Monday, 31 December 2018

Happy New Year!

Although I've not been able to blog much for the past year, my circumstances have changed (more on that later) and I might have more time to write in the future.

In any event... I wish a happy new year to any who read this. I hope your break - if you got one - has been enjoyable and you and yours are healthy.

And of course, some more weirdness.

This plaque sat on my father's desk at his work for many years.

Monday, 8 October 2018

The Long-Awaited Test of Kings of War

Subtitle: What you wish Warhammer had been

Life has become quite busy of late and I've had little time to blog. Since it's the Thanksgiving holiday here in Canada, I have a few moments.

   I've been discussing Mantic Games Kings of War with a number of people, including my good friend Andy and folks like Barnaby at the Hamilton Area Gamers. A few of my friends and I have decided to jump in. It will allow us to use the accumulated armies in 25/28mm that we have and don't use because Games Workshop changed the nature/scale/style of the game and... well, we just don't feel like it. 

I spoke to my son about the game and over his visit to the house for the holiday, he got very interested. Then he got his sister interested. Then he got his mother interested. (Yes, we're all gamers.) When I got home Sunday after my two worship services at two churches in Aylmer, ON, Rob and Katie had already plotted out a game using our collection of Warmaster figures, all 10mm. We had to play with the base sizes at tiny bit bur since they're all on a common size base (40mm x 20mm for about 10 infantry, 20mm x 40mm for about 4 cavalry or a "war engine." (That includes cannon, catapult, bolt thrower, death ray, etc.) Rob fielded about 1130 in dwarves according to the KoW rules while Katie laid out 1150 in Elves. I was the side judge. And off we went! (Beth and I took the photos.)

Katie, Rob, and I look over the rules summaries Katie found on line before we hit it.

Katie had found some excellent rules summaries and an army builder site on-line and the armies soon took shape. We decided on a simple scenario - referred to as "Kill!" in the rule book. Both sides hack and slash for 6 turns then you add up the point value of the units that were destroyed/routed and who ever leads by at least 10% wins! Simple enough!

Rob won the roll and made Katie move... because dwarves don't move so well. We worked through a number or hiccups with the rules in short order and the game went well. 6 full turns later (about 2 hours in fits and starts), Rob won by a cool 300 points. Dwarves don't move but they're armoured to the gills.

Elven heavy cavalry/knights move into contact with a dwarven horde (which means a large unit.
In this case it's 4 infantry stands.) In the background, Elven chariots hit the flank of some dwarf
veterans. A flank attack allows the attacking unit to do double the attacks, while an attack on a unit's
rear does 3x the normal number of attacks!

A single stand of elven horse archers has fallen back into  rough ground. The die shows the number of hits the unit
has taken. Katie's elven wizard rides a whirlwind and chucks fireballs.

Buckets o' dice! Buckets 'n' buckets o' dice... just like Warmaster!

This was the mustering of the armies prior to deployment.

Measure that shot, girl! (Premeasuring is allowed at any time.)
The game was no push-over. Both of my kids sweated putty-balls at different times. The armour and the stubbornness of the dwarves put them in a good place, although having two units of "riflemen", a cannon, and a flame-belcher didn't hurt. The best part of it was they THOROUGHLY ENJOYED the game. It was an experiment, but as soon as Rob got home he began to get his 25mm dwarves lined up. Katie is still searching for 25mm elves of all kind. Beth is considering using her Arthurian army as the army of Basilea for KoW. Now to find some angelic warriors for her! My Warhammer Empire army now sees quite nice... as do the horde of Gauls I have our in the storage area.

The game is immensely playable, easy to learn, and readily adaptable. For example, Rob found no rules for dwarven gyrocoptors, a toy he loves. Katie suggested you substitute an elven dragonrider's stats and use a small cannon rather than a breath weapon. You pay the points - it won't be cheap! - and you go ahead. There's magic but it is proportional to the game; it will not win you the game, but it will mess up your opponent! The game writers have a sense of humour, hence the "dwarven throwing mastiffs" and the "elven sabre-tooth pussy cats" which do about the same thing and make you laugh all along the way.

We used the Warmaster figs because they were readily available. We used centimetres when the game called for inches and it worked rather well. Now we gather the figs and get set to fall in!

