Club Night 24/07/17: The drums, the drums!

I took part in my first ever Colonial game on Monday down at the Warlords. To be honest the ‘period’ always left me cold as I could never see the point in it really. Some seriously outnumbered Europeans boldly defending themselves against hordes of indigenous peoples (armed only with sharpened pieces of fruit and rightful indignation) but pulling through due to having far superior firepower and fantastic facial hair just didn’t do it for me. However I saw Martin’s game the other week and it looked fantastic and when he said he was putting on a bigger version I jumped at the chance as the figures were just too lovely not to!

So, here I was about to take on the Mahdi’s forces in the Sudan. The scenario was seemingly straightforward, our column had to advance across the table and secure the settlement at the far end. We could see some Mahdist types in the wadi to our front but were sure that there were more lurking in the various pieces of cover between us and our objective. The column was split into 4 commands with (from left to right) Ian taking the Dragoons, Andy the Royal Navy detachment and Royal Marines (well he is an old bootie), Mike the Highlanders and Yorks & Lancs and I had control of 3 battalions of Egyptian infantry, some skirmishers and the chainmail clad Gendarme squadron. The plan was brutally simple: the Dragoons would get free of the first wadi and then swan about looking for Mahdists, the British would boldly advance on the settlement whilst the Egyptians would have the trickier job of advancing on the guns to silence them.

Things got very sticky very quickly however as a bunch of Mahdists broke cover in the brush in front of the advancing Marines and opened fire which slowed their advance somewhat as it took a while to dispatch them, especially as the Navy’s gun jammed after 6 shots! Whilst this action was happening my brave Egyptians had advanced to the wadi and had readied themselves for the assault whilst my skirmishers tried to discomfort the lurking enemy. The Jocks to my left were attracting the attention of the Mahdi’s guns and the Cavalry on the far left seemed to be just prancing around (the first of the random event cards caused them to retire in the direction they had just come).

The Egyptians were soon across the first Wadi as the Mahdists broke as soon as the assault battalion charged whilst the British also moved forwards to take the other Wadi defenders under fire whilst the Highlanders outflanked them. The Marines seemed to be a trouble magnet though as they were attacked by bands of both Fuzzy-Wuzzies and Mahdists. These attacks were seen off with the assistance from the other battalions and soon the combined weight of shot from the Naval Detachment, Yorks & Lancs and Royal Marines soon saw the Wadi and its environs free of the enemy and they could cross over to join their allies and the Highlanders on the far side. It was about this time that the drums started up as the column once more pushed ahead.

 

At first everything was looking good, my Egyptians had advanced and  after seeing off a charge by some camel mounted fuzzies we were steeling ourselves for the attack on the first enemy gun. I had pushed my skirmishers right in front of the guns and should have started to reduce the crew by their fire if they could have hit them, unfortunately though they were awful shots and this wasn’t happening. Meanwhile, across the rest of the advance Mike’s Highlanders were advancing on the second gun and both them and the Y&L had to deal with further ambushes from the Mahdists which had disjointed their advance somewhat with the English battalion now lagging somewhat behind. This was the story for Andy’s chaps too. The Marines were still shooting and melee-ing their way forwards, racking up an impressive number of slain and routed enemies on the way, but becoming slightly separated from the Naval Detachment as they had also veered off to the left somewhat to deal with more trouble. The Cavalry meanwhile had got into a jolly hairy scrape, riding between the palms and some brush to threaten one of the enemy guns they triggered 3 separate ambushes and another Balaclava looked on the cards. Thankfully though they managed to extricate themselves from the trap with no loss. Then the drums stopped.

As soon as this happened all hell broke loose with Mahdist bands led by Emir’s appearing from all points of the compass and headed straight for us (this was the result of a random event card). Things got extremely hairy from here on in. Over on the far left the Royal Marines were girding themselves to see off yet more, fresh attackers. The Yorks and Lancs had to about face to prepare to receive attacks from the direction we had come from by a large band of Mahdists. The Navy and Highlanders were dealing with one of the guns and the forces that failed to catch the Dragoons and my brave Egyptians were surprised by two huge bands of enemy troops lead by fantastically bedecked Emirs erupting onto their right flank.

