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.
Over the last few weeks, Jack and I have been playing Battle Companies during our lunch break.
In Battle Companies you start off with a handful of rank and file miniatures which you develop over a number of games. I have been playing Arnor and have 4 Warriors of Arnor and three Rangers in my Battle Company. Jack has been playing Isengard and fields five Uruk Hai.
Today’s scenario was called 'Heirlooms of Ages Past'. We placed an objective counter in each table quarter. These represented potential sites for buried treasure.. One of them had an 'X' on the bottom that indicated that it was the actual treasure. We set up using the 'Maelstrom' set up rules. We took turns nominating a model and rolling a D6. On a 1 the miniature had not arrived yet and would roll for entry on subsequent turns. On a 6 the player can choose where to deploy the model. On a 2-5 the figure is deployed in the table quarter that matches the 2-5 dice markers that can be seen in the photograph above.
I deployed my Ranger leader and lieutenant last. Luckily they got to deploy in a good defensible position close to a potential treasure site.
Luck was definitely with the forces of good today. Arnor won the priority roll, my leader moved up to check the potential treasure site and it was indeed the treasure.
In Isengard's first turn, Jacks Uruk's charge the two warriors of Arnor and the Ranger, but the fight ends with no wounds caused.
One of the good features of 'Battle Companies' is that it can be played in a small space with minimal investment in miniatures. This is our gaming area at work. We have four Sally 4th Terra-Former blocks that we have modelled as cliffs and caves and this provides a compact 2' square gaming area that can be rearranged into different configurations. Each board has eight embedded rare earth magnets to hold the boards tightly together and prevent 'continental drift' mid-game. Click here to find out more about Terra-Former terrain.
Eventually, after a few hard fought combats, weight of numbers lead to Arnor gaining the advantage and fighting with supporting spearmen.
Eventually the Uruk leader is cornered and brought down and the last Uruk fails his courage test and flees leaving Arnor in possession of the field of battle and the treasure. Both sides gain experience for enemies defeated in combat. When a model has defeated five enemy (over a number of games), they become eligible for an upgrade. Arnor also gained 6 Gold pieces (the campaign currency), three for winning a game and a bonus three from the buried treasure.
Last week I played the first game of the campaign to try out the characters and the Pulp Alley solo deck mechanism.
Here's an overview of the Sunnydale Cemetry location. All off the game boards are built on Sally 4th Terra-Former terrain tiles which include some strong rare earth magnets mounted in the sides to hold them together during play. The iron railings and gravestones are from the excellent Renendra range.
This game was played using the Pulp Alley Solo Deck. This is a great addition to the game. It replaces the normal Fortune Deck and goes a long way towards proving an intelligent opposition in solo play. Instead of drawing Fortune Cards the first three characters to activate each draw a Solo card and work out the effects. Some effects are the same as plot point challenges, others are like an opponent playing a fortune card on you to prevent running or shooting and some are positive effects. The deck worked very well and did a great job in preventing the predictability that could spoil a solo game.
The major plot point for this game was a pair of innocents foolishly drawn towards the cemetery for a romantic meeting. The clues to their whereabouts were a rucksack, high school text books, a piece of jewellery and a disturbed grave. We were playing the trail of clues scenario, so each league had to have solved two minor plot points before they could go for the major plot point.
This was my league, Buffy, Willow, Giles and Xander.
I'd prepared an encounter table with 5 different league compositions. I rolled a 9 for the opposition which meant Buffy would be facing a Vampire Lieutenant, a Veteran Vampire, three Vampire Minions and a Newly Sired Vampire.
So... on to the action!
Oh dear... not the best start for our Slayers career! Lets hope she does better in the recovery mission.
However, it was a great sucess for the Solo Deck. It was the first time I'd used it and it played really well. No where near as good as playing with a real opponent, the banter was very one sides and stilted, but better than no Pulp Alley on those occasions that you have not got a real opponent.
Further Information, (click the links to find out more)
Last night Doug and I had a great game of Combat Patrol.
The scenario was Brandenburger Coastal Raid, the first scenario in the Bolt Action Campaign Sea Lion book. This scenario sees a small raiding party of Brandenburg commandos landing by Sturmboat on a section of the South East coast with the aim of destroying a British HQ in preparation for the main Operation Sea Lion landings.
