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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Anhalt Regiment - Almost done!

In an almost unprecedented move (at least for this summer!), the painting of the Anhalt Regiment is done and all that remains is the finishing of the base. Flag is from the wonderful website Warflag which has hundreds of free flags for downloading.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Skirmish in Osgiliath

There has been very little (okay, none) war gaming this summer on the 'ole dining room table so it was with great excitement that I got around to play a scenario from Games Workshop's Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game. As mentioned in an earlier posting, it is not what I consider a "strategy" game; but it is an easy to learn and highly enjoyable skirmish game.

Honorable Son #5 and I would be the opponents and since this was his first game as the supreme commander of his side, we decided to play a scenario that wasn't too complicated but still had enough in it with enough troops to move around on the table. We played Scenario #1, Skirmish in Osgiliath from the 1st Edition of the Return of the King rule set. In the base scenario a group of Orcs and the Men of Minas Tirith are fighting amongst the ruins of the city of Osgiliath and the objective is simple: Eliminate 50% of the enemy force. The forces of Good have 8 men with spear and shield, 8 with sword and shield and 8 archers.

On the Evil side are 8 orcs armed with hand weapon and shield, 8 with spears, 4 with orc bows and 4 with two-handed weapons.

We decided to add some extra figures for the game and wanted to give each side some leaders, banners (flags) and elite troops. For the men from Minas Tirith we added a Captain and a banner bearer. In addition, from the Siege of Gondor supplement, we also added Beregond of the Citadel Guard with a banner bearer and 6 Citadel Guards with longbows.

Beregond and Banner bearer.

For the orcs we added an Orc Captain with banner bearer and for some extra hitting power an Uruk-hai Captain with banner bearer and 6 Uruk-hai.

Banner for the Uruk-hai. The fight in the foreground is the Uruk-hai captain and a captain of Minas Tirith

The terrain represents the ruined city of Osgiliath. The Good player (yours truly) sets up 8 figures representing sentinels on one side of the board within 12 inches of the table's edge and my reinforcements are set-up on the other side of the board no further out than 12 inches from the other edge. The Forces of Evil (led by Honorable Son #5) are can be set-up within the sentinel area out to 24 inches from the table's edge.

The impact of the main forces!

My plan was simple. The Citadel Guard along with Beregond and the banner bearer would be the sentinels. I decided to place them in a defensive position and hope to "distract" as many orcs as possible until my reinforcements arrived.

The Citadel Guard successfully defending a wall.
I set up my reinforcements with swordsmen in the front and spearmen in the back supporting them in order to take advantage of the "extra" attack spearmen in the second rank give. The captain and banner would be in the center and the archers would support wherever possible.

The plan for the Forces of Evil was simple too: get to the men and destroy them.

Two Uruk-hai getting ready to smash a soldier of Minas Tirith. Note the spearman behind the swordsman for support.

My plan did work as Honorable Son #5 was concerned about the Citadel Guard archers and put too many orcs against them which weakened his force against my main body. Orc archers are usually pretty pitiful, but his were able to wound Beregond twice early in the game and I had to use his lone "fate" point to save a wound. The Guard peppered the orcs and held their defended position. Key to the defense of the position was the killing of the orc banner bearer and the subsequent orc who picked up the banner.

Banner bearer down!

With the main body, the disciplined ranks of the men of Minas Tirith won the day as most of the orc spearmen were up against the Citadel Guard. The banners on both side were key; banners allow you re-roll one die to determine who wins a fight for any figure within 3 inches of the banner.

The disciplined ranks hold against the initial onslaught.

It was touch and go for awhile, but the Minas Tirith archers were able to kill 2 of the Uruks and a few other orcs. The remaining Uruks almost trapped some of the men, but in one turn, I rolled an incredible string of "6's" and Honorable Son #5 rolled a whole bunch of "1's" resulting in the catastrophic loss of 6 figures in one turn. The following turn, the Forces of Evil lost 50% of figures allowing the men to hold out for one more day . . .

A good learning game for Honorable Son #5. On the third turn, he realized that he had deployed too many orcs against the Citadel Guard and in the next turn realized his spears were in the wrong spot. On the other hand, he used his Uruks, Uruk Captain and banner very effectively against the main force of men (does the phrase "like a hot knife through butter" sound familiar?).

Uruk-hai are heavily armored and tough!

Until the turn of the disastrous rolls of 1's, he came very close to winning the game.

The best part of the game? The smiles on his face.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Grand Duchy of Stollen

One of my favorite blogs to follow is the Grand Duchy of Stollen.

