Stuart Asquith Big Wars Memorial Game

Stuart Asquith very kindly sent me a copy of his Big Wars rules after I had mentioned them to him on the telephone when he had rung up to order some paint. I hadn’t had chance to play them up to now but Anthony and I both thought that a game using the rules would be a fitting memorial on the day of Stuart’s funeral.

The scenario chosen was Scenario 25 from the “Scenarios for all ages” book by Stuart and Charles Grant. The two armies are identical and coming along a road from east to west. The aim of the game is to seize a river crossing and deny a crossing to the opponent. The middle bridge is a footbridge only and is not one of the objectives.

We used my 19th Century Little Wars Revisited 54mm figures organised into 8 man infantry, 4 man cavalry units. Both forces were 4 infantry, 2 cavalry, 1 light infantry and a gun.

Curiously, both of us organised our column of march identically! We also both rolled so that the head of the column was level with the first bridge when the game began.

We soon discovered tht artillery was fairly ineffectual in the rules (though we did miss the rule to do with firing at structure which would have made it slightly more effective at infantry hiding in a house).

The first cavalry clash came by the far bridge with the Germans coming off the worst and being wiped out in the two rounds of melee.

The game developed with both sides moving along the river with occasional potshots at the enemy. The British were driven back from the first bridge by the German light Infantry.

The Germans then moved across the central bridge in column and were attacked by a cavalry unit who wiped them out to a man. This cavalry unit then crossed the bridge and wiped out another infantry unit before succumbing to a charge by the remaining German cavalry.

The loss of two units to the cavalry proved to much and the Germans were eventually forced to concede as they no longer had enough forces to hold a bridge.

The game was fun and both of us enjoyed it, having not played the scenario before, but we did have some problems with the rules:

We added an initiative roll to determine who moved first, with all shooting and melee being simultaneous after movement as there is no turn sequence described.

The major problem we had was with Cavalry. Even if we had been using the suggested 10 men Infantry units, they would have still been eliminated by cavalry as Infantry shooting at Cavalry halve their hits, so struggle to eliminate a figure when being charged. Then, in the melee the Cavalry are +2 for cavalry, +1 for charging, +1 for lance against an infantry of +1 for bayonet…

In both melees, the infantry were almost completely elminiated in the first round of combat…

I don’t think we read the rules incorrectly, but cavalry seem too powerful for 1870 onwards.

DORSET MODEL SOLDIERS UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT

Press release about the purchase of Dorset Model Soldier below – still feeling a mix of nerves and excitement about the purchase…

We are pleased to announce that as of 15th November 2019 Imperial Miniatures are the new owners of Dorset Model Soldiers, the well known supplier of Toy Soldier Spares and model soldiers based in Portland, Dorset.

We have bought the company from Andy Gibbs, who bought Dorset from the original owner Giles Brown in 2016.

Andy is currently completing any outstanding paid orders he has, and we are arranging to collect the moulds, masters, stock etc. from the Portland workshop around the end of November. New orders can continue to be placed through the Dorset Models website, by phone or post (please note that cheques should be payable to Imperial Miniatures).

We hope to have the business back up and running and processing orders shortly after the London Toy Soldier show on December 7th and provide the same level of service that Giles made Dorset renowned for.

Please note the new address and phone number:
Dorset Model Soldiers , Nyetimber, Norfolk Farm Road, Woking, Surrey GU22 8LF, England
Tel: 01483 855757 (Cheques payable to Imperial Miniatures).

Dorset will continue to be run as a separate website and business from Imperial.

www.dorsetmodelsoldiers.com

Projects…

It has been quite a while since I updated this blog. real life has got in the way with a couple of Hospital visits for tests for stomach problems and the recent death of my Mother which has meant I haven’t had as much time or inclination to report on games or actually play games.

I also have been playing fewer 54mm based games recently, which was originally meant to be the focus of this blog.

I have decided to expand the focus and just to blog all the games I am currently playing and projects that are on the go.

I reccently had a clearout of projects in an attempt to focus on projects that I wanted to play and periods I was interested in. This has seen the selling off of a range of projects including everything under 20mm except my own Martian Empires 18mm collection.

