2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 20 trips to carry that many people.

Most of my visitors were from the UK, with the US and Italy close behind.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Review of 2013.

As the end of the year approaches it is a good time to look back and review 2013, the good, the bad and the ugly.

The good:

Having got to the end of 2013 I can report on the success on my main health issue.  Yes my mass is now down by over a tenth of what it was back in July when I started the 5-2 diet.  Yes it was difficult to start with managing to survive on 600 calories for 2 days, however the drive to loose mass kept me going and I feel much better.  In fact I’ve just had to take the leather punch to my belt so that it worth wearing.

The bad:

A few personal issues have circled round this year and those that need to know, know and those that don’t, don’t and aren’t going to – time to move on!

The ugly:

Kickstarter, now that is ugly but I’ve got some great figures out of it.  With the exception of Flames of War: Vietnam, Kickstarters have been my main source of figures this year.  I’ve backed Warzone Resurection, Deadzone and Empire of the Dead Requiem.  The later was my biggest kickstarter package to date and I have a box with a goodly number of figures for Victorian England sitting under my painting desk.  Now I just need to find the time to paint them.

The other ugly thing is my blogging habit, I started the year so well and then it just becomes a bit of a chore and I don’t get round to it.  No promises for 2014.

Everything else:

I’ve had a good year of gaming, particularly as my half day for this academic year is Friday.  I’ve played a fair bit of Bolt Action, Flames of War: Vietnam and a mix of other games including SAGA, Dystopian Wars, Warmachine/Hordes and Dreadball.  We put on games at Cavalier (Flames of War), Broadsides (Slaughterloo) and Legion (SAGA), a different game at each.

Still I’ll wish a Happy Christmas to whoever bothers to read this, more next year.

Operation Biting

Operation Biting was the first raid by British Paras, they dropped on a German radar installation in Bruneval, northern France.  You can read more at wikipedia, or pick up the book by Osprey (The Bruneval Raid Operation Biting) or Night Raid: The True Story of the First Victorious British Para Raid of WWII.

Why is this worth noting, well my gaming group decided that we wanted to use it as our show game for 2014, intending to take it to Cavalier (Tonbridge), Broadsides (Sittingbourne) and Legion (Ramsgate).  The Raid involved a force of 120 paras (including engineers) and a goodly number of Germans.  I got the job of painting the British force for this game and so I set out to paint up the rest of my Paras (I bought a load and painted some of them for a show game we did at Salute a few years ago now).

82 British Paras
82 British Paras

I need to get on and paint a few more (the 10 at the back and the 7 at the front) and I need to buy some more.

Flames of War: Vietman Part III

Should have posted this last week.
2 key lessons were learnt the other Friday Night by David (my opponent):
1) Never listen to Paul and Dave when they suggest using guerrilla reserves with the NVA.
2) Those M113 ACAVs and Sheridans can move very fast when they want to.

To be fair to David it wasn’t a good start for him, he elected to keep back all his infantry and deployed his tanks and the spotters for his off-board mortars. By Black Horse Company went first. The Centurions opened up on the T54’s causing 2 to bail out. The ACAVs and Sheridans then went storming across the board and mowed down his spotter and an amazing show of fire power. David’s answer was short, no reserves and the T-54’s were out of range and only one remounted. Turn 2 for the Black Horse left one T-54 a smoking wreck and the other two bailed out. With no-one to stop them the ACAVS moved onto the objective. David got reserves but due to the guerilla reserves rule ended up on the opposite side of the table and couldn’t move in to contest the objective. Turn 3 started with the Black Horse happily holding an objective and won the game.

That was the shortest and most one-sided game I’ve played for a very very long time.

Following on from that I have purchased an M113 platoon so I don’t have to borrow from Paul. All I have to do is assembly them and the Hog.

