About Me

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I'm a bit of a born-again wargamer! I played many of the Games Workshop games when I was in my teens and early twenties, but left the hobby behind when I went to University. Over the last few years I have gradually got back into it and am literally having a ball! I'll play pretty much anything now, ranging from ancient historical to the far future! I think that I get more out of the painting side of things than actually playing, but that might just be because I get more opportunity. Hence the title...this blog is all about the colour of war!!

Friday, 31 December 2010

History nearly repeats itself

Corunna, 1809

Last night I enjoyed the last game of 2010 and a very good one it was. Having furiously painted hundreds of 6mm Baccus figures over the last couple of months we were all set to play the Corunna scenario from the Polemos Napoleonic Companion using Polemos General De Division rules. Carl took the part of Sir John Moore and I was Soult. James and I then split the French divisions between us with myself taking the right and James the left. The deployment was a curving line of British with Fraser (all trained) on the far right, then Baird and Hope (both veteran divisions) completing the line, with Paget (trained) somewhat in reserve and in position to plug the gap between Baird and Fraser. The French right was taken by Lorges and Delaborde, with Merle in the middle. James' command was Mermet beside Merle and Lahoussaye and Franceschi completing the cavalry left flank. All the French were rated as trained.

Looking from the British right / French left. I didn't have time to paint the general figures, so I just painted the bases red and blue and wrote the name and drew the NATO troop type symbol on them. Worked just fine!
The first few turns saw Delaborde and Lorges occupy the village Piedralonga to their front. Merle was to advance to Elvina (the big town in the middle) and Mermet to San Cristobal (nearest in the picture above). Our plan was to move the left cavalry divisions up to pin Fraser in place and move Merle up to keep Baird occupied while Mermet hooked around San Cristobal and into Baird's flank, or Paget if he moved up.

Merle and Mermet move off

Merle approaches Baird while Mermet moves through San Cristobal. The cavalry start to move up to occupy Fraser's attention.

The situation in the centre develops.
So far the French artillery was harrassing the British lines causing the occasional shaken result, but Carl always had his generals and C-in-C on hand to rally them. It was around this point that history nearly repeated itself when Moore was struck while the battalion he was with was under artillery fire. However, the dice gods favoured the British in this battle and Moore only suffered a flesh wound rather than a mortal one. So now the stage was set for the action to start. Mermet's approach towards the joint between Baird and Paget was causing Carl some concern, so he moved Paget up to plug the gap, as I had hoped he would do. I fancied the chances of Merle against Paget's trained troops more than Baird's veterans! So far Carl had been winning the initiative every turn because he could afford to bid almost all his tempo points as he was largely static, but he got a bit comfortable with always going first and his face was an absolute picture when I outbid him for the first time to grab the initiative and gave James the tempo point to get Mermet into Paget before he could respond. Alas, we had made our first mistake a couple of turns earlier, though. Merle deployed his division into mixed order and blocked off one of Mermet's brigades and we decided to just leave it there as reserve while the other two attacked Paget.

Mistake! One of Mermet's brigades is left behind!
And crisis point was acheived! Mermet's two brigades cried 'Vive l'empereur!" and charged! One of Paget's battalions was shaken and fell back into the rear brigade shaking them, but crucially the right hand brigade received a devastating volley and the head of the column disintegrated and the whole brigade fell back in disarray. Unfortunately for us, James rolled badly for the morale and the French troops decided that they weren't really that up for this fight! A wee bit like the real battle! :) However, this did leave the victorious French brigade to attack the flank of the battalion that had sent their counterparts reeling and another initiative win let us do just that! The brigade charged in and this time the British broke and fled. Crucially, though, the stalwart British brigades passed every morale check required and the division survived to regroup.

Mermet attacks and breaks Paget's formation up, but one French brigade is repelled and subsequently retires.

Mermet's victorious brigade follows up, breaks a battalion but Paget retires in good order and reforms. Further up Merle has advanced towards Baird.
As displayed above, while all this was going on, Merle advanced towards Baird, Lorges was menacing Hope and the two cavalry divisions on the left were making sure Fraser was going nowhere! At this point it was all in the balance. Paget was battered and driven back, but not broken. Mermet had lost a brigade but had one in a very advantagous position. We decided that Paget was not the best target so Mermet wheeled his brigade to attack Baird's flank and try to coordinate with Merle.

