Friday, June 24, 2016

Made it Ma! Top of the World!

I really need to say a big thank you to Henry Hyde for this issue.  Not only has he published an article of mine but he's also managed to make my photographs looking stunning (I know I'm biased but they do look good).  Further, he has added some lovely photographs of his own of the collections from members I forgot to include (sorry Mark).
Even better he's given this blog some unlooked for promotion.  Wow!  That was unexpected and very welcome.  Better engage brain before presenting more "philosophical" and "outspoken" posts!
I also thought the issue seem nicely balanced.  I like the idea of an article that argues against the sort of game that the Grimsby Society presented being in the same issue.  A nice piece and well argued to boot.  Indeed I think we, the Grimsby Society, would embrace some of those ideas for the next time we are at a show regarding allowing visitors to play with the figures if they want to sit in on a game (I did advertise the game on several forums asking anyone who wanted to play to make themselves known).  However, I would argue that the Grimsby Wargames Society already have an inclusive approach to visitors at our games and spend a lot of time trying to engage with the public.  Still, an article that provides food for thought and that is for the good.
The other articles I've not read all the way through but I'm liking the background to the Ayton set up that I've read so far.
Thanks Henry.

Oh and I won't be signing autographs at the Other Partizan.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Four Days Battle

Several Admirals gathered on Saturday to take part in the largest naval game ever staged at the Grimsby Wargames Society.
 With over a hundred and fifty ships divided into two fleets, each of three divisions and each division having three squadrons it was a huge game.  Steve & Andy had collectively been able to represent every ship present at the battle and brought them all down to play with.
Langtons models painted and modelled to the very highest standard.
 I took the role of one of the Dutch Admirals whilst my son was given overall command and John the vanguard.
the action was chaotic for the main part.  the English fleets under Andy S, Ron & Malcolm chose to form single lines astern whilst the Dutch, or at least I did, formed their fleets into two lines so they could fire on to both sides of an enemy ship.  Apparently there were  insufficient crews on board to fire broadsides from both right and left flank at the same time.  So sailing down the English line I managed to inflict damage to every ship in Ron's fleet without losing or gaining a single prize.

Highlights of the day though were watching Malcolm eagerly fire a full and devastating broadside into a ship to his right flank and then to watch his face as he realised it was an English ship from Andy's fleet.  Then later in the game he did it again.

Indeed so confusing was the action that at one point one of the English Admirals was on the verge of firing into one of the ships under his own command and only stopped when he realised what he was about to do.
James and John had much better luck capturing several English ships, including one of the flagships, and causing quite a few more to retire.
At dusk on the fourth day both fleets had suffered heavily and although the Dutch had captured more tonnage the game was called a draw.

Great fun and a good days wargaming.  Thanks Steve & Andy.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Naval Action

As a club that can provide everything you need we now offer a naval engagement for your enjoyment.
If you attended Partizan or Triples you may have seen the Four Days Battle that the club presented at those shows (taking prizes at both for the quality of the game).  So good that it will feature on the front cover of Miniature Wargames Issue 399 to be published later this month.

Each ship involved in the battle is represented and superbly modeled from Langton miniatures.  Over a hundred and fifty in total.

Well this Saturday is your chance to play the game and steer for glory

Starting at 10am we intend to play the game through and recreate all four days of action in one sitting.  Fish & Chip lunch included.

Monday, June 13, 2016

A Military Gentleman 2016

Putting a game on at a show is a daunting prospect.  "Will the public like it?", "Will they understand it?", "Does it look attractive?" are all questions that race through your mind as you prepare to display your work to complete strangers.
Now put even more pressure on yourself by showing that game to people who understand the period, have a knowledge of the history and are as enthused by your particular sphere of interest as you are.  
Add in a drive through biblical deluges and you have a recipe for nerves and trepidation.
All completely groundless of course.
The venue for the weekend of this particular fest of eighteenth century wargames was the Chesford Grange somewhere in darkest Warkwickshire.  The attendees were all members, or partners of members, of the "A Military Gentleman" society.  The organiser, Graham Cummings of Crann Tara Miniatures, had done a superb job and everything went smoothly.
Given a room large enough to host four games all 12x6 feet in size plus two tables for feeding twenty eight wargamers, and we were set.
The weekend went so quickly that it is hard to remember all the details of the games themselves.
My own Great Northern War game had three run throughs.  All were Swedish victories but in every game the Russians had their chances.
In the first, had the Russian Horse grenadiers managed to defeat the Swedish horse, the Swedes would have been left with enemy horse running around behind their lines as the infantry steam rolled over the Russian foot.
 In the second game a more concerted effort by the Russian foot almost overwhelmed the Swedish attack in the centre.  A narrow defeat of that central Russian brigade collapsed the Russian lines and allowed the enemy access to the bridge.

