Friday, 20 January 2017

'The Pikeman's Lament' arrives

In today’s post I received a familiar shaped cardboard package. It was, as I hoped, the latest release from Osprey Publishing, ‘The Pikeman's Lament’. This is the most recent addition to the Lion Rampant family of rules, following on from ‘Dragon Rampant’ and ‘The Men Who Would Be Kings’. This particular book was co-written by Dan Mersey and Michael Leck.
Obligatory poor quality photo courtesy of me.
Regular readers of the blog may know I was involved in a small degree playtesting of the rules and as a sign of gratitude I received a free copy of the rules from the authors and the publishers.

The quality of the publishing is what we have come to expect from this Osprey ‘Blue Book’ series. Lots of top quality painted figures and illustrations from Osprey’s impressive back catalogue. 

I’ll leave to others to review the rules as I’m obviously biased. However I will say that they are probably my favourite set of skirmish rules. Anyone familiar with the Lion Rampant rules will already know the basics. I also suspect some may use them (with a few alterations) to play late medieval (Wars of the Roses etc.). This new book contains a clever officer generation and a simple campaign system which could also be used with the Lion Rampant rules.

I will be sitting down over the weekend to read through the book to see if anything has changed or rules I’ve been playing incorrectly over the past year or so.

The rules are officially released on the 26th January 2017 (from Osprey Publishing) although I know some people have already received copies (even before the authors apparently)

Monday, 9 January 2017

The Pikeman's Lament - Playtesting January 2016

I looking around my blog when I noticed these pictures from a couple of games played a year ago which, from some reason, I never got round to posting at the time. With the immenient release of the new 17th century skirmish game The Pikeman's Lament (from Osprey) I thought it might be an appropriate time to post now.

As far as I remember the games, played at Asgard Games in Walsall, involved having to rescue/guard a VIP (a captured general?) but represented here by a D10 as I didn’t have any spare single figures on my at the time.
In the first game my opponent Mark (Parliament orange movement) was the attacking force where I was defending (Royalist red movement). General D10 was held in central building defended by a limited number of units. Other units could be bought on with a successful activation.
Mark split his forces in a pincer movement sending a cavalry towards my right flank. There was a major clash on my left flank with Mark’s cavalry and a unit of musketeers. Mark’s cavalry took heavy casualties but advanced to intercept my units that were desperately trying to reach the building to defend hold onto General D10.
There was a clash of horseflesh with both mounted units being knocked out of play. Meanwhile my supporting(?) unit of musket units carried on in an attempt to reach the building in time.

Meanwhile Mark’s musket and pike units easily pushed back my defenders and snatched General D10.
Mark's force then quickly retraced their steps, with General D10 in tow, seeing off any attempts by myself. A group of Mark's musketeers advanced into an ambush position just to make sure I'd get any closer, all of which rounded off a resounding victory for Mark.

The following pictures are of the next game where the roles were reversed. In my excitement of actually doing well I forgot to take enough photographs and the ones I did take were blurred.

The game ended with my brave troops making a mad dash off the table (very) closely followed by Mark's cavarly. A narrow victory for me this time.

The Pikeman's Lament is officially due out 26th January.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Wargamer Show (Halesowen) 2016

This first post (and at the current rate possibly the last) of the year about the last show of last year, Wargamer is one the smallest but also one of the friendliest that I’ve attended recently. 

The minimal programme had a list of traders and clubs but didn’t have a map to help identify who was who. The venue isn’t that big but some of the games were difficult to identify, so apologies if the following photos have no labels. The leaflet does list several model/hobby ‘brick & mortar’ shops which is useful. Even the days of the seemingly all powerful Google there are still several shops that have little or no online presence. 

Another thing about the programme was that didn’t list the participation games, which is a personal bugbear. My brother and myself try to make a point of playing as many participation games as is possible. We’ve noticed that playing participation gamesis the only thing we tend to remember about a wargame show as all the traders/shows tend to merge into one after a while. 