I sold a lot of 15mm Napoleonics and ancients and then swapped the rest of my painted 15mm Napoleonics with Ian Hinds of Hinds Figures for a large, painted 20mm plastic ACW collection. The initial idea was to get enough to play Battle Cry ACW with figures, but in the end, I decided to get the whole collection which will allow me to play larger games with other rules as well.

As part of the clearout I also catalogued my painted figure collection and was rather surprised by the totals which are:

4201 Infantry
437 Cavalry
64 Artillery
66 Vehicles

They vary in size from 18mm to 54mm. The largest collections are around 750 25mm FPW, around 600 25mm Lord of the Rings figures and the 500+ 20mm ACW collection.

I have a number of other collections that I am working on and want to bring up to scratch to get on the table. These include:

40mm AWI
I was offered a collection of Front Rank AWI figures for a price that made them irrestible and consequently I bought all 800 unpainted figures for less than £1 each (usually £2.50 each)…

I need to sort them properly into units and work out what I need to add in the way of cavalry and generals but I have painted 2 12 man British units so far for Rebels and Patriots rules.

54mm Punic Wars

This is a long term project to play Command and Colours Ancients using 1 54mm for each block. I have nearly everything I need. The intention is to simply undercoat each side a diferent colour initially and then to gradually get them all painted.

54mm Napoleonics

This is mostly the collection I bought from Andy Duff’s widow, plus some Prussians I bought from Anthony Morton and a few units I had already painted. I need to sort the British out and carve off the wings to make centre company figures before sortng them into units. I also need to add more cavalry – which I have unpainted and in boxes and plan the rest of the additions…

28mm Konflkt ’47
I have a fairly large collection of DUST figures and would like to play K47 with them but need to add a couple of squads of normal WW2 infantry to the Germans and Soviets to start the forces. i have the figures from Great Escape Games and have undercoated them but haven’t started painting them yet.

20mm WW2
I haven’t used this early war collection for quite a while but played a fun game of Bolt Action recently with them which re-awakened my interest, so I need to add some more support weapons and sort out some additional troops.

54mm 19th Century

I am booked in to run a participation game at Salute next year using the Portable Wargame so I need to add to my existing forces to increase them for a 4 player game and I want to add some civilians as well.

So, quite a lot of variety and a lot of things to work on in between painting Toy Soldiers for other people. I am hoping to get the part completed projects to the stage where I can play a game with them over the next year before starting on anything new (such as the 54mm ECW project which has 25 boxes of plastics sitting in the loft!).

First 54mm Napoleonics Game

I bought a large collection of 54mm Napoleonics last year from Andy Duff’s widow (Andy sadly died in December 2017) and I have slowly been working through it making sense of the figures an rebasing them into my planned arrangement for 12 man units based on 4 stands of 60mm x 40mm. The figures are a some what eclectic mix (as Andy himself admitted) and contain a fair amount of austrians repainted as other nations which will evntually be restored to their white coats and correct uniforms.

I have also bought a fair number of Prussians from Anthony who has decided to move to metals for his napoleonic collection.

I now have enough based up for a game and so Anthony and I met up to play a game using Neil Thomas’s Napoleonic rules with 8 units a side.

Each side had 1 cavalry, 1 gun, 5 line infantry, 1 poorer quality infantry, 1 general and 1 officer.

The game worked very well and we both enjoyed it – simple victory conditions were to claim the crossroads or reduce the enemy to 2 units. After a hard fought battle which swung both ways at times, the prussian jagers managed to almost completely destroy the last intact French unit with some lucky die rolling and I admitted defeat.

I need to finish the bases off for the figures but was keen to get them on the table as I always find that playing a game keeps up my interest in a project…

Memoir ’44 Dalek Game

My regular opponent Anthony is a keen fan of the Memoir ’44 system and a Dr Who fan so it is natural that he should want to combine the two. There is a variant for Memoir ’44 for Dr. Who which lets you take any historical scenario and replace the germans with daleks (or cybermen).

