Saturday, 17 December 2016

Gaming in Colonial Africa 2

We played some more TMWWBK games at club last Friday, four players using half size units we managed to get three games into about three and a half hours gaming time.

All three games pitted Terrible Turks against Dastardly Huns arguing over who had the right to oppress the local population. As we had two new players the first game was a straight up "Kill 'em All" game, them we played "Get Off My Land" and "Run To The Hills" scenarios from the book.

                                               Turkish infantry shelter in the jungle

The Turks:
3 units Line Infantry (Regular Inf)
2 units Militia (Irregular Inf - Unenthusiastic)

The Germans:
1 unit Colonial Inf (Regular Inf - Veteran)
1 unit Askari (Irregular Inf - Veteran)
1 unit Settler Volunteers (Irregular Inf - Veteran & Well Armed)
1 unit native allies (Tribal Inf - Elite & Fierce)

                                           German Settlers - a mean bunch!

Saturday, 10 December 2016

D-Day +2, Norrey and Putot

At our Games Day on 26th November 2016,  We put on a large Rapid Fire game set in Normandy.

D-Day +2, 8th June 1944
After landing at Juno Beach the Canadians 3rd Division moved inland towards its objective of Capriquet Airfield. Whist moving forward and occupying the villages of Bretteville and Putot the Canadians were attacked by the recently arrived 12th SS Panzer Division. The game was based on the fighting that took place on the 8th of June.

The Germans were played by Mark and Colin. The Canadians by Henry and Graham. Ian Willer umpired.

The Germans plan was for the 12th SS Recce Battalion to attack Norrey. The 1st Battalion 26th SS Panzer Grenadiers attacked Cardonville and the 2nd Battalion attacked Putot.
The Canadians plan was for the Regina Rifles to defend Norrey and Bretteville and the Royal Winnipeg Rifles to defend Putot and Cardonville.

The Recce Battalion attacked Norrey and destroyed the two Companies defending the village. However the Canadian artillery and Mortars weakened the Recce unit.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Balkans War Demo Game Army Lists

There was a lot of interest in the First Balkans War Demo Game we put on at Warfare last weekend.
Several people asked for the related Army Lists, so here are links to them.

Note, these are Army Lists for platoon level games using Chain Of Command rules by Too Fat Lardies.

Balkans Armies for Demo Game -  both sides for the Demo Game we put on this year.

Balkans Greek Army 1912-13 - more options for the Greek Army for other scenarios

Balkans Turkish Army 1912-13 - more options for the Turkish Army for other scenarios

Background and Battle Report - here is some background information about the First Balkans War and The Epirus Campaign featured in our Demo Game. There is also a Battle Report

Friday, 4 November 2016

Gaming in Colonial Africa 1

We played our first couple of games using The Men Who Would be Kings recently.  These were played at the skirmish level using half sized units.

For the first game we played a straight forward encounter “kill ‘em all” game, to get a feel for the rules.

A combined warband of Longshankee and Stumppi warriors faced off against a force of slavers.

Longshankee Warriors and Archers

  • Longshankee Warriors = Tribal Infantry Elite/Fierce
  • Longshankee Archers = Irregular Infantry with bows Sharpshooters/Field craft
  • Stumppi Warriors = Tribal Infantry
  • Stumppi Blowpipers = Irregular Infantry with bows Field craft
  • Escaped Slaves = Irregular Infantry with obsolete rifles Field craft

Chinese Riflemen and Fanatics

  • Chinese Riflemen = Irregular Infantry with modern rifles Elite
  • Chinese Fanatics  = Tribal Infantry Elite/Fierce
  • 2 x Arab Riflemen = Irregular Infantry with obsolete rifles Field craft

The battlefield
The game was great fun.
On one side of the table the two Arab riflemen (or rather one as poor leadership meant that one unit was somewhat tardy) faced off against the escaped slaves and the Stumppi warriors.

