Sunday 31 January 2021

Creating Narrative in Wargames

My gaming origins - back in the mists of time - are as a roleplayer in my early teens. Over the years I played a lot of RPG's, wrote dozens of stories to play and even indulged in a little bit of worldbuilding. I mostly wargame now but that doesn't mean I can't bring some of those storytelling skills to the wargames table. This week The Quarantined Wargamer discusses how to create a narrative on the wargames table and why this can enhance the wargaming experience.

As usual, I'd love to hear your views and experiences so please share them either in the comments below or on my YouTube Channel. Next week I'm going to develop this theme and look at player handouts before and during a game. Until then, stay safe and keep rolling high! 

Friday 29 January 2021

30-Minute Batreps - Ntombe Drift

After the success (apparent popularity) of my Anglo-Zulu war battle report video last weekend, I decided I would do some more videos in a similar style. My aim (and this only an aspiration) is to do at least one battle report video per month, depending on which games I have played and if they make an interesting film. As with my other Quarantined Wargamer videos, the style will incorporate the brevity I have tried to make the 'selling point' of my channel (not that I monetise any of my output, but you know what I mean). So these video battle reports will be 30 minutes or less rather than the much longer battle videos that we normally see on youtube. I'm not denigrating these longer videos at all, but I definitely think there is a need for shorter 'bit-sized' wargaming content on youtube and that is what I am aiming for. 

I'll definitely be doing more videos on my use of TMWWBK with my 6mm Ango-Zulu War collection. I've been tweaking the rules to fit my scale of choice, and at some point, I will write a longer article discussing the changes I have opted for. In the meantime I hope you enjoy the video and please let me know if you have any questions, suggestions or just general feedback. 

UPDATE: Here are a few teaser pictures from the video...just in case you needed encouragement 😊

Wednesday 27 January 2021

AHPC XI - Week Five - Lone Goblin and some Recce Jeeps

Week five of the Painting Challenge and I managed to complete two projects that I had been looking forward to doing for a while. As last week I have a mix of Fantasy and Historical figures to show off, in two different scales. The big news of the week, however, has nothing to do with miniatures as I spent part of Saturday morning getting my first dose of the Phizer Vaccine. Because of my job, I'm classed as a key worker and, along with my colleagues, was able to get my 'jab' a little earlier than I otherwise would have. Hopefully, my wife will have hers soon as well, and then we can breathe a little easier knowing we have at least some protection. One small step back to normality and an important antidote to the January blues! 

The Guardroom - Gobbo Treasure Guard

My entry for this room in the Chambers of Challenge is a modest homage to all those brave Goblin treasure guards that countless adventurers have encountered in dungeons from the earliest days of D&D right up to the present. Every dungeon seems to have a lone Goblin guarding a treasure chest in a 10x10 room, seemingly just waiting for a bunch of 'hero's' to come along and slaughter him and steal the treasure. These brave keyholders have too long gone unsung, unrespected & unrecognised! 

This little guy is from Midlam Miniatures, which if you don't know them, do a wonderfully eclectic mix of fantasy figures suitable for dungeon crawling. Many of their figures are quirky and unique...making them ideal fodder for the bonus rounds! I've got quite a few Midlam figures stashed away for future Challenges. Mind you they are such fun figures to paint its hard to say of they'll last that long in my lead mountain. 

I wanted to add a Treasure Chest to the base but I painted up all the ones I had last year. So, in the end, I decided to make a chest myself using Milliput. Not the greatest looking bit of sculpting, but it sets off the resin base nicely. This guy will also be my 'Entry Fee' figure for the Challenge, so it'll net a few extra points on top of the CoC Bonus...seems appropriate that I should get some extra 'treasure' by painting him! 

Airborne Jeeps

Last week I posted pictures of my Airborne Platoon for use with Chain of Command and this week I have a few jeeps to add to the mix. These would be delivered to the landing zone in specially adapted gliders which could be broken in two to release the heavy load inside. I have been looking forward to painting these, and while some of the detailing on the figures wasn't as good as on the infantry I did last week, I'm still happy with them. 

I've modelled three vehicles, one with Bren Team, one with a small rifle team and the last one empty, to be used when a jeep has delivered its passengers. 

