Monday, 31 October 2011

Two games in one week!

Blimey, something that is almost unheard of occurred here last week. I managed to get two, yes two, games of VBCW in during the same week. I love Half Term holidays me. The first one is here the second is to follow.

Tuesday evening Ant and Francis came round to try some different rules sets for VBCW. Firstly WH Historical's Great War then England's Pleasant Pastures from a friends club. We played the same scenario through twice, once with each set. Both rules sets have their own merits:
Great War is essentially WH40k in another time and place, it works pretty well. But I don't really like the my turn your turn aspect of the game. EPP works on a playing card initiative system that works well, but can clutter up the table with cards. Neither set of rules really did it as both are written for larger games than this. But with some tweaking I think EPP will see more use.

Anyway to the game...

Our campaign is set on the Isle of Wight and this skirmish was fought near Shalfleet.
As you can see the board was four and half feet by three. It featured a small church by the main Freshwater to Newport railway line. Francis' Vectis Nationalists patrol had been chased out of Shalfleet by the Wight Constabulary which was being supported by or egged on by a BUF patrol. The Nationalists took refuge in the church and decided to sell themselves dearly.

The Nationalists had limited weaponry mostly rifles with a couple of Lewis machine guns. They took up position, mostly along the dry stone wall that surrounded the church yard, some were on the top of the church tower and some within the church. The Nationalist aimed to keep alive for six turns to see if reinforcements would arrive.
The BUF and police were equipped with rifles, a couple of Lewis', the odd SMG. They also had a Lancia armoured truck and another truck as well. The Lancia has a mounted Lewis machine gun. The first game using Great War rules was pretty pacey. Francis had the upper hand first inflicting casualties from his relatively strong position behind the stone wall. But the BUF made its numbers tell and in a brief time they had overwhelmed the defenders. They got into the church yard in force and riddled the church with bullets. In the fifth turn the three remaining Nationalist laid down their weapons and surrendered.

The game had gone pretty well and we decided we had enough time to do it again so we reset and went again with EPP. These rules are patchy as they are still in development. BUt we did like the card based initiative system, it makes you think very carefully about what you turn will look like. On the downside, these rules are made for bigger games and quick play, which means there is only two rolls when shooting; To Hit and save. No rolling to wound seemed quite odd and very deadly. OK if you are playing games with 50+ troops but quite demoralising if you only start with 12 or so. We did also make some errors with some rules especially rules for Spotting hidden troops, but those issues have since been resolved.

The second game also was won by the BUF but it was a close run thing, with the fascists taking far more casualties including a whole five man squad killed by one Molatov cocktail (The rules for which have been tweaked since by the rules' writers)

Overall I am really starting to enjoy VBCW. It looks great on the tabletop. Our scenery looks ace and with the addition of phone boxes, letter boxes and motor vehicles we really can capture the 'period'. The second game from last week is coming later. The most important thing that I learnt from this game was don't bother taking pics of toy soldiers without a tripod. Hence why I only have four useable photos from this game. Lots more for the Battle of Ryde Esplanade next.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Piratical Progress

As previously stated this winter will see two projects and blimey if they both appear, at the moment, to be ticking over nicely. One game of VBCW (Very British Civil War) played, two more to come this week. Figures being painted like a fury. (VBCW post to follow) After one game of VBCW I had a wobble and my SALUTE2012 plans were nearly derailed as all of a sudden I fancied taking VBCW to SALUTE, and in some ways I am still tempted to, afterall 99% of the scenery is made and there are several of us painting toys for it. However I just can't help thinking that there might be several VBCW games at a show like SALUTE as it is a game very in vogue right now. So I think I am going to go with the more ambitious plan of 40mm pirates for SALUTE.

Yes that means all new figures and terrain but I love a challenge and the modeling side of the hobby is so important to me. I want to take new and fresh models to SALUTE, so that's what I am gonna do:0)

The first model for my new Pirate town is well under way. It is a smithy with an attached house. I doodled some concept sketches for this one (probably during a staff meeting) and the actual model is turning out pretty close to the sketches, with only the odd thing like location of chimneys and doors being any different.

As usual I am using foam board and balsa wood for the main structure on a hardboard base. The roof of this model will have cardboard shingles/slates, many of the other buildings will have pantiles.

I am having a lot of fun with this model, a new scale is always a welcome change and I am looking forward to the finishing process and the details that I can add. I have several other sketches that I will post including a map of the whole port which will show the scale of the project. Hope I am not biting off more than I can chew. But then it won't be the first time I have done that. Heyho! More progress updates soon.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

On the Workbench

It's October and the re-enactment season is nearly over. One event to go. SO thoughts and energy turn to winter projects. Now these could all easily be re-enactment projects if I let them, afterall I aim to make myself a brigandine this winter like Heidi did at the start of this year, which is a serious amount of metal work, but I also need to be working on some gaming stuff too.

This winter I have two gaming projects to be getting on with. One will be for gaming with a variety of friends and one will be mostly self indulgent but will result in my effort for Salute2012. The first project then is aimed at getting some of my re-enactment friends playing more games, I aim to use much of what I have already and only work on some figures. We aim to run a Very British Civil War campaign (VBCW) which will be set on the Isle of Wight. This will hopefully involve four players and myself as the campaign master. Ant will be playing the Fascists, Francis the Vectis Nationalists, El Hoggo the Anglican League and Jon has yet to declare a faction. I will be representing the Governor of the island, Princess Beatrice Mountbatten and the forces at her disposal, namely the Princess Beatrice Rifles (formerly 530 Coast Defence Regiment) and the Vectis Constabulary. This means new toys to paint and play with, the first of which are on the workbench right now.

Men of the Vectis Constabulary. These are Artizan Design figures and very nice too. they will go with my Eureka bobbies and some figures from Empress Miniatures which will make up Auxiliary Police.

Merchant seamen from the talented hands of Bob Murch of Pulp Figures. The Isle of Wight being an island relies heavily on shipping and these figures are going to see quite a lot of action I should think.

The cool thing about this campaign is that because of my extensive scenery collection for End Of Empire I only need to add details like phone boxes, telegraph poles and the right kind of vehicles to make it all work. Getting the right scale of stuff is a little more challenging, however most of this stuff will work fine when on a table with all the other bits.

This is the first of a fleet of delivery trucks for the Mews Brewery of Newport (Livery to be added) The barrels are removable so they can just be used as flatbed trucks. All three bought for a fiver on ebay, got to love that:0)

The second project this winter is, as I said, a little more self indulgent. the VBCW project and this one has mostly been funded by selling some gaming gear off to make room. The odd thing is though I have sold my 28mm pirates and ships. What is odd about that? you may ask. Well I have sold my 28mm pirates to make way for 40mm ones. I have rather fallen for 40mm since the F&IW project and the challenge of building models in a bigger scale really appeals. So hopefully I will have a whole piratical 40mm game for Salute 2012. The figures will mostly be from Sash & Saber. We are going to use ou F&IW civilians and the Redcoats too (Not completely correct for the golden age of piracy being 3--40 years too late but they have an iconic look so what the heck?) I will also be buying various figures from Drabant as they are ace (If a tad expensive) So watch this space for swabbie crews, new ships and a whole lot more.

4 Sash & Saber pirates on the way. The main pack of pirates comes with multiple torsos, legs, heads an weapons allowing for tonnes of variation. This pack I think will be bought a number of times over as I intend to use them for pirates, naval crews and gunners. This size model is a delight to paint and I can see me getting on pretty well with all the pirates I need to finish.

I am rather pleased with this pair. Things bode well for the dark winter months. Watch this space and see how we progress.