The Mahdists caught the end of one of my battalions which sacrificed one and a half companies to try and hold them long enough for the rest of the battalion to fall back and wheel to face. This is what a second battalion just about managed to do letting loose a volley before being struck by the second attacking band. A frenzied melee then ensued with the smaller Egyptian force valiantly holding off a vastly superior force long enough for their parent battalion to ready themselves, the second battalion was also holding firm and I readied the Gendarmes to make a charge into the disorganised Mahdists. At the same time another band was spied moving towards the Wadi that we had crossed earlier so a square was formed by the two battalions that were not engaged in the melee. This was none too soon as the fighting on the flank ceased with the destruction of the brave Egyptian defenders, with the charge of the Gendarmes achieving naught but delaying the inevitable briefly.

Elsewhere other desperate fighting was being conducted as the Mahdist hordes attacked although the Dragoons did manage to execute a successful charge into the rear of one band.  Although we were quietly confident of our chances there were a lot of new enemies approaching and their guns were still in operation, all of our units had been steadily losing men and I was down one whole battalion so it was a slight relief that we ran out of time!

The game was bags of fun and had moments of real tension, many thanks to Martin for putting the game on it was an absolute pleasure sir! Rules used were ‘Sands of the Sudan’ which had nice simple mechanics that were easy to pick up and the random event cards added a huge amount to the game not only in the random events but also period flavour. All the figures are from Martin’s beautiful collection and most of the terrain (bar the Wadi’s and the ruined buildings ) are his too, with most made by him too. He is thinking of taking it to a show which I think is a great idea as it would be a great participation game. I’ll definitely play another game so thank you Mr Gane for the introduction, the next one might even be reported in an appropriately Victorian style….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Club Night 17/07/17: Some CoC at last!

I got my first game of Chain of Command in ages at the club last Monday and it was good to have a change from all the FFT action I’ve been having. I was taking on Ian’s American infantry with some German Infantry so a nice even game was in the offing, which was needed for Ian as his last outing was against a JagdTiger and Elite PanzerGrenadiers and I don’t think he enjoyed it much! I also got to put a couple of my new buildings on the table too which was nice.

We decided on doing a scenario that isn’t in the rulebook but that Des and I concocted which works well as a club game. It is your classic ‘meeting engagement’ with both sides tasked to secure a road junction or cause the other side to fail morale. To generate Support Points we both rolled 2d6 and we discarded the lowest die out of the four, then added up the pips from the remaining 3 and that was what we had to play with. We ended up with 13 points and I went for a Pz IV, an Adjutant & a MMG; Ian went for another rifle squad, a HMG, a sniper and another bazooka team.

All in all the game was good fun, not much happened in the way of manoeuvre but it was an good old-fashioned toe-to-toe firefight which is a great way to spend an evening sometimes! The patrol phase ended well for both sides really with us both having JOP’s near to the buildings and with good potential to launch attacks. I had the greater morale with 10 versus Ian’s 9 so got to roll for activation first which was great as I got lucky rolling a double 6 for the first set of activations and brought on the tank and one squad, I then did it again so pushed the squad forward to the nearest house and deployed another (we then agreed that 3 times of double 6’s would be it!). The last of my activations just saw me push the infantry forwards to take up position along the hedges to cover the flank and start to clamber in the back windows of the house to cover the road whilst I deployed the Senior leader to back them up.

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Table before the patrol phase
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My lads push on to defensive positions whilst Lt Gruber shouts encouragement.

Ian’s response to these deployments was to get as many of his dudes on the table as he could as quickly as he could and he started to push forward past the house on my right with a squad to threaten my JOP that was deployed in the field by the two trees. He also lined the wall over the road from the house that I had occupied with a second squad and a third arrived over on the left to protect the JOP there from attack from my left hand section. I waited until the squad advancing by the house on the right got close enough and I brought the MMG on and let rip. 10 dice and what did I get, absolutely nothing, I rolled 6 ones!!! I should have taken this as a sign and bugged out then and there.

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The Amis move out (Valiant figures, very well painted Mr Spence!)
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Surprise, surprise….
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Oh bugger….
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All still there and not even really shocked, just a bit miffed!

