Friday, July 24, 2015

Black Powder in 6mm

Just a short posting this week, last sunday saw Dane putting on a fantastic Napoleonic outing in 6mm over at Wyvern Wargamers.

I have not played a lot of Black Powder but it does work very well for those big games..... plenty of action with Brigades on both sides stalling and not moving on command. Sweeping cavalry charges and bloody infantry fire fights...

After a titanic battle I am pleased to report a Russian victory, with even the cossacks sticking around till the end...

The opening moves. Russians on the left with the Bavarian Cavalry rushing forward in the near right.

The Russians deploy.

It certainly sets me up for the Martian Empires rules and forthcoming outings which are similar in style with the need for commanders to trigger bridgde activations....
Right back to the brushes...

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Assegai's at Dawn....

Blimey 4 years have passed since the last outing.... for Lt Henshaw.

Previous outings have seen us using the Too Fat Lardies, Sharp Practice rules with a few tweaks for the Zulu Wars, campaign games were generated using the Platoon Forward suppliment again tweaked to give a more colonial feel, but given the number of troops involved for this encounter the switch was made to Songs of Blades and Heroes with a couple of tweaks.
A 600 Point encounter just enough for an evenings encounter.

Lt Henshaw was once again on the march. After a day of slogging across the veldt, it was good to finally stop, tents were pitched and tiffin taken... However just before Dawn, the mens rest was interupted by a sneaky Zulu attack.

The encampment, cattle graze and pickets watch for any hidden attackers, the Brits were allowed 4 guards and were unsure of where the Zulu's would attack from.
Points wise everything was equal, however the Zulu's out numbered the Brits by at least 2:1, as the Zulu player I was feeling pretty confident.

Horns of the Buffalo. Deciding on a classic Horns of the Buffalo approach, a party of my warriors rushed in from the left flank, while Riflemen appeared on the rise, a picket let off a warner shot and slotted the Zulu Leader.
Whose idea was it t make rifle fire lethal........

Standto..... the Brits pour from the tents and begin to make an impact on the raiding party, shooting several of the attackers down, however with some good dice, I managed to get into hand to hand and started to pin the Brits.

With the Brits pinned on the left flank, I rushed the centre forward, the pickets fired on the attackers but missed and the Zulu's closed on the guards, revenge was in the air....

On the left dispite several knock downs the Brits held on and the counter attack led by Henshaw saw my warriors whittled down to just above 50% of their starting force, however in the centre things were a little better, numbers were begining to tell and two British soldiers went down under the stabbing Assegai....

The Brits were forced backwards but Henshaw stood firm, as the Brits backed off, they fired into the advancing Zulu's killing another two attackers, my force is now down to less than 50% of their 600 points.

Whilst one Zulu hung on, the rest fled to the table edge... Game over....

A great little encounter, SBH worked really well, as usual the quality level of 3 vs 4 was telling the Zulu's need to isolate the Brits to win, rifle fire was lethal.... literally..... and was 3 points well spent....

Definately wont be leaving it 4 years before the last encounter.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Wargaming H.G. Wells - War of the Worlds - Martian Scout Machines

Having completed the Crown heavy armour last week, time in turn to bolster the Martian forces, Blackhat Miniatures produce a nice range of Cephalod Infantry but I figured a lighter Tripod might be more suitable for an expanded campaign in England...

As mentioned in early posts I wanted the Martians to be similar in style to the Jeff Wayne 1978 album art work and these Drones from All Quiet on the Martian Front seem to fit the bill.

They are similar in style to the Blackhat Handling Machine some what swatter hence the British nick names for them of "Scuttlers" but these will be designated under the rules as Scout Machines.

I have not quite decided on whether they should be used as a unit or individually within Martian Empires but have produced some adapted stats and points for the Martian Empire rule set.

No. of Stands
Hits per Stand
Fire Factor
Combat Factor
Morale Factor

Scout Machines
Holds a crew of one. Move 30cm,
Weapon range 30cm.

Slighty taller then the regular British Infantry.


They are just a little short of twice the size of the regular infantry and come armed with a single heat ray, I run through in the next few weeks should tell if the revised stats work.

I recieved the Shock Drones below by way of an apology for the delay from Alien Dungeon, to be honest I am not sure they really fit with the style I am looking for but they were free, I figured these would be useful as mobile Black Smoke Projectors, a little more work is need on the specific rules and stats.

