Friday 31 January 2020

Home sweet home, and more Dxx

Also. more whisky, which forestalled posting last night :D We're now back in England, unpacked and fed (and the cats, too, who would like to assure us that James was horrible and mean and never fed them at all... (yeah, right)).

Added a new section to the Compendium yesterday with some multiplayer campaign ideas and a minor variant British force and career path. Today I listened to more of Guy Halsall on the flights home - he's progressed from criticising John Morris to having a go at Gildas (which seems only fair, since the latter himself appears to have had a fairly big axe to grind in his writing!). Once home I moved yesterday's notes across to the main file, edited and added some more, cleaned up some formatting issues.

I'll see if I can get that section finished tomorrow, and then it's bits and pieces and (shudder) the index.

[Amusing discoveries department: it's possible I went to the same primary school as Guy Halsall, as he was born in my village a year after me.]

Thursday 30 January 2020

Hereward Catchup

First batch of traders up on the website yesterday. We’ll be introducing them, as is our wont, one at a time over the next few days then as they roll in.

Today, however, is a Dux day. :D

Wednesday 29 January 2020

Fort Charlotte

As a change from Vikings (however contemporary the Up Helly Aa festival actually is) yesterday we detoured by Fort Charlotte in Lerwick, which is a naval fort overlooking the bay and the use of Bressay. This is actually its third incarnation, as it was built and rebuilt during both of the Anglo-Dutch Wars before being rebuilt AGAIN in the 1700s - the latter incarnation is the one that mostly stands today, although it never saw action despite being manned throughout the Napoleonic Wars.

Small, but atmospheric, and an interesting little site.

Monday 27 January 2020

Working on the Compendium

I’m currently up with Anne in Lerwick for Up Helly Aa, visiting friends: you won’t see much blogging, but I’m attempting to wrap the Compendium this week and next (both of which I have off work). First on the list are working my way through Guy Halsall’s “Worlds of Arthur” and adding a campaign section o the Compendium based on some discussion on Facebook and some ideas I already had kicking around.

Friday 24 January 2020

Bernard Cornwell and Dux Britanniarum

I have always felt (and I think Rich has said) that the world of Dux does fit in very well with the Bernard Cornwell "The Warlord Chronicles" series (as well as the likes of Rosemary Sutcliffe's "Sword at Sunset").

With that in mind, a couple of things:

First, fans of the Cornwell books may be interested, if they have missed it, in the announcement that Epix have bought the TV rights. The fact that this is being produced by the same team as did the BBC's recent "His Dark Materials" series gives me a certain amount of confidence in the result, as well as hope it should be better than "The Last Kingdom" adaptation.

Secondly, I've been working on the Compendium, specifically battles, some more, and added a new Cornwell-esque pre-battle option to those already available. Like all Compendium stuff, it will be optional.

Thursday 23 January 2020

Dux Britanniarum battle research

Since we've been working on battles for Dux, today's hobby activity has been some interesting listening for the pre-battle phase, namely "The role of contests and rituals in ancient battle" from those nice folks at the Ancient Warfare Magazine Podcast.

As ever, recommended listening.

Wednesday 22 January 2020

More work on the Dead's Army board

Myk and Carl were round for a scenery Wednesday, so we had a meeting of minds to debate what to do about the warped graveyard board... Having resigned ourselves to the fact that no amount of applied PVA, paint and/or brute force was gong to fix the warp, we debated either embedding it in one of the foam tiles or essentially building it a foam core 'sabot' base that we could use filler to hide the last bits of warp.

Et voilà, as they say in French. We went with the latter approach, and a big piece of 5mm A0 foam core - technically it's about 6mm narrower than the boards, but this won't be an issue.

We also rather brutally removed one wall, to address my objection that village churchyards in England really don't generally have separate cemeteries, and the spare bits of wall will get reused to extend the churchyard.

Next time, we'll filler the edges where they need it, cut some more foam for the rest of the churchyard and landscape it. Usefully, this being foam core, we can pin it to the underlying blue foam terrain tiles.

In addition, I added some climbing roses to Godfrey's cottage. Flowerpots to follow :D

Tuesday 21 January 2020

Posts page, and some club updates.

Yesterday was mostly club business - if you follow me on Twitter you'll have seen that the Hereward trader form is up. We also did some serious rearrangement of our scenery cupboard at the club.

Today I was reminded, by pointing someone at one of my post series, that I have several series of posts on here that are quite useful reference material, so I have created a Featured Posts page so you can find them!

Sunday 19 January 2020

A bit of Dark Ages research

I caught this on YouTube and have been watching it again (having seen it a first time when it originally aired).

