Saturday, 30 August 2014

IHMN buildings - a dilemma solved.

Like many wargamers, I have an issue with storage space. I simply do not have enough of it. SWMBO disagrees with me on this, but then I take issue with the amount of shoes she has. We have an uneasy truce on this subject, especially since I downsized everything to 10mm, more-or-less, several years ago. However the matter has recently raised its ugly head once again in the form of scenery for IHMN; specifically buildings.

Now I know from my time as an avid Mordheim player that 28mm buildings, even wrecked ones, take up a lot of space. For Mordheim you really need a lot of buildings to make the game work. The same could be said to be true for IHMN. You see many lovely looking tables on various Blogs, all beautifully layed out with plenty of buildings to give the Victorian Gothic/Steampunk feel to the table. They remind me so much of Mordheim...

But as already mentioned, this is simply not an option available to me on the storage front. Then there is the cost issue. This is not to be taken lightly. Whereas I can buy an IHMN Company for less than £20, to put the required amount of buildings on the table to get that Gothic feel, would set me back up to ten times this amount, even more if I wanted to. Although the table would look stunning, I simply cannot justify spending this amount of money for a game that I only play occasionally, no matter how much I enjoy it. Also it would only get used for that game and no other, whereas my 10mm scenery gets used for Dux Bellorum, Blitzkreig Commander, Black Powder etc, so it is easier to justify spending money on this.

So how to solve the problem? My friend Craig has come up with a rather nice solution to this dilemma, with his magnetic scenery, which having seen it in the flesh, works really well. However I prefer more solid buildings, that can have figures put in them (which to be fair Craig could do with some simple tweaks to his construction) and which are more 3D in their nature. I thought of going down the route taken by Matakishis's Tea House, which provides a very quick way of making certain types of buildings. This I will certainly try in the future, especially for a planned campaign for IHMN, but I wanted a quicker route to getting some buildings on the table.

So I looked towards the now ubiquitous laser cut mdf buildings route, as 'pioneered' by 4ground a few years ago. These buildings are so popular now that it is rare not to see them at any wargames show on a demo table. Relatively new to the market are Sarissa Precision, who offer an equally impressive range of buildings, but un-painted compared to the 4Ground ones. Since I last checked both companies, their ranges have increased with an awful lot of nice extras being added, even including vehicles. After much perusing of their respective websites, I decided to go down this route and with Sarissa, as they were cheaper and offered in my mind a nicer range of buildings. As I plan to add details to their basic kits, them not being painted was not an issue for me, especially as I have a full spray shop at my disposal at work.

The question was which buildings to choose and how many? The latter was easily answered by a quick scale drawing that showed that around 3-5 buildings would provide a nice amount of cover, not look to cluttered and be easy to store. As I want my table to be rural or semi-suburban, in the end I choose some buildings (see below) from their WWII range as I liked the look of them and they fitted in nicely with the plans for my table.


Small House

Small Terraced House,

These came to only £35, with P&P being only £2.50, which I was pleasantly suprised at. As mentionend above, I plan to 'upgrade' these buildings before painting them, using some of the techniques as shown by Emmanuel Nouaillier, which I think you will agree produce incredible results. Alongside this I will use these buildings as a guide size wise to scratch build a few of my own to increase my 'real estate' as and when required. However my first job is to get these onto to the table as quickly as possible, not an easy task with my butterfly nature...

Monday, 25 August 2014

Rumble in the Jungle

My friend Craig and I hadn't had a wargame for some time due to a variety of factors. Finally having some time to get together, we agreed to have game of IHMN as Craig had recently had two Companies painted up. As he had a lot of 28mm jungle terrain for use with a variety of games, we decided to use this as it solved a whole host of problems.

Our normal gaming weather deserted us, with it tipping it down outside, so for once we were happy to be indoors. We both had two Companies to choose from; Craig went with his 'Brotherhood of Conjurors', which is basically a 'Black Dragon Tong' one and I with my 'Carpathian Templars', more-or-less the same as the one in 'Heroes, Villains and Fiends.'

We quickly layed the table out with a mixed bag of jungle terrain, a stream and  a temple, with cover ranging from 1-3 as per the rulebook. We randomly rolled for the scenario, with 'Kill the Leader' being chosen. My first thought was that that this would be a tricky one for me as my Company consisted of only 6 figures, one of which was a hunting dog. Templars are damned expensive! Arrayed against me was nearly double the number of figures, including a Yeti. 

Despite not having played the game for many, many months, we quickly got back into it, without little recourse to the rulebook. The QRS sheets were generally enough 95% of the time, which was great, as it allowed us to focus on the game, rather than constantly searching through a rulebook. Sadly we did not have time to take any pics as the light was not great and we were too involved in the game. A brief run down of how the game went follows.

Both Companys moved fairly quickly through the jungle clearings, mindful to protect their leaders from any rash exposure to gunfire. Early on in the game a Conjuror fell to a crossbow bolt as if to re-inforce the need to make the most of the cover. Sadly this was to be the only that the Templars shotting did anything... As the Companys neared each other, both split into two, either side of the river. The Templars hunting dog sensed a chance to charge the Conjurors leader, only to fail to inflict any damage, before falling to a hail of blows from all sides.

After this the Conjurors started to move and shoot their way towards the Templars, slowing heming them into a corner of the table. Things were not looking too good for them as they were slowly losing members without taking out any Conjurors in reply. Sensing the end, the Conjurors closed into close combat on all sides, only to start taking losses as the Templars steel and SRC breastplates proved their worth (and cost). Soon both sides were down to a few models, with the denouement fast approaching.

