donderdag 25 december 2014

A Solo Play Aid for Battlegroup Kursk

I've been wanting to try out the Battlegroup rules for some time now... Because that would have to be a solo enterprise I felt that the "sudden victory" that is a result of the chit drawing system would be lost. So rather than just accepting that I would be fully aware of how badly mauled both sides are, I decided to write a small computer program to handle the chit drawing and telling me when one side or the other disengages.

I have written the code in python on the site, so if you want to give my program a try just go here. It is all still very rough so no fancy user interfaces or output or checking for wrong inputs...
Just hit the play button at the top left of the page and you will be asked to enter the sides and their battle ratings and if you want to use the Fall of the Reich counter set, any relevant output (drawing of special counters and who wins) appears on the right side. If the Barbarossa counter set is the same as Kursk and Overlord you can use the program for that as well but as I don't have that book (yet) I don't know that myself.
Also, codeskulptor does not work with Internet Explorer. It did function on my android tablet, using it in its current state is difficult though (hard to see the output of the program)

Later on I'll try to add:
  • Barbarossa counter set (if different)
  • Windows interface
  • Possibility to view the total drawn for one side (if you want play "against" the other side)
  • Indication of the number of counters drawn for both sides (so you can guesstimate who's losing)
All feedback (and bugs) welcome in the comments below.

Happy painting and gaming!

zondag 14 december 2014

Paint Table Saturday 4 - Project completed!!!

Last week I didn't post an update because well, there really wasn't anything to write about. I spent the rest of the weekend working on my dungeon tiles, but come monday I just couldn't find the motivation to paint any more... And it stayed like that for the rest of the week. This week was only slightly better, but with one great result!

Yes, that's a gaping hole on the scenery line now!
I finally finished a project! Almost three years after the first mention of my 3D dungeon, the last tile for Dwarf King's Hold got its last coat of varnish and moved to join the rest of the tile set...

One dungeon, done and done :-)
 So what now? Back to 6mm Russians... after last week's game at the club I did some tweaking of my army list and now I have a few new platoons to paint. Some SU122s, AA half tracks and another scout car.

Happy gaming and painting!

zaterdag 29 november 2014

Paint Table Saturday 3

 Well, not too much painting going on this week but that doesn't mean nothing has been happening on the paint table. Mostly decluttering and getting a bit more organized...

While I did start the week as I had intended and I cleaned, based and put my Heroics and Ross miniatures together and continued on the Kuebelwagens, halfway through it I decided to give my paint table a bit of an overhaul. Putting the paints in their cabinet, removing all the clutter that had accumulated over time, taking a look at what I would be doing in the near future and removing everything else. The work area (only half of my desk and all you have seen so far) looks a lot emptier now.

As does the previously unseen other half. It always was the plan to keep the work area free of miniatures and use this side as a holding area for the "in progress" miniatures, neatly ordered in seperate files for scenery, modern/SF, fantasy and historicals... As it this, I still have more on my table than what the plan says but it is quite the improvement compared to earlier in the week. One of those "road to hell" and "good intentions" situations.

The result of this operation? Another shift in focus, what else did you expect? The last few tiles etc of my dungeon project (read more here and here)* resurfaced and I decided to go ahead and at long last finish them. That way I can claim to have a completed a project for once :-)

When that's done it's back to Barbarossa so I can get in my second H&R order...

Happy painting and gaming everybody!

* Gulp, are those dungeon blog posts that old already???

zaterdag 22 november 2014

Barbarossa 1 - A False Start

You might remember my Crisis promise not to walk out of there with some new army or period tucked under my arm??? And how I actually kept it???

Getting the Flames of War Barbarossa book at Crisis inevitably led me down this path. Early WW2 always appealed to me more than late war with all its heavy armour, buth with my club mates all being caught by big cat fever (aka Tiger syndrome) the most likely way to play early war is by going solo.

