Tuesday, 27 October 2015


So last night it was off to the Guildford club for a change for a game of Maurice which has been re-scheduled several times due to work commitments, illness etc.  Sadly this meant I missed what looked like an excellent game at the Shed.  Steve at the club is a great exponent of these rules and has been offering to run through a game with me for some time.

Maurice is one of the range of rules from Sam Mustafa and describes itself as covering "the age of linear armies, from the wars of Louis XIV and Marlborough, through the great dynastic struggles of the mid-century, to the French Revolution."  This isn't a period I'm overly familiar with apart from a bit of dabbling with the French Indian Wars which hardly count as linear!  I often struggle with games in the 18th C/Napoleonic period... all those uniforms send me into a panic although bizarrely later periods such as the Franco-Prussian War don't.

The rules use a very nice set of cards to activate units: these can be used to give a straightforward order (March, Charge, Rally etc) or to give a special bonus (eg  all volley fire is at a +1 this turn, etc).  Some cards also trigger more 'interesting' events...this can be mundane but useful such as activating a force even though it's along way from the Commander, or more interesting... I was able to rather annoyingly place an unexpected marsh right in front of Steve's cavalry: presumably this was down to poor British map reading skills!

All line units have the option to Volley fire each turn although this then allows your opponent to return fire...as units became increasingly disrupted choosing when to fire became a tricky choice.

Combat is a straightforward  dice-off, adding on a units quality rating and subtracting any disruption points...pick up too much disruption and the unit breaks.  As each unit is removed the army morale level also falls.

In last night's game my French defended against an attacking British Hanoverian army.  Most of the action took place on my left flank where my elite cavalry nearly broke the British horse before stalling and mostly routing.  I managed to bolster the flank with some poor quality infantry but the British horse remained menacingly within charge range.  Having skirmished ourselves to a standstill on the flank, Steve then managed to advance the bulk of the British line and artillery who marched to within volley fire range of the French centre...my remaining infantry were still sat rather ineffectively on the right although I did manage to get them forward to secure my right flank.  Both of us had lost a fair amount of units after the bloody fighting on the flank and I knew Steve's morale was pretty low.  I was also pretty sure that if it came it a close range fire fight the British would have the edge so, throwing caution to the wind I fired a last volley and charged, but not before playing the card I'd cunningly retained for several turns giving my infantry a bonus in combat!  2 British units broke and the army morale crumbled to zero!!

The rules were fun and very intuitive...it only took a couple of turns to pick up the mechanics and we made minimal reference to the rules.  It did help that Steve has played them a lot and I suspect there were lots of additional rules that we weren't using on this occasion but the seemed like an excellent set of rules for a fast paced evening game.  Like a lot of the Sam Mustafa games he very helpfully has a 'lite' version of the rules available for free on his website as a way of luring unsuspecting gamers in and they can be found here

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Sunday afternoon...

It's been a few weeks of coughing and spluttering in the house with my son, and then me, and now finally my wife succumbing to a particularly unpleasant chesty cough/sore throat type of lurgy that seems to go on for ages and re-appear just when you think it's gone. I'm now feeling a bit brighter and had a quiet day today with my wife in bed, the dogs snoozing after a lengthy walk and my son off being a teenager (probably best I don't know anymore...).

I thought I'd take advantage and start work on my Frostgrave figures which I undercoated a couple of weeks ago.  Despite the afternoon sunlight I felt I needed a lamp to help pick out the detail.  I tend to use an old angle poise lamp which I knew had a slightly dodgy connection but this afternoon I discovered the actual problem was the socket holding the bulb had completely split in two!  My eyes weren't up to job on their own so I only managed a little bit of painting before packing it in to watch the rugby instead (...muttering "it should have been us!" as Australia took the field!).  I'm due for an eye test and I think I might need to talk to the optician about struggling without bright lights. A trip to Hobbycraft might be in order too, to pick up a better light.


Earlier this week I took part in an interesting on-line game set in the Very British Civil War period.  This was organised by a couple of chaps from the Molesey Wargames Club in Surrey, one of whom I know from Eric the Shed's regular games, and both of whom I knew coincidentally about 20 years ago in the now-defunct Epsom/Stoneleigh/New Malden club (it had several homes in it's lifetime!).

  The idea of the game was that 5 or 6 players per side command Companies under an overall commander and that over the course of an evening we email our orders in to the 2 umpires who would then update us on enemy encountered etc.  The action takes place on the Surrey/Hampshire borders with the good guys (an assortment of Anglican League and Communists and Anarchists) attacking into Surrey to drive off the evil Fascists.  We managed to complete a days action and are now trying to find a convenient date to reconvene...I can't say too much about the events as you never know who's listening!  Suffice to say the good guys are making steady progress and I suspect there have been a few near misses as columns march/ride/cycle up and down the Surrey country lanes.  Excellent fun though and a real sense of drama as you advance towards a town unsure if you'll receive a friendly welcome or face the guns of the BUF.

I've always found the VBCW setting really interesting but have done little about it apart from some excellent games at the Shed.  This has inspired me to invest in the original source book from Solway Crafts and Miniatures as a start and I'm already beginning to think about figures...oh dear....

Monday, 12 October 2015

Disappearing photos

I noticed today that a lot of my older posts seem to have lost their photos!  Some, but not all, of my posts have a greyed out 'no entry' sign where the photos should be.  Curiously this doesn't seem to have happened to all of the though.

Does anyone know what might have gone wrong?  Have I gone over some limit on photo numbers?


So, up early (for a Sunday), dogs walked round the park and off in the car to SELWG at Crystal Palace.  As this is only about 30 minutes from home (on a Sunday morning that is!) it's my most local show. 

