Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The stormarrives

Sorry, not a gaming post, more a reflection on the unfolding events here in NZ and elsewhere.

As with many places in the world we've been watching as the corona virus pandemic unfolds. A little over a week ago it was NZs turn to be hit.

We've had a pretty average summer down this way, but autumn has finally cleared up and Saturday week ago (the 14th) was a stunning day. I was down at the bach so got out for an enjoyable little surf with a half dozen other people including a father and his kids. It was pretty much a perfect day down  at Kakanui but since then though the world has started to change...

Roll forward a few days and our cases of corona virus started to climb, 6, 11, 23... etc. On Saturday our new classification were implemented, Alert level 2. It wasn't to last.

A few weeks back I returned to Oranga Tamariki (Ministry of Children) after having last worked as a care and protection social worker 12 years ago. As we are deemed an essential service we will be working though the crisis and so Monday morning was a series of meetings to determine how to implement the changes required. Lunchtime yesterday and the announcement came thought that we were going to alert level 3 and we will implement alert level 4 by Wednesday (tomorrow). Level 4 is a complete shut down, only essential workers to be at work and there will be travel restrictions, so I headed down to the bach after work last night to get some bits and pieces and close it down for the next few weeks. As my wife and I headed south out of town we encountered a southerly change and storm sweeping up the country which brought rain and hail. I fitting metaphor for the days ahead me thinks.

 My wife is a midwife so she too is going to be working though the next few weeks, doing all she can along with the other health professionals. In my office we are starting by having half staff at work, half working from home each day and no doubt this will change in time as the situation unfolds.

I’ve been thinking about my grandmother who was born in 1899 and died in 1993. She lived through  the Great War, the flu pandemic of 1918, the Great Depression and World War Two. Four events of epic, world changing, proportions. Until now I’ve really not been able to comprehend an event of such magnitude happening in my lifetime, the Christchurch earthquake being probably the closest such event here, though localised and affecting only a small part of the country. And yet in the past four weeks have started to witness what may be our generations equivalent of those events. We are in the middle of a maelstrom of historic proportions which is affecting everyone on this planet. 

Right now about 20% of the world's population in in lockdown. Something like that seemed impossible a few short weeks ago, international travel curtailed etc. Here businesses have closed, international flights all but ended and domestic travel too being heavily restricted. I, like many people, was a bit blas√© about this pandemic only a few short weeks ago but have watched it unfold with a growing sense of dread and like many am hoping that our health system won't be overwhelmed. 

The next four weeks will probably decide how we cope with the crisis and whether or not we can come though unscathed. I really hope we’ve not left it too late but can’t help but think that maybe we have been two weeks too slow in our response here in NZ, I guess time will tell. Hopefully self isolating will allow us as a country to flatten the curve, so health services don’t get swamped, but even so it is going to be a tough next few weeks or months ahead.

This event and the way governments are reacting is unprecedented. I think in time we will look back at be world BEFORE March 2020 and the new world that will exist post March 2020. This event, yet to really strike us, is potentially that, our generations Great War or Spanish flu pandemic. None of us know how our countries will come through this but for many of us around the world it is time to hunker down and to try and weather the storm.

Stay safe


Sunday, February 16, 2020


Another of those off again, on again projects of mine. I've just rebased some of my dark ages figures to make a Dunlending force for Middle Earth Rampant. The Wildmen of Dunland are made up of some old Glory Scots (I think), the figures were quite a bit shorter than the rest of the force (Footsore, Gripping Beast and  Victrix Vikings) so I put them on 20mm round bases to give them a bit more height and that has made the differences less noticeable to the eye.

The army assembles.

 Light and Medium horse
 Bowmen or scouts depending on my mood.

 The Wildmen

It should make for another interesting force for Middle Earth Rampant.


Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Oathmark Dwarves

Another force I've been slowly working my way through in the past year are my dwarves. The force is mainly made up of the Oathmark Heavy Dwarven infantry and Conqueror Models crossbow-dwarves. Although there is a slight differences in size the two ranges complement each other fairly well.

The Oathmark Dwarves are easy to assemble and a pleasure to paint with lots of easy to pick out details and unlike some of the dwarven ranges out there they even have knees!

The force for Dragon Rampant I've made consists of:

  Unit  Unit Type Special Rules Points Total Points
1 Dwarf Lord Elite foot Ranger 6 6
1 Housecarls Elite foot 6 6
2 Axe Thanes Heavy foot Offensive 6 12
2 Crosssbows Heavy missiles 4 8
1 Warmachine 4 4
7       Total: 36

The only unit I haven't finished yet are the Housecarls which I'll  run as either elite foot. I am waiting for more bases to arrive so I can rebase them to match the rest of the force.

The army assembles for war.

The crossbowmen are by Conqueor Models.

The Warmachine is by GW.

One of the two units of axe-dwarves (heavy foot offensive). 

The dwarven lord and his faithful servant/axeman.

My new bases. Joe atTitan Terrain has been making a variety of bases for me with roudnd corners (similar to FoW ones) in a range of different sizes for my various units.

