…three month update

Yep, three months since the last post…the intermittent blogger

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Well, there has been plenty going on at agrabbagofgames…a busy year and one rounded out with the build up to next year’s big project and no doubt smaller ones in between. In 2017 the plan is to go BIG! Things have been set in motion and purchases have been made…time to order that wide screen monitor!

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…big box!

 

 

As something of a catch up of what’s been happening around here I thought I show off the new and/or ongoing projects that will take shape in their various forms as time marches on.

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In no particularly order…

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Maori Wars

One area of interest that has been on the radar for a good few years is the colonial conflict in New Zealand – the Maori wars in the mid nineteenth century. Here we have the Perry church doing duty in New Zealand during the Maori Wars. The Perry figures are standing in as Government forces during the First Maori War (Flagstaff War) who off course looked just like these chaps.  These have been supplemented with many figures from the Empress range that specifically covers the First Maori War conflict. Lots of color in this period and an uncovered gem in colonial gaming IMHO.

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Here we have some opposition. This figures is from the Eureka Miniatures range that focuses on the previous conflicts in New Zealand, the tribal and Musket Wars – this figure was a tester to try and get the flesh colours to work out. I’m reasonably happy with the result on these. These figures of course are totally usable for the Maori Wars.

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…a few more done…Empress musketman on the left.

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I really do like these Eureka figures…full of character – they really capture the spirit of the Maori warrior.

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A nice tribal collection. I have painted about three times this lot and they look great I have to say.

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Here we see a few of the Empress Miniatures figures done now. These guys are armed with shotguns and muskets. The Maori liked the shotgun for up close and personal fighting in the thick NZ forest. One barrel to fire and another ready to go.

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A mixed group of Eureka and Empress miniatures – they mix together no problems at all.

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Tribal chieftain to the fore…kum-a-tee…kum-a-tee!

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Lurking on a rock is an Empress figure painted up as a member of the 58th Rutlandshire regiment – posted in my home town of Sydney, Australia before being dispatched to NZ to sort out Hene Heke and his ‘rebels’.

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Looking ahead I’d hope to branch out into what I think are the more interesting aspects of the conflict, namely the Second Maori Wars of the 1860’s. I think this period has much to offer.

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Here is the first of many to do for the 1860s British – beautiful Perry British Intervention figures and perfect for this period -thank you Alan and Michael!

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…a gathering

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In an effort to try and get the ‘missing figures’ for this period I tried a mini kickstarter of sorts by direct commission with Eureka Miniatures – we got 3/4 of the way there…needing only another few hundred figures and we would’ve got it done…what a shame. The project is not dead but on ‘hold’ until sufficient folks ‘buy in’. They would’ve been lovely Alan Marsh sculpts to boot…maybe Empress Miniatures of the Perry twins will step up to the plate…

Here was the link on LAF to try to get it over the line…oh, well….Rangers and late Maoris almost done…

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The Maori Wars is a project I hope to come back to in 2017 – I have many figures ready to be painted and also a number of rules adaptations to use for the period. My current preference being for Rifles & Spears, my adaptation of Muskets & Tomahawks for the colonial period, a rule set virtually written for the period – a very similar conflict in the military aspects in many ways. Other rules sets also offer up opportunities, not least of which is my own Black Action (see below). This is close to ‘local history’ for we Aussies so its something I want to dig deeper into in 2017.

For now, you can see my variant for the First Maori War using Rifles & Spears. Maori lists and Crown lists.  There are lots of period specific ideas in there to give a distinct NZ feel to it all…

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Black Action

Shifting gears, I was looking to expand on the idea of using Rifles & Spears in a couple of other conflicts of interest. One aspect of them however is its strength does to a degree rely on the variation in troop types and this does not work for all conflicts…particularly ones organised along regular army lines….what to do?

Thinking cap on and taking up a few suggestions from the chaps at the club, I came up with a very workable variant of Bolt Action for the black powder period. A number of trial games and works rather well…Black Action was born.

There are many adjustments to the rules I’ve made to make the rules work in the black powder era however the essence of Bolt Action remains, delivering quite a good and reasonably historical game ie enough to keep faith with a semblance of reality.

I rejigged the order dice and use the following in its place..it is however, exactly the same idea of order dice use as the original game engine.

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ORDERS IN BLACK ACTION

Choose one of six orders to give a unit from the choices below:

  1. QUICK MARCH – Move-Fire* / Fire*-Move; & 1×90° wheel
  2. DOUBLE QUICK – Move at double speed, no firing; or Charge & 2×90° wheel
  3. FIRE! – Fire-Reload/ Reload-Fire or Aimed Fire; no moving
  4. HOLD FIRE – no move or fire, but wait for opportunity fire.
  5. RALLY / REFORM – No move or fire, but remove d6+1 Disorder markers;
  6. HOLD – No move or fire, but reduce Disorders by 1. May go ‘”Prone” if desired.

 

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We trialled the game using some Indian Mutiny troops. They delivered a very good game and the Sepoys and Sahibs helped iron out a few bugs. Here are some snaps…

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Units made up of 8 figures. The red chits ‘pulled’ show activated units. A leader that activates may, up to his command level, activate multiple units at a time…enabling a degree of control, more typical of this period of warfare. This is the new Bolt Action 2 command rule and was one of the rule mechanics that caught my eye when thinking on working up Black Action.
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Highlanders hold fast! The yellow marker indicates two disorders. In Black Action kills are less prevalent, with disorder being the manner in which units are broken down and then routed.

