Sunday, January 28, 2018

Ghost Archipelago Crewmen - Ready for Action.

With the Ghost Archipelago treasures completed recently, time to get some crewmen on the table, whilst the plan is to move the encounters on to the Black Powder era, these will come in handy for alternative factions adventuring across the islands. Besides I am trying to remain committed to clearing the painting queue in a certain order, so I don't keep adding to the 'box of shame' which seems to be growing year on year.

The box comes with 20 crewmen, my intention was to create two distinct crews, one with an eastern feel and the second more westernised. I wanted these to have a uniformed feel to them so majority of them have a flash of red on their outfit.

They go together quite nicely and their are plenty of alternative weapons to deck them out with, most of them are standing at the ready, but that might be my modelling ability.

With the weather still to cold and damp varnishing will have to wait and with that the static grass to finish them completely.

The rule tweaks should be finished this week so these could be entering service real soon.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Wyvern Wargamers - Woodville Campaign - Battle 1- The Town of Pointington.

Sunday night saw the opening salvo in the Wyvern Wargamers - Woodville ACW Campaign.
With the Union Command advancing on the town of Pointington.

With initiative in hand the Union Players selected a flank attack on the town hoping to catch the Confederate Players on the hop. The terrain was laid out and the Union player was tasked with advancing through light farm land to seize the Reb's camp (bottom right) and win the game.

As intelligence was passed to the Union High command it soon became apparent that this was no isolated detachment judging by the number of flags entered into the bag on turn one. This could still be a bluff, so the first Union formation deployed on the road to Pointington only to be faced off by almost double their number as the tiffin chit was pulled.

With some early successes and the chits falling in their favour the Union players set about pouring fire into the first Confederate formations, Union skirmishers crept forward through the cornfields to close with the enemy firing line, kills were few. Meanwhile more and more Confederates filled the table, including artillery and skirmishers creeping around the Union flanks. This was definately no outpost.

The weight of fire landing on the Union formations from both front and flank was starting to tell, shock increased and then the formation split, then stumbled backwards, yet still the lead rained down.

The Union forces fell back their force morale dropping rapidly to zero leaving the field to the defenders.

As the afternoon sun rose, both sides reviewed their losses.
The initiative had switched to the Confederates, the difference in force morale mean't that the losses on the Reb's side were replaced, infact a number of the Union skirmishers surrounded in the farm house decided to switch sides as their officer was marched into captivity.

Picking through the battlefield litter, the Confederate command increased their supplies whilst the Union player  was forces to abandon several sacks of supplies.

The Union players saw 6 of their number dead, with 3 others captured, together with an Officer. The wounded (4) were loaded on to a wagon 'liberated' from a local farm and taken back to the aid station for treatment.

Both sides had seen the elephant - No what would happen next...

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Wyvern Wargamers - ACW Campaign - Opening Moves.

The Wyvern Wargamers - ACW Campaign is a go.
With forces drawn up and support points picked both commands set about giving orders for the first few days.
Days one and two pass without incident apart from the odd straggler wandering into camp or the loss of the occasional sack of grain, but on the morning of the third day reports come in to the Union field commanders that a body of troops have been spotted in the town of Pointington and they look like they are here to stay.

Lacking any further scouting reports the Union commander orders his troops out from their column of march and orders a Flank Attack on the Confederate position.

Both players set about pulling their various forces together as sunday night will see the opening skirmish in the Wyvern 'Woodville' Campaign.

Stay tuned for the first battle report.
Notes to players.
Following the terrain rules within the Too Fat Lardies Campaign Suppliment - Dawn and Departures.
The Union player has the initiative and selects the choice of Battle. I rolled for the terrain features and we have on the table the following principle terrain items as we are in a Town square.
Small Yard Orchard Orchard
Two Small Yards Two Small Buildings Small Yard

The defender on the night will place the first item followed by the attacker until all 6 items are placed, the defender can then move one single item upto 36", the attcker will then the do the same.
Then for fairness I the umpire will add the roads and various other terrain to flesh out  the table.
In my view the table should reflect the outskirts of Pointington and the buildings should be of a rural nature - farm house, sheds and barns. Any roads or tracks running through the terrain should run from top to bottom.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Ghost Archipelago - Treasure tokens

A couple of months of doing very little, have turned into a flood of projects on the go. All of which I am tempted to dive into. 
The mojo is definately back for January. I could do with a couple of weeks off and a lottery win to get them all to a place where I would be happy.

