This area of the website is my hobby blog, it contains articles about games that I have enjoyed playing together with paining and model making articles.
Rebasing miniatures onto clear bases.
We always get lots of question about how to go about rebasing miniatures on clear bases, so I felt it was about time I put a hobby article to show how easy it is. We've been rebasing miniatures onto Clear Perspex Bases for about six years now, and they have always been very popular. The big benefit of mounting miniatures on clear bases is that the miniature will match whatever terrain it happens to be standing on. This is not a problem if you paint miniatures for display purposes only, in which case a nice diorama base is a great addition to display the figure in its surroundings. However, most of us paint miniatures to use on a gaming table and the same miniature might be placed in a field, on a road, on a beach or inside a building and it always looks a bit odd when you have figures inside a warehouse for example surrounded by a circular mini garden!
Some figures are easier to rebase than others. The easiest figures to rebase are the ones on slotta-bases which snip of very easily. This article is going to look at rebasing a metal miniature cast on the traditional plinth.
Using a pair of side snippers (mine are a very old pair of GW clippers), snip either side of the insdide of the feet.
Once you've removed the metal between the feet, use your side clippers to remove the metal from around the outside of the feet as well.
You will then be left with a 'V' shapped wedge under each foot, which is easily removed by turning the clippers 90 degrees and clipping across each foot.
Use a file to level off the underside of the feet.
Put a drop of superglue under each foot, place the miniature for a second on a piece of paper to remove the excess glue and then place on to base.
I remove the base after cleaning up the miniature with a file and knife put before painting and undercoating. I glue the miniature onto an old mdf 'painting base', paint and varnish the miniature before prising off, recleaning the underneath of the feet with a file and remounting on a clear perspex base. This ensures the clear base is in top condition with no paint or scratches on it.
Sally 4th clear perspex bases come with a protective film on the top and bottom to prevent scratching or scuffing during manufacture or transport, so always make sure you have peeled these off before sticking your figure down.
On Friday night Doug, John and I got together for first playtest game of Richard Humbles 'Whiteout' Arctic survival rules.
Whiteout is a solo / co-operative play game of small team missions set in the Arctic Wastes where the environment is at least as big a threat as the opposition. A team normally contains 3-5 characters. Stats for common character types such as soldier, sniper, explorer are provided along with rules for generating your own unique characters with abilities and traits that you have chosen.
As this was the first game we had played, we decided to use the standard character types provided with the rules. My character was the explorer. His character card is shown below.
The character card has a box at each corner which represents what they can hold in their hands or carry in a rucksack. My character had the 'Pack Rat' trait so could carry an extra item in his rucksack. The team was also allowed to take two small, man hauled sledges. Each of these could carry 4 additional items. My explorer started the game with a Magnum, Knife First Aid Kit, Tent and Provisions. With hindsight, we should have taken far more provisions with us, as out on the ice things can go wrong and you can be holed up in a location for several days and without enough provisions morale & sanity soon start dropping.
The game makes use of three decks of cards for maximum replay value of the scenarios. These are the terrain, encounter and equipment decks. At the start of the game the explorers start on a single tile (either 10" or 12" square), when they cross the tile edge onto a new one the top card from the terrain deck is flipped and that type of terrain is laid out. The explorer is moved 1" onto the tile and the top card from the encounter deck is flipped. The first tile we moved into contained the wreck of a crashed aircraft. This could have provided shelter for 2 and a piece of equipment but would have triggered a close encounter if we had explored it. As we had just started out and had taken all the equipment we could carry we decided to skirt around it.
After crossing an expanse of open ice where we encountered a local dog sledge team, we moved on to discover an isolated hut. This looked like it could provide warmth and shelter until a polar bear lumbered into site from behind the hut’s steps.
The polar bear was dispatched with a number of shots from the team’s rifle and assault rifle before it could charge us. This provided 3 units of provisions which we proceeded to trade with the scientists that we found inside the hut for some local knowledge. This revealed three unexplored tile locations, including a handy vantage point.
Moving out from the scientist’s hut, we were ambushed by a lightly armed patrol of enemy soldiers. A fierce firefight broke out, which we eventually won. Unfortunately, my character took a serious wound in the exchange and slipped into unconsciousness.
My comrades dragged me back into the explorer’s hut and we decided to hunker down there for the night. Despite the team’s best efforts to help me by spending provisions, I failed my night-time endurance check and failed to make it to morning.