These models are from Skytrex and came with a selection of crew to put in them. On their website, it shows the vehicles with its passengers sat with their legs inside the vehicles, but I've seen several pictures with then sat the other way around, legs over the sides, presumably ready to leap off at a moments notice. I was in a real quandary about how to assemble these but in the end, I found enough period photo's showing them as Skytrex had them set so I went with "arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times". I actually had some feedback on the Challenge blog from some of the challenges that have ridden a jeep exactly like this, confirming it is the safest way to stay inside the vehicle! 

Sunday 24 January 2021

Anglo-Zulu playthrough with TMWWBK

This week The Quarantined Wargamer is doing something different on the channel, so instead of the usual short video of me rambling on I decided to have a go at a game. I've been trying out various rules systems for my 6mm Anglo-Zulu war collection for a while now (including a shoddy attempt to write my own) but I have more or less settled on The Men Who Would Be Kings. It's a simple system that is easy to play and, with a little adaption, works well with my figures. I've done a few small scale test games but this is the first full-sized game I have played and I think it went pretty well.  

At 39 minutes it's a lot longer than my usual videos, but as the first attempt at this format I'm pretty happy with it...well, aside from my repeated use of the nonsensical term "Mounted Cavalry" when talking about Mounted Infantry!! 🤦 If the video proves popular I will do more like this in the coming months. 

Wednesday 20 January 2021

AHPC XI - Week Four - British Airborne and the Defenders of Felstead

Four weeks into the Painting Challenge and I'm keeping up a steady pace and starting to get comfortable with my weekly routine. I'm never going to be in the top ten (not by the end at least) but maintaining a position in the top third is quite good so I'm more than happy with that. It has to be said that I have picked up a lot of bonus points by participating in the Chambers of Challenge bonus rounds and I intend to continue in this vein until the end. 

British Airborne 

It's taken a while, but I finally have something Historical to post in this year's Challenge! My big 'lockdown project' last year was learning how to play Chain of Command and adapting my existing 15mm figures for that game. Thanks to a bit of judicious re-basing I was able to get some troops on the table really quickly (ie a few months rather than a few years!). Learning the rules and playing games solo was a great experience and I decided very quickly that I wanted to expand my collection. British Airborne was at the top of my list of candidates. 

Chain of Command is a Platoon plus sized game so I have painted up an Airborne Platoon and a range of support units to back them up. The core platoon consists of an HQ Section with a Lieutenant and Platoon Sergeant, A Piat Team, a 2" Mortar Team and a Sniper. Then there are three sections, two of which have a Seargeant, five men with rifles and one with a Sten, and a Bren team of three. The final section has two Bren teams each with an additional Sten. A total of 37 men. 

The support units include a couple of additional PIAT teams, a 2" Mortar team, A Bren Team, a Flamethrower Team and a full additional Airborne Section. 

The figures are a mixture of Peter Pig and Skytrex and they work so well together, now that they are painted, I can't tell which figures came from which company. All I can say is they are excellent figures and the two ranges complement each other perfectly. 

Gallery of Ancestors - The Brothers Grim

History tells of three Brothers who lived and fought for the City of Felstead before the Cataclysm. Stalwart defenders of the magical metropolis, their reputation was widely known and rightly so. The secret of their success, however, was not what the legend implied because the three warriors rarely spoke with each other and it was their bitter rivalry, not a sibling bond that drove them to outdo each other's deeds. Time marched on, the brothers aged, their bones ached from years of tough living and one fateful day all three found themselves fighting the same fell construct - summoned by a foolish wizard in the city. They were victorious, but at a great price because all three succumbed to their injuries. Despite their rivalry in life, in death, they would be laid to rest together in the ancestral vault, and for a few years, they had peace. Then the magical cataclysm that buried Felstead in ice for a thousand years came and the city faded into memory and then into legend. A thousand years of cold evil magic has permeated their crypt and given their bones new purpose. Now that the city is being revealed from the ice, and new invaders have come to steal its treasures, the brothers have risen again to defend the city of their birth. 

I have a varied assortment of Skeletons in my collection but not all of them are suitable for conversion and use in Frostgrave, so I decided I needed to paint some more. You can never have enough skellies in my opinion. 

The figures are from Red Dragon Miniatures and came as a set. I really liked the simplicity of the skulpts because they reminded me of some old Games Workshop plastic skeletons I had 'back in the day'. 