So, a couple of weeks ago we convened at Anthony’s to have our second game of the variant (the first one didn’t work terribly well as Anthony hadn’t read all the rules correctly and the Daleks were rather overwhelmed (and underwhelming)). This time we were sure of the rules.

The daleks are treated as Armour and have the advantge of moving further and firing at full strength regardless of the distance they fire at. They can also be only be hit on the armour symbol and ignore the first flag retreat result. In the scenario we played, the daleks had 6 units and a unit of Dalek troopers who didn’t could towards victory conditions. The UNIT side required 4 victory points to win (destroying dalek units) and the daleks required 10 victory points (destroy units or destroy a town).

It was a close fought game and UNIT finally won with their 4th victory point while the Daelks were on 8 points. In retrospect it would have been better on a couple of occasions for me, as the daleks, to destroy a town and risk losing a unit.

Definitely a good variant and one we will play again.

The figures are all 54mm with corgi daleks. The dalek troopers are repainted Star Wars figures.

Post game analysis was had over a cuppa with Anthony’s cat Leonard looking on…

Little Wars Revisited Forum Games Day 2019

A group of us from the Little Wars Revisited 54mm Wargames Forum met up in Woking for the second LWR Forum Games Day on Saturday March 16th.

The idea of the day is to bring a group of people interested in 54mm wargaming together, put on some different games so that people can see what others have been working on and chat to some fellow enthusiasts. We managed slightly more people this year with the furthest traveller coming down from Fife.

We have 5 games this year:

Anthony Morton put on a Zulu Wars games using the Portable Wargames Rules and using Little Legion figures

Eric Kemp and his son Jonny put on a Schleiswig-Holstein skirmish game using figures converted from ACW ones and using their own rules.

Tim Rose put on a VBCW game using various figures and his own rules

Brian Carrick ran and Battle Cry ACW game using Britain’s detail figures

and I ran a 19th Century game using my own Little Wars Revisited Figures and the “A Gentleman’s War Rules”

People arrived at 9am and after introductions, coffee and some chat, we started playing the first games around 10am. There was a break for lunch in the church cafe and then we swapped around to play another game in the afternoon.

After packing up, 5 of us went for a meal in a local Turkish restaurant and then onto the pub for a drink and more chat about toy soldiers.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the day.

There are many more photos and reports on the day on the Little Wars Revisited Forum here:

http://littlewarsrevisited.boards.net/thread/172/lwr-forum-2019-games-day?page=3

A Gentleman’s War playtest

“A Gentleman’s War” is a new set of rules that Howard Whitehouse has been working on for a while. They are shortly to be published as a book but I used the playtest rules from April 2018 for a test game.

AGW is a deliberately old school set of rules for playing with toy soldiers on a table top. It used card activation, quite a few dice and single figure removal.

I am planning on running this at the Little Wars Revisited Forum Games Day on March 16th in Woking, so wanted to try out the rules ahead of time and test out the Hook’s Farm scenario to see what tweaks I would need to make. As always, Anthony gave me a hand by playing the British side…

The table laid out for the game, complete with Gizmo the cat surveying the scene…

The Prussian setup at the start of the game.

The British setup at the the start

AGW uses 12-man infantry units, 6-man skirmisher units and 6 man cavalry units. Guns are crewed by 4 figures.

The Prussians advance.

The game uses activation cards which determine which side moves and how many units it can move (it is possible to brigade units together) – you can also have hold cards in your hand which enable you to interrupt the other person’s go before they have taken an action.

The British Cavalry

Shooting is fairly straightforward, rolling a D6 for each figure in the first two ranks and the number needed depending on range. Hits can be saved which is modified by cover.

The melee around Hook’s Farm

Close combat is a little more complex and there are a number of factors which determine whether one side has an advantage or not. This affects the number you need to roll to cause a casualy. I did like the fact that casualties are counted and that determines the winner of the melee and THEN the outcome determines what number you will roll to save your casualties. People running away are more likely to bayoneted!

Hook’s Farm

Terrain does disorder units which restricts what you can do and we have too much terrain on the table for this game – I will run the LWR game on a wider table which should allow for freer movement.

