Category Archives: Editorial

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…


The Year That Was

Here we are in the middle of January and I am acutely aware how long it has been since my last post. Certainly 2018 has been a hectic year for me and there have been aspects that have caused plenty of challenges. Yet I am fortunate that I have had a good group of friends with which I have spent many hours rolling dice and moving toy soldiers around the table. A tonic and sometimes an escape from the day to day challenges we all face.

During 2018 I managed to play most of the game systems I enjoy. Spearhead and particularly Modern Spearhead featured heavily during the early part of 2018. Unfortunately they have been absent most recently due to those players interested in these rules being distracted by work. Hopefully regular Spearhead games will soon appear on my calendar.

Volley & Bayonet has been a solid Friday evening game system during the course of the year. Always an excellent multiplayer rules system I can’t for the life of me see why they are not more popular.

They provide excellent fictional games such the American Civil War Game illustrated above and below.

However, they are also ideal for refighting historical battles. Last year I was even fortunate enough to enjoy a few Napoleonic refights as well as an outstanding multiplayer Volley & Bayonet game in Tennessee, a refight of Stones River. It will be a game that I will remember for many years.

In addition to all of the above DBA has also provided much enjoyment, most frequently on Tuesday evenings. For those interested in such things you can find various reports on my Ancient Wargaming Blog. During the year some games were of particular noteworthy and were recorded, one was Flaminius’ Legions. This report documents the first battle with my reconditioned Polybian Romans which have been languishing on the “to be painted pile” for a long time. More recently my son and I made good use of his holiday in Christchurch for several DBA games. A few of these games are recorded in The Revenge of Peucestas and Epeirot Adventures.

I’m rather looking forward to 2019. It promises to be busy of course, but there will be some interesting games to play while sharing a few tales with friends. I may even post here a little more regularly…

Reflections on 2017

Here we are at the end of another year and I find myself wondering where the year has gone. Without doubt I have had a few family projects to focus on which have provided much pleasure and meaning. Obviously this has allowed less time for painting which during 2017 has been extremely limited. I have had a few attempts to complete projects but these have been lost to real life. However, I am really at the place that additional painting doesn’t provide too much additional benefit. More often I struggle to get my existing armies on the table. I’m sure some of you know the feeling! Of course, I have a few projects that I do intend to get on to. However, let’s not get carried away and start naming them here of course.

While my painting has certainly been limited my gaming has not been. I am fortunate having almost always had one gaming evening per week, and often two. DBR remains a regular Tuesday evening activity with, most recently, a range of exotic armies taking the field including Sumatrans, my new East African Pagans and Maori seen below engaged against Swedes.

DBA and Big Battle DBA have also feature on Tuesday evenings. Mostly these games have been between historical opponents, often a result of the Empire Campaign we have been running during the year. Interestingly DBA has provided the only competitions outings  I’ve attended during the year.

My Friday gaming slot has generally been allocated to Volley & Bayonet which continues to focus an the Napoleonic and American Civil War periods. The rules are without doubt one of my favourites.


Periodically I deploy my Spearhead or Modern Spearhead armies on a Friday evening and while the number of such games has been fewer in the last couple of months, with opponents being busy, these are both great systems and the games providing much entertainment.

Occasionally of course we have managed Wings of Glory or Sails of Glory evening both of which are excellent systems particularly suited to multiplayer games. Though they can prove challenging in head to head games as well. I’m particularly thinking of my inability to counter Jim’s Me-109s in 1940 games here…

Blogging wise I’m pleased with the general balance I’ve achieved. Postings here are less frequent and only cover a small sample of my gaming activities. However, I think provide a reasonable summary of events, especially when the other blogs that comprise my interests are considered. This site continues of course continue to be supported by Twitter where I try and post a couple of photos after a game. I’m sure the marketing department would have a different view on my posting success. With few comments I’m probably not engaging my audience that well, but then my audience is arguably not that numerous. After all 6mm and 15mm are not the current “in scales”.

So where do I think 2018 will take me? This coming year I would like to play a couple of larger games of Volley & Bayonet, stretching over a full day or multiple evenings rather than our usual single evening slot. I would further like to organise a Spearhead weekend but that would require some out of town support and is probably more a stretch target. In the meantime I’ll make do with some games over next week and then return to some regular gaming slots as the year gets underway.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your own New Year and wish you and your families all the very best for 2018.

The Year That Was…

With the end of 2016 almost here it seems an opportune time to reflect on my year of gaming. What’s been achieved, what hasn’t, and some general reflections. I’m not one for New Year resolutions but this year I intended to, and generally achieved, an increase in gaming activities. This meant a reduction of posts here as I focussed more on gaming and less on posting. All round this has been particularly pleasing change in focus.

