Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Age of Eagles - First Try

I played a game of Age of Eagles last weekend with some friends. AoE is a Napoleonic set of rules by the same guy who wrote Fire and Fury the well known American Civil War rules. I've wanted to try these rules for a long time but never got the opportunity until last week.

The game itself was The Battle of  La Suffel - The penultimate battle of the Napoleonic Wars (but we used Revolutionary figures).

The figures themselves were well painted and looked really nice but they didn't quite look right to me. This is because of the rules. In AoE, each of those long lines of troops or groups of cavalry represents a brigade. I found this pretty hard to work with. I didn't really understand how the movement worked or if formations made any difference.
I'm not very keen on the movement procedures at all. Every time you want to move a unit you have to roll for it. So trying to coordinate movement became very awkward. I understand that this is supposed to represent the level of communications of the time and fog of war, etc... But it really slowed the game down and, in general, during this period once troops began carrying out their orders they pretty much got on with it. I think this system is just a carry over from the ACW rules. But as far as I'm concerned what seems right for one period is not necessarily right for another period.

Also, there were several bridges but they made no difference. Infantry, horse and even artillery just crossed the river with minimal problems. What is the point of having bridges if guns can just cross rivers with ease? I didn't get it.

The artillery rules are quite poor in my opinion. Artillery inflicted barely any casualties through the whole game. The majority of the time the guns just caused units to become Disrupted and this barely affected them at all because most of the time the unit rallied the next time it moved. Even when I had four batteries targeting a unit at 12" range the best I got was to destroy another battery (one base). That was the only casualty they inflicted over more than a dozen shooting phases.
Musketry rules seemed okay but I didn't get to shoot very often. Melee was very confusing and I couldn't really get my head around it. I had infantry with a cavalry division in front and I couldn't form square. The cavalry charged, the infantry fought them off and then they formed square. I then reformed the infantry into line again. The cav charged again and smashed them because they weren't in square. The cavalry were not winded or in any way affected. They just charged again.

I just did not get it at all. It made zero sense to me.

So, overall I enjoyed the day but after some thought I think the rules stink. They played like a ACW game with Napoleonic figures and cavalry charges. I didn't get the feel of a Napoleonic battle and when it comes to wargaming I've played more Napoleonic's than anything else with several sets of rules over 40+ years. I had been wanting to try AoE but I now know that there are better games out there.

In my opinion: just because the troops fight in lines, what works for ACW does not necessarily transfer to Napoleonics.

Saturday, 27 March 2021

More Re-Basing ~ WWII Germans

I'm continuing with my WWII rebasing. I finished my British/Commonwealth infantry and I then moved onto some Germans. Initially, I was going to concentrate on my Hermann Goering/ Luftwaffe troops because I thought they would need less work to get them up to speed. In the the end I decided to do the regular infantry first but I needed to paint up a full company (that's an O-Group company or a platoon for other rules) to get them up to strength.

So this is the basic battalion for 'O' Group. I'm going to paint a bunch of individual riflemen so that they can also be used for Battlegroup and Chain of Command by adding an extra figure to the gun group. This rebasing makes them a whole lot easier to store and organize and will also make them much easier to move on the table.
Apart from the heavy weapons above, I also have several mortars already based which can be used for various rules. Like the British battalion command base, I once again added a 12mm dice holder for ease of play.

Last week I bought a pre-printed 20mm building from Battlefield Accessories - an Australian company based in Melbourne. This is a really nice little building that went together nice and easily. I added some carboard edges to the corners and roof apex to cover up the joins & make them look a bit tidier. I also glued a few strips cut from the mdf sprue to the bottom of the top half of the building. This enables the top to lock into the bottom layer. It took about 15 minutes from start to finish and it was ready for the table top. They do them in 15mm and 28mm too.
As you can see, the design for this one is pretty simple but it looks quite nice. It has a printed interior too, which is somewhat plain but it's far and above blank mdf or plain plastic. The interior windows match the outside windows which is useful for those games where those sort of things matter.
And here it is with some AB figures for scale. It will go well with the pre-painted PlastiCraft buildings I already have which are sort of 15mm/20mm... sort of somewhere in the vicinity. So the scale may be slightly different but not so much that it will really matter.

Again, I've cross posted this to my WWII blog to help get it back up and running: This 20mm World at War.

Sunday, 21 March 2021

Frostgrave ~ We're Back to Plunder You!

Now that we're able to get together again, Nunawading Wargames Association was up and running on the weekend with several wargames happening. I played a game of Frostgrave prior to the restart of our campaign that was curtailed last year.

I played against Ants, pitting my summoner, Mandrax against his Witch (who's name I didn't get). So I lugged a car full of terrain, and a hundred odd figures and monsters to our venue and set up a couple of tables.