Some interesting new archaeological stuff on the Age of Arthur, Saxon Britain and Tintagel, among other things, presented by the ever engaging Prof. Alice Roberts. Worth a watch, although there are a few places where it felt a bit dumbed down (like, tin in Cornwall is really not a revelation!), and I'm not sure how much it adds to the useful Dux Brit references, though I do wonder about a campaign where a Lord in Tintagel tries to strike East and reclaim some of Britannia as the attacker.

Saturday 18 January 2020

Hereward update

The form for games submissions for this year's show is up. The trade form will follow soon, but we're redesigning it slightly, so please bear with :D There'll be a site update when that happens.

Also note that advance admission tickets are now purchasable (and have been for a while) for the princely sum of £3.

Friday 17 January 2020

Reducing the sprue pile...

No brain tonight, after a long day at work, so I grabbed a couple of sprues out of a Mantic grab box I acquired a few years ago and had earmarked for painting for D&D/Battlesystem playtests, and also to try some fun and games with Contrast paints.

The Mantic Goblin Spitters have a reputation for not being among Mantic's best - they're very odd in that they have hunched shoulders and the face (not really the head) fits on a plug on the front of the torso. They look weird, but somewhat characterful.

Anyway, two sprues worth assembled, and undercoated with AP Greenskin. That'll do for today.

Thursday 16 January 2020

More gardening and a shopping list (comments welcome)

Although not a lot to show for it, since today's hobby activity consisted of a couple of coats of paint on the Sarissa shed and a trip to Trains4U for some (small scale) flowers and vegetables from one of the model railway ranges. Godfrey's cottage will have tomatoes, strawberries, cabbages, some climbing roses and a few pot plants. Also pondering whether to rebuild the graveyard...

Also pondering the next bits of kit to pick up for the workbench. The plan is to move the 3D printer out from the shelf over my head here (I'm in what used to be my office in our music room, as I've locked up in the office/studio/workshop for the night) onto the long counter in the workshop, and use the rest of that counter for what could best be described as 'maker tools' for scenery builds, since I'm starting to figure that that's probably where a lot of my talent lies aside from writing.

Things that would be nice to have on there, if First Direct finally cough up my PPI claim:

  • the 3D printer with a dual reel/head kit so I can print with dissolvable supports or in two colours - mine's the single reel version, and the upgrade is not cheap
  • a resin 3D printer such as the AnyCubic Photon (for figures etc)
  • a Proxxon hot wire table and the better fence from Shifting Lands (if you want to see the amazing things you can do with this and XPS foam, check out Black Magic Craft on YouTube)
  • a spray booth - this presupposes I can find my bloomin' airbrush.
  • a MDF laser cutter. Low on the list, as Trev from the Rift has one I can feed files to.
  • a die cutter - been thinking about one of these as an alternative to the laser cutter for things like tile strips etc, and also because anything that saves ME having to try and make straight cuts, even with a steel rule, is a win :D
  • and (given some of the items on the list generate stuff one shouldn't breathe in) some air extraction 

On a more immediate note, I'm out of PVA (would you believe, my 3L supply from Hobbycraft went MOULDY????) :D

Wednesday 15 January 2020

Back to Wednesday scenery evenings

Starting work on tidying up and prettying the Dead's Army boards and bits, as they're going to a few shows this year. Myk was building the Sarissa shed, Andrew painting the bandstand while Carl and I worked on removing the warp from the cemetery board and garden planning for Godrey's cottage.

Watch this space, as they say. 

Tuesday 14 January 2020

Jackdaw folders

I picked these up the other day for a fiver each from Abebooks. Henry asked what was in the Peninsular War one, so here's a bunch of pics (in between writing last night's battle report).

Battle Report - 13 Jan 2020 - Dux Britanniarum

OK - battle playtest, Carl and Colin, playing the British defenders, Myk and Rob (complete Dux newcomer) the Saxons.

The observant will note from the photos I've switched to Universal Lard Tokens to track shock - there are reasons for this :D

We 'rolled' defence of a watchtower this time. Carl set up with a formation of Elites + Warriors defending the tower and a very annoying group of slingers up top.
Advancing from bottom right are Rob's Elites (centre) and a unit of Warriors coming round below the hut.  
The Saxon elites pile into the defenders. On the good side for the British, they do actually do more kills than the Saxons.
On the bad side, the British take ridiculous amounts of shock, and the four surviving Elites in the front rank break due to busted amphora, run away through the rear rank (doing 5 shock on their way past)...
Four figures, and count 'em, 8 shock. Buh-bye....
Had this been a campaign battle, the British may well have withdrawn here.
(Photo by Reuben Turner)
Another round of combat chases off the warriors at the tower. Meanwhile Myk's Saxon warriors come in from the British left, and after duelling Step Forth cards, in which they give the approaching Saxon levy a bloody nose, the British Warriors (centre of the table, just to the left of the watch tower, charge the British elites....
...and manage to roll a 4. On 3 dice.
It all went even more downhill for the British from here - Colin had some awful dice as the Levy and the Saxons fought another round, and the Levy broke, having no place to stay.
British morale definitely going down now.

