Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Carlist Wars scrap...and something on the horizon!

I've been a little quiet on the painting front the last couple of weeks after a rather productive January. Starting a new job, I'm sure, has something to do with my declining output (sucks how a need to make a living gets in the way of one's hobbies). I've also been working on another hobby-related project of which I can say nothing as yet (sworn to secrecy and all). Look to TMP over the next few days to see what I'm talking about. Despite my slowed painting pace, I've been able to get in a few games while still puttering away at my painting desk.

One of these took place a couple of Fridays ago when Darek Choroszewski came by for a game of Sharp Practice with my Carlist Wars collection. Darek has purchased some figures to join in the recent ImagiNation craze and wanted to try Sharp Practice as an option to game with his soon-to-be army. We had a fun little scrap that hopefully inspired Darek to try more.

9th "Irish" BAL begin taking hits and shock points as they advance. My new attempt at magnetic Big Man labels can be seen in this photo.

Carlist cavalry hits BAL cavalry in the flank.

More Carlist cavalry bears down on a BAL rocket section.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Artillery and Grenadiers

January and February have seen productive days at my painting desk, most likely because I'm trying to get as much finished as possible before starting my new job on Monday. I've been puttering away at my new ImagiNation project and you can see the net result below. Regiment Roquefort has been increased to five groups of eight figures each for a total of 40 figures (plus 8 command figures). I have also added this week the two 4lb battalion guns and crews and eight grenadier figures. Originally, the sixth group (or division) for Regiment Roquefort was to be made up of grenadiers but plans have changed. Crusader has no grenadier figures to even remotely match the "French with unfastened coats" I'm using for the musketeers. I had purchased eight Austrian grenadiers with bearskins and turnbacks with the idea of using them as the grenadier division of the regiment (note: these are small "d" divisions, tactical sub-groups of a battalion). Unfortunately, once I had them in my hands I realized how much different they would look beside the musketeers and decided instead to finish the regiment off with a sixth division of musketeers (currently on order). 
What then to do with the grenadiers? My original plan was for the army of Gourmandie to have grenadier battalions made up of the combined divisions from the line regiments. Because the plan has changed, Gourmandie will have permanent grenadier battalions and I painted the first eight figures to represent the Grenadiers de Camembert.


Two battalions of Regiment Roquefort, two battalion guns,
All figures from Crusader and flags by GMB.

Grenadiers de Camembert, 1er Division.

Artillerie de Regiment Roquefort. 
Each of the two battalions of the regiment will field one of these guns to bolster its firepower. Winging their way from Front Rank are limbers and ammunition caissons to accompany these.

As is my wont with new projects, I have already begun planning an opposing army for Gourmandie. These will take the shape of Das Kaiserreich (The Empire), a loosely organized group of independent Germanic principalities and duchies, based vaguely on the Holy Roman Empire. I have ordered some infantry and cavalry to start this ImagiNation and hope in the next few months to host a game or two with the opposing armies.

Up next, more Grenadiers a Cheval Boursin...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Grenadiers à Cheval Boursin

The latest addition to the forces of  le Grand-Duché de Gourmandie are some fierce looking cavalry in the form of 1er Escadron, Grenadiers à Cheval Boursin. This is a three squadron regiment of regular cavalry that has the premier date of establishment and thus sits atop the seniority list. The regiment sports black cuirasses, bearskins and red coats but each squadron has a different facing colour: 1er Escadron (bleu); 2e Escadron (vert); 3e Escadron (violet).

1er Escadron, Grenadiers à Cheval Boursin led by Chef d'Escadron Phillipe Langeron. Front Rank figures.

From the rear...seems they have nowhere to go!

 Chef d'Escadron Phillipe Langeron, a nouveau riche officer who is well-liked by his men (probably because of the ineffable charisma he exudes) but who is equally liked by the liquor merchants that follow the army!

