Monday, 30 September 2013

30th Anniversary and more on C&C for AWI.

It's been a busy few days, today is our 30th Wedding Anniversary and on Saturday night we had a lively party from which I am just about now fully recovered! It was great to see so many old friends, many of whom had been there on the day, and had traveled down from London for the weekend or evening. We had a fantastic time and I think it did us both a power of good. My wife gifted me a bottle of The Glenlivet, which was duly offered around and enjoyed in fine company.

I was a little fragile yesterday, so spent much of the day reading around a few blogs. Over on Ross Mac's blog 'Battle Game of the Month' (link at right) I was fascinated to read recently of the remote game and it really got me thinking about the potential of this type of game. I also enjoyed his post featuring the 'Battle Cry' ACW game, which he played on the board with miniatures (as I do now), and what struck me was how well a few trees etc improved the look of the thing. I decided to try a couple of things out. One slight issue I find when playing on the C&C board is how easy it is to miss a blocked line of sight, especially where the hill tiles are concerned and I have 4 figures placed on top of it and I have been trying to figure a way to raise the hills without too much effort. What I did was to stick together 6 of the 55mm mdf hexes ordered from Tony at ERM and Bingo! with a game tile placed on top it transformed the overall look as I hope you will agree (see pics below). So far 60 hexes have been used to create 10 hills which are now 13mm high and looks just about right for the 15mm figures. Next I placed a couple of old home made trees on the 'wood' tiles and again I think it really works well - if they get in the way I can just move them around. Possibly they are slightly too tall so I may reduce the size slightly and replace those ugly thick bases. I don't want to go too far with this, but I think overall things are looking good and it's mostly practical.

I'm fairly happy with the troop charts now so another test game is on the cards this week. One recent addition is to allow elite units to absorb the first hit and so in order to keep track I place a casualty marker with the unit which is removed together with a figure on the second hit. I'm considering extending this to light troops in open order ( bearing in mind that many British lights fought in line as elite shock troops including the Guard light companies ).

Remote games.
Ross has really got me thinking about this now! It could be perfect for my small board as I could give the remote player a pretty close view of his troops, just as if he was sitting opposite to me. The fast nature of the C&C games would mean a reasonable battle could be fought to a conclusion in less than 2 hours. I think there may be a way around the command card issue too, possibly by each player using his own deck. I note that Richord Borg, who is currently play testing the 'Tricorne' version of C&C has introduced this idea and I'm keen to know how it works. Not given it a lot of thought as yet but I do have 2 decks of C&C cards so I may play test it, any thoughts on how this could work? I think that a remote player able to draw and flash his own card hand would much improve the fun from that point of view.

Finally for now heres a few shots of the raised up hills etc, what do you think?

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

More 20mm ACW's for 'Old John'.

Having just completed a vast number of 6mm Heroics and Ros Austrians for a regular customer, which included no less than 20 guns plus crew strips, 10 x 6 horse teams and limbers, cuirassiers, dragoons and hussars, baggage wagons with teams of mules and oxen, and piles of Hungarian infantry in blue trousers to match the previously delivered Austrians in helmets (I even managed to get the fine black stripe along the centre of the yellow crest of the tiny helmets), it's nice to be back painting more 20mm ACW's from Old John's lead pile.

Picking up where I left off a while ago todays output is this lovely set of Confederate prisoners and a field hospital scene. The figures are packed full of character and three of the prisoner models are clearly taken from the famous photo of the three Confederates captured at Gettysburg. It is a very powerful and evocative image from the Civil War that has long stuck in my mind since I first saw it over 25 years ago. I hope I did them justice. For the hospital set I decided to paint the wounded Zouave as a member of the early war Louisiana Tigers. The Nun is a fine figure and the casting has captured well a feminine face.

For my own AWI project I've painted up a few officer figures that I plan to mix in with the figures. I have also ordered lot's of 55mm hexes from Tony at ERM as I have plans for them once I get the basic gameboard made up. On advice, I now plan to hand paint the hexes on the board, taking my time to ensure accuracy. More on this as things progress.

Few pics as usual, again I'm sure John will clarify the maker of the figures, they are a very good match for plastic ACW's in scale and proportion.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

More 20mm ECW horse regiments.