There seems to be two obvious types of people who put of display/participation games, the social and the anti-social. Although, of course, this is a sweeping generalisation it’s one that rings true to me. I appreciate the appeal of being able to play large games with massed ranks of figures with a number of your friends at a show. However these are also the type of games I will probably never play as I don’t have the time, finance or space to commit to to them. I can understand people becoming engrossed in a game but at least have one ‘ambassador’ to speak to the public or any one that shows an interest. I must admit, thankfully, anti-social gamers seem to be decreasing in number. This is especially true at this show where practically everyone either encouraged us to have a go at a game or at least described what was going on and were very keen to share their enjoyment of the hobby. 

There a few things I would have done differently with a number of the participation games if I was hosting, but seeing as I’ve never ‘done’ a proper demo at a show I’m not really in a position to criticize. I have provided demos of the Lion Rampant series at local stores and clubs but that isn’t really the same thing. The chaps providing participation games put themselves out to try and engage with perfect strangers and deserve all the credit they get.

This was some form of Victorian steampunk beach invasion.

Monty Python and the Hole Grail game

Monty Python and the Hole Grail game - board detail

Monty Python and the Hole Grail game - board detail
A board game based on the film ‘Monty Python and the Hole Grail’. After picking a character you then had to gather equipment from various stops along the board. The hardest part of the game was trying to remember the film references as neither of us had watched the film in years. Coconut shells were provided to create the appropriate sound effects.

BoredGame.Net running Dark Future demo

Dark Future

Dark Future

Dark Future

Original models for Dark Future

Customs models - Dark Future
Dark Future – an old game from Games Workshop, obviously based on Mad Max films. My brother played this one and managed to outrun the pursuing car, making it spin and roll out of control on the second corner.
Airfix Fort Sahara
Eat Hitler - dinosaur game
Eat Hitler - dinosaur game

Eat Hitler - dinosaur game

Eat Hitler - dinosaur game
Eat Hitler - dinosaur game
Eat Hitler – another game from the same chaps that put on the Custer’s Last Stand game we enjoyed playing last year. The idea was that Nazi scientists have created a time machine and have transported themselves back into the age of the dinosaurs. participators played the dinosaurs and the aim of the game was to try and eat as many of Hitler’s henchmen as possible. There may be a return match next year in the streets of war worn Berlin.
Rorke's Drift
Rorke's Drift

Rorke's Drift
Rorke's Drift

Rorke's Drift

Rorke's Drift
Ubique  "They do not like it up 'em" Matt
As is customary for any gaming blog there is a list of the rather minimum purchases from the show:
  • Two packs of Bolt Action infantry. This is for a project that I will detail in a later post (although I may).
  • Colonel Bill’s 17th century civilians. These will hopefully show up in a ‘Pikeman’s Lament’ clubman militia soon’ish.
  • Perry Scottish commander bought from the Bring & Buy after a tip off from eagle-eyed Derek (cheers Derek).
  • Sprue of plastic ECW cavalry. Bought to replace the ones I used making the dragoons when I realised I needed them to finish of another unit.
I’m not sure if this year’s show was a financial success, there seems to be less traders than last year, for instance Wargames Foundry were not present after making an appearance at the previous show. Hopefully the show will still be on next year’s calendar.

And if you've made it this far, thanks, I'd like to wish followers and readers a belated happy new year. 

Friday, 23 September 2016

'The Men Who Would Be Kings' colonial rules released

Yesterday was the official release date for the new colonial skirmish game from Osprey, 'The Men Who Would Be Kings' (TMWWBK). There have already been reviews (and even game reports) posted online.

As a means of saying thank you the author Dan Mersey very kindly arranges complimentary copies to be sent to people who have provided feedback, playtesting, photos of painted figures, army lists etc. I know this because I previoulsy received a free copy of Lion Rampant.

Therefore when an Osprey-wargame-book-shaped package turned up on Wednesday I immediately realised it must be a copy of TMWWBK. For some reason I had convinced myself that I wouldn't receive a copy. I reasoned that Osprey might not be keen to hand out so many free copies to all the playtester and contributers, plus the fact that there had been a copy of the book at my local gaming store for at least a week. I had therefore assumed the rules had been already been officially released. I think publishers and games manufacturers (such as Mantic) are now suppling 'bricks and mortar' retailers earlier in a effort to help and support them in the face of competition from online companies such as Amazon.