I’m of course fortunate to have so many good natured opponents which has made this an enjoyable gaming year. Indeed, most weeks I’ve managed two gaming evenings. Tuesday has become a regular event with one player who approaches gaming generally from the same perspective as I do. This regular gaming slot has found us playing all manner of rule systems. DBA, BBDBA, DBR and Wings of War are regularly seen as the fit well into the available time. Each tends to go in phases with 300 point English Civil War encounters being the current phase.

Friday evening slots allow greater time for games and generally allow Volley & Bayonet encounters, occasionally supplemented with Spearhead or Modern Spearhead. Larger multiplayer Sails of Glory or Wings of Glory games feature when we are suffering from the impact of a busy work week. A larger group of players attend these events but organising these sessions can be a bit more hit and miss with many opponents travelling or suffering work commitments.

My attendance at wargaming conventions has been lower than I had hoped with only one out of town event and that being in Australia back in January. It seems a distant memory now. This was supplemented by DBA at Conquest here in Christchurch, which was pleasingly well supported by out of town players.

Yet there remains somewhat a hole in my convention gaming. I recall the many excellent Spearhead and Modern Spearhead events in Wellington in years past. It’s such a shame these are no longer organised.

What I haven’t achieved in the year is much progress with miniatures painting. A couple of small projects have been completed but in general the existing projects have languished yet again. Perhaps I need to add this to the list of aims for this year. For example I really need to complete my WWII Soviets for Spearhead, while progressing some long overdue expansion of other armies. Then there is a new 6mm Volley & Bayonet army that has been on my mind for a few years. Not to mention a large batch of 6mm Spanish I was gifted a few years ago. Goodness, the painting projects almost seem overwhelming!

So on reflection an excellent year of gaming. That said I’m rather looking forward to see what 2017 holds…

Great Battles of the Horse & Musket Era

As an amateur historian of the horse and musket era I often read various histories of the great commanders and their defining battles. In doing so I find myself pondering the issues of command and the variable “moments” that define the various key items that mark a significant battle. 

Currently I am reading Gordon Rhea’s excellent book “The Battle of the Wilderness”. As I read I often pause and ponder the critical moments that defined the battle. For example, what if Meade had pressed earlier his attack at Saunders Field? What could have occurred if Getty was delayed on the Brock Road?

As a wargamer I am challenged to refight these battles out on the table. I find it fascinating the degree that such games assist me in understanding the terrain, the period and the challenges of warfare in the period. Sometimes the decisions on the table result in the historical course of the action being followed, yet others see alternate outcomes develop.

This time last week I was fortunate to refight the Battle of Shiloh, a photo of which is shown below. This refight provided, as I expected, a fascinating evenings game as well as an ability to explore some interesting historical alternatives.

While some wargamers are interested in the modeling aspects or small unit tactics I have a preference to refighting the larger battles of the period. I have been fortunate to refight a large number of battles from the Seven Years War, the Napoleonic Wars and the American Civil War. The rule set that for the last 20 years that has enabled me to do this is of course Volley & Bayonet. Frank Chadwick, author of Volley & Bayonet explained some of his thinking in his design notes:

“…what interested me most about the Napoleonic Wars was the army-level view of the battlefield. When we think about the Napoleonic Wars, I believe that most of us think Waterloo, Austerlitz, Marengo, Borodino, Leipzig, Jena-Auerstaedt, etc., as opposed to the charge of the Zastrow Cuirasiers at the Great Redoubt, or the breaking of the 4th Ligne’s square by the Russian Garde Du Corps on the slopes of the Stare Vinohrady. So my viewpoint of the import aspects of the Napoleonic Wars shaped the scope of the game decisively.”

Since the refighting Shiloh I have been considering the aspects of Volley and Bayonet that hold particular appeal. Firstly, as mentioned previously I’m interested in refighting large battles, rather than regimental actions. Given that each stand in Volley & Bayonet represents 1500 to 3000 men large battles are clearly possible. Then of course the level of the rules ensure that the games focus on the big picture, after all each turn represents an hour. The fact that with the same general rules, modified by period specific changes, I can refight battles from the Seven Years War to American Civil War as a significant advantage. Yet each period has a totally different feel.

Unlike many I’m not focussed on a particular figure scale. So while my Horse & Musket miniatures are all 6mm I’m just as happy to use Volley & Bayonet with miniatures ranging in height from 2mm to 25mm. Each scale has its advantages and while I enjoy the visuals of 6mm other scales can be equally excellent. Take for example this refight of Hastenbeck refought with Volley & Bayonet and 30mm flats which can be found here.

I have of course rambled somewhat in this evening’s post. However, I would ask a couple of questions. Firstly, do you enjoy refighting historical actions, or do you prefer fictional encounters? If you enjoy refights which aspects do you find of particular interest?