In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Aaaa-ROO! Who's a Good Doggy?

Finished the shields for my wolf riders today and got them under some better light for better pictures.

Note that the goblin blowing the horn is on the howling wolf.

I decided on the red hoods because of a vague memory of a goblin in folk lore named Red Cap. Also Sauron seems to like wolves so these guys get a somewhat elite status (and well deserved from their first outing- see previous post).
I also wanted a spiffy flag for them other than yet another Red Eye. Thinking of Late Roman shields I hit on the idea of red wolves leaping around The Eye and then carried those motifs onto the shields.
I got the figures second hand from a chap on Lead Adventure Forum and Pete picked them up when visiting his parents this year. They came with little square wicker shields that I don't like, so I replaced them with some plastic shields from Victrix German and Numidian infantry. The original owner had already based them and did a nice job with putty and sand. Easy enough to quickly paint, drybrush and add a few tufts.
I've also heard on the interweb that the Vendel fantasy range has been sold to some one in the U.S. so hopefully it will be in production and up for sale again soon.
In Dragon Rampant I'm classing these as Light Riders with short range missiles for 3 points.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Thundering Dice in Barrie

This past weekend the Mad Padre and I were finally able to get together for our first Thundering Dice weekend of the year. So I packed up my legions of Angmar (including a shiny new unit of wolf riders who had some shields added the night before the trip) and took a scenic drive up to Barrie.
Tea was made. Burgers were grilled. Wine was drunk. Indian take out was eaten. Dice were rolled. So generally a Good Time was had by all.
First up was our usual Dragon Rampant grudge match for who held onto Smoochie, plush Dragon of Mordor. The Padre is transitioning to new digs, so we used the dinner table and only fielded 60 point forces on some basic terrain.
My wolf riders performed admirably in their first outing. They got annihilated of course (the New Unit rule naturally), but they skirmished aggressively all game and were generally annoying to the Riders of Rohan while passing all of their courage tests. The last wolf rider, instead of evading a charge by Theoden and his elite riders, stood his ground to protect the flank of some goblins.
On the other flank, I did drive off the Padre's head-hunting elf maiden skirmish units but Aragorn and an ent charged in and sent trolls and goblins running. Pippin and some Gondor foot fought me off in the centre. Rohirrim charging everywhere. It was a disaster.  I'm going to have to rethink my Order of Battle a bit.
Some pictures :

Opening set up. Evil on the left, Good on the right

New wolf riders!

Passing their first courage test

Notice there are only 2 wolf riders now, far ahead annoying the flank of the Good army

Trolls get the jump on Elf babes

Riders of Rohan vs. Men of Carn Dum

Aragorn runs about slaughtering Orcs

Pippin and men of Gondor

Who's a Good Doggy? Last wolf dies hard.

Towards game end.

After dinner was trying a new board game, which seemed to involve my space ships getting lost in hazardous regions of space and trying to build colonies.
Sunday, after a satisfying fry up and chin wag at a local diner, we settled upon Sharp Practice . We found his ACW terrain, but no figures or tokens, so we got out his long neglected SYW armies instead and used numbered slips of paper to draw out of a hat.
The Padre commanded the Russians and I took the Turks, making up things as we went along. I had twice the cavalry but the Russians had twice the infantry.

Padre's new Hussars

Miniature Fr. Petrovich blesses the troops


Russian lights and grenadiers

Ottomans having a traffic jam at the deployment point
I had trouble getting elbow room and ended up fighting the Russians piecemeal. My light cavalry initially bundled the Russian dragoons and hussars back with some losses, but then got blasted away by some volleys from the musketeers. The sipahis attacked and again got blasted losing their Big Man. Axe wielding levy troops fought Grenadiers in the wood with the expected outcome. The Janissaries finally managed to finally get their front clear of trees and cavalry to start shooting at the Russian infantry but by this time they were outnumbered in the firefight (the Russian infantry having dealt with every other target) and their heavy gun never got into it. So my Force Morale was down to 1 and it was time for some lunch and the journey home.

A good start to the summer.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Ghost Fleets

Last November Ravenstar Studios had a massive 40% off sale. So that made a few decisions for me and I put in a pretty big order. More than I was initially thinking at any rate, because you know more ships equals more scenario options, right? RIGHT?

Order away.

Now for the waiting. They'll show up in time for Mrs. Rabbitman to give them to me at Christmas and I can paint them up on my holiday.

I got my old copy of Full Thrust out to review and wait some more while pondering vector movement, rail guns and missiles to fit with The Expanse.

And wait.

After 8 weeks I contact him. Having grown up in the 70s with "please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery" and figuring with a 40% off sale he had been slammed with orders and was busy casting up tiny ships I was trying to be patient. But he figures it should've arrived early December and has gone astray in hyperspace.

He re-sends the order.

2 weeks later. Nothing.

A third box with some other ships sent out as a peace offering also goes missing in hyperspace.

So finally after 6 months I ask him for a refund. He sends me the refund and unbeknownst to me, a fourth box, which popped into my mail box within 5 days of shipping. Irony, being the most common element in the Universe, both arrived on the same day.

So I now have a pretty big task force of the very interesting Daisho Confederation ships and a smaller group of the sleek Mauridian ships plus a few transports and a honking big 15mm VTOL and a pair of cute little hover cars for my colony.

Now I've got to figure out how to base them and get painting!

And a big piece of black cloth. I need a big piece of black cloth now...

Monday, May 14, 2018

Gaming Heaven and Hell

I've been amusing myself recently contemplating an ideal gaming event, and naturally it's dystopian opposite. It's a humanist trend to think of heaven and hell in human terms (think of Supernatural or the super hilarious The Good Place ). My Uncle the priest thought that in heaven we'd be able to do whatever made us happiest. And next to being fed pie by Mrs. Rabbitman, gaming with my friends makes me happiest.