As we were in a hut full of scientists, we decided that I could play one of those as a player character for the rest of the game.
Fate was however stacked against us. There are only 2 light patrol cards in the encounter deck, but when we moved out of the tile the next morning the second patrol arrived, and another firefight broke out. This time there were no fatalities on our side, but we took wounds and the psychological trauma of killing would take its toll when it came to the next nights sanity checks.
The following night saw us all weakened by the days exertions, when we were ready to move out the next morning we discovered that the satellite we had been sent to recover was in the next tile, but it had landed with in the enemies camp. The decision that we were all to weakened to attempt that encounter was unanimous, so reluctantly we admitted that 'Whiteout' had beaten us this time around.
However, the game had been a lot of fun, and we are very much looking forward to playing it some more.
Richard Humble's 'Whiteout' together with the Arctic Miniatures, vehicles, terrain and scenery are currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign that completes at 09:00 BST Monday 15th July.
A couple of weeks ago Lewis & I got together and played a couple of great games of Pulp Alley (using the 2nd edition rules).
As we are curruntly running a kickstarter 'Whiteout' that features miniatures, vehicles and terrain for gaming in the polar regions,, we decided that was where our Pulp Alley game should be set.
A cargo steamer The Reliant', chartered to carry some highly classified scientific equipment attempted to take a short cut through the 'North West Passage' before the pack ice closed up for the season. Unfortunately luck was not with the crew and the ice came earllier than expected and gripped 'The Reliant' in its chilling grip. Variouse competing scientific institutions have sent teams out onto the pack ice to retrieve it's cargo and today Dr Freinrich and Professor Yarlson have a rendevous with destiny onboard 'The Reliant'
We set up 3' square of Terra-Former modular terrain that included a Tramp Steamer trapped in pack ice as a center piece. The two areas of thin ice are dangerous terrain, so a peril must be overcome if moving over 6" on them. Rolling for scenario events I rolled up 'limited visability' so there must be a 'Whiteout' which limits shooting to 12" and Lewis rolled up and additional perilous area. This is represented by the four wolves at the side of the ship. We also decided that as it was so icy, climbing aboard was 'Perilous' and that the inside of the ship counted as cover and dangerous terrain as it was icy underfoot and there would be lots of cargo and furniture to provide cover.
We placed four minor plot points to represent clues, (tent, abandoned rucksac, and two supply markers). One of these clues had to be solved before attempting the major plot point (the scientific equipment).
I deployed my Sidekick, the harmless Assistant Walters' with a couple of Allies for protection on the mess deck of The Reliant. Lewis had taken a gang which he deployed on the Foredeck.
John Schmidt had been equipped with a long burst so he took up a covering position behind the mess deck forward door.
My leader, Dr Freinrich had early success, finding a clue inside the explorers tent. Lewis sent one of his Allies, Dawson over to try to slow him down.
Meanwhile, out on the ice pack, Lewis' sidekick Karl Johanson who was investigating the abandoned rucsack was horrified to run into the Yeti Boss (Level 3 Horror).
His leader, Professor Yarlson rushed to his assistance and managed to push it back to give Johanson a chance to escape.
Unfortunately the combination of the intense cold of the ice, the howls of the wolves and the ghastly apparition to his front, quiet unhinged him and he spent the next few turns rushing around in a 'Blind Panic'.
Eventually Dr Freinrich makes it to 'The Reliant'
A couple of weeks ago my son, Lewis came over to stay for a couple of days. We are both huge Pulp Alley fans, so of course planned to play a couple of new scenarios while we were together. I had just received the painted display miniatures back from the very talented Jon Atter for our new Ski Pursuit miniatures which are part of our Whiteout kickstarter which is running at the moment. The Ski Pursuit pack is based on one of my favourite Bond movies, 'The Spy Who Loved Me' which opens with some corny one liners and a high adrenaline ski chase.
We flipped a coin to see which league we would play. I got 'Bond' who is a single miniature 'Extraordinary Character; League. This is a new concept in the 2nd Edition Pulp Alley rules, you pay 5 points for the character and then can spend your remaining 5 points on either supporting characters or in this case on additional skills.
The KGB Assassins League was formed of four characters with the league perks 'Well Armed' and 'Tenacious'.
