Welcome to my blog, the story of my continuing journey into the World of Zombie Wargames.

Monday 30 December 2019

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone, I hope like myself you have had an enjoyable break.
As usual, I'll probably a most pious New Year's celebration and once more will probably be unable to remember most of the modest celebrations with family and friends.

2019 saw my hobby-related activities very limited to less than a handful of games and a mere seventy to eighty figures seeing paint sploshed over them, a half a dozen buildings scratch-built and a few 'clay' pots made. I'll be reflecting on what I'll be attempting during 2020 over the next week or so too.
It's been well over a week since I did anything hobby-related (other than posting last week's blog and finding a purpose in continuing anything for this hobby is becoming more difficult as time passes.

On a lighter note, I'll be going on a week-long break soon with the promise of a lot of board-gaming and  February 2020 will see me entering my 9th year in blogging, an experience I've mostly enjoyed, even given the amount of time I spend on it!

Once more Happy New Year everyone!

Monday 23 December 2019

Merry Mithrasmas

It's that time of year again, when we once more celebrate the midwinter equinox and attach various festivals to it, whether it be the Pagan festival of Yule, the birth of Mithras (25th December), Bacchus and Saturnalia  and others. The 25th Decenber was probably also adopted by the Christian faith as the date for the Birth of Christ and hence Christmas! (Yay)

  Whatever your beliefs, enjoy the holiday season doing whatever it is you do to celebrate or relax  relax etc.

I'll be back next week with another post 'padding out' the rest of the year as I'm more or less banned from painting, building models and most everything else hobby-related. It turns out that I have to enjoy the break !

So from me, to all the visitors to my blog, whether you're a regular, occasional or new: 

Io Saturnalia ! Dress up, drink to excess and exchange gifts as the Romans did.

or Celebrate Mithras , slaughter a Bull and drinks its blood

Just do  whatever you do !

(or just have a Merry Xmas as I intend to do !)

Monday 16 December 2019

"Congo" - Rules Review

Having scan-read through my recently purchased "Congo" rules by "Studio Tomahawk", I'm now in a position to give my initial thoughts on these rules, but near in mind that I haven't actually played a game even though I have read many great AARs of the scenarios I do wonder if I'll ever get the chance to play one as I see no way in which the game can be played solo ! 
The rules come in hard-back a little over 100 full colour glossy pages and include four double-sided separate sheets of scenarios, giving 8 scenarios. Additionally there is a sheet of die-cut counters and playing aids, plus a pack of cards that make up four separate decks.
One of the many beautiful double page spreads
It all makes for a wonderfully colourful set of rules with excellently painted figures, terrain etc. for the reader to drool over.
This bounty of coloured photographs is a two edged sword imo with more than a dozen two-page spreads and probably as many full single pages of photographs, it doesn't half bulk-out the page count. 
Even within the rules themselves there are additional photographs alongside those that illustrate the rules in question.
Single page photographs throughout ! (no boat rules that I could find!)

The rules themselves are well laid  out in a way that I could easily relate to - Intro showing turn order, the use of the many decks and counters etc (all to be explained in detail later) ; Movement; shooting; melee; morale (though it's called stress/ terror etc.) and various sections explaining the effects of a whole gamut of other things such as terrain, animals, buildings and so on.
The rules are simple enough and they use D8s and D10s alongside the mode familiar D6s, which imo is a good thing !

Clearly laid out examples, plus bonus superfluous photo
The rule explanations are mostly unambiguous and aren't affected unduly by the occasional obvious typo. The table size is originally described as being 72" x 48" though from reading the scenarios it was obvious that this was a major error, as given the movement distance there were some little chance of antagonists coming into contact! A quick trip to "Studio Tomahawk's" forums solved the 'problem', the playing area is a mere 48" x 36"!
I don't know whether I like the 'humour' in the rules or not (they're harmless enough), but do, at times, seem to treat the reader as a small child (but maybe that's just me being old and grumpy)

One of the smaller of four decks of cards

The game itself is a skirmish game, on a small playing area with two dozen figures or so on each side, limited turns and a lot of cardboard (be it counters or cards).  This is a format that has become very familiar over the last few years - not one I'm particularly fond of, but I can see the attraction of the cross-over between miniature games and boardgames as being a successful format.

Part of one of the Army lists
As has become the norm in many of this 'style of game' there has to be a points system and a force listing for each of the protagonists to choose their forces from, whether they be a single figure or a small group (ranging anywhere between three to six figures). The small groups always irk me, whether it be vikings, natives or whatever - why do I have to have three groups of four Askari rather than being able to group them into a single unit of a dozen ? It is of course a game mechanic, but not one I can say I fully understand.
 The forces are called, (appropriate solely for the white men's expedition) "Columns" rather than "Leagues, Gangs, Casts, Posses or whatever but why they never seem to be in columns in indeed a mystery!

