Let’s start, covering the 20th of March through to the 26th of March
Nothing much – this week has been busy (going to visit family among other things) so most of my writing time has been concentrated on my wargames rules writing. Still cranking through some more rules to be used in this week’s solo game. However, next week will see an update to my MDF reviews and on the weekend a battle report.
I managed to get down to club on the Thursday and get some dice rolling in. Well in this case, it was more card pulling. I jumped in on a playtest game of an English Civil War version of To The Strongest, a ruleset I’ve heard a lot about but never played. It has some really cool ideas and I look forward to playing more (although as with any multiplayer games there were one or two disagreements during the game).
Other (more indepth) articles can be found at SESWC’s page and at Edinburgh Wargamers.
Spectre did their new releases over the weekend and I grabbed a few. The terrain is just what I’ve wanted and will be used quite a lot, especially when building more game focused levels. The new civilian vehicle should bring my collection up to the stage where I can fill a street scene with plenty of vehicles for cover.
The new figures are also exciting to see, with Spectre extending older ranges with more support weapons. The LMG and grenade launcher will be especially useful for the Tier 1 operators.
I’ve painted some more bases at work . It’s working well but I’m running out of Tan Earth (maybe worth a walk across Edinburgh this week to get some more).
In addition I’m starting to paint a few more figures ready for this weekend’s game. Argo is going to need some security guards and maybe a VIP or two.
I got my first solo game in as I mentioned above. Go read the report for my full feedback but it was strangely nice to play solo, especially when trying out rules you’ve written. You miss out on a lot of the social side but it does mean you can play at your own pace. I was able to take notes of every action each time a character was activated which is something that would probably not happen if I was running a game with someone else.
Nothing new but some stuff arrived and some stuff coming soon.
As you can tell from my articles, the Sarissa stuff arrived. I’m really a big fan of the sets I ordered. They are ridiculously high detail and will make for a good board to fight over. Now to finish building that factory…
As for upcoming stuff, Spectre have released a preview of some new stuff. I am a big fan of their existing vehicle and a more standard civilian vehicle will very easily find a place on my wargames table. Also I’m a sucker for jersey barriers.
Oh and I also got my ticket for Salute. Sadly my the original plan has fallen through so i’m now looking into turning up for the evening before and meeting up with a few people for drinks. This is causing me to cry looking at prices for trains and things.
I got a single model painted this week! I need another figure for the solo game to stand in for a medic character. The figure I ended up using was one form the US guys in light gear. He got painted up in the same style as the SAS figures, something I’ll probably do for the rest of the operators.
I’ve also been painting more bases when at work. It’s working out at about 12 models for 40 minutes of painting time which means I am chewing my way through all those models where I have only just done the basecoat.
I’m already planning the next weekend game and I’m going to have to get some of my gangster characters finished off.
It’s not long after most people start wargaming that they start looking at the surface they are fighting over and think bigger. For those of us not wanting to scratch build, the rise of laser cutters and cheap MDF has lead to an explosion of manufacturers making some high quality buildings. This makes it very easy to build up a good looking board quickly.
As someone whose wargaming lies mainly in the arid regions of the world, Adobe buildings are the order of the day. Constructed with a combination of mud and wood these structures are found all over the world from the Middle East to Mexico. While building up my board, I’ve bought buildings from three companies and will now compare the experiences of building them.
Knights of Dice
Knights of Dice does a range called Tabula Rasa, designed to provide the basic shell of buildings onto which details can be added. As well as desert buildings, they also do gothic ruins and medieval villages.
Having built two of them, I can say that I’m really happy with the level of design for the price. They do the job of being a starting point, with some details (multiple rooms). The interiors are split into large rooms ready for detailing. One of my buildings is multi-storey – this is achieved by an interior shell that can be removed to allow access to the ground floor. My only dislike is that the staircases by default have very small steps that do not allow slotting bases in for models climbing the stairs. This can be fixed easily by altering a few of the steps. They also come with no doors or window decorations, obviously designed to be added as part of the detailing process. Note, I’ve already started on the detailing with some aircon units and tv dishes from Empress.
Building them was also super easy. They arrive on frames and be easily pushed out by hand, requiring no cutting. In addition they fit together with no modification or trimming needed, although as always a dry fit is recommended.
For anyone in the UK, Shiny Games in Nottingham are the current stockists and are fantastic people to deal with. My order arrived super quickly and with lots of communication.
If you are looking for lots of buildings for cheap, JBEdwards on ebay are the cheapest on the list. For £9 you get three buildings, each of a different layout.
The buildings all have the same basic style of construction, with two walls attached to the same L shaped bracket. These brackets can then be joined together to form the shell. The buildings do include doors and roof hatches – the doors also have tabs so they can be drilled into place.
