Saturday, May 31, 2014


I had 2 games this week.  On Monday at Falkirk and District Wargames club Dave Paterson and I played a Black Powder AWI game using my collection of figures.  Dave commanded the Patriot force below:
1st Brigade
2 Militia units
Militia skirmishers (small unit)
2nd Brigade
Continental unit
Militia unit
Continental riflemen (small unit)

Dave advancing the Patriot forces
Whilst I commanded a force of British troops who were blockading a small settlement who were awaiting the arrival of the Patriot relief column.
1st Brigade
71st Highlanders
Butlers Rangers (small unit)
Canadian militia (small unit)
2nd Brigade
3 Indian skirmishing bands (small units)

The terrain on the 6ft by 4ft table was largely wooded with the open areas designated by snake fencing.  All the commanders were rated at level 8.  It proved a victory for the British and Indians who managed to break 4 of the 6 patriot units without losing a single unit.
Patriots engaging the British in the open ground.

On Thursday at the SESWC I took part in a 1940 Bolt Action game which Campbell Hardie designed.  It was due to be  French delaying action versus a German force but Campbell forgot the German infantry who had to be substituted by Italians but using the German transport and armour.  Bart Zynda and Ray Neal commanded the axis troops and Colin Jack and I commanded the French.  Campbell umpired and provided all the models..

Axis light armour takes on the Senegalese
It was hard fought game with the Germans concentrating on dealing with the best French troops – squads of Alpine Chasseurs and Senegalese infantry.   The French with a 25mm AT gun,  obsolete Laffley White and Citroen Schneider ACs managed to knock out the Geman SD222, Panzer II and one of the SD251s.  The Italians managed to get a 105mm how into range of the building held by the French recruits but it was suppressed by fire from the armoured cars.   A reinforcing squad of dragon portes  took out an Italian squad and then assaulted the 105mm How – amazingly the 10 attackers scored only 1 hit and the 3 surviving gunners scored 2 hits wiping out their opponents.  That was the low point of my game.  Despite this debacle we agreed that the game was clearly a victory for the French.

French infantry assault the 105 with disastrous results....merde

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Blenheim to Berlin has been nominated by Jonathan at JJ's Wargames  Http://  and Bart Zynda  at Asienieboje  Http:// for a Liebster Award, my thanks to Jonathan and Bart for their  kind remarks in recognising my blog.

Anything designed to encourage interesting blogs, and bring them to the attention of a much wider audience, has to be a good thing and thus I am passing on the baton, so to speak.

 Here is the list of what's involved.

•Copy and paste the award on your blog linking to the blogger who has given it to you.

•Pass the award to your top 11 blogs with less than 200 followers by leaving a comment one of their posts to notify them that they have won the award and listing them on your own blog.

•Sit back and bask in the warm fuzzy feeling that comes that knowing you have made someones day!

•There is no obligation to pass this onto someone else but it's nice if you take the time to do so.

In addition to "flagging up" those blogs that would be well worth having a look at from time to time it also provides an opportunity to answer and pass on some questions about the blogger behind the blog. The questions you have been dying to ask but have never got around to posting. So as well as answering these myself, I will be passing them on to my nominees.

So my list of nominees are….……

Sparkers Wargaming Blog

Daves Toy Box

1. Why did you start blogging?
I was introduced to it by a friend from the USA and I decided that I would start a blog to share my enthusiasm and ideas for the hobby.

 2. If you could change one thing about the wargaming hobby, what would it be?
Encourage a younger generation of gamers to get involved with historical wargaming.

  3. Do you read Battle Reports and what makes them inviting to read?
Yes I like AAR's that give a background to the game, provide army lists and give a good report on how the game played and the good or bad luck that occurred and of course good photos.

 4. Is figure painting a chore or pleasure?
It is a pleasure but with early arthritis in my hand I now mainly paint 20mm or 28mm WWII vehicles and base up my 28mm figures.

  5. Napoleon once was quoted as saying he preferred a general that was lucky over skilled. In gaming, are you lucky or skilled?
Hopefully both but I would go with lucky at least in some games!

  6. Could you limit your gaming and collecting to one period and one size? If so, what?
I have to go for 28mm because at my age I prefer larger figures. The period would be a choice between Napoleonics or AWI/SYW/Imaginations.