Rather odd piece of cover art for a book about the German assault on Russia. Putin's propaganda division at work?
With a rather extensive Russian 6mm collection all I needed was a German force. But to avoid getting bogged down I came up with a few rules for this new army:
Keep the cost downWhile GHQ makes the best miniatures on the market, they are rather pricey. A single blister costs 7 pounds at Magister Militum (my most likely source for GHQ) so I decided to look elsewhere and ended up with Heroics and Ross.
Every order will be at most for the price of a single GHQ blister, shipping included! So with a £2 minimum shipping charge that leaves me with £5 to order.

No new order before the previous one is finished
With small orders like this, I should be able to keep myself interested without being overwhelmed.

For my first order I tried to build an army that was legal within the rules and contained as few models as possible for the most points possible... The "mittlere panzerkompanie" list was the way to go.
With a CO and 2iC and two three tank PzIVE platoons I met all those demands for only £3.20... so I added a recovery vehicle just to fill out the Company command slot and a Stuka for some air support. Depending on the level of air support this gives me an army from 1310 to 1375 points.
Even now I still had 50p left so I ordered some infantry command figures in anticipation of the next order (where I will be adding some infantry support to the panzers).

This week my first order arrived, so say hi to my newest army...

Top row: CO, 2iC and attached recovery vehicle
Center row: 1st and 2nd platoon (all tanks PzIV, bit hard to see right now)
Bottom row: Stuka and infantry command
While it never was going to be an impressive start, having Heroics and Ross making a slight packing error with my order turned this into the most underwhelming new army ever... Must have been a funny sight to see me checking and rechecking that tiny envelope to see if I somehow managed to look over eight tank hulls :-)

Happy painting and gaming!

Paint Table Saturday 2

Back again after only one week??? Didn't really expect that myself...
Just one little problem with that, how to keep you guys entertained with my glacial pace of progress. Really, go google for a webcam observing a real life glacier if you want to see some fast paced action :-)

I did finish a few things that were stuck on the table for a while now, the GHQ M3 scout cars are now done as are the 15mm FoW Russians. The two objective markers are also completed so for this week the unpainted pile goes down by 11 items while going up by 8 for new arrivals from my Barbarossa project, meaning I'm at -3 for the week (only thanks to Heroics and Ross making a packing error on my order).

Trying to keep the table empty and staying focused
For the coming week: get stuck in to the Barbarossa Germans, get rid of those Kuebelwagens and get Scooby done (maybe Shaggy too)

Happy painting and gaming and till next time!

zaterdag 15 november 2014

Paint Table Saturday

Welcome to the first of what will most likely be a highly irregular view of my paint table... Yet another testament to my ongoing OSPD (Ooh Shiny Personality Disorder).

Rather than continueing and (heaven forbid) finishing the handful of GHQ vehicles and 15 mm FoW that were on my table before Crisis came along two weeks ago, I had to drop everything and dive into the new toys... Good thing I didn't buy all that much for once :-)

So two weeks later nothing happened with the GHQ and FoW but I nearly finished constructing the 16 plastic vehicles I picked up at the bring and buy... Once the schwimwagens and the StuG IIIB are finished all that is left is the 251/10. And then I can return to painting, something that I have hardly gotten to in the past two weeks.
Pretty much all I did on that front was starting on Scooby and the gang, slapping some Panzergrau on a few vehicles and work on a couple of objective bases for FoW that I made with some drums and cans that were included with one of those plastic kits.

Till next week time (that looks more realistic)

Happy gaming and painting!!!

woensdag 5 november 2014

The Spoils of War(game show)

Another year, another Crisis... Last weekend saw the Tin Soldiers of Antwerp's wargames show on what was to be the hottest 1st of November since measurements started. With clear blue skies and temperatures up to 20°, like a few thousand other gamers living within a few hours driving from Antwerp, I decided to spend the whole day in an old warehouse and not come out untill sundown...

Another great show by the guys of TSOA, with even more floorspace, more space for the catering and a very swift moving queue when the doors opened. Despite being a few hunderd meters from the door, it only took twenty minutes to get in and get hold of this year's goody bag.
The Free
 Not just a free 28mm figure this year, in addition to King Albert I (100 years of WW1, it had to be him) Warlord games threw in a sprue of Hanoverians (and my buddy decided to throw his sprue in as well, thanks, I guess), Laserbases threw in a bag of 25mm wooden bases and Figures in Comfort provided a fire angle thingy... And for the first time there was a full blown show guide.
I also got rid of one of those car boot sale figures from a while back and got some tank obstacles in return and a visit at the Mantic stand got me a special convention only card for Mars Attacks. Now I just have to wait for the rest of the game to arrive. But according to Ronnie Renton all Kickstarter shipments should be out the door this week...