Luckily for me the Pz IV waded in with its MG too and their aim was better and the Junior Leader copped it whilst I added more shock and took out a couple more of the squad. Ian countered by bringing on his M2 and got to work chewing up my MMG team, taking one out and shocking the bejeezuz out of the rest. This was a fight which I lost and before I could activate them again the M2 broke the gun team. I had deployed my last rifle section in the same place and they finished off the advancing Ami squad, breaking the rifle team and caused the BAR team to duck behind the house for cover.

Meanwhile in the centre my section in the house had started a firefight with the Yanks across the road which they started to slowly win – the HE fire from the PZ IV helping somewhat – but Ian was managing to successfully rally off shock to keep his guys in the fight albeit with mounting losses. I briefly moved my left hand section forward to threaten Ian’s right hand JOP but quickly retired them as I didn’t fancy taking on the Browning that was stationed there too.

This beast of a gun then decided the game as it started to fire on my section that had taken the SF MG42’s place and had been engaging Ian’s lads near the building on the right. For some stupid reason I didn’t lob a smoke grenade to prevent the incoming HMG fire by masking my position there and pretty soon both my Gun and rifle teams were broken and on their toes. Before I could get my Senior leader across to them though Ian had built up a CoC dice and used it to end the turn. With me losing the HMG team and a squad routing off the table on top of the breaks I had suffered my morale had dropped to 5 and I conceded.

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I did not like these gits..
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.. they did this..
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.. and this!

So, like I said no finesse really but cracking fun all the same, thanks to Ian for the game and it was good to see his lovely figures on the table and it was a pleasure to cross swords with him and to have a game of these excellent rules again.

 

 

Swag!!

Just a quickie to show what I picked up at the Joy of 6 the other week (I would have done this sooner but had a terrible time of it health wise last week but feeling better now).

First up from H&R, enough kit to do the ‘teeth’ of a Soviet Tank regiment for FFT3. T-64’s and BMP-2’s. Both are nice models in my opinion, the T-64’s are primed and I should have both tanks and IFV’s done by the end of the week.

 

I was also picking up some planes and helicopters from Jonathan that he had going spare, I definitely needed the Soviet kit as I was lacking air support for my growing forces. Need to maybe do some repainting and slight repair work on them and add ‘my’ flight stand fixtures but not a bad haul for £15, cheers Jonathan!

 

The Joy of Six 2017

Some things are small but perfectly formed: Mini Coopers, Fiat 500s, Lambrettas, Kylie, Clare Grogan, Lichtenstein and now I’d like to add the Joy of Six show in Sheffield to the list. If you do not know already this show is the brainchild of Peter at Baccus Miniatures and is to promote 6mm gaming and it does this very well indeed.

As I have mentioned already on here I was there with the Neustadt Crossing game along with fellow South London Warlords Daren, Dan, Warren and Jonathan. After meeting up at the hotel in Sheffield, Warren had got the train up and Jonathan was meeting us there the next day with the rest of us arriving in Dan’s car, we headed off to meet up with Peter and other gamer types at a ‘beer and curry’ night that he had arranged. This a nice idea to get people together before the show, although the curry wasn’t the best – sorry Peter, general consensus from us – the pub was cracking and a good time was had by us and we did have a great laugh at the meal.

The next day saw us having to make the 5 minute drive to the venue which in the end took us nearly half an hour due to Sheffield’s lovely one way system! This meant that we arrived quite late and were a bit rushed getting everything set up. We just about got set up in time and managed to have a quick mooch about the show before the doors opened. The show in itself is in no way large, but the quality of the games on display was of a very high standard indeed. Traders were obviously limited to those who supply 6mm kit and they seemed to be doing brisk business all day. When I managed to get over to see Andy at H&R later in the day he looked completely knackered as they’d been so busy but I did get to have a quick chat with him and there are some very cool things in the 6mm Modern pipelines – the upcoming Danish Centurion and M41’s are superb and they have a Finnish Sisu coming out too, so very happy days for me! I also had a good look at Commission Figurines range of 6mm MDF figures and they were actually quite appealing, I liked the new ACW ones in particular.