The Arabs and ex-slaves exchanged fire at long range, killing one Arab, whilst the Stumppi tried to work their way around the flank. The tardy Arabs finally arrived, only to be charged and wiped out by the pygmies.
Two units of Arab Riflemen engage the Escaped Slaves on the rocky outcrop
but they are charged in the flank by Stumppi Warriors

The Stumppi then failed their attempt to charge the second Arab unit, who blasted them at close range, routing the survivors. They were soon revenged by the ex-slaves who shot down a couple more Arabs, causing them to flee the field.
The first unit of Arab Riflemen are wiped out but a volley from the 2nd Arab Riflemen routs the remaining Stumppi Warriors

On the other side of the table the Chinese fanatics and Longshankee warriors advanced on each other supported by their respective missile units.
Stumppi Blowpipers and Longshankee Warriors and Archers advance on the Chinese

Chinese Fanatics wait behind a rocky outcrop for the Longshankee to get closer.

As the Longshankee Warriors approach the Chinese move out to close the charge range
Off to the right the Stumppi Blowpipers are closing in.

Suddenly the Chinese caught the Natives off guard, by veering the fanatics to the side and racing towards the Stumppi blowpipers. The pygmies killed one of the fanatics, but were then caught by their charge and the last survivors ran back towards their lines for a couple of turns.
The Chinese Fanatics switch their attention to the Stumppi Blowpipers

The remnants of the Stumppi Blowpipers fall back.

A well-aimed volley from the Chinese riflemen pinned the Longshankee Warriors, allowing the victorious fanatics to charger them in turn, routing them. By now the Longshankee archers had crept up to close range (their leaders ability of “short sighted” meant that they could not shoot at anyone beyond 6”!) where they wiped out the last few Chinese Fanatics with a single volley. With the last two pygmies back in the game, the Chinese riflemen found themselves attacked by 3 units. They killed a few of their attackers, but were eventually shot down.
Chinese Riflemen try to fend off Longshankee Archers approaching over the rocky hill

Surrounded, the last four Chinese Riflemen are doomed.

The second game was quite different. We diced for scenario and played Scenario C: To The Last Bullet. The slavers stayed on and were matched against a force of Ottomans.

3 x Line Infantry = Regular Infantry
2 x Militia Infantry = Irregular Infantry Unenthusiastic

The Ottomans got to defend so they dropped a Line infantry unit to make it 18 points.
Ottomans line up at the halfway line ready to fall back on a defensive position
around the hut and the rocky hill

The Slavers have a long way to catch up.

This game never really got going, Apart from the Chinese fanatics, the slavers hardly moved at all. The Ottomans had plenty of time to occupy the defensible position with Regular Infantry (despite that unit’s commander having the trait of “Wheezy” and not being able to move at the double) and form a firing line on the flanks before the first slaver rifle unit was halfway across the table. One of the Arabs and the Chinese riflemen did not move at all for 3 or 4 turns. The Ottoman player took pity on the slavers and gave the rifle units 4 free movements, but still the slavers were forced to commit piecemeal.
The only Slaver unit to get close were the Chinese Fanatics who were mown down by crossfire.

Once the Chinese fanatics were mown down in a crossfire, one of the Regular Infantry units formed Close Order, fixed bayonets and marched forward, alternately blasting or bayoneting everything it encountered. By the time the slavers were down to one unit, the Ottomans had only lost 4 figures, so we called it a day. It had been a disappointing game, but mainly down to abysmal dice on the part of the slaver commander. We thought that this particular scenario was very dependent on the composition of the attacking force. If they had been mainly Tribal infantry it would have been quite a different battle.

Like Lion Rampant and Dragon Rampant, TMWWBK seems a  good set of rules that will deliver a fun game. We will be playing it more in the near future and trying a couple of 3-way games in a week or two to see how that goes.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Vikings v Normans Yarn

Berserkers lead the Viking charge
A fictional encounter between Vikings and Normans using Sword & Spear rules, written by Mark Lewis and published by Great Escape Games.

