Sunday, September 18, 2016

OHW Pitched Battle : Medieval

Here's the first outing of my new medieval troops in scenario 2 from One Hour Wargames. Figures are mostly Deetail.

Euro-knights (Army Red, they go first): 4 units of knights, 1 unit of men-at-arms and 1 unit of archers.
Saracens (Army Blue): 3 units of knights, 2 units of men-at-arms and 1 unit of levies.

The battle lines are drawn and ready!
Horses stamp their hooves and snort, shields clang and battle cries of the Blue army!
The Red army commander sounds the advance! Thundering hoofbeats! The men roar!
Turn 1: The lines advance. Army Red takes the hill, Army Blue, the crossroads.
Turn 2: Clash at the crossroads! Men and beast collide! The thunderous clatter of colliding steell!
Turn 2: Near the hill the battle is well and truly joined!
Turn 3: A blow for Army Red, a unit of knights is removed from the field. But the battle rages!
Turn 4: The archers take out a unit of Blue knights, but the scrum of men and horses continues!
The archers look on for a new target. Army Red's control of the hill is uncontested.
Turn 5: The clash at the crossroads!
Turn 5: Army Blue destroy a unit of Red knights!
Turn 6: The battle for the cross roads ends with the destruction of Red's units.
 Meanwhile, at the hill, Blue and Red suffer losses.
Turn 7: Blue sends a second wave to take the hill.
Turn 8: Again the sides crash into each other! Blue holds back

Turn 9: Things don't go according to plan for Blue. Red's archers and men-at-arms refuse to concede!
Turn 10: Blue is driven from the hill. It belongs solely to Red.
Red's men-at-arms prepare to race for the crossroads.
Turn 14: Red's men-at-arms are badly wounded, but their armor gives them a measure of defense vs the unarmored levies.
Even so, no one is the winner after 15 turns. I let it play out.
Turn 18: The men-at-arms underestimated Blue's levies and paid the price. The sides withdraw, nothing gained, much lost.

This was my first time playing the medieval rules from Neil Thomas's One Hour Wargames. In fact, it was the first time playing any rules other than the WWII rules.

Color me surprised.

Despite being essentially the same rules, the differences were enough that the game felt nothing like the WWII game. To my mind, they gave a good accounting of themselves of a distinctly medieval game. This may be due to the fact that I've never played any other medieval rules - in which case, that demonstrates OHW's effectiveness. If you figure that a new wargamer might pick up the book as a starting point, they would be well served by the rules for exploring different periods.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Forsooth! Ye Olde Knights and Saracens!

A special thanks to Ross Mac of Battle Game of the Month fame for making my medieval collection nearly complete!

Combined with some eBay purchases, here are the sides as they stand now (click pics to enlarge):

There is some clean up to be done - some touch ups, conversions, and repairs - but they are already a game-able group.

In fact, I couldn't wait to play:

I chose scenario 2 from One Hour Wargames, because it's straightforward. Rules were Neil Thomas's medieval rules from the same book.

The grid is not in play, but I did use the 6 inch squares to aid measuring. The astute among you will notice I've set up the Saracen line too wide. I corrected that error after the picture was taken.


  • Euro-knights: 4 units of knights, 1 unit of men-at-arms and 1 unit of archers. 
  • Saracens: 3 units of knights, 2 units of men-at-arms and 1 unit of levies.

I chose 4" square sabots and jammed them as full as possible. The visual effect was satisfying and lived up to the idea of the "shock" period (to borrow from Morschauser).

Stay tuned for the first clash of my new armies and some thoughts about the rules.

Friday, September 9, 2016

A Whim and a New Era

I'd been following a bunch of searches on Ebay for awhile now, more from habit than anything, when, the other day, I saw a few lots of Deetail knights and Saracens that was too good to let go by.

And so a new project was born.

In order to keep my purchasing focused and my collection from sprawling (too late), I will build up two armies (to start),  using  Neil Thomas's One Hour Wargames medieval rules as a guide, although Morschauser will most likely get the nod when it comes time for actual play.

That said, I'll make some concessions. In particular when it comes time to fielding archers, which Thomas suggests should be crossbows, based on what I can find and how much I'm willing to spend. Crossbowmen are hard enough to find for the European-ish army, let alone the Saracen / Turkish-ish army.

Now, you undoubtedly  noticed the parenthetical "to start" in an earlier paragraph.

Well, as these things are wont to do, an idea has exploded in my head. My "end-goal" (do wargamers really have stopping points?) is to build armies for my own Hyborian campaign of sorts, where ahistorical match-ups of the ancient and medieval worlds will be a possibility.