The pieces arrive off sprue and in piles for each building held together with rubber band. A dry run is required, and the reason I only have two buildings assembled is a testament to this. The third building is still waiting for a replacement part due to one edge being longer than the other. Apparently it’s been designed this way but it looks rather off. In addition some bits must be gently massaged into place.
For all the annoyances, the buildings are cheap. There are also a wide variety of types (above and beyond adobe available). If you are not sure about getting MDF, this is a good place to start.
If JBEdwards are the cheaper end of the scale, Sarissa is the king of MDF heap. I grabbed a decent size order (both from the South of the Border range I’m covering in this post and from the Industrial range) and they arrived very well packed with lots of protection. I grabbed three – a one storey house, a two storey house and a one storey cantina to be the local cafe.
Much like Knights of Dice, the MDF pieces arrive on a ‘sprue’. They seemed to hold to the container requiring a bit more of a push. However, the details and design in each kit is awesome. All kits come with instructions to help with assembly and the etchings on the facing sides are all incredibly crisp. Little touches (such as the roofs having cut outs for easy removal) show how much work was involved.
Once assembled, the buildings are incredibly playable. Event the smallest adobe building has multiple rooms, with planks on the floor, exterior doors held in place and shutters for the windows.
The buildings are more on the pricey side but really do look the part. Having built some of the industrial sets (coming soon) and placed on the board, even in bare MDF the Sarissa buildings looks the part
Overall, the three manufacturers do three different jobs – Knights of Dice for those wanting starting points, JB Edwards for those wanting to build on a budget and Sarissa for those wanting to get high quality buildings on the board as fast as possible.
I still need to paint these buildings which I will talk about in the future. Also once I’ve finished construction on the big part of my purchases, I’ll take another look at the Sarissa products.
As a way of playing more wargames and testing out out a few rules I’ve been writing, I’m instituting a weekend wargaming session. Ideally it won’t always be solo but that’s how the first one ended up occurring.
Expect to see some weird and wonderful rules, as well as the vast expanses of unpainted MDF as I get my act together. On the other hand, it should also be pretty entertaining.
This first game was played using Skirmish Sangin with a few home rules.
CGS S01E01 – Marketplace Mayhem in Bazi City
A market in one of the slums on the outskirts of the city is also the home of one of the militia leaders that have taken control of several neighbourhoods. Commando Global Solutions have been contracted by an OGA to snatch this leader, as well as his 2IC in order for them to be brought back for interrogation. Due to the leader’s movements, the only time available to snatch him was during a daring daylight raid, timed to match up with the leader’s visit to a local cafe.
Wallace and Renault arrived early in order to recon the situation. The other four operators (Davison, Bowman, Sullivan and Oldham) arrived via a pickup truck driven by Thompson. The plan was to disembark, sneak through the square, breach the cafe, snatch the Commander and then escape via the pickup.
Having disembarked, Davison crossed from cover to cover and headed to a position behind another parked vehicle. Bowman matched him moving carefully up the wall of the old industrial building. Across the square, a rebel fighter named Dar sat on overwatch while two more moved around the bustling market. Dar’s position on the rooftop prompted Renault to spot him and transmit his location to all operators on the board.
However, Dar was not completely unobservant and noticed the sudden arrival of the tall westerner (Davison) entering the area. Squinting a little more, he noticed the danger and turned, ready to set off the alarm. Sensing he had been rumbled, Davison dropped the pretense and sprinted into the crowds in order to seek some cover. This caused a scuffle, drawing Al-Bashar (the commander) to the window.
Fearing the mission was about to get rumbled, and wanting to win the fire fight before it started, Wallace threw off the camo netting and opened up with the Minimi at Dar. The burst instantly killed him but all pretense of stealth had now been dropped.
Below, another fighter named Zafar entered the area. Hearing the MG fire, he began to run round the building in order to reach the stairs. As he rounded the corner, Bowman snap fired and dropped the enemy with a well executed Mozambique Drill. Oldham swiftly ran past this fight and got into cover behind the green truck. As the shooting had started earlier than planned, the driver of the SUV (Thompson) disembarked in case his rifle fire would need to help out.
Following Zafar was another fighter (Matek). Upon seeing someone behind the truck, Matek rushed in and tried to get into a close quarters fight. Over eager to engage though he missed, doing nothing more than alerting Oldham to the attacker behind him.
The last of the strike team (Sullivan) sprinted past the fight and also dove into the market, aiming to get into the target location quickly and get the job done. On the far side of the market, Jarah spotted Davison rushing through the crowd but was too slow bringing his rifle up to fire.
Namir, having heard the firing, entered the body of the market to look for the attackers. However, more importantly, Hamad (the militia LT) entered the fray from a good flanking position. He rushed to the corner and swiftly sighted in Thompson in cover behind the SUV.