I'm sure there were disagreements between Vikings and Normans that led to some engagements, but Ian and I played this one just for fun.
My Viking front line units were three units of Huscarls, one unit of Berserkers and one unit of Warriors opposite the central wood. The back row were mainly Warriors. My original idea was to refuse my right flank by blocking the area between the central wood and the area of rough ground, hold the central wood with Warriors and then attack on my left flank. I put some faith into the area of rough ground to protect my right flank and occupied it with just a unit of Light Foot Archers.
Norman line up – in addition to Spearmen, Ian put most of his Knights on his left flank. The Norman lines were wider than the Vikings, but with only one unit of Knights as reserve on each flank. His Crossbowmen units were a threat if the Vikings didn’t close the gap quickly.
Initial Deployment: Vikings on the left, Normans on the right
Vikings: 1 General, 4 Warriors, 5 Huscarls, 1 Camp, 1 Beserkers, 2 Archers (Light)
Normans: 1 General, 4 Knights, 4 Spearmen, 1 Camp, 2 Crossbowmen, 1 Archers (Medium), 1 Archers (Light)

The Norman Knights started a wide flanking manoeuvre. Quite early on Ian realised that the undrilled Knights were not going to be that easy to control, especially as the distance to the General increased beyond the command distance. Because the Norman Knights were so wide and so deep, I decided to throw my plan out of the window and attack the infantry on this flank quickly to not leave the Norman Knights enough time to get into position to attack my right flank.
Norman Knights attempt a flanking manoeuvre.
Off to the right of this picture is another unit of Norman Knights heading for the edge of the board.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

The Men Who Would Be Kings Background

I have recently purchased a copy of Osprey’s “The Men Who Would Be Kings”, the colonial wargames rules by Dan Mersey.  Although they share some of the mechanisms of Dan’s excellent Lion Rampant and Dragon Rampant rules, there are many differences and I think these will give quite a different game to LR/DR.

Although I have quite a number of figures for colonial skirmish gaming, I don’t really have large enough forces to play the rules, but I don’t want to wait until I’d bought and painted more units before trying the rules out. Fortunately Dan has put in the option of “Skirmish Kings”, playing the rules with half sized units. This means I only need 4 or 5 figures for cavalry units and 6 or 8 figures for most infantry ones. Looking at my varied collection of figures I needed to come up with a suitable setting to explain the wide variety of troops I’d be using (including pygmies, Masai, Chinese, colonial troops, askaris and assorted explorers/hunters etc).

My games are going to be set on a fictional large island off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean.

The native tribes inhabiting the island are the Stumppi pygmies, who live in the jungles of the southern highlands and the Longshankee who prefer the grass plain in the low-lying north. These two tribes have co-existed in happy animosity for centuries. However there are outside influences on the island.

Since the 17th century the natives have been plagued by Arab slavers, who established several fortified posts along the Western coastline. In recent years they have been joined by a band of Chinese pirates. Originally pillaging shipping in the East Indies, the pirates were forced out to sea when pursued by the British Royal Navy ship, then caught by a ferocious storm and blown off course, to find landfall on the island’s coast. After an initial period of hostility, the newcomers have allied themselves with the Arab slavers.

On the east coast of the island various European settlers have crossed from the African mainland.  The British have established a “missionary outpost” and the French a “trading post”. However the most numerous settlers are of German extraction, who have established several large plantation on the fertile coastal belt, and are regular customers of the western slavers who have been providing workers for the plantations.

However, relations on the island have recently worsened and the German farmers have requested government assistance. A force of colonial troops and askaris have been dispatched from German East Africa, with the official task of “stamping out the evil practice of slavery”. In practice this means cutting out the middle man and reducing the cost of the workforce for the plantations.

In response the Ottoman Sultan, who had previous shown little interest in the region, has also sent an expedition. As the island was originally “discovered” by Arabs, who were nominally subjects of the Empire, if anyone was going to place the foot on imperialism on the local’s necks, it would be the Ottomans!

The influx of foreign powers has had the effect of overcoming generations of hostility and forcing the Longshankee and the Stumppi into an alliance to rid their homeland of the hated outsiders.

In the meantime the British and French have fortified the “missionary” and “trading” posts and are keeping a close eye on the unfolding events whilst awaiting further instruction from their governments.

