Thursday, 14 December 2017

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever you are..............

As you know I didn't make it to the club last week so Rob kindly put off his Muskets and Tomahawks game until this week, he didn't make it either, we had a lot of members AWOL last week it would seem.

Anyway I dragged myself from my sick bed and found myself in charge of a blood curdling mob of Woodland Indians, all beautifully painted by Rob and Stuart, I still feel like jumping into this period every time I see them. The premise was I had just completed a raid on a village and burned it to the ground, those who had survived my depredations had fled into the nearby woods, I now had to scour said woods to find them. Simon on the other hand with a hastily put together rescue party also had to make his way through the woods but this time to find and succour the fugitives.

The whole table was covered in trees and difficult ground, scattered around were lots of little markers, these markers once approached were diced for and may be nothing, or one or two of the fugitives. I had the choice of butchering them or taking them prisoner, Simon of course had to protect them and get them safely back to a holding area, game on.

I came upon several fleeing women, servant types and duly killed them, I then ran into two who could obviously handle themselves as they shot one of my braves and caused the others in his party to run. I picked up from some of the things Rob said that these two were the women from 'Last of the Mohicans' and if I killed or captured them I would have Hawkeye and his mates after me so I reluctantly let them go on their merry way. The Gods next rewarded me with a high ranking British officer, he was not going under the knife and he was led to the rear.

It was now that both sides were fairly close to each other and most of the civilians had been killed, captured or rescued, a stand of Colours had been spied but had got away only to be shot down, this looked like a high value target to both of us. I tried to get into a position to make an assault but the terrain was against me as was my shooting, after some time I had to give up and the flag disappeared back through the forest. I did manage in the last minutes of the game to bag a small party by killing the two soldiers protecting it. Simon also did not have things all his own way, he rescued a senior officer who immediately demanded to be in charge and for a time confused his men (I was given charge of this character if I beat a die roll). He also found a child who slowed his men down and a fight broke out when a drunken lout was flushed out of hiding and set about his rescuers.

At the end the scores on the doors showed a win for Simon, I could have done much better if I had not killed so many of the fugitives and merely captured them, but hey, I was in character. It was a great idea and once again showed how flexible these rules can be and how you can let your imagination run riot, with this and other scenarios I think Rob should get them published.

My next set of figures are being primed in the outhouse as we speak, I used the recommended super-superglue by someone on Facebook only to find it works no better than other super glues, he obviously has not tried to glue Aventine figures. I went back to using Bicarb as a setting agent and hey presto, job done.

It is Birthday Eve here in the Anderson household, a new holiday I have instigated as King of the Andersons and High Heid Yin of the Clan, it only pertains to the leader of course and means that I should be shown due deference as befits my position and upcoming big day.

We have our club Christmas Game next week, I am not sure what it is yet as it is under wraps, Julian, our star baker will once again be spoiling us with his mince pies. I have already let it be known that this year there should be a more equitable sharing of the goods as last year I only managed to grab one, I think my pleas have fell on deaf ears.

Monday, 11 December 2017

With no games on and suffering from manflu for the best part of a week and a half, still not over it, things have been fairly dismal recently, much like the weather. We came back from my grandson's birthday tea on Saturday having managed to travel to Northumberland and back fairly safely despite the dire warnings, with his birthday so close to Christmas this is the beginning of a few weeks of indulgence for him, with my birthday so close to Christmas I used to get a stick.

I have managed to finish my first phalanx for the Seleucids, it hasn't taken as long as I thought but I am not 100% happy with it. The shield transfers I chose were a red star on white, well not quite white, so I mixed up something to blend it in with the outer rim of the shield, then once varnish was applied this stood out so I had to go over it again with a light wash of white. I don't like painting the linen armour and the pteruges and nearly every figure has them, I have tried giving them a wash then a drybrush over the top, it works to a certain degree. I also possibly made a mistake using so much white with this unit, white is a swine to paint, it always seems to need two or three coats.

Next up is the Guard phalanx, I intend to use far more colour with this one, especially purple, this should be easier to wash than the white. I have also taken delivery of super-superglue as used in model ship building and, according to a gent on FB, should stick instantly even the awkward Aventine Miniatures metal, we shall see.

I swallowed the hype for "Six Minutes in May" which is supposed to be about the bungled Norway Campaign and Churchill's part in it at the beginning of WWII, it is in fact more a political book than a military one but I wanted the latter not the former. I also ended up with two pristine, hardback copies, I tried to send one back but the seller has ignored me, so if anyone wants to send me the postage you can have a copy.

On my return from China, where the Opium War was mentioned more than a couple of times, I bought a book on it, but again it is mainly from the political view, and interesting as it is now that I have put it down I cannot pick it up again.

I jumped in once more last week and to cheer myself up I bought "Rome: A history in seven sackings" I had no sooner read the first page than I knew I had a winner, about time.

 I have just finished another few map projects and have been contacted to work on The Spanish-American War for the beginning of 2018 and the the Franco-Prussian War later in the year, both with an author I have already worked with, there is also some work to do on a tome about the Saxon army 1721-1815 and perhaps a start on the AWI Atlas. I have two which I hope to finish the year off with in the next week or so, Gallipoli and Iran-Iraq, the former awaits the authors OK and the other is 50% done. Looking good.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Man Flu

No club this week, I am suffering from the mother of all flu's, I am like a bear with a sore head. It would seem a few of us have fallen by the wayside this week and I made the decision earlier not to go, for starters I felt lousy and secondly I did not want to spread this horror. Rob has kindly put the Muskets and Tomahawks game back until next week, hopefully I will be back to normal by then, I didn't even manage to get any maps drawn today either, I only just managed to put a smile on for my customers.