Mermet wheels into Baird's flank and Merle lets off a volley to try and shake the British with some success.
 But, as I said, the dice gods favoured the British that night! Mermet's brigade charged in but were halted by a murderous volley from the British and had to fall back, one battalion fleeing. This left them vulnerable to a countercharge by Paget which broke the whole brigade (again James failed every morale roll) and Mermet decided his division could do no more and retired from the field.

Paget sees off Mermet!
Baird took this moment to call his veteran division into action and charge home against Mermet. The French musketry was nowhere near as effective, but the division survived the attack but not without plenty of shaken levels and falling back. I managed to clear some shaken levels with Soult and Merle moving up personally and then counterattacked with the flanking brigades in column. The British volleys were telling though and the French had to fall back again. We had already established that the French weren't up to the fight and I duly failed a morale check and one brigade was spent. Time was running out at this point and the British were looking very strong still having only had one battalion broken for four French brigades! So we called it a day and a resounding British victory.

I think that the scenario as a whole is a pretty difficult one for the French to win as half the Brirish army is rated as veteran which makes them a very tough nut to crack without overwhelming numerical superiority which the French don't really have. I already mentioned our first mistake, which was leaving one brigade back which could have been decisive had it been in the attack, but I think we made another which was to not use the left flank cavalry a bit better. I think that one division would have been sufficient to prevent Fraser getting too involved and perhaps we could have comitted Lahoussaye into a combined attack against Paget with Mermet. I think that would have resulted in total destruction of Paget's division, but then...hindsight is 20/20!! As it stands, it was a fun enjoyable battle that could have gone either way at one point, but it generally went with history and the stout British thwarted what I think was a reasonable plan, just executed by an unenthusiastic French corps. Now...if only Napoleon hadn't buggered off back to Paris!!!

Monday, 20 December 2010

A year of blogging

I know, it's been ages, but I've not really had much to blog about! November was a very quiet month for gaming with the snow and everything and I have pretty much only been painting 6mm Napoleonic figures for a big game just before New Year (we're going to use the Polemos rules to play the Corunna scenario from the companion volume). I toyed with the idea of doing a step-by-step to illustrate just how easy it is to get a nice result but I just didn't get the time. Too many bases to get through in a reasonably short time (well, for someone with 2 young children, anyway!). However, I'm nearly there and that means I can start looking at what projects are looming in 2011.

First off, my brother is getting me some Gladiators for xmas and I can't wait to get my hands on them and start painting 28mm figures again! The 6mm stuff is nice and fast and the mass effect is lovely, but the actual painting of individual figures is nowhere near as rewarding as 28mm. Plus I have a copy of Morituri Te Salutant that I have read and am itching to try out. I'm a big fan of games like MTS that are quick to play, yet tactical, and only need a few figures and minimal terrain as it allows you to add variety to the games available quickly and cheaply. I think that's certainly a major factor in why I like CY6! Once you have the mat and stands, all you need are a handful of planes for whatever period you want.

Secondly, the zombies are coming to get you!! :) Having recently watched the Walking Dead I was inspired to get All Things Zombie and a bunch of Rebel Minis 15mm zombies, so I'm just waiting for them to arrive from the US. Not only do I think that this game will be a lot of fun, but it's perfect for solo play and it will be very suitable for the Friday games with James and Carl, as we can play coop, rather than versus. With only 3 players a coop game will be ideal.

Thirdly, the club usually puts on a Hordes of the Things tournament early each year, so I took some time to plan my army for that and acquire the figures, so I'll need to paint them soon. I won't say what they are yet...you'll have to wait and see!

Lastly, there are a couple of anniversaries coming up that hold some interest for me. First is Crete in May, which we have already seen some figures for, but not much else! Second is Albuera which is a Napoleonic battle that always fascinated me. It's one of the few major battles that Wellington didn't command at and it also is one of the few that the Spanish gave a credible performance at. Also, it was the first appearance of the Vistula Lancers in a major battle (or so I believe), soon to be the Lancers of the Imperial Guard, and I always had a wee thing for their uniforms! :)

So, in short, next year looks to be a colourful one and I do hope to get some photos of the Corunna game and maybe some shots of the armies before the New Year. So until then...!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

The Battle ends as the Blitz begins

Last night saw the final instalment of the Battle of Britain campaign I've been running at the club. The first Tuesday of the month is traditionally given over to a multiplayer campaign game in which all club members are free to turn up and participate and, as it is the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain it seemed a good time to run a Check Your 6! campaign. The campaign lasted 5 months from July to November, covered the major stages of the battle and had 17 players in one game at its peak. I think all the players had a good time and there were some memorable dogfights.