  7. How do you deal with burn out?
Sit down and base/rebase some of my figures/models.

  8. If you could only buy from one miniature company from now on, which one would it be?
Frontrank for their fine AWI and Napoleonic collections.

Saturday, May 24, 2014


This has been a week of French Indian War Muskets and Tomahawk games as I was trying out the rules again before a big game I had planned for Thursday.  Most of the figures in the games come from the collection of Angus Konstam which he kindly lent me whilst he is staying in Orkney.

On Sunday Dave Paterson, Dougie Kirby and I played a game on a 6ft by 6ft area of my table.  Dave and I were commanding a force of French Irregulars and Indians attacking a British settlement held by British Regulars, Rangers with a column of Militia marching on in support.  It proved to be a British victory as the Franco-Indian morale broke.

French allied Indians snipe at the British defenders
On Monday at Falkirk and District Wargames Club Dave Paterson, Dougie Kirby, Kevan Bowman  and I played a game on a 6ft by 4ft.  It was a variant of the Sunday game in which I replaced the Militia with more Rangers.  Dave and I commanded the British defenders and Kevan and Dougie the French Irregulars and Indians.  My Rangers engaged Kevan’s Irregulars in a long range duel in the woods whilst sadly Dave’s Regulars were shot to pieces by Dougie’s Indians and Kevan’s Coureurs des Bois.  The morale of the British force broke after less than 90 minutes play!

British regulars start to wilt under the Indian fire - keep the firing line men!

On Thursday I went to Hugh Wilson’s for our big game.  Hugh had converted his Vietnam river terrain into a FIW wonderland with a British fort (mine), a port with a sailing ship, 5 settlements and an Indian village (Colin Jacks) and lots of canoes and boats.

Tim and Donald defending the British central settlements and the vital port - smiling at this point.
Bart Zynda, Donald Adamson,  Tim Watson, and Ray Neal commanded the British and Colonial forces – 3 Regular units, 3 Ranger units, 6 Militia units plus 5 civilians in each settlement.  Colin Jack, Campbell Hardie, Dave O’Brien and Hugh Wilson commanded the French forces – 2 Regular units, 3 Irregular units, 3 allied Indians and 3 savage Indians.   I umpired.   For this game Colin supplied the Indians and the Civilians.  The French objective was to destroy the settlements, fort, port and generally instil terror into the countryside.  The British were all deployed on the table and the French entered from the north side.

On their left the French Irregulars under Campbell  engaged Ray’s militia in a firefight covering their Coureurs Des Bois as they  swam  the river and scaled the mighty cliff to rout a unit of militia before burning the nearby settlement.  Ray tried to bring his other 2 militia into action to retake the settlement but one of them suffered 5 out of 6 as casualties to the Irregulars and broke and fled.  His other unit withdrew towards the fort.

Coureurs des Bois scale the mighty cliff - defending militia having recoiled from the covering fire
Bart held 2 of his British units back at the fort and only had his Highlanders forward who engaged Colin’s French regulars across the river at long range but their supporting fire could not save the settlement that the civilised French Europeans burnt to the ground.  Bart has now written a report on this game at his blog:

British regulars including the elite grenadiers massed at the fort
In the French centre and left Hugh and Dave’s Indians simply ran amuck destroying a settlement and the Indian village on their side of the river and 2 units of Tim’s supporting militia.  Using their canoes they crossed the river and drove of Donald’s Ranger riflemen defending the sailing ship which they then set alight.  Hugh’s savage Indians pressed on and destroyed Tim’s last militia unit and yet another settlement.  Some British friendly Indians arrived to avenge their burning village but Tim had no luck with them either and the savage Indians drove them of the table.  The game ended at that point.  It was clearly a French and Indian Allies victory – they destroyed 4 settlements, the Indian village and burnt the sailing ship to the waterline and inflicted much heavier losses on their opponents than they suffered.

Hugh and Dave's Indians storm the sailing ship held by a unit of  Donald's Ranger riflemen

Burning friendly Indian camp - in distance the sailing ship burns down and explodes!
We plan to adapt the terrain slightly for a follow up AWI M&T game in 2 weeks probably  using a higher proportion of more formal units.

