Friday, 20 January 2017

'The Pikeman's Lament' arrives

In today’s post I received a familiar shaped cardboard package. It was, as I hoped, the latest release from Osprey Publishing, ‘The Pikeman's Lament’. This is the most recent addition to the Lion Rampant family of rules, following on from ‘Dragon Rampant’ and ‘The Men Who Would Be Kings’. This particular book was co-written by Dan Mersey and Michael Leck.
Obligatory poor quality photo courtesy of me.
Regular readers of the blog may know I was involved in a small degree playtesting of the rules and as a sign of gratitude I received a free copy of the rules from the authors and the publishers.

The quality of the publishing is what we have come to expect from this Osprey ‘Blue Book’ series. Lots of top quality painted figures and illustrations from Osprey’s impressive back catalogue. 

I’ll leave to others to review the rules as I’m obviously biased. However I will say that they are probably my favourite set of skirmish rules. Anyone familiar with the Lion Rampant rules will already know the basics. I also suspect some may use them (with a few alterations) to play late medieval (Wars of the Roses etc.). This new book contains a clever officer generation and a simple campaign system which could also be used with the Lion Rampant rules.

I will be sitting down over the weekend to read through the book to see if anything has changed or rules I’ve been playing incorrectly over the past year or so.

The rules are officially released on the 26th January 2017 (from Osprey Publishing) although I know some people have already received copies (even before the authors apparently)

Monday, 9 January 2017

The Pikeman's Lament - Playtesting January 2016

I looking around my blog when I noticed these pictures from a couple of games played a year ago which, from some reason, I never got round to posting at the time. With the immenient release of the new 17th century skirmish game The Pikeman's Lament (from Osprey) I thought it might be an appropriate time to post now.

As far as I remember the games, played at Asgard Games in Walsall, involved having to rescue/guard a VIP (a captured general?) but represented here by a D10 as I didn’t have any spare single figures on my at the time.
In the first game my opponent Mark (Parliament orange movement) was the attacking force where I was defending (Royalist red movement). General D10 was held in central building defended by a limited number of units. Other units could be bought on with a successful activation.
Mark split his forces in a pincer movement sending a cavalry towards my right flank. There was a major clash on my left flank with Mark’s cavalry and a unit of musketeers. Mark’s cavalry took heavy casualties but advanced to intercept my units that were desperately trying to reach the building to defend hold onto General D10.
There was a clash of horseflesh with both mounted units being knocked out of play. Meanwhile my supporting(?) unit of musket units carried on in an attempt to reach the building in time.

Meanwhile Mark’s musket and pike units easily pushed back my defenders and snatched General D10.
Mark's force then quickly retraced their steps, with General D10 in tow, seeing off any attempts by myself. A group of Mark's musketeers advanced into an ambush position just to make sure I'd get any closer, all of which rounded off a resounding victory for Mark.

The following pictures are of the next game where the roles were reversed. In my excitement of actually doing well I forgot to take enough photographs and the ones I did take were blurred.

The game ended with my brave troops making a mad dash off the table (very) closely followed by Mark's cavarly. A narrow victory for me this time.

The Pikeman's Lament is officially due out 26th January.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Wargamer Show (Halesowen) 2016

This first post (and at the current rate possibly the last) of the year about the last show of last year, Wargamer is one the smallest but also one of the friendliest that I’ve attended recently. 

The minimal programme had a list of traders and clubs but didn’t have a map to help identify who was who. The venue isn’t that big but some of the games were difficult to identify, so apologies if the following photos have no labels. The leaflet does list several model/hobby ‘brick & mortar’ shops which is useful. Even the days of the seemingly all powerful Google there are still several shops that have little or no online presence. 

Another thing about the programme was that didn’t list the participation games, which is a personal bugbear. My brother and myself try to make a point of playing as many participation games as is possible. We’ve noticed that playing participation gamesis the only thing we tend to remember about a wargame show as all the traders/shows tend to merge into one after a while. 

There seems to be two obvious types of people who put of display/participation games, the social and the anti-social. Although, of course, this is a sweeping generalisation it’s one that rings true to me. I appreciate the appeal of being able to play large games with massed ranks of figures with a number of your friends at a show. However these are also the type of games I will probably never play as I don’t have the time, finance or space to commit to to them. I can understand people becoming engrossed in a game but at least have one ‘ambassador’ to speak to the public or any one that shows an interest. I must admit, thankfully, anti-social gamers seem to be decreasing in number. This is especially true at this show where practically everyone either encouraged us to have a go at a game or at least described what was going on and were very keen to share their enjoyment of the hobby. 

There a few things I would have done differently with a number of the participation games if I was hosting, but seeing as I’ve never ‘done’ a proper demo at a show I’m not really in a position to criticize. I have provided demos of the Lion Rampant series at local stores and clubs but that isn’t really the same thing. The chaps providing participation games put themselves out to try and engage with perfect strangers and deserve all the credit they get.

This was some form of Victorian steampunk beach invasion.

Monty Python and the Hole Grail game

Monty Python and the Hole Grail game - board detail

Monty Python and the Hole Grail game - board detail
A board game based on the film ‘Monty Python and the Hole Grail’. After picking a character you then had to gather equipment from various stops along the board. The hardest part of the game was trying to remember the film references as neither of us had watched the film in years. Coconut shells were provided to create the appropriate sound effects.

BoredGame.Net running Dark Future demo

Dark Future

Dark Future

Dark Future

Original models for Dark Future

Customs models - Dark Future
Dark Future – an old game from Games Workshop, obviously based on Mad Max films. My brother played this one and managed to outrun the pursuing car, making it spin and roll out of control on the second corner.
Airfix Fort Sahara
Eat Hitler - dinosaur game
Eat Hitler - dinosaur game

Eat Hitler - dinosaur game

Eat Hitler - dinosaur game
Eat Hitler - dinosaur game
Eat Hitler – another game from the same chaps that put on the Custer’s Last Stand game we enjoyed playing last year. The idea was that Nazi scientists have created a time machine and have transported themselves back into the age of the dinosaurs. participators played the dinosaurs and the aim of the game was to try and eat as many of Hitler’s henchmen as possible. There may be a return match next year in the streets of war worn Berlin.
Rorke's Drift
Rorke's Drift

Rorke's Drift
Rorke's Drift

Rorke's Drift

Rorke's Drift
Ubique  "They do not like it up 'em" Matt
As is customary for any gaming blog there is a list of the rather minimum purchases from the show:
  • Two packs of Bolt Action infantry. This is for a project that I will detail in a later post (although I may).
  • Colonel Bill’s 17th century civilians. These will hopefully show up in a ‘Pikeman’s Lament’ clubman militia soon’ish.
  • Perry Scottish commander bought from the Bring & Buy after a tip off from eagle-eyed Derek (cheers Derek).
  • Sprue of plastic ECW cavalry. Bought to replace the ones I used making the dragoons when I realised I needed them to finish of another unit.
I’m not sure if this year’s show was a financial success, there seems to be less traders than last year, for instance Wargames Foundry were not present after making an appearance at the previous show. Hopefully the show will still be on next year’s calendar.

And if you've made it this far, thanks, I'd like to wish followers and readers a belated happy new year.