Tuesday, 6 March 2018

A couple of new board games.

I have just added another couple of board games to my collection. Both obtained from my local gaming store with a total of 15% discount.

The first is my first foray into the Second World War, the Axis and Allies title really needs no introduction.

A truly global size game, with grand strategy as the focus rather than all the nuances of tactical combat. One of the reasons I chose this game is the fact it has playing pieces, rather than cardboard chits, and that it is a classic.

Moving on to post 1945 and we enter into the Cold War. This game is into its sixth printing and is incredibly popular. I have watched a number of play through tutorials and the game play is absorbing.

The two super powers attempting to increase their influence around the post war globe, but at the same time not wanting to trigger a nuclear war.

Not really an ideal solo game, but there are always ways around that problem.

A very deep game with lots of potential strategies to develop. You can't do everything you want to do, so must constantly make decisions and to maintain strength in one region, possibly becoming weaker in another.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Creating my own block wargame. First mock ups.

The Marshmallow armies receive their first units. The coloured spots on the top denotes which force they are from. I should have enough blocks to create a small allied force with a different coloured spots as well as mercenary units with yet another colour.

Not the prettiest playing pieces you are ever going to see, but as this is not a commercial project and just for my own enjoyment, the aesthetics are not too important.
Here we have the red force with an elephant, heavy cavalry, medium cavalry, heavy infantry, medium infantry and heavy chariot.

The blue force also has an elephant, heavy cavalry, light cavalry with missiles (javelins, bows etc.), heavy and medium infantry and finally a light chariot.

I still need to make up light infantry with missile, as well as one or two other pieces to represent battlefield artillery, scorpions through to cannon.
The pieces would conform to an army list for the period being played, so the light cavalry block with missile could be any of, Mongol archers, Persian mounted archers or Arab mounted archers to name just three.

Work will continue...

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Creating my own block war game, more thoughts.

Following on from my last post of yesterday, I managed to pick up some coloured adhesive spots and stars today, along with some self adhesive labels to place on the blocks.

As I want the game to be playable from the Greek City State wars right through to the Wars of the Roses, I have decided to make the units very generic. As you see below I have gone with a basic idea. Standard symbols for infantry and cavalry, a circle for chariots and a large capital letter E for, yes you guessed it, elephants.

There are a total of 148 blocks in the case, which equates to 74 per side, or even less if I add allies and mercenary units. The idea of downloading and printing out images of hoplites, legionaries etc. was just not going to work with the small number of blocks I have if I wish to represent all eras.
My current thinking is, each block will have either a red or blue spot on top, to denote which side it is. Then if an infantry symbol is applied, a red dot placed on the symbol will signify that it is heavy infantry, anything from a Phalanx to dismounted knights. A blue dot will be medium infantry, yellow dot will be light infantry. Missile troops be they mounted or infantry, will also have an orange spot, that will signify javelins, slings or bows etc. The same principal will work for heavy, medium and light cavalry. Elite units could also possibly have a star.

Leaders/generals blocks will stand in portrait fashion, again with either a red or blue dot on top, with two stars for the army commander and one star for a sub commander. All the other blocks will stand in landscape fashion.

I should get two symbols from each sticker.

The whole army will stay in the original box it came in, so no other blocks could really be added, even if I had any.

The pink and white colour of the blocks reminds me so much of those soft marshmallow sweets I used to love as a child, so the Marshmallow Army is born.

The next job is to draw the military symbols onto the labels, cut them out and apply them to the blocks. Add the coloured dots and I should be good to go. I am looking down the route of DBA style or L'Art de la Guerre, played on a small board, or possibly even C&C style on a hex board. We shall have to see how it goes.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Creating my own block wargame?

Dug this long forgotten, and very dusty, case of Mah Jong out of a cupboard. I bought it in Hong Kong in 1972, so it is certainly vintage.

All the tiles are there, 148 of them, the space is for some dice and scoring sticks, that also came with the game.

They are made of a very heavy and solid plastic or resin material.

They are almost as thick as they are wide. All the tiles are in this dual colour of pink and white.

A clear pink reverse face, the same on all of the tiles.

My notion is to re use these blocks to make my own C&C Ancients. Early stages of course, I doubt the blocks would readily take primer or paint, and to be honest, I don't really want to destroy the Mah Jong element. I was thinking along the line of those little coloured self adhesive dots, stars etc, to stick on the top to denote nationality, and maybe a generic, downloadable image to print onto stickers to cover the Mah Jong face. Psoli, hoplites, cavalry and such.

Any thoughts or suggestions welcome.

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.