Although I didn't blog all the game reports I felt that the last one was deserving if for no other reason than the sheer number of aircraft on the table. For the start of the Blitz we managed to gather a mighty armada of 15 Heinkel He-111s and 6 Junkers Ju-88s being escorted by 8 Bf-109s grouped into rottes (2 planes). The RAF mustered 2 flights of 4 Hurricanes each and one of 4 Spitfires. The bombers were placed on table and then the players were invited to place their flights one after another alternating from German to British (or I should say Allied...we mustn't forget the Poles, Czechs, Commonwealth  and all the other pilots that gave everything and without them...well...who knows!). This lead to a very fluid situation from the outset with the RAF mingling with the Luftwaffe from the very start, which is what I desired due to the numbers of planes on table. Even a couple of turns of maneouvring would have eaten up time. I'll not give an accurate description of the game as I pretty much can't! With that many planes it's almost impossible to keep track of everything so I'll let the pictures tell the story (with the help of some captions!) :

The inital positions. You can see the RAF are mostly bouncing the bomber formation from behind.

The RAF make their first pass at the bombers as the fighter escort tries to get into position to make their kills.

Closer view of the action. A Heinkel has suffered engine damage  and has turned for home.

On the other side the fighter escort has tangled with the RAF allowing the bombers to slip away. There are two opposing aces in this dogfight and they each really wanted to chalk up the other as a victory!

More and more bombers suffer damage and are forced to ditch their bombs and turn for home, but RAF casualties are mounting.

A large portion of bombers have got away as the dogfight develops. A plucky green pilot sets off after them in his damaged Hurricane. Despite getting hit another couple of times his airframe avoids any more damage and he would damage 2 of the bombers forcing them to abandon their mission. This pilot was awarded the DFC.

The results of the game were 1 Heinkel shot down and 7 damaged for the loss of 4 RAF fighters and 1 damaged. One Bf-109 was shot down and another damaged. Two inexperienced Luftwaffe pilots were drawn too far into the enemy territory and would not make it back to France due to lack of fuel. So, all in it was an RAF victory, but not a big enough one to take the campaign which the Luftwaffe players shaded.

I had a good time running the campaign and coming up with the scenarios and I really hope that the players enjoyed the games and perhaps you enjoyed reading about them!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Trial by fire!

Fresh from it's shakedown cruise, Grossadmiral Smoke arrived on the battlecruiser KRS von Clausewitz with orders to take a battlegroup of ships and escort a small carrier group from a friendly NAC faction across hostile territory. Joining the battlecruiser was the heavy cruiser KRS Edelweiss, the light cruisers KRS Pirch and KRS Bulow, the heavy destroyer KRS Hohenzollern and the two heavy frigates KRS Lutzow and KRS Leichtenstein. The battlegroup was swiftly gathered and the calculations made for the jump to the rendezvous with the NAC carrier RNS Ark Royal and it's escort cruiser RNS Achilles.

On arrival, the long range sensors indicated no other vessels in the sector and the NSL ships awaited the arrival of their erstwhile allies. Soon the sensors picked up the energy signatures of the NAC ships as they jumped into the designated coordinates and the fleet began to align for the jump to the next waypoint. However, just before the command to spool up the FTL was given, the Grossadmiral was alerted to the sudden appearance of a hostile ESU fleet jumping almost on top of the battlegroup. There was no time to jump now. The ships would be too vulnerable to enemy fire while the calculations were made and the drives were prepared. All hands were piped to quarters and the ships ordered into battle formation. The von Clausewitz moved into a position to protect the Ark Royal and sent the Hohenzollern, Lutzow and Leichtenstein ahead to screen the capital ships. On the right of the line, the Edelweiss formed up with the Pirch and Bulow.
The enemy ESU fleet jumps in (this isn't their actual setup, though)

Battlegroup Smoke in formation
The two forces began to move towards each other and the ESU immediately began to split their fleet into two. An enemy carrier and battlecruiser were identified to the NSL right, supported by an escort cruiser, while several heavy cruisers, destroyers and frigates began an encircling motion to the left. After some minor manoeuvring the allied fleet held it's battle line as the long range fire began to probe shields and armour alike. As the gap between the two ESU groups got larger Grossadmiral Smoke sensed an opportunity. The battlegroup was ordered to fire thrusters and concentrate on the carrier group.

