Friday, June 26, 2020

Getting Ready for Kings of War

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my group is planning to play some Kings of War Third Edition.

There are a total of 12 different scenarios in Third Edition, and many of them require the use of special markers or tokens, namely Objective Markers, Loot Counters, and Bluff Counters.

I plan to use the Kromlech giant mushrooms pieces as the themed Objective Markers for my Night Goblin army, and for Loot Counters I will be using the reproduction ancient coins which we use in our other games; but the Bluff Counters are something which I needed to get my hands on.

Mantic does sell a tokens set, but it is a little pricey, and Litko surprisingly does not make a set. I therefore decided to make a set of my own, using the Renedra 25mm round bases, and some Dark Angels decals I had lying around.

I sprayed both sides of the bases with a dark green spray paint I had. Then I applied the decals onto the smooth side of the bases, and sealed them with a semi-gloss varnish; the rough side of the base was sealed with a matt varnish. Unfortunately, I did not have any decals for zero, so I left the 'zero' counters blank - since these are removed as soon as they are revealed, it was not a real issue.

I also made a few pieces of scatter terrain using the Renedra bases to help break up the flatness of the gaming surface. These are made by just gluing some sand and gravel and some bits of cork on them. The pieces are then sprayed brown and dry-brushed a lighter brown, while the cork pieces are painted black and then dry-brushed grey. The edges of the bases are then stippled with dark and light green paint to help them blend with my wargaming mat. Then bits of foam foliage are hot-glued onto the bases.

Finally, I also decided to texture and paint up the six Renedra movement trays I still have lying around. Again, these are painted to help the trays blend into the pattern on the mat.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Fireforge Necromancer and Crippled God Foundry Skeleton Warriors

Here are some more resin figures from the kickstarters that I backed: the necromancer from Fireforge Games, flanked by two skeleton warriors from Crippled God Foundry.

I painted the necromancer in yellow instead of the "traditional" purple on the advice from FG's , who suggested that I painted it after Zagor, the Warlock of Firetop Mountain. I am quite happy with the effect, and when it came time to paint the skeleton warriors, I thought I would make yellow my new undead colour.

All the three figures are resin, but a view of the rear of the figures reveals the poor resolution of the Fireforge casting compared to that of Crippled God Foundry; it's a shame, as I like the design of the necromancer figure.

For the skeleton swordsman's shield I wanted to give the effect of paint peeling off the wooden shield. I did this by dabbing white paint onto the surface, and then applying a yellow wash to it.

The large surface of the axehead on the skeleton axeman model allowed me to do some heavy weathering on it.

Hopefully these figures will see some action in one of my RPG campaigns in the future.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Spicheren Play-by-WhatsApp Game

Last weekend I decided to umpire a game of To The Last Gaiter Button for FG and Martin via WhatsApp. I used the Battle of Spicheren scenario, and trimmed the order of battle down to two divisions per side, with two battalions per brigade instead of three.

Martin, playing the Prussian, was told to take the road and rail to the west end (near side in our photo - the town of Forbach) to enable the army to pursue the fleeing French. FG, playing the French, was told to hold the Prussians off while the remainder of the French army prepares to fight off a Prussian flanking attack further to the west.

I took photos of the table from both the Prussian view and the French view, and sent them to Martin and FG respectively, and they gave me their orders. Playing in this manner, we were able to play the game over Saturday and Sunday afternoons, between lunch and dinner time.

On his left Martin sent the 27th Brigade on a headlong charge to the French position on the wooded ridge across from them - the result was a bloody repulse. Seeing the Prussians in retreat, the French in turn charged from their position, and were decimated by Prussian artillery, and finished off by the Prussian cavalry.

On the right Martin sent his 28th Brigade up the wooded ridge in an attempt to get close to Forbach, which FG withdrew his French into. Here the Prussians found that their artillery was ineffective against the infantry in the town, or the chasseurs in the woods, and that their rifles were outranged by the French.

Late in the afternoon the Divisional artillery finally arrived, and the Prussians were able to take the woods - but by then it was too late to press the attack into Forbach.

The last time Martin and FG played TTLGB was literally years ago, but since I was making all the moves and resolving all the attacks for them, they did not need to know the rules and could just give their orders. The process did take a lot longer than it would have if the game was played face-to-face, but unusual times call for unusual manner of gaming.

The lockdown will end this weekend, and while the law says that we may now gather in small groups, it does not mean that we *should* do so. I am planning to wait a couple weeks and see how the situation goes before resuming face-to-face gaming again; in the mean time, we can probably try some WhatsApp gaming again.

Friday, June 05, 2020

Big things have small beginnings, sir

Last month I decided to finally get started on an Arab Revolt project, and made a few purchases online. A few of the purchases I made have arrived, and today I took one of them out for a little test drive.

Now while I also own the Strategy & Tactics Arab Revolt game, it is an inelegant game for a more civilised age. I wanted something lighter as a basis for my (eventual) tabletop battles, and I found it in this game from Decision Games.

The game is one in a series of 32 games, with a core rules system (designed by Joseph Miranda, who also wrote the S&T Arab Revolt game), and a set of module-specific rules for the featured conflict. There are modules for conflicts ranging from ancients to sci-fi, and I must say that the Lawrence of Arabia module is based more on the movie of that name than on history. However, this little solo game seems to be just what I am looking for as a basis for my tabletop games.

The game comes with the rules, 40 cardboard counters, an 11" x 17" map, and 18 tiny cards. The game featured hidden opposition strengths - a Turkish garrison counter may contain zero to six units, and the combat strength of each unit is also randomised. Add to this random event cards which are drawn for every stack of your troops every turn, it means luck plays a great part in the game, as we shall soon learn...

The complete campaign comprises four scenarios, the first two of which I tried to play today. Here is the board after the first turn of the first scenario: Lawrence has captured Wehj, and must now take Aqaba.

After traveling to Prince Faisal's camp, Lawrence recruits more Arabs, and travels to Aqaba... which is lightly defended, and taken without a fight!

Lawrence leaves the Arabs in Aqaba, and travels to Cairo to report to British High Command... and find that Allenby has taken command. He requests for aid in the form of intelligence, some demolition charges, and prepares to return to Aqaba to start a new mission: sabotage the Hejaz railway.

Meanwhile, the Turks mount an attack of Aqaba, which the Arabs manage to repel, taking some losses.

Lawrence returns to Aqaba, and find a larger Turkish column on their way to retake Aqaba: this time the Turks come with a full strength battalion, and the German Asien Korp! The Arabs are defeated, and Lawrence is killed.

A failure on my first outing, but the event cards give enough flavour to the whole process and allows some sort of narrative to be formed. As you can see, the battles involve small number of units, which hopefully means they can easily be translated to tabletop battles.

Over the next few weeks I hope to share other components of the project as they arrive. Stay tuned.