 Kent has moved to CHCH to live so I think I'll hae have a little solo game playtest in the next few days of the stoic, disciplined dwarves vs the fury of the bellicose bugbear horde...

Thursday, January 30, 2020


I've finished off my last few Reaper Bones Bugbears and now have a 36 point force for Dragon Rampant.

4x Bugbears (Bellicose foot)
1x Ettins (Greater Warbeasts)
2x Wargs (Lesser Warbeasts)

Maybe slightly one dimensional but I'm looking forward to giving them a run soon vs my Oathmark Dwarves.


Monday, January 20, 2020

All quiet on the gaming front

Well, not a whole lot to report on the gaming front from the last few weeks. I did a wee bit of painting over the Christmas holidays while down at my bach- a few bugbears for my Dragon Rampant bugbear force, some animals for D&D games and started a few Galadhrim elves for another LoTR Dragon Rampant project- I’ve had few elves lying around but not really enough for a force yet.

Really though, have had little time or inclination for gaming. My weekly D&D game is really the only gaming related stuff I have been doing of late although I did pop round and catch up with my old gaming buddy Kent who is in the middle of packing. He is moving up to Christchurch to study and be closer to his kids so there may be even less gaming on the horizon for me this year. I do think I will try to head up to Christchurch once he is settled and maybe try to get some gaming organised with him, Martin and Ian. Maybe a Dragon Ramapnt day, we will see.

In the meantime I will endeavour to work up some energy to get my butt into gear and get some gaming stuff under way…soon.


Thursday, November 28, 2019

DR Bugbears vs Rohan

I popped up to CHCH for work yesterday so took the opportunity to take up some figures and have a game of Dragon rampant vs Ian in the evening. We played 32 points and though a tad rusty quickly got into the swing of things.

I ran my bugbears
1x Elite foot general
3x bugbear warbands (bellicose foot)
2x wargs (lesser warbeasts)
1x ettins (large warbeasts)

Pretty much everything in my army had wild charge

Ian ran the stoic defenders of Rohan
1x elite riders general
1x elite riders
1x heavy riders
2x heavy foot
1x light missiles

The battle started well for the bugbears and their allies, managing to defeat or badly damage both cavalry wings of Rohan while the infantry stood on the banks of the river and watched on and their glory hungry general and his amtes met their maker and the bugbear warlord was feeling confident the victory was in his grasp. Alas, once the cavalry had been dealt with by the wargs and ettins the Rohan infantry showed a bit more mettle and stoically defended the river bank vs the waves of bellicose bugbears. Slowly they were driven back but counter attacks and missile support finally put paid the bugbears and the bugbear army literally melted away.

A fun game and each army played very differently. We were both a bit surprised at ho robust Rohan’s heavy foot were and they really turned the tide once the cavalry had been delat with.

Next time I’d probably look at a little missile support but overall as really happy with the way the bugbear army played.

A horde of bugbears emerge out of the northn wastes and head towards an undefended ford, the ford of Isen?

Before the bugbears can reach the ford a force of Rohan cavalry and infantry arrive to stop the incursion. 

A force of wargs drives the Rohan light cavalry back on the hill. In the foreground the bellicose bugbears head for the ford.

On the other hill the other pack of wargs also drive off the Rohan cavalry after discovering the usefulness of being uphill (i.e +1 to armour, pretty damn handy)

The riders of Rohan are driven back.

But they come back for more.

 Then the ettin wades in too.

After several rounds the ettins and wargs prevail, killing the elite riders and the Rohan general. The bugbear warlord now smiles and senses victory. Momnts later the rohan archers finish off the ettin which had 5 wounds. 

Time to send in the bugbears. This should be a doddle but alas the bugbears are about to learn why the heavy infantry are so good on the defence.

Anglo-Saxon battle tactics ##1: Find a hill and sit eon it
Anglo-Saxon battle tactics #2: Find a river and site behind it

And that is it, the Saxon battle tactics manual.

 Slowly the bugbears force the Rohan infantry back. 

Things are looking good but somehow...

It ends up looking like this. The Rohan infantry saw off wave after wave of bugbears and in the end retained the ford. Who needs cavalry?
It was a great game. 32 points made for a good sized game with a nice variety of troop types. We both made a few tactical mistakes but learned heaps and were both impressed at the resilience of vanilla infantry... when defending river banks.

I hope to get up to CHCH for another game soon.


Monday, November 25, 2019

Sabot bases

I want to be able to use my bugbears with both Kings of War and Dragon Rampant so have had some sabot bases made by Joe at Titan Terrain which will fit the bill nicely.

In non game related stuff. Moved into my new place. Last week we had a hail storm the likes I've never seen before, hail the size of golfballs. Thousands of cars (including mine) damaged and I also managed to lose all my guttering and got 20 holes in the roof of the conservatory.

The noise of the approaching storm was incredible then we had about 30 minutes of the most intense hailstorm I've ever witnessed.

The conservatory had a heavy plastic roof that didn't really work. I was planning on replacing it with glass but now it will be taken care of by insurance.

The gutter is a tad holy. 

All the trees around town were surrounded by a circle of shredded leaves.