Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Another Major Earthquake

Christchurch was hit by another major earthquake today- 6.3 on the Richter scale but only 5km deep and 10km from the CBD. We felt it here in Timaru (160km south of CHCH). I was just ending a class and it was one of those awkward situations, do we stay in the room or bolt for the evacuation centre in the field outside the classroom- I had not faith in the desks in our room. Fortunately the quake stopped before we had to decide- but the main jolt lasted a good 30-40 seconds and we knew straight away that if it was strong where we were tehn CHCH was likely to have been badly hit.

Most students went home as many had family they were concerned about. The earthquake was less powerful on the Richter Scale than the one last September but much shallower and caused much more damage to the city. So far 65 people have been confirmed dead but the death toll is likely to rise. The September quake stuck at 4am so caused minimal damage to people, this one struck in the middle of lunchtime and the CBD was badly hit and damaged. Tonight many people remain trapped in buildings.

Luckily all my wife and my families are safe and well although it took some of them several hours to be reunited with their children, which must have been very stressful.

Christchurch's iconic Cathedral in the heart of the city has been badly damaged and indeed people are assumed to have been killed when the spire collapsed.

The numerous of earthquakes since Sept 4 have weakened a number of buildings and today's quake meant they were unable to withstand this one.

A number of people are believed trapped in the PGG building which fell like a pack of cards.

As a result I am no longer sure if I will be going to Wellington for the Wargaming Champs this weekend, we may have far more pressing issues making sure family and friends are safe. We are also likely to cancel Day of Days next weekend as the people in CHCH who were coming down have far more pressing issues.

My thoughts go out to all the people of Christchurch who have been affected by this disaster.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

FoW- Panzer IIIs

The last few panzers for my Worlds force next week- panzer IIILs. Battlefront were out of stock so I got 3 of the panzer III warrior tanks and used two of those and a standard panzer III. My 231 armoured cars are also done. I'm not confident the force will do well, I'm taking it mainly as it is the type of force that I enjoy playing, not because I expect it to do well and for me that is the main reason to take a force- challenging to use rather than necessarily being challenging to face. 8 games over 3 days will no doubt expose all the weaknesses of my armoured panzer grenadiers list, if I can win half my games I'll be very, very happy :)

Truth be told I am regretting not taking the DAK with Bison list for its coolness factor and if I go to the Nationals will definitely take that.

True be told I'm a bit FoWed out at present. The historic (ancients) gamers at the club are playing a lot of Rapid Fire II and that is more and more appealing as a WWII wargame with the focus on WWII and not so much the game- and a more appropriate battalion level supports rather than overblown min maxed companies of FoW. However, that being said, I've a couple of full on FoW weekends ahead with the Worlds in Wellington then our own Day of Days campaign weekend (running Firestorm Market Garden) the following weekend. But who knows, maybe next weekend will reinvigorate me towards FoW.

Impetus- Scots vs Norse-Irish

Kent and I had another game of Impetus last night, about 250 pts per side. The game flowed faster than before- and the game only took an hour and a bit for his Norse-Irish to crush my Scots. We made a few errors with javelins- got the cav/infantry rows vs missile fire round the worng way and and also forgot to add the bonus vs misisle fire to cohesion tests. Minor issues that didn't affect things too much.

My Scots got crushed by Kents force in very short time- FL javelinmen are very nasty when massed. I think I need to add more skirmishers to my forces to protect my main blocks of troops. It was a good fun battle though, but I forgot to bring a camera, hopefully I'll get a few pictures of Kent.

[edit]Ah, he has. The Norse Irish.

And one of the Scots commands.

I think I am going to have to come up with a new tactic vs the massed javelins- I've lost two stands already!

The Battle lines close.

My main force advances.

We continue to take heavy losses on our right flank- but have at least wounded one stand!

Scottish skirmishers look on.

My other flank also melts away- my only 3 stands left on the table!

And they decide to call it a day!

Lessons learned.

Skirmisher screens are your friend- use them to negate the effectiveness of the javelins. Two bad going armies, one with a lot more missile firepower than the other. I managed to kill about 4 stands for the loss of 16-18 of my own!

