Saturday, November 24, 2012

Force on Force - somewhere in Afghanistan

Just a few shots of a recent game we had at the Prague Wargames Club, using the Force on Force rules.

This was my first game with the rules, and I have to say they are really quite good. They were reasonably easy to pick up, and not much page turning was required once we were a few turns into the game. That said though, the excellent umpiring by our long standing club member Petr went along way towards smoothing the way on this one (he also provided all the figures and buildings for the game).

The scenario it self revolved around a team of intrepid TV reporters, a large band of local militia who were out to grab them as hostages etc., and a smaller, but better equipped group of "private contractors" and trained US forces attempting to prevent this (in which they succeeded), as well as to nab the local militia warlord (in which they failed).
Afghan surge, and last stand by US contractors (TV crew are standing in front of the domed building).

The outcome? Well a really enjoyable game, with nice scenery, and loads of lovely lead. The local militia came close to success in a mass attack, and took down a few of the US troops, but then training and hardware started to kick in, with the Afghans taking very heavy casualties and their attack brought to a halt.

A ranger extraction team were called in late in the game to get the TV crew out (which reduced the US player's victory points). When added up the US side managed a narrow victory. Anyway, a great game, which seemed to me to be fast moving and intuitive.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Remembrance Day

I've never been one for flags or symbols that get hijacked or turned into a political orthodoxy (such as politicians wearing poppies etc.)

From my perspective, it is better to remember at a personal level those whose young lives were cut tragically short. So this is for those members of my own family who didn't come home in 1918, and their medals the only link to the living.

"Have you forgotten yet?...
For the world’s events have rumbled on since those gagged days,
Like traffic checked while at the crossing of city-ways:
And the haunted gap in your mind has filled with thoughts that flow
Like clouds in the lit heaven of life; and you’re a man reprieved to go,
Taking your peaceful share of Time, with joy to spare.

But the past is just the same-and War’s a bloody game...
Have you forgotten yet?...
Look down, and swear by the slain of the War that you’ll never forget."
 (Siegfried Sassoon "Aftermath" 1919)

Friday, November 09, 2012

Krakow-Niepolomice Historical Show 2012

So the annual trek of the Prague club up to visit our chums in Poland went off smoothly again. We brought a Sharp Practice display game with us, including loads of lovely 28mm figures and terrain, plus about 8 club members, all packed into two cars. (Above you can see our Polish friend and fellow wargamer Kris, in the courtyard of the castle where the event was held)

The rules of course are fun to play, very popular and with the added advantage that they are great for display games.

 In this scenario written by our club member Jakub, it's 1813, somewhere in Germany, and we have the French trying to cross the table to exit at the other side as their main objective. The objective of the mixed force of Austrians and Bavarians is to stop them, with a Small Austrian blocking force of Landwehr and regulars being steadily joined by Bavarian reinforcements. A sort of miniature battle of Hanau, only in this instance the French ended up getting a bit of a trashing through a mixture of bad dice and worse tactics (I of course was one of the French commanders...).

 It seems to have been a big hit with the locals, many writing down the name of the rules to go off and purchase them (note for the Lardies, we can accept a commission fee ;-)  )

We also managed to stop off at the Army Museum in Krakow which has a great display of both original Renaissance, as well as Napoleonic, armour, uniforms and equipment. Really quite excellent.

British for Sharp Practice

Colonel Sharp as a young lad...

I realise that I have not put up too many pictures of nicely painted toys on this blog. To make up for this, here is a batch of 28mm British Napoleonic infantry from the Peninsular War that I recently finished (a light company of the 87th Prince of Wales Own Irish to be precise).

These toys are for a Sharp Practice game the club will be holding on Sunday. I used the smartphone on indoor settings for these shots and seem to have ended up with the warm evening light of Spain. An unintended effect, but it looks nice anyway.

 Here's the whole group together on normal light settings. The figures are from Victrix, which are very nice, but a pain to assemble, and even more frustrating when the bayonets break off (which they often do).

Here are a few more figures which are in the final stages  of completion.

If I go for more figures for these rules, then they will be in metal, as time spent on painting is the true cost and far outweighs any savings on Victrix plastics. If only they would use sturdier plastic...

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Anniversary - the Battle of White Mountain

I just realised that today is the 392nd anniversary of the Battle of White Mountain (Bila Hora in Czech). Now this is obviously not something celebrated by the Czechs considering they got trashed by the Imperial and Catholic League army in short measure (I think the time span of the battle amounted to liitle more than your average game of football). Only the Moravian regiments on the right wing in front of the walls of the Star Palace summer residence put up much of a fight, and a last stand at that as it turned out for them.

Bila Hora today is now a suburb of Prague, at the end of the number 22 tram line. Most of the area is built up, though the centre of the battlefield at the crest of the hill remains untouched, as does the Star Palace (Hvezda) and the park around it.

Every year in early September there is a big reenactment of the battle by the Hvezda which is good fun, even if the noise of traffic, the sight of overhead power cables, and overflying airplanes on their way to land at the airport are a distraction... Above you can see a photo of myself and a few friends (Butler's Dragoon Regiment) participating in the reenactment of the battle, just by the wall of the Star palace . All good fun...