Monday, December 28, 2015

2015 Year in Review

As this is the last weekend of 2015 it is time to look back at the year that was and take stock on how things went.  Back in January I had a few ideas of what I wanted to do and now I need to see if I had any idea how things would turn out.  If this year is anything like most my prediction are not likely be worth a hoot.

Black Powder

I had big plans for Black Powder this year.  Ironically, they are the same big plans I have had for this game the last several years, namely, play more Black Powder!   I really hoped to get in 3-4 games this year but the epic size of the battle we put on really makes it a challenge to do it very often.  In April we managed the only game of the year.  It was a large ACW battle based on the Chancellorsville battle.  You can see the battle report here.  This was the first game where we used a pre-planned scenario rather than just a meeting engagement.  The battle played out great and everyone had a blast.  Ironically, the planning that went into the scenario seems to have intimidated others in the group who might want to host a game (at least that is the excuse I have heard).  We thought about getting in another game earlier in the month but holiday schedules would not allow it.

On the painting front, I made lots of progress with both the ACW collection and with the Napoleonic French.  I an particularly happy about the French as I really did not think I would get back to painting these this year.  I managed to add three battalions to the collection and I have more in process.  All in all it was a good year for this game but not as good as I had hoped.

Bolt Action (and other 28mm WWII)

Bolt Action did not see much table time this year.  We played a couple of games of Tank War using 15mm miniatures as a test of the rules.  It was fun and probably deserved more play.  I also got in a couple of test games with my new British 8th Army force.  I am planing on playing in the Gathering in the Desert Operation Torch even next February and I have been working on the army.  Not much else to say about this.

I did play one demo game of Chain of Command.  I have been wanting to try this game since it was first released.  I had a good time and really liked the rules.  The mechanism is no were near as elegant as Bolt Action but I think it makes for a more tactical game.  It is certainly much less predictable.

As for the painting and modeling I got a few things done.  All of the items are for the 8th Army project.  Pretty slow year for 28mm WW2 but I did manage to do what I thought I would do.


SAGA turned out to be the most played game of the year, with 20 games in, which is a real shock to me and not at all what I predicted in January.   The local player base has been slowly expanding and we had a non-tournament tournament in May with some new faces.  I really love this game and it has inspired me to get back into dark age gaming as a period.

I built two dedicated SAGA armies this year - Vikings and Anglo-Danes.  These armies are mostly re-purposed miniatures with a few newly painted figures to fill the ranks.  It was a very good year for this game.

Hail Caesar

Well, I played in one game this year but I did not get my stuff on the table.  I did some painting and basing for this project but that is about it.  I just keep falling short on this.

Flames of War

OK, where to start with this one?  This is probably my favorite game right now and it has been for the last few years.  I had high hopes for this game this year and the results were a bit of a mixed bag.   From a game play standpoint this was nearly a failed year.  I played in a late war tournament in the spring and played a couple of prep games before that.  I ran a few small point games in preparation for a Kursk campaign I had hoped to run.  In the last week I managed a couple of early war games.  That is it. Eleven games total.  This is a game that has been around 30+ games a year for the last couple of years.  What happened?  Well, mostly, it was changing interests and perhaps a little burnout as well, not on my pat but on the part of my regular opponents.

As I mentioned above, I planned to run a Kursk campaign using a modified version of the campaign system Tim and I used for our El Guettar campaign from a couple years back.  I had six players, including myself, lined up - 3 Soviet and 3 German.  I reworked the campaign rules and planned out the valid army lists.  We were all set to get started and then schedules collided.  I pushed the start date back 2 months and schedules collided again.  So I cancelled the campaign.  I might revisit this idea in the future but for now it is DOA.

On the painting front I was very successful this year.  I had planned to paint my German grenadier force and I did it!  This was a huge army that includes lots of infantry as well as artillery.  I am really happy to get this one completed and I had hoped to use it for a mid-war force for the Kursk campaign but that did not pan out.  As it stands I have yet to play it.

