Tuesday 26 July 2016

Saga Iron Man Contest

    Saturday saw the first of what will hopefully be an annual event, the Saga Iron Man Contest. A grueling day of Saga games using other people's warbands to find the best player out there, if you believe the blurb. In reality, it was a really laid back, fun event, with very few players taking it any more seriously than they had to, something I hope the organisers (Wargames Illustrated) are very proud of.

wargames illustrated saga iron man contest
 A photo of the room just after I turned up.

saga anglo-danes
My first game was Anglo-Danes vs Normans. My opponent was Roger who was one of the Gripping Beast guys who stood in because my actual first opponent was ill and was a really good laugh. This was my first game of Saga for possibly two years and I was very rusty, but the strength of this set of rules are how quickly you can pick them up and by the end of the game I felt I had a decent grasp on what was going on again. The biggest lesson learned in this game was not to charge with Anglo-Danes until your opponent is completely worn down.

saga steppe tribes
My second game was Steppes Tribes vs Rus Princes. This game was against Tracy and for me was an unmitigated disaster. I went in without a real plan, relying on guys being slightly less fragile than they were, and then when in the second turn I didn't get the right Saga dice results I suffered so heavily from one unit of levy who shot more times than I am happy about that I never really stood any chance of clawing the game back. I'm fairly sure Tracy didn't even put a single dice on either of her Hearthguard units all game.

saga joms vikings
 My third game was Joms Vikings vs Strathclyde Welsh. The game that we went into with everyone, helpfully, telling me was such a bad matchup that the Welsh had no chance of winning. Boy, did I prove them wrong. I followed advice and sat back for a couple of turns trying to build up wrath but my opponent (Richard) wasn't going to let that happen and never let me get any, so by the time we were in charge range I was going in without any wrath. Figuring you don't become the leader of one of the most feared Viking warbands in the world without being a little bit scary yourself I charged my Warlord forward to deal with a unit of levy that were trying to make my warriors into pin cushions, a good he did really well. Then I fell foul of a rule I had forgotten, a Warlord inside charge range of an enemy warlord must charge if he is doing a move, which scuppered my plan of doing a second move to get him back into his lines. From there it went downhill quickly really.

Saga welsh
My last game was Welsh vs Vikings. I've been beaten by the Welsh down at my club a few times now and know how horrible they are to face but it was only once you took control of the army that I realised just what they could do. With a big block of Hearthguard on one flank and mounted warriors on the other, taking it in turns to charge forward, throw javelins and retreat when charged, they are devastating. My opponent (another Mike) tried really hard to pin me down but didn't really stand much of a chance. My only victory of the day and my only Warlord to survive. 

     If one of these days comes round again I would strongly suggest that you try and make it down there. It was a really good day out, got some great games in and reinspired me to look at my Dark Ages forces and to make an effort to play some Saga again.

       But that isn't where this day ended. Figuring I had another 3-hour drive to get home* and that I knew Warhammer World had just been refurbished, I figured it would be churlish not to see if I could get there before it closed for the night.
*Which I was in no rush to get started on
Warhammer world

     Luckily for me they were running an event so were open until 8 that night, which gave me enough time to visit the museum and have a beer and bowl of chips in Bugman's bar. Even if you have no interest in GW or anything they stand for I will still recommend their museum, gone are the dusty shelves with figures that you don't care about, replaced with massive dioramas.

battle for Angelus Prime warhammer world
The biggest diorama in the museum, but there are another 5 or 6 that come really close to being a similar size.

     I'm not going to include more photos as the sheer size and detail put into these things doesn't come up at all on the images. They really have to be seen to be believed.*

*Also on a side note Warhammer world has 3 Pokestops and 2 Gyms,
 of which nearly all are in range of Bugman's bar . . 

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Thursday 21 July 2016

German Grenadiers

    I haven't played with my German Heer all that much since last summer (I haven't been playing all that much of anything actually) but it is an army that I still want to use and see on the table. So when my normal Bolt Action opponent suggested we try another rule set and instead of Chain of Command like I was pushing we decided on Battlegroup Overlord, I knew it was time to get my Germans back out.
     Battlegroup Overlord's force organisation forces you to build historic platoons (and take more than 1 platoon at a time) so while I just about had the troops to cope it gave me no room for the future. So, it seemed like a perfect time to sort out more troops, fill missing support options and bulk up my collection in other places it was lacking. Below is just the start.

