Monday, January 31, 2022

Go Sharp into the Desert - Lard Magazine 2021- Part 1

Having read John Savage's articles in the excellent Christmas Lard Magazine 2021, it gave us the nudge that was needed to unbox figures that had been in hibernation for at least a decade. 

John's article adapted Sharp Practice for the Sudan and included a series of linked campaign games introducing us to Colonel Dartington-Crystal. John's articles were for 28mm games, so to make them  work for 15mm to give us the depth of fighting units we doubled the unit sizes but kept the firing stats the same, we converted the ranges from inches to centimetres and doubled them.

Game One: The Relief of Shah Wadi Wadi

Colonel Dartington-Crystal of the South Borchester Regiment finds himself leading a small force across the desert to the settlement of Shah Wadi Wadi with orders to relieve the garrison and rescue McCready and his daughters.

For the unit make up see the magazine a bargain at only Six English Pounds.

Sergeant Ted Grundy leads the defence of the garrison. The Colonel has to cross the table to reach the village as long as the Mahdi do not get in the way. 

From the left and right flanks the Mahdist forces appear, looking to close on the British column and the defenders of the village.

It's been a while since I have played regular forces and when I spotted skirmishers in a stand of palm trees, how could I resist. The main Mahdist forces were several moves away and besides what were lancers for.....

As the gallop the lancers charged catching the evading skirmishers running them down.

Success was to be short lived, whilst only suffering a single casualty in the rout of the skirmishers, they were jumped by enemy cavalry, caught at the halt in a close fought battle despite their superior quality they were beaten back with their officer wounded. The village defenders would have to hold out on a little longer.

The left hand column swept towards the village.

Colonel Dartington-Crystal still had quite a distance to cover if he was to rescue McCready and his daughters.

The Dervish start to pick up pace, but the plucky Brits start to chip away at them, with volley after volley.

The defenders hold fast as the first of the Mahdist forces reach the wall, Ted Grundy urges his men to hold fast, they had stripped a couple of supporting groups from the mob, but needed the help of a fine chap and 'Victorian Hero' who rushed into the fight beating back the attackers.

The attack faltered and the Mahdists fell back. The men of the South Borchester Regiment had held on. Now just the small matter of getting McCready and his daughters back to the waiting steamer.

A fun encounter. The tweaks to 15mm worked well, I sense my Dervish opponent will be more tricky in the next encounter, the sheer volume and range of the British can disrupt even the largest mob, but the natives move fast and one's suspects without the clay walls the outcome at Shah Wadi Wadi could have been very different.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

The Silver Bayonet - The return of Claude Canard

Having travelled from Egypt to Haiti - Claude Canard of the French Sloop "Le Vendeen" makes a welcome return to fight against the evil rising from the land.

The great thing about these rules is they compliment many of my various odd collections, I have pretty much enough to pull together several factions for the Silver Bayonet and the fantastic beasts lined up against them.

With the Silver Bayonet Claude has 100 points to spend within his faction with no more than 7 characters.

Whilst I may need a few extra pieces for the more unique characters but at this stage I opted for his trusty side kick Ensign Cotelettes de Mouton (2nd Lieut), Novice Marie Bonte (Doctor) together with 2 Grenadiers, 2 Soldiers and a Sailor backed up with a Blunderbuss.

Let's see how they get on with the first solo encounter from the rule book - 'Wolf Pack'.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Blood on the Plains #2 - Supply Run

An evening encounter and another run through of the Plains Wars adaption for Sharp Practice and a chance to get some of the new toys on the table.

A detachment of Cavalry with a wagon mounted Infantry company have been tasked with escorting a wagon of supplies, reaching the ford at the creek an Indian village was spotted blocking the passage of the column. 

The Indian's could be anywhere on the table so the army and their crow scouts would need to be cautious. They had the fire power but the Cheyanne and Sioux were swift.

The Crow scouts spotted a group of Sioux who fired from the tree line and scuttled back through the stand of trees. 

The cavalry sections swept the wooded areas and rises looking to spot any of the hostiles. The wagon train pressed.

Cresting the largest hill the cavalry spotted a hidden warband who with a war whoop who rushed towards the cavalry who headed back to the safety of the column.

At the base of the valley a further group of horsemen broke cover from behind a stand of trees and headed for the cavalry troop.

The Crow could only stand and watch as the Sioux poured down the hillside.

The hostiles caught the retreating cavalry, they broke and ran.

As with many an encounter with the Sioux they held the advantage but instead of closing on the column and the wagon they turned and headed across the creek taking their dead and wounded with them.

A good encounter ironing out a couple of kinks in the rules around low ammunition and evade rules.

A few more pieces to get off the paint table before a formal roll out at Hammerhead in March.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Dispatches from the front XXI - The Butterfly Awakes.

A few weeks since the end of the holiday period and a couple 'additional' purchases that did not appear from the Christmas wish list.

I am not sure if it's the time of year or the fact that I am coming to the end of the Pony Wars Project with all the metal based and undercoated if I get them complete and the buildings by April I will have completed the entire project in 12 months now that is a record for me.

I have been distracted by thoughts of several fresh projects...... Idle hands and a Paypal War chest? ;-)

It started with the unboxing and a couple of games Undaunted: North Africa a cracking game and really well balanced, you need to apply the specialists in the right roles to ensure proper tactics pay off. Unlike the Normandy version this one is based on single figures and of course it led to the inevitable conversation about converting it to miniatures, after all I was looking for an opportunity to use my desert terrain a little more and Perry Miniatures have some lovely castings.

Game 1 - The scout was quick to clear the tiles ahead opening up the board for the demolition expert to destroy the plane and lorry before the Italians could stop them although there were some hairy moments when he was pinned on the open runway trying to plant the explosives.