Again, had this been a campaign battle, the British would have withdrawn here if they hadn't already.
We continued for another round, and the Saxon Lord card came up before the British. They smacked into the waiting warriors, and that was pretty much it...
A good game, perhaps marred a little by the British having bad dice when it mattered, and the Saxons having bad dice when it didn't :D Thanks to my loyal playtesters as ever, and I think we're calling this workable!

Sunday 12 January 2020

More downsizing, and some KoW elves for sale

That's all of it. Really Useful Box is yours
if you buy the lot, and I'll buy Merv some
After some thought, I'm switching back to building a human fantasy army for Kings of War, since I can also use it to test out Battlesystem 5E and also in my D&D campaign world.

As such, I have an awful lot of KOW Mantic Elves to shift. I may keep some so I can have a small force, but I really don't need THIS many :D

  • Mage Queen - metal
  • Palace guard Prince - metal
  • King - metal 
  • 5 bolt throwers & crew
  • 24 scouts
  • 110 bowmen 
  • 90 spearmen
  • 10 cavalry
  • 20 palace guard
  • 3 forest shamblers - metal
  • 1 of the last metal Dragon Riders ever made (with note to prove it from Ronnie R)
  • GW Finecast big greebly treant thing (Sylvaneth Treelord)
  • 3x Malifaux smaller greebly treant things (Waldgeist)
There's around 4000 points here. At reasonable eBay prices, I'm looking for around £200 for the lot, I think (working on 50p a figure for the common stuff), but I'll consider offers. Happy to split this, but ideally in to no more than two or possibly 3: there is essentially enough here for two decent sized armies or clearly one insane one. 

Saturday 11 January 2020

Catchup on a couple of days of stuff

Been tidying the storeroom a bit (as opposed to the workshop or the store garage... I really may have too many places to keep stuff :D), as a break from actually thinking since I've done far too much of that for work this week.

Yesterday (in my lunch break) I painted (since they arrived) some Reaper Bones rats, using various shades of Contrast paints... enough to be serviceable tokens for an RPG. They're now on the 'things to grab when I need a wandering monster' shelf :D

Today, as a break from shifting boxes and counting and sorting a big Really Useful Box of Mantic Elves (over 200 on their sprues, in case you were wondering!), I assembled 20 Mantic skeletons (actually from the original Dwarf Kings Hold game). They're the original plastic ones, with odd little tabs that essentially are where you glue the ribcage and upper body onto the spine and lower body. They actually go together surprisingly well, and I will probably undercoat them and paint them sometime next week. Undecided whether to go the Contrast route, or spray with AP Skeleton Bone, or even spray black and drybrush.... We shall see.

Tomorrow is a Compendium evening :D

Thursday 9 January 2020

Show prep, and an AAR on one of my scenarios

Spent my gaming time today doing setup work for the show, since we're going to be kicking off trader and game stuff early this year.

Also, to my delight, the Eagles and Lions Wargaming guys on FB posted a video review (I don't think you need a FB account to view it, I may be wrong) of their go at my Valle Della Marie IABSM scenario, which you can find in the 2017 TFL Summer Special (which, like all Lardies specials, contains all manner of good stuff above and beyond that, and is invariably well worth your money). I also ran this twice at OML5, which folks seemed to enjoy. Basically it's a down-and-dirty clear Jerry out of the next bit of Italy scrap for the British.

Andy's blog

For those who may have missed him, I should flag that my partner in Dux Brit and musical crime, Mr Andy Hawes, is back blogging and gaming again.

As well as helping me with the Compendium playlists (and planning to restart the Linnius campaign this year), he's also working on some fabulous Tolkien First Age forces on his own blog. Do go check him out!

Hereward 2020

To expand on what I said on Monday, after this year's kick off meeting last night:

This year’s show will be held on Sunday September 6th at the Cresset in Peterborough, and wil feature the usual great mix of participation and demonstration games, tournaments, painting competitions and traders.

On- and off-line booking forms for games and traders will be available later this week from the
website, and will be sent out to all our past games and traders. Any questions, don't hestitate to contact us.

Look! New logo!

Tuesday 7 January 2020

Custom laser decals

I wasn't intending to get this started quite this soon, but as things escalated on Twitter....