As usual for Pulp Alley the game was played on a 3' square table. Bond starts at one corner and to win needs to exit from the opposite corner (this is the major plot point). Four minor plot points were placed on the table, these represent places that Bond can perform a stunt (turn, fire weapon and do a backward flip etc.). Only Bond can attempt plot points. At the end of the game the KGB earn all plot points that have not been taken.
Lewis deployed 3 assasins at the top of the slope and the fourth at the bottom.
Bond gets off to a good start and heads to the first stunt location which he performs with style.
The assasins move into position and a fierce firefight breaks out, Bond returns fire and the first assasin bites the dust.
A fortune card allows Bond to deploy an unseen ally in contact with the enemy. This was a nice characterful touch, the ally took one of the assassins down but his comrade turns, shoots and takes him down.
Bond breaks away, and heads down the slope.
One of the assassins barges into Bond (fights a brawl), although Bond is good the multiple combat actions soon build up.
Bond makes excellent progress on the second last turn he even has time to do another stunt (resolve a minor plot point) and only has six inches to travel in the last turn to exit the table, picking up the major plot point.
However, Lewis and his KGB agents pull out all the stops and throw everything they have against him and he does not quiet make it. Bond takes two of the assassins down with him but does not recover. The KGB has one agent left on their skis at the end of the game, so Bond is taken prisoner!
We were unsure how this game would play. Would it be unbalanced with an 'Extraordinary Character', or would it be dull with just one character to activate? We did not need to worry, as usual with Pulp Alley, the balance was spot on, we both had a really enjoyable game, it was very exciting, and the game could have easily gone both ways right up to the last turn. Bond had gained two minor plot points which meant the KGB had the major and two minor plot points for a convincing win.
The July 2019 issue of Wargames Illustrated contains a five-page article that I wrote about one of last year’s terrain building projects, building a demo board for Lucid Eye's Red Book of the Elf King miniatures game. Red Book of the Elf King (RBEK) is a game that really caught my attention and we have had a whole lot of fun playing the game within my gaming group and at shows. The rules were written by Rick Priestley (who also wrote Warhammer, WH40K, Bolt Action, Warmaster, Black Powder, Hail Caesar and many more). There do seem to be new fantasy skirmish rules every month but RBEK is refreshingly different. Set during an Elvish Civil War most forces are Elven (although supplements introduce Mortals & Trolls), each faction fields a leader (Thane) and 3-6 units of 3 figures (Companions).
As Sally 4th is the official show stockist for Lucid Eye we wanted to build a great looking, easily transportable game to take to shows.
The 4' square gaming area is constructed using Terra-Formers, a modular terrain system built using kits that build 1' square and 2' square terrain tiles with a wide range of profiles for rivers, streams, cliffs, hills, roads etc. and a design that incorporates strong rare earth magnets to hold the tiles together to align features perfectly and prevent in-game drift.
The article in Wargames Illustrated details the build, step by step in great detail and is a useful guide for anyone else embarking on a modular terrain project.
Some of the features that I included were a waterfall cascading into a rock pool. The water in the pool is poured embedding resin, the waterfall is formed over a strip of clear plastic and ripples are formed from silicon sealer.
The 2' square board features some wooded areas and a rocky depression. Rocks are formed from cast plaster of Paris, cast in Woodland Scenic moulds and sculpting using a reinforced plaster material called 'Sculptamould'.
I like to build as many features as possible on 1' square tiles, as I have found that this offers the maximum flexibility for rearranging to make different layouts, however I decided to build a 1'x2' stream section as I wanted the stream to naturally flow around a rocky outcrop. The 2' x 1' tile was built by combining sides from both a 1' square and a 2' square tile.
Trees are mounted singly on 40mm diameter bases and rings were built into the groundwork to hold the tree bases so that they blend in with the landscape.
In the Sally 4th bridges range we have a nice lattice work bridge (in two widths) that I felt complemented the setting, so this was included with an indentation in the groundwork for a natural looking placement.
I thought it would be nice to include a cave, maybe the home of a cave bear or lion. The cave is built using a standard corner hill Terra-Former module. The front face has an opening carved away from the polystyrene before the front is built up with plaster rock castings and Sculptamould.
Terra-Former Photo Gallery - lots more photos of modular terrain for RBEK and all sorts of other games.
Terra-Former How To Videos - Videos showing you step by step how to build modular terrain boards
Terra-Formers - main catalogue page
Red Book of the Elf King - rules & miniatures
Clear Perspex bases - because someone always asks about the bases we use to help the miniatures blend in with the landscape!
