Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Ghost Archipelago - Treasure tokens

A couple of months of doing very little, have turned into a flood of projects on the go. All of which I am tempted to dive into. 
The mojo is definately back for January. I could do with a couple of weeks off and a lottery win to get them all to a place where I would be happy.

In no particular order the following are all on the go.
  • A half written idea for transporting Ghost Archipelago into the world of Black Powder and Pirates.
  • A half painted ships crew for GA but perhaps now redundant given the ideas above, still they will make up a new faction should the games take off in popularity.
  • The first turn of the Wyvern Wargamers ACW Sharp Practice Campaign is under way and suddenly I have the urge to paint up that last couple of groups of Rebel Infantry.
  • I have a bunch of conversions under way for the Haiti project to give me more shock markers and Leaders for the Insurgent Army. The heads are off just need to apply the tricorns now.
  • The Plantation House which looked great at the show - But blimey how many bits.....
  • Having made the adaptions for the RJW Project to SP2 it turns out that I need a number extra's to create the right balance of forces for both sides and the spares box as a limited number of replacements.
  • The large scale Pbem WW2 campaign is starting to heat up with action on the Russian Front.
  • A 15mm Russian Village for modern day Russia.

Less planning more doing...
The treasure markers for Ghost Archipelago have been under coated and on the paint table for a number of months so they can be first off the production line. 

The initial outing saw our factions fighting over cargo boxes, so something with a little more sparkle was in order. I picked these up from Bad Squiddo Games in November at Warfare. They are imported from Poland lovely terrain pieces. It's well worth taking a look at the wider range. Ristuls-Extraordinary-Market

I based each of the treasurers on circular bases which allowed me to add some extra flock and to mix with my existing terrain pieces and protect the edges of the treasure piles which could chip as the pieces are resin.

These were free with the Nickstarter and blend in nicely with the others, they will eventually have additional grasses and reeds to fit with my existing swamps and other jungle terrain, just as soon as it's warm enough to varnish.

Two Black Scorpion Pirates to give a sense of scale.
Now all is needed is to adapt Ghost Archipelago and introduce pistols and muskets and we could have a game on our hands.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Sharp Practice 2 - The Russo-Japanese War - Thoughts and adaptions.

First game of the year and a chance to try something new.
Like many wargamers I have a bookshelf full of rules each time a new edition comes it ends up being brought and added to the shelf. To the point where at times you forget which rules sits within each version, this year I resolved to try and cull the rules used and concentrate on a small number which over the years have provided the best experience. Sharp Practice 2 is one such set but could they be tweaked to include the war of 1904 -1905?

Historically I have used mud and blood from the TFL which gave a great game but was very much large skirmish where SP2 feels that little but larger, so I amend the formations slightly and dropped the number of bigmen, I picked a scenario from Chris Stoesen excellent Suppliment Empire to Revolution for WW1 Russia and matched the number of figures per side to hopefully give the right balance.

The scenario saw a small Japanese force attempting to rush a lightly defended bridge in the opening days of the war.

The Russians were allowed half their force on the eastern side of the river and a makeshift barricade to help defend the bridge from the Japanese attackers.

The Japanese with the aid of some Chinese irregulars managed to push forwards using a secondary jump off point and seize the farmstead very early on.

The Japanese came on enmasse, the first challange that we faced was use of bolt action rifles, with no reload action the rate of fire could be massive and the ranges make open ground pretty difficult to cross. By this period smokeless rounds meant battlefield visability was better so no hiding in the smoke for our 28mm warriors. We talked about introducing a tactical action where troops go to ground to provide an additional level of cover when being fired at.

The Russians learn't early on what a couple of rounds of sustained fire could do from a formation even to a skirmish unit at distance, so took to keeping behind the slope and log barricade. The good use of a crashing volley by the nearest Russian section gave the Japanese formation a bloody nose. We decided that the crashing volley when played only impacted the first action of firing.

With the Russian defenders being slowly weakened by shock and casualties even behind heavy cover the Japanese advanced, flanking the Russians left flank.

