Friday, 11 January 2019

Off the Painting Table; Jan 2019

Over the festive period I have continued painting units for my Punic Wars armies. I have completed the Spanish contingent made up of Lancashire Games figures. I have 4 units each of Scutarii and Caetrati, plus 2 units of cavalry. The figures wear white tunics with a purple border and the shield designs are fairly Gallic in appearance (I took my inspiration and ideas from looking at 28mm decal designs on the Victorix website.).

It should be noted I have also finished the Numidian forces, but I have not photographed these because they are dull and boring.

I have a horde of Gallic figures to paint, but I don’t think I can face them immediately. Instead I think I will focus on my next Roman legion using Xyston figures. The better sculpts make these a pleasure to work on.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Review of the painting year; 2018

The year of 2018 has come to an end and I can look back on what I have managed to paint. I am a ‘sad’ gamer who logs all the items painted, generally in chronological order, so here is my 2018 list:

WW1 French
Lancashire Games
WW2 French S-35 tanks
ACW Naval
Peter Pig
Plus Medium fort
Col. Bills
Town Militia
Farmyard animals
Warlord Games
Black Tree
Spanish Guerrillas
Eagle Figures
WW2 building
Medieval Levy Archers
Gripping Beast
Lancashire Games
Lancashire Games
Republic Romans
Xyston Figures


Actually, 2018 was a quiet year in terms of painting. The only major projects completed were my WW1 French army, and my ACW riverine fleets for use with RFCM Hammerin’ Iron rules. Otherwise it has been a bit ‘bitty’ and lacking focus. I’m currently in the middle of my 15mm Punic Wars forces, which should be completed in early 2019. I’m really searching for inspiration at the moment but have enough to keep me occupied until Salute in Spring.

Monday, 31 December 2018

Boardgame session; Xmas 2018

Christmas is a time for families to get together and play boardgames. Gill, Paul and my niece Erin visited and we played a wide range of games, which I’m not going to detail. I think Paul emerged as the clear champion, with strong performances in logic games such as Onitama and Ganz Schon Clever.
As there were 5 players I introduced a social deduction game I picked up second-hand at a show; Deception, Murder in Hong Kong. In the first game I took the role of Forensic Scientist. Everyone soon understood the game mechanics, but trying to enforce an uninterrupted 30 seconds of analysis for each player proved difficult, so we were more free-form, but I ensured all players had a say in each round. A good indicator for a game is the enthusiasm which players show for an immediate replay, and Deception did well in this regard because we played 6 games back-to-back! We found a fairly even split between the investigators uncovering the murderer, and the murderer getting away with it. The game worked well with 5-players and I think a few players more would be even better. A larger player count would also allow for the introduction of other roles (accomplice and witness), which would be interesting. I don’t think Deception will be played frequently, but it will come out in ‘party’ situations, even with non-gamers.

The other ‘new’ game played was the 2-player game, Targi (which I received as a prezzie). I have only played this game once with Elaine, and I think it may quickly become one of my favourites. The decision making aspect is tense, with a nice degree of player interaction. The rules and mechanics are easy to pick up, and I like the 30-45 minute timescale. Anyway, that’s 2018 done with; roll on 2019.

Monday, 17 December 2018

Boardgame Session; 16Dec18

Visited Val and Chris for a pre-Xmas games session. We started with an old game that we have not played for a while; Castles of Mad King Ludwig. I love the theme of this game, so that even though I lost, the interest and achievement in putting together a ‘nice’ castle complex makes the game worthwhile. I feel we need to play more often so that I can start to understand the strategic options open to the master-builder when placing tiles for bidding. I’m sure I could make ‘better’ decisions during this phase. I also struggled to achieve many of my in-game goals, so it was not a surprise that I came last (but not too far behind).

Next we played Metro, basically Tsuro on steroids! Elaine and I have recently played a few times as a 2-player game, so I thought we would do well. Of course, Val and Chris romped home easily! We played the basic game, but I am interested in trying some of the variants included in the game which look as though they radically alter the game play.

We finished by breaking out Lords of Vegas. Again, not a game we have played recently and my memories of it were vague. Really enjoyed the experience as the board developed and players tussled for control of key casinos. For a long time Elaine looked to have a commanding lead with stacks of money, but her luck deserted her in the final turns as the ‘Dice Gods’ thwarted every roll she made. The game was greatly enhanced by using some really nice poker chips rather than the disappointing paper money supplied in the game. Good poker chips are so tactile and fit with the theme of the game, and I’m surprised the publishers did not go with this option from the start! Both Elaine and I enjoyed this game so much that there is a good chance we will get our own copy (we usually avoid buying games that Val and Chris own to avoid duplication).

