Monday 29 October 2012

Hail Caesar Battle of Hastings 1066

We currently have family visiting and my eldest nephew asked to play a battle of Hastings game. In record time we put away the Napoleonic game and set up appropriate terrain and laid out the armies. I put together the troops based on an infantry unit roughly being 800 - 1000 strong as standard, getting my figures from the Osprey Campaign series book. I checked quickly with the Hail Caesar army list 2 to ensure I had it balanced, which it roughly was. We managed to play several moves before dinner stopped play just like a TV episode leaving things on a knife edge. My nephews played Duke William and King Harold. Harold had chased after the Breton cavalry just like history, except he looks like he'll win. William has turned the Anglo Saxon left flank, routing the hinge unit for the refused flank, the way is now open for the knights to charge.

Play to resume today. After action report with pictures much later!

Friday 26 October 2012

First X Wing game

Played 4 games on Wednesday against Chris and won 3. I am therefore naturally biased and think it is a wonderful game. We didn't use the target lock rules, and we got the overlap rules wrong. On reading the rules again I realised we'd allowed overlapped fighters to target each other, which they can't. They can still fire, but not at the fighter they are touching. Take my winners bias  out of the equation and the game played well. It's a game of spatial awareness and guessing where you opponent will move to. As we only played basic games to get familiar with the rules, we didn't get in to the subtleties of building a force with weapon combinations and skills. I'm looking forward to my next game.

Wednesday 24 October 2012

X wing

First game tonight against Chris a seasoned player. Cue music..

Writing after action reports

I had a great game with Guy last Saturday between Russians and French in 1812 recreating a scene from the retreat. I'm now writing it all up which is taking a lot longer than I thought as I'd hoped to have it published by now. I'll put my neck out and say it will be done by this weekend.

Thursday 18 October 2012

7TV Blakes 7

Lucky day today, my Crooked Dice order arrived. I'm now the proud owner of 2 figures billed as Freedom Fighters who will do nicely as Rog Blake and Gan. Just another 5 to go. I already have the Federation baddies including Survillan and Travis look a likes. I plan to use the terrain I purchased at the Derby show from Battle Systems I also need to come up with some rule amendments to give a 7TV game a more Blake 7 feel, although the Crooked Dice forum hints that there may be a set coming from them. As for scenarios I just need to write down the ideas in my head.

X Wing

The X Wing game box arrived today from Mr Amazon. The models are very nice, but feel quite delicate. The rules look very straight forward and what's more there isn't a lot of them which always pleases me. I watched the demo on Fantasy Flights website and the rules look good fun. Considering I haven't read the rules in full or played a game yet, I'm already hankering after the expansion packs. Why do you ask? well I've now grasped that they contain cards for different pilots like Wedge Antilles of Rogue Squadron fame. I've already been told off for making flying noises with the models. What would she say if she could hear the music in my head... dum dum dum duuumm dum dumdum duuumm ...

Monday 15 October 2012

X Wing

Fantasy Flight games have launched a Wings Of War style Star Wars fighter combat game. I'd seen the marketing on Tabletop Gaming Network (TGN) website and it looked interesting particularly the miniature ships. The game has everything you need in the box including the highly detailed painted miniature ships, the ships are a nice size as well around 2" high and 2" wide, including the base.

I saw the game at Derby and recommended it to Chris, who like myself is a fan of Star Wars. He duly purchased it and some expansion packs. It's first game outing was yesterday. I wasn't in attendance but Guy's feedback that it was fantastic with 3 games played in 2 hours, which included learning the rules has convinced me to go out and invest in a set. As I have nephews who enjoy the odd game and they are due a visit I had enough ammunition to clear the purchase with the financial commissar  Mrs Gregory.

I've looked around the web and at the time of writing Amazon is the cheapest at £24, particularly with free delivery. Interestingly some of the the expansion packs are cheaper as well, but the cost of postage from those suppliers through Amazon means that people like Wayland games are best for your add on Advanced Ties and Y wings at £12 each.