Not exactly the greatest surprise but the bulk of the Russian mainforce are revealed pouring fire into the Japanese as they crest the rise.

The Japanese are ravaged by the mass ranks of Russians and are soon falling back with their force morale droping as the formation broken and stumbled backwards.

The Russian mainforce sets off over the Bridge thinking the game was in the bag, however out of shot the Japanese release a volley, firing into a marching column added enough shock to reduced the column to a crawl. A valiant draw was agreed.

Pretty pleased with the first run out, I need to amend a number of the units and add some extra figures here and there but all in all really pleased how SP2 translated to the later period.

Post game thoughts

After the initial shock of the rate of fire even a single section can generate in a turn. The game soon calmed down with commanders thinking that little bit harder when to commit units to action, we agreed that the two rates of fire should remain to correctly reflect the effect on the day. 

We agreed to add in the additional actions of troops taking one action to go to ground which in the open increased their cover level by one and in certain types of cover makes them impossible to hit e.g. solid walls. However after much discussion we also agreed that it takes a further action to stand up to balance the benefit of cover vs fire power.

The MG on the Japanese side had some effect we increased the range beyond that of the rifle to allow them to be used as a support weapon and only at effective range gave it the equivalent of cannister where it doubled the shock on any unit, however to weaken it's effect it only fired on one action and a second action is required to reload.
I will probably bring across the more 1's than 6's rule to represent the jamming effect, perhaps using a flag to roll for unjamming?
In an attempt to represent the effect of sustained fire one idea is to use the ruling within Chain of Command but perhaps being triggered by the use of two command cards during a turn?

Thinking about the troops of the period and referencing the remarks of Lieut.-General Sir Ian Hamilton on the subject of operations along the Yalu River.
Another marked contrast between the two armies was in their musketry. The Russians mainly used volleys, even in the confused struggle at Ha-ma-tang ; the Japanese, individual fire. l have satisfied myself that, whereas the artillery practice of the Russians was good as long as it lasted, the musketry was inaccurate to an extent not entirely explicable by the fact that they were attempting to fire volleys in face of combined shrapnel and individual rifle fire.
With this in mind I have looked to class the bulk of the Russian forces as poor quality this would increase them numerically to 10 figure sections, but by making them poor shots balance the rate of fire, given the commentary above perhaps making the cost of crashing volley as little as one flag?

Given that only a few Russian units carried the M1891 Mosin-Nagant Rifle, with a number still armed with the Berdan II rifle which, is a single-shot bolt-action, this would require an action to reload which further reduces the Russian capabilities on the battlefield.

It's not all bad news for the Russians I awarded them the characteristic of Stubbon and perhaps even aggressive in hand to hand, whilst the Japanese of recieve the Thin Red Line to encourage them to be more assertive in action.

I would welcome anyone elses thoughts on what additional tweaks should be made to reflect the advances in firepower or to better reflect the 1900's using Sharp Practice.

Off now to work out what extra figures are needed.... shame :-)

Saturday, January 06, 2018

2017 A year in review.

Some what belated but I guess that's the problem with a weekend in between Christmas and New Year and limited time off, I thought I would look back over the past 12 months and review the progress of the projects undertaken and give some thought to the the year ahead.

When I consider the plans that I had for the year I am pretty pleased with the output, I looked back at my notes and had three projects ear marked for the year ahead.

Napoleon in Egypt - Sharp Practice 2
I finished the core French force of French Infantry together with a section of Coptics but never got round to the cavalry, however with the Perry Twins producing a number of new releases including cavalry perhaps 2018 could be the year?

Haiti Revolution - Sharp Practice 2
I surprised myself with just how much of these project left the paint table and marched on to the table top, I managed to complete a full force representing the Slave Army and the bulk of a free Peoples/Haitian force, they have yet to win a game when facing off against the Brits or the French but all of the games have been real fun. With some Christmas purchases tucked away plenty more to come this year.


