Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Thoughts on basing.

When first returning to the hobby I simply glued my little 1/72nd scale figures to pennies, this gave them some weight and stopped them toppling over at the slightest knock of the table. At that time I was simply painting for pleasure with no real thoughts about actually wargaming with them. The pennies were then given a coat of PVA (wood glue) and then sprinkled with a mixture of various green flocks. They looked good to me.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


It was a cold dark night. Lightning crashed against the mountain peaks. Then out of the darkness came a hideous site. "OK River it's your turn"..

I've been promising my daughter River a game of "soldiers" for a few weeks now. Finally with Xmas over with I could get the kitchen table cleaned and make a battle field.

I decided to give Bob's rules a go as he kindly sent me a copy to look at. All I can say is we both had a lot of fun. The rules played smoothly and I believe another game or 2 and River should know the rules off by heart.

I started to use a tape measure but soon made a wicky* stick which was a lot easier for River to manage.

So now onto the battle.

The evil Goblin Warlord musters her minions.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Going Solo - What is the point? Where is the enjoyment?

To many the idea of solo wargaming just holds no appeal and is quite understandable in part. The whole point is to pit your wits against an opponent, feel the satisfaction of a victory or disappointment of a defeat, if only the dice roll had gone in my favour when the cavalry went in, the result could have been totally different!

The soloist has to study the table from both sides and decide on the best strategy for both forces. I like to study the battlefield and both forces, come up with a basic plan for both sides, based on strengths and weaknesses of the forces.  A little pictorial example may help.

I am currently experimenting with Lion Rampant, a rule set for skirmish type games in the Dark Ages/Medieval period. In the first photo the Lancastrian raiding force has been pillaging the village to their rear. A Yorkist flying column of light troops has hurriedly been dispatched to deal with the threat. The latter have a slightly larger but, man for man, a weaker force. The Lancastrians fancy their chances and form up for battle. ( A short piece of background to give meaning to the battle)

Closest the camera is a unit of Bill men who wear some armour, to their left is a unit of six foot knights in full armour (strongest foot units in the game). In the centre is a unit of crossbowmen and beyond them another Bill men and finally the leader with his mounted men at arms.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Solo Wargaming - more thoughts.

Does going solo take a particular type of person? Possibly. but I enjoy solo wargaming and consider myself a very sociable animal, I enjoy the company of others for the most part. That said, I am more than happy in my own company too. Jekyll and Hyde personality perhaps? I can easily switch between the two and enjoy doing so. The regular meetings online of the Table Top Commanders for a paint and chat session, is something I always look forward to.

Setting up a solo game is always an enjoyable experience, what is the period, scale, scenario, forces available and back story? Let us take each of those topics in order.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Solo Wargaming or is it?

By choice or necessity, solo wargaming is always an option. For many the thought of simply having to collect and paint up two opposing armies is enough to put them off. Quite true, going solo means double the cost and work required. There is the lack of interaction with an opponent whose tactics might be totally different to what you yourself would have employed. Sharing a few glasses of your preferred beverage and a lot of laughs with a like minded opponent is sadly not the lot of the solitary gamer.

Or is it...?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Neil's Project Page: The Holy Land - part 2

The Holy land - part 2

This week I thought I would talk more about my basing decision and what effect it has on the gaming value of this army.

When looking in a rule book one of the first things it will tell you is the basing conventions for the rules. This depends a lot on what the rules are trying to represent. Is the set a skirmish set with 10 to 40 figures a side, or is it a battle set with many hundreds a side? This can lead to different basing requirements, but with a little thought and planning figures can be based for both systems.

Let's take the figures of my first unit as an example. The first set of rules I'm going to use will be Lion Rampant. This is a skirmish style set of rules and I will have a force of about 40 figures when I'm finished. The rules recommend that your figures are based individually and formed into a clump around the command figure. Notice that I said recommend. Most modern sets of rules are normally very flexible with basing requirements, and as long as you and your opponent agree most figure basing can be accommodated. I decided to base my figures on 20mm square bases. This allows my to move as a clump for more skirmish style games, but also allows me to rank up for bigger games. Also by using a movement tray when ranked up it aids in movement.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Zouaves on parade.

Five units of Zouaves now completed and ready for battle.

The Louisiana Tigers carrying the state flag.

The 146th New York Volunteers (Garrard's Tigers)

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Returning to the Hobby - Part Six

The same friend who had bought me the Saga rule set and battle boards, led me into Dark Age war gaming described in an earlier post. He also purchased for me three boxes of Perry Miniatures War of the Roses figures as well as some metal leaders and wagons. The three boxes consisted of Mounted Knights, Light Cavalry and a box of Infantry. He knew I was considering the era and of course by presenting me with these lovely figures, gently nudged me down the road to Medieval war gaming too.