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Off the Painting Table (Dec 2018)

I have been continuing to paint my Punic Wars armies. I completed the Carthaginian spearmen with the more hoplite style figures from the Lancashire Games Battlepack. They have turned out more ‘Greek’-looking than I would have wanted, but they will do. In terms of value-for-money, I don’t think Lancashire Games can be beaten, and as a result, many of the forces for these armies will use their figures.

I have also made a start on the Roman forces using the pricier Xyston Figures. My first Legion is complete. The models are nicely sculpted and it is not too fiddly fixing the separate shields and weapons. They mix well with those from Lancashire Games in terms of scale. I was not certain about what colour and design to use for the shields, many examples I have seen have ornate designs. In the end I simply went for a plain red because somehow it just gave the figures a ‘Roman’ look. I think my mindset relates to Rome of the EIR-period best, and Romans simply look ‘right’ if they resemble the standard EIR Legionary. I also choose to arm both the Hastati and Princips with the Pilum.

My next group of figures are some Numidian cavalry, together with the Carthaginian horse. Then a large Spanish force. I am leaving the Elephants to last, acting as a form of incentive to complete the armies.

Monday, 26 November 2018

AAR: Teutonic v Pagan (Saga) 25Nov18

I bought the Saga v2 Crusader Army book recently and this was the first outing for my 28mm Teutonics and Prussian Pagans that I previously used with Lion Rampant rules. Ian and I played the basic ‘Clash of Warlords’ scenario with Ian randomly getting control of the Teutonic knights. I use a randomised method to generate 6 point armies. Ian had 3 points of Knights and 3 points of Sergeant Spearmen and Crossbowmen, significantly he had no Levy. I had a single unit of Hearthguard, 4 points of Warriors and 1 of Levy.

The terrain set-up for the scenario seems to me to be a bit restrictive; the Pagans want a densely packed table with lots of woods etc. whereas the Teutonics want an open battlefield. As a result Ian ‘passed’ a.s.a.p., so the maximum number of difficult terrain pieces I could place was 3! Anyway, the game proceeded and the Teutonics massacred my poor Pagans (Ian won by 6 points).

The main points of note were: Ian organised an 8 strong unit of Knights which were a worry to me throughout the game, but actually only destroyed a small unit of my Levy bowmen. Ian’s lack of Levy troops meant his ability to ‘sacrifice’ troops to enhance his more valuable units was not a major factor, but when he did use this, it cost him a valuable sergeant figures. I repeatedly used my ability to force one of Ian’s units to either move towards a base edge or take a fatigue (very useful). The Teutonic crossbows proved effective, especially because I did not have the terrain cover to shelter me. The lack of terrain also prevented me ‘shifting’ my small units around the battlefield. I did manage to kill the Teutonic Warlord when he moved in to finish off my sole Hearthguard unit (the highlight of the game for the Pagans). I found using small 6-man units to be effective early in the game but they wear-down quickly, losing valuable Saga dice and costing victory points.

Overall, the game played fast (~ 2 hours) and with little reference to the main rulebook. The tough decision making aspect revolved around allocation of Saga dice and ‘understanding’ the special abilities of each faction. We liked the differentiation these abilities introduce but the lack of Teutonic Levy and lack of dense Pagan terrain meant that neither side could fully utilise their ability boards. We look forward to repeating the conflict using different faction make-up’s and different scenario structures.

Off the Painting Table (Nov 2018) part 2

I have been struggling to decide on a new project to paint/game for many months now. I have finally chosen to model a pair of 15mm armies for the 2nd Punic War, and decided to use Xyston figures to do this (I like the sculpts produced). I therefore went to Warfare in Reading with a starting Roman list and bought enough figures to complete my first Roman legion. Just before I left the show I stopped at Lancashire Games and was tempted by their Battle Packs range. I purchased a few boxes of Carthaginians which were significantly cheaper than Xyston and, although poorer quality, will match well with Xyston.

I have since painted 2 units of Lybian spearmen and some Numidian  skirmishers (photo above). The spearmen remind me of the ‘old’ minifig PB range sculpt. The figures have a simple tunic and feather headdress. The remainder of the Battle Pack has a ‘hoplite’ style of spearman, and these should provide a nice contrast. I want the Carthaginian army to have a polyglot feel, compared to the more regulated Romans.

It is good to start this project and it should occupy the next few months. I have not textured the bases at this stage because I like to do this on mass, so the effects look consistent across the army. As a side project I’m making a range of ‘marker’ bases to use on the table to replace the functional (but ugly) coloured tiddlywinks normally employed. The first batch is shown below. I like the simple casualty bases made by Warbases. I have also used some spare pouches to make ‘ADC’ or order markers to use with General d’Armee rules (I don’t want to buy a stack of special figures to use in the game). In future I plan to make some ‘Shaken’, ‘Disorder’ and ‘Rout’ marker bases.