The Grand Opening

I am fortunate to have had a dedicated wargames room for the last 20 years. It has provided me with hours of entertainment as various friends and I have moved all those miniatures across the tabletop. Memories have been made, history discussed and great battles won and lost in equal measure. However, over the last year or so we have been planning a move and finally it came time to pack up the old wargames room.

But moving house can take a while. As a result I have been without a dedicated gaming area for almost four months as we first prepared to and then moved house. Then having arrived there was the unpacking and prioritisation. Everything had an order. Without a dedicated space my gaming has been limited to DBA sized games on a small table. These games have been most enjoyable but I admit I have been yearning for the larger multiplayer games which have been a feature of my Friday evening gaming for many years.

The good news is that over the last few weeks the gaming room has finally come together. Bookcases have relocated from our old house and have been repainted. New chairs and rugs have been purchased. Late last week various military prints were positioned or hung on walls. These were supplemented by a few recently purchased items to create the desired feel in the war room. Then new mugs, glasses and even a kettle found its way to the kitchenette. It was clear the new games room was coming together!

Change can bring opportunity and for me this meant a larger gaming room. My intention was to have more space for multiplayer games and to allow more than one table to be setup. This would allow those occasional larger games or multiple events to be played. Something I had found a little restrictive in the previous location. Further, I wanted a dedicated sitting area so that on occasion we could sit down and talk, discussing those finer points of the battle planned or resolved. Above, the general setup with one table ready for use.

Now to the gaming. I’m pleased to report that over the last week two gaming evenings have been in held. The first a small Franco-Prussian War game using Volley & Bayonet. It was great to get the figures and familiarise ourselves with the FPW.

Then last night “The Grand Opening” of the Wargames Room took place. For this a series of multiplayer Wings of War games were held with seven players in attendance.

Above and below, Wings of War encounters can be seen underway on the second table with many Magnificent Machines aiming to secure the skies over the Western Front in the Great War. We have been joined for the evening by the resident dog, just visible above, who has taken a liking to the cowhide rug from which to observe the antics in the air.

With a fine single malt whiskey opened for the occasion, as well as a range of beers, and nourished by a selection of foods it proved an excellent evening of gaming.

It seems “The Wargames Room” is once again open for business. Stay tuned for more action “Across the Table” in the latest wargames room in Lincoln.

Those Magnificent Machines

Last night, as part of The Grand Opening of my new wargames room, seven of us gathered for a little Wings of War action. Having previously settled on the period of the Great War a mix of aircraft were unpacked. Then, their engines were started and the canvas and timber machines clawed their way into the sky over the Western Front for what was to be a most enjoyable evening.

The first scenario was particularly simple affair simply based on dog fight between a mix of Allied fighters and the determined German pilots.

Above, a Spad flies past, narrowly missing one German machine while a Fokker Dr.I and a Fokker D.VII prepare to engage.

Below, having engaged each other a selection of aircraft break-off before trying to gain some advantage in the next attack runs.

Below, another view of the dogfight as the aircraft all attempt to fly in the same space.

Our next scenario found a Zeppelin-Staaken R.VI making a rather brave daylight raid over the front line with, what would turn out to be, totally inadequate fighter support in the form of a Aviatik D.I.

Now, I thought the Staaken would fly a generally straight course to its target but instead it weaved back and forth trying to dislodge the gaggle of fighters that gathered to its rear.

Above and below views of the engagement with the Staaken. The size of this aircraft never fails to impress me.

Alas for the Staaken an engine explosion made its task increasingly difficult and eventually she was shot down, well before reaching her target.

Our final mission of the evening of was an Allied bombing mission involving an Airco DH.4, Breguet 14 and an RE.8.

Above, the three Allied bombers fly in formation while below a the DH.4 is about to be engaged.

The DH.4 was the first casualty of the mission the aircraft being shot down some distance from the important town and rail junction which was the focus of the raid. However, the other two Allied machines delivered their bombs and returned to base, though it must be admitted the RE.8 was particular worse for wear!

Another fine and colourful evening in the skies above the Western Front with those magnificent flying machines.

Rolling off the Painting Table

Over July and early August my painting table has had a degree of focus as two DBA armies have progressed from the lead pile to the gaming table. It has been a satisfying experience watching the figures progress. Unlike some wargamers, who produced masses of figures the output of my painting table is limited. I am easily distracted by new projects in the periods I am interested in, so will not too freely admit how long some of the figures have been waiting, though I will admit to several years.

