such games come and go, somebody every few years gets it into their head that they can take GW on in this market, and until Age of Sigmar appeared they all came up short.  That change couldn't have happened at a better time for Mantic and Kings of War, who got a huge boost from Games Workshop retiring Warhammer Fantasy.  But Mantic, for all their success can't put the support behind a game the way Fantasy Flight can.

You see Fantasy Flight is owned Asmodee; arguably now the largest board game company in the world, with serious clout - one of the few companies able to engage both miniatures, card game and board game markets seriously.  Unlike many entrants to the field they have a massive and growing revenue to support their intentions; 200 million Euros (about £150m) in 2015 and growing every year since 2001.  Moreover they're bought many games companies - Fantasy Flight included - and had the good sense to let them continue to do what they're best at.

By comparison in the same year GW had revenue of £123m in the same period, steadily falling.  And doubtless with similar profit issues.  

So is FF a serious threat to GW?  Well, it's interesting to also note that in the last few days the suggestion is that FF's long partnership with GW to produce board and card games based on their licenses is to end [*Edit: announced officially an hour after I wrote this!].  Maybe somebody is feeling threatened, maybe someone else doesn't feel they need them any more and is ready to strike out on their own...

Of Course, RuneWars could be a massive failure, it may not find its' target demographic at all.  I'm not too sure that'll be the case though, and if this game is supported in the way the likes of X-Wing and Imperial Assault have been in the past I suspect GW could get very nervous indeed...