Monday, 9 July 2018


Well, it's certainly been ages since my last post. I never intended to keep a weekly update on the blog, but I do hope to be a bit more regular than previously, from now on.

My main focus of late has been to play as many games of Bolt Action as possible in order to get familiar with this great set of rules, whilst at the same time start to paint a few hundred points of miniatures and expand the terrain collection with more suitable pieces for these games.

Table setup for a recent game.

We're waiting for buildings to be delivered!

Well, the terrain is starting to come along, with the addition of corn and ploughed fields to the generic terrain collection. I've ordered quite a few MDF buildings, which should be here in a day or so, but will need painting (urgh!)

The uniforms look far less 'blue' in real life!
I've also finally managed to finish my first batch of figures, in the form of these Warlord Games plastic Veteran Grenadiers. The figures are very nice, with well proportioned heads compared to some of the plastic kits I've seen, but I hate painting, so the mass of equipment seemed to take ages to complete, but here, at last, are my first completed troops.

This Panzer IV Ausf H is a WIP still.
 I've also managed to build my first ever plastic Tank! This is a lovely kit, although I thought the build instructions that came with it were a little light, the whole thing is lovely when built and the cards and templates that come with it are a nice bonus. I'll finish this fellow off tomorrow and am pretty pleased with it so far.

Thanks to occasional gaming buddy Matt from the excellent Blog 'The Wargames Table', I've also put together these blast markers. I first saw the design used for a BatRep on Matts Blog and was really impressed by them. Matts versions are far better than mine, but they look good enough and I'm chuffed to have them ready for use in our games as we start to expand on the armies and equipment on the table.

OK then, that's it for now, but I'll have more to show for Bolt Action in the very near future as more painting a terrain projects begin to unfold!

Thursday, 5 April 2018

And so it begins!

One of the things I like about being a so called 'grown up' is that I can make the excitement of Birthdays, Christmas and even Fathers Day now, happen pretty much any time I want and it's still just as exciting opening a new box of toys as it was when I was a young lad!

What you see in the picture above is the start of what may well become a Bolt Action addiction. All gamers like to be addicted to a game or three and we can rest assured that gaming addiction, of any kind, doesn't (often) lead us to end up as a shell of a human being, wasting away in the gutters of a sorry life of crime and degradation, waiting for our next fix. Anyway, I hope it doesn't!

Actually, of the items shown, I'd already bought the Rulebook so that I could immerse myself in the rules before committing to the laborious task of prepping and painting many new toys. After reading said Rulebook and deciding that this was the way to go (I've tried Chain of Command. The less said about that the better), I proceeded to purchase a couple of sets of orders dice. So, in fact, todays excitement was only really for the three boxes of plastic goodness from Warlord Games.

I know, I know, why three and why three different nationalities? I could try to justify it by saying that I had to get more than one nationality because I need to paint up more than one side of the conflict to play at home and whilst that is kind of true, the real reason is that I like all of them and couldn't decide which to do first. Whilst I would normally be able to 'man up' and choose one nation to start with, when I went to do just that, I was presented with an Easter Offer from Warlord giving me a 33% saving and post free on orders over £50, so I thought, what the hell, lets just go for it and see where the road leads!

I'll show progress reports of where the road actually does lead in due course...

Friday, 30 March 2018

A very close thing!

Number one son Dan is home from University for a short break so we wasted no time in sorting out a game of WAB1.5, seeing as neither of us has had the chance to play in months. We both fancied a Dark Ages bash so Shieldwall it was! Dan decided on using his own Irish army and I called on my Vikings, which haven't been on the field of battle for, well, I don't know how long, but it's been a long while, that's for certain.

I had an idea that Dan would bring a large unit of Fianna to protect his General and give what can other wise be quite a weak combat army some much needed muscle, along with some mercenary help as this is often his preferred tactics, especially against the Vikings. The rest of the Irish army tends to be made up of pretty basic Bonnachts, who present no real problem for even the Bondi in close combat, let alone the Hirdmen, but there are so many of them that they can often swamp an enemy army, or at least fall back in good order, which makes them difficult to break and often leads to them winning by attrition.

To counter the threat I'd decided to take a large unit of Bondi led by a Hersir with an old crone of a Godi to bring the help of the Gods, plus a large (and bloody expensive!) unit of Hirdmen which also had a Hersir, then a smaller Hirdmen unit with their King and battle standard bearer for extra punch in combat. To help with those pesky Irish skirmishers, of which there would likely be many, I had a 20 strong unit of Bondi Archers and 16 thralls with javelins. I knew that these two units would be no match for the sheer volume of enemy skirmishers, but I had to at least try to divert some of the ranged shots away from my precious combat units.

We set the table up with limited terrain, as I chose to stop placing after my first piece, which only allowed Dan one more choice. I placed a small hill with an impassable rocky slope to one side, but failed to remember which way round I'd wanted it and ended up blocking the planned advance of the Bondi Archers that I placed there – doh! Dan placed two woods, one on each flank and towards the centre of the battlefield, which I knew would likely mean he'd taken those accursed Gestir mercenaries and hidden them in one of the woods – I would need to be very cautious, just in case!