So now armed with all this knowledge I will part with my cash and await my delivery to start dog fighting in a galaxy far far away.....

Wednesday 10 October 2012

What's in a name?

I've now finished adding my photo archive and I've set labels and search descriptions for each post. The next step is to add my notes and provide more info on the pictures and the scenarios being played in them. In a pause in all this activity I'd like to share more of why I've set up a blog.

The main reason is I've never set a blog up before, or regularly used one, and I fancied giving it a go having read many of the other wargames blogs out there. I enjoyed seeing what projects other wargamers were working on and what shows they'd been to and the games they's played. Some are really useful with scenario ideas and others have figure comparisons which are my favourite. It is so hard today to know if figures will be compatible with such variations across manufacturers. I'm not sure if my blog will be that useful in this respect as I try to buy periods from the same maufacturer. However my collection has dozens of different figures, some I know the manufacturer some I don't. Such are the joys of buying second hand and inheriting collections.

So why the title 'The Megalomaniac' . Well that's easy to explain. When I get in to a wargaming period I rarely think small, and I love big games. I also have a tendency never to class an army as finished, and I keep adding to them. Naturally there are exceptions to this. I currently am enthralled with 7TV and it's sister 7ombieTV. This is a skirmish game inspired by TV and film. So by nature a few figures per side. The Megalomaniac recognises he only needs a few figures, but with a such a rich source of inspiration he has a mercenary cast, police cast, teen investigator cast, survivors cast, welsh rugby supporter cast, sky raider cast, zombie cast etc. I can proudly boast that this mania is inherited.

Monday 8 October 2012

2012-10-06 Derby World Wargame Championships

I met with up with Guy and Chris at the new venue for the Derby World Championships at Donnington Park on Saturday. What a great time I had. This was only the second show I've managed this year due to other commitments and the new venue surpassed the University. Having said that I liked the University but having everything on one floor with room to wander round and plenty of seating to eat and review your purchases was a refreshing change. It must have been good as I normally arrive at 10am and go by 3pm and this year I was still there at 5, always a sign of success.

I didn't photograph everything, just the games that caught my eye, which were a lot.

Judge Dredd game show casing Urban Construct buildings and terrain. Very atmospheric, especially the  over pass.  Something I've not seen anyone solve is the joins between the pieces.
28mm Copplestone figures ready to defend their block. I've used these same figures for my  Welsh  Rugby  supports gang/cast. They were lovely to paint up.

Another shot of the Dredd game.

THE BATTLE OF BORODINO, 7th September 1812 - The Lead Commanders

The 6mm figures are by Baccus and most of the terrain by TSS. This looked impressive.

Borodino close up, or more accurately the rear of some Russians. I like the fact that the units were labelled.

I liked this board when I took the photo, but I can't remember what the game was. Next time I'll take a picture of the figures as well so I can least have a guess.

Donnington Miniatures put are this pretty Roman civil war bash in 15mm.

Always liked cataphracts!

'OVER THE SEA TO SKY' or 'WHERE'S CHARLIE' - Derby Wargames Society
The date is 1745 another Charles Stuart flees from English Troops. Will your company of 25mm heros be the one to capture Bonnie Prince Charile or help him to escape? Or so says the blurb on the show hosts website. I didn't play but it was busy.

THE BATTLE OF ORIAMENDI, 1837: First Carlist War in Spain - Like a Stonewall
In 1833, Isabella, daughter of the late King Ferdinand VII, became ruler of Spain, along with her mother, Maria Christina, as Queen Consort. This transference of power to a female precipitated a clash between her supporters, the ‘Liberals’ and those of the ultra right wing, who supported the dead king’s brother, Don Carlos (the legitimate heir under the previous law). His faction became known as ‘Carlists’. A civil war ensued.

The Battle of Oriamendi was fought on 16 March 1837 during a campaign where the Liberal (Isabellino, or Christino) Army tried to chase the Carlists from the Basque Country in Northern Spain.