My first batch of troops. There is a mix of Warlord's plastic grenadiers and Black Tree Design's figures. I've worked out exactly what I need to play Battlegroup and what I need to expand for Bolt Action (very different squad makeup) and I am building to those lists.The stretcher at the back I can't explain but when Black Tree has a 50% sale and a stretcher set is only £2.89 how can you turn it down?

pak 38 at gun warlord games german heer
Two lots of Pak 38s. I had no AT guns in my collection that weren't attached to a tank at all and I'm not sure how I let that slip.

nebelwurfer warlord games german
A medium howitzer and nebelwurfer. Again I had no artillery in my collection either so these give me a chance, I plan to double up on both of these to give me actual batteries.

wirbelwind company b vw beetle ww2 german
Wirbelwind, VW Beetle and two bikes. The Wirbelwind is for Bolt Action mostly, these tanks do terrible things to infantry squads and I want to be able to do it to someone else for a change. The beetle is a staff car but I am going to use it to transport small teams, I left it relatively clean as it is still a staff car. The machine gun bike will definitely be used in Bolt Action games while the dispatch rider is more for fluffy games if we need a convoy etc.

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Tuesday 12 July 2016

Elderwood Spellbook

      I have backed a handful* of Kickstarters in the last year or so and its always exciting to get that email telling that something you order X ago has just been posted, most of which you have quietly forgotten about. But the Spellbooks by Elderwood Academy was not one of those Kickstarters, every few weeks I have been going back through my Kickstarter feed to reread the last update they sent out for any clue as to where mine was and getting excited every time I had a message with Kickstarter in the title in my email inbox.
     Then I got the message. My book had been posted. A long, long week, a customs slip through the door and a trip to the post office later and here it is.

*Ok, a big handful.

      The book and it's interior. Everything was customisable, so this one is: Dark amber leather, cherry wood with mahogany trim, a brass reflecting pool, burgundy felt and a gold sun design. 

       The spellbook with the shrunken goblin head I bought a while back. 

       This was one of those purchases where I looked at the price, the postage and added on the expected customs charges and really wasn't sure I needed a wooden book to store gaming stuff in, and then went back to look at the pictures and realised, that yes, yes I did. I only stumbled across this project when I was chatting to one of the guys I play D&D with and we described something so painfully similar to this that I figured it had to already exist somewhere and I found the promotional build up about a week before it went live and I am glad I did.

Now I just need to get the use out of it to prove it was actually worth it . . .

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Sunday 10 July 2016

Panzer Zug

    It's not been the most productive week for hobby results but I have managed to get another old project off of my workbench. For Christmas, my lovely wife bought me a Panzer III zug box set from Warlord games, after I had asked her if she could pick me a single one up. I have found the Panzer IV to be a stunning battle tank but it was a bit overpowered for how I use it, hence the slightly down powered Panzer III replacement.
    With 3 of them to build, this plan was expanded to include other options which I would have gone down at some point. . .

     First up is the one I wanted to build in the first place, the Panzer III M. A medium tank with medium AT, only slightly less powerful than the Panzer IV H it is replacing in my normal list.

       Next up is a type of tank I have been using a lot with my Soviet army and one I wanted to have the option to use with my Germans, a howitzer. The Panzer III N with medium howitzer fits this role perfectly and I am looking forward to using it.

       Next up, is a type of tank other people have used on me with great results so I wanted to have the option of in my box to spring on those players I know play dirty. The Flammpanzer III N is fitted with a flame thrower in the turret, I don't plan on getting much use out of this tank but the threat of having one tends to keep opponents in check.

      Lastly, we have the Panzer II L, a much lighter tank that I had the plan of using instead of my SDKFZ 222 armoured car as they have basically the same armour and guns. Again, it is a Warlord model but resin this time, with a white metal barrel (a terrible idea as mine snapped and had to be replaced within a few hours of me first building the model) but a really nice, compact, little tank which I will use in the immediate future.

        My new Panzer III M doing what it does best, advancing into my opponent's face and making him really think about his moves.

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Saturday 2 July 2016

Arthurian Bodyguard

     The majority of the Arthurian Men at Arms for my Lion Rampant army have been sitting in my lead mountain for the best part of two years and were the first part of the project that I bought. I have already mentioned that they were supposed to be Derfel's wolftails but I talked myself out of it and turned them into generic Romano-British Dark Ages warriors. The fact that most of them are wielding spears, while being an elite unit, is a hangover from reading the Winter King series.
     I have picked a different shield design from the basic troops but copied the idea of mirroring the colours to show they are separate units but of the same rank, this plan will work as long as I never add a third unit of the same type.

Standing in glory in the middle of his unit is the army Warlord, this was one of the models I had never planned for as he was generously given to me by Neil at my club when he heard about the project, he really looks the part.

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