A Blast From The Past

Our small war games group have started to mix things up a bit recently. The winter weather has meant that some of the venues are not particularly comfortable, as they are in cold garages. At our age, cold bones are a bad idea. So we have started to play board games in the comfort of the house to give ourselves a break from ‘traditional wargaming’ every other week or so.

Catan, Ticket to ride and Camel Up!

Catan, Ticket to ride and Camel Up!

Initially, we started to play some of the more ‘recent’ games that are popular on the board games scene. ‘Ticket to ride’, ‘Settlers of Catan’ and ‘Camel Up’ are most enjoyable. It is fairly easy to pick up the rules but the games are cleverly designed with a great deal of depth to them.

Campaign and Risk - 'classic' games!

Campaign and Risk – ‘classic’ games!

That then prompted us to dig out some of the games that we played in our Youth. Risk was the first, closely followed by Campaign. Two classic games that I spent hours playing as a teenager. I then suggested a game that I played with my kids and had great fun with. It was the closest that I got to involving my children into wargaming – ‘Space Crusade’!

Space Crusade.

Space Crusade.

For two of the group, Space crusade was a new experience, as was the idea of gaming with Science Fiction figures. However, the game is brilliantly designed and soon had them absorbed in the game play. In fact, the game did what it was supposed to do when initially released. It fired up their imagination and we were soon all talking about how we could customise it and have our own Space Marine Chapters and perhaps designing different versions of the board. Of course it is also classic ‘Granddad material’ to play with the grand children once they reach about 8 or 9. Granddad will of course be the Alien player, springing nasty surprises on the kids, just like we did with our own children. I can still remember the squeals as a Gene stealer appeared as a result of a Alien Event card being turned over! Happy days!

Space Crusade Board set up.

Space Crusade Board set up.

The game takes a bit of time to set up, about 20 minutes or so but once done so, the game play is very smooth, with each marine player taking it in turn to move onto the board. The marine players are in competition with each other to achieve a mission but can of course co operate against the Alien player. The Alien player has a variety of troops at his disposal and deploys them onto the board, initially as ‘blip tokens’. It is only when a Space marine has line of sight on the token that he will know what he is facing!

Gretchin!

Gretchin!

Gretchin are at the bottom of the Alien food chain. They are numerous and in the main, ineffective – but you never know when they will get a lucky shot off!

Space Orks.

Space Orks.

Next up are the Space orks. A bit tougher to kill and dangerous in combat.

Andriods!

Andriods!

The Andriods pack quite a punch. They are slow to move but tough to kill and are more than capable of taking out a standard Space marine.

Chaos Space Marines - the baddies!

Chaos Space Marines – the baddies!

The Chaos Space marines are the Bad Guys. Not quite as tough as Standard marines but dangerous if they get the first shot off.

Gene Stealers from the Kult of the Living Flesh!

Gene Stealers from the Kult of the Living Flesh!

The gene stealers only appear on the turn of an Alien Event card. They are fast and vicious and can even badly damage a Space Marine Captain in their hit and run attacks. I painted these figures for Space Hulk – another classic game. They are from my Gene Stealer cult, the Kult of the Living Flesh, or KLF – guess what I was listening to at the time….

Alien Chaos Dreadnought

Alien Chaos Dreadnought

The Alien Chaos Dreadnought is perhaps the toughest character on the board, excepting the Space Marine Captains. When he appears, you better take cover and come up with a good plan of attack!

The Ultramarines are ready to board the Space Hulk.

The Ultramarines are ready to board the Space Hulk.

The Space Marines in the game are equipped with some very hard hitting weaponry that will take down most of the aliens that they will face. The Captain has 6 lives or wounds, so he is quite tough. In addition, the marines have a number of equipment upgrades, that if played at the correct time, will get them out of trouble or take down that cursed Dreadnought!

We have now added Space Crusade into our portfolio of games to play when we meet. I suspect that we will work our way through the mission book! Playing board games through the winter has been a great way to keep the group together and keep us gaming. It has also been a welcome change from our usual activities and sometimes a change is as good as a rest. We will still keep wargaming and as summer approaches, the campaign season will start!