Game 2 - The LRDG faced the might of the Italian Armour and the Boyes Rifle simply did not have the punch to kill the damn thing. The fascists were soon stripped of their supporting Infantry but the Allies had a risky time trying to dodge the mobile pill box as they attempted to destroy the fuel dump.

I could seriously be tempted in some figures for this especially as the figure count is rather low.

I picked up a copy of Silver Bayonet designed for Napoleonic monster hunting convincing myself that I would not any further figures (who am I trying to kid) as I have French for both Haiti and Egypt both regions lend themselves to monster folk lore. Could Claude Canard make a come back?

The rules are well produced and well polished in a format similar in style to Frost/Star Grave.

Next thing you know I am thinking about Russians and pinching some of the elements of the faction for the Russo Japanese War, which allow me to utilise some of my Water Margin collection besides who doesn't everyone need a hopping Vampire?

A restock from Foundry they were advertising a range of discounts on orders over £50 unfortunately paints were excluded which was a shame as I would have topped up the order to bring up to the first threshold so for once held back on knee jerk purchases :-)

Expensive postage and duty aside, I picked up an excellent Brain Bug for Starship Troopers. The Mongoose original has being going for in excess of £75.00 so this variant on Etsy was a great proxy. 
Good communication from AlieCatCraftsnStuff who scaled it down to 25mm scale.

Meanwhile as Covid starts to retreat again, it was nice to get some club time in.

I had an outing over to the Wyre Forest Club and had an excellent game of  Blucher, thanks to Neil for putting the game on and and Daniel my French opponent. A close run thing down to the very last turn.

On the right flank my Austrian Cavalry Corp ran into French Infantry which were surprisingly tough to drive from their defensive positions.

Meanwhile the French cavalry rode down the Austrian guns before exhausting themselves on the massed ranks of Austrian Line.

A great game mechanism and allows for some great master strokes across the table.

Over at the Wyverns another Arthurian outing using Song of Blades and Heroes this time Romano Britain's looking to turn back the Saxon raiders.

Quite the battle with a number of gory deaths messing up both sides formations and massed archery felling several of the armoured Britain's.

Until next time....

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Welcome the boys in blue - US Infantry for the Great Sioux War.

After a slight detour with the Excalibur project, back to the last of the US forces for the Great Sioux War and reinforcements in the shape of 3 companies of US Infantry with additional big men. 

Given the scale and my they do seem very small again having just completed the last of the 28mm, I opted for black hats to separate the Infantry from the canvas of the dismounted cavalry. Based in groups of 8 they should be an interesting proposition for the Indians.

My eyesight is definitely declining, having based these and sculpted the bases it was only then that I spotted one of the privates was facing the wrong way..... Perhaps he is covering the rear or needs to concentrate when loading.... :-) 

5 new Big men should give me plenty more command options, these were from the Baccus ACW range.

If the Infantry are not enough perhaps the Lone Ranger and Tonto can help, a key addition to the Pony Wars Rules but could be a fun option for the Sharp Practice games.

Maybe a rule tweak to turn back the Sioux? - "Kemosabe I am not sure you have enough bullets in those silver pistols"...

Next up the final hurdle... another 100 Sioux.... gulp.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

The first game of the year - The Hunt for Morgana

Nice to start to get back into the swing of things.... and an attempt to play with all the freshly painted toys more quickly. First up an outing for Song of Arthur and Merlin from the Ganesha Games stable, the perfect rule set for a quick evening game. 

The Arthur and Merlin rules are a great set covering the classic Arthurian folklore through to the Celtic/Welsh King and that of Romano-British, so plenty to choose from.

I picked the High Medieval setting for this outing and following the Excalibur movie timeline with which portrays Morgana as King Arthur's half sister and Mordred Arthur's illegitimate son... 

On with the game.

Morgana slipped out of Camelot taking a young Mordred with her, Arthur set out with several of his knights to bring her back. Morgana reached the village of Galeford closely following by Arthur she was looking to hide in the village hoping to wait out until her own knights arrive at the village.

To make things interesting I hid 6 tokens within the central buildings, Morgana was marked on one counter so neither of us knew where she is hiding.

Morgana was able to beguile a number of villagers to hopefully hold off Arthur and his knights whilst her own Knights appeared to whisk her away. She was not able to activate until found by either side.

The points per side were even by Morgana was a Q2+ Legendary Wizard and at 260 points 8 times the host of a lowly Knight.

The knights advanced to the cross roads clattering into the village strong men. One of the intriguing part of the rules is the Chivalry rule, which rewards good acts, such as not striking a fallen enemy, but loses chivalry points for acts like ambushing there opponent. On when Knights achieved a set number of points could they take part in a quest and in our games then would be given a name and greater character skills.

It turns out Arthurs knights are really good at seek and Morgana was rubbish at hiding, found in the first building in a filthy stable of all places.

Overcoming the shame of it hiding in a stable, she was able to slip out of the grip of the advancing knight and was now protected by an evil warrior, whilst another of Arthur's knights was engaged by a local villager.

In the centre of the table, the villages were defeated, an evil knight encountered Sir Galahad, the only named Knight in Arthurs ranks who bettered his counterpart striking him dead. +1 Chivalry Point.

Morgana and Mordred ran for the outskirts of the village but was surrounded by Knights, despite one of her villagers taking down one of Arthur's men she was unable to escape.

A great first game, Arthur gained a Chivalry point, so to did Sir Galahad. However one of his knights could not help himself and struck a fallen opponent losing a point. 
Could he be turned to the darkness?

More games to follow......