Saturday, March 19, 2011

The English had such a civil war...

My long time hankerings for renaissance 'gaming were finally appeased tonight. I last played DBR some 20 years ago, and gave up in disgust at the time. Since then I've tried Armati, which is great, but only a few of us play it. I bought Armati 2 on the strength of some fantastic games with Adrian, only to find that the new edition no longer covered the renaissance period. I was really annoyed. So I began to eye up DBR again. Finally tried two games tonght with Keith, using condensed scale.

Verdict? Fantastic... I've lost the demons of 20 years ago (or they are lurking, waiting to leap out when I least expect them?).

We played these two games, Keith's parliamentarians against my Royalists, in 15mm. Keith's army is Mikes Models figures, while most of mine is (I think) Naismith figures, with a few FreiKorps thrown in for good measure.

In the first game in true Royalist fashion Rupert took the Royalist cavalry on a long flank march and attacked and looted the Parliamentarian camp. It was a risky tactic, but it paid off. My comment was that it was a tactic borne from ignorance more than anything else.

The Roylist cavalry begin their long march around the flank.

Evil threatening Parliamentarians.

A solitary unit of Royalist cavaliers holds up the Royalist right long enough!!

The Royalist cavalry sweep around and take out the camp.

Second game.. I was much more traditional in my approach.

The Royalist lines ...

Oh, and the Parliamentarian lines...

More Royalists!!

But there were these Parliamentarian cavalry you see...

Well frankly this one really fell apart for me... and it was one game each...

I failed to make any kind of effective use of the Royalist cavalry (those Pi(F)). Maybe it's the unconventional approach that I need to maintain, or maybe just making good use of those cavalry would do the trick.

However they were two great games.. I may be a new DBR convert...

Beevor's 'D-Day'

I'm currently reading Antony Beevor's 'D-Day', a lovely Christmas gift from my boss. I haven't read any of Beevor's previous books, but I'll certainly be reading some  more in the future. I haven't finished the book yet, but one passage really caught my attention as he describes the air-ground co-operation that existed between American armoured units advancing during Cobra, and the tactical air forces.

The support from the P-47s was so close that one pilot radioed to Doane that he was going to bomb a German tank only fifty yards to his left and that he had better take cover.... Another Thunderbolt pilot flying shotgun over Task Force Z 'facetiously suggested' to its commander 'that he had better draw in his antenna', because he was attacking right over their heads.
 I recall being on exercise in the '80s with the NZ Army when a flight of Strikemasters simulated an attack over our heads (I was commanding an M113 APCs, on a plateau in the mountains around Molesworth Station behind Kaikoura in the South Island of New Zealand). The aircraft came in so low that the infantry in the backs of our vehicles ducked down inside the vehicles.

Fascinating what you remember.

While I still have a way to go in the book, I was also fascinated by Beevor's treatment of the classic 'Montgomery' debate. Using 21st Army Group planning documents, he argues that Montgomery's plans were not originally to pull German forces away from the west so that the Americans could break out. This has of course been a point of contention since the Normandy battles, and had been my own paradigm too. However he makes the point that even though the claim may well have been self justification by Montgomery 'after the event', the effect was exactly that, with the greatest concentration of German armoured forces in the east opposing the British.

And regardless of this argument, defence in Normandy was always going to be tough to break, and German forces simply had to have their combat effectiveness eroded to the point where a breakthrough was possible. Beevor includes some very revealing descriptions of German troops captured after being heavily bombed by the allied air forces. I am left at the moment with the view that this air bombardment together with massive artillery support, was instrumental in eroding that combat effectiveness of the German army in Normandy. Reminiscent of the hurricane bombardments of World War One.

I hadn't really had much of an interest in this specific theatre before. It has certainly been sparked now. Maybe 'Stalingrad' might be my next purchase?

Looted vehicles??

First wargame in 6 weeks, and a welcome relief after 4 weeks of post earthquake inertia.

Andy, Adrian and I played a 40K, Andy and I commanded Orks against Adrian's Eldar. No photos, but one of those revelations from an occasional 40K player... Ork Looted Vehicles.

Took one wth a Boom gun.. is it just me or are these incredibly good value for the points? The game lasted 6 turns, and the Boom gun inflicted casualites in 4 out of the 5 turns it fired (in one case a LOT of casualties). Maybe I was just lucky?

Tonight, my first DBR game in 15 years, a condensed scale game with Keith... I'll take some photos, because my Royalists are feeling miffed that they haven't appeared on this blog yet... sorry boys!!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Odd ideas...

We have just unpacked a battery powered emergency or camping light. Lorraine had ordered it a few weeks before the big earthquake, and apparently it arrived at her work on the day of the quake. It has sat there for 3 weeks. We could have done with it when huddled around candles for 2 weeks.

So anyway, as we unpacked it in the glare of modern electrical lights (we got electricity back on a week ago.. woohoo), my first sense of excitement arose not with the lamp but with the packing around the lamp (odd I guess, but 40+ years as a 'gamer leaves scars!!).

While I'm not a regular WH40K 'gamer, I have an eye for material that can create scenery for the 40K table top, and this was it!!!

Proton accelerator? Imperial Guard research facility? I reckon that the usual treatment with a spray can, and a dry brush, with a few accessories, might do the trick. However I have a habit of acquiring this stuff, then throwing it out 5 years later.. watch this space.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Post 'quake reconstruction

Seems frivolous in the light of more recent events in Japan, but in Christchurch we are all still grappling with the job of reconstructing our lives, lives that will never be the same again, as lives have been lost, and the material fabric of our city has been torn apart. However for each of us there are small things that psychologically make a difference.

For me, after just under 4 weeks I finally got the courage to get into the 'games room and start the cleanup. So far so good. While boxes of figures had been turned every which way, the actiual damage appears to be far less than I'd feared.

Here is a look inside the box of Dwarves (GW 28mm for WFB).

This has been typical of the boxes. However the figures by and large have been in pretty good shape. I spent half an hour last night 'untangling' the 15mm Royalists. The only damage was a rider off a horse, two standards requiring regluing to their figures, and one figure broken off at the ankles. All have been repairable with a dose or two of superglue.

I feel able to face my hobby again. Now I just need to overcome the enormous sense of lethargy that at times overwhelms me, and play some games. One day at a time, one step at a time ...

Forcing the Uvarova

The vastness and the difficulty of the terrain through the Caucasus meant that by 1915 there were still avenues to be explored if victory wa...