We played the scenario using Buck Surdu's Combat Patrol rules. These are a set of skirmish level rules that use a great activation system and innovative card based combat mechanics that avoid the use of lengthily charts and look ups. We simply selected 500pts each of troops (and fortifications) using the Bolt Action campaign book and then translated them to Combat Patrol units.
The British HQ was based in 'The George and Dragon', a quaint English sea side public house next to the river estuary. Before the war it had been a popular tourist destination with well appointed guest rooms and a finely stocked cellar. Trade has dropped off recently, but the local LDV platoon have been using the down stairs snug as their command post as it is conveniently situated between the two pill boxes that provide the strength of this areas defences.
British reinforcements (Old Soldiers) move up into position, through the pub car park, (which is empty, due to rationing...there is a war on, after all).
Doug's Sturmboat's eventually all 'hit the beach'. A couple of them seemed to have developed engine problems and experienced a delay, enabling the Vickers MMG in the pill box to 'brass them up'.
The LDV volunteers in the pill box put up a plucky resistance but suffered a number of stoppages before being over ran. The Brandenburgers concentrated their efforts on neutralising this pill box; First suppressing it with weight of small arms fire before placing two satchel charges to blow a hole in the concrete. The first one was a dud; the second blew a spectacular hole in the wall, allowing the dastardly Hun to assault its bespectacled defenders.
The conclusion was a winning draw to the British LDV. The Germans had been successful in neutralising the Pillbox which was their secondary objective, but had not destroyed the HQ building which had been their primary objective. After suffering heavy casualties on the beach and seeing the British reinforcements taking up position behind the stone walls, the German commander decided to withdraw and return with stronger conventional forces.
The terrain was built using Sally 4th Terra-Former terrain boards - 12" tiles with rare eath magnets to hold them together and a wide range of profiles for beaches, hill, rivers etc. Click here for details.
The pill box's, dragons teeth and other fortifications are from Sally 4th Operation Sea Lion range.
The latest 28mm modern AFV kit to be released by Sloppy Jalopy is the Soviet T-62 MBT.
The kit was cleanly cast, and very straight forward to put together. Their was a very thin film of resin between the wheels that was easily cleaned up with a hobby knife and a small file.
After gluing the tracks to the hull, the next thing to do is to glue the Turret Mountings to the hull as shown to either side of the turret apeture.
The only other pieces to be added to the hull are the optional supplementary fuel drums which are glued in place as shown.
The pieces that combine to make the turret include the hand rails, hatches, searchlight, machine gun and gun barrel.
The mounting holes for the handrails are cast in the turret, but I found it better to open these up a little with a pin vice to get a more secure fit. While I did the pin vice out I also drilled into the end of the main gun.
Once the glue had dried, I sprayed the hull and turret seperately with some spray primer. As I had some I used Dunkelb Yellow as I planned to paint my T-62 as in Syrian rather than Soviet service.
The tank was very easy to paint. In fact I only used 3 colors and 1 ink.
1.Vallejo VAL819 Model Color - Iraqi Sand was painted over the whole model apart from the tracks, leaving the darker 'Dunkelb' spray viable in recesses.
2.Vallejo VAL863 Model Color - Gunmetal Grey was painted on tracks, machine gun and front of searchlight.
3. Army Painter Soft Tone Ink was watered down and painted over the whole model including the tracks with a large soft brush to shade and add contrast
4. Vallejo VAL976 Model Color - Buff was drybrushed over the hull, turret and wheels with a large drybrush concentrating on the raised detail.
Finally I brushed some MIG weathering powder 'Gulf War Sand' over the model, particularly the tracks to dull the finish down and weather it in.
The Sloppy Jalopy T-62 kit has just been added to our web site and will be available from us at the wargames shows that we attend.
After meeting at Salute some months ago, Sally4th and NonSense were immediately impressed with each other’s ranges and thought that it would be great to collaborate.
Sally 4th has a great range of modern building interiors in their Terra-Block range and Nonsense have some nice miniature gangs and SWAT teams to populate them together with a set of skirmish rules, Death Valley to bring them together. Death Valley is an easy to learn set of rules, inspired by the ‘Doorkickers’ computer game that will provide a great game using a handful of gang or SWAT team figures together with some detailed interior terrain.
It is great to be able to work together to bring a collaborative gaming vision to the tabletop.
