Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Battle Report - 19 Aug 2019 - "Fog of War" (Pikeman's Lament)

It was too foggy to take photos :D The map of the initial
positions, however, is drawn in Wonderdraft. My units in red.
Club evening, and another round in the Pikeman's Lament campaign. An interesting scenario this - essentially two forces have been blundering around in the fog and bumped into each other. The set up was each side gets one piece of scenery, to place anywhere, and then 8 cards, on each of which they either write the details of a unit in their (24pt) force or some suitably anti-their-opponent slogan ("Death to Cromwell!", "For King and Country!"). Cards are placed facedown, alternately, anywhere in their own half of the table and no less than 6" from an enemy unit...

An interesting recipe for carnage, as it turned out. I wound up with a unit of gallopers on each flank, and two units of shot in the centre, one behind a wall, with some pikes behind one of the horse right out on the left. Probably fortunately, I got first activation. Cue the elite gallopers on the right advancing, rolling a double 6 for activation, and then getting another free activation, which sent them smack into Colin's dragoons. Which the latter didn't like. And liked the followup charge even less, departing the table, but leaving my gallopers wavering.

Meanwhile, in the centre, there was an exchange of fire after my shot moved up to the wall, which was largely inconclusive - my musketeers at the wall wavered a bit and fell back. On the left, Colin's trotters charged one after the other and were met by countercharges - and for once it wasn't me rolling dreadful dice: both bounced off, one after the other. And then it was my turn... ;D

Let's just say that when the dust settled one unit of (not veteran!) gallopers had pretty much done for two units of trotters, at some cost to themselves. My musketeers advanced back to the wall, more shots were engaged, and the pike rumbled forward and across into Colin's leftmost shot - that's the first time I've managed a charge with pike and it was kinda fun!

This being a campaign game, Colin wisely chose to withdraw and preserve his forces.

Thanks to Colin for being (as ever) a gracious and friendly opponent, and to Grahame for organising the campaign.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Battle Report - 18 Aug 2019 - "Bloody Omaha" at The Other Partizan

Loot haul - two blisters from Bad Squiddo Games (which are lovely and will see use soon!)

Spent most of the day (barring a couple of brief diversions) umpiring Bloody Omaha. An excellent day - one young gentlemen stayed pretty much all day and handled the bulk of the American attack.

We never got to wave 3, but by turn 8 the Americans had several breaches in the wire, having come under some pretty serious hammer early on - 2/3 of wave 1 was late, so the Germans had opportunity to concentrate their fire early on. The German artillery wasn't as effective as it could have been - partly Carl and I were swapping umpiring/running the Germans, and there was perhaps a lack of continuity for such things as 'are we walking the fire up the beach?'.

General Cota made it on in wave 2 (yes, I know he should be several beach sectors over, on Dog White, but Robert Mitchum in the rôle is a very iconic image and I couldn't resist :D) He led an advance up the western edge of the beach, almost directly at WN64 which was slow but being quite successful,..

Herewith a gallery with comments (largely me nitpicking, because the camera is unforgiving and it's my game and I can!):

All set up and ready to play. Newly watered marshes front and centre, as well as All The Beach Obstacles and some copious use of Woodland Scenics mid-green lichen. A no-prize if you can tell me what I forget to pack... (There are in fact two things.)
This is probably the one thing that really bugs me about the game that isn't fixable - the board joins. Sadly because of wear and tear and in some cases slightly out of tolerance boards, they can be very visible, even though we hide them with lichen and barbed wire, That said, the original plan was always a modular board (and we do reuse some of the hills in other games), so the square tiles and 'stepped' look are a deliberate design choice. Also, I need to glue the wire on to the barbed wire bases so it sits flatter on the ground.
Flames of War LCV(P) with passengers. I should retouch a couple of helmets but on the whole they've pretty evocative: I would very much like if Battlefront redid the castings when they announce the Higgins boat for the new late war range, as they are a bit scuzzy and a swine to get a brush in the gaps, even more so when you can't easily spot what's what on the casting!
Need to retouch the bases on the mine stakes tp match the shallows rather than the deeper water. Usefully it's AP Army Green, I think, so easy to match... 
An LCV(P) gets hit on its way in... Rob suggested a few floating body markers (and I thought I was obsessive!) :D  It's a good job I have two packs of those explosion markers as as far as I can tell neither of the folks I bought them from still make them! 
I love this shot - taken low over the hills at the back of the table, it almost hides the stepped contours of the board.  
A new addition for this game (in case you missed me rabbiting on about it) was photographer Robert Capa., who appears on wave 1 on one Higgins boat and must leave with one of the empty wave 3 boats. He's very much being portrayed here as the legend, rather than what might be the truth....
...customised from a PSC heavy weapons team guy...
He has a card in the deck. On an activation, he has three actions with which he can move 1d6 each, or use one or two to take a photograph (much like AFV fire in IABSM, a second action means he takes time to compose his shot...) We then roll 1d6, + 3 if aimed, plus 1-3 at the umpire's discretion for choice of subject (the player gets to say what he wants to photograph). Still tuning the numbers, but a total score of 50+ means he gets to keep his job, 100+ means he becomes a legend. -50 for missing the boat back to England (and thus his press deadline).