The ESU carrier launches it's fighters
A fierce exchange of fire began and the ESU fighter groups swarmed around the Edelweiss. Fortunately, swift action by the Achilles swatted many of the enemy craft from the void and the attack was dampened. As the range closed the Ark Royal launched her torpedo attack craft with orders to attack the two capital ships ahead. Meanwhile, heavy fire from the von Clausewitz and escorts destroyed a frigate providing close support  for the carrier. The second ESU group swung about into the von Clausewitz's group and returned fire, destroying the Leichtenstein. Undeterred, the von Clausewitz continued to swing around to attack the carrier while the fighters pressed their attack. A huge volley of beam fire and torpedoes struck the carrier and in a flash of brilliance it's core was breached and the enormous hull vaporised with all hands lost. This allowed the Edelweiss to bring it's beams to bear on the opposing battlecruiser and a lucky strike smashed the bridge killing the nerve centre of the ship, leaving it to drift at the mercy of the allied fleet.

The carrier is gone and the battlecruiser is crippled.

At this point the Grossadmiral ordered full thrust to be applied and the von Clausewitz and escorts set off after the crippled battlecruiser, while the Edelweiss was to swing around to tackle the oncoming ESU cruisers.  As the Ark Royal's fighters returned to their bays and began rearming, the ESU commanders realised that the game was up and loosed a last volley before spooling up their FTL. The full force of fire struck the rear of the von Clausewitz and many systems were damaged. Reports indicated that nothing was critically damaged, though, and as the ESU ships blinked off the sensor displays, Grossadmiral Smoke was left with the task of organising the capture of the enemy battlecruiser, limping the von Clausewitz back to space dock and informing the families of those lost on the Leichtenstein.

The ESU prepare to jump as the Edelweiss comes around and the Ark Royal prepares to launch again.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Oooh, shiny!

I have to admit that I'm a bit subject to the 'oooh, shiny' syndrome and this post is testament to that. I do still intend to grind on with painting the Romans and Seleucids, but I realised a week or so ago that I really need a good idea of an OOB or particular force to maintain momentum. I just don't have that with the ancients at the moment. I guess the best idea would be to work out what I need for the basic starter FOG army, but it'll be a while before I get both sides completed. In the meantime, I've decided to dust off the 6mm Napoleonics and get them finished so that Carl, James and I can do a refight of Corunna when we're off over Christmas. Well...they've only been sitting in my cupboard for about a year and a half!! But, before I get totally involved with that, though, I needed to finish off the Full Thrust fleet which was actually quite enjoyable despite my general dislike of painting vehicles. So here's a few shots of them before they get their first outing at the club on Tuesday. Naturally the fresh paint will be a laser magnet and I fully expect them to be space debris before too long! :)

Monday, 11 October 2010

All quiet on the blog front!

I find that, sometimes, I get a bit burnt out with painting and just can't get on with it. This seems to happen more often after I've been racing through the figures trying to get them done in time for some project or particular game. Most of September was like that, especially after I came back from holiday. But I'm starting to get a bit of momentum back now, thank goodness. Unfortunately, like many other gamers, I also can't help but get distracted by that shiny new army or project! I really need to stay focussed and get the current project done before I move onto something else...but that pile of 6mm Napoleonics is looking very appealing at the moment! :)

So what's the current project? Well, I managed to get another Roman battlegroup for FoG or Armati or Impetus or Tactica II or whatever done, but the main effort is now directed at a Full Thrust starter fleet!! The evil ones at the club introduced me to this game which is a lot of fun and, like Check Your 6!, pretty cheap to get onto the table. A double starter fleet from Ground Zero Games only cost £25 for 8 ships a side...plenty to get started with. James has also agreed to paint one side (FSE) so that I can concentrate on the other (NSL) which means we have an excellent chance of getting a game in a couple of weeks. And so, without further ado we leap from ancient Rome to the far future...