Mill House Studios (a.k.a. me) are able to produce custom decals for shields etc. These are laser printed on clear decal film, either from your artwork or custom designed by me (for an extra charge).

Current prices, from your own artwork, are:
  • A5 sheet - £3
  • A4 sheet - £5
  • UK P&P (up to 5 sheets in A4 card-backed envelope) £2 (that's basically UK Large Letter rate)
For more details, see here.  Prices may be an introductory offer and subject to change.

I'm open to suggestions for a range of things people would like me to design/carry as ready-to-order sheets. Among the things that spring to mind are aircraft decals in 15mm and 28mm, as these seem to be scales not catered for by the model trade.

Monday 6 January 2020

Still Chairman...

Club AGM done for another year. Didn't manage to land some other mug with the big hat :D

Hereward Wargames Show formally confirmed for another year.

Cookies consumed, show games planned.

The hobby goes on :D

Sunday 5 January 2020

Wrapping up the Compendium day 3

Another day of bits and pieces - cleaned up the appendix with the campaign game process reference, tidied up the hirelings section, re-read several bits of Raiders to confirm a few rules clarifications.

Review - Multideck

Multideck is a Mac OS app for designing and printing cards for games. In essence, it's a graphical mail merge program customised for single- and double-sided cards, taking a CSV and a layout and using them to produce printable sheets of cards.

I'm currently using it to generate D&D spell cards for my players (which is why I didn't get this review finished yesterday, as my players turned up!), but it can also be used to generate custom activation decks for games such as IABSM, or unit cards for games for which they're useful, etc. For example, generating cards for a certain well known rule set.
Create a spreadsheet
Add some image files - note that the Boar and Dragon files match the values in the Symbol column.
Create a layout. Note that Item2 is of type Image, so that it picks up an image file corresponding to the value in the field Symbol, rather than the text of the field. Item2 is the card name - it's set to a certain font size and style and also Shrink to Fit as part of that style.
And print. The backs (and the card background) are very similar except that they use static images rather than ones picked  up from the CSV. Standard poker cards print 9 up on A4.
This took me about 15-20 mins. I should note that Multideck is a little temperamental - it has crashed on me a couple of times, but it seems to save as it goes so I've rarely lost work. Also some of the magic incantations to (for example) only display an item if a given field is present in the CSV can be a bit tricky to figure out. There is a very handy forum for it on BoardGameGeek, and the author is quite responsive.

Worth the money if you're proposing to do a lot of cards.

Friday 3 January 2020

Stormtroopers, and stuff for sale

Finished off the bunch of Imperial Assault Stormtroopers to a tabletop standard in my lunch break, bar basing (probably flat grey, as they're for a boardgames) and a little touching up in white.

Also did some tidying ready for tomorrow's D&D session, which has resulted in the following being available: prices do not include postage.

  • WAB Age of Arthur: £25 (I have two copies but I'm keeping one :D)
  • WAB El Cid: £15
  • Warhammer ECW: £10
  • God Of Battles (by Jake Thornton, very good fantasy rule set): £15
  • Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game (hardback): £10
  • WOTC The Primal Order RPG supplement: £15

Thursday 2 January 2020

Wrapping up the Compendium day 2

Got some useful feedback back from Pat, one of my consultants on natural dyestuffs, which I've added to the relevant appendix. Also tidied up a few more bits and pieces in the main body of the text, included fixing bits of the weather rules as they apply to the setup for battles (as opposed to raid) which has been sitting as a red-inked couple of paragraphs for far too long (mostly because I didn't want to have to rewrite it if the proposed battle rules turned out not to work!).

Tomorrow, some stuff in the Hirelings section that's been a red-ink <todo> for far too long.

Also trying to decide if this (on the right) is a useful weathered parchment background - some much abused silicone baking sheet. I stuck it through the scanner and cleaned it up a bit in Pixelmator Pro, and the answer seems to be yes.

Other than that I've test painted one Star Wars: Imperial Assault Stormtrooper, sworn some more at Citadel Contrast Apothecary White (which I do NOT like), re-sprayed all 9 again and painted one!

Wednesday 1 January 2020

Wrapping up the Compendium

Made a good start to 2020 today - went through and reworked all the battle setup rules after the last three playtests, as well as a couple of changes to the Tax Collector and Boar Hunt raids that I missed.

Also had a long discussion via email with Carl and AndyH about some bits of the rules for movement (and specifically formations and facing) which are slightly unclear (judging from the amount of debate we had on Monday!) and merit some notes in the Rules Clarifications Appendix. These are always hard because I'm very conscious when I write or edit that kind of thing to be very precise about the wording I choose, so as not to make things worse!

Also punted the section on Dark Ages dyestuffs to my experts for review and comment, and hopefully some photographic examples.
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