Legion 2013

The Sunday just gone was the Legion 2013 wargames show in Sandwich, Kent.  This is a very small show and unfortunately this year it was smaller than last, although clashing with the forecast of a nasty weather storm might have kept people away.  Red Knight Wargames organise this annual show to raise money for charity and this year “The Wing Appeal” was to benefit.  With only 5 Traders (including Red Knight Wargames themselves) and 6 games on the day it was rather disappointing to say the least.  Still it left plenty of time to wonder around and look at the stall, chat with the traders and look at the other games.

Friday Night Fire Fight Club (my club) put on a set of Saga games, with two 8 point engagements taking the form of the battles of Stamford Bridge and Hastings and a few 4 point engagements for fun.  The battle of Stamford Bridge was a tight engagement and the battlefield was rather empyt at the end, however Harald Hardrada defeated Harold Godwinson and won the right to face the Norman army led by William.  The Vikings regroups and met the Normans on the field of Battle and promptly sent them packing back over the channel.  All hail King Harald, well maybe.

Harold Godwinson fighting for his life.
Harold Godwinson fighting for his life.

Elsewhere at the show was a variety of other wargames, including White Knight Wargames Club Flames of War engagement.  I didn’t chat much but it was obviously an Italian convoy being ambushed by a British force in the early desert war.  A pity really that they finished and packed up by lunchtime.  The Red Knight Wargames Club put on a lovely looking Judge Dredd engagement with an impressive amount of futuristic looking city terrain.  Deal Wargames Club put on a 15mm Vietnam engagement using Flames of War vehicles, but not their rule set.  An impressive gaming table and it is good to see the helicopters flying over the table.  Their was also a game of Dropzone Commander going on at the back of the hall using the nice looking card city produced by Hawk Wargames themselves, one of these days I might well look to purchase a set for myself.  The final game I must admit to not looking at too much,  armies consisting of very small infantry figures don’t really excite me and I held out on Dropzone Commander for the longest time for just such a reason, but the walkers and dropships do work at that scale.

Having said all of that I had a great day playing Saga and chatting with friends.  The bargain of the year came about with the purchase of a Leman Russ Battle Tank for the might sum of £1, a steal definately, a small bit of track was missing which is now solved and I admit the paint job might need a review, but no complaints for that price.  The show was also made a worthy journey when I won the first choice in the raffle and selected a lovely resin ruined manor.  Ok so something else I need to assemble and paint, but it’s terrain and not figures.

Broadsides 2013 finished

Well there we have it Broadsides 2013 has been and gone.  I had meant to post beforehand about the progress particularly on the terrrain but life threw a curve ball at us and I nearly didn’t get everything ready.  So on Saturday (the day before the show) the last of the rebased and new figures received their spray of Anti-shine varnish.  Sunday, show day, well what a game we had four divisions of Dwarfs, with a bit of help from a couple of units of Orc faced off against three divisions of Elfs, with a toad unit in the middle.  Thanks to the lack of a plan, I couldn’t be overly bothered to think one up and the dice luck of John (this time in the form of Joseph) the Dwarfs about held on to the objectives, but I suspect not for much longer.  Thanks to Paul, Darryl, David and Joseph for the fun day.

Broadsides 2013 preparation

Friday Night’s game last week was Slaughterloo the system we are using for our Broadsides demonstration game.  I played against Paul who bought along his horde of Otterman Turks, for those not in the know the Otterman Turks are indeed Otters!  When I say Horde I do mean Horde.  I field my Guards Division (one of the four planned for Broadsides) which consists of the Guards (20 figures), a line regiment (20 figures), a unit of Jagers (12 figures), a unit of Lancers (10 boar mounted riders) and a battery of 2 Heavy guns with a total of 12 crew.  That’s a total of 5 units, Paul rocks up on the same point total with 2 units of Skirmishers, two lancer units (Gnoll), 1 gun (The Barking Dog), 1 Orge trained musket regiment (Askari), a unit of spearmen (Janissaries) and a unit of militia (Al-Hazrad) for a total of 8 units and they were big units.  Needless to say I couldn’t manage to shoot enough of them down as they headed towards me and I lost the battle.  Still I tried out one of my Divisions for Broadsides and as they are all painted they looked good on the table.