The cheap
 First stop on any wargames show, the Bring and Buy section. Am I going to play Napoleonic naval any time soon? Or even ever at all? Probably not, but that Warhammer Historical rulebook was just to nice to ignore and even just reading through it and looking at the pretty pictures makes it worth the money.
Another seller had a nice selection of plastic kits at very nice prices, at least untill I showed up :-) Now I have 4 jeeps, 4 kuebelwagens, 2 kettenkrads, 2 schwimwagens, a SdKfz251, a StuGIIID and a pontoon bridge to build (and even worse, paint). Guess I can't pass up on a bargain and at an average of about one euro each... Anyway, the jeeps have already been built by now and the kuebelwagens are about half way done. That's lightning fast for my doing.

The regular retail priced I 
The biggest part of my spending: rulebooks and expansions. Early East front always had a special appeal to me* so I couldn't leave without the new Barbarossa book for Flames of War. Not that the others at the club seem to agree, they are too fond of their big cats and other heavies. So a quick visit to the Heroic and Ross dealer would bring the answer... or not, he didn't bring the H&R line along (lack of space apparently).*
Now that I organized my ancients collection into DBA armies, I couldn't ignore DBA 3.0. Now I'll have to recheck all armies and see if the rumours are true, it has been whispered that this version was written in English...
Battlegroup Overlord, just because by the time I decided to go shopping at the Plastic Soldier Company stand they had run out of Battlegroup Barbarossa... and I still have this project idea for the Brigade Piron in Normandy stuck in my head.
Before we get to the new miniatures, there's some Soviet decals, paints, a uniform book and bases from Fenris Games for my Space Hulk* and soonish to arrive Aliens vs Predators figures.

The regular retail priced II
I had decided that this year I was not going to buy lots of figures, just a bag or two of ancients to finish off some DBA armies* and some scenery items. And one or two totally useless items, just nice to have things. No new periods, armies or any of that kind of thing.
The ancients figures weren't available, so I'll have to order them one day... DBA isn't the priority project (at this date anyway). Somehow I didn't get around to buying as much terrain as I had expected, just two 4Ground buildings.
At the Plastic Soldier Company I also picked up a couple of Zvezda 15mm vehicles. The BA-10 will fill another slot in my Bolt Action force while the Pz 38t, well he's bit of an orphan for now. I was toying with the idea of picking up a box of the new early war German infantry but decided against it (no new armies, like I had decided*).
So in the end, I walked out of Crisis with pretty much only those "useless but nice to have" figures I promised myself as a kind of treat. So at the moment I'm waiting for the filler to dry on the bases of my Hasslefree  not Scooby and the gang figures and Crooked Dice's Blake's 7 set is my current mold line removal project.

So even though by the end of the day my wallet was a lot heavier (all the paper money gone and heavy coins as change will do that) I must have set a new personal record for buying the least figures on a wargames show ever... I need to make up for all those way overdue Kickstarters that are about to arrive any day now somehow :-)

Happy painting and gaming!

*All things I really should write another article for...

zondag 17 augustus 2014

Oh Boy!

In my ever continuing quest to get some more order in my (un)painted pile I came across one of Aldi's recent weekly specials: foldable cardboard boes with 6 drawers that are about A5 size. After digging through the pile I managed to get 5 sets in black and grey, for some reason I didn't find the flower or Lego block prints they also had on offer as suitable for my games room.

Recently I have been thinking about what project to start up with whatever I have stashed away both miniatures and rules wise. Nothing new, just living of the land you might say :-) And I had already decided to go with DBA: small armies, I have the rules, I have a pile of plastic 1/72nd scale minis...