The first box tackled was the infantry, it allowed for the building of three units for Lion Rampant. Two units of archers and one of Bill men, each unit being 12 men strong. The box also contained four command figures in full armour. You can see some of the contents behind the box.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Neil's Project Page: The Holy Land- part 1

The Holy Land - part 1

(Ed. Note: Neil, long time blogger and participant of our PAINT & CHATS, has volunteered to write up a series of articles - Neil's Project Page - where he describes how he goes about tackling new miniatures projects. Everything from force and miniatures selection, basing, and painting, along with all the considerations involved. Here is part one where Neil goes in to the details of his newest project - The Holy Land.)

Starting a new project can be a daunting prospect and also an expensive one. So in the following weeks and months I thought I would go through my projects as I start them (and hopefully) finish them, and share some of my research and the choices I make.

My first project actually happened by chance. The last night at the club I had my first game of Lion Rampant. I had a fun game and agreed to take part in the campaign set in the Holy land in the new year. So here we have 2 ingredients to start our project. 1 a game system I enjoyed, and 2 a campaign setting that sparked my interest. These I believe are the most important points for this project. The rest as we shall see adds more value and sustainability.

So we had a start. Next we needed some miniatures. These came from one of my favourite miniature company's Gripping Beast.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Returning to the hobby Part Five.

I watched a couple of videos by Greg Huff and Ringo Simpkins on painting 6mm troops, surely they are too small for me to paint. However, Greg and Ringo made it look so easy, just a blob of paint here and there. I looked at three different manufacturers of this scale and settled on Baccus.

I ordered the American Civil War Starter set which came with a rule book, three buildings and a large bag of metal miniatures, enough to to create a sizeable force for both the Union and Confederacy.

These bags are from the later reinforcements I ordered and picked up at the Joy of Six Wargaming event in Sheffield at the end of July.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Memories of Grand Battles

Way back when I first got in to the hobby of wargaming, I was fascinated at the idea of documenting my little make-believe battles. I remember fondly writing down in detail a small battle using the now dated Tricolor Napoleonic rules. The battle featured both French and British forces going at it over control of a redoubt. The Prussians showed up late in the battle marching earnestly through a thick woods - of course, all of this was the result of watching the classic Waterloo movie. It just seemed natural to write out the progress of the battle, much like an author writes about the same in some old history book. It was all good fun, giving me a certain satisfaction that my battles would not be forgotten.

I was always one for taking pictures, even at a young age. I remember getting my first camera as a teen ager and taking countless pictures. I seemed to have a knack for it as well! Taking pictures of my battles seemed a natural fit. Thus started another little hobby of mine: taking wargaming pictures. I guess this is another reason why I love the look of a miniatures battle so much. I am always talking about immersion and such, and wonderfully painted models and terrain really helps in that respect. Making a visual record of my battles seemed natural and normal for me.

One of the very first pics I took of my exploration in wargaming.
Two ACW ironclads go at it. Made completely of
corrugated cardboard and match-sticks. '87.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Returning to the hobby Part Four

With the English Civil War troops and my copy of Pike & Shotte I was now able to battle to my hearts content. However, a good friend bought me a copy of the SAGA rules. Needless to say I was keen to try them out, so ordered one box each of Dark Age Warriors, Saxons and Vikings from GMB, the plastic sets arrived and some of the figures were painted up.

A few of the Dark Age Warriors.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Airfix Battles Coming Soon!

On out Tabletop Commanders LIVE shows on G+ Hangouts we talk a lot about the old days of wargaming, how Airfix plastic toy kits and soldiers played a big role in our early childhood. Oh the fond memories! I myself have a massive collection, showing off many of these little plastic gems in our PAINT & CHAT sessions. Well, here is something that was brought to my attention by our fellow contributor, Ian. This is a set of rules - including dice and cards, and more - that allows you to put those little plastic models on the tabletop for some fun battles! Oh how I wish I had this back in the day. Funny thing is, even all these years later, and after playing so many different games, I am actually excited to dig out my plastic Airfix once again and have a go! What an awesome idea. I am sure I am not alone in this.

Anyway, here is a link to the Airfix Battles product soon to be produced by Modiphius.

Modiphius Airfix Battles

Monday, November 16, 2015

Hannibal's Wargaming Blog and some STREAMS!

Here is a great article by my friend Hannibal over on his blog, Hannibal's Wargaming Blog, on making streams or rivers. Really well done and worth a look.

Hannibal's Wargaming Blog

Hannibal has joined our PAINT & CHATS a few times and has some good ideas on wargaming - particularly using 6mm miniatures.

Battle Report: Song of Blades and Heroes

A few of my buddies and I got together for our SoBH game on Friday night. (11/13) We only had 3 people this time due to schedules, so our usual 2v2 was out of the question. We didn't play too late either, everyone was beat, and had big weekends with their families.

