Monday, January 15, 2018

United snatch last gasp win over courageous Chelsea. A Striker! AAR.

Hello all,

Well I'm trying to increase my blog post frequency so that it becomes more of a habit and I am able to continue posting regularly through out the year. So below is a game report from last Saturday's game of Striker! played at the club with clubmate Chee-Yan Hiew.

I was playing Manchester United. It was Chee's first game (although he had watched a game previously) but he quickly grasped the concepts in the rules and the game was very competitive and as you will see, went right down to the wire.

If you are interested in finding out more about this fun game you can follow the link below or search for the Striker group on Facebook.


The clash of Premier league giants results in tense match.

United and Chelsea met on Saturday in the Croydon Invitational Cup with both sides looking to impress as they look towards the opening of the 2018 season. United was the favourite based on past form and were expected to start the year strongly, while all eyes were on the new Chelsea manager Chee-Yan Hiew to see if he could open the year with a good performance.

The game got underway with United making a move down the left wing but a wayward pass saw the ball out of bounds and Chelsea took control. Immediately Chelsea started promisingly with nice ball movement before being stopped by the strong United defense.

Action gets underway in the Croydon Invitational Cup.

The game then settled down into a battle of the midfields with both sides working well but unable to crack strong defensive play.

The first chance of the game came with a break through by United who surged towards goal but the final pass was overcooked and the Chelsea keeper was able to safely take the ball.

The Chelsea players came in for some rough treatment by the United midfield with Number 8 putting in a rough challenge on a Chelsea mid fielder and receiving a yellow card. The resulting free kick and Chelsea attack was eventually cleared by the United defense and they counter attacked strongly. The break through came in the 24th minute with United scoring off the boot of Andy Cole.

United makes another breakthrough!

1-0 United. Cole works his magic!

A nasty challenge from the United defender but the ref has missed it! The Chelsea fans are not happy!

After the restart Chelsea pressed forward but again they were denied by the United defense who had not been seriously tested so far. Possession then switched back and forth with neither side mounting any promising attacks.

In the shadow of half time United worked a nice passage of play that put the striker with only the Chelsea keeper to beat but the shot was deflected round the corner and United went into the break ahead on the scoreboard but ruing missed opportunities to put Chelsea away.

Missed chances on the day almost cost United the win.

The second half got underway with Chelsea in attack trying to find a chink in United's defensive armour. This passage of play gave Chelsea their first serious chance but the United keeper was up to the challenge and put in a good save to keep Chelsea scoreless. United again rebounded strongly in attack but a miss-communication between the United strikers enabled the Chelsea keeper to again recover the ball safely.
 Chelsea striker's shot is saved by the United keeper but the Chelsea pressure is building.

Chelsea finally got into a groove and mounted a promising passage of play aided by some free kicks from United for rough tackles. Chelsea worked methodically and were able to level the score in the 78th minute with a nice shot from the Chelsea striker.

Chelsea scores the equalizer!

The tension in the match markedly increased with the restart with both sides trying to work a sequence of play that would give them a chance to break the deadlock. It looked like the game would end in a draw after a promising United build up came undone after a pass went astray and Chelsea recovered for their final attack.

However at this critical moment a defensive error saw United intercept a pass and launch into the final attack of the match. This time there was no mix up with the United Strikers combining nicely to put the ball into the back of the net in the 89th minute to secure a 2-1 victory.

United launch a last gasp attack in the dying moments of the match.

A clinical finish by United secures the win!

So United took the three points on the day and probably should have made better work of their chances but Chelsea also impressed under their new manager and a draw would have been a fitting result for his debut. Chelsea can definitely build on this performance as they look towards their next match.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

A Scottish brawl: ECW action in the Battleroom

Well its still holiday time mostly in Australia and so, since its quiet, I can write a few extra Blog posts.

This weekend I had my first game for the year. It was time to get the Battleroom back in action and so with the promise of a fun game and a nice BBQ lunch, I invited my ECW buddies Tom, Richard and Jon for a game of Pike & Shotte.

Richard & Jon were keen to get all of their Scots on the table, so we came up with a fictitious Scottish brawl scenario where two Scottish forces, one Royalist (Jon & Tom) and one Parliament (Richard & myself) were opposing each other. Tom's royalist English and my Parliamentarians added a few regiments to bolster the opposing forces.

We ended up with three brigades per side consisting of two brigades of foot and one brigade of Cavalry.

Here are the opposing forces with Parliament on the left and Royalists on the Right.

Unusually for an ECW game, Richard commanding one brigade of foot and one of horse, chose to deploy his cavalry in the center to punch a hole through the enemy line. As it turned out the cavalry on both sides had virtually no bearing on the outcome of the battle.

A road bisected the battle field and it was obvious that this would be where the armies would clash.
Both sides advanced towards the road with the Parliamentarians winning the race and got off the first volley's of the battle.