And with a five day weekend, I dug out the bags of miniatures and the army lists and got a stack of beer coasters and PVA on standby... And this is the result:

Each row of drawers is an army, the one at the table's edge holding the BDA army, other drawers hold the surplus, leading up to future DBM(M), Fog, Impetus armies. Two of the ten armies are really just the odd bo of figures I picked up at a bring and buy and are nowhere near close to playable, and my ancient Indians and Spanish need the odd general on elephant or cavalry element to complete the DBA army. This leaves me with a Sumerian, Nubian, New Kingdom Egypt, Sea Peoples, Gallic and Carthaginian army, all ready to take to the field.

While getting all this organized, I kept a running total of all the figures I dug up... Quite breathtaking by the end: 804 men, 112 horses, 6 elephants and 17 chariots or 939 plastic figures! Yikes!!!! Ah well, at least I didn't get into 4 digits :-) Oops, nearly forgot, my 20mm metal Indians... that's another 157 figures... four digits after all :-(

Ah well, time to brush up on my Barkerese (if ever you read DB* rulebook, you know what I mean) and learn the rules.

Oh, and welcome to my newest followers, bit surprising given my long silences here, I hope you'll find something entertaining or interesting here every once in a while...

Happy painting and gaming (and possibly hoarding) everybody!

dinsdag 3 juni 2014

Junk, junk, junk, Ooooh

So last Sunday I decided to head into town for a stroll around the weekly car boot sale. And as usual it lived up to its (Dutch) name. You guys call it a car boot sale, we call it a "rommelmarkt" or junk market. Why people bother to bring most of that crap along, week after week, I've never understood it.

But every once in a while there are some interesting things to be found for a wargamer. A friend of mine once came across some old WH40K boxes and gave me a call. Picked up a box of Squats, a trio of Rhinos and two boxes of Imperial Guard for 50€. The really old ones... Sold one box of Guard for around 75€ on ebay after some serious bidding.

This time it was my turn to dig something out of the junk. Suddenly I saw this carry case with what, from a distance' looked like GW plastic figures (Ah, the trained eye of th wargamer :-) ). 
A quick inspection showed a bunch of LotR figures, some assorted metal figures, some of them "painted", and some prepainted plastic figures. Now came the all important question, what did the seller want for the whole bunch?

So, 10€ and a quick sorting session later I found I had bought a good 60 LotR figures (after chucking out some broken ones) including a full set of Wood Elves and a few metal ones that I didn't already have in my collection.
The non LotR metal figures were an assortment of old school stuff, dating back to the 88-90 period by the marks on the bases. A mixture of GW generic RPG characters, Chaos champions and skeletons... a few Harlequin Dwarves... more RPG characters by Ral Partha and some Goblins and Orcs? from Dungeons and Dragons (going by the TSR, manufacterd by Ral Partha markings)

But then there re always some unidentified miniatures left. Judging by the paint job and the metal I think the left hand dragon is not a wargaming model, but a decorative thingy... the right hand dragon had no markings on the base...

The Bishop is marked with "HP 88" on the base... the swordfighter doesn't quite match with any of the other metal figures. With its massive metal base and the amount of detail it has, I'm thinking this started life as something else than a wargame figure as well.

And finally there were also some 30 prepainted figures marked "2005 Wizards" on the base... Always good for a quick Songs of Blades and Heroes warband and some wandering monsters.

If you recognize any of the unidentified figures, please leave a comment.

Happy painting and gaming!

maandag 26 mei 2014

Staycation: the Prelude

A word that I ran into today on some website and the timing couldn't be more appropriate: staycation... or a "stay at home vacation". With two long weekends coming up (only good thing about religion: all the official holidays :-) ) and my regular free Wednesdays I'm able to take a good two weeks of vacation for only the tiniest amount of vacation days. As part of all that quality time I'm looking to do some virtual gardening, time to remove some of the tumbleweed that has been accumulating here.

And as the beginning of the staycation coincides with the arrival of the latest issue of Battlegames, what better way to begin the R&R with a combination of couch, magazine and a beer... As long as I don't catch a case of "Ooooh, Shiny" syndrome.

Ctrl-Alt-Del: the Day after Crisis

What better time to restart this blog than what is to me the watershed moment of the gaming year: the Crisis show by the Tin Soldiers of Ant...