Thematically, these rules imo aren't strong, as the forces involves could just as easily be Indians versus settlers in Canada, replacing the Jungle with Forest, Savannah with grassland, gorillas with Bears and Lions with Cougars and there are probably many other examples too. I was disappointed (just a bit) that I could only spot three possible examples of animal encounters, Gorillas, Lions and Crocodiles ! What about Hippos, Rhinos, Elephants, Wild Boars and all the other rather dangerous beasts ?
As for the rules themselves, there are many 'interesting' mechanics - movement uses 4" sticks, measuring from the front of a figure to the back of a figure! It also seems that one cannot move less than four this four inch move, which I reckon could leads to some peculiar situations ("Damn, I cant reach that blocking terrain - it's too close". Overall though  I can see no problems with playing against an opponent without argument or a different interpretation of the rules.

I was disappointed in just a few areas, other than the lack of varied fauna mentioned above. firstly there being no "campaign" element though this may well be rectified with the additional campaign book “MUNGO MAH LOBEH” using the experiences of Mary Kingsley's adventures in Africa (I'd accept one going spare, but will probably have to wait for my birthday money to buy one !)

Overall there is a lot going for this book, with many good features I haven't mentioned and little to really complain about (save for the price), the rules are simple but do have an element of skill with your card use alongside the usual placement of forces  etc.

If you've found amusement in any one of the other many 'fun' skirmish games (and there are a lot out there) , with a dining table sized playing area, few figures and over in an hour or two,  then you'll probably find this is probably your cup of tea too !

From my viewpoint, it certainly is a game that I'd love to play even without it's lack of a strong thematic element it can still be played in true Victorian Adventurer fashion by Gentlemen (and the fairer sex) against the Noble Savage (ahem).

As I've been collecting a lot of suitable figures for "Jimland", I do have enough figures to field a "Column" or two but I now have the excuse to buy some Zanzibaris, Askaris, Ruga Ruga, Bakuchis, Ngonis etc. etc.

In other News I've been sploshing paint on my Egyptians and British, bound for the Sudan, as much as time light and real-life has allowed. My hospital visit resulted in another course of tablets (take one a day for the next six months when we'll see you again) and another day's paining lost! It also seemed that time must be put aside to stock up on three weeks' of food for the upcoming holiday when  shops will be shut for a whole day ! Plus, it seems I am obliged to buy presents, which means yet another day lost to shopping !

That's it then for yet another week I hope that there was something of interest in my ramblings about Congo and I'll try to answer any questions or queries of my views on these rules, so as always your comments are both welcomed and appreciated.

Monday 9 December 2019

Battleground Loot

In an effort to give me time to finish and post something relevant to my current Sudan project, here's my modest haul of loot from Battleground 2019. I should thank Dave Thomas (Perry Minis) that he didn't have the other seven or eight pack of figures that were on my list  as I spent well over my budget !
Though it may look like quite a lot, there is only a smattering of figures - a mere 19 !
Congo rules its (now almost obligatory) cards and cardboard
From the pic above, probably the most obvious item is the "Congo" rules, which I've been interested in for quite a while and are now available in its second print.

They do look good imho
From Dave Thomas, a few additions for my Sudan project, Mounted Officers and a Dervish Cavalry Command group - the latter's   horsemen that I'd wanted were unfortunately (fortunately ?), as were the four packs of Bengal Lancers...

More figures bound for the Sudan !
Market accessories...
From the wonderful folk at Iron-Gate Scenery I managed to fill all my list:

...and more market accessories
...and a couple of market stalls too !
Not on the list - first impulse buy of the day...
...though it was touch and go whether it was on the list !
Even more market stuff... (can you guess where it's all bound for ?)
Pulp Figures that I will no doubt find use for  in the Sudan
Explorer on the left was not on the list !
From Ironwind I got a couple of Explorers for duties in "Jimland" and two deck guns and crew (yep, I too was surprised when I found these on a mostly "steampunk" stall!

One of the two deck h=guns and crew (on the list !)

Can;t remember where I bought this can of spray matt varnish from, but as it was a couple of quid cheaper than I'd seen previously it went in the bag under the label of impulse buy, along with yet another pot of white (the search for a decent white continues apace)
White paint (who'd have thought ?

That concludes the loot count from an excellent (and expensive) day out Battleground. The relative small number of figures bought  does mean that they may even get painted, though the cavalry will not be at the top of the queue!