The game was on an 18ft x 6ft and shows the ridges of Oriamendi and the town of Hernani in Northern Spain. The forces will consisted of around 1000+ Perry Miniatures from their Carlist War range and include elements of the British Auxiliary Legion, as well as Carlist and Isabellino forces.

British lancers. I took quite a lot of photos of this game as it was a visual treat. Helped by my liking the period and the figures.

Close up of a British battalion.

British artillery behind the British infantry and cavalry. The Carlists can by seen on the ridge across the valley.

A better view of the Carlist advance towards the British line.

Cheeky Isabellino infanty peeking a catiniere.

Very cheeky indeed.

Beautiful town.

I like the vineyard. Not sure how I would place the figures in it though.

Rocket battery with possibly Isabella behind it. If not Isabello at least some  gentry escorted by a general .

Looking from the Carlist lines towards the Isabellinos.

West Wind gypsies.

Another view from the Carlist lines.

The Carlist general.

The town church. 

Running away Carlist cavalry.

Carlist left.

A wider picture of the Carlist left.

Carlist centre.

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquistion! One for the Monty Python fans.

Catholic procession in the town.

Carlist firing squad. The joys of civil war.

The town again. It was a great model. Full of character.

MUTINEER MINIATURES Indian Mutiny figures. Very nicely painted.

Some more mutineers

EMPIRE OF THE DEAD - West Wind Games
A blend of Gothic Horror and Steam Punk. 

Nice terrain. Warbases' terrace houses look great painted up.

The unused part of the board.

West Wind coach and some of the Empire of the Dead characters. Spot the Aliens reference.

Saw this and had the advert music go off in my head. Sign of a youth spent in cinemas.

Nice conservatory.

Voila a time machine Mr.Wells.

WW2 Arnhem in 15mm using Blitzkrieg Commander rules 

Arnhem again

Bolt Action demo game.

More Bolt Action


Overview of the Bolt Action game.

YOUR TARGET FOR TONIGHT - NUREMBERG March 44 - Cranwell Old Dirigibles
This game was a salute to Bomber Command in this year of commemoration.

This game simulates the night bombing campaigns of Bomber Command in WWII. The scenario demonstrated pays tribute to the crews taking part in the ill fated Nuremberg raid 30/31 Mar 44. Covering the physical and technical challenges faced all aviators in the unforgiving night environment the game tells the story the raid from crossing the Belgian coast to returning to the UK some 8 or so hours later.
The 40 aircraft bomber stream shows the raid at a scale of 1:20 using Tumbling Dice 1/600 models.

The actual raid resulted in the loss of 96 aircraft of the 779 taking part, the largest single loss suffered by Bomber Command in the war. The bombers faced flak, controversial route planning, effective German night fighter defences and above all the weather to not only reach the target but also return safely home to Blighty.

I like the search lights on this game

I guess the white corner is the 'weather'.

Lots of pointing. I hope it's good news for the Brits.

The Madhist horde have surrounded a fortified village and threaten to overwhelm the defenses and put all to the sword. Can the relief column arrive in time to save the garrison and villagers? This was a large game using a mix of figures and looked good. I particularly liked the river boats.

Nice to see Conniseur figures still being used.

Following the successful Normandy landings and the Operation COBRA breakout, the US forces pushed into Brittany aiming to capture the atlantic coast ports.This is a demonstration/participation game showing a battle for a town representative of those found in the northwest of France. 

However, due to the area containing critical fuel and ammo reserves of the 7th Army Fieldmarshal Von Kluge was determined to stop this and launched a counter-attack named Operation Luttich.
Despite the german plans being identified by Luftwaffe signals decoded by ULTRA, warning of the counterattack came too late and US forces consisting of 117th and 120th Infantry Regiments had already been deployed into the area and would only have improvised defensive positions at the time of the attack.
German preparations for the attack were also far from complete. Hitler had promised to release additional Panther and PzKpfw IV tanks from the reserve but these would not arrive in time for the initial offensive.
Knowing Hitler's great expectations, General Hausser decided not to postpone the attack but merely delayed it for 2 hours and launched the attack with elements of the 116th Panzer Division without the support of any preliminary artillery barrage.

