Tuesday, July 19, 2016


My wargaming bestie James was over last weekend for the third instalment of what we call OP THUNDERING DICE.   Since we moved further apart last year, we have been running an ongoing series of slumber parties, and this time, ROTO 3, we decided to play another game of War of the Ring, try Sharp Practice 2 with my ACW collection, and then play a fantasy game of Dragon Rampant.

James got caught up in the Friday not rush north to cottage country and arrived late and somewhat frazzled, but some barbecued goodness and a beer downrange later, he was good to go.   We started with War of the Ring (2nd ed) by Ares Games.  You can read his account of our weekend here.  It was our second complete game.  The first time I played Mordor, this time I played the noble and winsome free peoples.  Both times Mordor lost when the Ringbearer achieved his quest.   It was a near run thing, and it turned on the draw of one chit.  Some would say that a game which invests so much in the military and political aspects of the war, and then hangs on a couple of dumb hobbits meandering through Mordor, isn’t really much of a game at all.   Well, I suppose, but you could argue that one could say the same thing about Tolkien’s book. We had fun, at any rate.

On to Saturday, when The Other Mike joined us.   James introduced us both to Sharp Practice, the second edition of Too Fat Lardies’ well known black powder skirmish game.  We threw an evenly matched force of Yanks and Rebs on the table.   Other Mike and I were new to these rules, though I’ve played SP1, but despite that faint advantage, Other Mile picked it up very quickly.

Here the gallant Major #5 leads his Union boys forward to try and flank the Rebel line.

My company on the left wing gets into line and goes up against an equal number of Yanks.   However, the extra Union Big Man keeping their line steady, plus those annoying Yank skirmishers in the cornfield, would make it difficult for Rebs.  However, it’s the little hill on the right where the game will be decided.

Shock builds relentlessly and my line breaks.  As shock exceeds the number of troops standing in each group, the formation breaks up.  One thing we didn’t realize was that each time a group retreats because of excessive shock, it lowers the overall Force Morale of they side, and that’s a bad thing.  We almost lost the game when this formation was defeated.


The game was, as I said, decided on the right.   Here in this incredibly amazing, exciting action shot, Other Mike’s troops charge down off the hill and shatter the Union left.    It helped enormously that we were able to get our skirmishers on to the right flank of the Union line.

All of us liked SP2 enormously.   As Other Mike noted, it really felt like a subset of a regimental battle that you read about in the battle histories.   It had a gritty, small-unit feel that was very satisfying, and very different from another ACW game we like, Sam Mustafa’s Longsteet.

In the afternoon we reset the table, keeping the terrain and adding my Rohirrim village to play Dragon Rampant.  We gave the forces of Isengard the usual mix of Uruk Heavy Foot, crossbows (Heavy Missiles), archers (Light Missiles), Berserkers (Bellicose Foot), a shaman (Wizardling), and Warg Riders (Heavy Riders).  Against that daunting mix, we gave the Rohirrim a unit of skirmishing cavalry (Light Riders), one of heavy cavalry (Heavy Riders), two units of Heavy Foot, two units of Light Missiles, and two heroes, Gimli and Aragorn (both single model, 6 strength pick units).  We rated Gimli as Elite Foot, Aragorn as an Elite Rider.

It was a ripplingly fun game, where victory seemed within Other Mike’s evil orchish grasp.  Mike’s goal was to burn as many buildings as he could and capture the adorable and plump barnyard animal, Bakkonraed the Swine.   Here the surviving Rohan light archers (some old Wargames Foundry HYW English archers filling in) exult after they routed a unit of Heavy Foot.  In the middle, Gimli exults after massacring the Orc Bellicose Foot.


An overview of the battle, just before the Rohirrim Heavy Horse smashed into the warg riders and routed them, killing their general.   Other Mike threw in the orcish towel at this point and we spent a happy dinner hour with James and OM deciding to order their own copies of Dragon Rampant and scheming as to the armies they would field.  We all had terrific fun.

Note, BTW, in the last photo, my amazing spiffing Rohan watch tower.  I’ll get some photos of that in another post.


Blessings to your die rolls!


Saturday, July 9, 2016

Diplomacy Game 2016 - It's Over

Our Diplomacy game ended tonight with the German player conceding to the Turkish player, citing the uncertain path of a German win and the desire not to prolong the game.   I thank the German player for this gracious decision, sorry as I am to see the game end.