I won the roll to choose who began setting up their army, so Dan started by placing one skirmisher unit, then another, then another… and very soon I'd placed my whole army and was left to watch as more and more Irish troops filed onto the battlefield. The sight of masses of troops in front of your teeny tiny army, no matter their quality, is a daunting sight.

I also won the dice roll to see who would go first in the turn and I don't think Dan was too surprised when I made him go first. There seemed no point in moving my troops closer to his javelinmen and slingers, so after we'd both moved our skirmish units the extra 4” allowed in the Pitched battle scenario, I forced him to make the first moves. A couple of his units failed their Warband test, but this was no great concern for him as they were all moving towards my line at this early stage in the battle anyway. He tried a couple of long range shots, but nothing hit home and his turn was over.

Viking Thralls on the move

The much more numerous Irish skirmish line advances

Irish to the left, Vikings to the right

Seeing how many troops were in the Irish army, I decided that my only real chance was to get stuck in as quickly as possible in the centre and hope to break them there before Dan could bring their full weight to bear and attack me from all sides. With this in mind, I started the march in with both units of Hirdmen and the Bondi. The Bondi Archers sat on their hill and took a few pot shots at the approaching skirmishers. They got a couple of kills, but to no great effect as yet. On my right flank, I moved the Thralls right up to the wooded area to try to flush out any nasty surprises in the form of the Gestir, but, surprise – they weren't there!

For turn two, Dan decided to reveal his mercenary Gestir unit which had been hiding in the other woods (of course they wouldn't be where I thought they were!) on my left. At the same time, he started to move the right flank of his army in a sweeping move towards my left and the large Hirdmen unit there. All of a sudden I felt very vulnerable as the Fianna had moved in to support the Gestir, which was not a good combination for me as I have nothing in my army that can go toe to toe with the Fianna and the Gestir had double handed axes, which would be brutal in combat, especially if they managed to make a combined charge. Luckily for me though, a unit of Kerns suddenly found their courage (failed their Warband test!) and charged headlong into my Hirdmen, which blocked the Fianna from making their own charge! This gave me much needed time to position my own troops in the middle and on the right flank.

The Gestir emerge from the woods on my right flank

The Irish start to sweep across from their right flank

Gestir and Fianna looking for a fight!

For my second turn, I decided to begin turning my line towards Dan's left in the hope of avoiding the battle to my own left, with as much of my army as I could. There was no way I could get my large Hirdmen unit to safety, so I decided that they would have to try to stand their ground and hopefully give me the time I needed to punch through the much weaker Bonnachts at the left and centre of the Irish line.

As I thought, in turn three Dan charged the Hirdmen on my left flank, but, luckily for me, he couldn't fit the Gestir in to the same combat and would have to spend another turn getting them into position. I was pretty chuffed with this as I thought that my unit might even have a chance at standing its ground now. My General was well within command distance of the embattled Hirdmen, so hopefully his leadership and their combat skills would be enough for the job. How wrong I was! The Fianna didn't need help from their mercenary friends as they smashed my unit like a hot knife through butter and without even breaking a sweat. I had totally underestimated them, yet again I might add, and they swept my largest combat unit away as if they were no more than a momentary nuisance. But… trash my unit and force them to break and flee from combat they might have, but they couldn't catch my boys, who were off like the wind! Dan was gob smacked to say the least! 

The Fianna lose control and charge into the Hirdman

Now that the main battle had begun in the centre, the skirmishers from both armies on both flanks were still attempting to get the upper hand. My Bondi Archers on the hill, although still not inflicting huge casualties on the Irish, had managed to force an enemy unit to flee after it took some losses, whilst they themselves refused to give up their position on the hill (which they couldn't easily move down in formation either!). On the other flank, my large unit of javelin armed Thralls were being slowly surrounded by three smaller units of Kerns.

Never underestimate a Fianna unit!

There was a lull in the battle during my turn three, although the fleeing Hirdmen rallied in the face of the Fianna and the rest of my army was finally in position for the all important charges into combat in the next turn. My Thralls on the right decided not to charge into combat with the enemy skirmishers to their front (I forgot to declare the charge and Dan being an utter gentleman just laughed like a lunatic and said it was tough!!!) so instead they shot one of the units and forced them to flee – ha!

Wavering battle lines

Turn four and Dan was forced to move the Gestir unit into skirmish formation in an attempt to get them into a supporting position for further planned charges. Unluckily for him, his Fianna failed their Warband test and declared a charge on my Hirdmen, who elected to sacrifice themselves in order to draw the Fianna away from the main battle line, so they fled from the charge. The plan worked, but at the cost of the 32 man unit of Hirdmen. Even their standard was captured and paraded as a trophy over their corpses. Dan also charged my Thralls with his two remaining Kern units on his left flank, but poor dice rolls meant that I won the combat against all the odds and one of his units fled from combat, leaving the now outnumbered single unit of Kerns to their fate.