I'm already eyeing up 1/32 Roman figures from HaT, TSSD and Expeditionary Force as a possible future army.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Catch a Tiger by the Tail

My newest acquisition for my German WWII force is the Solido 221 Tiger tank.

Collectors may choke a bit when they realize I'm going to play games with it.

It's a thing of beauty!

Size comparison with 54mm Matchbox figure

Another perspective.

I admit that my 1/43 - 1/50 armor acquisitions for the Germans are a bit of a hodge podge: a PZ IV, a Jagdpanther and a Tiger. Then again, the rules I use don't put a premium on real-world orbats either.

I think, at this point, my plan is to acquire another PZ IV, so I can field a tank company of PZ IVs, lead by a Tiger. Not sure how historical it is, but Featherstone had two Panthers lead by a tiger in his sample campaign game in Advanced War Gaming and that's good enough for me.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Static Defense

At least, I think that's what it's called.

For this game, again I loosely based it on something I saw on Band of Brothers.

The Germans are on a hill opposite the US, who are dug in. The Germans have decided it's time to drive out those pesky Americans.

For rules, I'm using Morschauser Modern with roster, infantry can move or shoot, not both, vehicles can do both, each base is 3x3 and represents a squad. Each vehicle is 1 vehicle in this one. I expanded some of the weapon ranges since this is at a lower scale than usual.

I set an arbitrary 10-turn limit.

Germans: 2 platoons (6 squads), 2 HMG teams, 1 half-track, 2 tanks (Well, technically 1 tank and 1 tank destroyer), plus an artillery barrage (4 attacks on randomly determined US units)

US: 3 platoons (9 squads), 1 HMG team, 3 tanks arrive on turn 4

Gratuitous close-up.
The figures closest to camera are Airfix.
1st platoon takes some damage from the artillery barrage.
Another gratuitous close-up as the German half-track prepares to attack.

Things don't look like they're going to go well for 2nd platoon.
The German advance - the infantry on both sides take heavy fire.
This is just silly.
Turn 4: The cavalry arrive!
Close combat destroys the German infantry.
Chaos ensues as the armor clash!
The German half-track flees the field but not before spraying a few rounds of  MG fire.
Stand off!

Down to two, and suffering damage, the Shermans fire one last time.
Boom! the PZ IV is eliminated and the Jagdpanther flees the field.
End of game.
30 minutes to setup.
30 minutes to play.

It was a fun little game. The static US force position made it a bit ho-hum - but fortunately I play solo, so I still had plenty to do running the Germans. The melee did the German infantry in, and in ways I did not anticipate. In the end, I should have given them 3 or 4 platoons instead of 2, since they could only move or shoot, not both. Or allowed them to move and shoot.

Blitzkrieg Commander or maybe FiveCore Company Command (which I've read and will be trying shortly) might have been a better choice for rules, but Morschauser didn't disappoint.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Friday Night Paint Table (a bit late)

Had a little time Friday night and started this group of Conte plastic US paratroopers. I love how animated the poses are.

The fellow in the back was completed ages ago - I've got him nearby for color reference. 

When I went to pick up the figures Saturday night to block in the flesh and do the webbing, I was too tired to contemplate getting stuck in on detail work, so they'll be a bit longer like this.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Basing: The Perennial (Weekly?) Dilemma

Is there anything worse than the self-doubt inspired by making a basing decision?

54s in particular seem a bit more troublesome than most - so few rules suggest a size for them, and doubling or tripling can often result in ridiculous base sizes.

If you take a look at my other blog, you'll see that my 54s were mostly multi-based, 2 figures to a 3" square:

Typically, I treated each base as a squad for Blitzkrieg Commander, or a platoon for One Hour Wargames (sometimes I used two bases for a 6" front per Neil Thomas's rules).

But after seeing Tim Gow's play test of a Little Cold Wars inspired WW2 game on Megablitz and More where the figures are four to a 4" square  for platoon, I decided to unbase everything and give that a try with some 4" MDF coasters I picked up for the purpose (4" also corresponds to what Neil Thomas suggests for a basing width minimum in OHW):

This looks good to my eyes, but, despite almost never playing 1:1 skirmish anymore,  I really want the flexibility to use my figures as individuals and on bases and potentially, bases of different sizes (I have commitment issues, what can i say?), but not have them fall over when I move those bases.

I'm also demanding as you can see.

So, stealing borrowing from Mr. Gow, I have decided to mount each figure to a base, attach a magnet, and make the movement tray/sabot from steel.

