Wednesday, 28 November 2012

How Time Flies!

Wow, these last three weeks have gone quick! It seems the closer we get to the end of the year, the faster time seems to fly by.

In the intervening weeks since my last post though, time seems to have gone so quickly that I've not had a moment to really make much progress with anything. It also surprised me to find that we're now only 4 days away from Wargamer 2012, and so all other projects have been frantically shoved aside in order to make our preparations.

Yes, the Wyrley Retinue are once again putting on a game at this local show, and we're bringing out the Thirty Years' War again. Having run our Battle of Steinkirche (based on Steenkerke, 1692) at last year's Wargamer, as well as at Alumwell WMMS this year, we're changing the game a bit with a new scenario and a new layout (mostly utilising our existing terrain boards, but with a couple of new additions).

This time out, we're basing our game on the Battle of Lech 1632 (also known as the Battle of Rain). The scenario, as in the original battle, is based on a river crossing; the Swedes want to cross the river Lech and find their army opposed by the Imperialists. The Imperialists, however, believe that the Swedish army is only a diversionary army and so they dispatch half their forces further downriver to where they believe the rest of the Swedish army is gathering. As it turns out, there is no "other Swedish army" and in fact the Swedish force facing the now-reduced Imperialist army across the river Lech is the *entire* Swedish army (i.e. it's not a diversion). The Imperialists find themselves facing an army of around 45,000 Swedes with only 25,000 men of their own, and so the scene is set for our own battle.

Of course, those who have seen our boards for the Steinkirche game will notice a distinct lack of river, and so new boards were commissioned from the WRTMF (or "Wyrley Retinue Terrain Making Factory" aka Gary's back garden...).

With judicious use of our existing boards, we were able to come up with a layout that kept our new terrain requirements down to just two new boards - another 4'x2' board and another 2'x2' board, both made up as river/water "tiles".

The two new tiles, textured and ready for painting
Since the above pictures were taken, the boards have been painted and the river was ready for varnishing. All that's left at this stage is finishing off the various other bits that go along with the game (such as extra figures, casualty markers, plus more scenery).

I might get chance to update on progress again prior to Sunday, but if not, I'll report after the show on how it all goes! If you're in the Great Barr area on Sunday, why not pop along and come have a chat :)

Sunday, 4 November 2012

A "Short" Introduction

See what I did there?! I know, I'm bringing the house down...

In yet another interlude (although this one is slightly related!), I've some pictures of a few Dwarves I've been painting up while waiting for the game boards to dry. Dain Ironfoot (who I think I'll go back and touch up - he needs some gold in there somewhere!), a few Khazad Guard and even fewer Iron Guard.

These are the elite of the army - Dain is as hard as nails, the Khazad Guard are fearless and brutal, and the Iron Guard are a whirlwind of choppy death. I have another nine Khazad Guard and three Iron Guard to go, but I'm working on a bunch of basic warriors at the moment to make up the core of the force.

The Interlude

By way of an interlude between more updates on the game boards, here are those pictures of the European Mercenaries I put together a couple of weeks ago. I now have 40 pikemen (arranged in two units of 20), 20 handgunners (in two units of 10) and 12 crossbowmen. I have a few bodies left over, so they'll likely become more crossbowmen depending on what parts I have left to use.

These most certainly won't be painted for a while, at least not until 2013. I still have to do sufficient research into colour schemes/uniforms to reassure me that I won't get them "wrong" once I start painting...

In other news, the PDF rulebook for DreadBall: Season 1 was made available to the Kickstarter backers yesterday. I've yet to read through it all properly, but I'm planning on making a "rules summary" post at some point to share a little about how the game plays. Until next time...

Friday, 2 November 2012

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men....

I said in my last post that I had Plans™ for this week. Did they come to fruition?

Well, sort of. I had envisaged making great swathes of progress, getting loads done and emerging into this weekend with a glowing feeling of satisfaction at a job well done. That was obviously overly optimistic and unrealistic but, while I have made good progress, I somehow feel like I should have done more!

But this is all very negative. There are lots of positives, so let's backtrack and start over!

As I said in my last post, the primary "objective" for the past week was to begin work on a Mines of Moria-themed game board for LotR games (specifically those between Dwarves and Moria Goblins, being as those are the two forces me and my brother most often play with, when he's not slaughtering my Uruk-Hai with his Fellowship...)

I'm happy to report that work has indeed begun on such a game board; in fact, it's more than just begun, it's a fair way through! We settled on making a 4'x4' modular game board (made up of 4 x 2'x2' square boards)

This was our plan for roughly how we wanted the boards to look (if you click the picture, you can get a larger version where you can actually read the labels for everything...). One advantage of making the board modular is that we can rearrange the boards for several different combinations of terrain, although there are obviously a couple of features that are limited in where they can be placed.

We began construction work with two sheets of 6mm MDF measuring 4'x2'...

...and cut them in half to create four 2'x2' "quarters":

It was at this point that I discovered that the big sheet of 5cm polystyrene I'd bought to use as the basis of the game boards wasn't quite 2' wide (it was about an inch short). Annoying.

And so my solution was to construct a frame from thinner pieces of polystyrene around the edges of the MDF boards:

The main polystyrene 'board' was then cut to fit each of the framed boards:

The polystyrene "tile" fitted into the frame and glued down on each of the boards, before any gaps were smoothed over with filler. The edges of each board were taped round with two or three layers of masking tape, which was then covered with a couple of coats of PVA to stiffen the tape and provide a reasonably solid edge to prevent any particularly bad damage to the edges of the polystyrene boards.

I forgot to photograph this stage, so here's a picture of a Goblin instead

Once the filler and glue had thoroughly dried, the fun parts could begin. First, each board had the rough plan drawn on to get an idea of where the various terrain features would be built on. Then we began cutting out the various hill levels we needed:

Slave labour at it's best...
The various hill levels (each hill ended up with at least three bits of polystyrene cut for it) were glued together separately before being glued and pinned with cocktail sticks to the boards themselves:

Two of the boards together, showing the "coming together" of the overall plan!
And then, before I went back to work today, I set about gouging out the chasm that will run across the corner of one of the boards:

I have to admit, making this much mess was a lot of fun...

And this is currently where we stand!

The next stage is to finish off the terrain features - the edges of the chasm and the hills all need "texturing" (i.e. carving great chunks out of them to make them look like rock...) and various bits of rubble and debris need adding.

After that, I'm planning on texturing each of the boards with fine sand (much like the bases of my LotR Dwarves and Goblins) and then painting can begin!

~ ~ ~

In addition to all of that, in the gaps where we waited for filler and glue to dry, I got on with painting figures (predictably, Dwarves and Goblins...) while my brother set about making various bits of removable terrain to add to the boards. I'll come back with pictures of those, along with more progress on the boards, next time!