Monday, 31 July 2017

A quick update on the 6x6 challenge progress

With my focus in July being to finish off my French Indian War project, there was little progress on the 6x6 gaming challenge. I did manage to play the two final games of my WW2 naval campaign. My total games for the year stand at:
  • One Hour Wargames (Tank-on-Tank) SciFi Variant - 6 games completed in February
  • Dark Ages with Dux Bellorum (Osprey) - 6 games completed in January using paper armies
  • WW2 Naval (Pz8 rules) - 6 games now completed with the last 2 played in July.
  • 19th Century European Imagi-Nations OHW - 3 games played in June.
  • Galleys and Galleons (Ganesha Games) - 2 games were played in April.
  • Hundred Years War using Lion Rampant (Osprey) - 6 games completed as part of a series of campaign games.
A battleship and escorts
This month I may well get distracted playing a few French Indian War games.

The new fort is set up ready for a game
A wider view of the fort setting

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Books and games that have influenced my wargaming

My wargaming hobby (by which I mean collecting, modelling, painting and gaming) has three distinct periods in my life. Each one influenced by a particular book or game. While other books have contributed, these items have been the catalyst for me.

The first item of influence is the book "Introduction to Battle Gaming" by Terrance Wise. My Mother bought this for me in the early 1970's for my birthday. It was her attempt to get me to read (something I had stubbornly refused to do with any enthusiasm) and it worked. This book introduced me to wargaming and all the opportunities of scratch building and converting my Airfix figures. Over the next few years I tried to emulate many of the armies shown in this book. I was hooked.

The second item is the starter set "Battle for Macragge" for the 4th edition of Warhammer 40,000. Purchased mid-2000's with my son as the "let us do this together". Up to this point my wargaming has ceased for many years with moving countries, marriage, career and kids. Everything was boxed up and unfortunately all my old Airfix armies thrown away (moving countries causes many unused items to be shed).

Wargaming in the 40,0000 universe meant I had a shared interest with my son and a conversation with him. As he was soon to move into the adolescent stage were a grunt is a form of communication. I really enjoyed to building of models and painting aspects of wargaming. As Warhammer 40,000 allows, and encourages, this creative aspect of the hobby. I kept up with the rules at the beginning, even going in to a competition, admittedly to keep my son company. Overtime I gave up on the rules due to the tedious need to constantly check the rulebook to see which rules applied.

The third item was purchased out of curiosity around 2015. The book "One-Hour Wargames" by Neil Thomas has been the trigger for me getting out my old metal miniatures (which I did manage to keep) out of their boxes and back on to the tabletop. I liked the simplicity of the rules, the thinking behind them, and how you can quite easily add to them to create home written rulesets to a level of complexity to suit one's tastes.

I am now enjoying my historical wargaming as much as I did back when I started wargaming as a hobby. This last period of my wargaming hobby I have been merrily bogging about.

This is a bit of a filler post as I have been messing around with my WW2 rules while I decide how best to approach my Napoleonic project. The good news for me is I will be starting the project next week having identified a free set of rules I can tailor to a square grid. The rules are from the blog Numbers, Wargames and Arsing About by Jay (Old Trousers) who has a number of free games and rulesets. Some are influenced by other rulesets which have been reworked and reimagined for different periods and use a grid-based approach with hexes.

I plan to convert the game Waterloo a la Carte to a square grid for my tabletop.

A WW2 game from earlier in the week

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Filling in time between projects

Not much painting happening at the moment as I determine how to approach my next project. So I am filling in time a bit this week by painting up a stay cannon I had floating around. It was an extra I received when I originally purchased my original Spencer Smith ACW figures in the late 70's or early 80's.

The final French Indian War unit - a static unit for use with the fort
For some reason I had a hankering to have a WW2 game. It has been a while since I last played a game in this period. Back then I was trying out a few rule changes to the One Hour Wargame WW2 rules.

The rules I was trying out were:

  1. When a unit shoots at a target other units can provide supporting fire. For example, an infantry unit shooting at another infantry unit has two friendly units within range of the target, can roll 3 dice and select the highest scoring dice.
  2. Only half of the units in a force may perform an action, moving or shooting. Units providing supporting fire do not count as taking an action.
  3. Supporting fire can come from units which have moved. This allows some units to move up and be engaged in an attack by support another unit's shooting.
A grid-based WW2 game underway
I am quite liking the way the rule changes are working for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I am always a bit dubious when all a forces units can move, it does not feel right. Only moving up to half of the units causes a forces units to move in phases. Seconding, supporting fire allows units which have not taken an action to be involved.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Scratch building a French Indian War fort

Having completed a blockhouse to add to my French Indian War armies last week, it was time to figure out how to create a fort. One of the considerations I had was not to create a large piece of terrain which would require storage. 

The final result which can be set up with different configurations
I opted to build the fort walls in 6 inch strips to fit with the 6 inch tabletop grid I use. My figures are based on 3x4 inch bases so small firing steps are not going to work. The approach is to use MDF for the walls and an angled pine moulding for the firing steps. This allows a defending unit to be seen over the defence wall.
Man the walls!
The defenders can be seen over the wall
The MDF was cut into 6 x 1.5 inch strips and the moulding cut into 6 inch lengths with a 45 degree mitre cut on each end. These were then stuck together and stapled to hold them. The stapes were removed later on once the glue was dry.