The Wobbly Goblin Tavern... a terrain project for D&D and fantasy skirmish games such as Saga Age of Magic, Thud & Blunder, Otherworld, Badgers & Burrows and Lord of the Rings.
This blog is going to chart the development of The Tavern and its surrounding enviroment. The tavern and accesories are all 3D printed. They are going to be set into modular terrain tiles, (Sally 4th Terra-Formers) and landscaped in with laser engraved cobblestones and other scenic effects.
A couple of years ago I backed Hobgoblin 3D's Kickstarter for the Wobbly Goblin Tavern. Their Kickstarter was the deal of the century £15 for the files to make a 3D Tavern of immense proportions (well at least 20" long). The Kickstarter took a long, long time to deliver but the results were certainly worth waiting for. The tavern has been designed as a snap together kit with hundreds of pieces and an instruction manual that runs to 107 pages. I have glued my model together with superglue and once it has been painted it will be embedded into a 2' square Terra-Former tile.
I am planning tohave the Inn and the initial tile completed by the end on June 2019. After that I will expand the lgaming area to 3'x3' with the inclusion of outbuildings including stables and barn and some gardens and a courtyard area.
These first four photos show the ground floor which has been completed and base coated with household emulsion. I use Sandtex exterior masonry paint (Bitter Chocolate) as an undercoat and primer on all terrain projects. The floor and stone course has then been undercoated with 'Granite Grey' matt household emulsion.
I could not resist trying out my existing bar room furniture and fittings for size. These are a real mixture of frre 3D objects from Thingiverse, old metal and resin castings that I have had knocking around for years and some plastic pieces from board games such as Dungeon Saga and Conan!
The ground floor of the tavern has a very large common room area with a significant fireplace and chimney at one end. There is plenty of room for a bar in the centre and more tables at the far end. There is a seperate room on the ground floor, which I am going to use as the guest room for the 'posh' visitors who can afford to pay for a bed for the night rather than a blanket in front of the fire..
On the first floor is the accomodation for the Inn keeper, family and servants. I'll cover that and the roof sections in next weeks update.
Today is a huge milestone, as I have finally finished 3D printing and assembling the roof sections. Each of the 3 roof sections have 64 seperate tile sections which are suspended on a framework of 'A' frames in a very similar way to a real roof. This completes the build of the Inn itself, it just all needs to be painted. The wooden plank sectrions on the ground floor have been painted and have had two levels of drybrushing applied to bring out the texture of the wood. Hopefully you can see the difference between the staircase that has been painted and the first floor wood work which has just been undercoated.
Here's a look at the first floor accomodation with the roof off. I love the wooden veranda. I can see all sorts of swashbuckling swordplay going on along it!
I also decided that an Inn was going to need stabling for customers horses, so a did a bit of searching on the Internet and found this rather nice design for medieval / fantasy stables. The 3D design files are from Infinite Dimensions. It was not a company that I had heard off, but as the design file was in the region of £11 I thought that I would give it a go, and I am very pleased with the results. There are doors to go in the openings at the front, however the sides are open as well, so I get the feeling that horses would just wander out. I am therfore planning to add individual stalls and hay and water provision by hand to complete the equine provision.
If you've got stabling then you are also going to need some storage for hay, straw, oats etc. The thatched store room as also from Infinite Dimensions. When I brought it I noticed that it was a bit to big for my 6" wide print bed. I scales each piece down to 92% of original size. I think it is still plenty big enough and looks in scale with the other buildings and 28mm miniatures.
I do rather like the design of the store house. It has a lot of gaming potential. The thatched roof section lifts off to reveal a second floor / attic.
The first floor has a staircase going up to the second floor / attic and a door to an exterior platform which would be ideal for loading / unloading from wagons. The ground floor has some nice clutter designed in as part of the single piece and the external staircase leading up to the first floor.
I have decided that their will be a cobbled courtyard between the Inn and the outbuildings to tie them all together. To build this I have designed and laser cut / engraved some 1" square, 1" x 2" and 2" square cobbled sections. These have nice deep etching between the cobbles, so I am hoping that once they are embedded in the terrain boards and painted up they will blend well with the 3D printed elements. I could off course have 3D printed some 'Dungeon Tile' to use, but that would have added a couple of extra weeks of 3D printing time. The engraved tiles are not on website, but if anyone else needs them for a project, give me a shout and I'll see what I can do!