Above in the warhouses’s office, Renault continued his work as scout and called in the appearance of Namir as a threat. Around the same time, another fighter entered the area and spotted the source of the machine gun fire. This allowed his buddy Kabil to pop up and unleash a hail of rounds at Wallace, though the building absorbed most of the burst. Inside the cafe, Abdul spotted the attackers and shouted out “The infidels are coming!”
In response to this, Al-Bashar dived for one of the backrooms in an attempt to trap the operators once they entered. Nearby, and showing their difference in command styles, Davison calmly exited the crowd and struck down Jarah with a quick burst.
Back at the warhouse, Wallace swiftly pulled himself together and resighted on the man who just shot at him. Finding the target, another burst of MG fire dropped Kabil, knocking him unconscious. Down below, Oldham turned to fight Matek. Unleashing an all out attack, Oldham dropped the rebel to the dirt. Also wishing to join a melee fight, Sullivan rushed through the crowd and up to Namir, attempting to knock him down rather than risking a shot through the civilians. Unfortunately he failed and locked into combat instead.
Namir however was having none of this. Pushing Sullivan back, he ran round the corner and dived back into cover. Ignoring this, Bowman soon reached the other side of the crowd getting close to breaching the door into the target zone.
At this point, something went wrong for the Operators. Having worked out what was going on, Hamad prepped a frag grenade and rolled it under the escape vehicle. With a deafening bang the vehicle was flipped throwing Thompson to the deck. Miraculously he was unharmed (his body armour absorbing the blows) but it took a while to pull himself together.
Jibreel, having seen his buddies being cut down, ran for cover. However, he wasn’t fast enough as Renault drew a bead and slotted him. Inside the cafe, Abdul followed his boss’s example and hid, ready to surprise anyone entering.
As the number of militiamen around the target building dropped, Davison, Sullivan and Bowman setup and prepared to breach. Out of their arcs, Wallace dropped Namir with another burst of 5.56. Oldham, having heard the explosion of the SUV, dropped to a knee and send a round flying towards Hamad. The shot didn’t kill him, but Hamad went down hard.
While the strike team got ready, Oldham started looking for working transports. Thompson, ears still ringing, worked his way over to Hamad and cuffed him before attempting to fix him up ready for transport.
As time has passed, the crowd has started to scatter and the gunfire has quieted down. However, there was still one final action to do. With Renault and Wallace watching over, the three man strike team took the door.
First, Bowman took two goes at it but then the frame shattered and dropped. Sullivan rolled a flash grenade into the cafe’s interior, forcing Abdul to throw his gun to the ground. Davison finally entered, avoid the frantic snap shot from Al-Bashar before throwing the militia commander to the deck and cuffing him. The firefight was over.
With both VIPs in bags and cuffs and no casualties amongst the contractors the mission was a success. However, the post game wrap up added some complications.
None of the vehicles on the board were in a fit state to run, forcing the team to extract on foot with two captives in two. Worse, both the militia and the local police force are now looking for a group of heavily armed contractors. To make it even worse, night is beginning to fall.
The next game will require me to finish building some MDF terrain to act as the centerpiece but should be a better test of the stealth rules. However, I’ve now worked out the third game in the season which will have the team from this game trying to get through a dense urban area on foot. And next time, the teams will be slanted in the other direction.
The camera cuts away on Bazi City, following a road out towards the outskirts. An old factory, a relic of the Cold War Industrial rush, sits isolated with only a few buildings nearby. For the first time in a while, there are signs of activity.
The camera drops down to just outside of the factory onto four lumps of green in the dirt. As it focuses, the shape of four more members of CGS, all wearing ghille suits, become more apparent…
Lets start, covering the 6th of March through to the 12th of March
No posts this week. As an aside, the wargames comparison article is still doing really well. This week a Czech site linked to it. Always interesting to see where in the world it gets picked up.
I really want to play more Skirmish Sangin (for multiple reasons) but I’m struggling to find the time between work and not wanting to force someone to play the same game every week at the club (I don’t want to be THAT guy).
Seeing as i’m building a board and buying terrain, I might as well put it to use. SOOOOO, what this means is we are going to have Weekend Warfare where I will be jumping in and playing something solo (or with players once I persuade them to), primarily to remind myself how the game actually works. It will be fought over mostly unfinished mdf (at least to begin with) and it may look like it’s a mess but damn it, I need to roll more dice.
So this is a fun one. I’ve unfortunately had three packages go missing somewhere in the postal system. Two are basing stuff and not massively expensive but the last one is a decent sized order from Sarissa. Most of it is to fill the board for the demo but also a few extra things for fun. As much as this is a pain, I just hope it turns up this week.
I also grabbed some buildings from banksjohnedward on ebay this week after someone on the Spectre group linked to them. They are really cheap (£9 for 3) and are pretty basic but it’s a case of you get what you pay for. I had a little issue with one but the chap behind the buildings is fantastic to work with and is sending a replacement. If you want to fill a board for cheap, these are a pretty good way to go and I am interested in the rest of his range.
