Monday 17 June 2024

Fathers Day goodies

 Father's day has just been and gone and we had a nice family day with a lengthy dog walk,a coffee and a crossaint and finished off with my son cooking me a delicious mushroom risotto. 

And I was lucky enough to receive a rather lovely boardgame from my son.

This game, from Osprey, came out in 2019 and is based on the wonderful book by Susanna Clarke... if you haven't read it then you really should!  The book is set in a Naploeonic era where magic exists and plunges the reader into a fantastic, Austen-like world where magicians mislead armies or hide forests, and battle against the Gentleman with the Thistledown Hair.

The book is so rich in depth and atmosphere that attempting to replicate it would I think be impossible.  The game abstracts this into a card hand building game, performing magical feats and attempting to gain enough points to stop the Gentleman.

As you'd expect, the components are lovely and I'm looking forward to getting this on the table.  Incidentally my son's card pretty much sums things up...


Sunday 9 June 2024

Warhammer... really???


An unexpected choice of game this week when I caught up with my friend Anthony after a long gap.  I can usually rely on him to come up with something unusual... typically a deceptively simple set of rules or an adaptation of a vintage board game, but this time he threw me a real curveball... Warhammer 40k.

OK, it isn't actually 'proper' 40k but Warhammer Fireteam which came out in 2021 and, like some of the specialist WH games seems to have burned brightly and then is largely unavailable except by tracking down the odd copy on eBay.

I've never really played much Warhammer... when it first appeared in the 80s my 2 gaming groups in Glasgow were either pretty much entirely into historical games (Glasgow and District Wargames club) or role-playing (Strathclyde Uni).  I then moved down south and had a break from gaming for a few years and by the time I got back into it I'd missed the initial buzz. 

When my son reached an age to get into gaming he loved WH and WH40k but that fad burned brightly and he then moved on to other things.  I can definitely see the attraction though... at the right time I'd have loved the settings and the pre-constructed back-story.  And, despite some flaws, the rules are pretty solid and of course the figures are great. 

Fireteam is a hybrid of WH40k with Space Marines and Necrons but in a simplified boardgame style which i think really makes it work.  There are a number of scenarios... in our game the 2 sides were trying to control a number of resource markers which reduced in number each turn.

The game is played over 3 turns (for some reason called Turning Points), each of which is made up of a number of phases.  As there are significantly fewer Space Marines it means they'll get to activate multiple times in a turn, as can the Necrons when their numbers are inevitably reduced.  As you'd expect the components are really nice with good squad cards containing all the info you need, lots of markers and tokens, and of course some Space Marine and Necron models.  A pleasant surprise is that the game also includes squad cards and rules for various WH40K races so it would be easy to widen the game to include Orks, Eldar etc.

As the game has a tight time limit, I decided to throw in my swarmy scarab things in the first turn and they did some real damage before being killed.  Each faction has some special strategy cards and abilities that they can play each turn so there was always the possibility I could bring some of them back, although I went with different options in our game.

My Necrons were pretty weedy compared to the Space Marine but had an advantage in much longer ranges and were able to whittle the Marines down to eventually a single surviving tin can, although by this point most of the Necrons had also bitten the dust.  The game did literally come down to the last throw of the Dice with the evil Marines winning by a single point.

Great fun and a really surprising game... I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for copies online if they appear.

Sunday 2 June 2024

British Museum: Legion

I'm a bit late to the party but, like lots of bloggers seem to have done, I managed to get along to the British Museum to see the Legion exhibition.  The exhibition explores life in the Roman army and is a fantastic collection of artifacts both military and more mundane.  I combined the trip with an fundraising event in London for work but forgot that this was taking place over the Friday of half-term which meant that the museum was hoaching with families as well as the usual tourists and the queue to get in stretched a long way around the front of the museum!  The exhibition tickets are timed  though, so getting into this was fine and there was no queue and I was able to get in a bit early.

Obviously as a wargamer all the military stuff was of great interest but I also enjoyed the other bits... shoes, tent panels made of goat skin, and tent pegs which were quite like some I've used myself on camping trips!

So here are a selection of photos...

The only surviving example of a Roman shield

Model of the emperor carried as a standard

Another standard


Dummy used for sword practice and an ox skull holed by bolts.

Ship's prow

Draco standard

Horse harness

Crocodile skin armour

Goat skin tent panels

Tent pegs

Part of a leather shield cover

Leather quiver

Cataphract armour

And cataphract head armour

Sculpture of a prisoner

...and the spoils of war

Plaque of citizenship

If you're planning to go along, you'll have to be quick as it finishes on 23rd June.

Finally here are a few more random photos taken while I was waiting for my slot at the exhibition... hmm.... Assyrians.... now there's an idea for a new project!!

Wednesday 29 May 2024

Back in action!!

 I've had a long break from gaming over the last 6 months following some family illness which has meant having to be home, rather than out gallivanting with toy soldiers.  Things haven't really resolved themselves but we've reached the point where we're learning to live with thigs for now while we wait for more appointments, so I've ventured back out into the world.

Actually I was back at Eric the Shed's last week for an excellent game of Mosaic (where I didn't come last for once!) but this week saw a proper spectacular big game featuring Eric's new Greek armies.  Its been great to get back out there,  catch up with friends, and roll some dice!

Tuesday 30 April 2024

Here's the Ruckus

 Popped into our local WH Smiths this afternoon and nabbed a copy of the latest Wargames Illustrated which, this month, has a free rule set included... Here's the Ruckus.

As the title suggests this is an addition of sorts to the excellent Never Mind the Billhooks bit focused very much on the skirmish level with forces of a dozen or so figures per player.  I haven't had a chance to read through yet but I can already see these have lots of potential for all sorts of games and periods.

Tuesday 2 April 2024

Another painting update

Still no gaming to report due to family health issues... I'm hoping this will change in a few weeks (mind you I said that a while ago!)

In the meantime I've been cracking on with more painting.  Some additional Covenanters have joined the army (photos to follow once I've added some dragoons) and a few more 2mm Strength & Honour units... a couple of Legions for the Romans and Light Horse for the Parthians and a unit of Elephants for when my Parthians evolve into Sassanids.

And a few woods, farms and rough ground templates for good measure...