Click here for free download of Nonsense - Death Valley Rules
Click here to take a look at Terra-Former Kick Starter where we have combined deal on Miniatures / Terra-Blocks / Bunker Tile
A couple of weeks ago, Lewis and I had our first game of Congo, Adventurers in the Heart of Africa by Studio Tomahawk. We both really like this 'super-skirmish' style of game with 30-50 miniatures per side, great terrain and a bit of a story line. We had previously played quiet a bit of Death in the Dark Continent so I easily rebased some figures from multi-figure bases onto individual bases using Sally 4th Clear Perspex bases.
For our first game we played 'The Treasure of Makoko Mbe' with 70 point columns, to get the hang of the games system.
This scenario sees two groups, an Archaological Expedition and a group of Antique Dealers from Zanziba searching for the lost treasure of the last king of Teke which is buried at a sacred site in the centre of the table and guarded by some fanatical warriors.
Our intrepid explorere cautiously advances through the jungle accompanied by a unit of Askaris and Ruga-Ruga.
Meanwhile the Zanzibaris and Ruga-Ruga from the Antique Dealers Column explore some dangerous terrain. Each time a group enters some dangerous terrain, a role is made on the dangerous terrain table to see what happens, some events are beneficial, for example loot is found, many more are 'dangerous', as one would expect. In this particular scenario their is a hidden clue marker in each piece of dangerous terrain that indicates which table corner the group can exit with the treasure.
The treasure is hidden within the sacred site at the centre of the table which featured the sacrificial pit and totems and was guarded by four sacred warriors.
The Archelogical Expedition included a group of Soldiers. These are a usefull troop choice as they are armed with rifles rather than muskets so do not need to spend a turn re-loading and ignore the effect of shooting stress tokens.
The jungle is represented by terrain pieces which are either 'high' or 'low' terrain, which defines if they block line of sight or not, and 'dangerous' or impenetratable'.
Congo is typically played on a 4' x 3' (120cm x 90cm) gaming area. We have used 12 Terra-Former boards to make our gaming area. These are terrain boards made from polystyrene within a MDF box with strong rare earth magnets to hold them together during a game.
All measurments are made using measuring sticks which are small, medium or long. Small is used for movement, medium for thrown weapons and long for bows and firearms. Card movement sticks are included with the rulebook. The measuring stick shown is made from White Perspex and is from Sally 4th's Congo Accesory range.
Congo uses a rather elegant shooting mechanism. Each troop type has a different dice to represent their training (D6, D8, D10). 5+ is a success. The defender rolls a 'save' depending on the thickness of the cover that they are in. They can elect to 'go to ground' when shot at which gives them an extra save dice, but at the cost of having to take a stress token. The soldiers in the photo have 'gone to ground' and we can see that they have drawn a 'movement stress' which reduces their mobility. Card tokens are supplied with game. Token shown is an engraved token from Sally 4th's Congo Tokens.
Lewis played the Archeologists and made it to the sacred site with his Askaris and dispatched most of the sacred warriors but failed to find the buried treasure.
We had a great time playing the game, which was won by Lewis, but neither of us managed to dig for the treasure so will have to return with larger columns shortly. We really enjoyed the game which has lots of innovative mechanisms and great scenarios which are so much more interesting than games that are just about lining up and shooting the opposition. We liked it so much that we played another scenario from Congo in the afternoon, which I will write up soon!
Click here to take a look at our Congo store that includes Congo game rules, miniatures and gaming accesories.
On Sunday Lewis and I had a game of one of our favourite miniatures games, Mantic's 'The Walking Dead - All Out War'.
I choose a themed group of survivors based around the Grimes Family, Rick, Lori and their son Carl together with the loner Michonne. Lewis went for a group led by Patrick, backed up by Shane (who had obviously left the Atlanta camp when Rick had reappeared, unable to contain his jealousy).
The game started, as is normally the way with both sides trying to collect as many of the easy to reach supplies as they could, while avoiding a nasty death from the walkers. By the time the threat level made it to high, Rick's group had collected 5 supplies and Patricks group had collected 2. At this point events took a dramatic, 9and for me unexpected) turn....
I could not believe this turn of events. Dramatic, and a good story line maybe, but shooting Lori down in cold blood in front of her husband ans son for a couple of bags of groceries! How low can you get? Lewis reasoned that it was the end of the world and my characters dropping those supplies turned the game around from a 6-2 win to me to a draw!
We both had a fantastic time, TWD is definately in our top 5 games, so highly recommended.