Warlords of Atlantis - Cutlass!
Hhhmmm I did complete the core Pirate and Marine forces but struggled to give this project much game tim, perhaps with the release of Ghost Archipelago the Black Powder/Pulp Cross over will see this landing a little more firmly. It definately potential and with the native Indians painted up and the odd Sea Creature. I just need to spend some time pulling the formal background together and building the forces in GA. I just need that spark to get going on this.

As was the case with 2016 the year started so well, but time in front of the brushes fell away badly in the second part of the year, I blame the change in job, I had so hoped for gardening leave, so to did the wife, however our ideas for a "to do" list looked very different...
I am yet to beat the 2015 tool of in excess of 300 mini's but last years efforts was just shy of 200 foot figures not to shabby.

So what about the year ahead?
The Haitian Project will continue to expand, the most recent encounters have demonstrated the need for a few more Big Men for the Slave Forces, I have a couple of battalions of French which need painting up and have plans for cavalry and Artillery together with supporting characters.

Ghost Archipelago the first outing was fun, I will probably look to pull together a couple of standard force rosters for the Pirate and Marines before I crack on with the Northstar Crewmen. I was thinking more along the lines of lost crews from across various time lines crashing together with a sprinkly of magic for some crews... besides I need to find a way of using my crabs some how.

RJW for Sharp Practice 2, we have been playing a lot of SP2 lately and whilst designed for the period upto circa 1865 could it be pushed beyond that to 1905? With some new releases out from Tsuba including cavalry on the way for the Russians it could be the perfect excuse to increase the numbers on both sides.

Outside of that there are plenty of items hiding in the draw of shame, a 15mm Russian village, 28mm Modern Africans and some extra ACW troops... plenty to keep me going without the various distractions that are bound to come along.

New Paints
180 Foot Figures, 3 Cavalry Figures, 2 Fu Dogs, 3 Crabs, 8 Car Wrecks, 1 Ammo Cart, 16 Movement Trays, 5 Space Fighters, 7 Shock Markers, 8 Earthworks.


New - Napoleon in Egypt 28mm - Sharp Practice
28 French Infantry - Perry Miniatures.
3 French Officers - Brigade Games
New - Black Powder Pulp/Fantasy 28mm
8 Royal Marines - Black Scorpion Miniatures
11Pirates/Gentlemen - Black Scorpion Miniatures
1 Highwayman - Black Scorpion Miniatures

FebruaryNew - Chinese Fantasy 28mm
2 Fu Dogs - Watchful I Studio's 

2 Flame Throwers - Curtney Miniatures.
New - Napoleon in Egypt 28mm - Sharp Practice
5 French Artillery Crew - Brigade Games

MarchNew - Laserburn - Sci-fi
8 Car Wrecks

New - Napoleon in Egypt 28mm - Sharp Practice
2 French Maids - Front Rank Miniatures.
1 Ammo Cart.
2 Shock Markers.


New - Napoleon in Egypt 28mm - Sharp Practice
5 Shock Markers.
8 Coptic Legion Infantry - Perry Miniatures.
New Haitian Revolution - Sharp Practice 
24 Haitian Slaves/Maroons - Trent Miniatures


New - Napoleon in Egypt 28mm - Sharp Practice
5 Arab Engineers.
New - Amazon Indians 28mm - SOBH
10 Copplestone Indians. 
New Terrain
8 Earthworks


New Haitian Revolution - Sharp Practice 
12 Haitian Slaves/Maroons - Wargames Foundry
New - Napoleon in Egypt 28mm - Sharp Practice
18 movement Trays.


New Haitian Revolution - Sharp Practice 
6 Chasseurs De Saint Dominic - Trent Miniatures
6 Chasseurs Des Irois -Trent Miniatures
6 Movement Trays
New Russo-Jap War 

Russian Priest.

