Friday, 29 December 2017

Happy Twixtmas

I hope everyone has enjoyed a Cracking Christmas and Cool Yule, that you've all been suitably rewarded for twelve months of "being good", and that no-one has over indulged (well, not TOO much anyway) on festive fayre, and are ready to go forward into the New Year!
This was my first Christmas as a gaming blogger, and I've learned that "Christmas", "gaming", and "blogging" are not the best of bedfellows - well, not when they're all in the same time and relative dimension in space! Their interaction seems to speed up the hands of the clock, to the extent that the days pass by in a blur, and so I've developed my own 'coping strategy' and visited each activity in it's own 'time zone' which seems to have worked OK, and will only need a few tweaks in the future.

That's enough of the amateur philosophy, and since this is a modelling and gaming blog, this is what I've been up to over the Yuletide period......
My Witchfinder General campaign map shows a stone circle ("The Nine Ladies") , so I've set about modelling it on a pizza base - very much a work-in-progress at the moment, but shaping up.
Once the witches have their "summoning spot", there's every chance they'll need a demon of some description. I've put one on my shopping list, but for now I've painted up the gargoyle from the Ravenloft board game as a proxy
This unfortunate lass is a 'captive' from Black Cat Bases, in the photo she looks like a suitable offering for the demon, but will also be useful in several other "rescue" scenarios
At long last, I've finally got around to painting my old GW 'Garden Of Morr'...
.... which should make for some suitably "Gothic" looking encounters - as demonstrated by this recent skirmish between Stickler Michael and an EM4 Miniatures werewolf
I also painted the three zombies from the Ravenloft game, and used the crypts as a backdrop for their photo
Also, I was lucky enough to receive some mdf buildings for Christmas, and have made a start on the first of them. Like the stone circle, it really is still work-in-progress, but here's the "Timeline Miniatures" Norman Church supplied by 'Hoka Hey Wargaming', assembled and base coated......
...... the goats and sheep are straight off the painting bench (and will no doubt feature in next years Christmas Card nativity photo!!!)

I'll be gigging down in Whitchurch on New Years Eve and up in Leeds on New Years Day, so I know it's going to be busy and will take this opportunity to say that  I wish you all the very best for the year ahead, and hope your brushes are busy and you have games galore!

Happy New Year 2018

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Seasons Greetings

Since I got seriously back into gaming and started this blog, I've really neglected my garden railway (as described in the "Interlude" post in November), so it's nice to know that the inhabitants of Hedgebottom bear no grudges, and have in fact sent a 'Greeting card' !

To be honest, normally when I'm out maintaining the railway is the only time I tend to the garden - so it had got into a bit of a state, and I've been forced by the "household authorities" to get it tidied up before Christmas. Spending some time out there prompted me to post an appropriate photo.......
 ..... and I couldn't come up with a game-related theme for a card!!

How much hobby time I manage to squeeze in over the unpredictable weekend is anybody's guess, so just in case I don't manage another post before the big day, MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone out there. I hope you all have a good one!

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Half Century

I don't know if it's customary, but I'm celebrating today since this is my 50th blog post and I thought it should have a bit of a "bang" to it................ so here it is..............

The first two guns and crews for the ECW project got painted and based this week, and a few more trees that I picked up from the Games Emporium shop in Mansfield have also been based up and are table-ready.
The trees complete the "bottle brush style" forestation that I'd started for battle style games, and any additions from now on will be the more "realistic" looking variety to try and visually enhance skirmish games.

Now then, here's a pleasant surprise - I've managed to get a (late night) game in, and here's the first AAR using the Witchfinder General rules!
As you may have previously read, a group of angry villagers from Bradshaigh  have taken umbrage with the "foreigners" over at Fernbeck House and have marched off seeking retribution.
Unfortunately, their path takes them through Hadden Wood in the vale of Crimbledyke, where an unfortunate "surprise" awaits them!

The "mob" makes its way through the wood, now 12 strong with 7 'ordinary' villagers and 4 'trained' musketeers following the 'veteran' ringleader

The villagers at the centre of the encounter area while the 'Abominations (6 Nocterlinger and 6 Barghests) have entered six inches from the edge - the villagers have won the roll for the "Upper Hand" and will act first.