A Scottish force (1000-1100AD) has been posted on the Impetus forums, I might build an army with that for next time and see how we do.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

New Bach

Not really wargaming related but yesterday was my wife's birthday and we also went unconditional on our new bach (holiday home- whcih she claims is her birthday present. If it keeps me in the good books who am I to disagree?).

Small language lesson: Apparently the term "bach" ( that's spelt "bach" and not BATCH!) comes from the word "bachelor" and comes from the small houses that single men lived in in the bush and goldfields of NZ. These days it is the term for a holiday home, although in Otago & Southland they call them cribs.

So we've paid our deposit, all the reports have checked out and we take possession next Friday, which also happens to be our 15th wedding anniversary, and ill definitely be heading down for the weekend.

Here are a few pictures.

It has views out over the Kakanui Mountains.
The bach is located in Kakanui, a small coastal town about 10km south of Oamaru and off the main roads so is not at all touristy!

This is the main reason I love Kakanui- All Day Bay.
A 4-5 km stretch of golden sand, protected from the easterly by the headland so even when the easterly is closing out the surf further along the coast it still quite often has a decent wave. All Day Bay is the first surf beach between Christchuch and Dunedin (and is about 270 km from ChCh - but only 90km from home so an hours drive for me!). The only other surf spot being Patiti and Jack's points at Timaru but these are both reef breaks and can be a bit dangeorus in a kayak-but can be a lot of fun.
Quite often when out surf-kayaking (I don't surf these days) there are a couple of hector's dolphins swimming about. 40 people on the beach at the height of summer is a busy day! Kakanui truely is still a place unspoilt by development and unlike many other parts of the NZ coast bachs are not ridiculously overpriced (although you do pay top dollar for views over All Day Bay- hence our view on the protected landward side of the Kakanui hill).


Normans for Impetus

In the past week I've been working on my Impetus Normans. I rebased two stands of crossbows and two of Normans pears and have added another 4 stands of spears. Tonight's job is to paint up two stands of skirmishers and then the infantry component is finished. I've modified my basing system so it is a bit slower. I am awaiting some Gripping Beast spears so I can finish them.

All figures are Crusader Miniatures. I really like these and will probably get some more in future.

I've also a box of Crusader Norman knights but am waiting until my Conquest knights arrive before beginning them as I want to mix the Crusader and Conquest figures on each base to get a bit of weight on each stand. I've three boxes of Conquest knights to come which will give me at least 48 knights (although apparently there are three spares in each box as well) so will be able to make 12 stands with 4 figures per stand. however, I will probably do a few less and also make some light cavalry bases too and intend to convert a few to finish off my Welsh army.

Flames of War
My 231 armoured cars from Battlefront have finally arrived- they sent me some AEC armoured cars instead! It took a few weeks to sort out the mistake which was a bit frustrating, but I now need to finish those and a couple of panzer IIIs for my Worlds force. BF were out of panzer IIILs so I grabbed a couple more of the panzer III warriors tank and will use those as my panzers supporting my armoured panzer grenadiers.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Merchants and Maruders + Peter Jackson

"Toy Soldiers" led the national news tonight. Why? Simple. The American gaming store owner who "borrowed" PJs credit card to the tune of $250,000 was sentenced to jail for his crimes- not that PJ noticed the fradulent bills. It was quite amusing to see shots of metal fallschrimjager and plastic soldiers leading the news though.

Last night we played Dale's new board game, Merchants & Maruders. A fun game which I somehow won. You have 2 options win by merchanting or win by pirating (or a mixture of both) your way round the Caribbean. You can either buy and trade goods, or simply board ships and steal them (if you aren't sunk in the battle). Straightforward rules the game flowed well and was engaging from the start. My only gripe, it is limited to 4 players, 6 could have really made for a fun game! It was the first board game I'd played for quite a while, Dale is still a major board game fanatic, its just with families and other issues its hard to find the time. Hopefully we'll get another game of this, or one of his other games, in soon.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Quick Update

I've reflocked most of my Dark Ages armies now using static grass and have been working on my Crusader Norman Spearmen and really like them. Nice proportions and detail on the figures. I'm waiting for some spears in the Gripping beast Order so I can finish them off and get some photos.