Next up a return to the sanity of Ancient China.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Wargaming H.G. Wells - War of the Worlds - Carey Suits.

One of the iconic images of H.G. Wells - War of the Worlds is the Martians use of the black smoke, or black powder used to eliminate groups of humans, especially artillery crews Any animal or human inhaling this deadly smoke is killed almost instantly; but the smoke becomes harmless on contact with water and the Martians would dispel it after each use with jets of steam .

The Armoured Infantry were a freebie from the AQOTMF Kick Starter and I figured I could find a potential use for them, within the 1898 setting of the 1st Invasion.

Looking over the castings I went off to find some historical background and found the following which seems the prefect back drop for this project.

Source: English Mechanic and World of Science – Volume 53, 1891 – Page 351
Col. William Carey, C. B., late R.A., the “crustacean diving dress,” which he has protected by [Great Britain] patents 3083, 4467, and 6494 of 1890.


Publication date    Oct 27, 1891
Filing date    Oct 31, 1890
Inventor    William Carey
Patented in England February 26, 1890,No. 3,083.
Be it known that I, WILLIAM CAREY, C. B., colonel Royal Artillery, a subject of the Queen of Great Britain, and a resident of Southampton, England, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Diving Dresses.

My invention relates to diving-dresses, and is designed to improve the construction and increase the efficiency of the same. Heretofore diving-dresses have usually been constructed in such a manner that when the diver is in the dress one or more additional weights are required to cause him to sink in the water. Moreover, such dresses have ordinarily been so made that the pressure of air within the diving-dress has had to be maintained equal to that of the water on the exterior of the dress. Consequently with the diving-dresses hitherto constructed the diver himself when working at great depths is subjected to very heavy pressure.
My present invention is designed to facilitate the carrying out of submarine operations–that is to say, to enable divers to work with safety at greater depths and for longer periods than has hitherto been practicable, and to move in the water with greater ease and comfort than heretofore. 

I so construct my improved diving-dress that it will withstand very high external pressure, thus obviating the necessity for introducing air under similar pressure into the dress. The pressure of the water is therefore borne not by the body of the diver, but entirely by the dress itself. 
My diving-dress is made with peculiarly constructed spherical joints, whereby the separate parts of the dress are united in such a manner that the diver can freely use his limbs, and which are so constructed that the outer spheres of the said joints, which are formed in separate halves or parts, will be firmly closed and held together by the external pressure of the water, and very light clasps.
Another feature of my said invention is the construction of the diving-dress in such a manner that the head-piece or helmet and the trunk or body portion extending to the stomach of the diver are or may be formed in a single piece, whereby a considerable increase in capacity is secured, and a storage of air is obtained sufficient to enable the diver to breathe for a considerable time in the event of injury to the air-tubes.

With the Martian incursion some 8 years later a few adaptions and you have yourself a suit designed to withstand the Black Smoke and a degree of historical context to boot.
Hence the Carey Suits were pressed into service on dry land.

Looking over the castings it appeared they were armed with a heavy weapon of sorts, so I figured moving the period back 25 or so years why not arm them with large calibre rifles capable of firing things such as the Nitro Express Cartridge which was invented in 1898.
That should give the martian invader something to think about.

It was the creation of the world famous London gun maker John Rigby, recognized founder of the Nitro Express and the .450 double rifle that fired the cartridge. A nitrocellulose-based cordite that was far more effective because it gave off almost no smoke and was three times more powerful than black powder.

John Rigby

John Rigby called his powerful new rifle, the "Nitro Express Train Rifle". A short time later, the train rifle part was dropped, leaving Nitro Express as it stands to this day.  

Who says sci-fi can't be educational....

Suggetsed Martian Empire Stats for those interested.

No. of Stands
Hits per Stand
Fire Factor
Combat Factor
Morale Factor

Carey Suit Infantry
Weapon range 40cm.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

And the Winner is !!!!

I mean't to post this up last week, but as usual time ran away with me.
Thank you to all who posted, some great comments and a net increase of over 10% on Han's blog - although it's fair to say I have been rumbled on the secret posting front....

All prizes picked by Han at random, I suggested she rolled a dice to generate the random winners but that was a step up far.... 
Teenagers...... :-(

Congratulations to all and thanks for your continued views and comments....
I have posted your web links under each prize awarded.


If you drop me a line on the e-mail address below, I will post out your prizes on Monday.
Thanks for visiting....