I'll be playing the first games next week, so batreps and pictures to follow.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

GamesFest in Tring - October 2016

Our Fishguard 1797 Demo Game at GamesFest, Tring
GamesFest is a small convention held in our home town of Tring. It's mainly aimed at Fantasy gamers and Role Play Gamers with plenty of tournament games being played. There were traders and Demonstration and Participation Games on show.

Henry and Ian represented Tring Wargames Club taking their Fishguard 1797 The Last Invasion Of Britain Demo Game. Rules used are Donnybrook and they have demo'd this game at several shows this year. Although this scenario is based on an actual historical event it was well received by visitors whose main interests were presumably Fantasy. I called in for a while to give support to the event and the guys on our demo game. I didn't win anything on the raffle.

The organiser has posted on Facebook to say it was a successful event and it is already booked for next year on Saturday 21st October 2017. Hopefully we'll be able to muscle in again with another historical Demo Game to represent the club and Historical gaming.

GamesFest website
GamesFest Facebook page

Monday, 10 October 2016

Games Day 8/10/2016 and Soldiers Of God Battle Report

Making our battle plans. Left to right:
Chris, Mark, Keiron, Ian, Bill, Henry, Graham and me taking the photo.

We had two large games at the Games Day in October.
One was a Crusades game using Soldiers Of God rules by Warwick Kinrade.
The other was a Black Powder Napoleonic game.

Soldiers Of God Game.

Mark and I played the Crusaders on the left in the photo below and we chose a Left Echelon Attack Battle Plan (Charge, March, Loose).
Graham and Henry chose a Right Echelon Attack for the Saracens (Loose, March, Charge).
So there was going to be a big melee at one end of the table and much pinging of arrows, bolts and javelins at the other.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Memorial Evening and Dragon Rampant Mash-Up

Memorial Evening – to celebrate the memory of members past

Our first Memorial Evening was on Friday 7/10/16, a year after the sad loss of Chris who was a very popular member of the club with a smile and a chat for everyone. He was a great painter of figures and in wargames he always liked to attack.
Chris had a particular fondness of Fantasy Wargames so it was an evening of Fantasy Wargaming including a large Dragon Rampant game with seven players and also a 40K game.
Below is a Battle Report of the Dragon Rampant game.

Keiron's Dragon Rampant Heavy Foot painted by Chris

Dragon Rampant Game

Seven players each had their own retinue and we were arrayed around an 8ft x 6ft table. There were no formal alliances and there was a common objective in the centre of the table so large scale conflict was inevitable. Chris would have loved it.

Clockwise around the table from bottom left : Ian, Jim, Graham, Henry, Keiron, Bill and me missing at this end.
40K in the background

Some informal alliances were made, well one at least. Bill and I started the game very close to each other and we agreed that if we just turned on each other we wouldn’t have any chance of gaining the objective and we would be attacked in the rear by the player on the other side. We made a slightly uneasy alliance to not attack each other, but even so we each had a unit of Wild Charging Bellicose Foot on our facing flank in case the other got too close. I think Graham and Henry had a similar agreement.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Weekend Games Day, Saturday 8th October 2016.

Our next Weekend Games Day will be on Saturday 8th October 2016, 10am-5pm at the Great Gaddesden Hall.
It will feature a couple of games:
  • Crusades game using Soldiers Of God rules by Warwick Kinrade
  • Napoleonic Game using Black Powder rules. French v Russians.
I might get the opportunity to use my latest figures from Fireforge Games: Sudanese Spearmen with Command, and Arab Heavy Infantry.
Sudanese Spearmen and Arab Heavy Infantry

Our Games Days give members an opportunity to play more ambitious battles than are possible at a normal evening session. We have more time available and the games are multi-player so there is room for two or three larger gaming tables.

Sunday, 4 September 2016


Alan has been working on some modern British.

Here's a pic of some modern British I am just finishing up - a couple of Mastiff MRAPs, a Jackal DPV, and assorted infantry figures, some in Osprey armour and some in ballistic vests so I can use them for different periods, all in 20mm. As you can see, the figures on the left haven't received their "gravel and grass tufts" ground cover yet.