Next up for le Grand-Duché de Gourmandie? The second battalion of Regiment d'Infanterie Roquefort (including the grenadier division) and two battalion guns.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

WWII Campaigning

Last week I purchased and downloaded the new offering from Too Fat Lardies called Platoon Forward. Rather than try to describe this product myself, I defer to the description on the TFL website:

Platoon Forward is a character based campaign system that allows you to add personality to your tactical level games. Written for Platoon Level games in the Second World War Platoon Forward focuses on the characters within your force.  Its three sections allow the gamer to generate characters, to generate a wide range of scenarios and follow their force through  a range of missions with a broad selection of events that can affect their performance on the battlefield. This is the perfect addition to solo games as the dynamic system presents the player with a hidden enemy and provides a huge variety of potential outcomes, keeping the games interesting and allowing the unexpected to occur. For full details see the interview with the author on the Lard Island News site:  http://toofatlardies.co.uk/blog/. Platoon Forward is designed to bolt on to whatever set of WWII tactical level rules you are using and may be easily adjusted for squad or company level games.   

My preferred WWII rule set of late has been Disposable Heroes from Iron Ivan Games and I've played a fair number of games with it. Those who know me also know that I'm a frustrated campaign gamer. By this I mean that I like to have the context in my games that campaigning provides but that I've always been searching for a campaign system that satisfies me (if that's possible). Over the years I've tinkered with various published campaign systems and even written a few of my own. I've run campaigns and played in them. Most are too much of something and too little of something else (and these somethings vary from gamer to gamer, genre to genre, and even day to day). As with my tactical rule sets, I much prefer these days simplicity and ease of play. But it's difficult to run a campaign that is both simple and easy to play and/or administrate. Platoon Forward may (and I stress "may") be the answer, at least for me. Platoon Forward has no map component as with a standard campaign system and instead  allows me to track the performances of my units and their commanders regardless of the type of game. I can use the scenario generator provided or play any other scenario and just keep track of my force. My fellow gamers can use it to track their forces' performances as well but there is no requirement to synchronize our efforts.

For example, I may play several games with my 1940 German platoon and gain certain advantages and disadvantages for future battles. My platoon commander may forge a strong relationship with the company quartermaster sergeant and receive some extra squad weapons for a future battle. But maybe the battalion commander has taken notice of the platoon leader and wishes to accompany him in the platoon's next action. All well and good but the company commander doesn't particularly like my platoon leader. Maybe someone with a Russian infantry platoon wants to play a game against my Germans (hint, Steve). He can now start using the Platoon Forward system as is, despite the fact that I've already tracked my platoon through several actions. No need for synchronization of efforts. In fact, no need for him to use the system at all!

On Sunday at MIGS, John and I played a WWII game and I used the Platoon Forward system to track my German platoon. We used one of the simpler scenarios in the system. Unfortunately, the German platoon leader not only lost the action but his platoon sergeant was killed. An appeal to the company commander to promote a deserving squad leader (and in-game event caused the platoon leader to "notice" one of his squad leaders) to the empty post proved fruitless despite the fact that both are  former enlisted men promoted from the ranks and thus have a mutual basis for understanding. Seems the company commander has his own agenda. The request was denied and a new platoon sergeant was brought in from another unit. This may not seem a problem on the face of it but the two are diametric opposites. The new platoon sergeant is a tried combat veteran of cheery disposition (and his combat leadership rating is higher than his new platoon commander's...surely a source of future friction?). The platoon commander is a corrupt bastard whose motivation is fueled by a hatred of all things in officer-land, despite his rank (he was, after all, promoted from the ranks and doesn't quite fit the traditional Prussian aristocratic officer mold) and is jealous of his authority. Fortunately, the platoon leader also had a chance meeting with the commander of the armour component of the Kampfgruppe. This proved more useful and a strong bond was formed. This may may be useful in the future when the reckless temperament of my platoon leader gets him into a pickle and he needs some local armour support.

So, just enough context to make our games a bit more interesting...