I got there about 11, having failed to turn into the main car park and heading accidentally round to the back of the Sports Centre...I did overhear lots of muttering about the parking being a bit of a nightmare and there was a tannoy announcement about several cars that were blocking off about 50 others, so actually my random parking might have worked in my favour!

The hall seemed fairly busy and seemed to stay that way all the time I was there.  There were the usual array of traders and a pretty busy Bring and Buy: this seemed (as usual) to be predominantly selling Warhammer stuff and I struggled to spot any bargains.

I was collared by someone from the Crawley Games Club and roped into playing their Stretcher Party game which was great fun.  Each player controls a pair of stretcher bearers hurrying back across No-Mans-Land with an injured soldier...first one to the Aid Station wins.  Of course there are lots of opportunities to block the other players with barbed wire or to have them shot by snipers or a crazed German pilot stuck in the middle of the table.  The game looked like it was about to be won by a child sitting next to me who made it to within a hairsbreadth of the Aid Station...so naturally when my turn came up and I was able to inflict  a couple of wounds on another player there was only one obvious target and he fell at the steps of the Hospital!  It seemed the right thing to do, even if it did win me the 'Most Evil Player' award....especially as I then had the opportunity to kill off another player in the next turn!  As I was now in front, but carrying a number of wounds, I knew I was pretty much doomed and sure enough the child's father was able to exact a family-revenge by taking me out.  To the child's credit he didn't cry when I killed him off (I may have shed a quiet tear when it happened to me!)

The excellent WW1 game

Here are the obligatory selection of photos...as usual apologies to the clubs who put them on and whose details I have generally forgotten...

The main hall

Crush the Kaiser's Achtung Gringo game

Waterloo game...lots of teddy Bears died to make this terrain!

Agincourt game

Star Trek game

Not sure what this was but it looked a bit disturbing!

Peter Pig PBI game

excellent looking Very French Civil War game using Triumph and Tragedy
rules (which reminded me I haven't played these for ages!)

love the Pissoir in the town square

South London Warlords Stingray game

Prison Break - Los Banos - Deal Wargames

not sure what this was...sorry

Very tiny Great War Spearhead Game

Fantastic looking Heart of Darkness by Shepway Wargamers

Peter Pig's excellent Hammerin' Iron ACW game

I picked up a few bits and pieces... a couple of 4Ground ruins for Frostgrave and one of the expansion sets for the excellent Heroes of Normandie  boardgame...this is a D Day beach landing set...looks good fun.  While I was browsing at the Magister Militum stall I noticed a box file with a huge amount of small ships and boats for WW2 Coastal games in 1:1200 scale.  Now I have a few ships for this genre in 1:600 from Skytrex but I don't think these are available anymore and there were lots in the box so I succumbed...is it sensible to get stuff I already have in a different scale?? I don't know but these look great and were a real bargain.  The challenge is going to be trying to work out which ship is which!

So a good haul and a pleasant day out.  I bumped into someone from the Guildford club as well as Ray, and spotted Tamsin although she was engrossed in an Agincourt game.  Now to ruin my eyesight trying to identify tiny, tiny boats....

Sunday, 4 October 2015

I'm a Dude (apparently)!!!

This weekend I made a start on building some of the figures from the Frostgrave Soldiers box that I bought a little while ago.  The box allows you to make 20 figures which make up the poor foot soldiers of the average Frostgrave band.  I decided to make up 10 figures to start as this seems a reasonable amount to get painted and feel like I've achieved something before moving onto the next batch.

Image result for frostgrave soldiers box

I suppose I should have had a look through the rulebook again to decide on the optimum combination of heavier armed troops vs bow or crossbow etc but I simply went with what seemed like nice combinations of weapons and equipment rather than applying any logical thought.

I have to say that assembling these figures is a lot easier than some other plastic figures I've built...arms and heads fit neatly and logically together with the body.  Some other figures I've assembled have required a lot of head scratching to make sure I haven't put a limb on upside down or given someone a dislocated shoulder! The figures really were genuinely fun to build with a nice range of accessories to overload your party with...all that's missing is a 10' pole!

Image result for frostgrave soldiers box
Image result for frostgrave soldiers box

Having started painting again for the first time in ages I've realised how old some of my paints are and keep opening bottles to discover that they have completely solidified.  So this afternoon I ventured off to my nearest GW shop to pick up a can of Chaos Black spray and a few bottles of assorted paint.  I was greeted by the GW employee with "Dude....what are you painting!!?"   I've tried explaining that I was painting historical stuff before which has either been met with a blank gaze or, in a couple of rare cases, an interesting chat about what the manager actually like to play when he isn't being a Chaos Space Imp.  In this case I mentioned a few things which were met with a vacant stare and the repeated mutterings of ..Dude...":  I've decided to take this as a compliment!  Then I mentioned that I was also painting some figures for Frostgrave... a really nice Fantasy skirmish game from Osprey.  By this point none of the words were apparently making sense to the hapless GW lackey...a skirmish game that isn't Age of Sigmar???...does not compute!!!!  I took my paints and made my excuses....

I popped into WH Smiths to get the latest WI and also picked up the second edition of Tabletop Gaming.  If you haven't come across this, it's an interesting mix of reviews of lots of boardgames.  Issue 1 seemed to be very review focused with lots about Eurogames etc which made an interesting change. 

Image result for tabletop gaming magazine

For this issue there seems to have been a bit more focusing on the British market and more articles and interviews rather than hundreds of short reviews.  In among the features are articles on Frostgrave, Age of Sigmar, Kings of War, Beyond the Gates of Antares and the forthcoming Dungeon Saga etc so well worth picking a copy up...at 130 pages there's a lot of reading in it!