Saturday, 31 December 2011


To all and sundry, near and far, I wish a very Happy New Year.

I will spend it with my wife and children, playing a few games and eating too much (I think my epitaph will say something akin to "Show me the buffet"! Does anyone know what that is in Latin?).

Have a great 2012 and I will be posting a few pics of samples for my next "great" thing soon. Steam tanks? Williamite war in Ireland? Arthurians? Knowing how easily distracted I am, it will probably be all of the above and a few more bits besides!!!!!!!


Sunday, 11 December 2011

Wargamer Show, 11th Dec, 2012 - Terrain

Hello followers and passers by!

It has been a while since I posted, but the past five weeks have been a hive of activity as I have pushed to get ready for taking my 30 Years' War collection out to meet the public at the Wargamer Show. Well, that day was today, and the tiny band of brothers (metaphorically, of course, as it is actually just me and Nick [aka Beithir], although he is my nephew.)

A good game was had by all, with sundry members of the Stafford Gamers coming along to take part. A very close run game, based on Steenkerke (1692) and called Steinkirche (1632), was finally won by the Swedes. The men of the match were the Yellow Regiment I only finished painting yesterday!!! They took on and beat all comers.The event of the match was Baner's Lifeguard cavalry, at 67% strength, charging uphill at a full strength, veteran kurassier unit (Pappenheim's) and routing them!

The lighting in the hall was not great, so I hope the pictures are reasonable given my limited skill with the camera, but, as we wlaked away with BEST DEMO GAME (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), I can live with that.

Now for 2012, some tweaks to improve the game and the terrain and more fun to be had. As I probably spend more if I am allowed to wander round at a show, I have convinced my wife that the expense and effort were worth it! Bonus!!!!!


The entire 8 x 6, laid out on my barely large enough kitchen floor.

Me, chasing my little sister with a wooden sword - ah, such a wonderful childhood!

"It's a bit early, but just the one won't hurt."

One of Ignacius Loyola's finest eyes the young lovers somewhat icily

One of the redoubts made specially for the game (but they are sure to get another outing.

The siege redoubt, again built specially, set against Nick's first ever attempt at a backscene.

The table in it's entirety and largely ready to use.

The Swedish objective - the Imperialst siege camp (the game was based on Steenkerke, 1692, backdated to 1632).

Conflix building with my cornfield.

The river bend cliff face, made from cork bark and a polystyrene sub-base.

More 30 Years' War

Some more shots from the demo game at Wargamer.


First turn, first arrivals - the Swedish Yellow regiment and, further back, the Red

The Red regiment

Hepburn's Scots may just feel at home advancing through the wet, marshy ground

Gustavus Adolphus jumping a random fence (shame about the shadow...)

Schlammersdorf's moving up

Turn 2 - the first wave and first reinforcements move forwards

The first defence - Munich-Ebersberg and Nuremberg leave camp

The Swedish Blue regiment marches down the road, flanked by Baner's Lifeguard

Holtzmuller's dragoons arrive belatedly

Baner's Lifeguard, led by Baner himself

The Imperialist Aldringen regiment were early arrivals but were doomed to face the Yellow regiment later on...

The Battle of Steinkirche, 1632.

As some of you may already have realised, G has been busy building a demo game for today's Wargamer Show in Birmingham. The scenario was based on Steenkerke, 1692, as depicted in the second edition of the excellent Beneath Lily Banners rules by the League of Augsburg group. We backdated it 60 years to allow my 30 Years' War collection to take to the field, the French became Imperialists and the Anglo-Dutch became the Swedes. A close-fought game saw the Swedes home.

I hope the photos tell the story of a great day out.


Wallenstein and colleague

Nuremberg regiment

Light gun prepares to fire in support of the Swedish advance

Lorraine regiment marches to engage the Swedes

Gallas directing traffic as his vocal companion provides support

Imperialist siege gun

The Upplands cavalry regiment wants some action

Munich-Ebersberg clashes with Hepburn's. Hepburn's break after a sharp clash, but the Swedes refuse to rout with their Scots mercenaries and the advance continues

The Imperialist saker comes into action as the Loebl regiment moves up behind

The Vastgota are also keen to engage

The Croats, fresh from a raid, burst from the hamlet in the rear of the Swedish lines

The Pappenheim Kurassiere prepare to meet the onrushing Baner's Lifeguard in the climactic struggle of the game.