Firefly Church

I also got the melee rules wrong – partly by reading a table incorrectly and also for a couple of other reasons. This seemed to make skirmishers in a building too strong but in retrospect I think that they are about right with the correct rules!

I enjoyed the game – it has an Old School feel and gives a good game with larger units and probably larger forces than The Portable Wargame…

Shambattle

Anthony and I tried out the Shambattle rules this week using my LWR 19th Century figures.

The rules were originally published in 1929 and draw on some of the ideas on H G Wells’ Little Wars with some other changes. The interesting thing about the game is that the table top represents two countries divided by a river with 3 towns each and the game involves attacking the other country. The version of the rules we used are the set published and enhanced by Thor Shiels (who sadly died late last year) which have some suggested amendments and updates.

There are 3 levels of game – Lieutenant, Captain and General – we played the middle sized game. The Captain’s game involved 25 figres a side plus a gun and 2 crew, of which no more than half could be cavalry. We settled on 6 cavalry, 18 infantry, an officer and a gun with crew. The enhanced game includes victory conditions and Anthony was charged with capturing both the east and west bridge and holding them for 3 turns, while I had to capture the opponent’s frontier town and hold it for 4 turns.

The photo shows the setup at the start of the game.

The game is very luck based as there is no shooting, just combat and artillery fire. Combat involves rolling a D6 for each of your own men and on a 1-3 they die, 4-6 they survive. My die rolling was fairly poor and my men died in droves..

Artillery fire only hits on a 1 (and only Anthony managed to hit all game) but all figures under the arillery template (which could cover 4-5 men) are killed.

Eventually, Anthony eliminated all my troops and won the game.

The General’s game with some additional terrain, 40-50 figures a side and the use of field hospitals which enable you to recover wounded troops looks the most interesting variant.

Not something I can see us playing as regularly as The Portable Wargame or other rules but something that makes a nice change of pace and scale.

Little Wars Revisited Forum Games Day 2019

The 2019 LWR forum 54mm games day is booked for Saturday March 16th 2019. This will be a day of playing 54mm games with fellow enthusiasts and talking about 54mm gaming.

Full details are here:

http://littlewarsrevisited.boards.net/thread/172/lwr-forum-2019-games-day?page=1

and pictures from last year’s event can be seen here:

http://littlewarsrevisited.boards.net/thread/112/little-wars-revisited-games-march?page=3

Please let me know if you are interested in coming along and please advertise the event if you have a blog devoted to 54mm gaming.

Many thanks

Another Zulu War Portable Wargame

Anthony and I met up in his games room to play through another Zulu War era game using his 54mm Little Legion collection and the Portable Wargames rules.

The scenario for this game was again taken from the Battle Cry set of Zulu War scenarios and based on the battle of Hlobane.

The basic setup is shown above. Due to limitations on the tiles that Anthony has available, the area surrounded by hills represents the plateau and the river can be ignored… I am currently producing some more tiles for Anthony so he has more flexibility in layouts.

In the original battle, the British eventually realised that they were heavily outnumbered and withdrew. Battle Cry simulates this through the use of cards that enable units to be withdrawn. This is difficult to do with a ruleset such as The Portable Wargame as all the units have freedom to move each turn. With this in mind, we decided to play with the normal “eliminate 2/3rds of the opposition” rule which meant that the British had to kill 10 units and the Zulus had to kill 6.

Anthony contemplating the British position at the start of the game.

The British had 2 artillery pieces (rockets in the actual battle) and these were to prove quite effective with the artillery removing one zulu unit on the very first turn.

The Zulus had 4 units per table side that could come on with a roll of 5-6 was made each turn for each unit. They came on in dribs and drabs over the course of the game.

We used the instant death rules for elimination and initially rated the British as Elite and the Zulus as raw, but realised quite early on that this was too extreme a difference and adjusted to rating everything as average after a number of my zulu units were quickly eliminated in the first few turns.

In the end, the game was very close with both of us requiring one more kill to win the game. I won the initiative as the Zulus but failed to kill either of the British units I was able to attack and Anthony just managed to eliminate a Zulu unit to clinch victory…

Another fun game….