And just for giggles, we get an iPhone down to board level and 'take' the photo (and crop it and turn it B&W).

So, here's Capa's portfolio for the Magnum agency for Life magazine from The Other Partizan...  
We have the Capa version of this iconic shot on our banner for the game. Part of me is really tempted to have a Higgins boat modelled with its ramp down expressly for Capa... 
This is Capa's original... I also find myself wondering if I can find a small HD spy cam that would fit IN or on a 15mm Higgins boat :D And whether a backdrop behind the boards would look effective...
A BAR team from the Big Red One taking cover in the shallows. The team medic can be seen slightly out of focus right of centre. 
Big Red One rifle sections shelter under a ramp obstacle. 
German artillery plasters the beach - observe the elements of both the Big Red One and the 29th sheltering on the shingle below the sea wall while Capa himself takes cover behind a log ramp.
A mortar section of E company 16th RCT of the Big Red One takes cover behind a 'Czech hedgehog'.  Ahead, engineer elements of E company are attempting to breach the wire protecting the exit from the beach.
So there you go. Thank you to everyone who played, came and said hi, or said nice things, to Carl, Rod and Rob for helping run the game, AndyM (as ever) for scenery, Rich Clarke for the original scenario, and thank you to the Other Partizan folks for inviting us!

Saturday, 17 August 2019

And packed....

Everything on yesterday's list done. Car packed. Tea and bed, I think. Probably to lie awake and wonder what I've forgotten :D

Higgins Boat passengers done.
And that's everything. Boards at back, then L-R assault boat sections with player clipboards on top, rest of figures and scenery, box of books, dice, tape measures etc and two pull-up banners at the front.
And it all fits in the car, with room for me and TWO passengers.

Friday, 16 August 2019

Packing for The Other Partizan

I've spent too long staring at code today, so I've put off the last of the painting of bazooka teams until tomorrow. However, this does mean I've had time to pretty much finish sorting and tidying everything else, base a couple of stands of LCVP passengers and actually make some more beach ramps.

Still to do tomorrow: paint the last details, base and label the remaining bazooka teams, paint and base the Higgins Boat passengers, print off the rest of the player handouts, the relevant pages of the original scenario, and a couple of 'boat sections go ashore in THIS order' sheets, find some more D8s (I know I have loads in the Deadzone box), lay the scenery boards out just to check I'm not mussing anything and then stack 'em, find the two pull up banners (one for the game, one club).

This is kind of what Bloody Omaha packs down to (except for the boards which will be in tomorrow's post).
First batch of Higgins Boat passengers. These are purely for the look of the thing, but I found them, so...
Hopefully Anne won't ask why we're short on kebab skewers. I honestly can't remember the last time we had kebabs, so...
Quick couple of minutes with a razor saw and file, superglued at the join, black Halfords primer, heavy zenithal dusting of AP Fur Brown. Lazy but effective.
Top box is all 18 boat sections (minus their bazooka teams), plus the Navy engineer teams, all the American Big Men (and sabot bases), and medics.
Bottom has what feels like several miles of barbed wire and minefield markers.
Reference library, rule book and QRS, big dice, shock and kill micro dice, pin and other markers, tape measures, scatter lichen, dice tray. 
Bottom layer, Higgins Boats (and eventually passengers), bunkers, beach ramp obstacles (15 - possibly need more but we're out of kebab skewers :D), custom activation deck (partly to pack the bunkers in and stop them bending their guns!).
Top layer, explosion markers, beach mine stakes (38 - probably enough now) and hedgehogs (22 - not enough), Sherman DD's.
Germnan mortar teams, small pillboxes, Tobruks and MG34 gunners, US kill markers (basically if a team gets really messily wiped out, their base gets replaced with one of those).
Empty tray for bazooka teams when they're done. (Note to self,. need to free up another 4L box).

