Tuesday 31 December 2019

Christening the new Wargames Room

A festive encounter...

The little town of Muhldwein (pronounced 'Mulled-Vine') is all a buzz with rumour, gossip and speculation.

As shepherds watch their flocks in the hills around the windmill, troops of the Vaubarian army arrive in the town.

Word soon spreads that an Astrovian force is just half a day's march behind them. And then further news... as well as the essential supplies afforded by the town, that must not fall into Astrovian hands, it turns out that The Elector's Christmas Chest (containing gold coins that are dispersed to honourable citizens and loyal subjects throughout the land over the festive season) is also stored in the town. It must not be captured!
Further news has it that a relief force is on the way, hoping to arrive before the town falls to the Astrovians.

By early next morning, having worked through the night, the small garrison (Breitner regiment, Muller Light Dragoons, and a single gun) has begun collecting stores in the town square ready for evacuation, and has erected some rudimentary defence-works.

Regiment Breitner stands and waits...

Enter the Astrovian army...

Battle is about to be joined...

Sunday 29 December 2019

Justified Ancients

With most visitors to the blog being hardened Horse & Musket fans, I was pleased that so many responded favourably, in the comments and via personal messages, to the previous post about the Macedonian Successors.
I've taken a few more photos and updated the Macedonian Successor page (see navigation links to the right...)

More on the Macedonian Successor page.

Tomorrow, news of a horse and musket battle...

Saturday 28 December 2019


I referred in my previous post to the Bathelas Campaign being organised by Henry Hyde.
Henry is basing this on the sort of campaigns fought in the past by Tony Bath, using ancient armies ranging anything from 3000BC to 1500AD. It means participants can paint any figures from the broad ancients-medieval era, and it will get fitted in. In true old school style, all protagonists create a country name and so on, and the umpire will run the campaign. Henry has done a very fine job of creating a map and there are about 10 or so players building up forces.
I'm referring to this as Imagine-Ancients gaming.

My own army is that of the fictional state of Macadamia... a sort of Alexandrian Successor style force (don't worry, the pun about them all being 'nuts' has already been done!)

I've just completed this unit of Greek-ish (Thesalian style, but not quite) cavalry.

This adds to the force which had lain dormant for a couple of years, and brings it along nicely.

Here is the army so far...

And the commander, Philipolytas The Great, plus Army Standard Bearer.

I need to add another phalangite (pike) unit (at least) and an elephant is also in the offing.
I'm likely to add some Thracians, plus some Cretan archers aswell at some point, and some Macedonian light cavalry (Prodromoi). and so it goes on...

It makes a change from horse and musket figures, and sometimes a change is as good as a rest!

Friday 27 December 2019

Stocktaking the Butterflies

As promised last time, here is a stocktake of my various hobby projects, and the likely prognosis for each.

Pils Holstein (PH)  - the mid 18th century. This project reached it's high water mark (so far) with the Neerfuncken demo game at Partizan a couple of years ago. It has somewhat stalled since as other periods have taken precedence. The figures for this project are my own range, and I have many infantry and cavalry castings ready to be painted, but there's one minor niggle with it... I haven't got any Prussian cuirassiers. I had hoped to have the guy who helped get the infantry castings ready also do some cavalry for me, but it wasn't to be. I'm exploring other options...  But at the moment, there's no rush.

Wars of the Vaubarian Succession (WVS)
The 1704 campaign between the imaginary states of Vaubaria and Astrovia has featured heavily over the past couple of years, but progress has been fairly slow. Maybe it's too close to the PH collection, being tricorne-based. Nonetheless, it's enjoyable to do, but sometimes I need a refresh to get it back to the top of the project hierarchy.

I'm happy that, for now, this is at the simple game-able stage. Again, when the mood takes me, I have some castings ready to paint.


Macedonian Successors
This has recently had an injection of energy as I prepare to field this army in Henry Hyde's upcoming Bathelas campaign. More on this army in my next post.

The Classic Collection 
This is like the classic E-type, or Aston Martin, sitting in the garage, lovingly restored, but not getting a run out at all these days. It's based on the armies shown in "Charge!" and is documented in my other blog. I may, one day, add some cavalry and, for old time's sake, just play the odd game. But for now, I'm happy for it to remain on the shelves, just looking nice!

Thirty Years War (TYW) 
This project was primarily a display which has had one outing, might get more, and is about 90% complete. When I feel the siren's call, I will return to it (there are a couple of units needing to be based, or flags added, so that will be a couple of quick 'wins' when the mood takes me).

Little Britons - 42mm shiny figures. 
This will only ever be a small affair. I've got a few units done, and when I fancy a break from more 'serious' painting, I will add some more.