I have also decided on the final configeration on modular terrain tiles. The Inn will be 3' x 3' with it's out buildings. The main building is goiing to be set into a 2' x 2; Terra-Former Tile with a road running in front off it. The 2' tile will be edged to the right and at the back by five 1' x 1;' plain Terra-Former Tiles. Four of the 1' square Terra Former Tiles are going to have cobble stone sections embedded in them and the last is going to be left plain to have the Inns vegetable garden and Orchard moddeled on to it.
I'm hoping to get some more work done on this hobby project over the weekend, so check back next week for updates, or better still, sign up to our newsletter!
Last Sunday (12th May 2019) Yorkshire was blessed with sunshine and light winds so we took the opportunity to take our gaming gear and set it up on the patio to top up the vitamin D while rolling some dice and having fun.
These circumstances do not occur that often, so we need to make the most of them.
I was joined by Mike Wilson and Doug Wright for another great game of Pulp Alley, using the new 2nd edition rules.
Doug and I are seasoned Pulp Alley veterans. It was the first time that Mike had played, although he had brough and read the rules last year.
The scenario was set in the world of Albedo, so each league was made up of Anthropomorphic Genetically Engineered Life Forms (or critters) for short. Since the critters developed memory and self awareness there society has been fixated on finding answers to the fundamental philosophical questions: Who are we? Why are we here? Who made us? For what purpose? This has been the catalyst for Albedo society’s quest for the stars. In this game three 'away teams' from competing factions have made planet fall on the planet Diazgon III to investigate a strange edifice from a departed civilisation, as sensors reveal that the most advanced life forms are primitive and aggressive Simians.
In Pulp Alley terms, the scenario played was 'Treasure Hunt'. Minor plot points were placed on the table to represent clues to how to unlock the doors to the mysterious tower where the ancient artifact was located. These were 6" in from the table and 6" away from other plot points.
The major plot point would be placed by the player whose character was the first to solve a minor plot point. To fit in with our story line, we decided that the Major Plot Point must be placed somewhere within the tower.
Scattered deployment was used to set up our Leagues on the table. Starting with the 'Director' each player takes turns placing one figure anywhere on the table (as long as they are at least 6" away from a plot point or enemy figure).
We decided that the large jungle areas, the rocky paths up the cliffs and the inside of the building were dangerous terrain which meant that they only became perilous if you ran (moved more than 6") through them. The patches of carniverous plants and the piranha infested river was perilous terrain, whatever speed you travelled through it!
The critters were surprised to find their investigations hampered by a tribe of belligerent simians. Although in the Albedo universe there are 165 species of genetically modified critters none of them are based on monkey’s apes or pigs. A little known piece of Albedo trivia!. The simians were played as wandering perilous areas. At the end of each turn a D8 was rolled to determine direction and distance for eacj model to be moved. If a character moved into or activated within a small blast template centrered on the model they had to pass a random peril.
My Otter heavy league comprised of Leader Kao Kazo, two Sidekicks Arka Chanlu and a cat character Felras Lacal and lastly another female otter ally called Aka Bowinmi. At the start of the game my league split with Felras heading to investigate a clue near the foot of the cliff and Kao and Arka heading for a clue at the front door of the tower. Not quiet sure what Aka is doing, but she seems to be attracting a lot of incoming fire from the other leagues.
Aka goes down, but she takes her assailant with her.
Felras turns away from the clue that he was investigating to return fire against the lappine who had opened up against him. Felras does not like to be disturbed. He uses his quick shot ability, sprays and prays with 5D6 and his prayers are answered. Bunny hits tyhe dust (and rolls down the cliff dramatically).
Meanwhile, the main action is going on at the front of the mysterious alian structure. Kao is struggling with the clue, he manages to get it half figures out. Arka moves up to help and to protect his back at Erma and some of her buddies are also trying to muscle in on the action.
At the far corner of the table, down by the piranha infested river Mikes Leader Charha (beret wearing fox) has discovered a clue and prepares to fend off a Simian attack. Dougs leader Zhdibo, unfortunately has got stuck in the Piranha infested river thanks to some mean Fortune Card play from Mike.
The action hots up outside the main doorway. As all of Mikes League (bar the leader, Charha) attempt to stop Kao from completing the clue.
Charha is assailed from all sides. Doug sends some of the supporting cast up to give covering fire to his leader as he battles with the piranha fish.