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Beach obstacles - LOTS of beach obstacles

AndyM finally had a free evening today, so we managed to sort out the Omaha Beach obstacle
collection for Sunday - at least mostly. Problems to solve:
  1. Not enough mine stakes. Easily solved by the simple approach of Buying More the other week,
  2. The existing mine stakes were largely based on 2p pieces, and their paint had started lifting - repair and repaint time.
  3. Two broken ramps. Superglue.
  4. Not enough ramps. See solution 1. Also I may 3D print more tomorrow.
  5. Not enough hedgehogs. Nothing we can do about that before Sunday.
Also while Andy was repairing stakes, I got out all the boxes for Bloody Omaha and sorted through everything to track down what was missing or broken - found the one stray Tobruk MG34 gunner, found a spare barrel for one of the two 75mm bunkers (actually nicked off a PSC Marder III), fixed the two broken ramps, finally found the small MG nest, and touched up the chipping paint on the two Sherman DD's.

Oh, and the marsh is done.

All in all quite a good evening.

On with the show...

Yesterday - committee meeting, and some more figure painting. I *will* get those bazooka teams finished :D (Probably Friday, since Anne's off working as duty vet at the dog track all evening).

Just a cheery reminder that Hereward (sponsored by Footsore - yes, we have a free show figure!) is in two and a bit week, and it's by no means too late to buy advance admission, book a tabletop sale table, enter the X-Wing Tournament and/or enter our new painting competition (sponsored by ABC Brushes).

Whew. And today (see next post) it's back to prepping for The Other Partizan.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Another show business day - ho hum...

I may, though, note that I impressed myself by being a couple of weeks ahead in drawing up an almost-final show floor plan this evening :D (They're "almost-final" because there's no point in my renumbering the tables in order round the rooms more than once (it being a right royal pain in the neck to make sure I haven't missed one), so I'm saving that until just before I typeset the show guide at the end of August!)

Committee meeting tomorrow, but I may actually get back to getting some painting done as well.

Battle Report - 12 Aug 2019 - FreeFire

Another evening at the club helping playtest Rob's FreeFire skirmish rules with DaveB and Carl.

...would that be an ambush, then?
Partly a rules test, partly to see if the scenario's balanced for the show. For which I was sadly forced to conclude that either Dave and I roll awful dice, or the scenario needed tweaking... general consensus was the latter, but this is why we playtest.

"Um, Sire, I think we're stuffed..."
In short - the setting is Game of Thrones, with a House Lannister raiding party running into a tree down across the road, and then getting jumped by the Brotherhood Without Banners. We had the Lannisters, with a half dozen crossbowmen, eight guardsman in armour and a couple of heroes, to Carl's seemingly innumerable Brotherhood. At least it felt that way when we lost several crossbowmen on the first round, followed by a charge from Beric Dondarrion and a bunch of the Brotherhood that made a royal mess of the guardsmen who weren't trying to clear the tree.

All scenario balance aside (and hey, like I said, this is why you playtest more than once), I love the system - it's got bits of Mongoose's Judge Dread and some of Jake Thornton's systems in it, as well as some nice command and control rules.

If you're coming to Hereward, Rob will be running this scenario as a participation game - do feel free to come and have a go.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Stop me if you've heard this before... (I'll get my Cota)

More bazooka teams and landing craft passengers, and (after a look under the harsh light of the camera) some touch ups on the General and Mr. Capa.

Oh, and some show admin. 

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Just... more olive drab.... and General Cota

Nothing exciting to see here, move on....

Well, OK, I did get General Cota painted (in the style of Robert Mitchum from The Longest Day), as a distraction from 110 not quite identical 15mm figures..