The third game was the closest of all.  Fierce Russian musketry along the stream east of the village forced the Swedish lines to retreat.  The Russian plan of forcing the stream here before the Swedes enveloped their left flank almost worked until a collapse of morale saw the Russian second line thrown into confusion and disorder.
That same game almost saw a Swedish unit broken by charging Russian horse.  Almost.
There were other memorable events.  Two Russian Generals captured as they led their men forward, one Swedish General killed in action.  My favourite piece though was the sight of two battalions of foot engaged in melee so fierce that it reduced the units to just eight figures each (70% casualties) before the Swedes threw in a battalion to finish off those stubborn Russians.  It did nothing to change the course of the game but a great deal to restore the reputation of Russian resistance.
 All three games were played in good spirits and I was more than happy to umpire all of them so that the players could concentrate on the actions of the figures rather than worrying about unfamiliar rule mechanisms.
 A Sudan game from Dave, whilst not 18th century admittedly, was nevertheless terrific fun and the source of much amusement and will no doubt result in tales of daring do from the likes of Aly Pasha and Cummings Pasha as they defended the honour of maidens and camels alike.
A wonderful game involving hundreds of 40mm Prinz August figures from Mark & Steve added to the flavour of the weekend.
As did the superb refight of Soor using figures from the collections of Robbie & Colin using "Honours of War" rules.

For me the weekend was an unqualified success.  It's always nice when other players appreciate your figures.  It's even nicer when the rules seem to work and nobody is phased by the unfamiliar.  But the real reward is to have so many gamers enjoy themselves in an unfamiliar setting.
For that I have to thank Graham for doing such a magnificent job in hosting and organising the event.  Thank you just isn't enough.
But also for all those who came along and made it such a great event.

I spent the drive home thinking about what to do for next years event.  And all with a big smile on my face.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Final Preparations

The planned game for the AMG16 get together at the weekend had its final run through last night.  The game is based on the campaign in Finland during the Great Northern War with the Russians forcing a river crossing against a Swedish blocking force.  
The run through last night was on a smaller table than planned and was a little more compact than I would have liked.  However, the key aspects of the rules worked and I'm happy that it should play well.
 Last night it would have been a Swedish victory if the Swedes hadn't been used like a European army.  As it turned out the Russian firing was above average and caused a lot of issues within the Swedish ranks.  Worse, the Russian commander forgot about some of his reserves and when they did appear it gave the Swedish commander a real headache.
 Good game over all and I can't wait now for the weekend and to play the game on the right size table.
The reason why I was restricted to the smaller table was that all the other tables were in use.  There was very nice 10mm ancients game pitting the legions of Imperial Rome, owned by Andy, against Britons  from the collection of John, using Hail Caesar.
On the large table was an excellent 28mm Napoleonic game with a British army, belonging to Chris, against the French, who were ably supported by a Bavarian corps.
Rules used were our own Grimsby Wargames Society set written by Mark (who was commanding the French).

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Monday Night Action

In preparation for the upcoming eighteenth century fest that will be the AMG16 gathering in a couple of weeks, my son and I ran through the game I am planning to take.
Unfortunately I had to use a smaller table than planned for this game, which meant that the spacing and placement of items was a little off.  Nevertheless I managed to get all the figures on and fought a confused but exciting game.
 Not wanting to give too many details away but the scenario involves a river crossing.  Russians pouring over the river to face a determined Swedish force.
 I think I have the game rules about right.  a few tweaks and amends to make before the last run through next week.
The game involves around 750 figures all from Musketeer.
 There were two other games on last night.  A small 15mm Napoleonic affair pitching Wurttembergers and Austrians against Italians and French.  Using our house rules which appeared to be well received by the new players involved.
Finally a small War of the Spanish Succession game with Imperial forces facing Prussians.  Again using our own house rules.
So three games with not a commercial set of rules amongst them.  And not a single argument.  Is there a connection between those statements?

Monday, May 30, 2016

The Paint Desk

So the knee has recovered enough to allow me to sit at the paint desk for a couple of hours this weekend.  It's not just the sitting at the desk but the climb up (and down) the ladders into the loft - next house improvement we'll be putting stairs in.
Inspired by the game at Partizan I'm back onto the War of the Spanish Succession and to extending the Dutch infantry establishment.  This time IR33 Nass.  A regiment that seems to prove that the Dutch weren't all  in grey.  In a distinctive blue with red linings they could be confused for the Dutch guard.
 Front Rank figures are just lovely to paint.  All the detail is clear and crisp and normally well cast.
 I've also started the next Swedish artillery piece and crew for the Great Northern War project.  This is the last gun I intend to create for the Swedes.  Figures from Footsore Miniatures (nee Musketeer).  Some of Bills best work I think.
The nine figures for Nass will join the previously completed nine figures bringing the regiment to 50% completion.