Saturday, April 19, 2014

Massive Maurice!

I traveled to The Hammer yesterday to throw out some ImagiNation figures on the table. Rather than the typical one army vs one army, two-player Maurice game, the day saw four armies and five players. It was a grand sight to behold (see pics below). Despite the aesthetic appeal of the massive armies, I wasn't too enamoured of the multi-player (and army) game. I think Maurice works best with two armies (as per the rules) and two players (or perhaps four players, two per side). Regardless, it was a pleasant game, even though we didn't have time to finish it. There was some talk of a Maurice campaign sometime in the future...who knows...
The forces of the Grand-Duché de Gourmandie in the foreground, flanked with one of Steve's eastern armies, under Martin's command.

The Gourmandie right cavalry wing.
The Grand Duke himself, chose to accompany the army into the field. He and his faithful hounds, Hans und Franz,  are pleasantly entertained by the court musicians while his army, under the command of the Marquis de Fromage, deploys to meet the enemy.
Gourmandie heavy artillery deploys under the watchful eye of the mercenary Cameron von Muller.
The Gourmandie right wings faces down the remnants of the ill-fated enemy attempts to pierce the line with cavalry. 1er Escadron, Grenadiers a Cheval Boursin, under the command of Paul, Duke of Clarkeshire (noble of the first rank, literally), watch serenely the glorious charge of the enemy cavalry into the face of steady infantry.
Meanwhile on the left wing...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

ImagiNation reinforcements...guns and music

I've taken a break from the Boxer rebellion project and gone back to painting for the ImagiNations, in anticipation of the game Friday (see Steve's latest blog post here). Three additions to the ImagiNation collection this week: first up, Gourmandie heavy artillery. These have been sitting half-finished on my desk for many months.

 The battery includes two Sash & Saber 12lb guns, two Front Rank heavy limbers, and a Front Rank heavy ammunition wagon (the latter with civilian drivers). The artillerists themselves are from Crusader Miniatures. I like having the impedimentia of an artillery battery on the table (even though the representation here gives a footprint far smaller than a real-world artillery unit).
 Next is le Drand-Duc de Gourmandie himself with his faithful companions, Hans und Franz. I posted this lovely figure, painted by Daniel, some months ago but just this week finished up the basing (which I'm not too pleased with this time around...although that could just be a result of the photograph).
And last but certainly not least, a contribution to the arts from the le Grand-Duc. His Grace rarely travels with the army, usually leaving the command in the hands of the competent Jean Lafitte Roquefort, Général le Marquis de Fromage. But when he does venture into the field, he is sure to bring memories of his grand palace halls. And what's better to bring the feeling of home than a musical sextet. Nuff said...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Germans v French: 1940

Another trek to Kingston this past weekend saw Michael, Phil and I hop down to Nexus Games for a swing at Chain of Command. This will be our last game together for a while, I suspect, since Phil is moving to his new posting in Gagetown, New Brunswick later this week. From set up to break down and driving away took less than three and a half hours! The game saw Germans v. French in the French countryside of 1940 (not much choice here, since my collection contains only 1940 French & German). We chose the attack-defend scenario from the CoC main rulebook and threw out some terrain on the table. This game saw the return of my girder bridge; one of my favourite WWII pieces. This bridge is a nice focal point on the table without taking up too much space (I think I made this piece 12 years ago (?) from an 'O' scale train kit).
Michael commanded the Germans and had a standard German infantry platoon of four sections and a 50mm mortar. He chose from his support roll a MG34 MMG and a Sdkfz 221 armoured car (replaced in the scenario with a Sdkfz 231...just because we wanted to use it because it looks cool...oh, and because I have two Sdkfz 222s but no 221).
Phil commanded the French with a standard infantry platoon. He chose, from his more limited support options, a machine gun-armed FT-17 (again, primarily because it looks cool).
Overview of the table. Germans would attack from the right of the picture and French holding the small village to the left (ignore the warped roofing material on that building...must fix that!).

Straight-away, the Germans got the jump on the French. In the opening few phases, Michael stole the subsequent phase four times and ended two turns! In the midst of a random event-generated thunderstorm (reducing visibility to 18"), his lead section made it across the river unhindered and occupied the first village building. It looked as though this would be a quick and easy game for the Germans. Oh, how I love these rules. That assessment was so incorrect as to be laughable in retrospect. The German attempts to reinforce the lead section and consolidate their gain was faced with two French sections (and later a third), a VB launcher team and the FT-17 all throwing whatever they could at the lead German section and any others trying to move across the stream to reinforce.
Quickly, the German advance ground to a halt and quickly dissolved. Even the attempts of the German leaders to push and rally were unsuccessful. In fact, losing two leaders did not help the German command and control. Michael's command dice very quickly were reduced to four, three, then two. It was over at that point but one more French phase dropped the German Force Morale to zero and they skulked away ignominiously.
Interesting events? Besides the torrential downpour in the opening moments of the battle?
The Germans tried an end-run around the village but were met with an unexpected French section deploying from a jump-off point nearby. The German section was caught in the open and had no choice but to immediately charge the French in their hard cover. This was, as expected, a disaster for the German section. Sigh, another point of Force Morale lost.
The French FT-17 crawled up the main street of the village and poured machine gun fire into the German-occupied building at almost point-blank range. This was far more than expected for this odd-looking vehicle.

The French-held village with civilians going about their day.

The first German section approaching what would become the only success of the day for them. The building to their front proved to be a graveyard for most of them.
Although I didn't play in the game, I was inspired enough to immediately order this from Warlord Games:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Boxer command and Chinese Imperial troops

I took a break from terrain for the Boxer Rebellion project and turned back to some waiting figures. First up are some Pulp Figures from Bob Murch's Yangzee Gangs of China Station. These are exceptional figures. Online order to delivery in my mailbox took only seven days, and Bob even threw in a couple of extras as well.

Two command stands for the Boxer forces. The standard bearers come with separate weapons but I chose to use them as shown instead. Don't ask about the Chinese characters on the tunics (they could very well say something quite rude). Pulp Figures with enhanced TVAG flags.
Chinese Imperial troops, some of whom fought with and against the European forces, depending on the context. Again, no need to interpret the characters on their tunics. These white "patches" were meant to show the unit and/or commander names. Old Glory figures with TVAG flag.
A few of the Pulp Figures purchases made their way to La Belle Province for Daniel to work his magic upon. Again these are from Bob Murch's Yangzee Gangs of China Station. I asked Daniel to use his imagination with the colour palette and he didn't disappoint.

The evil Dr Fang!
Daniel has experimented with the skin tone and it should be remembered that these figures are painted with the three-foot rule in mind, meaning that they are meant to be viewed on the gaming table, not in the display cabinet. Having said that, they are spectacular paint jobs!

Master Woo-Tang.
I'm not sure where or how this figure will fit into the Boxer forces but I couldn't resist have Daniel paint him up. I particularly like the green robe.

Next up, I may go back to my ImagiNation armies and finish up my Gourmandie heavy artillery battery (see it in progress here). I will probably be heading out to game some ImagiNation with Martin & Steve in a couple of weeks. Nothing like a deadline to provide incentive. I was able to pop out to Martin's in Grimsby this past weekend for a game of Chain of Command. See Steve's blog post here.