These guys will be making the journey home tomorrow so I thought I would take a few snaps of them. They are of course commission work for the collection of Tony and I believe these may be the last of the planned units of horse. I think that I have painted around 14 x 12 figure units now - actually lost count, but Tony will correct me I'm sure! -  plus the Dragoons of course for both sides. All the units have been given a basic theme colour and with a mix of buff coats and armour etc. The castings are lovely to work with. From left to right these three units are:

Left -      Sir Wm Fairfax's RoH [Parl] - SHQ
Middle -  Sir Thomas Tyldesley's RoH [Royalist] -  TD men on SHQ horses.
Right -    Derbyshire Horse [Parl] - SHQ

It's been a pleasure painting these figures and I'm pleased with how they turned out. I now look forward to seeing them in action at some time.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Going hex mad!

Here we go again, something about that Napoleonic C&C game board is bothering me during my AWI test games ........ It's the huge word 'Napoleonic' right in the centre! This boxed game is my pride and joy .... I look after it carefully .... so any alteration to the supplied board is out of the question. Solution is to make a new one, without any wording, but retaining the size and dimensions of the standard GMT C&C boards (9 x 13 hexes),and above all, the simple but elegant board game style, which means of course all form of landscaping is out...... and I do like a bit of flock and static grass.

My proposal is, after much thought and planning in the head, to do it properly and to order vast quantities of 55mm hexes (standard C&C) from Tony at ERM and to to carefully stick these down onto a board before spraying them over in a suitable green (to match the board ), a nice dark wood strip edging and a coat of rough-ish varnish (don't want a skating rink!) should give a good result and look like a proper quality gaming board. Additional 55mm hexes will be sprayed to match and I can then enjoy making additional terrain tiles, this time totally flock free. Great thing is I could then use the box game tiles on the new board and vice versa. I think hand painted road and stream/river hexes could be a pleasant challenge.

Simple and cheap, the key will be in laying down those hexes very accurately - I had considered just hand marking up the board in hexes but from past experience it can be a real pain and hard to get dead right.

There we go, I'll report further progress here as this develops. Once completed of course the board could potentially be used for other, non Napoleonic versions....... I'm still wondering how I could use Tony's ECW version on a figure per block basis!!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Another AWI test game.

I'm gradually getting there with the C&C adaptions for the American War of Independence. Inspired by Chris (take a look at his excellent 40mm version here), I have adapted many of his ideas while staying true to Commands and Colors Napoleonic rather than Battle Cry in terms of basic game mechanics. I have stripped out the essentially Napoleonic parts of the game (no square rules for example), and tweaked troop types etc while retaining the movement and firing rates (so far at least), and allowing the use of 'combined arms' combat which is basically an infantry attack supported by artillery fire. What I'm trying to achieve is a good fast fun game that has the correct feel of an AWI battle. 'Loose files and American scramble' is a phrase that has always stuck in my mind as representing a typical fight of extended lines of infantry in loose order taking place in broken terrain.

Once I have pulled everything together I'll post it here, but meantime a few more adaptions that I tried in a test game yesterday.

Militia - are cheap in terms of numbers. They turn out to fight with patriotic zeal but lack training in delivering volleys of musketry, and are unwilling to stand and fight hand to hand against British Regulars trained in the use of the bayonet. When they first encounter (are attacked) by non militia troops they take a control test - 1battle dice with a 'hit' (infantry symbol) resulting in a figure loss and a 'flag' symbol causing the unit to fall back 2 hexes. They also take this test if a General is killed in an adjacent hex. Militia are 4 block units but are lost on the loss of the 3rd block. Finally the loss of a militia unit only represents a HALF of a VP and militia units may not be ordered under a 'bayonet charge' card.

Rifle armed troops - have a range of 3 hexes. If they move within 3 hex range of an unattached command figure they get a free 'marksman' shot of 2 battle dice, with 2 crossed swords killing the general for 1 VP. So far this is only for those sneaky American riflemen who were quite prepared to take down a lone General, an action shunned by our Gentlemanly British troops!