On the Parliament right the Royalists had the better of it and held a defensive position on the road with two regiments of foot and a commanded shotte regiment. Poor command rolls slowed the Parliament advance with their dragoons inactive (they would do nothing for the whole battle due to poor command rolls).

Pretty soon a both sides were trading volleys across the road with Parliament having the better of the fight breaking a few Royalist units.

It was at this point that Richard decided to force the issue on his left and charged his line into the Royalists. This began a series of hard fought melees that went back and forth but Richard was slowly gaining the upperhand in the fight.

The Parliamentarians Scots break up the Royalist right.

Following Richard's example, I launched my own foot on the right and broke a Royalist shotte unit but mounting casualties were having their effect. My brigade command continued to fail command rolls requiring he Commander in Chief to come over and issue orders and rally units to keep them in the fight.

Richard finally succeeded in breaking Jon's brigade, although it was very close that both brigades could have broken. With the advantage now with Parliament, the Cavalry charged forward in the center but the Royalists calmly formed hedgehog and repulsed the cavalry. The Royalist cavalry had no room to move and were essentially stuck behind their own forces. They had also split the cavalry forces in two so in any cavalry fight they would be outnumbered.

The Royalist brigade opposing my forces was slowly losing to my units but they still had plenty of fight left in them but with the right flank broken, their center stalled and their left under heavy pressure they conceded the day to Parliament.

Of course with muso mate Jon (guitar) we had to have an impromptu play as a warm up to the battle.

All in all the day was an excellent way to kick off the gaming year with good company, good food and a good game. You can't ask for more than that!


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

We who are about to die salute you!

Do you like…Gladiator movies?

Okay well how about Gladiator miniature games? Well I certainly do, and Gladiators was a nice small project to work on over the Christmas break.

A fellow club member had picked up a bunch of gladiator figures on the cheap and had been talking about getting some games in (and maybe running a short campaign) in 2018.

Old Glory (West Wind) have a nice Gladiator range of figures and so I took the opportunity of a larger Old Glory order to add in a couple of packs of Gladiators. The first pack consisted of five medium gladiators (shield, helmet, greaves) and the second pack had light gladiators (nets etc.)
So, over the Christmas break, after being full up on Turkey, ham, beer and other seasonal indulgences I cracked open the packs and got them based and undercoated.

Painting was in my usual style. A nice neat base coat mainly with Vallejo acrylics followed by a wash of GW Agrax Earthshade. Once dry I then went back with the original base colours and added a highlight.

Here is the result. I am quite happy with the final paint job. The ten figures were completed over a few days.

 So now I had my Gladiators but they needed an arena to fight on. I wanted to make a nice simple arena that would be big enough for games of 10 or so miniatures. A smaller arena typical of ones on the fringes of the empire. I decided on a diameter of 35cm for the arena. I then cut out a circular arena from 9mm MDF board with a jig saw.

I then needed to decide how to mark out the board for movement. This would depend on the rule set we would use for our games. 

Now I have seen quite a number of Gladiator rule sets over the years. Some have used squares for movement, others hexes, while others still just used a tape measure with freeform movement.
In the end I opted to make the arena double sided. One side was marked in 30mm squares. This would be suitable for a rule system like Jugular (Gripping Beast) while the other side was marked out for the rule set Red Sand Blue Sky (Two Hour Wargames) which uses an area movement system.
After marking out the areas I used a saw to score in the lines. 

It was then time to add the sand.
I covered the board in PVA glue being careful not to get any glue in the lines and then covered the board with sand. Once dry and all the excess sand was removed I started painting. 

Painting was a series of heavy wet brushing. I started with Burnt Sienna followed by a 50/50 mix of Burnt Sienna & Yellow Oxide. Then I applied a coat of Yellow oxide and finally to finish I used Unbleached Titanium. I used cheap acrylic craft paints for all the painting.

Lastly I added a few blood splatters for atmosphere ! 😊

Now to get some games in…
Ave Imperator!!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Labyrinth The boardgame my potted review!

I have had this game for just over a year and thought i would post a short review on my thoughts on the game.

Game components are excellent. It really captures the look of the movie and puppets as you can clearly tell by the miniatures which are a joy to paint.

The game itself really does a good job of capturing the feel of the movie with all the notable scenes and locations covered. Of course you find yourself reciting scenes from the movie as you play.

Willing victims...errr participants!

The game mechanics are fairly simple. It's a cooperative game with each challenge generally involving a dice off against a particular characters skill : speed, wit,and brawn.

The rules encourage cooperative play because if two characters occupy the same area they can decide whose skill rating to use for the challenge.

However if a character has fallen into the bog of eternal stench they stink so much they cannot cooperate with fellow characters!

If you fail the challenge you lose willpower and can end up in the Oubliette where you lose a turn but can regain willpower.