I was lucky to have a few army lists included in the rules (I actually get two mentions, one in the acknowledgments and one in the main text, which came as a nice surprise). It is surprisingly difficult conjuring up an exact 24 point field force that reflects the units you are trying to portray. If there is any interest I may post a number of alternative lists I initially came up with, either on this blog or on the Dux Rampant forum. As the author, Dan Mersey, often repeats the lists are not 'official' as such, neither are they ones that you are obliged to use. If you don't like the ones provided then simply create your own version that suits your needs or indeed your figure collection.

Another pleasant surprise came when I read through the various scenarios in the book (Scenario C?). This was because this particular scenario wasn't actually included in the playtesting draft copy I had. The scenario is based on the actions of a certain Sergeant Booth that took place during the Zulu wars. I knew of this chap because he happens to be bured in my home town of Brierley Hill in the West Midlands. Details of his story and grave can be found in a previous post [here]. His heroic actions are a perfect basis for a game of TMWWBK.

As you'd expect from an Osprey publication the book is full of illustrations from artists such as Peter Dennis, Angus McBride and Richard Scollins, all three who happen to be some of my personal favourite illustrators. I was slightly taken aback to realise that Scollins had died way back in 1992. I say this because it is probably a little known fact that Scollins was involved in the initial open air Shakespeare productions that are held annually at Stafford castle. Scollins designed the historically accurate costumes (not the leather fantasy versions that seem so popular in modern adaptions) and also used to appear as a minor character in the cast. My brother was fortunate to purchase a number of his original artworks showing his costume designs.

I digress. If you want a copy of the rules you can get it from [Osprey Publishing] direct in various formats.

If you're lucky to have a decent local gaming store (such as mine) Asgard Games Uk you should also be able to buy a copy from them.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

On this day - The Battle of Bladensburg, August 24th 1814

On this day the Battle of Bladensburg, August 24th 1814 took place. An interesting account of the battle can be found  [here]. The following photos, taken by my brother, are from the museum at Shrewsbury castle.
Standard of the 1st Harford Light Dragoons, US Army
taken by the 85th Regiment at Bladensburg

Army 'Small' Gold Medal

Awarded to Colonel (later Sir) William Thorton, 85th, for his gallantry in the battles of the Nive, 9-13 November 1813. Only 896 of these medals were ever awarded, 34 for the Nive.

Col. Thorton was captured by the Americans at Bladenburg in 1814 but was released in time to command the 85th at New Orleans, where he was severely wounded. He died in 1840.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Modified Dragoons, (Warlord) - Part 6 of 6

This final model as I wanted an alternative to the drummer available in other sets. The figure is as usual the plastic firelock figure from Warlord. The trumpet is taken from the Warlord cavalry set, all the detail was removed leaving just the instrument itself.


The musket was taken from another spare Warlord set with the other hand cut away. The cuff and the strap for the musket were made from added using greenstuff.

This is the final figure for my dragoon group. I wanted an alternative to the drummer available in other sets. The figure is as usual the plastic firelock figure from Warlord. The trumpet is taken from the Warlord cavalry set, all the detail was removed leaving just the instrument itself. Due to my heavy handed efforts I managed to break off the mouthpiece. I decided it wasn't worth the time to repair it so left it as it appears here. 

This is the final figure for my dragoon group. Now, eagle-eyed smarty pants readers may have spotted an apparent oddity with my figures from this mini-series Players of Lion Rampant will know that the units consist of either six or twelve figures and Pikeman's Lament follows the same numbering system. However if you add up the number of figures in this group there are actually seven figures in total. Now this is either because it's easier to transport infantry figures rather than a large bulky cavalry group to play at the local store or I wasn't playing attention and made too many. I'll let you decide is more likely. 

I do have another ECW project on the go at the moment but I'm making (very) slow progress with it. I currently have more than enough figures (for myself and an opponent) to play a standard 24 point game of The Pikeman's Lament so I'm under no particular pressure to get these done.