Felras had an unlucky moment... not only was the clue he had spent so long trying to solve a 'Red Herring', but Zhibo made it out of the river, joined forces with one of his followers Zhbo to gun down Felras in a hail of gunfire.
Felras pulled his act together and headed for the cliff where the new clue had appeared, taking out Zhbo for good measure.
However, before he could solve it Dougs Leader Zhdibo shot him in the back.
Meanwhile back at the tower, Kao had solved the clue, unlocked the door and ran up the stairs passing the perils on the way. The major plot point was in sight!
The closing scenes provided some unexpected twists. Mikes leader, Charnha proved to be a bit of a Ninja. pulling off a climb up the wall of the tower and squeeze through the window that stretched over two turns with accompanying perils. Charha was then blocking the route around the balcony to the plot point, so Kao was oblidged to leap across the gap. This peril was passed. A sniper also took a few shots at him before he eventually solved the puzzle to claim the major plot point, on the last activation of the last turn of the game!
Down at the entrance Arkha had been bravely defending his back for turn after turn, but was eventually felled im melee by the brutish Dean.
Here are the character cards for our Leagues. The top one is my League, led by Kao Kazo the Otter. The next League is Doug's led by a feline EDF officer, Zhdibo.
Mike's League led by the foxy ninja Charnha and co-starring the iconic Erma and Toki.
The character cards are all pre-generated Pulp Alley character cards. I took photographs of the miniatures, printed them and cut them up and then before we started the game, we drafted our leagues in a similar way that you would draught in a collectable card game. We started with leaders and went round the table in a clockwise direction taking it in turns to select a leader from the deck. We then draughted sidekicks going back around the table in an anti-clockwise direction until all the sidekick characters had been selected. This worked very well. As usual Pulp Alley provided a fun and exciting afternoons entertainment, with everything to play for right down to the last activations of the last turn.
All of the miniatures are from the Albedo Miniatures range.
The terrain boards are built using theTerra-Former modular terrain system.
Miniatures are based on Sally 4th clear bases.
The library / tower is 3D printed from a design available from Printable Scenery.
Last friday we had a playtest of our Albedo ACP164 participation game that we are putting on at Partizan next weekend, (Sunday 19th May).
We are very lucky as the game is being run by Mike Wilson who has written the ACP164 Source Book and Campaign Supplement. Mike has recently returned to the UK after living in Australia for the last 35 years, Mike has spent the last week staying with us which has given us the opportunity to get a wide range of games played.
Our Partizan game is called Block Wars. The action takes place within the confines of a single 'Hab Block' Each faction controls a single floor and are looking to increase their turf.
Their are 3 methods of teavelling between floors, and they each have their own perils.
Firstly, there is the main stairwell, unfortunately this is normally well guarded by some trigger happy critter, waiting to get a reaction shot off as soon as you are half way down the stairs.
The second option is the fire escape at the side of the building.
The third and most entertaining option is using a line with a grappling iron to either absail down to a lower level, or climb paw over paw to a higher level, and then leap over the balcony to melee who ever is in the reception party at a bit of a disadvantage.
Victory points are awarded for territory held, territory gained and eliminating the enemy characters who are equiped with the sinister suitcases.
We played the game through twice. As it is a participation game at a show, the plan is to play for an hour and then count up the victory points. The colored tokens represent rooms controlled by a particular faction. Mike, Doug and I had a great game and really enjoyed the scenario and look forward to sharing it with any one who is at Partizan on Sunday.
A wargame using the fourth (‘One Rule Book’) version of Games Workshop’s Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game, depicting an imagination of the seizing back of the Corsair port of Umbar from the last remaining forces of the dark lord Sauron’s army.
King Aragorn, Elessar, sovereign of the Reunited Kingdom of Gondor and Arnor, leads a mighty host southwards. Riding with him are his friends and allies from all the fair races of Middle-Earth – Elves, led by Prince Legolas of Ithilien; Dwarves, led by Prince Gimli of Aglarond; his kinsman and loyal Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth; King Eomer of Rohan, and two diminutive but brave Hobbits of the Shire, Knights of Rohan and Gondor. Borne by land and sea, the host has besieged the walled city-port of Umbar and prepared an escalade from the water and against the outer walls. Inside the city, the galley slaves – some of whom hail from the very lands now marching to liberate them – stand ready to rise up against their oppressors.