The buildings and roads are modular laser-cut MDF provided by Commision Figurines. The figures are a mixture of Battlefront (Flames of War), Plastic Soldier Company and Peter Pig.

ZULU DAWN….OF THE DEAD! - Black Pyramid Gaming
This was a test-run of their Victorian Sci-fi gaming system, a  fast-play skirmish level rules aimed at four participants.

I liked the premise for this game:
A small garrison of British troops and engineers re-occupy Rorke's Drift, now the main workshop of the Mars Expeditionary Force, two years after the famous battle. Many experiments have taken place, infusing the local water table with liquid Aether, the Martian power source that defies science. The first of the great Iron Landships is nearly ready, and Kingdom Brunel, the mechanically-enhanced Great Engineer, is on-hand to witness the completion of his finest creation. Everyone is thinking about the conquest of Mars, and the tea is brewing….

….as the glowing-green sludge seeps into the Zulu corpse-pit flesh is renewed, memories are awakened and the urge to kill drives the zombies on in their hundreds! 

FIGHTING 15s - Eureka miniatures all the way from Oz.

28mm Russian counter attack after Kursk. Very effective use of Teddy bear fur.

Germans moving up to their defence line.

German defence line.

A lone Panther against the Soviet hordes.

The Soviet hordes

View towards the German defence.

On the march to Moscow King Murat was pushing on to Vitebsk when it appeared the Russian forces under General Ostermann-Tolstoy were preparing to fight in order to defend his lines of communication.

The Russians are in defence and the French are attacking. Can the French destroy the Russian forces defending the village of Ostrowno, and surrounding area? Then move on to Vitebsk , Smolensk , and finally Moscow, or will the brave Russians give the French a bloodied nose and lessen their resolve to invade mother Russia showing it will be no push over?

French light cavalry take on their Russian counterparts.

Russian horse artillery. A unit option missing from my collection. I have my eye on the new Perry versions.

Side on view of the light cavalry scrap.

Russian Centre

French left. Lots of Polish cavalry.

The bearskin lancers caught my eye. 

French centre.

Nicely painted French generals.

Russian right.

THE STORMING OF THE SCHELLENBERG, July 2, 1704 - Cobridge Old Contemptibles
28mm Marlburian battle using the computer moderated rules 'Carnage & Glory II – Warfare in the Age of Marlborough & The Great Northern War, 1700-1721’. The computer screen was approx. 24" flat screen at head height so everyone could see it.

This game displayed a section of the battle of Blenheim. The bloody assault on the  Schellenberg.

Bavarians with the Schellenburg defences.

Marlborough's cavalry

More Marlborough's cavalry

"ARTHURS' BATTLES" - Westbury Wargamers
This was a game of Celidon the so called seventh battle mainly because it features the not so commonly seen Picts and Mount Badon as it was the twelfth and decisive one holding back further Saxon incursions for fifty years. The terrian is an educated guess that it would be lightly wooded, maybe a bit marshy with a river near or through the battlefield, and that Badon was on a hill overlooking the old Roman settlement at Bath so big hill for the 'Romano British' to defend.

The rules used were the Westbury Wargamers own period specific set featuring in their words an idiosyncratic basing to suit thier concept of warband fighting and event cards designed to reflect the beliefs and possibilities of the times. To be honest I didn't see anything odd with the basing. The troops were very colourful, and lots of banners.

