Thursday 26 February 2015

Demo game of To the Strongest! in Abergavenny this Sunday

Meeples and Miniatures Podcast host Mike Hobbs is involved in a new venture.
As part of the new Abergavenny Community Centre’s open day this coming Sunday, March 1st, he and regular gaming opponent Mark are looking to drum up interest in a new wargames club.
They will be running demo games of To The Strongest and Open Combat all day.  Details are as follows:

Rumours that Mark and Mike will be also dancing in Welsh National Dress are, no doubt, greatly exaggerated.  But if you can  make it along please drop in and say hello!  

Tuesday 24 February 2015


A modest digression from 28mm; I have raised the city of Monopolis from a set of Monopoly houses and hotels, and a couple of Brandenburg gate pieces taken from EuroMonopoly sets. The temples are converted from hotels using plasticard. With a little suspension of disbelief, I reckon the buildings are a good size for 2-6mm minis.

Friday 20 February 2015

Laager ladies

Over the last three nights I've added a flesh highlight to the fifty-odd minis Nick painted for me, and inked and varnished them.  I've cut the pins down to short stubs.  This weekend I'll start experimenting with basing them.

The Copplestone German civilians are stunning sculpts, especially the women.  Very expressive!   The carousing German men are very good, too.  Better photos will follow once they are based.

Wednesday 18 February 2015

Shiny, shiny

This week I've added "victory medals" to my shop; these are the same replica Roman coins that I use for my own games.

They are cast in lead-free pewter, and the gold ones are gold plated!  Initially I've purchased Caesarian and Late Roman coins, but should they prove popular I will add dark age and medieval coins, so one can theme medals to a particular army. They can be found here:

Of course, one could also use the chocolate coins as we did recently at the Benson tournament... 

In other news, this week I've been very busy working on v1.1 of "To the Strongest!" This will be a free update of the rules for those who have already bought them, and the basis of the print version of the rules which I hope to have published before Salute.  The rules will be very similar to the current version, but I'm adding additional examples, diagrams and some new troop types (war wagons!). I am keen to run these past people for comment (and to spot errors); if you are interested in seeing them, please drop me a line via my email address on the blog.

Saturday 14 February 2015

Where's me rollin' pin?

Several people have asked about the defenders for the wagon laager, and here they are.  They have all been painted my mate Nick Speller and include most of the Celtic and German ancient civilian miniatures that I have been able to find, with a particular emphasis on formidable women.  Tonight I'll make a start on highlighting and inking them.

I am in two minds about basing them.  My heart says "drill and pin them into the wagons" but my brain says "make bases that will fit into the wagons".  The former solution is more aesthetically pleasing and hard wearing; the latter more flexible as I can remove them should (when) they become casualties.

The finished laager will have to serve for all three of Celts, Germans and Goths so I will try to give it a generic look.

Friday 13 February 2015

Wagons... roll!

Last night I finished painting my wagon laager. The 5 pieces (which all store in a single 4L Really Useful Box) assemble to make a 1 metre-long camp defence. I still need to finish and add the defenders, which Nick Speller has already painted for me, and some more clutter - a week or so more's work. The pic is clickable.

The completed laager will form part of a display game at Partizan in May.

Tuesday 10 February 2015

Three foot of laager and a packet of chits, please.

Last night I resumed work on my wagon laager, which has been something of a slow burner since I started work on it over 6 years ago!!!. Yesterday I painted the wicker screens and am contemplating approaching the long and tedious task of drybrushing of the woodwork, this evening.  

On a different front, I have received a big re-supply order of chits for "To the Strongest!".  As well as the packs with the three types of chits in, I am now also able to sell packs of the lovely ammunition markers separately.  They can all be found in the BigRedBatShop!

Sunday 8 February 2015

World's Strongest 2015

Yesterday we fought the first ever "To the Strongest!" Tournament at Benson in Oxfordshire. I was delighted to be able to play, myself, to roundup an odd number of players. Ten players fought a total of 15 games, each lasting 2 hours. 10 games were decisive and 5 draws, with most of the draws occurring in the first round, before the players had "warmed up". 

Unfortunately in the rush I failed to take many photos of the players, but I did get shots of some of the armies and games.  Below, my "Decline" Romans in the foreground await (with considerable trepidation) the charge of John Sharman's Saxons.  My Hun wing, led by Attila, had a good game, ending up behind the Saxon centre.