Sunday 17 January 2021

Advice for your younger self

This week The Quarantined Wargamer is looking back at his younger self (the one with hair, and decent eyesight!) and asking, what advice would I give to that callow youth just starting out in the hobby? And is that advice applicable to the newbie of today?

What advice would you give to your younger self? I'd love to hear what pearls of wisdom you would have given yourself, or indeed would give to someone starting out today. As always, please leave your thoughts in the comments below or over on my youtube channel. 

Wednesday 13 January 2021

AHPC XI - From the Hatchery to the Armoury

I haven't got as much painting done this week as I would have liked, but I did manage to complete two more 'rooms' of the Chambers of Challenge bonus rounds in the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. Before the competition started I envisaged getting one room done per week, just to keep the points ticking along and to provide a counterpoint to my historical projects. The reality has been that without these little 'side' projects I would be massively behind my WTD target, and aside from my Viking Santa all my entries so far have been fantasy figures for the Chambers of Challenge. 

The Hatchery - Werecroc and Brood Nest

Many years ago I started attending a show in London called Dragonmeet. Its amained more at Roleplayers than wargamers and is a great place to see a wide range of products and new games across a range of genres. I hadn't been in a few years, during which the show changed venue and had grown and diversified a little. So when my daughter and her partner asked if I wanted to join them and their friends (all newbie Roleplayers) at this show called Dragonmeet, I jumped at the chance. The show had indeed grown and as well as all the usual rooms filled with gamers playing all manner of ROG's and Boardgames the Trade Hall was double what I had experienced a few years earlier. In amongst the stalls, there were several model companies selling miniatures for Frostgrave and D&D and it goes without saying I was in my element. This figure virtually leapt off the rack into my hands and I had to buy it (by the end of the day I had spent more than the rest of the group combined!). 

This is a Ral Partha Reaper WereCroc cast in their original 'Bones' polymer plastic. I haven't painted much in this material before but according to their site, this stuff doesn't need to be primed. Call me old fashioned but I couldn't not prime the figure so after giving it a wash I gave it a light coat of brown spray primer. Material aside, this figure demanded to be painted because the sculpt is just so good. I know it is a fantasy creature, but anatomically it just looked so real and menacing I couldn't not paint it. Then when I saw the first room of Level Two in the Chambers of Challenge "The Hatchery" I knew what I was going to do immediately. 

The figure is meant to be 28mm scale but actually stands just short of 40mm tall and comes on a plain cast base. I wanted to add more detail to the groundwork so I added it to a bigger circular MDF base which I then built up with putty. The nest pit was then gouged out while the putty was drying and then I added in some hand made 'eggs' made from Milliput. The eggs are a touch larger than I had originally envisaged, but it has to be said making eggs in Milliput is harder than I'd imagined! Half of what I made were discarded because they were the wrong shape and eventually I was left with four decent eggs for the nest. In case anyone is confused, yes Crocodile eggs are normally small circular and soft, but I had this image in my head of the eggs from the dinosaur nest in Jurrasic Park and besides, its a fantasy creature...its eggs can look however I like!!

The Armoury - Frostgrave Knight

Few Wizards will feel bold enough to enter Felstead without the support of their apprentice and a select band of fighters to protect them. Most of the mercenaries, adventurers and trained soldiers they hire will be kitted out with a rough assortment of weapons and often leather or at best chain armour. However, sometimes a little more is needed and if the wizard's pockets are deep enough, and the rewards high enough, they may hire a knight to accompany them. These steel-clad warriors would be the elite leaders in another less magical world, but they remain powerful and impressive figures non-the-less. Rarely are they subtle, and their armour and heraldry often proudly and visibly mark them out to be the toughest fighters. 

This model is a 1991 Grenadier Knight that I bought years ago, long before Frostgrave was a twinkle in Joseph McCullough's eye. I'm building up quite a collection of figures for use with Frostgrave, sometimes painting whole warbands and sometimes individual figures like this one. I deliberately wanted to keep the paint job simple on this, because I think it makes the maximum impact with that plate armour. The coloured heraldry is also simple, but very striking...this guy is no shrinking violet! 

I had hoped to have my first historical figures submitted by now but my first week back to work after the holidays has been... "challenging" shall we say! I have made progress with my 15mm WWII stuff, but the first of these won't now be finished until next week. I'm still on track with my target so it's not the end of the world, and hopefully, things will settle down at work in a couple of weeks.