Monday, 11 March 2019

Alumwell that was interesting

Off to Wolverhampton on a wet Sunday morning to the WMMS at Alumwell. We were taking our Edgcote game, in its first public iteration. Alas due to time constraints we weren't as far advanced as we might have liked, as Phil had intended to finish basing the figures, but ran out to time. Still, we had two painted armies and in lieu of a finished purpose built terrain board my dressing up box had to suffice.

All in all it looked okay, although I didn't notice that my cloth wasn't on straight. And I should have lined up the terrain to the map on the new Edgcote banner for ease of explanation

Here's Pembroke's fine fellows. The stamina tracks behind the units will have the middles of the slots drilled out so you can see the table through them eventually.

Redesdale's rebels with their archers out front, setting off to provoke the men on the other hill. You'll note that I've put a hedge down the side of the stream. Although there's no mention in the sources streams and rivers that form field boundaries often have a hedge line too, and it adds a bit more interest to an otherwise open field.

The Earl of Pembroke preparing to leave the Inn at Banbury. Why the "Damousel" has turned her back on him I can't say.

Then the family Fordham turned up. Graham F (in the blue coat) did the standards and banners for the armies and helped identify the men involved. On the right is Tamara, his daughter, who is a talented junior DBA player and usually does pretty well against the grown ups too. They helped with the play through, Dad taking the Earl of Pembroke's men.

Tamara moved the Rebels up to the river line and sent forward her archers.

Pembroke's men made a tentative start, with not everyone advancing.

However the left wing didn't hold back, and stormed across the river line, breaking their rascally opponents.

Just in time for Clapham to arrive, this time with a mounted contingent. They fell upon the flank of Pembroke's left hand division and broke them.

Elsewhere the Rebels were taking a bit of a pounding, their left wing having broken. Looks like Pembroke might just have got away with it.

Elsewhere the WW2 re-enactors were there is force, with two jeeps, a truck and a motorbike. Big shout out to the dick head with the motorbike who started it up and then rode it off through a convention centre full of people, filling the room with petrol and carbon fumes from a presumably vintage engine which seems to have no baffles in the exhaust. Thanks mate. You could have just wheeled it out.

The toy soldier displays were mostly of the 28mm big table type, so lots of big toys to look at. I was unable to spend any time with any of them as there were only two of us on the stand so I don't know if there was anything going on that was ground breaking in actual game design.

Nice looking Japanese v Dutch in Java game.

And then there was Martin Goddard, Mr Peter Pig, one of the hobby's good guys. Produces great figures and imaginative rule sets which he explains clearly and with a lot of patience. I would have loved to have found time to chew the fat with him.

His 1/450 Pirate ships are top notch.

Nice looking Star Wars game, but why has that walker got a black base?

Next along was a Peninsula War game.

They had a lot of figures going at it in the middle of the table.

The Border Wargames fellows were doing a 1745 Jacobite Rebellion game. I couldn't work out if it was a historical scenario or an excuse to get out a nice boat model and use some big cliff models.

The jury is still out for me in respect of using teddy bear fur for a table covering.

Nice looking Great Northern War game, but not quite as interesting as looking at your mobile phone.

Hordes of 28mm Mahdists surge towards beleagured Egyptian defenders. Wargaming chum "Rumblestrip" in attendance.

Nice 10mm (I think) game of Blenheim, not marred AT ALL by the presence of two soft drinks cans on the opposite sides of the table. Come on guys, get a grip.

The 18th Century Warfare re-enactors were putting on a game with Peter Dennis' paper soldiers.

It took me a couple of walk pasts to realise that this was what they were, so there's something right going on there.

The traffic on the stand was steady but not overwhelming. This young fellow knows way more about jousting helmets and armour than anyone honestly needs to know. Otherwise it was a pleasure to meet up with someone who had bought the 1460 board game, but not from us at a show. He'd picked it up at UK Games Expo last year so we had a good chat, where he told me how much he liked it, which is always good. It also turned out he was a blog follower, having come here for my tips on painting plastic figures. So, hi there, - leave a comment and say hello.

And then it was time to pack away and head back down the Motorway to Northamptonshire. Next event for us will be Milton Keynes Campaign, on the 11th/12th May. By then Phil should have finished basing the figures and building the wagons and produced the purpose built terrain.

BTW Tickets for our all day conference on Edgcote on 27th July are now on sale to members of the Northamptonshire Battlefields Society & the Battlefields Trust. Priced at £30, the ticket includes not just 5 great speaker sessions but also tea & coffee, a full buffet lunch and car parking. Tickets for non-members go on sale on the 15th, and are priced at £35. You can get them on this link:

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

More Edgcote Edgperimentation

So we had another go with the 28mm fellows and "Hail Caesar". After the last game Phil had done some rebasing and was working on a way of recording Stamina levels using those mdf trays with circular receptacles. Richard and Tim turned up for a playtest. Phil remarked upon how heavy 28mm armies are (he's normally a 15mm man) and I threw together some terrain as Phil's been focusing on the figures.

This is the view from behind the Rebels. We (well Phil) have developed a mechanism whereby archers are thrown forwards of a unit sort of in the style of skirmishers - see below.

So the Rebels, by the time this picture was taken, had crossed the river and shot at Pembroke's men. He had led his forces down off his hill, and the Rebels had dropped back. Alas for Pembroke one of his divisions failed a command roll, so the Rebels were able to concentrate their archery on the man himself, causing quite a few hits, which Tim failed to save.

Deciding not to defend the river line, Richard dropped the rebels back to their starting position. Tim had eschewed the option of Herbert attacking on horseback to pin the Rebels in position and plodded forward on foot.

