Sunday, 7 January 2018

Playing around with Battle Cry.

I spent the majority of yesterday afternoon and evening playing Battle Cry, a Commands & Colors system game by Richard Borg. It actually turned out to be a hybrid game, using components from another C&C game Samurai Battles, along with 6mm Baccus figures and terrain pieces from Leven Miniatures and Baccus.

Instead of using the board in Battle Cry, I used the boards from Samurai Battles, the hexes are slightly larger.

The terrain pieces from SB have a centre cut out, otherwise they are similar to BC.

The purpose of the cut out is to allow tiles to be fitted on plastic risers, this gives a 3d look to hills, ridges etc. A neat concept which certainly, to my eye, improves the look of the board.

I also used half stands of Baccus 6mm ACW troops instead of the minis supplied with BC.

I created a scenario to represent the early morning clash on McPherson Ridge at Gettysburg.

The Lutheran Seminary is a work in progress, but I couldn't resist putting it in place for the scenario. It is such an iconic building, that even with just this building in view, most people would instantly recognise the battle to come. General John Buford balances precariously on Seminary Ridge.

Dismounted Union troopers hold McPherson Ridge. Devin's Brigade is north of the Chambersburg Pike, with Gamble's brigade to the south.

Oak Hill is in the distance beyond Devin.

The division of Henry Heth approaches Willoughby's Run.

A daunting spectacle for the Union troopers.

An aerial view of the battlefield. At certain game turns, units of Reynold's Corps would appear on the baseline behind Seminary Ridge, to allow the cavalry to fall back. Also units from Ewell's Corps would appear on the northern edge of the board.


Battle Cry does exactly what it says on the tin. It is a fast play board game and in no way claims to be a simulation. I did not take photographs of the battle as I was tinkering with game mechanics all the time, trying this and trying that, in an effort to remove some of the abstract elements. I tried all sorts of ideas, but in the end, it is what it is, a family board game.

In my scenario, the northern half of Heth's Division did cross Willoughby's Run and pushed Devin off McPherson Ridge, both sides suffering casualties. However, with few usable cards, the confederates never even reached the ridge on the south side, in fact only a couple of units managed to splash through the water to the opposite bank.
The union reinforcements of Reynolds did appear on the base line behind the Seminary, but due to all the cards being needed in combat on McPherson's Ridge, they never advanced at all. I never reached the turn when confederate troops would appear in the north by Oak Hill.

I guess I was being too adventurous with the game system, it simply isn't designed for what I was attempting to make it do. I can still use the boards, terrain etc, with other rule sets designed for miniature wargaming, as the footprint is small. Was it a waste of an evening? Certainly not, I enjoyed myself and learnt a lesson or two.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Conquest of the Empire.

Having decided to downsize from 28 mm figures, I just don't have the room for any more, I dug out this board game that has been sat on the shelf for quite a few years. The idea being to take it back to the smaller place for the Spring, Summer and Autumn of 2018. However, as is the way, I wanted to modify the game contents to make it more pleasing on the eye.

As you can see there are six factions that can be played in the game, each one vying to become the next emperor of all the empire. The ships and catapults are made from a hard plastic and are suitable for painting up.

The beige coloured pieces are cities and walls, they too of are a hard plastic, once again I will paint them up.

I have painted up a test model for the green faction. The model needed three coats of primer, I had given it a good wash and scrub in soapy water first, but it really was a battle to get the primer on.

Still, once painted up they will do nicely as game pieces.

I shall paint them all up identically, just add the relevant colour to the sail and flag.

I am also going to replace the miniature soldiers that came with the game. They are made of the soft, bendy plastic, and are somewhere between 20 and 28 mm in size. I will use Baccus 6 mm Imperial Romans for the infantry, cavalry and command. Initially I planned to use 20 x 20 mm bases, with two ranks of four infantry per base and three or four cavalry per base.

However each of the six factions has 20 units of infantry and 10 units of cavalry. That is a lot of figures and expense. I am now considering 10 x 10 mm bases, with half the figures needed. It also is of course only half as expensive, but will still be in the £60 region. Finally, it will give a smaller footprint on the map.

So this is now added to the painting queue which currently contains, 6 mm ACW cavalry and command, Battlescale 6 and 10 mm buildings, and finally Pendraken 10 mm Marlburian British. So lots to keep me busy.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Work has begun on the ACW reinforcements.

As promised, I am showing all the reinforcements I ordered out of the bags. In fact, flash has been removed, there was very little of it, the bases filed flat, all washed and scrubbed in soapy water and finally stuck onto lolly (Popsicle) sticks. Last night I hand primed them, it has been to wet and damp outside to use a rattle can.

All the guys laid out ready for painting.

Dismounted Union troopers and horse holders.

Mounted Confederate troopers, enough for five regiments of nine figures, to be split in a 4 and 5 on 30 x 30 mm bases,

Dismounted Confederate troopers and horse holders.

Mounted Union troopers, exact same numbers as the Confederates.

Finally, the generals for both sides. I miscalculated here, I could have done with more flag holders, I only have a total of six. Baccus are fine if you contact them, which is what I will do in the new year and request a pack of 15 standard bearers. They will supply any pose you wish, to the same amount of figures and price of a standard pack.

They will do the job for now, as I really need a Union VI Corps commanders base for my ongoing campaign. I shall probably use all of them for the Union, as I do have enough Confederates for now.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

ACW reinforcements arrive.

Probably my final update on this blog before Christmas, so season's greeting to all who read this, and even to those who don't.