BATTLEGROUP KURSK game using the rules of the same name run by the author, Warwick Kincaid. I stopped and had a chat  as I'd really enjoyed playing Kampfgruppe Normandy and wanted to know he differences between the two. For licencing reasons it's a different game with different mechanisms and terminology, however it is similar enough and for me still retains the elements I liked to be a worthy successor. It convinced me enough to pre-order a set from Plastic Soldier company. I have to to say the guys were great explaining the game and really enthusiastic taking the time to explain the difference between the rules.

German defended village.
WW2 - KB Group. Always enthusiastic I had a brief chat with these guys.  I forgot to ask the setting, I assume North Africa.

Toy bath boat painted up. Looks good doesn't it?

This game used the Manoeuvre Group rules, modified for science-fiction, at 144th scale. The models themselves, including the Jalyrkieon’s tetracorn “infantry”, are CAD-designed, 3D steriolithe prints from Aotrs Shipyards, printed at Shapeways.

CRITICAL MASS figures Scifi game in 15mm. Nice figures and eye catching scenery. 

WW2 Flames of War game.

PONY WARS - Sons of Simon DeMontfort
A blast from the past. 10mm US cavalry against the mighty Indian Nations- Hollywood style. 

The Indians are controlled by a simple but effective method based on charts and cards so the umpires have no control over them. 

OPERATION CHARNWOOD "The Capture of Depot 63" - Leicester Phat Cats
20mm Kampfgruppe Normandy. July 1944 lead elements of the 59th (Staffordshire) Infantry Division have entered the northern part of Caen, Normandy.

On the River Orne's southern bank lies Rail Depot 63. The depot is being used as the headquarters for the 12th SS Panzer Regiment which is acting as a rear guard to the retreating 12th SS Panzer Division which is attempting to hold back the Allied attack.
Depot 63 is the linchpin for the defence of Southern Caen and has already seen heavy allied bombing and shelling. The next 24 hours will decide the fate of Caen and the 12th SS Panzer Division.

I like this industrial look. 

BATTLE OF BARNET - 14TH APRIL 1471 - Northern Men at Arms Society

War of the Roses 28mm figures from Perry miniatures and Wargames Foundry painted to unit colours, along with scratch built terrain, and using an interpretation of DBMM rules with some minor adjustment. 

WW2 SICILY - using Kampfgruppe Normandy rules

I really liked the terrain on this board. It is very well made and effective representing Sicily. I particularly like the fact that the terrain pieces were all moveable.

Great harbour. Simple but eye catching.

Same view sans tape measure

Vineyard and main defences.

Overview of board with bonus Italian fighter 

THE BATTLE OF NASEBY - 14th June 1645 - Stoke on Trent Wargames Group
On the morning of 14th June 1645 King Charles the 1st Royalist Army faced Sir Thomas Fairfax New Model Army on the rolling countryside just outside the village of Naseby in the County of Northamptonshire. In what is considered to be one of the most famous battles of the English Civil War which was also to be the start of the demise of the Royalist Army.

The tactics of this battle were somewhat different in nature to other battles as the New Model Army had been retrained and officers had been picked for their command ability and NOT for their status. This is also the battle where Oliver Cromwell became a more prominent figure with his ironsides.

This was a 28mm game using their own rules.

King Charles in the foreground


A fun 28mm pirate game with fast play rules for up to 4 players. Each player takes command of a pirate ship and sets sail on the high waves to become pirate 'Top Dog. Whilst the battle rages on the high sea only the most full hardy player will take to the rowing boats and go for gold on 'Lamb's Island' where only the most daring and brave will survive. 

Set in 1813 the French are retiring along their line of supply, being harassed by Spanish Guerrillas, and closely followed up by British Riflemen and Portuguese Cacadores.

I really liked the colourful French Voltigeurs and Carbinieres

BATTLE OF AMPHIPOLIS - Peleponesian war bash using War and Coquest rules. As I own the same fortress and ruined temple I found this particulary eye catching. Helped as well as this is the game features in Wargames Illustrated I think.

Close up of the Spartan hoplites.