The encounter is taking place at night, so "Gloomy Conditions" apply, two D10  determine visibility in inches (19 inches - it must be a full moon and a clear night!)

Seeing the advancing Nocterlinger on the track, the villagers attempt to bring their muskets to the fore, but another of the foul creatures has been spotted  to their right!

Shots ring out in Hadden Wood!

Shooting is straightforward, rolling a D6 against the firer's ability, in this case 'Trained Clubmen' who hit on a 3+ , so they managed to score two hits from the members of the Trained Band, while the game keeper missed abysmally!
A second dice is rolled for damage with any "hits", but unfortunately, the  musketeer who'd hit with a "4" only caused a flesh wound (Tis but a scratch!) and the Nocterlinger came on!

A second abomination had appeared on the right flank, and the remaining musketeer with a loaded weapon aimed and gave fire. The white dice shows that his aim was true, and the red dice next to it indicates that damage should have been inflicted (a 4 would have been a "body shot" and removed 1 constitution point, which would be enough to kill a Nocterlinger) - however, since there's a bank in the way, the abomination was allowed an "Avoid Harm" roll, and his red dice indicates that he ducked just in time! Reducing the fatal shot to "a mere scratch!"

"Fisticuffs" then broke out on the road, as the Nocterlinger charged through the black powder smoke and wass met by a pitchfork wielding villager (+1 to his 'Defence' roll). The white dice are the 'Attack' and red are 'Defence' scores.
The Nocterlinger attacks with a factor of 2+1D6 (his white dice) =4
The villager defends with a factor of 1+1(pitchfork)+1D6(his red dice) =3
So, the Nocterlinger scores one "Blow" against the villager who's response is a factor 1+1D6(a 2) =3 against the abomination's 2+1D6(a 3) =5, failing to land any Blows.

The "Blow" is then checked against the fisticuffs table with 1D6 per success - the villager died from a terrible head wound!

Moments later, the ringleader is attacked and bravely holds off the vile creature in the first round of fisticuffs (Neither combatants landed any successful blows)...........

...... but the situation is looking grim for the defenders as the ambuscade progresses and a "Loose Formation" of Barghests smell blood and close in..........
........ before bursting from the trees upon their hapless victims!
Here's how the combat went :-
The two lower Barghests have awful attack rolls, so use their "Rage" ability to re-roll....
..... MUCH better! Now, the musketeer is "trained" so his combat base value is 2, the other two villagers are "ordinary" with base values of 1, and the Barghests have base values of 3. Adding the attack and defence dice and comparing the results as per the previous example sees the 'Hell Hounds' delivering 3,3, and 4 "Blows.
Normally only the highest score is used to deal damage, with the exception of double 5's or 6's when both are used on the "Fisticuffs Result Table"
All three villagers receive mortal wounds, and in this scenario the Barghests must attempt to turn that  result into 'knocked unconcious'  (by scoring 3+ on a D6) so they can carry their victim off alive for their undead master.....
..... the musketeer is heading for the vampyre's larder, but the other two villagers are torn to shreds!

The next turn saw the villagers win the "Upper Hand" again, and more fisticuffs ensued (apart from the hapless musketeer who'd been desperately trying to reload and finally succeeded!). The villager with the club forced the Barghest to drop its prey when he attacked the horror, while his neighbour with the bill hook single handedly tried to protect the group's flank. 

The ringleader was still locked in combat with the nocterlinger, and stared in horror at his dice rolls -
- he too was destined to be vampyre fodder, so it was small compensation when the musketeer's aim was true and his shot hit the target (but only removed 1 point of constitution from the monster's total of  3). The clubman also inflicted a wound on his opponent before being savaged by a flurry of claws and teeth.
The brave flank defence had been in vain, as the Nocterlinger dragged the unconcious body off towards the treeline.

Things were not looking at all good for the remaining villagers, as three of their number were being carried off into the woods and four of their friends lay dead on the track.......

