Monday, 10 September 2012

Wargaming 20 questions

I've seen these 20 questions on a couple of other blogs, so I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon and have a crack myself:

1. Favourite Wargaming period and why?
Sci-fi. I'm a rocketships and robots nerd.

2. Next period, money no object?
I'm not really much of a period hopper. Because my interests are mostly fantasy and Sci-fi, I can be a bit more creative with my minis. An 18th century Line fusilier can't be used as a Waffen SS panzer grenadier, but a guy in a space suit can be used in all sorts of differing sci-fi settings. I do like the look of some of those Saga dark ages figures, but that does seem to have a steepish start up. So, if money no object we'll say 28mm Dark ages skirmish.

3. Favourite 5 films?
Blade Runner, Point Break, Alien, Shawshank Redemption, Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Empire Strikes Back (I get +1 for advantageous position)

4. Favourite 5 TV series?
Game of Thrones, West Wing, Big Bang Theory, Eureka, Farscape

5. Favourite book and author?
One? Just one? I like to many books and authors to pick one. Put a gun to my head and I'd probably go for either Lord of the Rings or Mort.

6.Greatest General? Can’t count yourself!!
Ghengis Khan seems to have done rather well. Plus that Hannibal chap.

7. Favourite Wargames rules?
Blitzkrieg/Cold War/Future War Commander. Simple, fast and intuitive. You get outstanding responses from the author on the forum and he's happy to take suggestions and criticism.

8. Favourite Sport and team?
Rugby, England

9. If you had a only use once time machine, when and where would you go?
Assuming I could take the Mrs along, the far future, so that medical science had evolved to the point where they could sort me out!

10. Last meal on Death Row?
Traditional Christmas dinner, turkey, roasties, stuffing, pigs-in-blankets and so on, with Christmas pud and cream for dessert.

11. Fantasy relationship and why?
Angelina Jolie. I think the reason is obvious.

12. If your life were a movie, who would play you?
In my minds eye, John Cusack, but he'd probably need to put on a few pounds and lose the hair.

13. Favourite Comic  Superhero?
Iron Man.

14. Favourite Military quote?

Rule 1, on page 1 of the book of war, is: "Do not march on Moscow". Various people have tried it, Napoleon and Hitler, and it is no good. That is the first rule. I do not know whether your Lordships will know Rule 2 of war. It is: "Do not go fighting with your land armies in China". It is a vast country, with no clearly defined objectives.." - Bernard Law Montgomery

15. Historical destination to visit?
I'm very much interested in experimental aviation - X-planes and so on, so I think being able to hear that first sonic boom over Edwards a Chuck Yeager busted the sound barrier in the X-1 would be quite something.

16. Biggest Wargaming regret?
I don't get to play as much as I'd like. My previous bunch of regular gamers have dispersed, so it's quite infrequent to get a game in now.

17. Favourite Fantasy job?

The man that gets to slap George Lucas with a wet fish every time he has a stupid idea. I'd be good at that.

18. Favourite Song Top 5?
See Q.5 - just 5? I've got thousands of tracks on my MP3 player that I love.

19. Favourite Wargaming Moment?
I was playing in a week long WW2 megagame in Cornwall - Fall of France 1940 using Spearhead. Possibly the geekiest thing I've ever done - a wargaming holiday. Anyway, I was playing the Germans and I'd spent pretty much all of the week so far trying to achieve an opposed crossing over a canal outside Brussels. My units were getting chewed up and every day I'd make a small bridgehead, to be told by HQ that they couldn't support it and I'd have to retreat back under cover of dark. 

On the 4th day the British defenders flanks collapsed on another part of the table and I get to exploit my position and move inland. At the end of the day I was looking at defending against a British counter attack the next day over an adjacent river. During the planning phase that evening I was standing surveying the terrain with the CO and 2IC of the German forces and they suggested troop placements for me, in a few nearby villages and hamlets that would cover a fording point. Thinking back to the last four days of river crossings, I thought that the ford was the last place I would want to cross - an obvious target, overlooked from 4 easily fortified positions and with no cover once you got feet dry on the other side. 