THE COMMERCIAL BIT

Space Crusade is long OOP so you will have to resort to eBay to obtain a copy, although the price is pretty steep these days. Better still, add it to your list and check out the local charity shops or car boot sales – you may just get lucky!

For all your other gaming needs, particularly when it comes to wargaming, painting and modeling, check out our shop. We send post free to most worldwide locations at the time of writing!

ARCANE SCENERY

Happy Modelling!

 

Bingham Napoleonic Days

Over the last couple of weeks my blog has been focused on the Demo game that I was a part of at the Bingham Napoleonic days. I thought that this week, I would round up this very enjoyable occasion by giving a few details about the event and who else and what else was there. It’s a bit of a ‘bolting the stable door’ blog but if you are interested in Napoleonic history, it’s a nice little event to attend and assuming that it goes ahead next year ( I hope so) – put it into your diary now.

A selection of Peter's books

A selection of Peter’s books

The event is organised by local author Peter Youds. Peter has written a number of novels ( 10 so far!), set initially in the Peninsular War, in his series, ‘The Ties of Blood’. He thought that it would be a bit of fun to organise a small event at the end of February/beginning of March to celebrate the Napoleonic period and it’s rich history. He gathered together some of his like minded colleagues and the first event was held three years ago. The East Midlands Napoleonic Days weekend takes place at Long Acre Studios, Bingham, Nottinghamshire. The building is the former drill-hall of the South Notts Hussars and provides a most suitable venue for the event.

A good selection of Helion books available - as were some of the authors!

A good selection of Helion books available – as were some of the authors!

The event is steadily growing and this year, with the help of Helion Books, there was a full program of guest speakers. Familiar names included Carole Divall and Andrew Bamford along with of course, Peter Youds himself. Other speakers included Mark Thomson, Mick Crumplin, Rod Griffiths, Paul Chamberlain, Michael Kirby and Edward Hammond.

Spot The Author! - Another selection of titles available.

Spot The Author! – Another selection of titles available.

Also attending the event, was the very talented Christa Hook. If you have used Osprey books as a painting reference, particularly if painting British Napoleonics, you may well have used Christa’s paintings as a reference. I certainly have, although the name hadn’t registered until the week before the event. I was painting a Warlord Games 95th rifleman and I realised that the painting that I was using as a reference was by Christa!

My attempt at painting a 95th Rifleman

My attempt at painting a 95th Rifleman

Christa Hooks Cover art - no doubt who is the more talented painter!

Christa Hooks Cover art – no doubt who is the more talented painter!

Christa had brought a selection of paintings to display and sell, as well as copies of her book ‘Far in Advance’ a beautifully illustrated book of the Peninsular war.

Just a small selection of Christa Hooks work on display.

Just a small selection of Christa Hooks work on display.

So with a full program of speakers in one hall, a selection of literature and art work in the gallery, Café Corsica, a pop up café, selling delicious home made cakes, tea coffee sandwiches and freshly made bacon cobs ( bread rolls, to you Southerners…) what more could you want? Oh yes, in the back room, the NG13 wargamers were putting on a battle based on an engagement from the Peninsular war that occurred at Foz d’ Arouce and described in Peter Youlds book, ‘the Hardest fight’.

The Hardest Fight by Peter Youlds

The Hardest Fight by Peter Youlds

A full battle report is in last weeks blog but it is worth mentioning again that the board was scratch built by Peter Harris of the NG13 wargamers with assistance from Jaz Storey- Smith.

Jaz busy painting the board under Petes direction!

Jaz busy painting the board under Petes direction!

Having spent all day Saturday playing our Demo game, I returned on Sunday to listen to some of the speakers. I particularly wanted to hear Rob Griffiths talking about the 5/60th rifles. I had treated myself to one of Christa’s paintings of these guys and I wanted to know more about them. Rob’s talk was so enlightening, I purchased a signed copy of his book!

I spent a bit more than I intended to but I am very pleased with my haul!

I spent a bit more than I intended to but I am very pleased with my haul!

I should also mention that as well as speaking,  Michael Kirby had put on a ‘Hands on History’ demo in the back room that was a superb introduction to the period for both kids and adults. I regret that my roving reporter skills are so poor and that I have no pictures of the display that he had assembled. Another speaker, Edward Hammond was in full Napoleonic French Infantry dress. I had the pleasure to watch Christa Hook sketch him and produce a superb likeness as I stood and watched. Such talent! Again, I was so star struck that I forgot to record the results!