Gamer Hell 
You're in a damp cold basement with weak fluorescent lights and a cement floor.

There is only one table covered in that bright green rolled grass paper. Buildings are craft paper and tape. Trees are green sponge on popsicle sticks.  Other terrain are random pieces from Warhammer and 40k box sets. All thrown down without logic or a sense of story. Rivers are blue felt.

The armies are old, sloppily painted Minifigs and Hinchcliff figures. Many are broken and riders are missing from saddles or lean clumsily. They are based upon irregularly shaped unpainted pieces of cereal box card that flex when you pick them up, causing figures to pop off.

The rules are from Empire Press. Lots of enormous charts that make an actuarial accountant swoon. Layers of detail that in fact obscure any realism . It's a multi-corps big battle and you have to track how many rounds are in each skirmishers cartridge box. Which edition you're playing changes every turn.

Your fellow players all have bad hygiene and poor social skills. They argue over everything.

The snacks are hickory sticks, ketchup flavoured chips, unsalted nuts and weak American beer.

Win or lose, it's because of a random dice throw and a rules argument. Losing is a bitter cheat and victory tastes like ashes.

Gamer Heaven  
The room is large, seemingly endless. There are big sunny windows, and a thick carpet and plush curtains absorb the echoes. The wood panelled walls are adorned with artifacts and paintings of famous battles.

There are many tables for each of your favourite periods, and even some periods you always wanted to play but never got the chance. The ruins of Stalingrad on one and rolling Bohemian countryside on another. The forests and mountains of Middle Earth compete for attention with the North West Frontier. All full of detail; farms and fields have livestock, villages have villagers. There are flowers along lanes and in meadows.

The armies all would win awards. Each one has amusing rear echelon vignettes and baggage elements. Every troop stand is a mini diorama. You can play each period in different scales and operational levels. Roman cohorts battle in dark forests. Medieval knights clash among hamlets and hedges. Lines of tricorned musketeers engage in elegant maneuvers across rolling countryside. Dusty gurkhas relieve embattled forts just in the nick of time.

The rules are known from memory by everyone and there are no arguments. Play flows seamlessly and every dice roll gives a plausible result. If you win it's because of superior strategy. If you lose its because your opponent was better and defeat is accepted with good natured grace. The room is naturally filled with your best mates and those good folks that you've met on blogs and Facebook with whom you've always wanted to play, if you only lived closer together. Naturally they have good hygiene, excellent manners and dress like the Mad Padre.

Refreshments come from a fully staffed bar and kitchen with the cooking done by Nigella Lawson. There are side tables so that drinks and food are not on the table. Attractive servers glide among the leather chairs and they are quite happy to move that unit that is just out  of reach.

The tea is always strong and hot and the pastries are fresh. No one ever gets cheezie dust on the figures.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

In Which the CO Hears an A Cappella Version of "Bohemian Rhapsody"

Pushed a few limits with the Air Cadets this weekend and did a few things that the previous management never let them do.

First, under my DCOs direction, the Senior Cadets planned and directed an entire FTX weekend. The main objective, weather permitting, was for all of the cadets (not just the seniors) to make and sleep in improvised shelters. They haven't done that before. Then, again weather permitting, they were going to launch some rockets they had worked on earlier in the year. Again, the risk adverse previous management never allowed that either. Or camp fires. Or fun... I also let my Level 3 cadets and up carry knives (as long as the blades aren't more than 10-12 cm).

Our chosen weekend conflicted with a major Regional activity that we weren't attending, so drawing equipment from stores wasn't going to happen. With some last minute negotiation we got the rations and transportation authorized though. Then a severe wind storm tore across the province on Friday, knocking down trees, uprooting light poles and generally causing power blackouts all over.

Fortunately the wind abated before I was trying to marshall cadets outside to get them on a bus and off we went. No power at the camp site, but we had new butane stoves and running water so it was worth a try. It was, after all, a survival exercise.

Saturday was gorgeous and the cadets did a brilliant job making some improvised shelters using fallen limbs and tarps while cooking their own MREs (Meals Ready to Eat, or Meals Rejected by Everyone). The senior cadets made things happen with limited direction. My DCO and mine's objective of sitting by the fire in our camp chairs (while monitoring safety naturally) was also achieved.

The power was still out by night fall so a campfire was the only entertainment. Plus the DCOs iPhone and Blutooth speaker. So they roasted hot dogs, marshmallows and sang along to her musical selections. I was surprised (and pleased) at how much 80s and 90s pop they requested. But the charge on the speaker died at bedtime so off they went. Camp fire Karaoke will be a recurring evening activity.

They were all safely tucked up in their lean-tos and bivvies, when some rain swept through. Just enough to test their handiwork, but not enough to test them to destruction. So everyone was dry in the morning. During breakfast I got to hear an enthusiastic but fairly off key rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody.

Since we barely used the cabins and meal hall, clean up and packing was a breeze and we could spend an hour Sunday morning launching rockets. The Senior Cadets had a brilliant idea to order in pizza at lunch, which I gladly agreed to. Usually lunch on the last day of an FTX is a pain. Everyone is sick of MREs, plus you've been trying to clean up and pack away the gear, yet you have to leave the cooking gear until last and MREs make an amazing amount of garbage. So you've got THAT to clean up from just before the bus arrives. Pizza comes in handy burnable boxes and can be served on napkins. So it's just clean up the fire pit before you go. Brilliant.

Shelters made and slept in. Camp fire enjoyed. Rockets launched. Cadets had fun and wanted more exercises like this. So it was a shiny weekend all around.