Piccolomini arquebusiers arrive from the camp

Jung Tilly advance under Wallenstein's watching eyes

The Imperialist lines are belatedly forming as the Swedes close in. The Yellow regiment to the right will soon blow great holes in it....

The endgame. The Pappenhiem Kurassiere are smashed by Baner's Lifeguard and rout

The late arrival of the Schwarze Kurassiere does nothing to help other than force the Swedish Blue regiment into hedgehog

The Swedish Yellow regiment break Jung Tilly, having first despatched the Aldringen regiment in the Imperialist vanguard

The Swedish Blue regiment forms hedgehog in the face of enemy cavalry, as Gustavus Adolphus rides off to glory

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Project Earth painting complete (-ish)

After three weeks of on and off graft, the boards are now painted and ready to go to the Wargamer show on 11th December - all, that is, except the water features, which require some coats of varnish.

The biggest issue is getting the green right. Just what colour is "grass" anyway??? Yes, I know "green", but what shade? The boards are for 28mm figures, seen at a distance of about four feet for the average veiwer, so what looks right? The initial attempts at a yellow highlight left me thinking $%£&&$£!££!!!!!!!!!! The second highlight left me a lot happier. One major issue I still foresee, however, is that the show will be under yellow lighting and I was largely painting outside..........

I will post photos when I get some batteries for my digital camera.

I can also start posting some more photos of my figures now I have a stage on which to show them.

Stay tuned for both.


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Project Earth

Hello again dear readers!!!

And the next big thing on the G agenda?????????????????

Building terrain for a Thirty Years' War demo game to be staged at the Wargamer show in Great Barr, Birmingham, on 11th December. I have some figures (quite a few in fact) and a lot of desire to see this period, and this conflict in particular, on the "scene" much more often than has so far been the case. I have six weeks, I am one week into those six weeks, I have to start from scratch, but I have some valuable help in the shape of Nephew no2 - no less a personage than "Beithir", as seen in the Followers section of this very blog!

There are ten boards in all, making 8 feet x 6 feet (approx) in old money. Each board is actually 600mm wide by either 1200 or 600mm long, which is not quite two feet by four/ two feet, but is not far off. You used to get more for your money in the good old days of Imperial measurements!!! Boards are 50mm polystyrene, mounted on 6mm MDF, with 25mm polystyrene raised features and textured with whatever I had!

A special mention must go to Paul Darnell, of Touching History fame, whose books on terrain making, along with a few others over time, have inspired this particular opus, at least in terms of the methods being used to create the final picture. But, sorry Paul, my water will not be gleaming blue.I refuse to believe even the cleanest of streams and rivers was ever blue, even before mass pollution.

T minus 33 days and counting....................

The Full Monty, laid out on an only just large enough kitchen floor. I could not resist a minor gouge to get me started....

Marked out, after having drawn a scale (-ish) plan on paper as a guide

One of the two four by two boards.

A two by two, with curved road and trio of higher ground pieces.

The four by two above, with road done using brown paint mixed into white filler, and more filler to ease the slope

The other four by two, with road and river in filler, textured with sand, sawdust and model railway ballast (use medium or fine!)

Two by two with the same treatment

And again

Friday, 28 October 2011

RAID!!!! 27th October 2011 (or 1690-ish)

The latest in our test games for "Cutlass" was a faster flowing affair than our previous scuffles. Bradford John (6 feet plus of long-haired, bearded Yorkshireman), Sporty Becky (5 feet plus, long-haired, unbearded, almost twelve years old, second child of G) and yours truly entered from various points of the table, intent on getting to the central house to loot it. In our way stood Nephew Nick's (6 feet plus of short-haired, bearded South Staffordshireman) crew, dotted around the table on sentry duty (not that you would know it as they could not see a thing......)

I mosied up to sentry number one and shot him, he ran, so I ran him through! Sentry number two followed soon after, but the musketeer in the ruined shack was of sterner stuff and put up a longer fight against two of Monkey Pete's (i.e. my) crewmen. But the alarm had been raised by sentry one before he died, so the game was on!