Christa Hooks painting now has pride of place in the lounge!

Christa Hooks painting now has pride of place in the lounge!

In conclusion, I spent a very happy weekend at the event and I am very grateful to Peter for organising such a pleasant experience. If you are in the area next year ( The event can coincide with Hammerhead at Newark, just down the road) and you are at all interested in Napoleonic’s, I would urge you to make the effort to attend – it’s free! All you will spend is your time….unless like me you are tempted by the books and paintings available. Oh and the cakes…

The Commercial Bit

As always a link to the Arcane Scenery and Models on line shop. We currently post all orders free to most worldwide locations:

ARCANE SCENERY

Here is a link to Peter Youds Bicorn Books site.

BICORN BOOKS

You can see and purchase more of Christa Hooks Paintings, book and Art Work here:

CHRISTA HOOK

Happy modelling and gaming!

Footnote: In case you haven’t noticed, I am having problems with aligning some of my pictures. It seems that if you view them on a Tablet or phone they are aligned correctly but on a desk top, they are set at 90 degrees. I will be seeking some technical help to resolve this!

Combat at Foz d’Arouce

I had a most enjoyable weekend at the Bingham Napoleonic Days event, organised by the Author and Bingham resident, Peter Youds. The Saturday was spent playing in a Napoleonic demo game based around the action at Foz d’Arouce in the Peninsular War on a beautiful table, designed and built by Peter Harris. On Sunday, I attended a number of talks on Napoleonic subjects, the highlight for me, being a talk on the ‘personalities’ in the 5/60th rifles given by author Robert Griffith. In this weeks blog, I’ll give you the battle report from the Saturday, whilst it is still fresh in my mind and next week, I’ll cover the event itself.

The Village of Foz d'Arouce - Table built and designed by Pete Harris

The Village of Foz d’Arouce – Table built and designed by Pete Harris

Andy Callan had come up with the scenario and the rules that we would use to pay the game. In the attachments below, you can read the actual account of the battle from Oman, the scenario for the game itself and the briefing handout for visitors. It’s worth taking the trouble to have a read – the links are PDF’s which you are free to use should you wish to – they should open in a separate tab on your computer.

FozOman (1)

FozScenario (1)

Fozhandout (1)

I’ll also include a link to the rules at the bottom of the blog. We have been a bit easy going when it came to the actual figures used. You will see that the figures on the table don’t quite match the actual regiments present. I should also say that the battle account is very much from a British perspective (me), so if you ever get to chat to my opponent, Pete, dont be surprised if he has a slightly differing version!

The British Officers are all Characters from 'The Hardest Fight' by Peter Youlds.

The British Officers are all Characters from ‘The Hardest Fight’ by Peter Youlds.

The British force was led by characters from Peter Youlds novel, ‘The Hardest Fight’, whilst the French Officers were all named after cheeses! The battle started with Captains Jago and Herryck a company of the 95th Rifles already in place in the village, with two companies of British infantry, led by Marlow entering the field of battle at the top of the board.

Marlow leads his troops onto the field of battle

Marlow leads his troops onto the field of battle

Rifles sneak into the village!

Rifles sneak into the village!

The French encampment - they are defending the wrong road!

The French encampment – they are defending the wrong road!

Breast or Leg Sir? - Just give me the chicken, I have a battle to fight!

Breast or Leg Sir? – Just give me the chicken, I have a battle to fight!

The first turn saw the British suprising the French and opening fire on both the camp and the companies defending the road at entry point b. Captain Rocquefort decided to pull back from the road and defend the camp, with Captain Vachequirit abandoning his lunch to join him on the hill. In the subsequent exchanges of fire, the French were temporarily driven back, one company suffering badly and failing it’s morale. To add to the French discomfort, Lt. Thicknesse had arrived with two more companies of red coats to put more pressure on the French.

 British Reinforcements push the French back up the hill

British Reinforcements push the French back up the hill

It all seemed that it was going well for the British but in their over exuberance, the commanders had lost touch with some of their units which meant that the British were unable to follow up their early success. To add to their woes, the French had received reinforcements, with Sgt Camembert leading a company of elite Voltigeurs and Lt Brie leading his squadron of Hussars. Lt Brie charged straight into the action.

