Animal House

Well, well, well – it seems that animal ardor, creature craze, fauna frenzy or even zoological zeal are rampant, at least among my mates, as Sigur and Virago have both bought the new Osprey rules-set Burrows & Badgers. How could I resist? Especially since I’ve already got a set of Oathsworn animals, which I bought about two years ago. I’ve occasionally painted the odd figure since then and now have a collection of ten anthropomorphic animals awaiting adventure.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to do with them, but now that Burrows & Badgers has arrived, they might see the gaming table yet. It’s not that I need another set of small-scale skirmish rules – there is still Songs of Blades and Heroes, which I really like – but Burrows & Badgers is a lovely book with great illustrations by none other than Gary Chalk. And there are some interesting ideas in there.

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I haven’t played it yet, so I can’t tell you more than that, but I will keep you posted if I do. And I will definitely paint the rest of my animals – this is one of my favourite line of miniatures and painting them is a real pleasure.

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Gettysburg Battle Day

Some time ago, I proposed a Gettysburg Battle Day to the local wargaming community. Inspired by the yearly Battle Day of the Society of Ancients, the idea was to present different games, all of which dealt in one way or another with the Battle of Gettysburg. The aim was to get different perspectives on the battle, not only from the time and area chosen for the scenario, but also from the different rule sets.

To my great joy, many people were interested in participating, so yesterday a bunch of wargamers assembled at the club for the event. When I arrived (a bit late, admittedly, as I had to finish some stuff for my scenario – I was late with preparations this time), the games were already in full swing.

Virago and Sigur had prepared a Longstreet scenario dealing with the arrival of Howard’s XI Corps on the first day of the battle. Following historical events, the game ended with a Confederate victory.

The guys from Tabletop Wien West had three games running. Their main game used Kugelhagel for a scenario dealing with the fighting at Culp’s Hill. As always, they had a very busy table with a lively crowd.

Additionally, they had a Kugelhagel solo game and a game of Battlecry set up.

Nikfu and James had set up a game of Pickett’s Charge, a set of rules that I’m very interested in.

I had prepared a scenario for the skirmishing around Bliss Farm, using Sharp Practice. At the beginning, the farm buildings were occupied by Stephan’s Confederate skirmishers. I managed to drive them out, but the Rebel reinforcements arrived before I could consolidate my position and after a brief struggle, they retook the barn, at which point my Force Morale collapsed.

Finally, a group of people around Helim and Slowik had a game of Altar of Freedom using 6mm figures. They portrayed the whole battle on one 6’x4′ table and it looked spectacular! I fell completely in love with those figures and the way they were presented. This is how a big battle should look like, with mass formations and enough space for manoeuvring. Another great thing about this set-up was that it tied together the other games – you could identify on this table the spots the other games depicted.

I’m happy that the Gettysburg Battle Day was a huge success. Everybody was enthusiastic and all had invested considerable time and effort in their games. For me, it was great to meet friends, to play an exciting game of Sharp Practice and to see other perspectives on the battle. But most of all, it was a very inspiring day which gave me many ideas about how to develop my ACW gaming.

A Weekend of Gaming

I’m very happy that I had several great opportunities for gaming during the last days. The opening was two games of Zombicide I had with an old friend from Germany, who stayed for a couple of days at our place. Not only did we have a great time in general, but we also had two very dramatic games, one of which we even managed to win! He enjoyed the game a lot and I hope we will have another opportunity for gaming soon.

On Friday, I went to the club for a game of Kugelhagel. Kugelhagel are German rules for miniature wargames during the 19th century. They have a very active community around here, so naturally I was curious. We played a game set during the ACW, using the impressive collection of Gand-Alf, who also explained the rules. He was a patient and enthusiastic host and we had a great evening.

I’m not completely convinced by the rules: Although I like the activation system (card driven), I find movement a bit too free-wheeling, leading to some strange situations. I guess this irks me more with a period I know a bit about, such as the ACW. But the game is a great option for multi-player club games – I find it more engaging than Black Powder, as I prefer the card driven activation to IGO-UGO.

Yesterday, another friend came to play Sellswords & Spellslingers. He was interested in the character creation process, so we made a small party of adventurers. While I created two equally strong heroes, he decided to take a different approach and made one hero (a barbarian) and three minions (archers with negative traits). We had a great time playing the first scenario and managed to escape from the Orcs. While the archers did very well, the poor barbarian was knocked out pretty soon and had to be dragged to safety by my halfling girl. The shame!

S&S

Finally, today I continued with playtesting scenarios for Sharp Practice. As K. was away, I played against myself. At first, the scenario did not look very interesting – basically, one side has to storm a fieldwork fitted with artillery. The game, however, turned out to be extremely tense and dramatic, which again shows how great a set of rules Sharp Practice is. There are enough decisions to make it interesting and the game flows along in a way that creates a very immersive narrative.

Fantasy Stuff

During the last months, I was quite busy painting 28mm fantasy figures and terrain. I mainly orientated myself by the scenarios in the Sellswords & Spellslingers rule book. Fortunately, I already had a bunch of lizardmen which I painted up years ago for the pirates project (although I’ve never used them then). I also decided to buy a regiment of painted Games Workshop goblins on ebay – they were very cheap and look nice, and I rather spend my time painting up heroes and special characters instead of hordes of enemies. The bulk of my Orcs is from the old copy of HeroQuest, bolstered by a couple of figures Sigur generously gave to me.

Barbarians

Most of the barbarians are from Battlezone Miniatures, a company I recently discovered. They offer nice miniatures for a very good price and their service is excellent. The figure on the far right is from HeroQuest, while the guy with the big horns is an old Games Workshop miniatures I got from ebay.

Painting them, I have tried to implement what I learned from Sigur and experimented a bit with highlighting. I also now routinely do eyes! However, I still paint for gaming, that is I don’t spend too much time on each figure as I want to get it on the table. For the moment, I seem to have found the right groove – I try to improve my technique a bit each time, but I don’t fuss about too much.

Adventurers1

Here’s a group of adventurers. The lady on the far left is from DGS Games (via Bad Squiddo Games) and is one of my favourite miniatures. I really like the pose and I’m quite happy with the paint job. The dwarf with the chain and ball and the two halflings are from the Ganesha Games range at Alternative Armies. Another very characterful range of figures! The other dwarf is from the fantastic dwarf range of Lead Adventure Miniatures. I don’t know who produces the girl with the falcon, as I got it from ebay.

Adventurers2

Another group of adventurers, featuring two figures from Battlezone, a dwarf from Alternative Armies and a Frostgrave wizard from North Star.

Evil

And what are the adventurers up against? The Forces of Evil, consisting of an old Citadel (at least that’s what I think) demon and Minotaur, a Battlezone skeleton and another Frostgrave wizard.

For two of the Sellswords scenarios, you need standing stones. Initially, I just wanted to collect stones when going for a stroll, but the weather did not support this idea, so I made them myself. I used DAS modeling clay and decided to embellish them a bit, imagining that the stones had been warped by the evil powers of a demented warlock or something along that line.

Standingstones

Another company I recently discovered is Hexy. They make very nice resin fantasy terrain and Virago and I ordered a couple of pieces. Among others, I got myself an Orc totem.

Totem

I tried to give it a weathered appearance, as if it had been painted in garish colours which have already rubbed off.

The last thing I want to show is a ruin from Amera. Again, this is something I had lying around for years, but I finally decided to give it some paint. It’s made of a rather featureless plastic and takes some work to make it look decent, but I think it turned out ok.