Sunday, November 28, 2021

Scraping Off The Rust and Oiling the Joints

 What a wonderful day! 

Turn 2 or 3. The armies have marched on and begun to deploy prior to the clash.
Sorry for the quality of the pics. The lighting in the space where there was room for the table was not the best for taking pictures of miniatures, so the flash on my phone had to be used to get any pics at all.

It was a cool grey morning with the threat of showers and/or snow flurries in the air and on the radio and I was a little behind my time, so instead of my usual route of taking the secondary highway which cuts across the peninsula, I took the longer divided highway, nipping onto a secondary road shortcut which would also skirt Halifax and avoid the heaviest least it used to 15 years ago.... Crikey! The woods have exploded with subdivisions, malls, stop lights etc etc since I used to frequent that road. I should have realized that since the process had begun before I moved out of the city.  Next time I'll stick with the quiet path.

All of the troops on the table are 70's era Minifigs painted back in the 70's by 4 or 5 different people, including a handful of those wonderful kilted...pikemen!? and highlanders painted by me back when. (They are in the background here with the big Macfarlane crest on one flag and the cross of Saint Andrew on the other.) 

Anyway, I was still the first to arrive which was good because I had all the terrain. Naturally there was as much catching up as laying out of terrain and troops, interrupted  periodically by a new arrival and a new round of catching up! We were five in the end, in addition to myself there were 2 of the old (sic) gang that I've been friends with since I came to Halifax in the late 70's and 2 veteran recruits from  the boardgaming world that we had met at a local open gaming day in the year before COVID. Still, eventually we got troops and terrain sorted, players briefed and the game began.  Since there were five of us, two of which were new to miniatures, and it was only the third outing for the 'one side of a page' rules that I had written up hastily for a group game in 2018, I offered to be GM and coach.

An overhead view shortly after the previous picture. The Highlanders are recoiling from a surprisingly tough bunch of raw Covenanters. 

We managed a couple of turns before the excellent chili was ready....then with the troops fed and rested we resumed. It seemed like no time at all that the intended departure time had gone by and darkness with showers tending towards snow flurries were imminent. Luckily, the last turn had set the Royalists back on their heels and it was looking like a long reach for them to be able to turn the tables and rout the Covenanters, so we were able to call it and hurriedly pack up and head out. 

More Highlanders but these guys are being a bit tougher. The fact that I painted most of the Highlanders on green bases doesn't really have any significance at all, nope.

The scenario was designed by Paul based on the Battle of Tippermuir. He had written some special scenario rules such as dicing for the quality of some of the newly raised troops on both sides, limited ammo for the Irish, and so on. We made a few unfortunate choices about things such as how to categorize the open woods under the rules and the what effect the special rules would have, but nothing serious. 

We didn't have enough time to play the game through to the point where the Royalists could make a come back, due largely to the socializing and learning how the rules worked, but the socializing was the main event and we played enough turns to declare that Montrose was unlikely to achieve the sort of victory he won historically, if he could win any sort of victory give how the first part went. Indeed more very special scenario rules would be probably be needed to reproduce the historical quick collapse and rout of the Covenanter army but I'm not sure there would be any way to do that AND have an enjoyable GAME rather than an exercise.  

The scenario was interesting though and the game presented some good but different challenges to both sides so, with a little tweaking to the special rules, we plan to play it again. 

The one side of a page rules are available from my rules page (here). They treat units much like a board game counter and aren't likely to satisfy knowledgeable ECW or Pike & Shot aficionados, but were designed to be easy for inexperienced miniature wargamers to pick up and play. So far, the test games have all been enjoyable with new players picking it up fairly quickly, so I am resisting tinkering.

Game's end: The first Royalish assault has been held. The approach of bad weather and darkness have convinced Montrose to pull back rather than renewing the assault.

I have a feeling that it will be a while before there is another public miniature wargaming event here in Nova Scotia but that smaller gatherings like this one, in people's homes, will continue to happen more and more frequently, at least until the next wave comes.....   

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Teaser: It Happened!

First face to face game since the fall of 2019!

The armies enter the field. Covenanters to the left, Montrose to the right.

More tomorrow.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

ECW Battle Preempts Solo Fantasy and Leads To Building Boom.

 A Game! A REAL game against REAL PEOPLE!  In PERSON! First one since the summer of 2019. 