Facing them are the dregs of Mordor, the remnants of Harad and Rhun, the surviving Corsairs. Even trolls and half-trolls, their loyalty firm through dark magicks and habit, defend this last bastion of darkness. The Sultan of Umbar, the Fleet Lord of the Corsairs and other fell Men are torn between the desire to flee by sea to a new lair or to hold firm and fight, leaving behind tears in the camps of their enemies and songs of their great stand.
It was early in the Fourth Age, when the free and newly-liberated peoples of Middle-Earth set out to reclaim lands long lost to the forces of the dark lord Sauron. One such domain was the port of Umbar, far to the south of Gondor, that had once been a thriving possession of the mighty kingdom of men. As the realm faded, so evil crept in and for long has Umbar been a port rules by bandits and pirates. The infamous Corsairs have ravaged Gondor’s coastline for centuries until their demise at Pelargir in the last days of the Third Age but now the port is but a last desperate refuge for the minions of Sauron as they await their fate.
Nemesis approaches in the form of Aragorn, King Elessar, ruler of the reunited kingdom of Arnor and Gondor, come to bring this former jewel into the kingdom once more. Riding with him is King Eomer, ruler of Rohan and staunch friend and ally. Lending their support are Prince Legolas of Ithilien and Prince Gimli of Aglarond, once more competing in martial competition. A combined assault on the fortified port has been planned, with boats full of warriors crashing through the harbour entrance and a formal escalade over the city walls at the same time. A third front is planned with the revolt of galley slaves from their compound in the ruined Old City, still recognisable as Gondorian architecture amongst the sandstone dwellings of the Corsairs, aided by Swan Knights from Dol Amroth breaching the compound walls.
The defenders are a rag-tag bunch – survivors of the battles for Minas Tirith and Cair Andros, refugees from Mordor, bodyguards for fat sultans who sent others to do their bidding. With the troops having nowhere to run they prepare to sell their lives dearly, while rich merchants ready a large ship to break the blockade and flee.
The game started with ramps crashing down on the city walls and troops pouring onto the battlements. At the same time the fleet of boats made its way into the harbour. Two boats contained Dwarves, the speed of the rowers compensating for their short legs. Elves manned another craft, Legolas standing proud in the bow with his longbow and confident of outscoring Gimli, who needed a box to see over the hull! The final craft contained Aragorn himself, leading from the front as ever. No fool, his boat had a large crossbow in the bows to clear a path. Across the siege tower ramps Rohirrim and more Elves surged forward, with the gates breached by a mighty ram and ladders permitting more access to the walls.
The port was ever ready for a counter-attack, with high walls around the city and stretching out into the harbour. Orcs crewed Siege Bows in the towers, able to shoot massive bolts into man or vessel alike. Half Trolls and elite Haradrim warriors awaited the invasion on the jetties while Easterlings stiffened the line with their heavy armour and long spears. Ominously the dock managers had released cave and Mordor trolls from their usual duties of loading ships. With some clad in armour these brutes also awaited the forces of Light.
One Dwarves craft turned aside in order to clear the long breakwater but the other three vessels raced for the jetties. Prince Imrahil led his knights into the city, fending off rapidly-mobilising defenders but the ill-equipped galley slaves struggled against shieldwalls of Easterlings. Cave trolls guarded the shattered gates while heroes from Rohan and Ithilien strove to force them back. There were archers in profusion, with the Elves having accuracy and punch while Evil had the mighty Siege bows and poisoned tips. Those troops not engaged in hand-to-hand combat exchanged missiles and thinned the ranks of the reserves.
As is often the case, siege ladders proved more dangerous to those ascending than the defenders but progress was made from the ramp of the tower. The Dwarves were the first ashore and ran into the half-trolls with their multiple attacks and great strength. Gimli was soon beset but he loved being outnumbered. He was losing his combat score against Legolas when the latter was specifically-targeted by a visiting young general who disliked Elven princelings and shot everything he had at him! Fare well, Prince of the Woodland Realm.
The fiefdom troops continued to beat back all opposition, even as the slaves were pegged back, and Evil started to pull back deeper into the city. The surviving Elves intercepted the merchant ship before it could escape and cleared the main wharf of Corsairs. A vicious battle for the narrow bridge was won by Elrond’s sons but at a cost in time. Aragorn won his fights but the jetty was so congested that again progress was slow. The sun set and the battle ended with an inconclusive result on both walls and jetties, but the incursion of Prince Imrahil and the greater prowess of the great Heroes of the West would surely have prevailed.