Elite troops - Clearly I have too many classes of Elite troops so need to simplify my charts. I'm not sure about which American units to class as elite? I'm considering making a couple of Continental line units up to elite in order to gain some balance overall. As the training levels in the American forces increased they became more than a match for British regulars, in my game yesterday the fight between regular line troops and Continental line troops was well balanced and felt just about right, while on the British right flank where the Guards and Grenadiers were deployed against a strong militia brigade the inevitable rout occurred as they came on in a a fairly deep formation on a narrow front and pierced the centre of the militia line causing panic.

Cavalry - at the moment are a bit redundant in my games! A bit of scouting or probing flanks has been it so far and I have yet to try a charge against - for example - a unit that is falling back with some losses. More testing required here yet.

Test battle - I placed everything on the board yesterday, I think 17 units of infantry per side, plus cavalry and artillery, it looked pretty crowded but the overall deployment had a reasonable AWI look and feel to it I thought. I followed Chris' idea and dealt a basic hand of 5 cards plus 3 additional cards selected from 6, for a total of 8 cards each. This really allowed the action to flow. I decided against writing the game up as I wanted to play at typical C&C speed so as to get right into the action, but I have captioned some of the pictures taken during the game. At one point the game was interrupted by Gibbo the cat who decided to rest himself on the edge of the board and had to be physically removed after a stretch of his paws sent several figures sliding across the board!

Some AWI inspiration - I really enjoyed watching the 7 hour History Channel documentary again this week, for some reason part 1 on Lexington and Concord has not been included here, but it is available on youtube. It's a great watch and a very inspiring documentary of it's type.

'Mini AWI blog - this is a fantastic blog that I was following a couple of years back. The tone is scholarly and very detailed so I have been reading back through. The author researches deeply before setting up each battle which is not fought as a conventional wargame but rather used to illustrate the developing stages of the narrative. Highly recommended.

100 Followers! - Welcome to Phil who is the 100th follower of this humble blog. I hope you all continue to find something of interest here even though there is not much of a Napoleonic nature going on currently.

Finally - my batteries slightly recharged I'll be resuming work on some 20mm ECW horse tomorrow before getting back into John's ACW lead pile. I'm somewhat behind but the break has done me good. The 15mm AWI's are pretty well done now, just a few odd units to add.

Hope you enjoy the pics.

The initial set up.

The British 8 card command hand.

The American left flank - a brigade of militia supported by dragoons and infantry.

Hessians formed at the British centre.

American right flank - continental line troops with riflemen to their front.

The fight is on!

Dragoons shaking their swords at each other!

This militia unit took 3 retreat flags in a single throw but the General rallied them - somewhat crowded on that hex.

British elites surge forward, driving back the militia.

Gibbo joins the game on the American right flank.

American casualties off board.

End of the game.

First time out for these new Peter Pig 17th dragoons - excellent figures.

The  fast and simple pack away post game - this is another thing that appeals to me!

I used my old 'small' card deck as they look less 'Napoleonic' with plain white backs.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013


Here are some of the first Hessian figures for my AWI C&C game. In no time at all I seem to have painted almost 200 figures for this project, AWI's are pretty fast to paint I find. As usual all are Peter Pig 'true' scale 15mm figures and packed full of character. I have more Hessian musketeers on the painting table now plus some artillery. I used Vallejo 'Gold-brown' for the coin edges as it seemed suitable for theses troops. I have also expanded my British elite troops slightly by making the Guards up to 2 x 4 fig units and adding the light companies. I have decided to keep all units at a standard 4 'blocks' but elite troops absorb (ignore) the first casualty hit while militia units are lost after 3 hits. To compensate for the size of the guards 'brigade' they are now 2 x 4 block units as said above.

On the downside I seem to have suddenly hit a low spot in my painting service. After a year of almost continuous painting of commission work I have hit a bit of a block, so I'm taking a couple of weeks away from things to see if it helps. I guess this was inevitable at some point, and hopefully if I can recharge my batteries I'll be back to work again soon, but I have decided to reduce the hours per week I spend at it. Looking back over the year I must have turned out many hundreds of figures and I can honestly say I'm pleased with all of them, but when you reach the point it becomes a chore to pick up a paintbrush it's time for a short break.