Sunday, February 4, 2018

Muskets & Tomahawks at Midnight

Real men play miniature war games.

And this one was for real men only. We didn't get started until 10:30 pm after a day long gaming session. We were tired, brain dead, stinky but full of pizza and ready to roll dice.

We set up quickly and reviewed the basic rules of play quickly as well, there was no time to dally. The lists weren't 'legal' for tournament play but held every single M&T model I own. 428 points for the Brits and 421 points for the French.

 We had muskets. We had tomahawks. We had dice and a bad attitude.

The quick scenario idea was that the British had sent a punitive force to raze a hamlet started by French against explicit protests from the British not to. The French, spoiling for a fight, sent Regulars to man the town before the civilian population. Reinforcements were on the way but from which direction? Word had been sent that heavy rains the previous week had washed away the bridge and that repairs had yet to be started. Could the French hold out? A smaller, but better led British force was on the way.

An overview of the playing surface. The British would enter from the edge in the foreground and to the left. The French reinforcements would enter from the far edge and to the right.

A view looking lengthwise down the table.

Unfortunately, we were really, genuinely tired and I forgot to take too many pictures. These are some highlights but don't really tell the story.

The Pennsylvania militia.

The idea was to bring all the Regulars on the short edge and force the French to deal with them while the guerrilla forces sneaked in and torched the buildings.  But alas, no plan survives contact with the enemy. The Brits got the jump on the Frenchies and both units had a total of 20 shots and missed with all of them. The French return fire, only 10 shots strong, felled 4 British regulars. It was a precedent that was set for the rest of the game on that side of the board. Those Frogs were dynamite!

French Indians emerge from the woods to support the second unit of Regulars and some French Marines. The light infantry, the Chasseurs lent their elite support to the original French unit near the smaller of the two buildings.

British Rangers and Natives cross open ground in a race to burn those homesteads! The Ranger unit in the center of the screen, with their officer, was destroyed to a man! The Natives were eventually forced to retreat back to the woods under withering French fire.

The Indian Sachem directs his warriors forward. The Regulars have been forced to recoil due to British fire and the Marines are half the men they used to be! Fighting was fierce all over the board but the survivors were heard to say this was the some of the worst fighting in the war as musket balls buzzed like hornets across the landscape.

The meadows of Pennsylvania. Still no smoke from the buildings as the night marches straight into morning for the weary gamers.

If you look in the background you can see the Chasseurs about to cross the river.

You can hear the victorious war cries of the French Indians as they shoot down the British Rangers. Not just bravado here. These guys are bad news and no mistake. The Marines can only watch and eat cheese that smells of people's feet.

Aha! Chris' unit of rangers finally reaches the smaller of the building and starts to set it alight!

The story of the night. The unit in the foreground, 2 man strong with officer, are the remaining guys from the original unit on board. They passed every Morale Check possible, with d6, with d3, with no mods, with negative mods, it just didn't matter. They refused to falter and likely, no, more than likely, they won the game for the French. They held off two units of British Regulars twice their number, *plus* a unit of Natives, *plus* a unit of Rangers firing at them.

The Chassuers can be seen behind them after crossing the stream but they have been rendered superfluous by their brothers.

The remains of two units of British regulars after trading dice with one unit of French. 

BTW, the officer in Red completed his sub-plot by not killing anyone in the game and so technically forced a draw. The French sub plot was to kill the Pennsylvanian carrying the colors. He lived!

British Rangers all fire into the air after starting to light the small building on fire. I like these guys but I bought a bag of them at a flea market and many have the same poses. Oh well, I got 15 of them for $5, so...

So, technically a draw, but the Brits had a long way to go to win when we called it due to hallucinating from sleep deprivation. It was a game crowd to stay so late and so long but it was worth it. It's a great game and I really needed to get my Pennsylvania on after so many months outside of civilization.

Frostgrave, Every Man for Himself

Met with real men this weekend to play games. First on the docket was a 4 way Frostgrave game of Chris' design. It took place above *and* below ground. There was a wyvern, treasure, and other monsters. It's not a city for the weak spirited. It was a very cool way to play with 4, with points awarded for getting away with treasure and killing other wizards and apprentices. I foolishly thought there may even be some co-operation, And I guess there sort of was: Chris and Nat co-operated in destroying my war band but that wasn't what I had in mind.

Remember that every piece of terrain, excepting the trees, was hand made by Chris. Awesome.

A shot of the whole table while Chris and Ogre pick schools of magic and starting spells. Chris put together 4 generic war bands with some magic items but each player assigned the items and chose their own spells.

There were also five possible entrances into the Undercity but only two of them were real. We placed them randomly, not knowing which were real and which were not. To find out, a member of your band had to get within an inch.

There were monsters down there.

A shot near my set up area. Given access to Chris' very large miniature vault, the game quickly took on a Warhammer feel as he played his Dark Elves, Ogre chose Chaos, Nat took dwarfs and I chose goblins.