Instead, I'd want to cross upstream, near some woods that looked onto the rear aspects of two of the hamlets, with good opportunity to work round through the woods to flank. The CO and 2IC were skeptical - bearing in mind this was the first time I had ever played Spearpoint ("What's a battlegroup?") or even WW2 -  but let me deploy one token force in the buildings by the ford, one in the woods near the river and a reserve in the other woods that could be exploited. I plotted my pre-planned artillery to fire on the place that I though was the likely crossing point and then on the rally points nearby once the troops were over the river.

Next day, British counter-attack starts and not a sausage arrives at the ford. Instead two battalions cross the river at exactly the point I predicted. My pre-planned arty dropped right where I wanted it, my PAK line was in just the right place and my HMG's had perfect lines of sight. The targeting was so spot on that the British CO requested that the Umpire confirm the pre-planned matched the plans I had submitted the night before - and I can't say I blamed him or held a grudge for him asking. It was a perfect ambush, and I'd based it all on the experience gained from the pounding the Brits had given me over the last few days. The infantry assault faltered and then routed and a planned tank breakthrough was blunted as a reserve Panzer division made itself known (although I felt sure I could have held off the tanks too). 

20. The miserable Git question, what upsets you?
Small mindedness. Bigotry. I also get quite annoyed by those wargamers who think that their period/ruleset is the only "real" wargame - "Fantasy/spaceships/horror - that's not real wargaming"

10mm Fantasy Part 2 - Orcs of the Red Hand

I picked up some 10mm Orcs and Dwarves from Kallistra last year at Salute (or possibly SELWG). Discussion about a fantasy version of the excellent Blitzkreig/Cold War/Future War Commander rules on the Specialist Military Publishing forum prompted me to drag them out and give them a coat of paint. If you aren't familiar with BKC/CWC/FWC then I can heartily recommend them as very enjoyable rulesets that have become our go-to WW2-modern and beyond rules since we fell out of love with Flames of War.

The orcs are made up of 6 packs of the Kallistra Hordes and Heroes figures. I base the strips for infantry and archers singly so they go twice as far, instead of the two ranks that Kallistra suggest. This means I do have to snip the archers apart to get single figures, but with the Orcs this wasn't a problem.

Two packs of advancing spears, one pack of archers, one pack of cavalry (three to a base leaving me four figures for command stands) flyers and catapults all came to just £30, taking advantage of the excellent 5 for the price of 6 deal.

The orcs were undecorated black and then dry brushed with GW Waaagh Flesh, then Warpstone Glow and finally Straken Green. Wood was picked out in Bestial Brown, metal in Leadbelcher, fur in Adeptus Battlegrey, leather and cloth in various browns and tans and finally the red hand insignia and various trims in Mechrite Red with a Red Gore highlight. The eyes were also picked out in Red Gore. The whole thing then got a generous wash of Ogre Flesh. Bases were done with Woodland Scenic mid brown ballast, coarse granite ballast and fine mixed turf over a burnt sienna base coat. Everything then got two coats of GW Hardcoat varnish.

The flying units are a Mechrite Red drybrush with Red Gore highlight straight over the black undercoat, but applied in reverse, so I left the leading edges and raised joints of the wings black, which I think looks quite good.

The pictures were taken in bright sunlight, so my infill lamps have done very little and there are some very strong shadows, but I think you can get a feel for the figures.

The whole army

Infantry block

Command units made from spare cavalry and catapult crew

Shield and banner detail on command units.

Wolf Rider cavalry

Archers. These had to be snipped apart as they were standing one behind the other.


Infantry standard bearer. Can also be used as a command stand

I've yet to play it, but I estimate that there are enough units here to make 2 or 3 good 40pt armies in Mighty Armies, which means I'll have the same for the Dwarves and Dark Elves, and even more for the Lizardmen that I've already painted. Dwarves are next, and I've already started on the infantry blocks for those. More news as I finish them.