What's next?
Over the years I have put on some display tables at shows, and often in periods chosen less for the gaming possibilities, more for the fact that they look pretty! So, I've done Italian Wars, Thirty Year's War, Poles v Cossacks, for example. 
I'm considering shifting my attention to a similar style of project. I've even chosen the period, and started putting together some ideas. But it's a big commitment to take on, and I want to make sure I can take it on before I embark on it seriously.
So, for now, I'm going to get the Macedonian Successors finished, tickle the WVS along in the background, and have the occasional excursion into 42mm shiny toy soldiery as 'something completely different'. That should keep me going in 2020. But do look out for a possible leap into a display project that I will commit a couple of years worth of time and energy into. It may happen...

Thursday 19 December 2019

Dangerous when Thinking

Maybe it was Stuart Asquith's departure (a good and fitting send off by the wargaming community which has been covered elsewhere online), or reading about Rod Stewart's model railway layout in the latest issue of Railway Modelling magazine, or watching back to back episodes, en bloc, of Mortimer and Whitehouse Gone Fishing, or once more indulging in the boxed set of Detectorists. Whatever it was, it's all got me thinking...

Stuart Asquith used to use the phrase "seeing how the other chap goes about the hobby" when describing what he got from visiting fellow gamers and discussing their approach, their projects, their gaming.
I'm fascinated by how people approach their hobbies... whether that's wargaming, model railways, fishing, or metal detecting, or any other sort of middle aged blokiness (because, let's face it, that's the category most of us reside in).

I've been having a look at how I've been going about the hobby, and have been taking stock.
This was also precipitated by a 'change' in personal and domestic circumstances (Women! can't live with 'em…). Actually, our splitting up has all been very adult and mutual, and the upshot is that I now have part of my home as a wargames room again!!

It's not yet fully fitted out, but there are troops on some of the shelves, and a table is set up (room for up to 8x6).

The likelihood is that I will get more games in 2020, even if solo, and certainly more chance to take photos of what I've been painting.
And I have been painting, a little.

Some might say I've been butterflying around, but I think that's allowed in a hobby, isn't it?!
Peter Gilder did it. And Don Featherstone before him.
And certainly Stuart Asquith did.
But, what they did do, when alighting on a particular flower (aka wargames project), is they would give it a thorough go.
Butterflies? Yes. But very thorough butterflies.

Recently, my interest in ancients has been rekindled. I needed a reason to finish off my Macedonian Successor army, and it came along in the form of a campaign opportunity courtesy of Henry Hyde and the guys on the Loose Association of Wargamers forum. Henry, as games-meister and head of state of Byzarbia, is aiming at a sort of 'anything 3000BC - 1500AD' Hyboria style affair (a la Tony Bath), set in the fictional Bathelas region.

I'm referring to it as Imagine-Ancients.
My own Macadamians (headed up by Philipolytas the Great) will take the field.

So that's one little project to be going along with for the coming year.
I have others... plenty of others. And I may publish a 'state of my projects' update, prognosis, and stocktake over the holidays.

Meantime, I wish all readers a very Merry Christmas.

Monday 11 November 2019

A tribute to Stuart Asquith

I appreciate that the passing of Stuart Aasquith is not news, it having had extensive coverage over the past week, but thought I would add my own tribute by posting on my Classic Wargaming blog.


Thursday 31 October 2019

At the sign of The Prancing Pony...

As I mentioned last time, Steve and I decided to meet up this week for a discussion of 'Fosseway Indie-Fencible' plans for 2020, and beyond.

Yesterday, we gathered in The Cotswolds at The Bell Inn (in Moreton in Marsh) which is reputed to be Tolkien's inspiration for The Prancing Pony Inn at Bree.

Now, I know that, as historical wargamers, many readers will be pretending not to know what I'm talking about, ahem, but I thought some may be interested in the odd photo.

The inevitable blue plaque photots...
above: yours truly
below: Steve.

The most noticeable Tolkien reference is the large wall map in the room we sat in for lunch:

A couple of photos hanging on the walls also allude to the Tolkien connection...

...and of course, I had to have a picture of the bar. I can just see Pippin excitedly rushing up to get a 'pint'!!

We had a very enjoyable lunch (not booked under the name "Underhill"... although I was tempted), and a three hour chat about all things wargaming. 
I'm not sure what the barman, or the other patrons thought of us sitting with notebook, paper and pen, and talking about ideas for our hobby. 
But who cares!

Most importantly, we emerged with what I'm calling Battle-plan 2020.

The fact is, we haven't had much chance to game over the past year or so, but yesterday we were able to identify a few opportunities to play in the year ahead. We've also got a project schedule that allows us to go "off piste" a little, as well as continuing with the Wars of the Vaubarian Succession stuff as our mainstay.

The proliferation of rule sets and 'systems' allowing quick games with around 40-50 figures per side has not gone unnoticed by these Fencibles, and it was agreed that every now and again, a painting blitz might be used to produce something game-able very quickly, allowing us to tame the butterflies rather than always fighting them off.