Game 1: Frostgrave Adaptation

We adopted some Frostgrave rules for this one to see how they would play out. We modified it a bit since our treasures had no actual value to post-game. So two people placed 3 treasures and one placed 2, to try to prevent a 3 way tie. The game went well enough, though it took a loooong time to get through all 8 treasures. I wouldn't play it like that again, simply because it took too long to get through, and we were losing interest midway.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Returning to the hobby Part Three.

With various units now painted up the Pike & Shotte rules could now be put into action. I commandeered the kitchen table 5 x 3 feet for a first battle using a very limited numbers of troops.

The table was set up with a farm in the middle and the two opposing forces at each side. A simple green cloth and a few rectangles of felt and home made hedges and trees made up the table top, simple and very retro, but looks pretty good, well at least I thought so.

Each side consisted of a single regiment of foot, horse and a cannon.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Chance Find in a Box

A few years ago, well maybe a few more than that,  I use to work as an illustrator. I'm in the proses of moving house and I'm working my way through boxes of stuff in my loft (yes I've been living here for 10 years and I still have boxes in my loft also in several other peoples lofts - sorry mum).  I found an old illustration I did but cant remember if it was ever used, the ever present problem of a free lance illustrator. In a fit of self indigents I thought I would post it 


Stripping Miniatures With Dettol

This article describes the method I use to remove the paint from both metal and plastic minis without using Dettol.

I live in the United Kingdom, and have used Dettol, a cheap disinfectant used for sterilising cuts and kitchen worktops for years to strip my miniatures.  The beauty of Dettol is it's not a solvent, and works simply by loosening the paint from the miniatures.  This means that it will not melt or damage plastic parts, unlike other stripping chemicals, and of course its much better for the environment.  It can also be used many times.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Returning to the Hobby Part Two.

The enjoyment of building and painting two regiments of foot and a regiment of horse, plus the fantastic book that also came with the set soon had me ordering more troops. I now was seriously looking at building an army for each side of the Civil War and using them to fight battles on the table top.

I ordered two of the box sets shown below, though I seem to think the contents of the starter army was a little different back then. No Saker cannon and something like 120 pike and musket infantry instead, but no matter, one box was designated for each side and would give me the basis of two reasonable sized armies.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Black Ops Battle Report - Issue Zero

In the upcoming weeks, I will be starting to play Black Ops by Osprey. I plan on documenting the games in a comic book style using Comic Life 3. This is very much a work in progress as you will see. I am currently making terrain, painting miniatures and basing... keeping very busy. But, that won't deter me from playing (and writing battle reports) Here is Issue Zero. I hope you enjoy it.

Returning to the hobby. Part One

Eight and a half years ago my wife suffered the first of two strokes, it left her in a wheelchair and altered both of our lives for ever. No more trips to the pub, cinema, theatre, restaurant or similar, the logistics, plus my wife's reluctance to venture out in a wheelchair ended all that. It meant I too was now housebound, she couldn't be left unattended, so I too had to completely alter my lifestyle.

I am not a big lover of television and was a total Luddite on a PC, at that time I didn't even have the internet. Most of my time was spent reading, which is fine, I love books and have a large collection. But sometimes that just isn't enough. I began to collect N Gauge model railway items with the intention of building a layout, but that is another story.

A couple of months or so prior to that life changing event, I had been given the Airfix Waterloo Battle set as a present. I had looked at it, reminded me of my boyhood when we played with Airfix soldiers all the time and then promptly put it away on a shelf in the spare room and forgot all about it.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Going full circle

Hi to everyone who has subscribed to the blog, make sure you try and join us on our regular online chats, painting sessions and gaming. All very informal with a great group of guys. I have taken it upon myself, as a contributor to this site to write a short article for your entertainment.

It was Christmas morning 1959, I was six years old and lived with my younger brother and parents in a tiny two bedroom house in Hull, East Yorkshire, England. That house is now long gone, being replaced by modern housing but is situated only a ten minute walk from the house I now own. That morning the fat guy in the red suit had left me a gift I can only describe as magical.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Welcome to the Tabletop Commanders Blog! :)

Well, here it is: the Tabletop Commander's (TTC) blog. I have been meaning to getting around and starting this blog for the past month or so, and finally here it is. If you are a follower of this wonderful online community of miniatures wargamers, I hope you gain some value out of this site. Here are some of the plans we intend for the blog:

  • a single location to organize and access all past LIVE events held on G+ and YouTube,
  • a repository for useful and informative posts by members of the TTC community,
  • articles addressing specific topics brought up in LIVE events,
  • advice on running games online using Google+ Hangouts,
  • links to community member's blogs and webpages,
  • updates and announcements on planned events, and more!

The blog will have multiple authors from the community for a wide variety of topics. If you are an avid fan of the group and would like to be a contributor to the blog, please message me.The links sections all pertain specifically to community members pages and blogs; there will be no "filler" type links here; everything should be of use and pertain to the TTC community.

That's about all for th moment. Expect more details and posts in this blog in the coming days.

Hope you enjoy,