All the photos from the big game with descriptions at

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Last Thursday I went to Hugh Wilson’s for the third evening of our Mekong River Vietnam War 28mm Bolt Action game. I missed the 2nd evening as I was on vacation in Portugal. This game followed on as a continuation of that game. The 2nd evening's action is described by Bart Zynda on his blog at.

As before Colin Jack and Dave O’Brien provided most of the figures.  Colin provided the scenario and the Vietnam buildings whilst Hugh Wilson built the excellent terrain.  We used the rules I developed for a Vietnam game last year plus the rule changes we adopted after our first game.  Campbell Hardie, Hugh Wilson and I commanded the Vietnamese troops and Ray Neal, Bart Zynda and Tim Watson the US forces. Colin Jack umpired.  

The devious Q junk
The NVA and the VC are blockading a US firebase and infiltrating the local villages.  The US players have to defend the firebase, get a relief/supply convoy thru by road to the base, control the river traffic to prevent arms reaching the VC and pacify the villages.   Quite a set of objectives but they have lots of equipment. 

2nd Relief column now with flank cover
Again my VC forces were assigned to block the north road whilst Campbell’s and Hugh’s troops all engaged the firebase.  Bart commanding the 2nd relief column adopted a more cautious approach from the first evening with infantry sweeping thru the jungle on both sides of the road.  I lost 2 squads to take out an Aussie squad.  My third squad managed to re-occupy a village after the column had passed as Bart had not left a garrison behind.  The attack on the firebase was hard fought.  A disguised Q junk moored at the wharf and opened up on the base.  It also managed to set fire to a US river monitor before succumbing to massed fire. 
River monitor ablaze
Vietnamese infantry made massed attacks on the firebase supported by armour.  Their 2 tanks managed to KO a M48 but were both lost.  At the end the VC had taken most of the base but one small section of the garrison were holding out supported by 2 tanks.   They even heroically called down an airstrike by a Canberra on the camp.   Tragically it mainly effected the defenders.  The US helicopters were busy providing fire support, rescuing downed pilots and evacuating casualties.

Burning armour
At the end the game was declared a VC minor victory as they had retaken a village and almost captured the camp though the relief column was getting close.
Mr Ray commanding the massed US airpower
All my photos with descriptions at

Sunday, May 11, 2014


This Saturday I went to the Falkirk Wargames Club's show Carronade 2014.  I supported the SESWC 28mm Bolt Action Normandy 1944 Invasion display game.  Colin Jack provided all the troops from his collection. Hugh Wilson provided the portable sandy beach, the beach defences, the cliff and the lighthouse.  Colin Jack and Ray Neal provided an interesting display of WWII memorabilia while Campbell Hardie and Tim Watson took the lead in playing thru the game. 
SESWC - Anglo-Canadian invasion
Our display was judged 2nd best at the show.Other highlights of the show were the Old Contemptibles really pretty Gleaming Katanas game which won best display, The Iron Brigades ACW game and Kirriemuir Wargames club’s Macedonians versus Tharians ancient game.  The Border Reivers put on their unusual Battle of Trafalagar Square Miners Strike game.
Kirriemuir's good looking ancient game

Old Contemptibles wonderful Gleaming Katanas game

Iron Brigade ACW game
The outstanding PP game for me was the Dam Busters game put on by RAF Leuchars (Veterans).  I really liked it.  Another really novel game from the team at leuchars.  The public get to play 3 of the crew of a Lancaster bomber complete with flying helmets.  I plan to try this out at Kirriemuir or Forfar.
Dambusters - Another crew get briefed for their sortie against the dams - the 10 minuters
My only purchases were yet more mdf bases from Warbases and some extra Great War Miniatures from Worlds at War.  The show was busy.....great to see so many acquaintances.  I will be back again next year.  All my photos from the show on flickr at

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


On Monday I went to Falkirk and District Wargames Club.  Dave Paterson, Dougie Kirby and I played a modified version of the Ackia scenario from The Last Argument of Kings, the first Black Powder Supplement.  This is a very different French Indian War scenario as the French are fighting the Indians who also have defences.   The game is set in 1736 when the governor of Louisiana led a punitive expedition to attack the fortified Chickasaw Nation settlement of Ackia.    

All the French and their Choctaw allies come from the FIW collection of Angus Konstam while the Chickasaws were from my AWI collection.  My thanks to Angus for loaning me his figures whilst he is away in Orkney.