Sunday, July 05, 2015

Wargaming H.G. Wells - War of the Worlds - Farthing Class Land Ships.

I have always been drawn to the stories of H G Wells, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Jules Verne – visionaries of the future and Victorian belief in man's triumph over all. 

War of the Worlds arguably the greatest work of science fiction ever written, Published in 1898 the novel of a Martian invasion of Earth has never been out of print. It is a work of enormous vision and imagination, predicting space travel, laser technology, chemical weapons and robotics.
Over several years I have been building up a collection of forces very much in the true style of British Home Service forces in 1898 and Martian forces inspired in no small way the Jeff Wayne 1978 album art work.

When Alien Studio launched their kickstarter a few years ago, I spotted a small number of items that would compliment the collection of Martians and Crown forces that I already owned from Blackhat Miniatures, but hopefully without going to over the top or to daft and fanciful and keeping to the style and design of the period.

AQOTMF Mono tank seemed to fit the bill, but having made the decision to move to the Martian Empre rule set and keep the game in the victorian era  I figured it deserved a new name.....

I give you the Farthing Class Landship


whilst the miniature range for AQOTMF is stated as 18mm, the drop down to 15mm looks fine and the naval blue and general design takes it away from the feel of Little Willy in the WW1 era which was really developed to counter the difficulties of crossing trenches.

The proposed stats are set out below.

HMLS - 311, 312, 313 Her Magisty's Land Ship - Farthing Class.

No. of Stands
Hits per Stand
Fire Factor
Combat Factor
Morale Factor

HMLS Farthing Class
Holds a crew of three. Move 30cm,
Weapon range 40cm, large target.

As to the name.
It just sort of felt right.


Saturday, July 04, 2015

All Quiet on the Martian Front vs Martian Empires - A comparison.

Having received the models after 700 days..... Yes you can actually get to Mars quicker, I summoned up the courage to open the rule book, I wanted to see if the extra items I had ordered would work better within the actual rules rather than adaptions or in house rules for Martian Empires.
All Quiet on the Martian Front (AQOTMF) moves the story on from the orginal HG Wells novel and takes place in the era where of World War I and shifts it's focus from the UK to the US, the Martians launch a second invasion better prepared than the first but so to are the forces of humanity with steam powered tanks and energy weapons.

The rules look very professional are well laid out 30 pages full of fantastic photographs, artwork, and "bumf" to keep you interested it also includes army lists for the US, The Martians, and The British Expeditionary Forces.
AQOTMF uses an "I-go, You-go" system with a number of tweaks , and utilizes d10s for dice rolling. Individual models or bases of infantry are referred to as "elements" which roll up into units and each have characteristics, the rules have very much have the Rick Priestley imprint. always a winner for me.

Players roll off for initiative to decide who goes first. When you activate, you move all your models, fire and move them again, the next turn you roll for initiative again but you modify this by how much you destroyed in the previous turn, a nice touch all very nice and simple....
But as I continue to read it becomes very apparent that they are geared to rather more significant models than I had in mind they seemed geared to encouraging the gamer to purchase vast swaths of tanks and tripod models and given the track record in releases - well..... you can imagine my concerns.....
Whilst it is nice to get a rules set designed speicifcally for fighting the Martian invasion of earth, it was moving to far away from the traditional novel and I would struggle portray the right spirit of the period of warfare in pre-1900 England.
So after all the waiting around it looks like will be returning to Martian Empires inspired by the Huzzah! rule system, whereby leaders give units orders to advance, retire, manoeuvre or deploy, with success being based on the character’s Command Factor. 
Good leaders get more done and motivate more units than poor ones.

Each unit has a Fire Factor and Combat Factor. Bases take different numbers of hits depending on unit type, and casualties are measured in terms of whole bases, which means painted figures stick around on the table longer.

The larger Tripods and Human Steam tanks have a damage system similar to AQOTMF, but can be repaired in game.

The dice mechanics use two six-sided dice throughout, with a 2 always being a success and an 11 or 12 being a failure.

The rules lack the depth of the fighting forces available in AQOTMF, but tweaking the Fire and Combat scores new units are easily created with house rules, besides does anyone really need a model the size of a dinner plate on a 6ft table :-)

Despite playing numerous sci-fi/fantasy games I guess I am a traditional historical gamer at heart even if it does come on 3 legs....