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We had an absolutely cracking day at the show and we got to speak to a lovely bunch of people, especially the gents we met at the curry the night before. I also got to say hello again to Per from the fantastic ‘Roll a One’ blog which was nice too. Not only were those that came to look at our game a lovely bunch of people but whilst checking out the other games too there was a really nice vibe, everyone had time to chat, terrain tips were swapped and there was none of the snidey comments you can get from people at other shows who don’t dig 6mm. Indeed it is possibly the friendliest show I’ve ever been to and you actually had time to have a good chat with people whilst also getting the game done too.

Yes, the game. Unfortunately Comrade Noakesavitch and I failed once more to liberate Neustadt for the workers. We had hatched a seemingly brilliant, simple and effective plan the night before in the pub and it lasted about 3 turns before we realised why its not best to hatch brilliant military stratagems after a few pints. Highlights of the game were, for Warren definitely, a Harrier taking out both of our Hinds in one go after rolling double snake eyes and us driving a company of BMP’s through an artillery barrage (which didn’t go well). Also the plucky escort Scorpion taking on some T-62’s and coming out on top deserves a mention, fanny magnets all round for the crew of that vehicle. We didn’t get the bulk of our armour into action though and would have obviously triumphed once they engaged the filthy, capitalist-imperialist lap dogs. We have sworn to triumph one day, maybe next time eh Dan? And hopefully there will be a next time as it was an absolute pleasure as always, I haven’t laughed so much in ages.

We have been invited back for next year and will definitely be doing so. I would highly recommend it to anyone who has even a passing interest in 6mm gaming and can see it growing in popularity and maybe size. We’d all like to thank Peter and co for putting the show on and hope that it will be on the calendar for many years to come.

Here’s pics of some of the games that took my fancy, unfortunately the ones I took of Per’s game haven’t come out well at all (sorry Per!) but you can find some here: https://rollaone.com/ and well worth it they are too!

Deeside Defenders: 1st Bull Run, using new Fire and Fury Brigade rules which they were enjoying apparently which bodes well as Des has just secured some copies for us to use in the near future. A cracking bunch of lads and a lovely table.

 

Robert Dunlop and Sons: Messines Ridge 1917 – not sure of the rules. This was a proper busy table, it gave Dan a headache apparently but I thought it was fantastic, captured the Western Front well which was headache inducing I reckon! I have seen their games at shows before and are always well worth it.

 

Baccus: Siege of Manchester, 1642. Again not sure of the rules, quite a neat little table this with all of the 200-odd buildings cast in resin specifically for this game.

 

Mailed Fist: Last Train to Berlin, 1944 – Iron Cross rules. This was the game next to us and sported some great terrain. They were using an adapted version of the rules to enable the use of larger units. Cracking armoured train and town.

 

Dan Hodgson: Waterloo, 1815 using Polemos Rules. This was hands down for me the showstopper game. I was just gutted I didn’t get more time to study it more, or even to get involved. An absolute beauty.

 

Cold War Commanders: Landjut ’85, Cold War Commander rules. This game had just about everything a Cold War game could have from Soviet Attack Hovercraft to airliners, if you could think of it, it was on there!

 

20mm WW2 Norman Buildings

As the club doesn’t have any buildings specific for Normandy ’44 games and as quite a few of the TFL ‘Pint Sized Campaigns’ are set there I thought I might try and invest in some appropriate abodes to help with my OCD twitches when using slightly ‘off’ kit. So I started to scan the interweb for cheap as possible options and was actually quite surprised by the dearth of buildings for 20mm figures for this campaign – tons of 15 and 25mm which I must admit I thought was a tad strange.

Anyway my three-quarter arsed search resulted in me narrowing down the likely places where my shekels would go to 3 outfits:

https://www.starfortminiatures.com/20mm-models

http://www.empiresatwar.co.uk/20mm-NORMANDY-KITS.html

And a German outfit called najewitz-modellbau.de but the link I had for them just brings up an error page and it seems as if they aren’t making their kit anymore which is a right shame as I really liked it, that’ll teach me! However I pulled the trigger on the Star Fort and Empires outfits ordering the 5 building Norman Village set from the latter and a Cottage and Granary from the former. All are MDF kits (I freely admit to liking the smell of burnt MDF, something quite pleasant about it I reckon, although the Mem isn’t too keen!) and with the village set being pre-painted I decided to tackle that first.