The French regulars
Orders of Battle
French CinC  SR 8

French brigadier SR 7
Veteran infantry
Regular infantry
Militia infantry

Choctaw Leader  SR 7
4 bands of Choctaw skirmishers

Chickasaw Forces

Chickasaw CinC SR 7

Chickasaw Leader SR 7
4 bands of Chickasaw skirmishers

Chickasaw Leader SR 7
4 bands of Chickasaw skirmishers

We used the 66% scale version of the rules.  The entire table was assumed to be forest.   We used the following rules to deal with the issues of forest fighting:
French infantry move at half speed in the forest.  The native skirmishers move at full speed. 
The French infantry gain no cover advantages in the forest – they are still a clear target and get no extra saving modifier. 
No unit gets a cover modifier from the forest in hand to hand combat.  
All units get cover modifiers for the ramparts.
Units on the French side cannot charge the ramparts from beyond musket range.

French infantry close up on the Chickasaw defences
As we don’t have a native village we assumed that the Chickasaw village the objective of the French force was of table behind their baseline.   LAOK suggests using hidden deployment for the Chickasaws.  As an alternative we used the following approach:
I deployed the 4 sets of outlying ramparts/earthworks on the Chickasaw side of the table with a unit of skirmishers behind each.    The French then deployed their 2 brigades.  The other 4 units of Chickasaw skirmishers were deployed in reserve behind their baseline.

French regulars about to charge and take  the forward rampart
How it Played
I commanded the Chickasaw defenders, Dave the French infantry and Dougie the Choctaws.  Initially everything went well for the French.  On their left flank Dougie’s Choctaw units drove back my units helped by my appalling dice rolling.  Eventually all the units in my right flank brigade fled the field.  However I had inflicted enough casualties that Dougie’s Choctaws became a broken brigade and they had to withdraw to recover.    On the other flank the French infantry advanced steadily and the regulars managed to storm the most forward rampart.  However a change in my luck allowed my skirmisher fire to break the militia and shake the other 2 French units which made them a broken brigade.   As both the brigades in the French army were now broken they had to retire from the field.  A Chickasaw victory – a historical result!

More gaming this week - Thursday Vietnam War game , Saturday Carronade 2013 at Falkirk, Sunday Wartime Experience at Scottish National Museum of Flight.  More info here

Sunday, May 4, 2014


It has been a busy week with games.  On Monday I went to Falkirk and District Wargames club and played a small Black Powder Napoleonic game with Dougie Kirby.  We each had 2 infantry brigades and a cavalry brigade.  In 2 hours play I lost my 3 regiment cavalry brigade and my Swiss infantry brigade.  It was a decisive British victory.
Dragoons beat the British heavies but then had to withdraw from the field as a broken brigade

Swiss emerging from the forest - broke not long after.....
On Thursday I was at the SESWC in Edinburgh where we gave the new Osprey rules -  A FISTFUL OF KUNG FU – a first run through.    We played a number of 2 player games.   My Japanese Yakuza gang won the game against Campbell’s  Hong Kong police squad.  Having read the rules after the game it was obvious that we had missed a few rules.   We will definitely try the rules again and I think the activation/reaction system gives a good feel to the play.

My Yakuza gang...

The Hong Kong Police
 On Saturday Colin Jack and Hugh Wilson came out to my place as I staged a second game of my Craonne 1814 scenario.  Colin commanded the Russians and Hugh the French.  I supported Hugh playing the French left wing and umpired.  We played 14 moves during the afternoon.  The French were definitely doing better when we ended than at the same point in the previous game.  In fact the Russian Army was at the point were it had to retire as half of its brigades were broken.  We used the same scenario and OB as before but this time the French had to decide in advance which entry points all their brigades were using.
First French attacks go in.....
The highlight turn of the game was when Colin’s 2 hussar regiments managed to charge 2 French infantry units on their flank.  The French could not react and fought at a disadvantage.   Amazingly the Soumy hussars with 6 attacks needing 3s to hit managed to roll six  1s and 2s and bounced of their Line infantry target.  However the Pavlogard Hussars beat the Old Guard Grenadiers who failed their break test – being stoic they could reroll – but got the same result again and fled the field…….

The glorious and less than glorious Russian hussars charge in....