My small Baccus order arrived this morning. It will allow me now to create some cavalry regiments for both sides on 30 x 30 mm bases, something I don't currently have. I was also a bit light in cavalry anyway, so these new boys will solve that problem.

I took the opportunity to order a command pack for both sides too, I needed some more divisional and corps commander stands.

The Corps flags will be placed with the Corps Commander, rather than the Stars and Stripes for late war era battles.

Sorry for poor photo quality, I will show them when cleaned up and ready for painting. The two command packs.

Dismounted cavalry and horse holders.

Mounted cavalry, enough for five regiments of nine minis each side.

As I am currently fighting a mini-campaign, the reports are over on the TtC Blog page. These guys will get bumped up the painting queue as I need the smaller sized bases for showing column.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

On the painting desk from now until April.

I am now back home in the city for winter, and I now have access to my mancave once again. However, the large table has been disassembled as it was too large and heavy for wargaming, it was originally built for a model railway. With that out of the way, I now have a 5' x 2' 6" folding table. Though obviously smaller, it is far more practicable for this small room. A 6' x 4' piece of MDF or similar, will be purchased, and it can sit on top of the table for larger battles when required. At other times the table is both my paint station and computer station.

For the next three and a half months I shall be concentrating mainly, but not exclusively, on 28mm figures. I ordered the Conquest Games Normans to do battle with my Anglo-Danes and Vikings.

I went for a single box of Archers.

Two boxes each of Knights and infantry, that should give me all the troops I need. I also want these guys to double up as early crusaders, to battle against my Saracen army. I am not sure which way to go for basing yet, either singly the same as the Vikings and Anglo-Danes, or four infantry figures per base as the Saracens.

I am currently working on the 4 point Viking warband from Saga, these are the metal figures to go alongside my already completed plastics. I also have a 4 point Anglo-Dane set to paint up as well.

I can now also return to my Imagi-Nations project, I still have one cavalry and three infantry regiments to paint, as well as metal command figures and gun limbers from Front Rank.

With thoughts of a much smaller area once I return to the coast in April, I ordered a 10mm Marlburian British starter army from Pendraken. It all comes in one bag, with a couple of artillery pieces, limbers and crew, in a smaller bag. I have already cleaned these guys up and am very impressed with the sculpts. I need to order both mounted and dismounted dragoons and some mounted officers as they don't come in the starter bag, nor do any figures in the shooting pose.

Having now seen the quality, my next order will be the French starter army with the required extras as mentioned above. This will be my project over the summer to build the basis of two Wars of the Spanish Succession armies. Other nationalities will be added in due course.

Finally, I am awaiting delivery of an order from Baccus. I was very short of cavalry for my ACW armies, as well as officers for basing as Divisional and Corps commanders. The cavalry will be based on 30 x 30mm bases as opposed to the 60 x 30mm I currently have. This will allow for column on roads etc. much as I did with the infantry I completed last winter. I hope to do some work on these over the winter to enable me to take them all back with me in April. The 6 and 10mm are ideal for the small space I have available during the summer months. All the 28mm will remain here, for use over winter months.

Monday, 23 October 2017

C&C Napoleonics - Eylau Plateau, Russian Rearguard 7th February 1807.

For my first dive into the Russian Army expansion, I have selected this interesting looking scenario.

Historical Info: Marshal Soult's IV Corps, along with elements of Marshal Murat's cavalry, reached the plateau before Eylau in the early afternoon, and immediately attacked. Prince Bagration's rearguard put up a stubborn resistance, repulsing the initial attack. Marshal Augereau and the French Guard arrived later to join Soult. Bagration's force was forced to retire in good order back through de Tolly's troops who were defending Eylau. The delaying action allowed the Russian artillery under Bennigsen to deploy in a defensive position on the heights beyond Eylau.

This is a seven victory banner game, both sides have five command cards, and the French move first.
A special rule exists for this scenario, the French claim an instant victory if they occupy any Eylau town hex at the start of their turn.

A mixture of hills and frozen lakes, dominate the table before the village of Eylau which consists of two spaced out building hexes as well as a church hex.

The initial deployment of the armies.

The Russian now make a pre-battle Mother Russia roll which can give reinforcements, as laid out below. Hopefully it is readable.

Tactics: As the Russian commander, I have to protect Eylau to prevent a sudden death victory. Rightly or wrongly, I have assigned all the tokens on my right and centre before the village. The French will find it very difficult to reach the village with a head on assault. My left flank is weaker, but the French units will have further to travel. With the correct cards, I feel I can hold the village and destroy seven of the enemy for the victory.

As for the French. The Russians are too strong on my left flank, I shall feint against those forces. My main point of attack will be on my right flank and centre, the objective being to destroy seven enemy units, rather than try and capture Eylau.

A full report is on my You Tube channel and also posted to the Tabletop Commanders FB page.

A selection of photos from the battle.

The second scenario for Eylau is also posted on my YT channel, with a full photographic battle report.

In other news, I have backed my first ever kick starter. The Hundred Years War game of Joan of Arc. It is a hex board game with 15 mm plastic miniatures. Not sure how the game mechanics will suit me, but you do get a ton of minis which look to be superb sculpts. I have gone for the maiden pledge, which gives me one copy of the core game plus all the stretch goals.
I have also opted for two expansions, Big Battles and Siege. The former gives a lot more troops and the latter comes complete with a castle and siege engines. If I am not overly impressed with the rules, all the minis can. and will, be used for other rule sets.