The things I were able to do, gaming and painting, were all good and lots of fun.  I guess my real complaint isn't the quality of the fun but rather the quantity of fun.  I really hoped for so much more.

Flames of War - Great War

Tom and I decided to get this game on the table once the new book was released.  I painted my Germans earlier in the year and ended up painting the British army in a week so we could play the game.  I managed to get three games in this year and they were all a blast. I think Battlefront did and excellent job capturing the feel of 1918 while keeping a very playable game.  This is done mainly through sensible special rules for the armies and the environments as well as very well thought out scenarios.  My friend Al also has an interest and he has played a couple of games.  To me this is really its own game and worthy of being tracked and discussed on it own.  I rate this is a smashing success for the year.

Flames of War - Fate of a Nation

The 1967 War is a period I really want to get on the table.  Ever since Fate of the Nation was released I have been excited about this project.   My goal this year was to complete my Israeli Isherman force.  I did manage to purchase and assemble the entire army.  One set of tanks had some huge quality issues and it took 10 weeks for replacement parts to arrive.  This has slowed the project considerably.  Base colors have been applied and one test paint job completed but that is about it. This has been a bit of a disappointment for the year.

Fantasy (Frost Grave and Kings of War)

I had no specific plans for Fantasy gaming this year.  It has been something that I have wanted to get back into but never really had time for.   The Kings of War 2nd edition was a perfect opportunity to get into a game I have always been interested in.  This year I managed to rebase many of my remaining Dark Age models into bases compatible with KoW or Hail Caesar.  I painted several more models to help replace the one used for SAGA.  Using my existing historical collection made it easy to get this game on the table.  I only managed three games but they were loads of fun.  The rules are easy and the game is quick.  Just what I like.

The announcement of the Frostgrave rules this summer stirred up lots of excitement with my friends.  I felt certain that this would be on the table before the end of the year but sadly it has cooled off.  I managed to paint a wizard and his war-band and I purchased the rules and the campaign book.  That is all there is to say about this game.

I would rate this year as a success for Fantasy gaming if for no other reason than I actually did some.


I had not stated any specific terrain project plans for this year but there is always something that needs to be added to the terrain collection.  In the early part of the year I added some much needed 15mm WWI items.  Theses were all Battlefront items from their Great War line.  I also purchased the Gale Force 9 river sets.  These will be used mostly for Flames of War but can be easily used for 28mm games as well.  In the summer I added the 4Ground European Farm set to the 15mm collection.  After months of waiting I got my Flames of War Desert Fort set.  I have wanted one for years and I am really excited to finally have one.  I made several purchases for a 15mm woods project.  This would have to be considered a good year for terrain projects.

Star Wars

I really thought this was going to be a good year for Star Wars related gaming.  I had ideas of expanding by X-Wing collection and jumping into one or two other games.  With the pending release of Episode VII this seemed like a shoe-in.  Turns out, other than buying a few new X-Wing ships and playing one game, this year was a bust.  I should get in a few more games on New Years Eve but even that will not change the fact that this was a disappointing year for Star Wars.

Pike & Shotte

No real plans were on the table for this game but I thought something might happen.  Turns out nothing did happen.

Blogging and Social Media

With my increased painting production for the year the blog has made a nice turnaround.  I did manage a few battle reports but not as many as I would have liked.  Turns out that the amount of pictures and notes needed to do a good report really takes away the focus from the game.  My hobby is gaming and not blogging so I shouldn't feel too bad about this I guess.

In April I launched my Twitter account - @Drunken_Samurai.  I never had any desire to have a Twitter account but a couple of my friends use it regularly for their hobby activity and I felt I needed one to not be left out.  I am not sure it was worth it but it is mildly interesting.  I use it mostly for in progress posts that are not worth putting on the blog.  I have been following some cool gamers and seen some really neat stuff.