.... unsurprising then, that when the foul creatures pushed their advantage........
..... and rendered another musketeer unconcious.......
...... their will was broken! (In fact, they'd now lost 75% of their starting number, and had to take the "Self Control" test - and failed miserably!)
Poor Tom, who'd now completely forgotten about his stolen cows, attempted to flee....
..... but Earl Lichtenfels servants had been instructed to leave no survivors!
The last to fall was the gamekeeper - a case of the hunter becoming the hunted?!

I stuck with the "basic" rules, and made a bit of a hash of the sequence in the first turn (but that's what play-through's are for isn't it???), and really enjoyed the game. I still intend trying out some other sets of rules for the campaign, but these are definitely "in the running" for now.
I've tried to explain some of the mechanics in the batrep, and hope it's not too long winded (or gobbledigook), but it's been a long old day and I'm wilting!! Please don't hesitate to ask me for any clarifications.

Finally, many thanks to all the bloggers out there that have helped me make it to this 50th landmark, and I hope everyone's Christmas preparations are going to plan!

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Bah Hum Blog!

Well, here we are, over a week on, after previously saying that I was hoping to post an AAR at "the back end of the week"!
I hereby acknowledge the fact that the Yuletide season IS going to impact on my previously well laid blogging plans -  and alternative arrangements are now the order of the day.

To be honest, putting up the decorations, chauffeuring  SWMBO and my Mum on their shop-pain trips, and doing the "Christmas Party" gigs aren't the only drain on hobby time - oh no! It's "That Time Of Year" again, so of course one of the major household appliances had to break down, and this year it's the washing machine that I've had to read the last rites over. (Much less of a disaster than last year, when it was the combi-boiler's turn!!). Then there's the "Speed Awareness Course" I've got to attend to avoid the 3 points on my license, after getting zapped doing 37 in a 30 zone (speed freak eh?)...... 2:30 in the morning heading home on the Nottingham ring road - dual carriageway all the way, but with 40mph AND 30mph sections to trap the unwary and ensure there's sufficient funds in the Nott's Constabulary Christmas Party Fund. Oh well, it's only a 4 hour course, and I've only got to drive to PETERBOROUGH to attend it - I'll just have to put my foot down to get home at a reasonable time in the evening LOL.

So, "alternative arrangements" for what?  Well I'm glad you asked, because considering the current weather conditions here in the East Midlands, one thought has led to another and there's been an appropriate 'snowball' effect, and I'll itemize them below......
It all started with the WfG game that didn't take place last week, and the report that failed to materialise. Currently I'm just blogging 'on the fly' so I'm constantly setting myself deadlines (and failing to meet them).
1) I'm going to try and change the way I blog and build in a bit of "slack" by getting ahead of the game - I've got enough projects on the go at any one time to be able to do this, so it makes sense.

Speaking of which, the one thing I HAVE managed to keep up with in spite of all the demands on time, has been the painting and basing of some more 17th century mini's.
This has only been possible because I'm lucky enough to have easy access to my painting table, and have just cracked on doing 'little and often' whenever I'd normally just sit down with a brew, check the mail,  check the blogs, print stuff off for work etc, etc.
Considering the fact that I've not had chance for a proper painting session at all this week, I've still managed to bash out a troop of horse,
a regiment of mounted dragoons, (apart from their pennant),
and a couple of witches for WfG (plus their 'interesting' cauldron).

Despite the progress, painting the ECW mini's for the game that was "hopefully going to be over the Christmas period", I've realised that I've bitten off a bit more than I can chew!
Funny how your memory works isn't it ?? I'd quite forgotten just how much more time it takes to assemble and paint up mounted units! Yep, I was WAY OFF with my guesstimation of how long it would take to put two opposing armies together!
2) It's pretty obvious now that an ECW "battle" isn't on the cards before the New Year - so I'm going to lower my sights and aim at playing a skirmish action, and
3) This in turn has got me thinking about going for a smaller scale (yet to be decided - 15mm, 6mm, or even 2mm) for the large "battles".

Finally, going up into the loft for the Christmas decorations gave me the opportunity to bring down the last remnants of my previous "gaming life". Along with the stuff already in (and on top off) my WARdrobe. I was delighted to find some bits and bobs I'd completely forgotten about, that will come in useful, but t here's stuff here that I don't think will ever get used, so
4) I'm going to have a clear out!