Broadsides 2013

Fast approaching is the Gaming Convention of Broadsides 2013, which is based in Sittingbourne and so far it is the only convention that the Friday Night Fire Fight Club have attended every year.  OK so this will only be the third con.  At the first Con we played an Arab-Israeli conflict game, at the second a Sci-Fi game using Tomorrow’s War rules and this year I suggested Slaughterloo (a Fantasy Napoleanoic game).  Why? I hear you cry (well I would if this wasn’t the Internet).  Well I felt that I didn’t have to paint many figures!  The game is called Quatre Bars and will feature a Krautian/Finklestein (Prussian) army fighting the Ferach (French).

I worked through my army list and after Paul very generously gave me all his dwarfs I realised that I could complete 8351 points without too much painting.  More was of course achievable with much more painting but I wasn’t sure how much I’d be able to do given my normal record.  So with 25 figures to paint I set out with von Rotte’s Grenadiers.  After consulting the site I setout with a nice Red coat paint scheme and realised that I was missing the second officer figure.  This didn’t bother me too much as I had a number of spare figures for this unit, I’d actually built the unit up rather than buying it as a single piece.  But I did notice the lovely Limited Edition figure of Baron Frederick von Rotte on the site, which Paul picked up from Salute for me.  That made 26 figures to paint, but one wasn’t too arrive until recently.  I decided I had to get this done and set out to ensure that at least one colour hit the figures each night, well it must be a record for me as all 25 figures, the good Baron will have to wait, are now finished.  Yes that’s right finished 25 figures in three weeks!  Now I definately hear cries of “Proof!”  So here they are in there lovely redcoats, along with five Command figures.

IMG_3687 IMG_3689

Whoops there goes a quarter

Well I blogged back at the beginning of the year and intend to blog much more this year, what happened to those three months???

Not much gaming for most of it is the answer.  The first half term of this calendar year passed with no games as I was far too busy running “Geek” club and off to the National Lego League Finals.  Half term came and went and then good news, not enough Geeks for the rest of the year.  I have managed to play three games since then, Mercs, Freebooters Fate and Flames of War: Vietnam.  Quickly then I will summarise the three games:

Mercs – Wow what a quick game to pick up and learn, two games against Abhi on a Friday night (can’t remember which) and I was away with the game.  You can only play with 5 miniatures a-side although there are several more to select from each faction.  The unit stat cards also act as your movement card and tape measures are not needed.  I love the game, but must resist it.

Freebooter’s Fate – Pick this up at Salute with Darryl last year, unfortunately my Amazons are still in their box and unassembled.  Paul offered a three way game of this and Darryl and myself teamed up against Paul.  A nice little game with a lot of intricate tricks, but fun.  The card deck usage rather than dice is a nice touch and the cards used for combat provide the game with a mindgame on the side.  What’s Paul going to pick this time!

Flames of War: Vietnam – Well it’s Flames of War in ‘Nam with helicopters, what’s not to like.  I had picked the rules up free with an issue of Wargames Illustrated a while back and I even have some figures, but not a full company yet.  Paul sorted out some Vietcong and gave me the Black Horse Company, I had been building, to play.  Unfortunately we messed up the reinforcement rules and Paul got nothing until turn 5, when we were reminded that we’d messed up.  We rolled back a turn and I watched Paul’s Vietcong come swarming out of the jungle, whilst my ACAVs returned a massive amount of firepower to hold them off.  A lucky win for me!

January 4th – Game on!

The first Friday of the year and the first gaming night.

Game: Dreadball

Opponent: Paul

Result: Lost

Our first game of Dreadball with a Forge Fathers team vs a Human team (team names needed later on).  It was a closely fought game with only one strike on target from Paul’s Human, other than that it moved mostly on dice luck.  We both ended up with one player dead, unfortunately I had more injured players than my opponent.  This is going to turn into a fun game that will pick up speed as we play more often.