The game is a race against the clock. Thirteen turns to enter the castle and defeat the Goblin king otherwise Toby is turned into a goblin!

Overall I think this is a fun family game. It is probably aimed at a younger audience (kinda like the movie) as the mechanics are fairly simple. Older players may become bored after a few games.

The new Goblin expansion adds a few extra rules and should enhance the playing experience.

In summary I would say if you're a fan of the movie you definitely need to buy this game. If you don't "get" the movie I think you should pass.

2017: That was the year that was,and looking forward to 2018.

Hello again and its time for my latest and rather belated blog update!

Gee time has flown since my last post back in August. While the blog was quiet (due to laziness and general disorganization on my part) my hobby and gaming time certainly wasn't. So rather than dwell on the lack of blog updates, lets dive straight into my review of the 2017 Hobby year and cast a soothsayer's eye to the year ahead.

First up: The painting tally.

Well this year, for one reason or another i was unable to match the output of the previous year with only 190 miniatures painted. I also yet again failed to reach my target of 365 miniatures for the year.

On the purchases front i was a lot less disciplined with 535 miniatures purchased although those numbers were given a massive upsurge with the arrival of a certain kickstarter (more of that anon!)

in reviewing my painted versus purchased tallies since i started keeping records (2015) i have managed to paint 666 miniatures while purchasing 1,468. That results in a 45% return on painted figures. I need to work on increasing that percentage this year!

This year my painting efforts focused in the following areas:

Superheroes -28mm
Bush Wars -20mm  - 80s Imagi-nations Africa
German 1/1800 predreadnought ships
Early Imperial Romans -28mm
Labyrinth boardgame miniatures
Gladiators - 28mm
Frostgrave miniatures
Napoleonic Russians - 28mm

So a fairly diverse range of periods and genres.

No major terrain projects were undertaken this year due to lack of time and available space in the garage.

Now onto the gaming:

My Top 5 games for the year:

Some favorites from last year were still popular but other games were a surprise appearance.

Number 5: Chain of Command

I really enjoy this game. I have played it in two different scales, 15mm for Eastern front and 28mm for North Africa. However i haven't played it as much as i would like with shorter games more commonly played on club nights. This is a game i certainly want to play more of in 2018.

Number 4: English Civil War

A regular favourite that gets at least 3 or 4 outings per year. We mostly play this period using the Blackpowder: Pike & Shotte rules but in 2017 I experimented with some rule writing and we playtested a few games of my rules. Some encouraging results but still a few bugs to work out. We will definitely play more games of ECW in 2018.

Number 3: Super System, 4th edition

I couldn't resist the lure of Super Heroes bashing each other and throwing cars. I painted up my own Superhero team and played several games of this fun and exciting game. The game is even better when played on a fantastic city terrain setup by clubmate James Wright (Check out his blog here: ) Another game that should occupy my gaming this year.

Number 2: Frostgrave

Last year's favorite game was still a game that occupied a lot of my gaming. This year will probably involve finishing off a few bits and pieces for my existing collection before branching out into one of the many expansions. I have purchased an MDF Dungeon set for "Into the Breeding Pits" scenarios.

Number 1: Striker!

Striker! is a ruleset for playing football games. Its written by a local chap here in Victoria who is a professional soccer coach. These rules finally gave me the impetus to paint up my soccer players from Eureka miniatures that i had lying around for several years.

The game is a lot of fun and really does capture the excitement of a soccer match. Several players at the club have teams now and one clubmate got really excited and built himself a nice stadium.
We have been working a fair bit with the author on the next edition trying to work out a couple of minor issues with the ruleset and developing some sort of player/team advancement table and a league/campaign system. The author does not appear to be much of a gamer so he doesn't necessarily grasp what appeals to gamers in a rule system. He developed the rules initially as a coaching tool for players.

This year i want to purchase a couple more teams to paint up. I currently have Manchester United and Chelsea, but I think I will add a couple of contrasting colored teams like West Ham Utd or Aston Villa and Totenham Hotspurs or Derby County.

Honorable mentions:

Sharp's Practice Another Lardy gem that I only got to the table a couple of times this year. I need to work on a French force to oppose my Russians and I want to also get into the ACW with SP.
I purchased a bunch of Perry ACW figures in 2017 exactly for SP.

Force on Force This is the rule set we are using for the Bush Wars Imagi-nations gaming in Africa in 1980s. I only managed one game this year but it has some appealing mechanics that I will be keen to try more of in 2018.


I've never been much of a boardgame player, however over the past couple of years i have fallen to the lure of Kickstarter and backed several boardgames. I was able to play a few games this year and definitely want to increase the number of games played. The advantage of quick set up and pack away is a nice feature of boardgames. Unfortunately a lot of boardgames these days are supplied with gorgeous miniatures which are crying out to be painted which means that the unpainted pile isnt getting any smaller!