Already I'm looking forward to getting more table time in 2020.
And that will spur the painting on too.

Bring it on...

Monday 28 October 2019

A Show, Gaming, and a Book

Well, the last couple of months have to be the busiest on record for me, but that's no excuse for not writing up the Battle of The Elbaubach which we conducted at The Cotswold Open Day on 1st September. So, my apologies.

Having said that, others have already covered the day, with ample reports and pictures (including many of our game), so I have very little to add ... And it does rather seem a bit late now anyway!
Suffice to say, Steve and I had a good day, we won a prize for the painted armies (presented by the esteemed Stuart Asquith), and the game got played to a conclusion twice through.
Well done to Keith Flint who put on a good show. And thanks to those who attended and showed an interest in our project. We will, hopefully, return next year, perhaps with a more 'participation-style' game... Although even for this year I didn't actually get to play in the game, so insistent were visitors to the table that they should take command! Following set up, my foray into the village to obtain sustenance in the form of bacon rolls, saw me return to a battle in full swing!
It was good to see the forces laid out on the tabletop though.

Above and below, Steve and Keith go at it in the second game.

Above: death ride of the Vaubarian Cuirassiers Vogts.

More recently, Dianne and I were out for a quick bite one evening at our local hostelry, The Saracen's Head in Balsall Common. One of the quirks of the establishment is that they bring the bill to you inserted in an old book... Various titles are used, at random, from classic literature to all manner of encyclopaedic tomes. On this occasion, flicking through the pages, I found some of the chapter headings enticing, and then realised it was a book by Peter Young, from 1958. I asked if I could purchase the book, and the manager offered it for free, in return for a positive tripadvisor review. Result!

This coming week, Steve and I have called a General Meeting of The Fosseway Indie-Fencibles, to address the coming year, projects we fancy doing, where we take The Wars of the Vaubarian Succession, and other such wargamery. The reality is that we're meeting up for a chin wag.
We've chosen a new venue, with the sort of connotations readers of this blog might appreciate. It's a pub in Moreton in the Marsh which apparently was the inspiration for Tolkien's "Prancing Pony". Seems apt. Looking forward to it.

Friday 30 August 2019

The Battle of The Elbaubach

…  homage to The Battle of the River Elbow by David Barnes which was published in The Wargamer’s Newsletter in the 1970s.
This is the game Steve and I are playing at The Cotswold Wargames Day in Northleach on Sunday.

The Emperor of Astrovia and The Elector of Vaubaria are at odds, as the famous saying goes, so little introduction is needed. A balanced Vaubarian force of horse, foot and guns, under The Markgraf Karl von Orff, has been despatched into the disputed territory of Mundania which nestles between the competing states. 

Below: Markgraf Karl von Orff, commander of Vaubarian forces.

Here is the map of the disputed territory of Mundania, which is squeezed between the Electorate of Vaubaria (to its west), and the Astrovian Empire (to its east).

Only major features are shown on the map, including the capital of Mundania, Krisdeburg. The rest of this region is a patchwork of small hills, farms, hamlets, villages, woods, copses, rivers and  streams - perfect wargaming territory in fact!
Approaching The Elbaubach from the north, having made a wide sweeping move northward on entering Mundania, the Markgraf finds himself facing a similarly sized Astrovian force under the command of Reichsgrafen von Schwarzenatter arriving south of the river.
Whoever can command the crossing, will win the day.

The Markgraf Karl von Orff has with him the following Vaubarian force:
IR1 - The Leibgarde
IR2 - Regiment Dremel
IR3 - Regiment Breitner

Dismounted Dragoon regiment Muller
Vogts Cuirassiers
Podolski Hussars

2 Field Guns

For the Astrovians, Reichsgrafen von Schwarzenatter is in command of the following force:

IR1 - Frankl
IR2 - Schrodinger
IR3 - Grenadiers Mahler
Light Infantry: Karavani Croats
Klammer Kuirassiers
Czardas Hussars

2 Field Guns

Steve and I are very much looking forward to the showdown, and to meeting a few blog readers who may have made the journey to the Cotswolds. 

A report on the action will be forthcoming sometime next week.
Full details of The Cotswold Wargames Day can be found here:

Tuesday 27 August 2019

The Battle of The River Elbow

A while ago, Steve and I discussed a scenario which would suit our needs for the Cotswold wargames Day being organised by Keith Flint for this coming weekend.
We needed something that was appropriate for just a few units per side, and that looked sufficiently interesting in terms of terrain to give the armies a good 'run out'.

We settled upon an old favourite... The River Elbow, originally published as an article in The Wargamer's Newsletter c 1979, by David Barnes. The lovely sketches accompanying the original article are just so very special too.
Our game will be loosely based on this one, and I'll come to that in a future blog post.
For now, here is the original article.