Friday 29 May 2020

Fifth Meeting

Tomorrow sees the fifth meeting of the Virtual Wargames Club... a little venture that began on Saturday 2nd May, and has progressed to the level that I'm now curating a whole load of photos from the members who each week regale us with tales of lockdown painting and gaming.

Turning these pictures into slideshows for all to see during the meetings is great fun, because I get a real sense of the breadth of this hobby...
This week we've got everything from ancients to Stalingrad, and all stations in between, including some naval stuff too.

We also have a member each week describe their own painting methodology. Last Saturday, Paul (of Grimsby Wargaming) shared his tips for maintaining his high quality output, in the huge quantities he does. We all learned a lot... 

This week, I can tell you that, amongst other things, Chris Gregg's description of how he has created the most amazing model of Stalingrad promises to be a real highlight... with plenty of pictures, including some stunning comparison shots showing old photos of the city and his model version. Brilliant. 

So, if you'd like to join our growing little band of virtual members, drop me an email (details are on the right of this blog).

Many of our members are regular bloggers (links to their online journals are to the right hand side), and yet many members are not bloggers at all.
Some members are very confident in sharing their painting, modelling and gaming pictures, others are fine with taking more of a back-seat and just simply enjoying the chat.
All levels of contribution are most welcome.

It's a real opportunity to connect with wargamers all over the globe.
We've got members from Manila to Michigan, Dundee to Dallas.

There really is room for everyone... or 'zoom for everyone'.
And if you've never used zoom before (where have you been this past 10 weeks?), you'll receive full instructions in advance. It's really simple, and enjoyable... stay as long as you like, pop in for a few minutes, or join us for the full 90.

Look forward to seeing you: Saturday at 1700 UK time.

All the best

Tuesday 26 May 2020

Action Report

Thanks to everyone who commented on the deployment for Saturday's game in the previous post.
The game itself was hugely enjoyable...
I made sure that I wrote notes as I went along, even down to every dice roll, primarily to keep a full personal record, but also to enable me to reflect on tweaks needed to the rules on reflection.
You will be relieved to know that I am not going to reproduce those notes in full here... but will contain myself to just a few of the pictures of the game's key stages. I am sure you will get the idea...

First, a reminder of the deployment:

Below: Alt-Braunschweig Regt approaches the enclosure. Time to get the flock out of here!

Below: First shots. The Pils-Holstein light gun opens up, narrowly missing Picardie regt.

Below: the firefight for the enclosure begins.

Below: In full swing... volleys break out all along the line.

Below: the Grassins are in the enclosure, Alt-Braunschweig having routed, but rallied on the other side of the wall.
Meanwhile, in the centre, The Holstein Hussars have charged the light gun and Picardie.
Having chased off the Jagers, the Chevaliers de Rouen are reforming beyond the farmhouse. 

Below: The Grassins take some punishment and rout from the enclosure.
The firefight in the centre has resulted in Normandie and Picardie retiring.
On the French left, the Chevaliers de Rouen charged the Leibgarde and the light gun. The Pils-Holsteiners held, and were then reinforced by the Kronenbrau Kuirassiers. The destruction of the brave Chevaliers was merciless.
And so, the French staff decided to call it a day.

The Casualty Return

In the end, the French decided to retire from the field, after a very hard-fought and close run thing.
The full casualty return is as follows:

  • Picardie - 15 casualties, ended the game retiring in good order.
  • Normandie - 22 casualties. shaken, but retiring in good order.
  • Royal Ecossais - just 4 casualties. Ended the game in possession of the enclosure, but ordered to retire at dusk.
  • Arquebusiers de Grassin - 5 casualties. In rout!
  • Chevaliers de Rouen - wiped out in a desperate melee, involving the enemy Leibgarde, Kuirassiers, and Jagers!
  • Nassau Saarbruchen Hussars - zero casualties! Ordered to retire from the field, covering the infantry withdrawal.
  • Ligth gun - crew wiped out, gun abandoned.

  • Leibgarde - 11 casualties. Morale ok. (They claim to have taken the colours of the Chevaliers de Rouen as they threw five 6s out of 20 dice in the final melee, wiping out the French horse)
  • Kronprinz Grenadiers - 7 casualties. Morale ok.
  • Alt-Braunschweig (Prussians) - 11 casualties. Morale ok (although at one point they were broken and routed out of the enclosure under heavy fire form the Grassins and Royal Ecossais. They soon rallied and returned to the fray, defending the eastern wall of the enclosure).
  • Kurtz Jagers - 2 casualties. Morale ok. despite being driven off by the Chevaliers de Rouen, they were able to seek refuge in the woods (2 pairs remained in the farmhouse). They returned to join the final big melee on the right flank.
  • Kronenbrau Kuirassiers - 1 casualty. morale ok.
  • Holstein Hussars - 9 casualties. they took a battering in a melee with Normandie, the light gun and Nassau Saarbruchen. However, their morale never broke (very lucky dice!) and the small residue of the fine regiment retired in good order.
  • Light Gun - crew wiped out.