Anyway I have bravely sat through some TV and managed to finish the Skythian horse archers and get a bit further with my first pike phalanx. I have not got to grips yet with the long pikes and keep catching them and knocking figures over or on to the floor, I can forsee problems on the battlefield and fingers like pin cushions coming up. The missus has bought the other three phalanxes for me, one I have now and the other two I shall get at Christmas, I don't see me finishing this one before Christmas as I have quite a few map projects in the wings.

I got Netflix recently and so far have enjoyed what I see, I am almost finished the second season of Stranger Things, finished Narcos and the superb Godless (which I highly recommend) and have now started on Mindhunter. I bought John Douglas' book when it first came out years ago, he was one of the first profilers for the FBI, and the book was a great read if obviously horrendous in parts as it deals with serial killers. The jury is out on the show at the moment, I like it but am not yet willing to give it my seal of approval, I do wonder, again, why they have introduced a pointless gay relationship when the woman being portrayed thus is actually happily married with a family. After the success of Godless I tried Frontier, about the Hudson Bay Company, it really is at the other end of the scale, dreadful, bad acting, bad accents and an unbelievably ridiculous story.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Volo dicere ad Goth.

Once again things were left to the last minute for the club, maps to draw, customers to serve etc. Simon got in touch and suggested a War and Conquest game I know he likes Romans so it was an opportunity to get my Patricians on to the field of battle, these, like the Twelfth have a fearsome reputation and during their outings earlier this year destroyed their opposition. I really like this army. I decided however to go out on a limb, after all what is the point of having all sorts of troop types if you just use the same ones all the time? I decided to rely heavily, as they did, on Foederati for my strike force while the solid Roman infantry held the line, so to this end I took two units of Alan cavalry, expensive in a 2,000 point army but why not, I also took my Goth nobles on foot with a Goth general commanding my allied troops. The Romans consisted of three Legions and some skirmishers, I did not have a lot of missile troops as I was hoping the Alans would help here as they had bows along with a host of other weapons.

Simon had the Twelfth and took four cohorts, a large number of Auxiliary light infantry, massed archers and some cavalry. As we deployed I put my strike force on my left, the cavalry I was hoping would catch the enemy flank as they worked with the Goth foot, I hoped their archery would cause problems for the enemy. My Legions would simply hold their ground unless an opportunity arose to go forward, I was a little concerned about my right flank as Simon had the numbers there, but I would retire if I had to to give time to the left and centre.

Patricians on the left, Thunderbolts on the right.

Things looked really good as the battle began, the Roman cavalry got cold feet but instead of retiring took the opportunity to run along the length of my army and then throw themselves at some skirmishers who promptly ran away and exposed the cavalry to a charge by one of my Legions. Simon had started his reserve cohort on a march to his right, this didn't unduly worry me as I thought one of the cavalry units will catch it in the flank, another cohort came close enough for me to charge in the Goths, I stood back well satisfied. My right was under a bit of pressure but the Roman lights got tied up trying to run down my skirmishers so that left a straight unit for unit fight in the centre.

My shooting up until now had been dismal, and now my combat rolls went the same way, despite everything going for them the Goths failed to dent the enemy and spectacularly failed their morale test and legged it, the first time ever this unit has let me down. Worse was to come as both the Alan cavalry commands also failed their test and joined the rout, I did not have a left flank. Meanwhile on the right Quinta Macedonica were losing their combat, but they manfully stood their ground despite this, this gave my centre an opportunity to advance, the Anglevari hit a cohort while the Lanciarii Gallicani charged uphill into the archers who had been tormenting them all along.

Just before it all went wrong.

Oh dear.

Things got a little better as the Alans, under my withering gaze, decided to rally and ensure Simon could not ignore them and turn in and hit my centre. As the clock ticked away the Patricians got a slight win at the end of turn six, of the three combats still taking place I would have won two and Simon one, lest the dice gods saw fit otherwise, which they can do of course. If Simon's cavalry had not been so mad it would probably have ended a draw, I don't think he will try that again.

And 'Volo dicere ad Goth' is "I want a word with that Goth". I had some really dismal combat throws, Simon got no hits at one point until I reminded him he could reroll in the first round, he then promptly got three bloody kills! The Alan cavalry worked OK, I say worked but they didn't actually do much, I missed skirmishing horse archers, I think I will bring the Huns back next time.

So that is it for now, possibly another WAC game next Thursday against Kevin or maybe something else, Muskets and Tomahawks at the club, always good fun on Tuesday and during the week back to the new army and more furious painting.

I was looking at Gangs of Rome until I got so much rubbish I turned off notifications on Facebook, I wonder however if it will just be like all the other 'Gang' games but set in ancient Rome, I also do not succumb to the lore of size 10 supermodels with Herculean statistics killing everyone in sight, enough with the female characters, sheesh. The missus has just asked me what I want for Christmas and my birthday, guess .............. pikemen!