The first project was the Gauls. These figures are all Corvus Belli and stockpiled a few years back. Admittedly the army isn’t complete, as some additional mounted options are still needed to make the army fully complete. However, sufficient have been finished for their first games.

Above, a portion of the Gauls deployed for their first battle while below they can be seen engaged against Carthaginians in their second.

Next to move across the table were the Seleucids. I already have sufficient miniatures for several Successor armies and regular readers will have seen them on my site before. However, some of the speciality units for the Seleucids had not been completed.

These new elements finally allowed the Later Seleucids to finally be fielded. The figures are mostly Tin Soldier but some stands have utilised Xyston, particularly Xyston levy archers and Galatians. Generally they have mixed well. Above the Seleucid II/19c army arrayed while below, two of the recently completed Tin Soldier Seleucid heavy cavalry.

In addition I have been rebasing my Renaissance Sumatrans. Based for DBR the majority of the foot were based three per base, while in DBA they should be four per base. Given the number of stands required this was a significant project, but once completed the army can be used for DBR, DBA and BBDBA.

Above a portion of the army while below an extra artillery stand, more suitable for the late 15th Century. These figures are all from Eureka Miniatures range.

Having three months ago moved house, and with the games room out of action, my painting table has also doubled as the wargames table, overplayed with a 60cm square DBA table. This has certainly been useful and despite a lack of space our games have been stirring affairs. I have posted some brief reports of the last couple of DBA games on my Ancients site. Specifically Rise of the Celts, Seleucid Adventures and Malaccan Mayhem.

The next painting project is now being prepared and will soon take its position on the painting table. Before it gets underway however I will turn my attention to finally sorting out my wargames room. But that can wait for another post…

An Ancient Interlude

It has been an embarrassingly long time since I have posted here. The last few months have been extremely busy and as a result I made a conscious decision to focus my limited gaming time on pushing miniatures around the table and painting miniatures. For those of you that follow me on Twitter then I’m sure you will have seen a selection of the games played in recent months.

One of the regular game systems played has been DBA. These fast play Ancient & Medieval rules provide a balance between playability and simulation. Equally, they provide a great opportunity for an enjoyable game on a weeknight when the complexity of life could otherwise severely restrict my gaming.

Aware that it has been so long since I have posted I have finally made an effort to document a small selection of these DBA games. In particular three games played over the last week. Firstly there is a short summary of two encounters between one of Alexander the Great’s Successor generals (Lysimichus) and the rulers of Kappadokia. You will find the report here. Then, more recently, the Romans have been campaigning against the Celtiberians, a selection of photos and a brief description of the encounter can be found here.

A small selection of the many games played over recent months and something of an interlude from a busy period which hopefully is of some interest to readers.

Franco-Prussian Excursions

Several years ago I had the good fortune to visit several Franco-Prussian War battlefields in France. It’s an interesting war which, among other factors, has the impacts of technology on the battlefield front and centre. From an infantry perspective both main armies are equipped with breechloading rifles, though with very different capabilities. Artillery is being transformed with the Prussians benefiting from their modern Krupp guns. Not to be outdone the French are facing tactical challenges with the introduction of the Mitrailleuse.

At the time of my visit I undertook to purchase a number of 6mm miniatures to refight some of these battles. Fortunately one of my favourite sets of rules, Volley & Bayonet, models this period well. It was therefore a logical extension. Unfortunately, for one reason or another my painting progress stalled. There just never seems to be time to complete one project before being distracted by another. Last year however the first batch of French figures, which can be seen below, were ready.

At the same time one of my regular opponents posed something of a challenge, by asking if we could play some smaller than normal Volley & Bayonet games which could be resolved in around two hours. Intrigued, I pondered options. Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I put together a small scenario which used both the limited forces available and would utilise an equally limited gaming window. Despite these limitations the French would deploy most of a single corps, some 22,000 infantry, 72 cannon and 12 Mitrailleuse. Advancing towards them the Prussian commander would have 30,000 infantry, 4,000 cavalry and 96 cannon. A reasonable number and well representative of a smaller battle.

Everything was set for a challenging game. For those interested I have tried to summarise our fictional encounter in the following report. Hopefully you find it of some interest.