Overall losses:
French - 46 infantry, 10 cavalry, 2 gunners

Pils Holstein - 31 infantry, 10 cavalry, 2 gunners

Game Notes and Mechanics

The game was played on a 6x6 foot table.
  • You will note in the photographs that there are sundry 'super-numeries' (officers, drummers, sergeants) hovering around the fringes of the units. They are simply there for aesthetics and play no part in the game.
  • The eagle-eyed will notice red beads which represent casualties. Because the figures are multi-based, these beads simply slot over the figures' bayonets when a casualty is inflicted. It's a simple system.
  • The coloured counters represent states of morale. For example, yellow for shaken, red for routing.
  • The rules in use are my own.
  • Terrain is scratch-built, with trees and stone walling from Last Valley.
  • The farmhouse was scratch-built by me, and has a lift-off roof to allow figures to take position inside.
  • The figures are my own range, and include painting by myself, James Brewerton, Mark Allen, and David Jarvis. The flags are by myself and Mark Allen. All figures based by me.
Right, that's it from Kreuzung Bauernhof.
Back to the studio!

Saturday 23 May 2020

Time for Action - and so it begins

When on operational duty, Maximillian von Bruch seldom slept well.
The dawn light had woken him early, one of the few perils of campaigning in the spring-summer season. At least he had enjoyed a hearty breakfast as all around him the drummers of his infantry battalions were beating to quarters, and a general striking of tents and bivouacs was being overseen by screaching sergeants as the army began to make ready to march to battle.

As Brigadier of the Pils Holstein infantry, today he would be taking orders from Prinz Albrecht who took overall field command.
Accompanying his two Pils Holstein infantry battalions (The Leibgarde and the Kronprinz Grenadiers) were the Kronenbrau Kuirassiers, and already they were readying their mounts and making final preparations before the march.

They would be joined by a Prussian infantry battalion (Alt Braunschweig), as long as Tipsi Pipsi and her Holstein Hussars had found them and led them to the correct rendezvous point.

Halting only to pose for the obligatory pre-match team photo, the Pils Holstein command staff began the day with an air of confidence...

ADC Lord Fulchester (a Briish Major on secondment to Pils Holstein); Prinz Albrecht and standard bearer; Maximillian von Bruch; Tipsi Pipsi and her ADC, Major Ligue.

Across the fields, and also marching to battle were The French...

ADC Captain Soutair of the Lancers de Saxe; Prinz Maurice de Saxe and standard bearer; The Marquis de Genitalia (commander of French infantry); Brigadier Jean d'Arfeld (commander of French cavalry)

And so the armies arrived at the place of battle, near a crossroads.
Here is the deployment map and a few images of the armies lined up for action...

May their dice roll high!

Friday 22 May 2020

Time for "Action!"

The table is set.
Tomorrow morning I'll be having a game with the Pils Holstein 18th century collection.
This is The Action at Kreuzung Bauernhof. It's based very closely on the Action scenario in Charles Grant's, "The War Game".

Here's a sketch map of the layout.

Those who are familiar with the original will immediately notice some changes I have made.
First, is the inclusion of a small stream in the northwest corner, with a bridge over it. This is purely because I didn't have enough plain flat terrain boards available. In any case, this part of the table is only peripheral and will play no real part in the game.
The next change to note is that I have replaced one of the enclosures in the original game with a small farmhouse. In the game presented by Charles Grant in his book, the players make very little use of this northernmost enclosure, and so I decided to make the change simply to make the battle a little less symmetrical.

I have also made some adjustments to the orders of battle of the two sides.
In the original game, it is apparent that the players began to split the units in half to perform more flexible functions. In fact, both players split their cavalry regiments in two, and I have decided to field two half-regiments at the outset, one heavy and one light for each side.
In the original, each side had two infantry battalions. I have opted for three, again to provide more tactical flexibility, and of course because my battalions are somewhat smaller, at 30 figures, rather than the 48s fielded by Charles Grant.
And finally, instead of including a Field Gun on one side and a Howitzer on the other, I have opted to have each side's artillery as simply one small Light Gun. This seems more in keeping with the troops I'm using, which represent the advanced force for their two armies, both of which would be intent on moving at speed, unencumbered by larger field pieces.

The forces are:

French, commanded by Prince Maurice de Saxe
Infantry - Picardie, Normandie, and Royal Ecossais Battalions.
Light Infantry - The Arquebusiers de Grassin
Cavalry - One 'squadron' (half regiment) of The Chevaliers de Rouen (fictional) and The Nassau Saarbrucken volunteer hussars.
Artillery - one Light Gun

Pils-Holstein, commanded by Prinz Albrecht of Pils Holstein
Infantry - Leibgarde, Kronprinz Grenadiers, and Alt-Braunschweig (Prussian) Battalions.
Light Infantry - Kurtz Jagers
Cavalry - One 'squadron' (half regiment) of The Kronenbrau Kuirassiers and The Holstein Hussars
Artillery - one Light Gun

French forces will approach from the western edge of the table, Pils-Holstein from the east.

I am very much looking forward to the opportunity to use my homegrown rules, "A Grim Panoply", which haven't been opened for about two and a half years.