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Home and Away

Tuesday night saw more DBA taking place at the club, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Seeing as my Seleucids weren't quite finished I just brought my Romans, but other folk brought in plenty of armies so we weren't short for matchups. I have to say, though, that having access to more terrain and performing the setup properly really transformed the game for me, and showed that each and every game can be very different, despite the apparent simplicity of the rules.

Game 1 - Thracians
Euan was my first opponent and decided to use his shiny new Thracian army. Of course, being a new army doomed them to defeat before we even placed an element on the table! To further compound his misery, I threw a one on the 'invader' dice and the Thracians duly became the aggressor, which meant I could choose terrain to my liking. And thus the Thracian horde of auxilia descended on a nice flat, open plain with but a single steep hill, a river and a road!

The Romans lined up the Hastati and Principes  (Blades, both) neatly along the road with the two Triarii (Spears) on the far side of the river. The cavalry and General shored up the left of the main infantry line and the Velites went into a support position behind the Blades. Euan opted for the light horse option and placed them all on his left. The rest of his Auxilia stretched in a continuous line from the cavalry to the river. Once he'd deployed I was allowed to swap two elements which meant I brought the Triarii across to my right and against the light horse. I think we might have got that slightly wrong in allowing two pairs of units to be swapped, but I doubt it would ahve made a difference (the Blades would simply have been at -1 compared to the Spears, but there would still have been one Spear element over there). And so we just went at each other. Euan tried to slide an element of horse past the end of my line, but mistimed the move a little allowing the Triarii to wheel to the left and put the horse in their ZOC. The horse decided to just try their luck, buit one outright kill and a recoil into the General meant that I was 2-0 up quite quickly. On the right, my two Hastati on the far bank of the river moved to try and flank the Thracians, but never quite made it. At that end of my main battle line an element of Hastati and my Cavalry and General attacked the Auxilia facing them, but only succeeded in recoiling back! In the next couple of turns they went back in and the Roman quality eventually told (i.e Blades vs Auxilia) and the end of the Thracian line was broken and rolled up. A solid 4-0 outing for the Republic!

Game 2 - Gauls
Alasdair was my second opponent and he decided to use the Gauls after just having his Marian Romans thrashed by them! Would the Polybian Romans fare any better? Well...no! This time the 'invader' die went to form and the Romans were the aggressors, leading to a table dominated by steep hills and woods. Perfect for those Warbands, but not so perfect for my highly drilled legionaries.

The Gauls weighted their line to the left, directly in front of their camp and behind a steep hill. The only open terrain was to the right of their side and the Gallic cavalry was lurking there. On my side I weighted my left in an attempt to swing round into the clear and threaten their camp. At least that was the plan! On my far left I had the Principes and a Velite. Next, in some woods were the Hastati and Velites. Finally between that wood and the next one were the Triarii and Equites and General. The broken terrain made moving difficult and before long the woods and hill to my right were teeming with barbarians. I eventually managed to shake out into a semblance of a line, but only after a flank element of Hastati had been picked off by the Gallic horse and some terrible dice rolling on my part! After some shuffling about and a tense stand off the battle lines clashed across the front. Again, the Dice Gods had deserted the Romans so far from home and I just could not duoble any of Alasdairs elements. After a couple of rounds of combat I had lost another couple of elements to the Warband quick kills and Alasdair managed to sneak his lone Psiloi element over to my camp which was duly sacked and the baggage thoroughly looted. An ignominious 0-5 defeat was the result (I lost 3 elements and the camp counts for 2, hence the 5). Although I got drubbed in this game I did enjoy it, as it really illuminated how important the terrain is as well as the matchups. On hindsight I really should have tried to get the Triarii more central in my line as they would have been much more durable against the Warbands, but you live and learn. It helps that learning is so much fun! :)

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Small, but perfectly formed?

On Friday I finally managed to get the Romans and Seleucids on the table for a first taste of DBA. OK, a couple of elements of the Seleucids weren't finished and I haven't made camps yet, but we just decided to get on with trying it out. Terrain was also a bit of a problem as I don't really have anything small enough, but we reckoned that was no bad thing as it allowed us to concentrate on the rules and learning them. Being the first attempt at DBA by either Carl, James or myself I'm pretty sure we probably did something wrong, but overall I think the games were decided by the right deployment and strategy rather than any quirks of the rules, so overall I was very pleased with how the battles 'felt'.