Becky (Monsieur de Fense de Fumay) ignored everyone and marched straight up to the house, past all the sentries and my sluggish landlubbers, opened the back door and went in to search for loot. If she had remembered to light a candle, she might have found some too, but six turns later, the gold came to light at last, not before John had wiped out all bar one of the remaining sentries and had reached the house himself and I had moved round the back, shooting at de Fense de Fumay's crew on the way, and set fire to the place!!!

Out ran de Fense de Fumay and a henchman and Monkey Pete chased off after him, but not before an encounter with Captain John, who had sneaked up and tried to harm poor, innocent Pete. Pete did the only thing he could and stepped over Captain John's body.........

With both John and Nick out of the game, Monkey Pete caught up with de Fense de Fumay and took him down, but the Frenchman's crew had caught up too and a bloody buckling of swashes swung back and forth. Tired and in need of a shot or two of "victuals", the Frenchies and Monkey Pete's finest agreed to split the loot and call it a day.

Huzzah for fair play and honesty!!!!! And who said "crime doesn't pay???? With John bemoaning the "family gang up", we packed up and left for the night. Don't mess with Don G! Or Monkey Pete!!!

Familiarity and better clarity of the rules following rereads and play testing meant this game flowed more quickly than before, even with Becky being a new player and not at all used to wargames. They will get more outings in the near future as we try more of the printed scenarios from the book and, no doubt, a few of our own.

The major plus point for me??? Monkey Pete can hit a bull's botty with a banjo, unlike his (late)predecessor.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

PIRATES (Aaaarrrggghhh!!!!)

All good crews get a flag

Monkey Pete digging around in the dunes

Two of Monkey Pete's finest have spotted something - treasure or a native girl (you decide)

The Barbary Corsairs, possibly on a slave raid in deepest Cornwall

"you put your right arm up, your right arm down..."

Big Yousuf glowers for the camera

Cap'n Morgan, who is as blind as a bat given his last outing with the gun at Stafford Games on 13th October, seems to have got lucky nevertheless

Purser Barclay asks Roger for some help with the accounting

Monsieur le Sieur de Fense de Fumay, his first mate and current squeeze all looking menacing

Allez maintenant vous Cochons!!!

"Zut alors! Je voudrais le nouveau armoire, je pense"

I love pirate games in the (Spanish?) Main. What better chance does one have to let rip with entendres, general bad behaviour, deviancy, skullduggery and other nefarious traits without risk of imprisonment? So far, however, we have tried out just two sets of rules, namely Legends of the High Seas (LOTHS) and Cutlass. For my money, I prefer LOTHS.
Cutlass has some good bits and give a good game, but I have reservations about the multi-moving bit based on initiative (I reckon there will be a tendency to ignore the lesser figures and the heroes will get too much of the game) and I think it is a slower game than LOTHS, harder to track and not quite "it" for me. LOTHS has its quirks, as with any Wrahammer system IMO (don't get me started on how gross spear users can be), and career progression can be a bit rapid and potentially over-powering, but it is simpler than Cutlass and, I think quicker. You pays your money, I guess..........Or more likely, robs it from some lackey of the local Governor, end up with a price on your head and spend the next few years touring sundry, sweaty, malaria-riddled holes before dying in a brawl brought on by your tongue, made loose by your dependency on vast quantities of rum. Either that, or you fall foul of the law and spend a few hours in a dank cell before they walk you out to the gallows.....

It is a great shame that Hollywood spent so much time making Westerns and so little on pirates. Then again, it is no doubt so much easier to drive out to some part of Arizona or New Mexico, knock up a few wooden shacks and a saloon, roll a few balls of tumble weed about and race a few horses around to create more dust than it is to fly to the Caribbean, build a galleon or two and blow up half an island with various barrels of powder. But Western gunfight scenarios translate pretty well to pirates and both genres are ideal for multi-player outings, so pirates will be here to stay in the G armoury.
In any case, I have just painted up another 20, with a few more (and a ship!!!!) still to come. That makes 62 and counting, surely enough for a jolly decent, multi-player, massed punch up in some far off dive.....................