It was a great game but I won't be posting a full battle report. Instead I'll mention some of the highlights.
Very early in the game (turn two I think), I shot Ants' witch with a an arrow from my ranger (Rolf Undersack the halfling). The shot hit and inflicted a wound. I next shot her with a Bone Dart spell from my wizard and killed her. That wasn't expected. But at least she was okay after the game when rolling to see who survived.
This is my apprentice moving up with the ranger Rolf Undersack,  who shot at the witch.
As my treasure hunter, Helga, approached a treasure an imp appeared to make life difficult. This was the first of a few imps that Ants threw at my guys. Helga killed it pretty easily and managed to grab the treasure. She made it off the table but not before being attacked by a Ghoul (random creature).
Ants' thief climbed a pillar to grab another treasure and posed at the top for a great photo opportunity (he must have known the cameras were rolling).
At the start of the game my wizard cast a Summon Demon spell but only summoned an imp which I tried to get killed off as soon as possible so I could try and summon something bigger. Later, the apprentice summoned a minor demon which is bigger and tougher. Below it's fighting another imp that was cast by the witch's apprentice.
My tracker making her way to another treasure token.
Wandering monsters. Neither of us had a miniature for a construct  so we used a dog "constructed" with three heads by someone with a sick sense of humour. It attacked one of my thugs and killed him.
Threatened by an annoying crow my wizard summoned a demon to deal with it now that his imp was dead. I rolled well and decided to sacrifice 3 health points to power up the spell and summon a major demon (just because I wanted to put it on the table). It looked ludicrous and made us laugh so it was worth it.
My apprentice's minor demon killed the imp fighting it and then tackled the construct, which it got rid of pretty easily.
My wizard Mandrax and his new pet demon.
We rolled a random creature and it tuned out to be a pair of ice spiders that came on the table right behind his apprentice. Unfortunately, they scuttled up behind the apprentice and killed her. 
Even though my demon looked intimidating it didn't do very much. But it looked good. Ant's archer shot it and did a decent bit of damage. I pulled the demon back and the archer got bragging rights. At the pub later that evening he could rightly claim that, with a single arrow, the forced a major demon to run away.
In the end I had a good game and Ants had a shocker. I lost two thugs compared to his wizard and apprentice. I took three treasures from the table and gained four levels. Ants gained two treasures and one or two levels. One of the treasures I gained was a grimoire with the spell: Imp! I decided to learn it so that in the future I too can throw evil little imps at people from across the table.

Sunday, 14 March 2021

Re~Basing WWII for 'O' Group

I haven't posted on my WWII blog for a while. So to get it started again I've posted this article here and cross-posted it at:This 20mm World at War. A couple of minor changes but it's pretty much the same.

I've been looking forward for the release of the new WWII rules: 'O' Group. After playing a lot of Chain of Command in 2019, I sort of lost interest in it. Whilst I do like the game I think it's a bit small scale. For a platoon level game I actually prefer Battlegroup & one of the main reasons is: because I can get to use more of the models and figures I paint. CoC doesn't allow for this.

So I've been keen for the release of 'O' Group to get some games of larger actions happening where I can use plenty of the models I have. However, I need to rebase my figures because individual figures isn't going to work for these rules. I'm quite happy with this even if it is a bit of a pain in the bum. I can still use the multi based figures for Battlegroup and maybe CoC if needs be. 
I started with my 1943 / '45 Brits because they are the most complete force that I own. With just a little bit a substituting one or two figures here and there I can field a complete battalion with heavy weapons, mortars, anti-tank, engineers etc. I also have enough models to field most of the armoured support and recce that I'll need to start with. Here is the completed battalion.
I have a bag full of these little mdf 12mm dice holders left over from another project a few years back. I added one to the BHQ base to hold a dice for the Battalion Orders. I like it and I'll do the same for all the other BHQ bases.
I'm now on to some Germans. I had forgotten what troops I had so I had to go through them. As it is, the Germans I have are far more fragmented. I thought I had a full infantry company but I don't. What I have is:
    2 x 1943 - '45 platoons with lots of odds & ends for support, 
    1 x early war platoon, 
    2.5 platoons of Hermann Goering Division organized as panzer-grenadiers, plus a section of assault pioneers (these will become a platoon),
    2+ platoons of Fallschirmjager in Mediterranean kit, and
    1 section of early war Fallschirmjager.
As I said... They're fragmented. So they're going to need a bit of work to bring them up to scratch. I've decided to concentrate on the Hermann Goering's because they're the closest to a complete 3 company battalion and I can also sub them for regular grenadiers if I need to.

P.S. A big Thank You to Viv at Knights of Dice for cutting the mdf bases for me. I decided on an odd base size (50mm x 30mm) and KoD came to the rescue for me.

Sunday, 7 March 2021

Did You Say You Want More Iberians?