Viking Hirdmen ready themselves for their journey to Valhalla

The trap is set for the Viking Thralls

Final skirmish battle
With Dans Fianna too far away from the main battle now to have any real further impact. My chance to turn the battle was in sight. I decided to keep the Generals unit out of combat for now, as the Gestir were still trying to get back into the battle and might yet prove to be a problem. I charged the Bondi into Dans Bonnachts on his left flank, but they fumbled the attack and it was only the cursing of the Godi and her threats of damnation that kept them in the fight.

Against all the odds, the Bonnachts beat the Bondi and force the Godi to intervene
Turn five left Dan very few options. The Fianna could only position themselves to claim and hold a portion of the battlefield, denying it to my troops. His remaining Bonnachts who were not yet fighting had no choice other than to prepare for the inevitable charges to come and the last of the Kerns were either destroyed or had lost the will for the fight. This time, the Bondi made short work of the Bonnachts, who failed their break test and fled. I failed to run down the fleeing Irish unit, but made enough ground to get into position for a combined charge against the next unit of Bonnachts in the next turn if all went well. The only unit that could still do serious damage was the thrice cursed mercenary Gestir who were heading towards the rear of the Danish Generals unit. 

The first Bonnacht unit is beaten and chased from the field

With the Fianna away from the main battle, the Gestir attempt to strike a killing blow

There was nothing I could do about the Gestir, so I had to ignore the threat. Instead, I charged the Bonnacht unit in front of the Hirdmen with both of my remaining units. The Bonnacht knew they had no chance and took horrific casualties which broke their will, but not before a cheeky attempt on the Viking Konnungrs life, which nearly worked too, inflicting a wound on the very surprised leader! The Bonnachts fled and were cut down to a man by the Hirdmen. The Bondi were ordered to hold their ground and watched the butchery instead.

The Bonnachts are dealt with one unit at a time
 As the light started to dim on the battlefield, the last few remaining troops closed for their last combats. The Gestir had finally managed to make the charge into the rear of the Hirdmen and very nearly broke the unit, Only their formation and the presence of their King kept them in the fight, but it was a close thing!

Finally, the Gestir in the middle of the Battlefield are defeated and broken
With their nerves steadied, the Hirdmen turned to the Gestir for the final blows. Even then, the Gestir threw themselves at the King, puhing past his guards in a final attempt on his life, but their stregth let them down at the fianl moment after a hard fought battle and they were cut down and, broken, they fled the fight. 

Victory to the Gods and the Danes!

Monday, 26 March 2018

Back into the fray!

See the source image

Well, here I am again with a new Blog, thinking about what to write and why I'm doing this! I suppose the answer to both is, erm, well, I don't really know, but I have the urge to put fingers to keyboard, take a few pictures and keep a log of my wargaming life at the present time. In general, all things change and trends ebb and flow, but for now I've got a pretty definite set of gaming periods, genres and scales that I'm focused on and as many of them are still developing into full on wargaming projects, I thought it might be fun to share with anyone that might stumble onto this Blog.

Now, I can't say how regular my posts here will be, but I do have quite a lot on the go at the moment, so there should be a fair bit of material to write about. I've got two completely new projects at the very early stages of their gaming life, one of which is Warmaster Ancients and the other is Bolt Action. I've played a couple of games of each of these rules sets in the past, Bolt Action being a couple of years ago and Warmaster a couple of decades ago, so I'm looking forward to getting some games in with both, but not before the inevitable pain of building and painting armies for both. Warmaster will be a 'special' journey for me because I'll be sculpting and manufacturing the 10mm armies that I'll be using in the games I play.

Then we've got my old favorites, which are Warhammer Ancient Battles and Warhammer Fantasy Battles. I've not had many games of either for a few months, but even though there's much rain on my window at the moment, Spring is most definitely on the way, which also means a new gaming season should follow soon too, hopefully.

As many who know me will be well aware, I'm a bit of a stick in the mud and still play old versions of both WAB and WHFB, although with the later, I play eighth edition, so not so much an old version, but the last version! I did try WAB2 before the whole thing went belly up, but to be honest I couldn't really get on with it as the book was poorly written and edited and the new author wasn't a patch on the previous team in my opinion, so I ran straight back to what I knew and loved and am happily stuck in a time warp playing WAB1.5 along with all those pretty supplements!

I also have a few other gaming interests that I intend to resurrect this year. One of those being The Men Who Would be Kings, which is the only one of the many, many Osprey Games that have seeped into the wargaming world of late that I've found any interest in and the other is Dreadball from Mantic Games. I've played a fair few games with both of these rules in the past and really enjoyed each game played, so it's time to knuckle down with them and get more figures painted and more games played, so expect some of those too!

OK, that pretty much sums up the what and why I think, so I'll be back soon with the first progress report!