We laid a pretty flat table with a river and one hill and then diced for the invaders table edge (the Romans were the aggressors...who else?!). Below is the starting setups.

I played the Seluecids and set up with my pike block between the hill and river with the elephant and one psiloi on their left and the cataphracts on the right. The hill was held by the auxilia, warband and psiloi, with the scythed chariot on the far right. The Romans (Carl and James collaborated in playing them) started in two lines with the spears on their right and half the blades on the left of the first line. One cavalry element was on the right flank and the psiloi on the left. The General lurked behind the first line and the rest of the blades in the rear line (not in shot). I thought that having a full quarter of your army so far in the rear immediately put them at a disadvantage. I think they should have been a lot closer to the front line. Also, none of us realised how little effect a river has and we seemed to treat it as a real barrier, so the battlefield was a little more squashed than it should have been.

The first few turns saw the lines approaching each other cautiously. As neither of us really knew the rules I think none of us really knew what was going to happen. I decided to throw my chariot at his psiloi in the misunderstanding that they would mow them down, but all I got was a recoil before the chariots were destroyed. Afterthought showed that this is actaully the right outcome...what was I thinking? Chariots against loosely ordered men that can dodge out the way? At least I could be satisfied it didn't count for a lost element! :)

To even things up, though, the Romans pitted their cavalry against my elephant without realising the inevitable outcome and were quickly destroyed. This seemed to stall the Roman advance...I think the wall of pointy sticks coming at them was a bit intimidating. At this point I was reasonably confident the double ranked pikes were safe from the triarii spears so I looked towards pitting the cataphracts against his hastati. I moved the auxilia and psiloi to neutralise the Roman psiloi and split the warband off to joint the cataphracts to get into position to prevent an overlap.

Finally the battle lines clashed as the cataphracts went in with the phalanx and elephant trailing behind. One element of cataphracts was recoiled, but the general and the warband at the end of the line steamrolled the hastati and at that point victory seemed assured. On my right flank I lost a psiloi to the velites, but the Thracian auxilia held their own.

The coup de grace was delivered by the general and warband charging the principes in the second line and destroying the end element. In the meantime the phalanx and spears got into a shoving match with no outcome other than recoils, but that was expected. Thus the Roman invasion of the Seleucid Empire was snuffed out...! :)

I thoroughly enjoyed this game and the subsequent one where we reversed roles. We were so engrossed by then, though, that lack of photos means I won't recount it, safe to say that the deployment once again settled the engagement almost before the first pilum was chucked!! Did I like DBA after all the build up and painting effort? Yes, I did! I get that it's abstract, but much like Commands and Colours, it feels like a full blown ancients game. We sat and thought about the tactics and the matchups, rather than numbers and charts, so it really does live up to the quick play claim. We finished both these games in 2 and a quarter hours...not bad for a first go at a rule set. Also, the results were quite credible. In the first game the Roman flank crumbled leaving the Romans defeated and the second the game was won by the Roman cavalry riding down the Seleucid psiloi and the phalanx breaking ranks due to a threat on the flanks. this let the Roman gladius to get into a single rank of pike with only one outcome!

 But I feel I'm preaching to the converted! I'm reasonably sure that we're in a very small minority of wargamers that haven't played DBA before!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Seleucid phalanx

Not had a lot of time for gaming and painting over the last couple of weeks. I think I was just resting after frantically getting the planes ready for CY6! and finishing the Romans. I have managed to crank out the first 4 elements of my Magister Militum Seleucid DBA army, however. Again, I'm quite pleased with how fast ancients are to paint and how quickly tou can get through a DBA army. After all, these 4 bases are a full third of the whole! I really like the look of a phalanx, too, so I can't wait to expand them to an 8 base FoG battlegroup. The Magister Militum figures are superbly well detailed, too. They're a little chunkier than the Essex, but it's a style that I think really looks good.

