Commanders, a wargame digest

Commanders, a wargame digest


Dear Diary - a rolling 4 months of comment

30 Sep 2023

Wargames Illustrated is out

The mag hit UK high street shelves yesterday, I think these are going to go quite quickly.

The Epic-esque artwork on the front cover is very eye catching and is by artist Marco Capparoni. The picture is (loosely) based on Alan Perry’s Valour & Fortitude cover photograph, which has his 28mm. British moving in column in front of a very fine set of large model buildings … surely this table is the centre of the wargaming universe!

I think I will cut the spine of the rules and individually sleeve the pages in one of those plastic display books.

 And just scan and print the player aid on the back page.

There are two nicely detailed army lists in the mag, one covers Spanish armies, the other, British and French allies, with two examples being Portuguese and Brunswick.

There is also an interview with Jervis Johnson and the Perry twins, but I think WI have already covered this in a recent video.

The mag also mentions that next issue, the freebie will be an ECW sprue.                              

29 Sep 2023

Epic ECW Commanders

These two  Royalist / Parliamentarian commander boxes have arrived. They are part of the Epic Pike & Shotte order that I made a couple of weeks ago.

The starter set arrived a couple of days later, but these were not in stock, so followed on and the parcel was small enough to go through the letter box.

I have seen the contents on video reports, but at the moment, I am leaving these sealed in their shrink wrap, as I am not 100% certain what to do about them. Is this a project too far at the moment with everything else I have on my plate …. Or would I prefer to do these fairly small actions in 28’s?

The figures are produced in Warlord Games Siocast material and I already have napoleonic commanders in this material and they are fine figures, so I would expect more of the same here.

I will ponder a little longer.

28 Sep 2023

The new V2 Valour & Fortitude rules

V&F have been updated to V2 and are presently available as a free download on the Perry webside and will be given as a free hard copy supplement to the October edition of the Wargames Illustrated magazine.

Anyway, I have given them a quick run out on a small table, just to see how that works out and have done a blog write-up to give coverage of the sequence of play and game mechanics.

I have used the Epic figures on a 4’ x 4’ with just 1 brigade per side, just to see how these ‘big table’ rules cope in the domestic setting of home.

Spoiler …. I got a good game :-)


26 Sep 2023


EPIC - another Prussian infantry unit on the painting sticks have just had their wash. That means touch up tomorrow, plus a mat varnish and then another couple of days for the various stages of basing - I use ‘No More Nails’ to glue the plastic to MDF and this takes a day to cure.

Of the seven unit goal in my starter army, I will then have 2 x line infantry, 1 x group of skirmishers (4 blocks), a battery of two guns and a couple of commanders all painted and based.

Left to do are 1 x infantry line, 1 x infantry landwehr and 1 x Uhlan lancer cavalry, so half way through.

They should see some action over the next couple of days as I take V2 of the Valour & Fortitude rules out for a run, to see how they cope with just one brigade sized unit per side. I am quite hopeful that the changes to the rules will allow that.

The printed rules should be out this Friday as a free supplement with the Next Wargames illustrated, but I note, they can already be downloaded from the Perry website, together with appropriate army lists.

22 Sep 2023

Traces of War

Published by Vuca Simulations, this post Kursk Soviet Counter-Offensive was on Mike’s table for our face-to-face game.

An excellent outing, just a good solid hex and counter game, with the twist of chit pull to activate formations, which tonight fell lucky to show the German formations doing that typical ‘fire-fighting’ defence that they were known for …. Giving a good narrative.

The Soviets have unhinged the German defence, who in turn have reacted to stabilise the front, but their lines are under pressure as Soviet reinforcements arrive to exploit the gains.

The movement point / cost system, very cleverly, without additional rules overhead, manages to highlight the differences between German and Soviet capability to react.

19 Sep 2023

Incomming - some nostalgia

I am building a ‘very small’ nostalgia element to the boardgame collection, just those things that really gripped my attention as a much younger version of me!

Already in ‘that’ collection, I have Cobra (SPI / Decision Games) and The Russian Campaign (Avalon Hill / GMT).