The Templar Grand Master lost his Chaplain and was surrounded by the Conjuror leader and two other troopers. Despite this time and again he won the combat, only to see the Conjuror leader rise up from being stunned each time. Third time lucky and he finally dispatched him, but would it turn out to be a Pyrrhic victory? Despite this being a one of game, I decided to roll for losses as if it were a campaign game. Out of the 5 figures lost, only 1 survived the game! Truly a Pyrrhic victory!!!

So what did we learn from the game? Well as few thoughts as follows:
  • Templars are expensive, but their armour and stats really proved their worth in the end. However their limited numbers at the start due to their costs will severely limit them in some games. However as a campaign progresses they should come into their own once they can field a few more figures. In future I may even leave out the Grandmaster to start with due to his high cost. 
  • Company reference sheets are a must. The last solo game I played I didn't have these and it really affected the game. Having them to hand makes such a difference.
  • We also found that counters to show which models moved, ran etc are a must. I printed off the ones from the IHMN site and they worked a treat.
  • The game is great fun and it was easy to remember the basic mechanics, depsite not having played for many, many months.
  • I think the game really comes into its own when played as part of a campaign. This was certainly true of Mordheim. Our aim is to sort out some form of campaign in the future.
  • Despite having fun with all of our Companies to date, we both agreed that we really want to create some that have that real Victorian Steam Punk feel about them. We both have ideas already, so now it is the age old case of finding time to fit it in amongst all those other gaming projects.
  • 28mm terrain is going to be an issue for both of us due to limited storage in our houses. This is something we need to solve as lots of terrain really improves the game.
So their you have it. I'm not sure when we will be able to get another game in, but I'm looking forward to it already.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Action at Anvil Gate

Of late Michael of Angel barracks has been coming over on a Monday evening for a game of KR-16, a chance for both of us to get a game in despite the demands of work and family. A nightmare journey, due to the ever present it seems roadworks in Bristol, saw Michael arrive late, but a black coffee courtesy of SWMBO saw him restored to health. After the usual chat about all things gaming, we were ready getdown to business.

The scenario saw my BPI troops pitted against Michael's RDF, with the aim to locate an informant hidden in Anvil Gate, who wanted to reveal secrets of the BPI drilling operations nearby to the RDF. The aim was for me to capture him for a major win, or kill him for a minor one. For the RDF it was to extract him back across their table edge.

The game kicked off with both sides making a stuttering start towards the Anvil Gate compund. By Turn Two I'd managed to get a squad inside ready to start the search, with the rest of my forces strung out, trying to catch up under the cover of a smoke screen. My initial search failed to locate the informant in two buildings, so by then another squad had arrived and the two squads fanned out to increase the search area.

At this point Michael's RDF troops started to arrive in the compound, and the scene was set for a shoot out in and amongst the habitation pods of Anvil Gate. Lady Luck was with Michael at this point as his first turn of searching saw him locate the informant, which was rather awkward, as most of my forces had still not made it to the compound, but neither had Michael's.

The action now changed rather dramatically, with my troops trying to take out the informants squad, who were naturally trying to withdraw from the compound under covering fire from their comrades. The RDF troops started taking casualties straight away, but were still able to exit the compund. Outside, by Ramjack AFVs started taking hits from the RDF Pathfinder Rangers and Archer IFVs, limiting my ability to move and shoot. My Walker unit gave as good as it got, inflicting hits on the Pathfinder Archer, damaging its targeting system.

The RDF troops started to withdraw from Anvil Gate as best they could, but were taking heavy casualties, despite the use of smoke to cover their retreat. Both sides AFVs and IFVs were severely damaged, but my Ramjacks lived up to their name, ramming all but one of the RDF IFVs, causing them enough damage to render them inoperable. So far my BPI troops had not sustained a single casualty.

As the action left Anvil Gate, it was touch and go as to whether the RDf would be able to extract the informant safely off their table edge. With all their vehicles destroyed, they were forced to rely upon shank's pony as their only means of escape. In the end, the crucial initiative roll favoured the RDf, who were able to leave the table safely, but at a heavy cost to their forces. Both sides had lost all of their vehicles, but the RDf had lost around half of their troops compared to no losses for the BPI. A Phyrric victory if there ever was one!

Well it was certainly an entertaining game, full of action and cinematic moments and went right down to the wire. What more could you ask for? Sadly we did not have time to take photos, as the light was not good and frankly we were too caught up in the game. Our aim in the future is to try and have some form of mini-campaign, so that you really have to husband your forces, rather than blow the all in one game. We're not sure how we're going to do it, but it could be lots of fun if we get it right.

The Wargames Website

Michael of Angel Barracks fame came over for a game earlier in the week. As usual we spent some time chatting prior to the game and he brought me up to speed with the shennigans that have been going on at the TMP forum. I'd heard bits'n'bobs via the Blitzkreig Commander forum and knew that all was not well (was it ever), but hearing it from the horses mouth was interesting to say the least. TMP was not a site I ever visited due to the negative comments I'd heard about it. Compare this to the excellent Pendraken Forum and you'll see the difference. 

During our chat, Michael mentioned that he was in the process of setting up a new forum/website, which I've just seen has gone 'live'. It is called  The Wargames Website and from a quick look is very nice and very well laid out. I've registered and look forward to seeing this grow in the future. I'm sure I will be tempted by far too many new shiny things that will be showcased, but then that's a risk I'm prepared to take!