In no particular order the following are all on the go.
  • A half written idea for transporting Ghost Archipelago into the world of Black Powder and Pirates.
  • A half painted ships crew for GA but perhaps now redundant given the ideas above, still they will make up a new faction should the games take off in popularity.
  • The first turn of the Wyvern Wargamers ACW Sharp Practice Campaign is under way and suddenly I have the urge to paint up that last couple of groups of Rebel Infantry.
  • I have a bunch of conversions under way for the Haiti project to give me more shock markers and Leaders for the Insurgent Army. The heads are off just need to apply the tricorns now.
  • The Plantation House which looked great at the show - But blimey how many bits.....
  • Having made the adaptions for the RJW Project to SP2 it turns out that I need a number extra's to create the right balance of forces for both sides and the spares box as a limited number of replacements.
  • The large scale Pbem WW2 campaign is starting to heat up with action on the Russian Front.
  • A 15mm Russian Village for modern day Russia.

Less planning more doing...
The treasure markers for Ghost Archipelago have been under coated and on the paint table for a number of months so they can be first off the production line. 

The initial outing saw our factions fighting over cargo boxes, so something with a little more sparkle was in order. I picked these up from Bad Squiddo Games in November at Warfare. They are imported from Poland lovely terrain pieces. It's well worth taking a look at the wider range. Ristuls-Extraordinary-Market

I based each of the treasurers on circular bases which allowed me to add some extra flock and to mix with my existing terrain pieces and protect the edges of the treasure piles which could chip as the pieces are resin.

These were free with the Nickstarter and blend in nicely with the others, they will eventually have additional grasses and reeds to fit with my existing swamps and other jungle terrain, just as soon as it's warm enough to varnish.

Two Black Scorpion Pirates to give a sense of scale.
Now all is needed is to adapt Ghost Archipelago and introduce pistols and muskets and we could have a game on our hands.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Sharp Practice 2 - The Russo-Japanese War - Thoughts and adaptions.

First game of the year and a chance to try something new.
Like many wargamers I have a bookshelf full of rules each time a new edition comes it ends up being brought and added to the shelf. To the point where at times you forget which rules sits within each version, this year I resolved to try and cull the rules used and concentrate on a small number which over the years have provided the best experience. Sharp Practice 2 is one such set but could they be tweaked to include the war of 1904 -1905?

Historically I have used mud and blood from the TFL which gave a great game but was very much large skirmish where SP2 feels that little but larger, so I amend the formations slightly and dropped the number of bigmen, I picked a scenario from Chris Stoesen excellent Suppliment Empire to Revolution for WW1 Russia and matched the number of figures per side to hopefully give the right balance.

The scenario saw a small Japanese force attempting to rush a lightly defended bridge in the opening days of the war.

The Russians were allowed half their force on the eastern side of the river and a makeshift barricade to help defend the bridge from the Japanese attackers.

The Japanese with the aid of some Chinese irregulars managed to push forwards using a secondary jump off point and seize the farmstead very early on.

The Japanese came on enmasse, the first challange that we faced was use of bolt action rifles, with no reload action the rate of fire could be massive and the ranges make open ground pretty difficult to cross. By this period smokeless rounds meant battlefield visability was better so no hiding in the smoke for our 28mm warriors. We talked about introducing a tactical action where troops go to ground to provide an additional level of cover when being fired at.

The Russians learn't early on what a couple of rounds of sustained fire could do from a formation even to a skirmish unit at distance, so took to keeping behind the slope and log barricade. The good use of a crashing volley by the nearest Russian section gave the Japanese formation a bloody nose. We decided that the crashing volley when played only impacted the first action of firing.

With the Russian defenders being slowly weakened by shock and casualties even behind heavy cover the Japanese advanced, flanking the Russians left flank.

Not exactly the greatest surprise but the bulk of the Russian mainforce are revealed pouring fire into the Japanese as they crest the rise.