Today, I am adding, Napoleon’s Last Battles, with the latest edition boxed and published by Decision Games.

In the original SPI version, the battlefield was divided into four quarters, Ligny, Wavre, Quatre Bras and Waterloo. The 4 maps formed what was known as a Quad Game. In this case the 4 maps could also be knitted together to make one big unified map to cover the whole 3 day action of the waterloo engagement.

The system is pretty simple (these days a joy to me) and the artwork here is both fresh and bright, but also in places, very sympathetic with the original.

Included in the box is a nice 16 page booklet by Christopher Perello on the historical aspects and progress of the campaign - a nice bit of build up to the games themselves.

I am looking forward to seeing this on the table.

16 Sep 2023

Clearing shelves etc.

I have opened up a ‘Shop’ tab on the left of this screen as part of my recycling wargame stuff to new homes.

It will just be an occasional selling place, with things priced low to get things into the hands of others, rather than have them just sitting there - matching things up to the people who can care for them.

I know my bloggy stuff etc has an international audience, but regretfully, for practical reasons, I am only selling within the UK. 

From time to time, I will likely be offering some freebie stuff, some things offered just at postage and some things specifically targeted at new gamers. Thanks.

15 Sep 2023

Oh No! This arrived today :-)

The starter set for Epic Pike and Shotte, which I intend to use for English Civil War armies - the same box can also be use for the Thirty Years War.

This was bought in a moment of weakness, as my painting queue is already too long.

I saw a post on another bloggers site, in which he had painted up a test sprue and liked it enough to order a starter box.

I am of course a sheep and before I knew it, had ordered it. This internet buying is just too easy!

I am however, not the victim that I portray, as I have a bit of a plan, which will get more e-ink spilled when the time is a little closer. 

I have pretty much everything Epic now, so have opened a tab over on the left for a section just on Epic box art work.

I will be interested to read the Pike and Shotte rule book (included) as I have read somewhere that they have an ‘Epic’ rule for keeping a unit of pike and 2 shotte together as a unit, instead of allowing them to behave as three units, which apparently the original rules allowed.

12 Sep 2023

An 1809 Pocket Army run out.

A very successful game yesterday afternoon with the two 28mm 1809 Pocket Armies out on a test drive. The French defended a village, which was captured by the Austrians, who were then ejected, but they re-took it.

In the end the rest of the Austrian force were too battered to support their comrades in the village. Heavy French fire drove the Austrians out of the village and the entire force retreated voluntarily ….. before the routs would start!

I tend to allow for retreats rather than just calling a game, as it gives a better measure of victory or survivability, helping narrative and better framing things as part of an ongoing campaign. 

I like that the rules allowed for the too and fro of capture and recapture of a BUA within the timeframe of a single scenario.

The one thing that is missing from the starter forces are skirmishers, so these will be the next job.

11 Sep 2023

Men of mystery

The last post was all about Epic Prussian artillery, so one might suppose that these mysterious chaps are those same fine fellows, but ….

They are in fact two bases of French napoleonic artillery in 28mm!

Taken from the lead mountain a couple of days ago, these Perry 6 pounders just took a bit of cleaning with clippers and a file, to clear away the few ‘worms’ and the smallest amount of flash mould lines.

The cannon tube and wheels were fixed to the chassis with the old trick of the smallest blob of milliput sandwiched between two blogs of superglue, to get a comfy fit.

Yesterday, they got their white rattle can primer. It was a bit of a race to get them done while the weather (threatening storms) held up.

The guns are permanently fixed to a 50 x 80mm base and the figures have been temporarily attached using a latex glue (Copydex).

This now rounds out my starter 1809 French / Austrian 1809 Pocket Armies of 4 infantry battalions, 1 cavalry regiment, 1 artillery battery and a commander and I am just a few days away from an elite infantry battalion being added to each.

None of it painted of course, this is just the summer prep of gluing the plastic figures outdoors to avoid irritating (to me at least) glue fumes and getting ready for winter painting.