I got a few more of my Ancient Iberians done during the week. These figures are taking me a bit longer than normal because of the shields. Choosing to do them by hand is really slowing me down and making the job of painting them a bit of a chore. I don't usually put a lot of detail in 15mm, I just do enough to make them look good en mass. I wish I had opted to go for decals but... In for a penny, in for a pound. I'm painting them and that's that!
I wasn't sure about the shields on these guys. I wasn't too keen on the cavalry using the scutum (large shield) as it seemed a bit off and I thought they'd be better with the lighter (caetra) shields. Unfortunately, there is very little information available online so I went back to my, somewhat vague, Osprey book.  Reading through that tome of wisdom once again, I read a passage where it stated that the caetra was the most popular shield for all cavalry. So, in my newly enlightened state, I decided to go 50/50 on the shields.
Once again, I decided to base them on 80x40mm bases. I'm not sure if this is a good move or not. I do like the look of them and I also like that they are less fiddly when handling them. But I don't know... Maybe I'm just stuck in the DBA/M mind set. I want them to be versatile for any set of rules and the DB[insert relative initial] style still seems the most prevalent way of basing ancients.
This is a commander. He's from the Iberian Nobles pack. The Standard Bearer set comes with standard bearers (shock!) but no actual standards. To get them I need to put in another order and wait for them to arrive from Scotland. I decided that a bit of greenstuff and some carefully selected swear words were the quicker option.
Because I'm basing the infantry 11 to a base I have left over figures. These come in handy. In To The Strongest you can attach Champions or Heroes (I can't remember what they're called) to some units. They give a unit a one off bonus. Off the top of my head I recall that you can use the champion to re-flip a card to give the unit a combat bonus or to get them motivated and moving. They might also do other things that I can't remember. In any games, I prefer to use single figures instead of tokens where I can. So here you go. A couple of Iberian champions.
So they're slowly coming along. I've doubled my cavalry and next I think I need to make a bit more infantry. We'll see what happens (no doubt I'll get distracted).

Saturday, 27 February 2021

It's Time For a Holiday In Iberia

 As implied and mentioned in previous posts, I'm back to painting my Ancient Spanish ~ Iberians to be exact. If you're anything like me, I get excited about a new project. I do a bunch of research and I look up the various figures available. I look at rules and army lists and work out what I want. Then I place an order and I wait for the figures to arrive and then I go on a painting blitz and try to get the whole lot painted and ready for the table.
This is what I've finished up to date:

However, this time around my regular method got stymied by The Plague and my order got stuck in customs and ended up taking over three months to arrive, by which time my enthusiasm waned and wandered off into other directions. Unfortunately this meant that I've been slow to paint this army.

But I started getting back into them and this is what I've recently finished:

Light Cavalry: I intend to make at least another two stands of these if not another four. I think light horse should make up the bulk of the cavalry. It seems right.
Noble Scutarii: Just one stand of these. They are the cream of the infantry and could really be considered the general's bodyguard. I have a few of these figures left over and these will be mounted on single bases so I can use them as "Heroes" or markers, etc...
Balearic Slingers: Just one stand of these for the time being. I could add another stand, I suppose. I have a few left over & I think I have a few standard Hellenic slinger figures sitting in a box that could help make up a base.
I've now have enough of these chaps done to call them an allied contingent for whoever needs them but I have enough figures still waiting to make an entire army. The shields are a pain in the arse to paint and they slow me down considerably. I wish I'd decided on decals but it's too late for that now.


Just to show that I haven't entirely moved away from fantasy: Here's a giant bug.
I've had this for a while and if I recall correctly it's from Khurasan Miniatures from their 15mm Sci-Fi range. The body is a single piece of resin & the legs and lower mandible of the jaw are metal. For a 15mm creature it still measures up as a pretty formidable foe for a 28mm Barbarian. Although from the angle below, it looks a bit more like a crab than a bug.

Sunday, 14 February 2021

What is Best in Life?

 To paint your miniatures,
to see them finished before you,
and to hear the lamentations of the lead pile.

I've painted a lot of barbarians in the past year or so but I hadn't painted a "certain" barbarian with a square-cut black mane and a smoldering volcanic gaze... But I saw this figure hanging on a hook at a local gaming store and I thought: "Why not?"
I did some conversion on the figure because when I got it out of its blister-pack I found that the sword was a bit too chunky and it was bent too. I didn't have any decent swords to replace it with in my bits box so I decided on a spear. I also added a bow and quiver on his back. The spear (and half an arm) came from the Frostgrave Barbarians box. So did the quiver. The bow came from the Oathmark Dwarves boxed set.

The original figure is Reaper Black Bones. It's a decent figure but metal would have been better. Then again... I only really bought it because it was cheap.
He came out okay overall, and he'll make a good character for something some time in the future.
During the same shopping trip I also picked up this little beauty. This is another Reaper figure (metal this time) and I think it's supposed to be a female elf ranger. Whatever it is it's a nice figure. I initially wanted to paint her using only various shades of greens and browns. But I then decided to go for a bit of a Robin Hood effect and added the red fringe on her armour.
It has a nice dynamic pose and has some really nice detail that isn't over-done. I'm not a fan of figures that are overly busy with detail. I know many of those busy sculpts look really good when you see them on websites but I find them to be confusing and difficult in the flesh. Half the time I can't even make out what some parts of the figures are supposed to be. This figure had just the right balance of detail.
These next things are pretty boring. The crocodile skull is a Malifaux piece and I don't know what it's supposed to be other than a skull. The cart/wagon and the chrystal ball are both from WizKids. Nice little pieces. I'm going to make a draft horse for the cart.
And that's it for now.

Thanks for reading.

And... "To Hell wid choo!"