Hope to have the Conquest Normans soon. My aim is to get my 6x Dark Ages armies to 250pts for Impetus (some will easily be bigger but will get the first 250 pts done. Each force is typically 12-16 bases. Later in the year I'd like to run a 6 player 1066 campaign using Impetus.

The armies are: Welsh, Pre-Feudal Scots, Vikings, Norse-Irish, Anglo-Danes and Normans. The vikings, Normans and Welsh needing the most work (bases) to finish)

Board Gaming
Tonight four of us are trying out a new board game of Dales called Merchants and Marauders. Pirates in the Caribbean apparently so should be fun.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Gripping Beast, Crusader & Old Glory 28mm

I've decided to build all my Dark Ages forces up to 400pts for Impetus. I really enjoyed the game the other night and it had a much better feel than DBA where all the Dark Ages armies tend to be a bit bland. I never finished my DBA 28mm Viking army as I could not face the prospect of playing a boring army with 10+ Blades! I tired it once in 15mm and wasn't my idea of a fun army to play.

To fill out my ranges I've ordered a Gripping Beast Army deal- 4 army unit packs for 100pds- I've decided to go with Irish, Welsh, Viking Bondi and Viking Huscarls. I've the start of a Welsh army already and want to complete it. The Bondi will be lighter armed troops in my Viking army and the more heavily armed huscarls will be interspersed with the GB plastic vikings and also make a couple of stands of Veteran Huscarls as well.

Gripping-Beast Norse Irish. These are my favourite range, I love the poses and figures. In fact I've just ordered more. This is the frist time I tried a single shield colour and really like the impact on table. Probably not realistic but it ties the unit together nicely.

Crusader Irish. Personally I don't like these guys. My issue being that there are only 4 different poses in a pack of 8 figures so they tend to lack a bit of variety. I intend to use these guys as kerns, although technically they probably should be more heavily armed noble or bonnachts but really can't see them getting much use! I've got 2 packs of the new Crusader Scots range which I was going use with my Welsh army and now intend to mix them with the GB Welsh I've ordered. Also I've decided I prefer plainer shields for the regular troops so will focus on plain, dark colours in future and leave fancy sheild designs to the nobles and veteran troops.

Old Glory Scots. I've a few OG figures/range and some I don't like- especially the Moor Cavalry I started last year. However, these Scots are one range I absolutely love. Great poses, really animated and to my mind they capture the ferocity of the Scots and to me they simply look right! I also am a real fan of the shields, I love the detail on the wooden shields especially. This is one OG range I'll happliy get again! Although I bought them for my Pre-Fuedal Scots, they'll morprh into allies/extras for most of my Dark Ages forces. Alas the Scots is the one 1000AD force I want that is not included in Extra Impetus 2, so I intend to make my own list combining elements of the Welsh and Irish lists and using the DBA list as a guide.

I think units of 4 bases (24 figures) looks great and are a good base for building larger armies as time goes by.

From right to left: Gripping Beast Irish, Crusader Irish, OG Scots.

At the club on Wednesday night the guys asked if Kent and I were intended to run a comp or evena demo game at TAGCON (Sept) this year. We may look at putting on a 28mm Impetus demo game, I like the idea of refighting either Hastings or even Brunanburgh (which was covered in Wargames Illustrated 271). The advantageof the latter being a bit more variety in troops as we could use Norse-Irish, Viking, Scots and Anglo-Saxon figures/ranges. 2x 400 pt commands per side would make for a very impressive game on a 6x8 table!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Impetus- Vikings vs Norse Irish

A couple of the club's ancient players joined Kent and I for our Impetus bash- Vikings vs Norse- Irish, about 210pts per side. One player had never wargamed beofre and ther others were a couple of our DBA regualrs. We divided the Viking command into three and the Irish into two commands.