Friday, 9 August 2019

Olive drab, anyone...

Working my way through 110 helmets and assault jackets, and 36 bazookas, in olive drab in 15mm. At least I've found the daylight magnifier, which makes painting Battlefront's somewhat scuzzy sculpts a little better than it might otherwise be. Come what may, these are only being done to 2'-test tabletop standard :D

For those who may have missed it on Twitter earlier, I've done the first water pour for the marsh boards: it's sufficiently warm that (unlike last time, when it was March and bloomin' freezing in the workshop) the Woodland Scenics stuff may actually dry in the advertised time.

Fingers crossed, anyway.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Marshy goodness

Starting to get the marshy bits of the Omaha boards back to a state I''m happy with.

The texture from yesterday has dried, so earlier I took a selection of suitably swampy greens and browns and painted the bottoms. Once that had dried, I got out some PVA and some 10mm static grass, and basically built grass tufts in situ. Simple, really: dap a spot of PVA where you want the tuft, then take a generous pinch of grass and sort of pull it half of it out through your fingers so what you're left holding is mostly aligned, then dab the end into the PVA and lift up...

As you can see, it does the trick!

Once this has dried, which may not be tonight, I may do a little more touch up work and then I'm going to take advantage of those boards being on the only accurately levelled surface (thanks, Tim the builder) in the workshop, and do the Woodland Scenics water pour.

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

DIY texture filler.

Recipe courtesy of Luke of Lukes APS on YouTube.

Basically, it's some cheap filler, some cheap burnt umber acrylic paint from Hobbycraft and a bit of sand. All mixed together in a Gü chocolate mousse pot until... well,. until it has the texture and colour of the original contents of the pot, really. The filler Luke suggests is the quick-drying stuff, but I wound up with some finer texture stuff that takes a bit longer, so I'm going to have to leave the next stage on the Omaha marsh boards till tomorrow.

More reading/listening

Not much chance for practical hobby stuff yesterday, as I was off to Hull for my annual eye checkup. Having time to listen to stuff on the train, I was continuing my way through D-Day Through German Eyes Book 2 (link to Kindle version) - interesting stuff. Basically, it's pretty literal transcripts of interviews with German survivors of D-Day, that were conducted in the 50s by the author's grandfather while writing for 'Die Wermacht' magazine. A wide range of accounts, many with vastly differing views on the war, the French, the British, the Americans...

Browning FP-45 - CC BY 4.0,
The interesting one yesterday was an interview with German military policeman Niklaus Lange, and his account of a resistance assassination of a Panzer officer using a Browning FP-45 Liberator, essentially a one-shot pistol dropped for the French Resistance's use. Lange (judging from the transcript) clearly was still suffering from PTSD, but it remains a fascinating account.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Battle report - 5 Aug 2019 - BattleTech

To be strictly honest, I spent most of my hobby time yesterday helping load up a van and getting stuff back into the St. Johns Ambulance building for the club, but I did manage a quick BattleTech skirmish with Dan, Rod, Chris and AndrewR...

For giggles and at my suggestion, I took my favourite 'mech, a BattleMaster, which is 85 tons of lumbering death with 6 lasers, a PPC, an SRM-6 pack and serious heat management issues (firing the full weapon load generates 32 heat of which it can only dissipate 18), and the four of them took 95 tons of assorted high-speed lightweight nuisances (Locust, Wasp, Jenner and Stinger, if memory serves (not sure about the Wasp) - good old classic 3030 pre-Clans tech).

Now, for the record, and not making excuses, I'm out of practice at the board game EVEN more than I am at the online text-based sim that used to run on various BattleTech MUSE's (at which I was actually pretty damn good) - particularly, the MUSE sim doesn't rely on initiative and is a real-time game. My unit on BTech3056 used to run this scenario (or a variant on it), affectionately known as 'Rat Pack', as a means of getting people to appreciate that light 'mechs are fun and dangerous in groups, but it does balance better as a scenario with real-time/simultaneous movement. As it was, I lost initiative every time (with hindsight, we should have rolled per 'mech, not per side), and hence was pretty much guaranteed that (moving first) I'd end up surrounded by a swarm of lightweights getting (as the saying goes) nibbled to death by ducks.