"WHAT A LOAD OF BALLOTS!" -Rotherham Wargames ClubA Force on Force rules game set in the fictitious African country of Embilta in around 1974. Following an election where the incumbent head of state, President General Napoleon Ndube (known as 'Father' to his people), polled a little short of 112% of the vote, life has got a little uncomfortable for both the opposition leader, His Reverence the Bishop of Libreville, and the European election observers.

The Embiltan army has been on the streets of the capital city, Libreville, for several weeks, both to maintain order and to encourage people to vote. With the publication of the election result, together with the Father-General's proclamation that the Bishop should be arrested for high treason, feelings are running high.
Players control two forces, Belgian (former colonial power) and Rhodesian (next door neighbours) as they compete to rescue the election observers and take the bishop into protective custody.

Native forces: the Embiltan Army, the Libreville Police, rebel militias and civilian mobs, are controlled by random reaction cards and do their best to get in the rescuers', and each others', way.

Malifaux is a character driven 32mm scale tabletop skirmish game where players lead crews to achieve randomly chosen strategies and selected schemes. Players collect, build and paint models representing the denizens of Malifaux to match their preferred tactics and tools - from out-and-out fighters, through masters of the arcane arts and leaders of the undead, to the nightmare inhabitants of Malifaux itself. Settings are Victorian Steampunk related, but influences from the Old West and Far East are also present.

Guy and Chris gave this a go. It's a very involved game with lots of subtleties. Chris emerged victorious.

SINK THE BISMARCK - Leeds Wargames Club
The scenario is based on the attack by the swordfish from HMS Ark Royal. Each squadron attacks in three waves of 4 aircraft, each wave being the participation run, the damage from each run being recorded on the ship's chart. If the ship is not sunk or disabled (historical result) by the end of the show, the amount of damage will be translated into number of months required to repair. Following an accidental attack launched against HMS Sheffield where it was discovered, fortunately for HMS Sheffield, that the magnetic detonators failed to activate contact detonators were used which have the disadvantage that those striking at a shallow angle may just bounce off.

The attack on the Bismarck was carried out by Fairly Swordfish bi-plane torpedo bombers, the attack philosophy was to approach the target at 5000 feet then to dive to 18 feet before commencing their final approach, we pick up the action as the planes commence their final approach. From the point that you pick up the planes until the pass over the Bismarck and their torpedoes strike takes only 90 seconds !

The height of the Swordfish on the stand is to scale for their attach run. Just one of the many details of this game.

This game reminded me of Kamikaze a sink the carrier game run at Northern Militaire  by the Mailed Fist club many moons ago. This game was my parents dumping ground for me as a kid. I remember not having a clue and randomly changing my height and speed, which at the time to me were meaningless dials. My parents believe after playing numerous games on one occasion I sunk the carrier. My memory is I hit it once and it lived to fight another day. I may have been the only one to hit it in that day in the distant past. 

I wondered past this magnificent model and game a few times and each time it didn't look  too busy, which was a shame. I'd hoped to give it a go, but ran out of time.

The Swordfish attack run was set movement with dice deciding if you were hit by defensive fire from the Bismark.

The Bismark was hand built from scratch using a template. There were 120 10mm Pendraken figures manning the ship on deck. A stunning model. 

There was so much to see on this model. One of the game hosts was telling me the model maker has made the Hood  or was it Ajax and is now making the 2nd British ship. That'll be a large game!

SECRET OF THE THIRD REICH competition board. I like going to see these to  ogle the armies and get inspiration for my own figures and terrain.

I didn't like this model on the website but seeing it here with the  added defensive area at the rear for infantry and the blood soaked snow I'm impressed.

More of snow based Soviets.

Blue Soviet super soldiers.

Soviets sneeking round the hill.

Competition tables 

Lots of them. Although Guy thought not so many. I liked the fact that they were on the same level as the show and for change I could wander round them easily. Normally I forget to have a look.

A great triumphal arch. 

I liked how this was made. Really simple but effective. Food for thought for the future.