I've also ordered the shield transfers and some stuff for the camps, so I should be up and running for DBA soon. Next up are the cataphracts which are primed and ready to go. They should be super easy...! :)

Wednesday, 4 August 2010


Last night saw the second game in the club's Battle of Britain campaign and this time my camera worked, so I thought I'd post a report here.

For this game I took a couple of scenarios from the BoB sourcebook and had 2 flights of Luftwaffe bombers, each of 6 aircraft. One flight consisted of Ju-88s and the other He-111s. Escorting these were two schwarms of escorts, one of Bf-109s and one of Bf-110s, each of which was assigned to a bomber flight and had to start and stay within 5 hexes of any bomber until attacked or any bomber was fired on. The ranking German player was given the option of holding 2 aircraft of his choice off table as hunters. He opted to keep 2 of the Bf-110s off with orders that they could deploy the turn after any bomber was attacked, but must not start within 5 hexes of any enemy fighter.

The RAF players had three flights of 3 aircraft each, 2 flights of Hurricanes and 1 of Spitfires. The ranking British player rolled a die for each flight to determine the table edge they would appear on. Fortune favoured the RAF here and the Spits appeared directly ahead of the Heinkels and both Hurricane flights off their starboard side. It was going to be a tough day in the office for the Heinkel pilots!

The Hurricanes came at the Heinkels through the far cloud bank in the picture above and split their fire amongst the escorts and bombers. They very quickly damaged one bomber and drew the Bf-109 escorts away, leaving some of the RAF fighters to get amongst the bombers.

The very next turn saw the hunters descend into the fray and attempt to bounce the attacking Hurricanes (this elicited the classic quote of the day from Michael - 'Where did they come from?!').

Unfortunately for the Luftwaffe, the hunters didn't press their advantage well enough and failed to bag any of the RAF aircraft. More disastrously, 2 of the 109 escorts were shot down in very quick succession and a third suffered a lucky hit that saw the pilot lose control and spin out. This pilot only managed to salvage the situation after dropping from TAL 5 to TAL 1 so was effectively out of the combat. By now the concentrated fire had sent the damaged Heinkel into the Channel and damaged a second. Meanwhile, the Spitfires had looped around the front of the Heinkel formation to take them on from the far side (you can just see the bases past the nearest clouds in the following picture).

In the last few turns the Spitfires attacked and the damaged Heinkel was shot down, quickly followed by a third. A fourth Heinkel was damaged late on, too, effectively destroying the striking power of that half of the bomber formation. Two Hurricanes had to disengage after expending all their ammo, too. The Ju-88s all managed to slip into the clouds and proceed to their target, but the RAF had done their job. The British actually only lost one green pilot when he decided to attempt to take on the Ju-88s himself and was pounced on by the escorting Bf-110s. The last photo really tells the tale of this game. You can clearly see how the Heinkels escorts were separated from their wards and kept out of the fight while the RAF managed to keep very concentrated.

All in, this was a very fun game to run and I think everyone really enjoyed the game. The clouds added a nice dimension to the game and the random RAF deployment and Luftwaffe hunters added some spice to the proceedings.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

DBA army finished

Where exactly did the month of July go? I suppose it was washed down the gutter with all the rainwater!

However, I did get through quite a lot of painting and my Polybian Roman DBA army is now completely finished. I also received a DBA mat from Terrain Mat and I have to say I'm delighted with this particular purchase. It simply looks fantastic, especially with the bases painted to suit it! I am seriously tempted to buy some larger mats for our 6 x 4 table. I also painted a Dalek figure for James, who's birthday fell in the middle of the month (Happy Birthday, James!), so that was a pleasant distraction from the ancients. The last week I've been furiously preparing for the next Check Your 6! campaign game at the club, too, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the camera doesn't play up this time!!!

On to the pics of the army and that glorious mat (seriously...you want one of these!)

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Triarii and Velites done!

Painting has been going on at a reasonable pace and the DBA army is almost done except for finishing the bases. Somehow it feels that these figures took longer than either the Hastati or Prinicpes, but probably not by much. I did take a bit more care over the Triarii as befits their status, plus the colours are a little harder to paint for the colourblind amongst us. There was a bit of mixing with the reds, particularly on the shields, as I wanted them to be a bit darker than the tunics so I added a bit of Vallejo Brown Violet to Flat Red to acheive that. I hope you like the results!

On to the cavalry next...gulp!

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