Despite the crappy initiative rolls, I did wind up making a real mess of Rod's Jenner (BattleMasters kick hard), but I was down to almost no right side (leg, arm and torso) armour, half the rear armour gone, in serious heat trouble (to the extent that I only fired two lasers on my last turn), and had taken enough head hits that when Dan landed a Death From Above that I failed the pilot check and face planted the 'mech... Game over.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Bazookas, mortars and character figures

That's 36 bazooka teams assembled (once I'd found the boxes of left over bits of assault boat companies), 36 4-figure stands of LCVP passengers (found while I was looking for the former), 2 character figures (Capa and Costa) for the US, and 3 50mm mortar teams for the Germans undercoated.

Still pondering whether I'll paint/use them all, but at least they're undercoated, and I have two weeks (including a weekend where Anne's working) to get them to tabletop standard. I'm also out of PSC Field Grey and AP Uniform Grey sprays :D

Saturday, 3 August 2019

The Great Wargaming Survey 2019

It's here!

Do it! I did.

You know it makes sense (and there's a freebie at the end of it!)

In other news, all my outstanding bits for Bloody Omaha are here barring one backordered 50mm mortar team from Battlefront. Tomorrow I shall probably assemble the ones I haven't yet (did the 3 50mm teams I do have just now) and undercoat them, and make the 'do I add the missing bazooka teams?' decision. 

Friday, 2 August 2019


So that's a first draft traders and games layout complete for the show (the thing that should have happened yesterday). Which if nothing else proves it all fits without compromising wheelchair access and general safety.

I might actually be able to do some personal hobby stuff over the weekend.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

A chairman's lot....

...appears to involve paying a visit to the club venue at 9pm to sort out logistics of moving back.

So there went my hobby time for the day. Ah well, I guess it counts :D

On the good side, we should be back in our regular venue come Monday, for those who read this and care.

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

More scenery fixes

Back to the Omaha beach boards, specifically the marsh boards, which weren't really up to snuff.
Lots of ghastly bubbles and rather shoddy groundwork. They
were, in my defence, among the first boards I ever made with
anything more complex than grass on it.

A combination of screwdriver and craft knife to scrape/gouge
out the water effect and some of the underlying foam and filler.

...and some fresh Pollyfilla...

I shall leave this to dry for a while and then
probably add some earth-toned texture paste to smooth it out.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Hereward Wargames Show

It's time to ramp up the show publicity and other stuff, which means my hobby activity this evening has consisted of figuring out which of my Macs has a working, unexpired and up to date version of OmniGraffle that I can use to edit our floor plans (answer, none of them, so that took a while (and money) to fix) and then figuring out why the site's connections to FB and Twitter weren't working (answer, hazy, but relinking, poking and swearing fixed it :D)

So. that's me for the day - watch out for trader and game updates and more stuff over the ensuring weeks.  And don't forget, the show is on Sunday September 1st - all details on the site.

Battle Report - 29 July 2019 - Pikeman's Lament

Ok, so.. I can actually roll dice, sometimes. And my luck (or lack of it) seems to be transferable.
And those are all Gary's forces beyond mine, just after I've been
suckered into charging his dragoons in the wood.... because
Andy's still scared of veteran shot with first volley :D :D (I tease
mostly because it's his only failing! Normally he slaughters me.)

Catchup game (hey, I was in the States) for our Pikeman's Lament campaign - a 2 v 1 scenario with Gary and AndyM2 (again) trying to stop me getting a supply caravan down the table and off the end.

I picked an entirely different force to last time - two lots of Elite, Aggressive gallopers and 2 stands of veteran shot. It... sort of worked, in that I managed to protect the carts long enough to get them off the table, though it did cost me an unwisely placed unit of gallopers to a couple of Wild Charges, and a unit of shot to being nibbled to death by multiple volleys from commanded shot and dragoons.

Club still meeting at the studio, as our regular venue is having,
shall we say, issues with their decorators.
Andy's still afraid of being shot at by veteran shot, and... apparently sitting on the same side of the table as me causes my rubbish dice rolling to transfer to him - he managed four (I think) double ones and several more failures to activate. My damage rolls weren't brilliant but at least the carts activated every time they needed to (bar the time the civilians got shot and I had to move a unit of shot to manage the carts!).

A win for the King! Yay.
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