This year I have played:

Labyrinth the Boardgame 
A nice family cooperative game that does capture the feel of the film and the miniatures are simply lovely! The game is a race against the clock to save baby brother Toby from the Goblin King. In all our games it has gone down to the wire with us saving Toby on the 12th or 13th (last) turn.
I'll post a longer review soon.

Commands and Colors-Napoleonics

I picked this game up in 2016 and finally was able to play a few games this year. It is a really fun and exciting game that gives a nice Napoleonic feel although I am not really sure the firing mechanics reflect Napoleonic battles. However as a tatical challenge its a lot of fun. I am now keen to buy the Ancients version as I think that will work even better historically.

Battle of Britain

Another Richard Borg classic game reimagined by The Plastic Soldier Company via kickstarter.
The kickstarter itself was handled poorly by PSC with poor communication throughout and some serious issues with the plastic planes. There have been a lot of complaints of bent models.
I was able to fix my planes with some boiling water but to PSC's credit they have acknowledged the problem and have taken the massive step of remaking all the planes in a less flexible plastic.
This will be great as I ordered a lot of extra planes to use for WW2 dogfight games. I should recieve the new models sometime early this year along with a large scale map board so I can use croupier sticks to push planes around just like in the movie!

As for the games itself the game components are great quality and the game play is a lot of fun. This will definitely get played a lot more in 2018.


2016 was a huge year for backing kickstarters. 2017 was a bit more controlled. Here is what I backed.

Obsidian 3D Printer
I have wanted a 3D printer for a while and finally took the plunge with this little beauty. It will be delivered sometime in 2018.

Everlasting: The Best Wet Palette

I use a wet palette often in my painting. I have improvised one with a tupperware container but its not perfect. This product looks like it should work very well.

3D Printable Tanks by 3D wargaming

Well since I will soon have a 3D printer, I need some models to print! You can get free models on websites like Thingiverse but they are usually quite poor quality. These models are extremely well sculpted and for a small amount of money i will get a heap of tank models. These models will probably cover the vast majority of models I will need for my WW2 gaming.

Mythic Battles: Pantheon
And finally I had a nice big package arrive just before Christmas. My Mythic Battles: Pantheon kickstarter. I had been so excited waiting for this game and it didn't let me down. The quality and volume of miniatures is simply some of the best I have ever seen! I havent had a chance yet to play it but this will keep me very busy in 2018.

 Lots of boxes! and the miniatures are stunning!

And so looking forward....

Well that was the hobby year 2017. A pretty busy year even if i didn't paint as many miniatures as i hoped.

So what are the plans for 2018? Well in short, consolidation. In my gaming I want to continue to play my existing games. Chain of Command, Sharp Practice and Lion Rampant are three games I want to get to the table more often in 2018. Frostgrave, Striker, Supers etc. will still get a regular outing.
If I do take on any new projects they should be small. Small in size and also small in the amount of time i need to invest to get it to the gaming table.

On the painting front I will still aim for my target of 365 miniatures. I already have several projects to work on which if i complete most of them will put me well on the way to meeting my target.

The current projects waiting in line for this year are:

Bush Wars. I have about a dozen vehicles to finish to complete my UmBongo force.

The UmBongo military expansion in full swing!

Early Imperial Romans. I am aiming to finish a sizeable Roman army to start playing Hail Caesar sometime in late 2018. In my painting pile I currently have about 70 odd miniatures to clear my current Roman stockpile.

SAGA Anglo-Saxon army. I have resisted the Dark Ages bug for a long time but this year I will finally paint a 6 point army. All the figures are bought and ready to go once I finish with the Romans.

Afrika Corps Platoon. I need to make an opposing force for my Desert Rats.

ACW Union army for Sharp Practice. In 2017 I picked up a bargain deal on a bunch of Perry ACW plastics and want to play some raiding type games.

And of course I have over 100 Mythic Battles miniatures to paint, some of which are huge!

On the Terrain making front 2018 will be a year of refresh. My European terrain is looking a bit tired. I want to make some new trees and hedges. Give my existing buildings a bit of a spruce up and make a few more buildings. I use this terrain in so many games so it is overdue for some maintenance.

Likewise my North African buildings are also in need of a refresh. Since we are planning to play a lot more Chain of Command North Africa games this year I need to breathe new life into these buildings.

As for new Terrain projects, I have three in mind. The first is new terrain mats for Europe and North Africa using Teddy Bear fur. I have seen some fantastic results using this material so I have picked up a roll of fur and some clippers and will get stuck into these early in 2018.

And finally my major project that will be useful for ECW and Lion Rampant is a castle!
I purchased a very nice castle from Old Glory but it needs a dedicated base with moat to really finish it off.

So that's it! 2018 already is shaping up to be another busy year. Please check back from time to time for an update.

All the Best!