So far I have made 3 of the 5 buildings and I must say they have gone together reasonably easily, I am extremely cack-handed when model making so I am allowing for that, but I have had a couple of problems that maybe aren’t down to that. On the plus side they are ridiculously easy to knock up, I take my time and each one took about an hour to do. Once built they look really nice, the chimneys aren’t exactly wonderful but I can live with that as they are great value for money, and once I painted the doors they really came to life and I look forward to getting them on a table. On the minus side the instructions aren’t the best, a series of blurry photo’s don’t really help with the one or two ‘trickier’ bits but having said that once you’ve built one you can do the rest of the buildings without referring to them at all. The biggest gripe I have though is the dormer’s – I can’t for the life of me get the sodding roofs of these to fit properly so I am leaving it for a day or two and then will be trying again, or I might just try and get some etched card and make some of my own to fit – it could be my modelling skills as well so I’ll try another one and report back if it is a consistent problem (EDIT: Immediately after posting this I had another go and managed to get them on, it was deffo my cack-handidness ballsing this up!). I also decided not to remove the cut outs on the roof for the chimney’s as it just didn’t look right on the first one (I re-did it after doing the 2nd building differently and seeing the difference). All in all though I am happy with these and for only £35 for the 5 they are a bargain I reckon. I’d also like to say that the service was very good too, delivery was within a week so a plus there, I’ll be definitely getting more from them when they release more in this range.

I won’t be tackling the Starfort buildings for a bit as I need to get some enamels to paint them and also they didn’t come with any instructions! Now as they are a bit more involved that the Empires ones I think that it wouldn’t have harmed them to help us out by giving us a hint at what to do, I’ll be pinging them an email to see if any are available as I couldn’t see any on their site for these particular models.

Anyway here’s some pics of the 3 made so far, I’ll bung the other 2 up later once I have them finished, I reckon once they are all done and a shop or two plus a church are added they could make a nice little village.

 

 

 

Off to Joy of 6….

On Sunday, 16th July Daren, Dan, Warren, Jonathan and I will be taking the Nuestadt Crossing Cold War game that we put on at Salute to the Joy of 6 show in Sheffield. If you are unaware what this show is about well there’s a clue in the title, every game has 6mm/1/300th scale figures or models. The aim of the organiser (Pete from Baccus) is to promote the use of 6mm as a wargaming scale, indeed if you pitch up and declare that you are a 6mm sceptic then they will waive the paltry £3 entrance fee safe in the knowledge that the games being put on will change your mind!

Both Daren and  I have been keen to attend for the past few years as the games do look spectacular but have been unable to so it was great when we were accepted to put the game on and now we are really looking forward to it. So if you are there please pop by for a chat, I’m not sure exactly where we will be but we will have a stonking great South London Warlords banner up so it will be hard to miss us!

Here’s info about the show:

http://www.thejoyof6.co.uk/

And here’s some pics of the game we are putting on:

https://tracksandthreads.wordpress.com/2017/04/23/salute-2017/

https://tracksandthreads.wordpress.com/2017/04/18/salute-game-run-through/

I’ll be posting pics later of some new buildings I have from Empires At War. They are 20mm MDF Normandy Houses for use with Chain of Command, the first one is done and I should have a couple more done later today as the second is well on the way to completion.

Apologies for lack of posts…

I haven’t been doing much these past few weeks as I’ve not been feeling too good, a visit to hospital yesterday showed that my blood problem is being a bastard again so my medication is having to be increased once more – huzzah!. I don’t have any game reports to post either, it was AGM night at the club on Monday and the week before was a ‘training’ game for someone on FFT3 and I didn’t take any photos that I could use on here so decided to not do a write up.

I am hoping to get some stuff done this week though so should have something ready later in the week, I’m determined to finish off some Soviet kit that’s been on the desk for a few weeks now.  Also we are taking the Salute game up to Joy of 6 next weekend which I am really looking forward to so there will be lots to post about after that.