Monday, 29 August 2016


I've now finished the last unit of cavalry, a unit of irregular Tartars. Together with a couple of units of Akincis and some Irregular light cavalry these complete the mounted arm of my Ottoman Turks.  These are particularly useful as they could be pressed into service with various other armies, such as my Mongols or, once they are sorted, a Polish army to face off the Ottomans.

So the usual before and after photos.

Monday, 22 August 2016


As well as my Ottoman work-in-progress, the recent generous donation of figures resulting in other club members obtaining boxes of goodies. Ian bagged a shoebox of 25mm English Civil War figures, mostly a mix of Minifigs and Hinchcliffe. He decided that, in keeping with the era the figures hail from, he wasn't going to do anything too clever, so he simply replaced missing pikes etc, stuck them on new bases, just painted green and flocked. The result was a perfectly presentable army and, more importantly, ready to play and on the table when I'm only halfway through the Ottomans.

He has had a (long) ongoing project to put together 10mm forces to play Peter Pig's "Regiment of Foote", so the new acquisitions were based up for those rules. Technically it's a few stands of cavalry light, but there is just enough to field two armies for the rules, which is what we did at the last club meeting.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016


At last Friday's club meeting Alan and I tried another game between our Mongol and Rus armies using the excellent, Soldiers of God rules. Soldiers of God is designed to refight battles of the Crusades, but after a few games we thought that it might also work for the same time period in Eastern Europe, as all the troops types required are covered by the rules. Currently we use the cards that come with the rules, using the Islam cards for the Mongols and the Crusader cards for the Rus,

Despite a more aggressive battle plan the dice were against the Mongols who deployed first, massing the Mongol cavalry, both light horse archers and lancers, on the left flank and their, less than dependable, Volgar Bulgar allies on the right. The centre was held by a single unit of horse archers, the idea being to delay the Rus centre while the cavalry smash the enemy's right.

The Rus responded by deploying their own allies, all skirmishing cavalry and infantry facing the Volgar Bulgars, their crossbowmen and both mounted and dismounted Druzhina on the right facing the Mongol cavalry and  archers backed by urban militia spearmen in the centre with the heavily armoured Senior Druzhina cavalry. Their idea was to hold the flanks whilst destroying the centre and allowing their armoured cavalry to turn and roll-up one of the flanks.

Mongols start to surround the Rus infantry centre.

Sunday, 7 August 2016


Feudal Sipahis
These were the main fighting arm of the cavalry, known as the Timarli Sipahi. They were fief-holders, owing military service in exchange for land, in the same manner as the European knight. They served as armoured cavalry, accompanied by similarly equipped retainers. The larger the land holding, the more retainers a Sipahis was expected to provide.In the classic Ottoman deployment the Sipahis formed the two flanks, with the Timari Sipahis  deployed forward with the Sipahis of the Porte in reserve.

Before the process started.

After a grey wash and varnish.

The finished article.

Saturday, 30 July 2016


Part 2 Sipahis of the Porte

To keep things sensible I've split up the cavalry by type and will process them in units. First up, the elite cavalry of the Ottoman army, the Sipahis of the Porte. Also called the Kapıkulu Sipahi these were salaried, regular units which formed the cavalry arm of the Ottoman household troops. These were the first figures to be re-based, washed and varnished, then had the bases textured with a mixture of brown paint, sand and pva glue, before tufts of grass were added. I shall probably add a bit of static grass at a later date. Due to extensive house rebuilding most of my gaming stuff is in the loft and at the moment I've no idea where my flocks and grasses are!

After a grey wash and a coat of varnish.

Now with textured bases.

Finally with tufts added.

Monday, 25 July 2016


At the Tring Club we recently were contacted by a chap who offered to give away his wargames collection to any members of the club who wanted to use them. These were old 25mm wargames figures that hadn't seen the light of day since the early 1980s, but it was still a generous offer, which we gratefully accepted.