New Haitian Revolution - Sharp Practice 
8 Free People Infantry - Trent Miniatures
2 Haitian Officers - Trent Miniatures
New - Atlantis - 28mm - Cutlass!
2 Atlantians - Antediluvian miniatures
3 Crabs - Antediluvian miniatures

New Haitian Revolution - Sharp Practice 
23 Freed Slaves - Trent Miniatures
10 Free People Infantry - Trent Miniatures
3 Haitian Slave Big Men - North Star
1 Mounted Officer - Trent Miniatures
10 Movement Trays
Star Eagles - Space Fighters
4 Hawkmen Fighters
1 Ming Frigate.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Christmas greetings and a brief update

With most of the family struck down with heavy colds and a Christmas Tree that would not stay up, to the point where the real tree, now completely devoid of needles was relegated to the garden and an artifical one purchased on Boxing day you would think Christmas Day was one to forget...

However it presented the opportunity of getting some family game time in with the family favourite Zombicide! Dosed up on cold remedies the clan set about dispatching the hordes of undead as we fought our way to the exit. 

A new game entered the familiy stable this year in the shape of the Sheriff of Nottingham, a game of bluff and outright lies and fakery. This was a present from my gaming gang at the old company and it was the first opportunity to get it out of the box since leaving in November.  

Image result for sheriff of nottingham

The guys had done a fantastic job of giving the front of the box a make over including my own face.
Thanks guy's bloody brilliant..... It's just a shame I could not share it with the rest of the workforce for fear of outing you all as gamers :-)
And no I don't see any likeness....

Each games last around an hour and half, the trick is to sneak enough contriband goods past the sheriff, whilst at the same time offering the occasional bribe to make it worth his while not to look in your sack. 

With the requirement to tell lies why did I think for one moment that 3 teenage daughters would be any good at such a game. 
Needless to say I have lost every game so far.

Meanwhile in last club night of the year, my good friend Dane, brought in his Mythic Battles Kickstarter. The game comes in three parts, setting it up, playing the game and then finding the right tray to put it in at the end..... OK so it's not that bad but it does require a degree of prep before the game, it has some lovely castings but where do you store it all?

With our Gods and Heroes assembled we set off collecting the red gems, first to four wins and there are only seven available.

The game went down to the wire with the good guys falling at the final hurdle as Apollo was felled and the loss of a God resulted in a loss for my side. Definately one to play again. 
Have a good break everyone - Next up the Annual review of 2017...

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Haitian Reinforcements - No Porkies

Finally another 6 Infantry limp off the paint table together with a much needed Big Man.
These should serve to flesh out the units bringing each up 8 figures rather than the 6 currently in play.

The Big Man is from Trent Minatures Insurgent pack and makes for a prefect low level leader, bare chested with his tunic open, cocking a pistol.

I also finished a couple of extra shock markers or loot tokens these were made up of a pack of pigs from Warbases animal range, which I figured they fitted in with the general feel for the period. There are several accounts of religious ceremonies being conducted before the slaves/insurgents went into battle.

Antoine Dalmas who wrote about Bois-Caiman at the time states that a "kind of celebration or sacrifice" was held, in which "The religious ceremonies that the blacks practiced in slitting the pigs throat" he continued "the eagerness with which they drank its blood, the value in which they placed on progressing some of its hairs - a kind of taliman that, according to them, would make them invulnerable"

It feels like the perfect reason to paint them up and perhaps even some special rules for units who have drunk pigs blood?

Saturday, December 09, 2017

The Pearl of the Antilles - Haitian Revolution AAR #4 Hold the line.

Painting and posting has slowed to a trickle but hopefully the Christmas period will give me that free time to get juices flowing and some of the back log cleared.

Last weekend saw the Wyvern Christmas all dayer, we were a little thin on the ground but it's always nice to get in a full days gaming without rushing the end of the game with the usual what might have been discussion.

This years outing took us back to Haiti and a combined British and French Affair.

The slaves were revolting, several plantations were in ruins, the land owners and loyal staff had nowhere to go but the coast in the hope naval units would rescue them from the slave army.

The civilians queue on the beach hoping that what remains of the French and British garrisons in the area would be able to hold back the slave army before the row boats could lift them off the beach.