The racial differences played no real part in the game except maybe the short guys were able to hide better. I wish I had taken a photo of each war band. Chris' figures are all awesome and playing with them is always a treat.

I love this picture. Taken from behind my right flank, it shows, from left to right, my apprentice, a goblin-at-arms and an archer. What's cool though is that if you look just above the archers bow, you can see a dwarf in a blue hoodie. Just a really cool line of sight! However, he moved off before the archer got a shot off. 

Some of Chris' Dark Elves slither through the city. In fact, this is the unit that decimated my left side and crushed my war band, chopping my wizard up like he owed them money.

I can't even tell who these guys are.

My ranger and crossbow goblin had great LOS to a lot of the city from atop this wall. In fact, it was from here that came the only half point we scored, when out of desperation, the archer fired into a melee and luckily (emphasis on luck), hit and killed Chris' apprentice.

I had several other great chances to stay in the game but my dice were abysmal against Chris. However, they were equally amazing against Nat on the other side thus proving that dice average out. I rolled nothing but 1's against Chris, nothing but 20's against Nat and 9's for everything else. (That's a lie of course. For some reason, I won initiative seven out of ten turns.)

Ogre and I never rolled an opposing die in anger.

Overhead shot. It's hard to actually pick guys out because the terrain is so good that figures actually 'hide' in the ruins. Decent LOS's are hard to come by. Also, Ogre quickly found an entrance to the Undercity and his entire war band, excepting a pesky archer, went underground. His figures were off the table in a series of rooms Chris had set up just out of this shot.

This is a great shot because, well, it is. What I like about it is that you can see the base of my wizard downstairs in the building in the foreground, hiding like any goblin with any modicum of sense would do. However he had cast 'Wizard's Eye' on the tower in the upper center, so that is where he could draw LOS from. Cool spell, lots of fun.

Eventually he moved to his left and went up the stairs to the far left second floor where he was cornered and filleted.

It was a close game between the three of them with Chris pulling out a narrow victory, including a point for murdering my wizard and getting several treasure tokens off the board. I *had* a treasure token once but Chris later found it under the corpse of my thief.

It was a great scenario for this very worthy game. A tip of the skull cap to the others as everyone played really well and had a great time.The barbeque'd ham didn't hurt either.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Some terrain for Muskets & Tomahawks

So, it;s been quite awhile since I have posted anything here, but as I am adjusting to being in the corn, and with monthly gaming sessions on the horizon, I have started to 'find the mood'. ('Moods: a thing for love play and cattle'.)(Extra points if you tell me where that reference is from.)

I bought these log cabin kits from Hobby Lobby months ago for about $4 each and they have been sitting around since the day I got them. Yesterday I had the urge to get them out and take a look at them. I bought them for M&T originally but it seemed I may never play the game again. Even if I don't I decided I wanted a go at these things. I had three 'houses' and put one together straight away. All they are, is Lincoln Logs we used to get as kids. A spot of white glue on each join and it was together; took about 15 minutes. (The roof was a bit of a beeyatch,) But I also wanted to combine two of them to make a bigger house. I was unsure how to do that but I was determined to make it happen.

Here's the two buildings assembled and the one is partly completed.

Spoiler alert! I figured out how to make one building out of two kits! (I wish I would have straightened the chimley for this picture.) I had to use my tiny saw to properly size some of the pieces but it all came together.

So, you can see how the two separate buildings fit together but there was the gap of about three inches I needed to fix somehow.

So I decided to make a fireplace wall using simple cardboard. I took two triangular corners from a box of clementines and glued them together to make a square chimney. Then I was left with the daunting task of making the roof fit.

Here you can see the last wall and how it slides into place to complete the building. Also note the roofing. I took the easy way out (Surprise, surprise!) and used and old Cinnamon Toast Crunch box (BTW, the best cereal in the history of man), to create plank roofing as I have seen in some F&IW reconstructions when I lived back in civilization. Shake shingles are probably more appropriate but they are also an appropriately bigger pain in the ass, so... Enjoy plank roofing.

This is the chimney and the two halves of the roof that interlock around it to complete the house. This took the longest times and absolutely the most curse words. I am no engineer. My brain does not work that way. But, after an hour (or two), and with lots of tape holding things together, I finally managed to make it work. (Don't look too closely if you ever see these in person.)

I used a dremel tool from my pal Paul to beat up the logs a bit before using brown ink to color it. Then I again used the dremel to sand away parts and give it a less uniform look. Plus the sanding really helped look like the logs were hewn. I mean, you know, don't look real close. They'll be fine on the gaming table surrounded by other terrain.

So, I got all this done yesterday and thought I might do another post when I complete both buildings. I need to batter and ink and sand the big one, plus give the chimley the same treatment as the fireplace wall to make it look like stone, and then paint them both. And I need to figure out a treatment for the roofs, but it will more than likely just be painted.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Normans/Crusaders for Saga

Here's the latest installment of my Saga factions: the Normans, who also can double as Crusaders. These guys were fun and easy to paint, they being almost entirely covered in chain mail. 