I have also been following more and more game related groups on Facebook.  I am not a huge fan of how Facebook does things but in the end, for social media, you have to go where the people are.  I am also on Google+ but that seems to be where the people aren't.


Models Assembled year to date (includes cleaning and prepping metal figures):

28mm Napoleonic - 24 (14 cavalry, 2 guns)
28mm ACW - 137 (24 cavalry)
28mm Dark Age - 33
28mm WWII - 13 (1 tank, 1 gun)
28mm Fantasy - 10
15mm FoW - 210 (20 tanks, 2 half-tracks, 8 jeeps, 9 guns, 2 caissons, 1 Objective)

Total - 426

Figures painted year to date:

FoW - 440 (13 guns, 4 trucks, 2 jeeps, 2 caissons, 5 tanks, 2 objectives)
28mm Dark Age - 65
28mm ACW - 57 (2 guns, 1 caisson)
28mm Napoleonic - 76
28mm Fantasy - 9
28mm Misc. - 2
28mm WW2 - 14 (1 tank, 1 gun)
40K - 3

Total - 666

Game Record to date:

FoW 4-5-2
FoW GW - 1-2-0
Bolt Action 3-2-1
Black Powder 0-1-0
Hail Caesar 0-0-1
SAGA 13-7-0
Chain of Command 1-0-0
Kings of War 1-2-0
X-Wing 0-1-0

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Flames of War Desert Fort

After months of waiting my local shop got my Desert Fort and the expansion set in.  Earlier this year, when Battlefront announced they were going to do another production run of the desert fort I got really excited.  I missed this the first time around and they have been selling for $120+ on eBay so getting a new on for the retail price could not be missed.  I decided to order this from the shop rather than directly from BF.  I knew this was risky as the shops are generally the last to get anything and any shortages hits them hardest.  In the end it all worked out fine, other than having to wait several months.

This should see some time on the table for early WW2 North Africa battles and also for Arab-Israeli Wars.  I really can't wait for an excuse to use it.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Rubicon Models A15 Crusader

I have been really excited about the new Rubicon Models line of 1/56th scale WW2 for a long time and now I have finally built my first kit.  I bought this a few weeks ago from my local game store.  This is the armor back-bone for my Perry British 8th army project.  I have had it on the table a couple of times and it makes a perfect addition to my collection.  I might even buy a couple more for Tank War. 

The model comes in a nice glossy box and looks like a proper model kit.
The back of the box give a nice over view of the tank and some example pictures.  You can see how much I paid for it.  You can get these online a few dollars cheaper with free shipping.
A real bonus for a gaming model is the inclusion of this excellent decal set.  This alone adds about $5 of value to the kit.
The instruction sheet is just like you would get in a proper model kit.  It is very nicely produced and accurate!
There are three sprues in the kit.  You cam make one of 5 different versions and not matter which you build you will have a bunch of leftover parts.
Here is the model fully assembled.  I built the Crusader III and it took about an hour an half to complete.
I sprayed the model in a base coat of flat tan. 
Next I painted some dark brown camo patches.
There is lots of different ideas about the camo colors on British tanks in North Africa.  This probably should have been black but I prefer the look of the dark brown.
After the camo I did a drybrush with a light tan color.  I not very good a drybrusing anymore - need more practice.
After the drybrush I added the decals and then did a wash of light tan.

I really love this kit and I can't wait to buy some of their others.  They are easy to put together and designed to be handled.  I don't thing there will be any issues with these as game pieces.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Frostgrave Warband

Over the summer several local gamers got excited about the Frostgrave Nickstarter.  The rules and background looked interesting and I was intrigued by the same skirmish fantasy setting.  I was not excited enough to jump into the pre-order but I did purchase the rules as soon as they became available.  Since I was not sure how the game would play or if it would catch on with my regular gaming friends I decided to build a warband on the cheap.  Basically, I raided my figure collection and bashed up a few models.