The Japanese are ravaged by the mass ranks of Russians and are soon falling back with their force morale droping as the formation broken and stumbled backwards.

The Russian mainforce sets off over the Bridge thinking the game was in the bag, however out of shot the Japanese release a volley, firing into a marching column added enough shock to reduced the column to a crawl. A valiant draw was agreed.

Pretty pleased with the first run out, I need to amend a number of the units and add some extra figures here and there but all in all really pleased how SP2 translated to the later period.

Post game thoughts

After the initial shock of the rate of fire even a single section can generate in a turn. The game soon calmed down with commanders thinking that little bit harder when to commit units to action, we agreed that the two rates of fire should remain to correctly reflect the effect on the day. 

We agreed to add in the additional actions of troops taking one action to go to ground which in the open increased their cover level by one and in certain types of cover makes them impossible to hit e.g. solid walls. However after much discussion we also agreed that it takes a further action to stand up to balance the benefit of cover vs fire power.

The MG on the Japanese side had some effect we increased the range beyond that of the rifle to allow them to be used as a support weapon and only at effective range gave it the equivalent of cannister where it doubled the shock on any unit, however to weaken it's effect it only fired on one action and a second action is required to reload.
I will probably bring across the more 1's than 6's rule to represent the jamming effect, perhaps using a flag to roll for unjamming?
In an attempt to represent the effect of sustained fire one idea is to use the ruling within Chain of Command but perhaps being triggered by the use of two command cards during a turn?

Thinking about the troops of the period and referencing the remarks of Lieut.-General Sir Ian Hamilton on the subject of operations along the Yalu River.
Another marked contrast between the two armies was in their musketry. The Russians mainly used volleys, even in the confused struggle at Ha-ma-tang ; the Japanese, individual fire. l have satisfied myself that, whereas the artillery practice of the Russians was good as long as it lasted, the musketry was inaccurate to an extent not entirely explicable by the fact that they were attempting to fire volleys in face of combined shrapnel and individual rifle fire.
With this in mind I have looked to class the bulk of the Russian forces as poor quality this would increase them numerically to 10 figure sections, but by making them poor shots balance the rate of fire, given the commentary above perhaps making the cost of crashing volley as little as one flag?

Given that only a few Russian units carried the M1891 Mosin-Nagant Rifle, with a number still armed with the Berdan II rifle which, is a single-shot bolt-action, this would require an action to reload which further reduces the Russian capabilities on the battlefield.

It's not all bad news for the Russians I awarded them the characteristic of Stubbon and perhaps even aggressive in hand to hand, whilst the Japanese of recieve the Thin Red Line to encourage them to be more assertive in action.

I would welcome anyone elses thoughts on what additional tweaks should be made to reflect the advances in firepower or to better reflect the 1900's using Sharp Practice.

Off now to work out what extra figures are needed.... shame :-)

Saturday, January 06, 2018

2017 A year in review.

Some what belated but I guess that's the problem with a weekend in between Christmas and New Year and limited time off, I thought I would look back over the past 12 months and review the progress of the projects undertaken and give some thought to the the year ahead.

When I consider the plans that I had for the year I am pretty pleased with the output, I looked back at my notes and had three projects ear marked for the year ahead.

Napoleon in Egypt - Sharp Practice 2
I finished the core French force of French Infantry together with a section of Coptics but never got round to the cavalry, however with the Perry Twins producing a number of new releases including cavalry perhaps 2018 could be the year?

Haiti Revolution - Sharp Practice 2
I surprised myself with just how much of these project left the paint table and marched on to the table top, I managed to complete a full force representing the Slave Army and the bulk of a free Peoples/Haitian force, they have yet to win a game when facing off against the Brits or the French but all of the games have been real fun. With some Christmas purchases tucked away plenty more to come this year.


Warlords of Atlantis - Cutlass!
Hhhmmm I did complete the core Pirate and Marine forces but struggled to give this project much game tim, perhaps with the release of Ghost Archipelago the Black Powder/Pulp Cross over will see this landing a little more firmly. It definately potential and with the native Indians painted up and the odd Sea Creature. I just need to spend some time pulling the formal background together and building the forces in GA. I just need that spark to get going on this.