I played a lot of Ghost Recon Wildlands. I don’t think it’s a great game but I’m having some fun roaming around the world. If anyone asks, it’s research for board design.
New idea I want to try – a weekly update covering what I’ve been up to for the previous 7 days. It will ever contain short summaries o
So lets start, covering the 27th of Feb through to the 5th of March
The only other posts this week was an update to my Technical article in order to cover the TOW and M40 weapons. Find the details here!
This Saturday was Hammerhead at Newark Showground. 1 hour and 10 minutes from my friend’s in York, the show was really good fun. A huge convention hall for most of the games (with a smaller lounge in a separate building) lead to a very impressive looking show. Some really cool games (the Mad Max table was a loud highlight) and an excellent set of stockists makes Hammerhead well worth a trip. Alas, no pictures as I was busy but WSS and Wargames Illustrated were snapping away.
As for purchases, see below.
After Hammerhead, I went back to York for an afternoon of wargames. Two games were played and both were a really good time
The first was One Page Warhammer 40k or Grimdark Future. Now I’ve started playing Warhammer 40k proper with some work colleagues and, as fun as it is, it has some major issues. One page throws this all out of the way and focus down on a much simpler system. It’s more about throwing more dice rather than lots of different dice and counterproductive special rules. As for the game, the Imperial Fist Battle Brothers fought off the Orc Marauders thanks to the use of roof tops packed with dudes in power armour.
After that, I pulled out all the paperwork and we began a really fun (if a little slow) game of mercs vs bad guys. We played the scenario I wrote for Skirmish Afika and action was fantastic. As I as teaching the game to multiple people (and refreshing one person on it), we only got 6 phases in but the action included rounds spraying down the street, an operator empting the last of his ammo into a shipping container someone was hiding behind and some dramatic deaths.
The only problem was near the end, getting tired and flustered, I lost track of which turn it was. As some planning to demo the game, I need to play some more to get used to it. Alternatively a laminated copy of the turn track would help out.
So looks like I’ll just have to play some Skirmish Sangin then!
Earlier in the week, I had two parcels arrive at work filled with hobby goodness. The first was from Evil Bear Wargames who sent me a miscast of their technical. It fits well alongside the Spectre vehicles (if a little small) but unfortunately I cocked up the assembly leading to a bit of a mess on the underside. The back of the vehicle will fit my HMGs once I’ve sanded down a bulge on it.
The other pack was Spectre’s new Cartel range. As it’s new and shiny, I just had to have it. I haven’t assembled them yet but I have found a few figures I’m a great fan of the. The Sicarios are very dramatic and will be pulling double duty as bank robbers and agents. As for El Quemador… he looks generic enough to be working for the Bazistan militia.
As part of my trip to Newark, I picked up a few things from Empress. In addition to some terrain items to pimp my MDF buildings, I grabbed to US Infantry packs. The SF guys in light kit will be joining the Empress SAS figures as Argo Corporation Contractors while the Assaulters will join my other US Special Forces
As mentioned in my previous post on the Spectre technicals, I hadn’t picked up all the weapons. As part of my cartel order, I put on two more weapons ready to give the bad guys something else to handle my Challenger 2 or other armoured vehicles.
The common thing between these two is the base. Simply, the base is plasticard with slots cut out for the wheel arches. Main tweak is cutting the gap slightly longer so the base can be put in either way, allowing for some adjustment.
The TOW is a wire guided missile, used worldwide as tank killer as well as hammering bunkers when the gunners run out of targets. As dangerous as it is, the wire guided nature put the crew at risk until it impacts unless they cut the guidance wire early.
The Spectre kit is in three pieces – the launcher and sight, the base and two tripod legs and the third leg. Construction is simple – attach tripod leg, add launcher. The only tweak I ended up doing was I trimmed down two of the feet on the tripod so I could fit it easily onto the base.
As for crew, I added Crew Charlie and Crew Delta. Charlie is designed for the launcher while delta is intended for the SPG9. However, I think he works well as the loader. Now just to assemble a round to reload…
The M40 is a heavy recoilless rifle, launching a 105mm projectile to smash armour and the predecessor to the TOW. It lacks the guidance and doesn’t have the penetration of a TOW but it still packs a punch.
The Spectre model comes in four pieces – the main tube, the elevation wheel, the tripod and the wheel. Again, super simple assembly.
To crew it, I picked up the set designed for the weapon (Crew Foxtrot) and set them in place. I’m a big fan of the guy holding the next round.
As with the previous weapons, Spectre has done a great job making these systems. Both are packed full of detail and the crew are great additions to them. It was also super easy to mount them on quick swap bases with only minor alterations. I still have a few more systems to look at but at least now the Militia have some heavy support on the field.