I ended up with a box labelled 17th century Ottomans and Poles. This contained about 300 painted 25mm figures, mostly a mix of Hincliffe and Minifigs, with a sprinkling of other manufacturers, the majority unbased or on flimsy bits of card, riders not stuck onto horses, loose spears etc. These bought back memories as they were the sort of figures I started gaming with back in the early 1970s. Once I'd got them all sorted out I realised that the Poles were quite incomplete, missing winged hussars or other heavy cavalry, so I put them aside for the time being.The Ottomans, on the other hand, seemed to be a viable army as they stood, comprising of 46 cavalry, 90 infantry and 2 cannon with 11 gunners. Admittedly the normal Ottoman army would have a higher cavalry to infantry ratio, but these would give me a playable army "out of the box".

My aim is to get these onto the table as quickly as possible, so no repainting other than a quick touch up of obvious damage, a wash and a coat of varnish. I'm not sure of which ruleset I will be using at this stage so the basing will be to be as generic as possible. I'll put the cavalry on 25x50mm bases and the infantry will probably end up on 25mm washers.

So here they are at the first stage;

The Infantry

Some of the Cavalry

Sipahis stuck onto horses and rebased.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Lion Rampant League, Round 4 - Battle Report

Fierce Foot face Yeomen Schiltron. 
Friday was a sad day for my Islemen in Round 4 of our Lion Rampant League. They were tasked with stopping Henry's Welsh from escorting The Messenger (Scenario H) from the NE corner of the table, to the SE corner. It did not  go well for the Islemen.
The Lion Rampant rules were written by Daniel Mersey and published by Osprey.

The Islemen units were:
2 Foot Men-at-Arms
2 Fierce Foot
1 Archers

Henry's Welsh units:
1 Mounted Sergeants
3 Foot Yeomen (with Javelin upgrade)
4 Bidowers

The Welsh had to guide their Messenger from the NE corner (bottom right of the picture) to the SE corner. The Islemen started with one unit of Fierce Foot in the SE corner (bottom left) and the rest in the NW corner.
Layout and deployment of starting forces

Monday, 30 May 2016

Vanquish 2016 and our Balkans War Demo Game

Vanquish is a new wargames show held in May 2016 at Bourne End in Buckinghamshire. It was a fairly small show, but very well supported with a Bring and Buy, good parking, refreshments available and a bar.
There was a good mix of traders, about 15 I think, plus some Demo/Participation Games.
Our well planned Demo Game had to be hastily rethought when we found the gaming tables were round. Actually it worked very well especially as we had a terrain cloth instead of tiles to play on.

We ran our First Balkans War Demo Game using Chain Of Command rules by TooFatLardies. Several people came and showed interest in the game and the club and some club handouts were taken.

Other Demo and Participation games included a Frostgrave game, The Charge of the Light Brigade and a Napoleonic Participation Game.
Frostgrave Demo Game in the background

At the end we thanked the organiser and asked if he plans to run Vanquish again next year. We were pleased that he does so we asked to be included in the plans.
Thanks go to the Vanquish orgainser from Newline Designs in the background.

These photos, plus many others, were taken intended for a Battle Report but then I realised I've already done one during the testing of this Demo Game. So I've tried to use the photos I have got that give some impression of the show. The Battle Report that was done for the test game can be seen here.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Lion Rampant League, Round 3 - Battle Report

Islemen Archers defend the supplies. 
Last Friday Graham and I played our Round 3 game in the Lion Rampant League being played at the club this year.
More details about the League can be found on our website.
The Lion Rampant rules are written by Daniel Mersey and published by Osprey.

We were playing Scenario F: Sausages With Mustard. I was the defender, using my Islemen retinue, and Graham attacked with his Scottish retinue. In this scenario there are 4 objective markers (in the form of supplies) placed around the central deployment zone and the attacker has to try to set fire to them.

For the initial deployment the defender can place up to 4 points of units in the central deployment zone, and all remaining units deploy at opposite ends of the table. I placed my unit of Islemen Archers in the central deployment zone to try to hold off the attackers until some more of my units arrived.
At this end are my remaining Islemen units: two units of Foot Men-At-Arms and two units of Fierce Foot.
At the far end are Graham's Scottish horde: One Foot Men-At-Arms, three units of Foot Serjeants, one unit of Fierce Foot and one unit of Bidowers.
Initial deployment with a single unit of Archers occupying the central deployment zone.
The remaining units deploy at opposite ends of the table.