My wizard is from the Games Workshop plastic Empire Wizard box.  I am not sure if this set is still available but it is a really nice kit.  There are enough parts for two models with lots of leftover bits.  I had originally purchased the set to build inquisitors for =][=munda but that project never got off the ground.

From the same Empire Wizard set I built my apprentice.  This could easily be a proper wizard in hos own right but until I find a better figure he will have to do.

My Men-at-Arms are built from Wargames Factory Saxon Fyrd/Viking Bondi bodies, arms and heads.  One has a plastic Gripping Beast arm and shield.  There are also some Warhammer Fantasy parts as well.  If you look through the Frostgrave rules you will se lots of Wargames Factory figures used as the base for some cool models.

The archers are also Games Workshop figures.  This time we have plastic Rangers of Middle-earth figures from the Lord of the Rings line.  These are unconverted and fit well with the other figures.

Next are a couple of Thieves.  The first one id a plastic Gripping Beast Dark Age Warrior with the dagger hand taken from the GW Empire Wizard set.  The hands are clearly different sizes but having a gimpy hand likely drove the man to thievery in the first place.  The other figure is from the GW Giant set.  This is a plastic figure straight from the box.  Thieves are generally cowards so perfect.

Finally we have a War Hound.  This is a metal model and I think it is made by Gripping Beast but I am really not sure.  He is a big beast!
I am glad to have this project completed.  I really just did a quick and dirty paint job and I am now glad I did not spend too much time on this.  It seems this game is DOA with my group of friends so I might never use these guys.  Too bad as the game looks like a lot of fun.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

SAGA 7 Point Anglo-Dane Army

A few months ago I rebased some of my old Gripping Beast figures from my WAB Saxon army.  These were painted many years ago and haven't been used much for the last 7-8 years.  I did some touch-ups and weapons swaps for SAGA but they haven't changed much.

Anglo-Dane warlord.  I actually rebased this one a long time ago with the intent of making him the general for my Hail Caesar Saxon army.  He will be used for both games.
One point of Huscarls with great axes.
One point of Huscarls with great axes.  This and the unit above are usually run as a single 8 figure unit.  They are very dangerous in numbers.
One point of Huscarls with hand weapons.
One point of Huscarls with hand weapons.  These two are usually combined for one 8 figure unit.  Not as dangerous as the great axes but more survivable.
One point of Ceorls.
One point of Ceorls. 
One point of Geburs.  I find levy troops to be a waste for most SAGA armies and the Anglo-Dane fit that pattern.  These are only really useful against cavalry forces.

I have played several games with this army and done pretty well.  Lately my regular opponents have started to figure it out and are no longer surprised by their tricks.  They are kind of anti-Vikings.

This is probably the last of the dedicated SAGA forces I will do for a while.  With two completed forces I am set for this game.  I will continue to paint Dark Age stuff for Hail Caesar and also Kings of War but those will be multi-based figures specific to those games.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Perry British 8th Army Support Teams

I added a few support teams to my British 8th Army.  These Perry minis have really grown on me and I am looking forward to working on more of these great WW2 models.

First up is the Vickers team.  This is a four man set but for Bolt Action you only need three.  This will allow me to re-purpose the extra figure for some other function.  These figures are so small the gun and both crew easily fit on a 40mm round base.

Next is the 3" mortar team.  Like the Vickers team this is a 4 figure set where only 3 are needed in the game.  I will be using the spotter figure as an artillery observer and the Vickers commander will fill in as the spotter for the mortar.  Again, the figures are so small I was able to easily fit three figures and the mortar on a single 40mm round base.

Lastly is the Perry 6 pdr gun for the 8th army.  This model is really beautiful but a little fiddly to build.  The gun and the entire crew is on a three inch base.  For Bolt Action I only need three crew but I decided it looked better with all four figures.  Make no real difference for game play, just treat the team as having three wounds.