But, as I just bought the 4" coasters (well, around 4". They aren't perfect), and more than I could use at that, I thought it better to see if I could make them work. After some research, I found "steel paper" available relatively inexpensively and easily cut with scissors - so that's that.

Deciding on which base for the figures themselves took several hours of wasted energy researching round vs square and which size for 54s. The Miniatures Page is almost as bad as getting lost in Wikipedia! I saw everything from 1" squares to 1.5" circles to 2" squares/circles, and why squares are better and circles are better. *bangs head on desk*

I opened up OpenOffice Draw and made scale renderings of different sabots with bases and how figures with different sized integrated basing might look. (Obsess much?)

Finally, I went back to the inspiration for this, and, after reading dozens of entries on Megablitz and More, I found the dimensions of the rectangles Mr. Gow uses (30mm x 40mm), and promptly placed my order with Litko for the same, with rounded corners.

No sure how long until they arrive (I rarely order anything not Amazon Prime with 2 day shipping, so I'm somewhat spoiled that way), but in the meantime, I've got five Conte US paratroopers primed and ready for paint this weekend. Ironically, they will probably be left as single figs for 1:1 skirmish games.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

WWII Small-Squad Skirmish!

Inevitably, when you tell people you use 54mm figures, they think you play small skirmishes with no more than a handful of figures. 

Sure. Sometimes.

But, for me, it had been a long while, until last Friday, that is, when I decided to play a scenario from Britton Publisher's Solitaire Soldiers.

In this one, a German HMG team (6 figures) and a security team (4 figures) are in a village - they've been tracking your approach and open fire.

I wanted a pulpy game, not realism, so for my squad, I went with the venerable Team BBC (Cpl. Hardcastle, Lance Cpl. Deacon, Pvt. Peacock) and for rules, I chose G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T.

Hardcastle is a Hero (Duh!) (he had 2 skills but I never used them), Deacon is a Leader (with Luck) and Peacock is a Veteran (I forget what skill he had and can't read my notes). I gave them Hit Points, 3 for Hardcastle, 2 for Deacon, 1 for Peacock. All are unattached and activated individually, while the HMG team are activated as a whole, as are German security team.

Dice indicate possible enemy location.

Team BBC mugs for the camera.

Dastardly HMG team with more dastardly NCO.
Hardcastle and Peacock make it to cover, but under fire from their left (security team in house).
Deacon is not so lucky. So much for that skill.

Guns blazing!

Hardcastle charges the enemy position dodging bullets (mostly successfully).

In brutal hand-to-hand, Hardcastle takes out the entire HMG team. The security team ended up skulking off of the table in light of his valiant display.
Custard tarts for all!

It was fun, although it took nearly longer to set up than play. I'm not as into small squad skirmish games as I once was, but for what it was, it was a good use of a late night hour.

Figures are a mix of W. Britain, Conte, Airfix, Matchbox, and CTS

Saturday, August 13, 2016

OHW: Blow from the Rear

Had another opportunity to sneak some game time in on Saturday night. To keep things quick, I used a scenario from One Hour Wargames, Blow from the Rear.

For rules, I used Morschauser with ranges from OHW. I did forget to use the card activation I used last time, but that was all well and good.

The only other change I made was in the force generation. I decided that I wanted to include HMGs and half-tracks (which I treat as Morschauser scout cars). So, if the result was Mortar or ATG, i rolled a d6, 1-3, I'd use the unit specified, 4-6, HMG. For tanks, on 4-6 I'd use a half-track.

US are Red, Germans, Blue.


US: 3 units of infantry, 1 HMG, 1 tank, 1 half-track
Germany: 3 units of infantry, 1 mortar, 1 ATG, 1 HMG

Blow from the Rear

The Germans have the ford and bridge well covered.

Things were going poorly for the US - the HMG and 1 platoon were destroyed - until turn 6, when the cavalry arrived.

Some close combat later, and the Germans weren't looking so hot.

The tank unit sets its sites on driving the Germans back from the bridge.*

The US advance continues - the tanks are on the ropes. It's dangerous this close with infantry. 
Not pictured: The tank unit overruns the platoon to its front, and then the German PAK 40s unleash fury.

It wasn't until turn 14 that the US cleared the Germans from within 6" of the ford and bridge and victory was assured. Although the cost was high.

The US captures the gun and drives off the remaining German mortars to claim victory.

Figures used:
US: W. Britain, TSSD
Germany: Airfix, Matchbox, CTS, 21st Century? (the gun crew)

*I didn't realize that in Morschauser, units in the river crossing a ford can't fire. Next time, I'll remember that.