Pembroke's men slowly climbed the hill and the serious business began. Pembroke was really under the cosh as his left hand division was still being tardy, so he was facing two units of Rebels.

His right hand division was doing a good job on their opponents, however. The question was whether he would be able to break them before Clapham's men got stuck in.

Now having two units attacking him, Pembroke's division retreated down the hill. Luckily, despite being Shaken, it carried on passing its Break Tests.

Close up shot of fighting in the centre. Just because y'know.

So Pembroke's right hand division broke their opponents and was able to turn and face Clapham's men.

Finally Pembroke's left hand division came up, and the Rebels had to react, giving Pembroke himself some respite.

Clapham's men were soon history, heading back to Northampton. Out of shot Pembroke's other two divisions were both gaining the upper hand, and Stafford was returning to the field. So a Win for the Edward loyalists and the end of Redesdale's rebellion.

Quite a satisfactory outcome, - a close game with a non-historical  but believable win.

Personally I'm still not feeling the love for "Hail Caesar", but it is doing the job for us, and it will provide a familiar "way in" for people who stop by the stand. Phil has to do some more work on rule amendments and things like the reinforcement mechanisms, and we'll probably work through a few of the ideas at Alumwell on Sunday, 10th March, so come and say hello and share your ideas. We've even got a new banner.

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Quarterly Review - Westerly Wargaming

So it was time for our regular quarterly wargaming day with our friend from the West Country and new podcast star interviewee*.

In our pre-day discussion (we have a WhatsApp group to share ideas. How with it are we?) Richard expressed a desire to play "Crossfire". Right. Now "Crossfire" is one of those sets of rules that everyone says is interesting. The MNG has played it. However it was a while a go,- it was not only pre-Shedquarters, but also pre-blog. So about 10 years ago at least.

I got quite excited about "Crossfire" at the time. I was playing PBI but was not entirely satisfied, and "Crossfire" looked really clever. It soon became clear to me that not everything in the system works perfectly, and the various fora or discussion groups had a messianic zeal in trying to work through these issues whilst striving to play the game.

The game is still unique, as far as I can tell. The move/initiative switching system is ingenious, and it seems to make Line of Sight rules work properly.

Richard had given us an Eastern Front game, using a scenario he found on line. You always need a lot of terrain. The trees look great, but needed some extra weight on the bottom. Richard added washewrs through the use of a glue gun as we went on.

Gary & I took the Ruskis and Phil and Chris the Germans. We were attacking and had to capture the brown oval top centre, which is a hill. The brown oval off to the right is a depression. Gary started in the depression and really struggled to get out of it. I was on the left. My aim was to pin Chris on this side, whilst Gary took on Phil with most of our troops.

I'd started off quite well, and drew "No Fire" results from Chris' men, which I thought meant I was good to move up. Alas I hadn't picked up that the troops on the hill could see me through the gap between the brown trees and the brown felt representing a crest line. I'm quite poor at picking up LOS in games. This is partly because I wear very strong prescription glasses that are also varifocals and so from above looking down I have a parallax problem. I really need to squat down and sight every line very carefully. Or maybe I'm just crap at it full stop. Anyway the consequence of it all was that I got two basses Suppressed in the open rushing to a flanking position.

There is a point I must make here. Because LOS is so important exactly where bases of troops and terrain pieces are is even more crucial than normal. If you nudge anything, or if a felt template gets hooked up on a wooden base when moving figures the game can be changed. I guess that's where PBI from RFCM wins, with its zonal movement.

Gary moved his troops up to the rim of the depression and got involved in a serious firefight. He never worked out how to get his on-table mortar into action.

The fire fight got intense, and Gary was able to sneak a flanking unit into the wood, having pinned / suppressed his opponents.

He was then able to launch a close assault, aided by the Russian troop ability to ignore Pins when close assaulting. We ended the game at this point as we'd been playing for several hours and there weren't many Germans left, although we still hadn't captured the hill.

In the discussion over lunch we weren't sure we were doing the Close Assault moves correctly, and this is a common feeling I had with a lot of the game. CF is so different that I would guess that until you play it a lot then that's always going to be the case.

We were going to play Fighting Sail next. Gary had spruced up his ships and added flags. And then forgotten to put in the manoeuvre chits which are an essential part of the game. At least we hadn't spent ages putting the terrain out.

So my RCW game "Return to the River Don" filled the gap. This account is more incoherent than normal, for two reasons. Firstly I hadn't taken a written scenario with me. Secondly I was starting to go down with a stinking cold, so I wasn't entirely sure what was going on.

Any way, some elite White troops were attacking a Red strong point. The Reds were in place and had deployed their artillery with spotters.

The initial White assault stumbled in open ground, with the commanders having to encourage their troops forward at gunpoint.

There was much scratching of heads as to how to proceed. Gary's men on the far side were pushing through the woods under a hail of fire from Phil's men in a stanitsa.

The Red artillery started to plaster the advancing White troops.

Gary was likewise taking serious damage from the Red defenders.

Then Chris unleashed the Cossacks, who stormed across the river and rode down a unit of Richard's conscripts.

They then reformed, and together with their colleagues started a flanking manoeuvre.

It was too much for some of the Reds, who mutinied and refused to take part any further.

Apologies for poor quality of the pictures. I chose not to take my SLR and to rely on my phone. I won't make that mistake again.

We then adjourned for dinner, and by the time we'd finished it was time to pack up, and I headed home, due to feeling really cr*p. The drive home was a nightmare. For some reason the powers that be chose to close both the A43 and the A508, my two main routes back to Northampton. No signs showing warnings on the way down. Ended up driving via Milton Keynes and the M1, which added 45 minutes to my journey. I was not a happy bunny.

Otherwise an excellent day's wargaming.

* NB This content was behind a paywall when I posted this link.