In other News, I've managed to get in about 15 hours of painting my Egyptians and British foot, bound for the Sudan, but they still have a long way to go. I did lose a day of painting due to Xmas shopping (keeping Swmbo sweet) and this week will see yet another day lost to yet another Hospital visit ! This was an unexpected appointment and hopefully they will find nothing wrong this time - fingers crossed !

That's it then for this week, I wish I'd had something more interesting to post about, but as always your comments are both welcomed and appreciated !

Monday 2 December 2019

Battleground 2019

I visited the Battleground show once more, with two friends (one of whom kindly provided transport) and had a great day in their company.
The show itself was of the same high standard as last year
s one but I felt it was slightly busier, longer.
Apologies in advance for this photo-heavy post even though  managed to cut it down to less than half the amount I took!
There was the usual gamut of games, in many eras and scales - though I can;t recall anything that I would consider "pure fantasy".

Anglo Sikh Wars, with the Brits attacking a dug-in enemy !

For me it was a show where despite some wonderful-looking games, I found non inspired and although I had a flexible budget  and a list of items I wanted, I did fall foul of the usual impulse buys and went slightly over budget !
(I'll be showing the loot next week!)
On to the photos:

The defenders
 This game was huge, in every respect and probably my favourite of the show put together over the last year by my old friend Colin you can see more of it on his blog HERE .
Some of the attackers, attacking
The townsfolk going about their business
That's a fair-few cavalry!
Brompton Bankers put on this good-looking WW2 game
Refugees fleeing the Germans and no doubt hampering the US forces.
Borodino (!) by Yorkshire Coast Gamers -  DBNI rules, hence the scale.
Beautifully pained 15mms
A "Little Big Horn" scenario of Reno's escape  in 28mm
Reno's command. Game put on by Westerhope Gamers in 28mm...
...with an impressive collection of literature and other items.
Nate Zettle's "Blood and Plunder" game - lot of cardboard.
The "Old Guard Wargames Club" western desert game 1942...
... with the Afrika Corps and Italians attacking the 8th Army
Generals and Kings' Kursk Scenario - hence all the tanks
All done in 20mm and looked to be very bloody!
Overall view of "The First Charge at Hill 252,2"l
Tyneside Wargames Club's "Barbarossa" - kind of a boardgame-wargame cross
Andrew Wiley's, small but perfectly formed, "Tomb of Blood"
Redcar Ironsides' huge game "Leros- Operation Taifun"
Well done rugged terrain, and 10mm (?) land forces and "Cruel Seas" ships (I think)
The cliffs, do look formidable...
Close-up of the 88 sitting on top of the hill above
Border Reivers' fictional ACW "Battle of Plum Creek"
"British Dragoons (?) in this British Intervention scenario
General view of the engagement.
Firelock Games' "Blood and Valor (sic)" - some sort of colonial fiasco?
Vince Usher's "Carnivale" - good looking buildings, but I haven't a clue about the game
The now regular "Cake Wars" game for which I didn't see any takers all day...
Iacta Alea Est's "Battle of Leipzig", it was very bright and hurt my eyes !
The Independent Wargames Group's English Civil War game
Beautiful figures and terrain
Prince Bishop's Wargames Club's "El Cid;s raiding party"
Great looking terrain and figures even the grey walls had a little colour !
Durham Wargames Group's "Conquest of Mexico"
Lots going on in this game.

The Battlefield Trust's "Battle of Guisborough 1643" in 6mm
Stafford and Diatrict's French.Viet Minh's Vietnam game...
..."Operation Camargue". Great terrain and figures, models etc in 10mm (?)
French advancing through paddy fields

If there are any games I missed, I apologise, but I think I got all of them and whilst I don't normally take photographs of the traders, here are two of the Traders that I bought from, both of whom I hadn't encountered before, but were on my list !
IronClad's large, well detailed range of "Steampunk" (?)...
...and historical. I was just impressed by their display.
Not a game, but "Irongate's" way of displaying their excellent wares
Another view of "Irongate's" display (I spent more than I'd anticipated here)
Parting shot, still lots going on
A thoroughly enjoyable day out with amiable companions and a show where I spent a lot longer than I have done in the past.

In other News:
I managed to get three hobby sessions in this week and managed to get 150 of my Sudan figures ready to splash paint on !

Next week I'll post about all the loot I brought back from "Battleground" as that will give me added time to finish some figures off - especially as I have no hospital visits this week !

Thanks for taking the time to visit and I hope that there was something of interest here and as always your comments are both welcomed and appreciated.