First dice are at 1000 tomorrow.
Full sitreps and despatches from the front will reach this warcabinet blog over the weekend.

Tomorrow evening is the fourth of our Virtual Wargames Club meetings, and I'm very much looking forward to hearing what the members have been up to this week. We've got one pictorial battle report already in and a painting tutorial being provided by one of the members too, in addition to several pictures for the show n tell.
Well done to everyone for contributing.

Tuesday 19 May 2020

A very virtual hobby

Sometimes, I confess that I just set up a table layout with no intention of playing a game... just to admire the tabletop narrative presented, without having to actually roll any dice, or make any decisions!
Last weekend, I set up a little photo shoot with my successors. I particularly wanted to capture the moment just before the clash of pike blocks...

I suppose one might count that as 'Virtually wargaming", but that wasn't the meaning of this post title.
No, I was referring to the inventiveness of the online hobbyist.
I have noticed many people coming up with ways of sharing their wargaming activities of late, and I am sure you have too.

Not least was the "Partizan in the Cloud" initiative at the weekend. Well done to Laurence and Tricks for making this an enjoyable event as people from all corners of the hobby shared photos and videos... Particularly good to see were the photos from so many past Partizans.

It got me looking back through my own photo albums, and particulary through the Neerfuncken display game photos from August 2017.

And, coupled with Henry Hyde's contribution to the Partizan reminiscing, this caused my mid-18th century tastebuds to become whetted!

I may just get that collection out onto the tabletop this weekend, and have a little game!

Other virtual activities continue apace...
My son even reported that he has an online Diplomacy game on the go, and I know of one professional (and well-known) ballroom dancer who is running zoom D&D games with a group of pals!

Our own Virtual Wargames Club goes from strength to strength.
Last weekend's session had us chatting about rule sets, and in particular considering the proportion of rule sets owned to those actually played, regularly. We also discussed the tendency to create home -brewed rules, and yet the advantage of playing certain commercial sets so that one may turn up at a club anywhere and join in a game.

We are on again this Saturday at 1700 UK time... A relaxed, informal gathering of wargamers... Some of whose names will be familiar to you! 
If you'd like to join in, all the details you need to be there are on the right hand side of this blog. Just send me an email in advance and I'll send out the appropriate invitation. Simple.
You will find knowledge, expertise, experience, and more than a little inspiration.
Look forward to meeting you.

Meantime, hop over to my Classic Wargaming blog where I reminisce on the 2006 Partizan showing of Sittangbad...

Sunday 10 May 2020

Silver Shields and VWC update

Managed to get the next unit of successor pikemen complete this week... 
The Silver Shields:

And here they are alongside their fellow Antithesid (Seleucid) pike blocks:

It's a mark of Successor fatigue that this unit took twice as long to complete as the others. I'm quite happy with them, but I may take a break from painting successors for a short while and concentrate on something else. We'll see.

Meanwhile, Saturday evening (UK time) saw the second gathering of the Virtual Wargames Club, with attendees from far and wide joining the group - from Manila to North Hampshire, from Dundee to Chicago... and all stations in between.

The conversation included current activities, terrain projects and games, and the show n tell was most entertaining, with members sharing some stunning modelling and painting work, from The Sudan to Stalingrad.
We even had a small breakout session with groups discussing the relative merits of metal, plastic and resin figures, and even an interesting straw poll as to which is the most popular medium.

Now, I don't want to put potential new members off, but here's the rogues gallery as the members started to settle down for the meeting. Not a bad bunch of lads after all!

Thanks to all who came along and joined in the intelligent, fun, and most enjoyable chat.
For anyone who wants to join in, it really is very straightforward. Just send me an email (details on the right of this blog page) and I will send out instructions for those not familiar with zoom, and an invitation to the meeting.

Same time next Saturday...

Sunday 3 May 2020

First Contact

Well, I have to say, the first meeting of the Virtual Wargames Club yesterday was a roaring success. And a big 'thank you' to those who supported it and contributed. 

We had people dialling in from all parts of the globe, and for some at an ungodly hour... well done to Stokes, Eric, and Ed who joined us from The States. Dedication indeed!

We chatted about all sorts of things, and whilst on this occasion we spent a lot of time on introductions and each person's current plans and projects, we also chatted about rules (from all periods, but specifically Pike and Shot/ Renaissance), and about Optivisors, and many other things.
We kept it light-hearted, and it was just wonderful to genuinely connect with people with whom many of us have had an online acquaintance for some 15 years, or more.
One member did manage to conduct the whole session whilst painting away at his painting desk: multitasking at its finest!
Everyone said they went away with renewed enthusiasm for the hobby. and that was the aim.

Even from a technical point of view there were very few hitches. The zoom newbies found it very straightforward. One person's laptop decided not to be as reliable as normal, and another had microphone issues, but apart from that, it was a huge success.

So much so, that the unanimous vote was to continue with weekly club meetings. From now on we will do Saturday at 1700 UK time, allowing those 'across the pond' to join in at a more sociable hour.

If you'd like to join this growing band, email me:
and we'll be delighted to have you along.