The miniatures have been rebased onto Sally 4th Clear Bases, click here for details.
Almost forgot, we designed some handy new measuring sticks that we tried out for the first time in this game and they worked very well.
They are made from 3mm clear perspex and have a handy cut out that fits around a 25mm base for easy and accurate measuring.
We have just released our 28mm pillbox range to prepare for the release of operation Sealion by Bolt Action. These are made from layers of 3mm MDF so when built has a wooden look to it. As they were built from concrete during World War Two we painting and te4xtured them to give them a more realistic look.
For this you will need Sandtex masonry paint, which you are able to buy from any DIY shop. An added bonus is that they come in tester pots so you don’t need to buy a big galleon can from the shop. You will also need an old brush to dry brush, and another old brush for PVA glue and some sand.
Step 1: Coat the pillbox in a thin layer of PVA glue around the pillbox. Avoiding the door and the top of the pillbox.
Step 2: Then sprinkle the sand over the pillbox trying to keep it away from the door hinges so it can still open and shut. Also on the inside of the pillbox keep the top of it sand free so that the pillbox roof can still fit it.
Step 3: Once dried we use a chocolate masonry paint to undercoat the pillbox. We recommend using water to thin the paint first so it's not to thick and can get in between the sand,
Step 4: We then use “Mid Stone” masonry paint and dry brush the pillbox. To dry brush put a small amount of paint on the brush then using some old card/paper towel get rid of any excess. Then lightly brush the pillbox so the raised areas get painted.
Step 5: Then we use an “Ivory Stone” masonry plaint for the final dry brush on the pillbox to complete the concrete look.
This is a nice and easy technique to paint the pillbox even for beginners. It took me about 30mins to do one pillbox form start to finish. Hopefully this guide will help you get the realistic pillbox look for yours. This technique can also be used for other modern buildings to get the look of concrete.. I’m currently working on some African buildings, for these I’ll need to a dry dirty look so in my next post I’ll take a look of weathering techniques.
For further details see: WW2 British Pillbox
The May 2017 issue of Wargames Illustrated includes a Falklands War sceanrio using Combat Patrol WW2 Skirmish rules plus the free downloadable Falklands War supplement.
Here, Buck Surdu, author of Combat Patrol gives as an introduction to Combat Patrol.
Combat Patrol™: World War II is a set of World War Two skirmish rules featuring unique mechanics that provide a streamlined, intuitive experience. Cards are used for unit activation as well as combat resolution and morale, eliminating the need for consulting numerous charts and tables.
Players typically play the role of a platoon commander. At the beginning of each turn players roll a six-sided die for each officer and NCO. This is their activation number for the turn. Cards are drawn from the Activation Deck to determine the order in which teams activate. Under certain conditions, leaders may swap command dice with their subordinates to give players a little more control over their forces. The use of the command dice and the Activation Deck usually allows several players to be acting at the same time. When a team activates, the figures within the team may move, shoot, reload, un-stun, or perform other actions. While a figure can only perform one action per activation, the figures within a team can perform different actions, in the order desired by the player.
The heart of the game is the Action Deck. Each Action Deck contains fifty cards that look like those in diagram below.. These are multi-functional and are used to resolve small arms, anti-tank and indirect fire, melee, and morale tests. It looks like there is a lot of information on the cards, but after you have played a couple of turns of a game you focus on the appropriate part of the card, and they provide a fast and streamlined mechanism. Small arms fire, for example is a two-stage process; first we identify if we have hit a target then we identify the results of that hit. Like in real life, fire is directed against a target area rather than a particular unit. All of the usual tactical modifiers are incorporated in the system, such as training, range, and whether the target or shooter are moving.
To resolve a shot, the player draws a card and consults the hit indicator section of the card., looking at the symbol that corresponds with the accuracy of the firing figure. Shifts to the right are applied for tactical modifiers such as range to target. If the resultant symbol looks like a bullet hole, the shot was a hit; if the resultant symbol is a dark circle, the shot was a miss. When a hit is indicated, the shooter draws another card and consults the middle section of the card to determine which figure in the target area was hit, whether he was wounded or incapacitated, and whether the figure that was hit is protected by cover. Cover is represented explicitly. If the figure hit by the shot is behind a tree or in woods and the tree icon is on the card, the cover protected the target figure and instead of being wounded or incapacitated, it is stunned, or ducks back behind the cover. Fire is conducted into an area, not at a specific figure. In this way, players may not snipe at key figures. Firing into an area in other systems sometimes creates ambiguous situations in which some of the target figures are in cover and some are not, so what modifier is applied? In Combat Patrol™, if the randomly selected figure is behind cover and that cover icon appears on the card, the figure is protected. Once players get used to the unique method of conducting fire in Combat Patrol™, shooting is resolved very quickly.