The game will be ECW hosted by Paul at his house on the other coast...of Nova Scotia, about an hour's drive from here. We'll be using his 25mm army but I'll be bringing along some terrain. The scenario requires a village and a church. I don't have much 25mm terrain anymore, but since the ones I built for my 40's are deliberately under scale and compressed,  I thought they'd do and Paul gave the thumbs up. 

However, I didn't actually have  a

Hammer Hammer Saw Saw...
So, quick and dirty and the cottage is wider than intended...but I think they'll serve. 
Hmm, the cottage wasn't supposed to be that fat! Oh well, once I paint the door it'll serve.
btw, if you're wondering: Yes. In real life my handyman work is just as sloppy and practical.

Well that's the plan for Saturday, which is still 2 days away so anything could happen, but....... 

Our last ECW game, played in October 2018


Meanwhile planning for the  Great Raid continues on the Gathering of Hosts blog.

My 15mm Scots have been idle since they chased the English right out of Nova Scotia so I though a few of them might serve as map markers. 

One way or another, there will be a game this weekend with a battle report to follow!

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Two To Get Ready

I managed to get the Horse Lord and Household finished today:

The Horse Lord.
(A bit of a rushed job and the glue on the base hadn't even dried but table ready.) 

These are Garrison figures from the Hyborian range....hmm.. well mostly Hyborian, the armoured horses and the lancer are from the historical ranges. The Chieftain had a nice sword, which he appears to have broken over his knee at frustration over his decade long wait to be painted, so I replaced it with a mace. Well actually, I was using a map pin to clean out a drilled pilot hole for a new sword and inspiration struck.

In addition, I refurbished another stand of the Federation Horse Guards, descendants of the old Valdurian Royal Horse Guards. They are Minifig ME range Rohirrem, led by a Southron officer, and originally mounted on the older,  S range era 1/2 armoured horse but are now remounted on Garrison horses.

1st and 3rd Squadrons of the Northern Federation Horse Guards.

The Horse Guards were amongst the first metal wargames figures I owned and are the more special because I bought them in person in 1974 from the Minifig stand at the Wargame tent at Aldershot, part of some sort of Military Show,  a weekend event of some sort. (I saw 'Wargame' and didn't really notice what else was going on......)

At the time, I was on a 7 week, (which turned into 9 weeks due to an airline strike which threatened to make us awol!) , $5 a day, tour of Europe with a friend from military college. Yes, even back then, $5 wasn't much so we mostly travelled by thumb with occasional train rides and slept mostly in youth hostels or where ever we could find space to roll out our sleeping bags. At Waterloo, after closing, we crept back through the hedge  and rolled out our sleeping bags at the foot of the Lion Mound, a highlight for me. (ahh to be 18 again!).

The wargame weekend wasn't on our agenda but it was one of several solo breaks and I had hitched out to visit the Castle Dore, at the time thought to be from the "Arthurian" Dark Ages which was "my thing",  and just happened to see a poster for a Wargame Tent at Aldershot, part of some sort of Military exhibition. Took about 2 seconds to ditch my plans and hope Eric wasn't too po'd at me being a day late for our rendezvous  (pre cellphone). All the hostels in town were booked but acting on a tip from an old feller in a pub I spent the first night in a police cell (unlocked!) the only time in my life to date. Got to the show and there was Peter Gilder and Phil Barker and a Minifigs booth and.... Heaven! to a young wargamer from the boonies! Having spent the day there, the group of folks running the tent graciously invited me to join them for supper and talk, a prototype game of chariot races, and to roll out my sleeping bag in the tent. Another real highlight, even better than that co-ed hostel in  Copenhagen and the two Swedish...but that's getting way off topic.

Back to the matter at hand: 

The raiding force mustered and ready for the raid to begin.

I was planning to play Wednesday or Thursday but I've been invited to join a couple of local (within 100km) friends for a 25mm ECW game on Saturday and am pledged to build and bring a village. At the moment, the village is just a sheet of foamcore so I have some work to do. It might, or might not, interfere with the game. In any case, the details of the mini-campaign, once worked out,  and the battle reports when the battles happen, will appear on the Gathering of Hosts page but I'll post links when the time comes.   

Saturday, November 20, 2021

One Down

One stand is done and the other is nearly ready.

Theodora is mounted on an individual stand in case I need her to do double duty should I decide to do some 25mm skirmish games

Mind you, with a forecast for a 3 day storm that includes winds of 90kph or more and in excess of 100-150mm of rain, which around here probably means a loss of power at some point, I can't guarantee just when the game will  be played and blogged. 

(Don't worry we are always ready to see out any weather for several weeks.)