I hope the above hasn't bored the pants off you too much, and that everyone is staying warm (and safe if you're venturing out on the roads), and you come back soon to read a 'normal' post.

Monday, 4 December 2017

"Castigate Them!"

Having more-or-less shaken off the flu bug, and managed to get the St Austell gig done on Saturday without feeling too worn out after the 6oo mile round trip, I've managed to put together this pre-amble in advance of my first game of Witchfinder General : Days Of Revelation, using a reworked version of the first scenario in the rule book, "Punish Them!", and included the latest characters off the (currently clear) paint table.
I've decided to set the campaign in a fictional region of the Erewash Valley, and I'm using The Perfect Captain's 'Battle Finder' map system to determine the geography - here's a section of the map showing the areas where the following action occurs, so the narrative should make a bit of sense.

It all started when old Tom had gone over to Crimbledyke to fetch his herd back from grazing the common land on the valley slopes. He'd not long started back towards Bradshaigh when he met up with a group of three gypsy girls chattering away in a foreign tongue, who then started dancing and singing around him!
Tom was transfixed, and didn't have a clue how long he'd been standing there, but the dancing had stopped and he remembered one of the girls had put a finger to her lips and "shushed" him with a wink, before the three of  'em pranced off into the woods giggling and laughing. As he came to his senses, he realised that not only the girls had gone, but his cows too!
Luckily their trail was easy to find, but unluckily the tracks were heading towards Fernbeck - the plague village. Tom quickened his step, hoping to catch them before they wandered too close to the dread place, but just as he was thinking things couldn't get any worse..... they did.
When he caught up with them, he saw that his precious beasts weren't wandering off towards the plague village, but they were being herded towards Fernbeck House by a bunch of "the foreigners" armed lackeys!!
Tom yelled at them, and got a pistol ball sent in his direction in reply - which made the situation clear enough to him and he raced pell mell for home!

Once he'd he'd got back to  Bradshaigh, he told a gathering of folk what had happened - little realising that Violet Rathmore was evesdropping around the corner.......
...... and while an angry mob made their way towards Fernbeck House looking for retribution,
Violet made haste the best way she could, to give advance warning.

Night was falling, and Mikhail and Milyena were out in the grounds at Fernbeck with Jenya Ohlendorf, (another vampyress who had joined the couple as they escaped across europe towards England) when Violet arrived with news of the approaching mob.
After calmly thanking her for her trouble, Mikhail instructed his "captain of the guard", Nicholas Delcroix, to "organise a reception committee for our uninvited guests, oh, and be sure to invite a few of them into the house - for dinner!!"

Nicholas Delcroix is another Black Cat Bases miniature, and was a very quick paint job thanks to his long 'drover's coat' with its upturned collar.
The cattle are from the excellent value Pegasus Hobbies 1/48 scale  'Farm Animals' box set, and after a bit of research on the web for 17th century stock, I chose the 'English White' native breed as a close enough match to the models.......
....... and of course, they were a breeze to paint, with a rattle can white primer, black 'points' and a soft tone wash!
"Jenya Ohlendorf" was a find among my untouched 'Flintloque' miniatures collection, so she's the first (and only one) of them to get painted - all be it not for the purposes she was intended!
I think she's supposed to be an Orc, so the facial features on the mini make for a suitably 'inhuman' looking vampyre
The standing and flying versions of "Violet" are from the Foundry miniatures collection. They're not intended to be the same character, and there are slight differences in the detail, but after I'd trimmed and filed one of the brooms they painted up close enough (and the two mini's will never be seen together anyway!)
As well as the WfG stuff, I also managed to cobble together a base of dismounted dragoon horses from some very old (Hinchliffe if memory serves me correctly) nags and a reworked plastic pikeman from Warlord Games
Not brilliant but it does the job (and at a fraction of the cost of the proper models from Warlord - though I believe Santa just might be bringing me a set of those!!)
Here's how the guys look "in action"

Unfortunately, the next post won't be until the back end of the week due to work commitments, but hopefully we'll see how the "reception" for the villagers of Bradshaigh goes.