Any time a figure is hit, even if cover saved the figure, the unit accrues a morale pip to represent the effects of coming under effective enemy fire. When a unit activates, it must make one morale check for each morale pip accrued. Players do this by drawing a card from the Action Deck for each morale pip and reading the bottom portion of the card. Once all morale pips have been removed, any figures in the team that did not move or fire as a result of the morale check may then perform actions as normal.
One of the attributes for each figure is Reaction. This is used to interrupt enemy movement and is a simpler mechanic than the opportunity fire rules in many other systems. When enemy figures move through a figure’s arc of fire, it may make a reaction test. This is done by drawing a card from the Action Deck and consulting the “hit randomizer.” If the result is less than the figure’s Reaction attribute, it may fire at the moving enemy; otherwise, it may not. Since there should be some risk, a “roll” of 5 not only means the figure was unable to react, but it is also pinned. The figure fumbled or froze.
On April 1st I attended a GBHL tournament in Ripon called “Of Dice and Men”. There were 20 people attended the event using the same scenarios as the Grand Tournament. However the catch with “Of Dice and Men” was that the warbands increased to 24 warriors per warband, monsters limited to one for every 10 warriors and everyone got a free Alfred from the old rulebook.
My army for the weekend was that of Spiders. I took Druzhag, Ashrak, Shelob and the Spider Queen leading 26 venombacks, 2 Mirkwood spiders and batswarm.
For my first game I played Louis Aplin and his Dwarf army led by Thrain for a game of domination.
With the Deployment set it looked like the Spiders were greatly outnumbered. Luckily due to the heavy density of terrain on the board, I was able to make use of the bottlenecks to stop the spiders getting swarmed by dwarfs.
Thrain led the charge to try and secure the centre point from Shelob. However she got enraged by Druzhag and killed Thrain and held back the dwarfs. While the spider queen and some helping spiders came from behind the dwarfs line and started to kill them, and the vault wardens also started to suffer from the spiders killing them quickly. However, on the other flank, the dwarfs led by a siege captain were starting to wound the spiders. I was slowly running out of the wound counters I brought to keep track of all the 2 wound models.
As the game drew to an end, the siege captain and his flank of dwarfs reduced in numbers made it to the centre. W hen we worked out the VP’s in turned out to be a draw.
Game 2 was “To the Death” and I played against Matt Weilding and his Isengard army. It was berserkers backed by 2 pikes and crossbows. With a Gollum and the ring.
As it was modified for GT we could deploy anywhere in our half. He set up near the edge of the board and tried to get a few rounds of shooting off and killed a few spiders.
When the spiders met the Uruks they unfortunately did not last long, however an enraged Shelob managed to get a 12” hurl off and threw him through the mob of Uruks forming around the poor spiders. Luckily I had a lot of prone markers as many were hit but failed to kill many of them. The low defence of the Spiders meant his 4-attack line was able to beat me. I ended up losing my second game. The Spiders First outing wasn’t going to plan.
My 3rd Game was against JT. He had a Mordor list led by the mouth of Sauron and 3 Orc Siege Bows. The scenario was Hold Ground, which meant maelstrom deployment.
Luckily for me I managed to deploy my army close and in cover of the siege bows, except Shelob who deployed on the other side and had to walk across the board to meet the army.
My first priority was the to kill the siege bows and then try to secure middle. After the first bow fell I sent 4 spiders across the board to hit the second, while my spiders fought a fierce battle to the centre. After managing to break through and get a few spiders to the centre the orcs fell slowly. Shagrat War Leader was heading towards Ashrak (my general) and his 2 spider bodyguards. Luckily as the flanks fell more spiders were coming to the centre.
The Mouth Of Sauron and some orcs trapping him charged one Spider, but somehow he managed to win the fight and kill The Mouth Of Sauron. Meaning that he was broken and the orcs started to flee when courage tests were done.
The game ended and I had more models in the centre and due to protecting my General so I won the game.
So at the End of Day 1, I had 1 win, 1 loss, and a draw.