Fast action, hence the blur.

Katie's elven general

The Knights hit home! You can see the flame gun in the background. The d10s show the number of casualties. the white bead shows that the unit of dwarves have not yet thrown their throwing mastiffs!

"More coal for the flame gun, Swen! Them elf wagons might break through!"

The elven knights destroyed the dwarf warrior horde, but they're still in trouble.

Still friends and siblings. Rob put on his best "Dwarf Face" but that beard needs to be fuller and more grizzled.
Katie's purple hair is quite appropriate for elves.
I think you'll be seeing more of this sort of game!

Friday, 6 July 2018

The 2018 Time-line at Backus Page House Museum.

Because of a large meeting of the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, I missed this event except to come out on Sunday and wander around. There were a few photos taken that I wish to share. (Photos courtesy of the Backus Page House Museum and Jeff Brown.)

The Jacobite camp.
The time-line was to reflect about 200 years of Canadian history. Although these folks are out of the limit, the area
around the museum was settled by Scots. Colonel Talbot didn't like them and gave them the swampiest land he could. 

A wider view of the camp.

Firing demonstration.
Jacobites, War of 1812, "Pony Wars" in the US, and WWI can be seen here.
Seamus, the story-teller is announcing the event.

Kevin and Jared of our reenacting group prepare their firearms.

Jared, our company's corporal, on the firing line in his pioneer's kit.
He does a great impresson.

Kevin demonstrating the musket on Saturday.

Kevin preparing to fire his jäger rifle on Sunday. 
... and firing the Brown Bess grenade launcher. Flaming tennis balls away!
US Cavalry for the "Pony Wars" of the so-called Wild West fires his breech-loading carbine.
The Swiss! They added a little seen aspect of WWI and demanded your pass and papers to get through the camp.
They were fun and made a good interactive impression.

The senior sergeant of the 1st Petrograd Womens' Battalion of Death
wrestles with her Mosin-Nagant rifle.

The Swiss riflemen take target practice.

The Swiss rifleman coolly chooses his target.

The WWI display manned by the French and the Russians.

The Swiss officer threatens the squirrels and dandelions. 

Our French poliu, Tyler, looking suitably belligerent.
Avance! Avec la baïonnette!
Katie, the senior sergeant of the Women's Battalion of Death and my daughter,
shows what the Mosin-Nagant is REALLY used for.

Katie is hunting ticks in the high grass. Here you can see the medals and the shoulder boards.
Another Kevin, in WWI Canadian kit with the ever-faithful SMLE.
Catie in the outfit of a Russian nurse.

Activity at the WWI display.

Katie, Nia, Catie, and Tyler lined up for publicity.
Tyler is holding a replica of the Chauchaut light machine gun, possibly the worst firearm ever built.
WWII Soviet Russians take the field in a "skirmish."

Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe troops in camp,

The German medical orderly treats a "casualty" in the field. I like the helmet!

The REAL guests of honour arrive.

On display from the South Ontario Military Muster were a Bren/Universal Carrier, a Canadian Military Pattern 15cwt truck, a jeep (to be seen later) and the last running Fox armoured car in North America!

The CMP 15cwt truck and the Universal Carrier

The Fox
What a beauty!

The Fox is worth a second viewing.

A mixed bag of reenactors evacuate the "wounded" in a Willys-Overland Jeep.
Holly and Stephanie sing "Hits from the 40's."

Raiffe explaining and exhibiting items in the Home Front station.
His group reenacts the British Home Front and he's dressed as a member of the Home Guard.

Well? Where is it?

The Viet-Nam era reenacting group included an early US intervention "adviser" armed with the M-1 Garand rifle.
You can see the clip ejecting from the rifle in this photo.

The rest of the boy in Company C including the adviser on the left and a Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP)
member in "Tiger stripes" in the right.

Deep in the bowels of the Fox armoured car were treasures for the reenactor. The car's owner pulled out a Bren light machine gun and a Thompson submachine gun. (both inactivated as required by Canadian law.) I was grinning like a loon when I got to handle them. So was Katie. As for Tyler and Kevin... just look at the faces.

I think Tyler's in love.

Kevin's considering a deeper relationship himself.