Here are the final positions:

And here are the final standings:
1st place:  Turkey     15 SCs
2nd place: Germany   13 SCs
3rd place:  Italy    3 SCs
4th place:  Austria  2 SCs
5th place:  England    1 SC
The finishing players were:
Turkey:  The USA’s Jonathan Freitag  (https://palousewargamingjournal.blogspot.ca)
Germany:  The UK’s Edwin King (https://diplomatist2.blogspot.ca)
Italy:  Australia’s Ben Gilmour (http://rosbiffrog.blogspot.ca)
Austria:  Canada’s Patrick Gilliland (http://irregularwarbandfast.blogspot.ca)
England:  Australia’s Mark Haughey (http://onesidedminiaturewargamingdiscourse.blogspot.ca)
Jonathan and Ben were new players in my online Dip games.    Edwin, Pat and Mark all played in the online Dip game I ran in 2014.   Mark kindly stepped into this game to replace the England player who dropped out.
So congratulations all.   I certainly enjoyed reading the diplomacy as it went back and forth, and as always I had the best seat in the house to watch the intrigue and maneuvers.  
I promised two painted miniatures, one to the top player and one to the best role player.
First choice is quite easy.  Jonathan managed a very convincing win, and I think could have dominated even against a German-Austrian alliance.   
Second choice is more difficult, as Jonathan’s Ankara What was a very convincing propaganda organ of the new Ottoman Empire, and showed lots of work, but the prize for best roleplaying goes Ben Gilmour.  Italy had several propaganda broadsheets of its own, and Ben’s diplomatic messages were always full of Italian brio and showed a consistent sense of humour.
Gentlemen, I shall give some thought to your prizes.   
Well done all and thank you for playing.    I may do this again in a year or two.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Happy Canada Day Gaming

It’s Canada Day, and this image pretty much says it all, eh?

What better way to celebrate Canada Day than to push massive armies around the table?   My old friend Mike M was the host.  Readers of this blog may remember me singing the praises of my eccentric and resourceful friend Mike before.  He’s a good chap and his house is a wonderland of wargaming.   His basement features two gaming rooms, and two tables, with enough unpainted stock to make most hobby stores look barren by comparison.   Some people talk about lead mountains.  Mike has a plastic Himalayas, yet I have no doubt he’ll get them all painted and then some.

Mike supplied us with a game set somewhere in the 13th century Baltics, and the freedom loving peoples there have massed to drive the Tuetonic oppressors away before the can complete their castle, shown bottom right.

Mike and I played the freedom-loving locals, and Kirk Mad Dog Docherty played the Teutonic Knights.  TK wasn’t going to sit behind this stream with a cavalry heavy army, and deployed the bulk of his horse on our side of the fordable stream.

The TKs come on.   Besides this chaps, Mike has painted several units of German guest knights in their individual heraldry, which he has carefully researched.   Apparently if you were a knight in the 1300s and wanted a bit of a fighting holiday, you went and hung out with the Tuetonic Knights.   Chaucer’s Knight in the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales  is one of these martial tourists.

First blood to the TKs as they crash through our archers on our left flank.



More TKs lead by one of those fighting bishops that the Middle Ages produced in large numbers.  A sword and a mace are surefire ways to spread the gospel.  Notice the very fine work on the heraldry, no mean feat for a 20mm model.

The battle raged for several hours.  We held where we wanted to hold, on our left and centre, and the casualties piled up on both sides.  

The last desperate charge of the TKs looks promising, but they will be sent reeling back down the hill. At the end of play, Kirk had broken our right flank, but we had held where we planned to make our stand in the centre and left, and Kirk’s best units were spent or routed, while the Grand Master of the Tueotinic Knights lay dead under a pile of dead horses and men,


I hope these grainy photos taken with my iPad do some justice to this big and very intense game, it was a nailbiter down the final turn.  For rules we used Might of Arms by Bob Bryant, which has been around since 1996. You can find a review here, though I don’t think it is currently in print.  Very easy to pick up and pleasantly fast moving, I would rate it similar to Dan Mersey’s Lion Rampant in complexity.

Thank you Mike for your gracious hospitality and for a good game, and thank you Kirk for making it an epic and enjoyable fight!

Blessings to your die rolls,


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