If you have never checked it out, you are in for a treat! From the site:

Campaign Geography

Campaign Geography
The Grand Duchy of Stollen (purple) is a small, unimportant place, surrounded by a gaggle of equally insignificant territories. The Electorate of Zichenau is to the southwest (light blue). The Mark of Schleiz (dark green) is a historically contested region, rich in timber, game, and copper that is controlled at present by Zichenau. The surrounding principalities, too minor to enumerate here, change sides whenever the political winds shift over this particular corner of 18th Century Europe. Nevertheless, they furnish the occasional body of troops to one side or the other in the ongoing struggle between Stollen and Zichenau.

The background that is given to the fictional provinces and the commentary is priceless - not to memtion the love of war games and toy soldiers. An example is the grand duke:

Grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II, The House of Schöning-Ochsenknecht zum Stollen

Grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II, The House of Schöning-Ochsenknecht zum Stollen
Here's the Grand Duke sans his much-loved lobster costume, with two left claws, at the behest of his ever-patient and long-suffering English manservant Hives, who holds that a gentleman should never, ever. . . ever present himself publicly while dressed as a large crustacean.

Quick - you have to check out this site! Definitely one of the best!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lots and lots of Auctions

In an effort to refocus my hobby activities, it's that time of the year to find good homes for those veteran troops who are no longer on any active campaigns . . .

In other words, here's what I have on eBay right now! Just click on the links below.

Mutineer Cavalry:

Mutineer Sepoy Unit #1:

Mutineer Sepoy Unit #2:

British Highlanders for the Indian Mutiny:

Naval Brigade:

Afghan Irregular Infantry:

Afghan Irregular Cavalry:

British Artillery Crew for Indian Mutiny:

British Rifle Brigade for Indian Mutiny:

Loyal Sikh Irregular Cavalry:

And let's not forget those classic Osprey Books:

Wellington's Generals:

British Army on Campaign 3: 1856-1881:

Queen Victoria's Enemies 3: India:

British Troops in the Indian Mutiny 1857-1859:

The Indian Mutiny:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Father and Son

Honorable Son #1 married the beautiful woman God choose for him on July 2, 2011.

Over the last few months there has been preparation: Getting the house ready for family and guests, getting measured for a tux, preparing and preparing and preparing!

And now he is married and on his honeymoon.

A few days ago, I was thinking about my son when he was younger and what sprung to my mind were a lot of memories involving toy soldiers.

I remember getting "for us" Games Workshop's earlier version of Space Marines (now called Epic 40K) for Christmas in 1994; he was 5 years old. He loved the plastic Titan that came with the kit and we spent many a night battling with Space Marines, Space Orks, Eldar tanks and giant robots with our own modified rules. I also remember about a year later when he accidentally knocked some Eldar scout stands on the floor and he stepped on two when he went to pick them up. He was upset that he had broken several of my figures. Not a problem I told him - with the broken figures removed, now the scouts look like they are spread out.

I also remember lining up my War of Spanish Succession troops and having a parade.

I remember a game with him when he was 8 or 9 when we were stationed in Germany. We were playing Fire and Fury (which I still think is the best war game rules for the American Civil War) and he was the Union and I was the Confederates. I had given him some basic lessons on linear warfare and the formations used for the game. To my surprise, he led with his artillery right out in front with his infantry trailing behind. I tried to unsuccessfully hint to him, that he might want to hold up and wait for his infantry to support his guns. I was unsuccessful in my suggestions on how his army should advance on the tabletop field of battle. I was determined to teach him a gentle lesson and seize his guns. As the soldiers of the South started to move into assault position and take the guns, I was dumb-founded as he calmly unlimbered his artillery batteries and decimated the gray and butternut hordes (Malvern Hill anyone?) that came within his range. My forces broken and his infantry advancing he remarked to me, "This is a fun game and I liked the way you painted the guys in the red hats (the 14th NY).

He always liked robots, Gundam, and Japanese anime. It was no surprise that during High School he decided to build Tau forces for GW's Warhammer 40K. GW pioneered the hobbly with multi-part hard plastic figures which allow more figure variety and easier figure conversions. He wanted a unique figure for one of his squad leaders and I'll never forget how proud he was when he converted his first figure by cutting and repositioning an arm to hold a helmet - instant unique figure for his leader. But I won't mention how many times his Tau decimated my proud Imperial Guard (The Guard's motto: "If we don't take at least 85% casualties, we aren't trying hard enough!).

Fast forward to December 2010 with a mere 7 months to go until the wedding. My oldest was the only one of my sons who had not played Flames of War. The other boys and myself had built armies, but #1 son had been busy with his studies, his friends and his own life. But he wanted to play. So we pulled out some Soviets and Germans and I taught him the game as we played a scenario not for bragging rights - but for fun. A father and his son playing with toy soldiers.

During his bachelor party (watching The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, nacho chips, pizza rolls and beverages) he said, "Dad, we need to play some more games. I won't paint, but I'm good for some gaming."

That's my boy.