Above is Nick Speller contemplating his own Caesarian Romans- a splendid-looking force (lovely shields and basing) but about to be roughly handled by John's Saxons.  Below Steve Dovers Granadines are menaced by Simon Purcheon's Sassanids.  The Sassanids, with their combination of armour, shooty-ness and mobility did very well indeed and I think Simon came second (or third?) overall.  Looked good, too!

Below my Decline Romans prepare to receive (my own) Early Imperial Romans, played by Trevor Holcroft. The Romans in my force didn't manage to kill anything at all, but their Hun and Gothic allies were lethally effective, especially the former who could do no wrong!  Atilla was again definitely Man of the Match.  Note the edible chocolate victory medals...

Above Peter Ryding's army of veteran (in two senses) Essex Caesarians proved very hard to kill- my Polybians (played by Ian Notter) seem to be keeping a safe distance!  Or maybe it was just early in the game.  

Finally I have a couple of shots of Barry Lee's lovely Late Romans. I particularly covet the Warlord wagon in the above photo. Below, there's nothing quite as good as Late Roman army when it comes to shield designs.  Hopefully Barry and I will be able to stage a Late Roman Civil War at some point later this year.

It was very interesting to see how others interpreted the rules, and to encounter armies which I've not previously experienced on the table.  Bevan Marchand won the tournament with a Hundred Years War English army (sadly I have no photos); shooting armies did quite well.

Huge thanks to Steve Dover and the South Oxfordshire Generals for organising the event. It was a splendid day out and I think everyone enjoyed themselves! I'd very much like to repeat the experience later this year or early next. 

Friday 6 February 2015

Wargames Bloggers Quarterly Issue Three is out!

Wargames Bloggers Quarterly issue 3 is out!  This edition was edited by Panzer Kaput and produced by Millsy of Canister and Grape, and the cover and leading article is by Sir Sidney Roundwood.  You can download your free copy from here!

Benson Legion for the World's Strongest

I have been marking up tablecloths with grids for the World's Strongest tournament at Benson, tomorrow, and thought I'd lay out my new Roman army on them.  All the photos are clickable.

Above is the army; a mere 11 units, with 3 generals and 2 heroes (all I could fit into 120 points). On the left is the small cavalry wing with heroic general Maximus (no not that one!) and hero Longinus:

Next are two veteran cohorts painted by David Imrie, with another hero, Julianus, and a screen of Eastern archers.

The core of the force is three cohorts of legionaries, led by Tribune Marcus Flavius Aquila, and screened by slingers.

And last, but not least, two cohorts of auxiliaries; the prettiest units of the whole force, IMHO.

I'm very glad I laid these out; I've just realised that I've forgotten to get the C in C out of storage! Now I must dash, I need to grid-up two more cloths, sort out a couple more armies, boards and terrain and load the car for a dawn dash westwards.

Wednesday 4 February 2015

Roman reinforcements for Benson

This week I completed enough minis to complete my second Early Imperial Roman army, for use at our TtS! tournament at Benson near Oxford on Saturday.  This army are mostly Foundry Perry minis, and smaller than my main EIR army; I call them EIR2.  They have all been bought painted or part painted on eBay and tarted up. They are based up either for use with my own "To the Strongest!" rules or with Impetus.  All pictures are clickable!

This is my favourite unit - auxilia.  There are minis here from three very competent painters, and my involvement was mostly on painting some shields and adding staining.

Above is a unit of legionaries by a couple of different painters.  This is the third cohort I have from this legion - I aspire to eventually field six or eight.

Above are some fairly generic slingers; these are more or less complete repaints.

The Governor, Aulus Paulinus, of course!  Below is a hero figure - Longinus a brave Roman cavalryman from the siege of Jerusalem. During a combat at range with javelins, Longinus, a cavalryman, leaped out from the Roman lines and charged the mass of the enemy. He killed one, pulled his spear out, stabbed another in the side, and then made his way safely back to his comrades.

And finally below is a Warlord Testudo that David Imrie very kindly gave me; I did just a little work on the base so that it would better match my minis.  

When I get a chance, I'll take a picture of the complete army with the units that I completed earlier.

If you are at a loose end on Saturday and fancy dropping in to say hello at Benson, or even trying the rules, please email me for details.