First though, are a  few shots of basing. I had wanted to do a whole entry on this but this'll have to do. My primary basing material comes from the construction project next door as two new houses were built. I have used lots of materials in the past but it occurred to me one day that real dirt may be the best material of all, and it's free. I grabbed a bucketful and started sifting it with colanders. I ended up with three grades which I labeled '0', '00' and '000'. What you see on these bases is the 000. 

The figure on the left has his base coat of 000. I use white glue with a special brush I cut and apply liberally and let dry. Then after using a soft brush to remove the excess dirt and dust, I dry brush the bases with Vallejo's Stone Grey. The figure on the right has been dry brushed. I never worry about getting a little of the paint on feet/shoes/boots. After all, if you had dirt/mud on your boots, it would be the same color as the ground you're standing on.

Static grass has been added to complete the basing. I will use the grass to hide spots on the base I don't like; either from paint splotches or uneven coverage of material. The whole process is time consuming but I like the end result. I've seen many types of basing and generally like them all. This is just my way to do it.

The Bastard and his brood.

Close up of the mounted knights. Shields once again by Little Big Man Studios. Love 'em. The banner is as yet unpainted clearly. I haven't decided to use a Norman standard from the Bayeux Tapestry or the cross of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Foot warriors. Prolly lost their mounts on the way to the Holy Land or in their first skirmish with the Turks and they charged headlong into retreating bow fire.

Foot slogging archers.

Foot warriors #2.

The deadly crossbow. You'll get no quarrel from me about them.

Foot warriors #3.

Close up shots of knights.

I like this guy for some reason.

The basing style is the same, only bigger, for cavalry.

If you look closely, you can see the two guys in the back right of this unit are guys who's hands didn't match up properly. As I said, I was able to paint them as if they are wearing gloves and you can't tell that it's a seam.

I'm looking forward to seeing these guys in action. Opponents that I can field include Anglo-Danes, Welsh, Vikings and Saracens.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Saga: Late Romans

Finally got my Romans done for Saga. It was tough to make a decent army without the AEtius and Arthur book to know for sure what was in the list. However, I was able to freeze frame a video review on You Tube and get a snap shot of (almost all of) the correct page in the book to work off of. As far as I know A&A is still not available in the U.S. so I ordered my book direct from England. It turns out I may have to paint a few more guys to tweak my list, making more Levies for example, but for now this is what I got!

This army and book is right in my wheelhouse, maybe my favorite period of history. A big fan of Arthur and his exploits since I was a child, I was very happy to see Saga move into this era. I love the information available on Late Imperial/Patrician Romans, specifically the Notitia Dignitatum, so this has been a fun project from start to finish.

So, without further ado, let me present to yinz my Romans for Saga.

The whole kit and kaboodle. A Warlord, mounted and on foot, two points of infantry HearthGuard, three points of  infantry Warriors and 1 point of Levy. Also, 8 cavalry which can be either a point of Warriors or two of Hearthguard, depending how I want to construct my list.

The Warlord. Love how the camera focused on the building behind him.

I love that shield pattern and got two copies, so, one for each.

The cavalry. I just bought them and for the life of me can't remember the maker. Metal figs, came without weapons, so once again I added plastics from left over Gripping Beast sprues. Worked. These can be fielded as 2 units of HearthGuard or one of Warriors. All shields from Little Big Man Studios; I cannot say enough good things about them. The only issue was trying to decide which ones to use.

I like the Valentinian shield. Also note the lack of stirrups. Nice when they get it right.

The legionnaires, or HearthGuard for our game purposes. Probably new citizens recruited from German tribes, who cares once you put on the uniform?

The game designers are calling this a 'manuballista'. It's been fun watching the gaming 'scholars' scream over top of each other about what it should be called. I haven't seen that many declensions since Gerald Ford was president. Who gives a shit? It's the first artillery piece in the game system and shoots 2 x Long range. I can't wait to use it. It counts as a Levy. I'm going to call mine peanut butter and jellicus just to piss people off.

The first unit of Warriors. I love these guys. They are Gripping Beast Plastics. Shields again by LBM Studios.

Warrior unit #2. All pissed off because they wanted to be #1.

Warrior unit #3, the Auxilia Palantina. I may buy a couple more sprues of these. I've found them on eBay but the shipping is exorbitant; the guy wants over $20 for something that prolly costs him a buck. 

Next up is the opponent for these guys, Arthur himself and the Britons. (Romano-British, Sub-Roman British, take your pick...) I'll prolly get a box of 'Dark Age Warriors' from Gripping Beast and use the leftover oval shields from the Roman box. LBM has 'Arthurian' shields transfers that combine some Roman designs with Saxon and Celtic knotwork. They're nice.

I can't wait go give these guys a go. I don't care if they're a 'good' faction to play; I already love them.