Vikings (approx 211 pts)

  • 1x FP Guard Huscarls (fair general)
  • 1x FP Vet Huscarls
  • 2x FP Huscarls

  • 1x FP Guard Huscarl (Poor General)
  • 1x FP Vet Huscarls
  • 2x FP Huscarls

  • 2x FP Huscarls
  • 2x Hird (Bondi)
  • 1x S Archers

Norse-Irish (Approx 213 pts)

Simons command

  • 1xFL Noble (fair general)
  • 4 FL Bonnachts
  • 2x Viking FP Huscarls (allies)

My command

  • 1x FL Noble (poor general)
  • 4 FL Kerns
  • Viking Allies: 2x FP Vet Huscarls

It was a bloody battle but in the end the Norse-Irish triumphed.

We (the Norse-Irish) drew first blood and managed to route the Viking command on our far left flank. Which meant that we were qable to threaten to roll up the flank.

My kerns held back and let the Vikings advance but in the end grew impatient and advanced to throw javelins at the advancing vikings- whch was fine until the vikings got too close and my command collapsed under the viking onslaught. However, that meant the Kent's command was too far away to assit the rest of the Viking force that was now outnumbered by Simons Irish troops.

Simons vikings and general saw off a number of assaults and eventually broke two of the three Viking commands to take a the win. The Irish javelins were very, very handy but I really liked the feel of the game as we were trying to dance around throwing javelins and sticking to the bad going whilst the Vikings tried to charge home using their heavy infantry- it made for a very interesting game.

The other players had never played Impetus before but got the hang of it very quickly and
enjoyed themselves.

A few pictures.

The Viking Ranks

Simon's bonnachts advance on our lft flank while the centre is held by our own Norse allies.

Irish Kerns await developments.

The Battlelines close

A view from the far side of the battlefield- the bonnachts win the melee in the foreground and the Viking command breaks..

Kent's General has just smashed my flank, rolling thorugh my Kerns.

However it is the other flank where the battle is decided.

The Aftemath, the Viking centre and right flank has collapsed.

A thoroughly enjoyable game!

The commands were a bit small but gave the guys a feel for the game and it flowed smoothly. Next time we'll play 300 pts.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Vikings Finished

I finished rebasing the vikings tonight. It is the first time I've used static grass, usually I use woodlands scenics grasses and ground foliage for texturing but have decided that I like the look of static grass, which means at some point I need to rebase all my other Dark Ages forces!

Here are a few shots of the Vikings- all are the new Gripping Beast Plastics (except the stand closest to the camera in the second shot- they are GB metals).

The flag I downloaded from Ray's Don't throw a One blog.

These guys are probably too spread out on the base.

On the left is a stand of 8 figures, on the right the new 6 figure version. The figures on the left are mainly Gripping Beast metals but at least two are Artizan. This stand is one of my Norse-Irish Viking Blades for BBDBA or Viking allies in Impetus- the LBM Studio Celtic shield designs showing that these Vikings have been influenced/assimilated by the local Irish culture- and so I can tell them apart from my regular Vikings.

As you can see two less figures per base doesn't impact too much visually- and when ranked up as in some of the earlier shots still looks suitably animated.

I need to get a few Gripping Beast metals for the Bondi I want about 4 bases worth (24 figs) for Impetus, so when I do order them I might also get some of their Welsh range to finish off my Welsh army too. I have some of the new Crusader Scots range I was going to use for the Welsh but want more variety so hopefully they'll mix with the Crusaders okay.

Organising the Vikings
My next dilemma is how to diffentiate different unit types. Under Impetus the army is made of:
0-2 FP (Foot Protected i.e heavy foot) Guard Huscarls
0-6 FP Veteran Huscarls
4-24 FP Huscarls
0-36 FP Hird
0-2 (skirmishers) Archers
0-2 (skirmishers) Javelinmen

The hird will be unarmoured bondi figures while the guard will be easy- they will have standards. The armoured huscarls will be the GB plastic hird. So the issues is how to differentiate the veteran huscarls. Maybe a dead body on each base. Another idea I had was to give them uniform shield colours, but different designs- eg black and white so that they stand out from the crowd. With my Irish auxilia/Bonnachts I've given them all a plain grey shield which may not be accurate but ties them together nicely and I think a similar system for the Norse veterans could also work.