Thursday 30 April 2020

Isengard forces

Over the last few months I've played a few games with one of my old university chums, or more specifically with his young son.
Young N. has a Lord of the Rings collection and I have extensive LotR armies too, so they come over to the Soldier Shack and I provide armies for me and his dad and away we go in three player style.
It always reminds me what a good little system LotR is (at least as long as you stick to relatively small forces - it starts to get very dull when there's endless individual combats to resolve).
It's certainly spurred me on to dig through some of my boxes of Lord of the Rings models and get some painted - some of which I used at Hammerhead for our Dragon Rampant Middle Earth game.

When we play N. uses the good guys, I generally take Easterlings and my chum has to make do with an assortment of Uruk Hai. Apparently N. has been using lockdown to get more things painted (like most of us) so I figured maybe some Isengard reinforcements would be in order.
Also I just quite fancied painting Sauruman.

First a group shot with Sauruman, Lurtz, Ugluk and a crossbowman.

Suruman with slight variations in lighting and background.

Lurtz - I've not attempted the white hand on his face - I may go back and try that later.


And a metal crossbowman - i wonder whatever happened to the other two that must have been in the blister?

I've now got 12 Uruk Hai plastic trackers underway. That's probably enough.

Monday 27 April 2020

British Napoleonics

More plastic Perry British.
Just sitting on the edge of my painting table for several months I grabbed them and bashed them out.

The flag fella obviously needs a flag at some point.
I find 3 to be the perfect number for some swift batch painting  - enough to make it faster than painting singles and not so many that I get bored of doing the same colour over and over.

Sunday 26 April 2020

Rebels and Patriots Peninsular War

I've been pottering along painting Napoleonic figures on and off for a while and lockdown means I've added a fair few more.
There's been no real plan for these. I bought the original plastic boxes when the Perry's first released them (Alan hand delivered them to my desk at GW - not to imply that was anything special, loads of GW people had ordered them, so he just walked around the building handing them over) so it's been a very drip-drip process.
I  started off imagining I'd use them for Black Powder but the numbers needed and the size of table required (I've seen BP played on a 6x4 and it's like a massively crowded supermarket car-park) means that was only ever really a pipe dream.
Steve has written some rules, but we've never actually played them.
We did play BP small scale (16 man units reduced moves) and that was OK, but as Steve was providing 90% of the models and General B wouldn't leave his house it was a bit of a logistical nightmare.
Initially we had some Song of Drums and Shakos games - which were great, bur Steve doesn't really like skirmish.
We tried Sharp Practice (and I'd quite like to give it another go now I've fallen more in love with CoC) but found it fiddly and unsatisfying.
So here I am with around 40 or so French and 70 or more British and no rules.

And then I played a solo TMWWBK game and remembered I'd bought Rebels and Patriots so I thought I'd give them a solo try out. Technically R&P isn't a "Naploeonic" set of rules. It's supposed to be for conflicts in North America, but it's got all the troop types you need for a game set in the Peninsular War, so what the heck.

This isn't going to be a rules review - there are several good ones already out there. Suffice to say it's a Dan Mersey ruleset so from the same stable as Dragon/Lion Rampant, TMWWBK and Pikemens Lament - think units of 12 and 6 and activation rolls. I'm a big fan of Dan's rules and not in the camp that finds the core mechanics off-putting.

Also R&P doesn't have a 'Babbage' built in solo mechanic like TMWWBK so in this case I just played both sides as best I could.

The game

Both sides had identical forces. Two units of line infantry, a unit of skirmishers and a unit of light cavalry.

The British rifles I upgraded to Sharpshooters (longer range, better chance to hit) and I gave the French Voltigeurs Good Shot (better chance to hit) and the Lancers Aggressive (better at fighting).

The field of war (French nearest the camera)

Lancers, pennons aflutter. But no leader, whose stupid metal horse snapped at the ankle (again) when getting ready for the fight.

The British are coming!

The British deployment.

First action of the game, the British leader orders the rifles forward. Startled by his loud voice they turn and shoot at him - killing one of his men.
(This was OK, I've played Warhammer goblins for years - just like a failed animosity test)

te rest of the redcoats pushed forward.

The French skirmishers ran to the tree-line.

Whilst their commander ordered a general advance.

The British cavalry did the maths of taking on the voltiguers in the open and instead snuck back behind the hill to lay claim to the objective.

The French came on.

The voltiguers and rifles started a long range firefight.

And the French infantry picked on the rifles too.

"Onward, mes braves" ordered the French commander. At which the greatcoat clad recruits decided to head for the rear.

The British commander tried to order the horse, but they took fright at the sound of French drums and headed for the rear. So the redcoats took aim at the top of the hill and waited...

Run away!

At this point I remembered the skirmish ability of the skirmishers. And had them fire at the rifles then run back to the woods.

The French line also opened up on the rifles, which blew the green coats from the field.

The lancers, after a couple of hesitations advanced on the hill.

And were met with a storm of British fire that saw them turn tail and run.

The voltiguers broke cover and made for the hill.

As the French resumed their advance.

At about this point I realised the lancers should have also had a permanent disorder point for reaching half strength. So I took them off the board.

Once again the French leader called forth his troops, only to see them scurry off in the opposite direction as this time the skirmishers took flight.

Finally the blue-coats stormed the hill.

The British cavalry decided to try and make the skirmishers keep running - to no real effect.

A fierce firefight broke out on the hill - with one French unit driven back

The cavalry tried to switch flanks to drive off the second unit.

But galloped back as the voltiguers threatened the flank of  the thin red line.

The bitter struggle on the hill continued, with the French showing great resilience.

A sharp exchange of deadly musketry saw the British horse driven from the field, allowing the skirmishing French to enfilade the line.

But the redcoats held firm and drove the French from the hill.

With time running out the British commander ordered a desperate attempt on the heights

But in doing so exposed his men to the full force of French musketry.

Alone and isolated the game was up for the British.

And the French claimed the ridge and 'le victoire!'

That was a lot of fun to play.
Rebels and Patriots is clearly a "light" set of rules - if you're looking for the full pomp and majesty of big battalions clashing then this sin't what you're after.
But as a game of toy soldiers it was great, just enough period flavour but nice and simple and fast moving.
My biggest problem was "unlearning" some of the rules from Dan's other similar sets.
Understanding (part way through) the "shoot and scoot" tactics of the skirmishers and light cavalry made a difference, and I wasted the rifles' extra range because of this.

I'm now fired up to paint more Napoleonics for a full sized (or larger) game.