Terrain is built using 12" square modular terrain boards using kits from Sally 4thTerra-Former Range
The Sultans Palace & surrounding Souks are from Exotic Locations Range
The Middle Eastern Style Buildings are from Outremer Range
Siege Towers, Battering Rams & Siege Ladders from Sally 4th Siege Range
Yesterday (28th April 2019), Doug and I had our first game of 'Seven Days to the River Rhine' the new 'Cold War gone Hot' ruleset published by Great Escape Games. Both Doug and I had played 1980's Cold War games before wusing Cold War Commander, WRG and Cold War Commander rules amongst others so we had the miniatures and the terrain all ready to go. Seven Days to the River Rhine (7DTRR) is a battlegroup level set of rules. A model vehicle represents a single vehicle and a stand of infantry represents a section of infantry or a support weapon such as Milan or a Mortar.
We played using 6mm miniatures, I think they are from Heroics & Ross, from several decades ago. We played on a 6' x 6' gaming area. I like 6mm scale for Cold War gaming as I feel it gives a good representation of troop density and ranges.
My cold war miniatures are mounted on 40mm square bases. Each bases has a 10mm x 40mm info strip on it that gives the type of unit, weapon and armour stats, breakpoint and morale values. I find that this helps to make the units stand out,. This is quiet important with small models that are camoflaged to blend in with the surrounding terrain. The bases is also used as reference point for the direction that unit is facing and arcs and flanks.
The mission was quiet ambitious for an introductory game. 2 QUEENS Battlegroup were tasked with holding the two towns (top left). To achieve this mission they fielded 2 Platoons (6 bases) of Infantry, 1 Troop of Chieftan 5 (3 x MBT), 2 x Milan Posts, 2 x Stricker & 1 x Scorpion from Brigade Recce.
3 Guards Motor Rifle Regiment had a primary objective of capturing the towns with a follow on objective of capturing the road exit points. To achieve this they deployed a Motor Rifle Company (10 x Infantry mounted in BTR70) and a Tank Company (10 x T72A) with a Platoon on Regt Recce (3 x BRDM).
2 QUEENS Battlegroup OC located his command post in main town. Armoured element deployed at front edge of woods. Infantry and Milan posts dug in around edges of wood and built up areas across the Battlegroups frontage.
One of the key strengths of 7DTTRR is its command pool / activation mechanism. Each fighting element in your force (apart from attach helicopters) gives you a command point. Both sides role off for initiative. The winner goes first. You spend a command point to activate a unit or to perform a morale check. The first activation of a unit happens automatically. You can attempt to activate a unit multiple times, but for each subsequent activation the unit needs to roll more than the number of command tokens already allocated to that unit. In this case, the Chieftan to the left would need 3+ and the one on the right 2+ on a D6 to activate. Once you declare an activation, your opponent can spend a command token to attempt to interupt. There chance to do this is dependent what they are reacting to and how many tokens they have. This is rolled on a D6. a 6 is always a success and also makes you the active player.
In order to be able to play the game I made myself a set of NATO & WARPACT Command and hidden deployment tokens, which I have added to our tokens & templates page in case anyone else is interested in them.
3 GUARDS MRR advanced on 3 axis with a platoon of tanks in lead followed by infantry in APC's. This attack is looking stalled. First two T72's are destroyed and the 3rd has two morale markers on it. When you fire against an enemy target you roll to hit. This is based on quality of unit and tactical modifiers. If you hit you inflict a morale marker automatically as long as your weapon was capable of penetrating armor. You then roll a D10 and add your weapons penetration value. If your score is equal to armor the target gains maximum number of morale tokens, if it exceeds armor value the vehicle is destroyed.
On 2 QUEENS left flank heavy casualties are sustained by the relentless Soviet attack.
3 GUARDS MRR also suffer casualties, particularly when caught in the flank by a well sighted Milan detachment sighed on the spur of the hill.
Our first game ended with a marginal British win. The Soviet attack had suffered heavy losses and had not entered there primary objective.
Both Doug and I are looking forward to playing more of this game in the future. Our first game was pretty slow as there was a lot of rules reading, discussing and checking stats. The key part of the game is deciding when and how to spend your limited supply of command points to most influence the battle, and speed with this will come through playing the game.