With this done, I will get a game set up over the next few days as part of my ongoing decision of scales to settle upon - a saga that is pretty much concluded, but just needs a little further consideration :-)

8 Sep 2023

Ugly phase

I have been working on the two base Prussian Epic artillery battery. It is all block painted and at the ugly phase.

Tomorrow they will get a wash and then some rescue highlights can go in. Then basing paste and flocks can be added.

I have been painting the woodwork a sort of Royal / Mid blue, but it just looks too jaunting to the eye and is very close to the gunners uniform - so, I have dry brushed Vallejo Pastel Blue on them, perhaps too much, but there is much better contrast now within the unit.

there is an image in an Osprey book that shows the lighter blue and they describe it as faded woodwork during campaigning - so there is some justification for my toning down!

Also, I did an artillery base some months ago and gave them red epaulettes, turns out, they should be yellow for Silesian foot.

7 Sep 2023

Streamlining, organising and selling!

Both my boardgame and figure gaming side of things need a trim, for the sake of storage as much as anything else, but of no less importance, to reduce distraction and allow more focus on a smaller range of ‘stuff’.

For boardgames, for a number of years, I have been ‘trending’ towards series games, so that one rulebook will cover several modules, but of course there are single titles that I want to own and play for their own sake such as ‘Cobra’ and ‘The Russian Campaign’.

Time - I think, to be a bit more vigorous with the pruning!

There is a gentleman who posted on one of the forums, tat as he hits retirement, he wants to prune his collection down to just 16 titles, so that his favoured games get greater focus without distraction.

He sold some and took the rest to refuse / skip  (Dumpster in the U.S. ?). The latter is drastic, but certainly does the job od clearing both shelves and mind and in truth, you are no worse off that if they just carried on sitting there, redundant, on the shelf! 

I like the idea of that, though I think I would need to have series games treated as a single title, as just my OST for example has 9 modules, Panzer has 5!

I have gone through and selected those things that have sat there for years unplayed and will likely continue to do so. They are nice to have but not essential. My list sits at 28 titles.

I contacted a game trader some 5 weeks ago but have not heard anything, they are traditionally slow, but I just need to get this done, so I will start to list and sell via a couple of the boardgame forums and e-bay.

A more laborious process than a single sale to a trader, but as they say, a 10,000 mile journey begins with but a single step.

Having rechecked my list yesterday, there is another group of games that could, if I closed my eyes and pinched my nose, be added to the ‘get rid’ list. 

I think the secret of success here is not to get hung up on perceived value of the game, just price things up to go, especially as postage costs adds so much to the proceedings of the buyer.  

After all the chap who spends £100 on a football game and related costs, never sees that cash again and neither do I ever see my ‘coffee’ purchase as a refundable asset, it is written off to enjoy the moment - it is just a mindset thing at the end of the day.

Boardgames are becoming very expensive, so it is probably easier to control what comes into the collection, because it needs to be both good and wanted to justify the spend.

We shall see!

4 Sep 2023

Gluing & Painting

It’s a bit too hot for painting, but I need to crack on with the Epic project. So Prussians are on painting sticks and the wet palette has been cleaned up.

with the good weather, I have returned to outside (to glue in GOOD ventilation) to put together some more Victrix 1/144 (12mm) PaK 40’s and half tracks. I have more half tracks than I need, so I will either make a wreck marker or a HQ base.

yesterday was Warlord Games open day. They announced their intention to release a couple of Covenanter sprues for Epic Pike & Shotte and also mentioned a future Epic product for Hail Caesar …. Perhaps Roman / Celt! 

Last night I pulled Cobra by Decision Games from the shelf …. Could this nostalgic blast at last be finding some table time! I noted the published date was 2019 ….. this needs to be played!

1 Sep 2023

Three Epic battles for St. Amand.

To go with my Epic French / Prussian starter armies, I have sketched out three scenarios for the fighting at St. Amand in 1815.

In truth, it is basically one scenario, but it grows to match the growing number of units in my Epic collection, so that by scenario three, we have most of the village represented and the forces that fought over it during a two hour window.

There is a post up over on the blog that details each of the three scenarios and which also offers a brief AAR of a playing of the first scenario.


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