Lt. Brie withdraws having mauled the British Infantry

Lt. Brie withdraws having mauled the British Infantry

Lt Brie caused havoc in the British lines, severely mauling one company and pushing it back off the table, which caused further confusion in the British lines. The French Cavalry were stopped by a furious musket volley and having suffered a number of casualties, Lt Brie retired to the rear. The French had recovered from the initial shock of the British advance and were further able to halt the British advance with some excellent musketry, which left the British in disarray and in need of re organisation.

The British form up again!

The British form up again!

For a short period, the French appeared to have the initiative, with Sgt Camembert attempting to sneak around the side of the village whilst taking on the 95th Rifles.

Voltigeurs skirmishing around the rear of the Village whilst more French reinforcements arrive.

Voltigeurs skirmishing around the rear of the Village whilst more French reinforcements arrive.

Take the Village!

Take the Village!

The tide turned again, with more British reinforcements arriving. A battery of Horse artillery had arrived and immediately went into action against the French infantry and Cavalry. A further two companies of infantry had appeared at the top of the village. The British had by now sorted out their command, with Captain Herryck leaving the village to take control of the newly arrived infantry and advance on the French around the other side of the village. Captain Jago had also taken command of an additional light Company and brought them into the village to secure it from the French.

Light Infantry secure the village.

Light Infantry secure the village.

British superiority is re-established!

British superiority is re-established!

A desperate attempt by the French Voltigeurs to storm the village was easily repulsed and the British were now able to go onto the offensive again. Just to add the the French Commanders woes, a company of Cacadores appeared on the bluff to his rear and started harassing the now retreating French columns.

Cacadores! Where did they come from!

Cacadores! Where did they come from!

The French were now facing superior fire power and having been worn down by the British attack, realised that retreat was their only option. With the bridge choked, one retreating unit was forced into the river at the ford and suffered further losses to the treacherous current. Some order was restored on the far bank and the French prepared to blow the bridge.

French in new defensive position

French in new defensive position

The British hold the field!

The British hold the field!

The umpire decided that the French would need to roll to see if the explosives had been placed correctly and on which side of the bridge the charge had been set. A 1,2 or 3 would mean that the charge was on the British side; 4,5 or 6 it would be on the French side. Pete, the French commander, managed to roll a 2. The race was now on! Could Capt. Herryck reach the bridge and diffuse the explosives before the bridge was blown?

A solitary French trooper was sent to light the fuse!

A solitary French trooper was sent to light the fuse!

The fuse was lit, anything but a 1 on a D6 and the bridge would blow before Herryck could get there. Pete rolled the dice…a 1! The charge had failed to blow, the British were delighted! But wait! The French had a re roll card to play. The umpire obliged and we held our breath as the dice was rolled again…a 1! The British once again celebrated in a most unsportsman like way… Herryck rushed to the bridge to difuse the charge, a 2,3,4,5,6 would make him the hero of the day. A 1 would mean that the charge was booby trapped and the whole thing would blow after all. I rolled a 1! As I looked at the dice in disbelief, willing the spots to change, the French commander was badly concealing his glee. Bloody wargaming!

Oh No! He's killed Herryck!

Oh No! He’s killed Herryck!

I would now have to tell Peter Youds that I had killed off his main character. Oh well, these things happen, time for a pint, I think.

THE COMMERCIAL BIT

As I hope that you can see we had great fun with our game. The rules are a mash up of the original Sharp Practice rules and Muskets and Tommahawks with some extra ideas from Andy, hence Sharp Tomahawks. The sub title of ‘Rules for old wargamers with short attention spans’ is a clue as to why we like them. We have used them before and they are available here as a brief PDF. The new Sharpe practice rules would have worked just as well and if you are not familiar with them, I recommend them as one of the best set of skirmish rules around.

SharpTomahawks

We sell many of the figures, scenery, rules and accessories used in the game – if you would like to visit our shop and see the huge range that we have, click the link below. At the time of writing we send orders post free!

ARCANE SCENERY

Happy Modelling!