The idea for the game was split it into two parts the morning saw both British and French forces manning the barricades as the Haitian forces cam on in three entry points in a random order, but allied players needed to keep their forces largely intact as they needed to be the dominate force in the area once the slaves were put down.

The British line their barricade awaiting the first wave of slaves to show themselves.

They did not have to wait long as the first unit out of the bag was 12 wallahs with big choppers, they charged forward and were met with a full volley which sent them running for the tree line.

Meanwhile on the French side of the table they were having a worse time, slave skirmishers had somewhat surprisingly taken out a number of the French defenders including one of the officers who was knocked clean out, a unit of knife armed slaves got to within striking distance before being beaten back.

Meanwhile on the British front the bulk of the slave army had appeared and had begun to inflict a number of casualties on the defenders, but keeping good order the British, presented aimed and fired which slowing drove up the shock and casualties of the Haitian army as it failed to make any head way against the thin red line.

The morning came to a close with the defences still intact and the Haitians force morale sitting on a lowly 3.

The afternoon saw both sides regroup and reposition themsleves, the British and French carried over their casualties whilst the Haitians were back to full strength, this time the Haitians opted for massed columns with skirmishes out in front.

Alas the allied line held, the Haitians had gambled on one of the allied players pulling back from the line to head for the waiting naval transport, but in a rare show of honour both players opted to trust each other destroy the flame of liberty so they could continue to line their pockets with the ill gotten gains of the slave trade.... (Yep I was feeling a little picked on, I was sure one them would buckle and run for the boats) :-)

The Haitians were firmly beaten but to be fair it was to be expected, facing a well trained formed enemy behind defensive works what did I think the outcome would be?
The lack of a couple of extra officers/bigmen in the Haitian units would have kept them moving but the levels of shock and poor quality bigmen kept them surpressed.

A great game regardless and one day the island of Haiti will be free and they will win a game.
You can guess what's on the paint table next.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

All work and no play.

Hobby time has been rather thin on the ground in recent weeks.
A new job some two hours closer to home should have given me plenty of time to get in front of the brushes, but intense home work and manual reading put paid to any free time in the evenings, hopefully the next month should see things calm down.

I did manage to sneak a trip down to Warfare last weekend and joined the rest of the Wyverns in a refight of Cambrai 1917, using Paul @ Kallistra's excellent hex terrain and figures.

The British out numbering the Germans 3:1 and supported by 30 Tanks attempted to break three lines of German trenches.

As one of the German commanders we opted to leave the first trench line lightly defended hoping to draw the British in where they would lose a number of tanks in attempting to cross the trench lines with the occasional grenade attack from the infantry defenders.
In a bloody affair in which the British opened up a number of channels through the use of concentrated artillery they flanked the German left but could not capitalise on the assault as they had lost all of their armour and around 60% of the infantry.

A drawn although the British were quickly on twitter to celebrate a victory.

“The news isn't there to tell you what happened. It's there to tell you what it wants you to hear or what it thinks you want to hear.”
 Joss Whedon

A great days gaming touch and go right to the last turn when the German Infantry managed to destroy the last 3 tanks with Grenades, what are the chances of rolling 3 12's in a row.

Purchases on the day were few, but with Christmas coming and limited paint time, probably not a bad thing, I picked up some extra items for Ghost Archipelago in the shape of a couple of swamps which need some extra's adding by way of grasses and reeds. I also picked up some lovely treasure pieces which will be great to fight over in the months ahead.

Redoubt had released their cotton pickers for the ACW, but they should be fine for the Haiti Project and some extra jump off points.

I have managed to prep the Crewman from the Ghost Archipelago Nickstarter, with 20 in a box, I opted for 10 European type characters and 10 Middle Eastern both gangs armed with a mixture of weapons, having given the Chinese a run out a few weeks ago, I figured three distinct factions could be formed for any one simply wanting to walk into the club without having to roll for all the stats from the outset.

Until next time....