As was the case with 2016 the year started so well, but time in front of the brushes fell away badly in the second part of the year, I blame the change in job, I had so hoped for gardening leave, so to did the wife, however our ideas for a "to do" list looked very different...
I am yet to beat the 2015 tool of in excess of 300 mini's but last years efforts was just shy of 200 foot figures not to shabby.

So what about the year ahead?
The Haitian Project will continue to expand, the most recent encounters have demonstrated the need for a few more Big Men for the Slave Forces, I have a couple of battalions of French which need painting up and have plans for cavalry and Artillery together with supporting characters.

Ghost Archipelago the first outing was fun, I will probably look to pull together a couple of standard force rosters for the Pirate and Marines before I crack on with the Northstar Crewmen. I was thinking more along the lines of lost crews from across various time lines crashing together with a sprinkly of magic for some crews... besides I need to find a way of using my crabs some how.

RJW for Sharp Practice 2, we have been playing a lot of SP2 lately and whilst designed for the period upto circa 1865 could it be pushed beyond that to 1905? With some new releases out from Tsuba including cavalry on the way for the Russians it could be the perfect excuse to increase the numbers on both sides.

Outside of that there are plenty of items hiding in the draw of shame, a 15mm Russian village, 28mm Modern Africans and some extra ACW troops... plenty to keep me going without the various distractions that are bound to come along.

New Paints
180 Foot Figures, 3 Cavalry Figures, 2 Fu Dogs, 3 Crabs, 8 Car Wrecks, 1 Ammo Cart, 16 Movement Trays, 5 Space Fighters, 7 Shock Markers, 8 Earthworks.


New - Napoleon in Egypt 28mm - Sharp Practice
28 French Infantry - Perry Miniatures.
3 French Officers - Brigade Games
New - Black Powder Pulp/Fantasy 28mm
8 Royal Marines - Black Scorpion Miniatures
11Pirates/Gentlemen - Black Scorpion Miniatures
1 Highwayman - Black Scorpion Miniatures

FebruaryNew - Chinese Fantasy 28mm
2 Fu Dogs - Watchful I Studio's 

2 Flame Throwers - Curtney Miniatures.
New - Napoleon in Egypt 28mm - Sharp Practice
5 French Artillery Crew - Brigade Games

MarchNew - Laserburn - Sci-fi
8 Car Wrecks

New - Napoleon in Egypt 28mm - Sharp Practice
2 French Maids - Front Rank Miniatures.
1 Ammo Cart.
2 Shock Markers.


New - Napoleon in Egypt 28mm - Sharp Practice
5 Shock Markers.
8 Coptic Legion Infantry - Perry Miniatures.
New Haitian Revolution - Sharp Practice 
24 Haitian Slaves/Maroons - Trent Miniatures


New - Napoleon in Egypt 28mm - Sharp Practice
5 Arab Engineers.
New - Amazon Indians 28mm - SOBH
10 Copplestone Indians. 
New Terrain
8 Earthworks


New Haitian Revolution - Sharp Practice 
12 Haitian Slaves/Maroons - Wargames Foundry
New - Napoleon in Egypt 28mm - Sharp Practice
18 movement Trays.


New Haitian Revolution - Sharp Practice 
6 Chasseurs De Saint Dominic - Trent Miniatures
6 Chasseurs Des Irois -Trent Miniatures
6 Movement Trays
New Russo-Jap War 

Russian Priest.

New Haitian Revolution - Sharp Practice 
8 Free People Infantry - Trent Miniatures
2 Haitian Officers - Trent Miniatures
New - Atlantis - 28mm - Cutlass!
2 Atlantians - Antediluvian miniatures
3 Crabs - Antediluvian miniatures

New Haitian Revolution - Sharp Practice 
23 Freed Slaves - Trent Miniatures
10 Free People Infantry - Trent Miniatures
3 Haitian Slave Big Men - North Star
1 Mounted Officer - Trent Miniatures
10 Movement Trays
Star Eagles - Space Fighters
4 Hawkmen Fighters
1 Ming Frigate.