I have a few other items for this project so stay tuned for more Perry goodness.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

27th Regiment d'Infanterie de Ligne

This installment of the Napoleonic French project has the first and second battalions of the 27th regiment.  It so happens that between Warlord and Victrix I had both battalion flags.  This is the only regiment that I have more than one battalion flag for so I had to do both.

Like the other installments these figures are all Victrix.  The next batch is likely to be Warlord but it will be a ways away.  Time to take a break from these guys.

1st Battalion 27th Regiment

1st battalion command

1st battalion grenadiers

2nd battalion 27th regiment

2nd battalion command

2nf battalion voltiguers

The 27th regiment

Sunday, October 4, 2015

No Man's Land - A Great War Battle Report

Tom and I got together yesterday for our second Flames of War Great War battle.  The scenario we played was No Man's Land.  Tom had picked his own set of trenches so this was a good excuse to get them on the table.  The forces were the same lists we used for our first game but this time Tom would play the Germans and I took the British.

This is an interesting scenario and very different from other FoW scenarios I have played.  The table is divided into quarters.  Each player has a trench line on their side.  The main deployment zone for each player is from their trench line to their table edge.  The Germans would be the attackers and the British defending.  Each side placed an objective in no man's land and near each friendly objective is a patrol platoon.  The goal is to capture the enemy objective while defending their own. 

The initial deployment.  Germans at the top with a platoon of HMGs, reinforced with AT rifles and grenatenwerfers.  The German patrol was deployed in no man's land to the British right.  Backing up the German patrol was an A7V tank.  The British are on the near side with their patrol to the left.  The British trench was empty except for the commander and 2iC.  The British did have three HMG pits, 2 to the left and one right, and 2 18 pdr pits, one center and one far left.

The German patrol with the A7V in support.  As the attacker the Germans only had to hold half of their platoons in reserve and could start with a tank on the table.  The German trench was also well manned with support weapons running the entire length.

The British patrol starts near their friendly objective and supported by guns and HMGs.

The first couple of turns had the German and British patrols moving towards each other in no man's land.  The Germans were more aggressive and moved to attack.  German flamethrowers did their damage but their assault was repulsed by defensive fire.

At this stage both the Germans and the British were tempted to make very bad moves.  The British thought about continuing their advance on the German objective but corrected switched to the defensive lead by the CO.  The Germans were then tempted to advance into the British trench to flank the HMG pits.  They wise stayed on mission and move to capture the British objective.  The stage was set for an epic struggle.

For a couple of turns the British and Germans engages in a brutal fire fight and assault.  The Germans made many saves but the British were not so lucky.  The Germans wiped out the British patrol and left the CO alone in no man's land surrounded by Germans.  The British needed to get two kills to trigger a platoon test and the Germans would need to fail two motivation tests to prevent the Germans from winning.  This was a lot to ask considering how well Tom had been rolling all game.  Against all odds the British fire triggered the needed test and Tom failed the first test and then the re-roll from the company commander!  The fight would go on.

Meanwhile, the British reserves were slowly making their way onto the battle field.  They were well positioned to capture the German objective as long as they could make it across the wire and the German reserves didn't get there first.

The German reserves enter the battle and make good speed to secure their objective.  But before they could clear the trench line they came under sniper fire and the German officers could not get them to advance any further.

The German A7V, guarding the objective, was knocked out by fire from the 18 pdr.  All that was needed was an aggressive advance by the British and the battle would be won.  The British Mk IV tank bogged on the trenches but the infantry was able to advance.  Avert skillfully crossing their wire the British secured the objective and won the battle!
This was a great battle that was moving strongly in the German's favor until the last turn.  Tom's failure to unpin his reserve platoon along with the British veterans easily crossing their wire spelled doom for the Germans.  Frankly, this battle should have been over on turn four with the fight in no man's land but my luck really turned at that point in the game.  So far we have had two really good games of WWI and I must say I think Battlefront has done a really good job.  I can't wait to get the official release and start working on an American army.