Wood cut and prepared
Glue mounding
Staples used to hold pieces in position 
Once all the glue was dry, the walls get an undercoat of mid-brown. The next step involves stripping the walls with a watered down dark brown, then with a watered down yellow brown to represent logs used to build the walls. Although the yellow brown is less watered down, else they tend to disappear once dry.

Painting on stripes with watered down dark brown
A second set of strips were added with a slightly watered down yellow brown 
The back is painted green and will be later flocked
In all 12 wall sections were made - 2 were painted up as gates
Once painted all sections got a coat of varnish and the back flocked. Very simple to make and paint and can easily be packed away without fear of any breakages. It is surprising how effective a little bit of paint quite quickly applied can transform a simple strip of MDF into a log defence wall.

The whole lot including block house (made from balsa wood and card) cost less than $20, and made over the weekend.

A close up of the fort walls and blockhouse made last week. 
This shot shows how the mitred back supports work. 
A seige underway? 
The defence walls will also get a run with my dark age flats

Saturday, 22 July 2017

6x6 Challenge - WW2 Naval - games 5 and 6

I am yet to play any 6x6 challenge games and the July is quickly slipping by. So it was time to return and complete my mini WW2 Naval campaign and hopefully get 2 games out of it.

For a reminder of the campaign click here.

The campaign was at the stage where the Grey force had successfully made its way across the convoy lanes to the top of the map and were now heading back to their home port having achieved their objectives.

Before any games could be played Blue force had to catch up with the Grey raiders. Their only chance was to hunt down the pocket battleship which had sustained serious damage in a previous encounter and had to roll a 4+ in order make a campaign move.

While Grey's pocket battleship was struggling with damage repairs the weather turned stormy and was a hindrance to Blue's forces search (who have to roll 5+ in stormy weather to move). However, contact was made and game 5 could begin.

Game 5 began at 1pm with stormy weather. Grey's pocket battleship was spotted by Blue's force of a light cruiser, destroyer and two corvettes. Blue's ships were outclassed and hatched a very simple plan to: close the distance as quickly as possible, let loose all their torpedoes and then retire as fast as possible.

Blue's ships close in while Grey's pocket battleship turns broadside and engages
With all torpedoes used Blue makes for a hasty retreat. Two torpedoes made their target, but the stormy weather had prevented any critical damage by either side at this point.
A final salvo from the pocket battleship sunk the light cruiser
Having fought off blue's forces in game 5. Grey's pocket battleship failed to make much headway in the following campaign move (in other words it failed to roll a 4+). The weather was fine and allowed Blue's forces to close and engage.

Blue's forces pounce
Game 6 - Both forces spotted each other at 10am on a fine morning. Blue's force had a battleship, two destroyers and two corvettes. Their plan was to close to torpedo range and engage.

Blue's ships prepare for action
Grey's pocket battleship and blue's ships in the distance
The pocket battleship was able to cripple a couple of the corvettes before both sides turned broadside. Torpedoes were  launched and hit home sinking the pocket battleship.
So the campaign is over in game 6 with the sinking of Grey's pocket battleship. Grey's other force successfully makes it to port. Victory goes to Grey for 2 campaign points for getting both forces to the top of the map, while Blue achieved 1 point for destroying one a Grey's forces.

The games themselves have taken between 15-30 minutes using the straightforward Panzer8 WW2 naval rules, which can still be found in an archive here

All in all, an enjoyable set of games which were enhanced by having a campaign wrapped around them. The dice generated campaign and game moves worked well. In fact too well, for as Blue I lost.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Blockhouse for French Indian War

To add some variety to my French Indian War armies a blockhouse and fort is needed. The blockhouse is the easier and smaller of the two to make, so I started there. I mostly use balsa wood and simple shapes, using paint to show any details.

Here are the steps...

The four sides were made and a second strip put around for the second storey of the blockhouse. This also assists with the  painting.
Old cardboard is used to create the roof supports
The cardboard support is slotted into the building
Using thin cardboard create the shape for the roof and cut out
Roof added and a folded strip of card used to hold where the piece joins
Folded strips are added for each corner.
The roof get trimmed up
A base coat of paint is added

A lighter grey is lightly brushed on using an old brush. Old brushes are better to give an uneven look.
Watered down dark brown and black are used to give the impression of logs, shingled roof, and stone walls
Watered down sand colour used to add some more depth to the logs and roof
Firing slits are added and a door
The finished blockhouse
From another angle

Sunday, 16 July 2017

French Indian War units all painted

This weekend I was able to paint and finish off the last couple of Spencer Smith units for my French Indian war armies. Huzzah! And now I can have a break from trying to complete two (or more) units each week. Before I get going on my next painting project, I will be making up some canoes, boats and a fort for the period.

A Highland unit made by re-using some grenadier models, who in their ownership history had had their hats removed and replaced with tricornes. I then replaced these with a bonnet and added a kilt all with greenstuff. 
Some more grenadiers made up as rangers
I chose not to use all the artillery miniatures available for the moment. Two artillery units seemed quite sufficient for the armies which will normally field anywhere between 8 to 15 units per side.

All 33 units in their storage containers
I have been able to get in a couple of smallish games of 8 units aside during the week. This was to test out some or the rule changes mentioned in the last post.

Early stages of a game (the brown areas represent difficult terrain with no cover advantage. Just difficult to manoeuvre  across.
Not all my rule changes worked, particularly the cover rule requiring attackers to be adjacent. Never mind, amendments were made which seem to be working, and I am now writing the rules up to add to the rules available at the top.