By way of examples of how the rules work with regards to how troops are defined in Black Action here are the (not yet complete) Indian Mutiny lists that I quickly put together for our game. As I said, this has not had ‘the treatment’ but is good enough to get us going and gives a platform for further tweaking…it kind of shows how some elements of the game go together.

Indian Mutiny list – Black Action

 

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The main idea of Black Action however was for use in the American Civil War, but at this stage I do not have both sides. When I dipped my toe into this period the Perry Unions plastics hadn’t been released but now they are so these will find their way into the project list for 2017. I have played Black Action – ACW a couple of times at the club and it got a positive reaction…so these boys have seen the elephant…

 

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One of the reasons for Black Action was the idea of a fast playing system that could handle forces of similar types – in my case, American Civil War armies. Suitably inspired I worked up some Perry Miniatures ACW plastics – they proved very easy to paint and get going.

 

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Using a selection of grey’s and browns a force of ‘skirmish game’ Reb’s was put together for Black Action-ACW. Once painted they got a thinned down coat of Army painter Dark Tone, Strong Tone for the browns where appropriate.

 

Here are a few more snaps of the Rebs for Black Action – ACW

 

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…a holiday break…

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Taking a break saw me in northern France. This fella is in the Maginot Line museum, the Ouvrage du Hackenberg which has many exhibits and a fascinating tour. An excellent museum if you’re in the region…very interesting.

 

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…back on point….

Classical Greece

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Looking to next year’s projects it’s going to be a return to ancients…I’ve had a long interest in Classical, and particularly, Greek warfare. Having travelled to many sites in Greece this has spurned a long interest.

Now with Victrix having completed for the most part the many boxes needed for such a project and leaning on the excellent, and characterful, Wargames Foundry ‘World of the Greeks’, these will provide the bulk of the forces required…it’s time…

I’ll go into more detail with this project as the new year unfolds but numerous plans are afoot for the ancients in 2017.

 

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Working out unit frontages. We have decided not to use the underarm thrusting pose in this picture. On balance, the ‘all upright’ look will be more practical and less prone to breakage.

 

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Some hoplites based singly for my hoplite skirmish game system. These are in essence the initial batch of figures I did over 3 years ago when the then Immortal Figure range was a front runner for the massed hoplite armies I was considering. At the time Victrix had just released their first box of figures, ironically enough, not the box that I have decided to use for the Spartan which shall be predominately made from the Foundry range.

 

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Victrix Spartans

The upright spear position on a ‘test base’. I’m going to make a base with a 5 figure frontage and 4 ranks deep ie 90mm frontage. Two of these will make a hoplite unit (lochus)….40 figures per unit mounted on two bases…chunky!

 

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The above pics show  a few ideas for a ‘unit based’ games but skirmish based games are very much part of the mix when it comes to Hoplite warfare – in fact, much more of that went on that the big battles. Lots of trireme raids up, down and around the Peloponnese and Aegean Sea coastline, small expeditions, and local alliance and punitive operations…the list is endless. With a view to that I have made a start on some Spartan raiders for my skirmish games.

 

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No shields yet. These foundry Spartans will be reshielded with Victrix shields and transfers and given the Victrix doru (spear) as well.

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As part of the greek warfare project there will be a naval element. There were just as many naval clashes as land clashes and these 1/600 scale ships from Xyston (Scotia Grendel) will be used for the fleets.

 

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The plastic bases are used for James Roach’s Fleet of Battle game – one rule set along with Poseidon’s Warriors, that will most likely be used. I shall be looking at these in detail down the track when the fleets start to take shape. I;ve knocked up a couple of ‘test’ ships to see how they look.

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We played a game of Poseidon’s Warriors a few weeks ago and I must say, other than some adjustments we feel are necessary, they gave a fun and furious game. On balance we think the game needs a random activation sequence (alal bolt action) and larger movement distances to improve manoeuvrability for fleets relying on such aka Carthaginians and Athenians.

All in all though, it looked great and played nicely with alot of galleys…top stuff 😉

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Romans to the left, Carthaginians to the right

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Roman right wing advances quickly, albeit slightly uncoordinated. The Carthaginian left flank holds off then launches a brazen counter-punch, whilst their right wing moves between the islands channel in an effort to deliver a killer blow.

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Ramming speed!

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A general melee ensues. The Roman marines proved overwhelming, not before the Carthaginians managed to sink a Roman galley or two by ramming. In the end the Romans triggered a Carthaginian fleet morale test which they failed, though they were close to one themselves…Roman victory!

 

…and the pic above is my photo of the year…just like Featherstone’s Naval Wargames Book with a snap of Tony Bath’s ancient naval game…one of my first forays into ancients when Iran still had a Shah…good memories…

 

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3 thoughts on “…three month update

  1. Hi Mark,

    The full rules aren’t available online as they are a fully integrated set with the current M&T system – basically their own set of rules.

    However, send me a PM address and I’ll explain further if you’re interested.

    Cheers

    HW

    Like

  2. Fantastic, i have only just noticed the army downloads. You have done wonders with these, very impressed and definately going to move over to these. Similar to Mark, what are the main differences on the musket and tomahawk rules? Do you have a synopsis or crib to help pick out from main book

    regards

    karl, aka Lowtardog

    Like

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