Usually when a Blogger hasn't posted for a while, there are excuses about not feeling the muse or getting out of the habit or not having anything to talk about but in my case - I've been fucking busy!
Busy busting my gut trying to get stuff built and painted! And all you have to do is look at the pretty pictures in this post and you'll see that I managed to get it all done!
Hooray for me!
As you may already know, I'd offered to run a game of Chain of Command at my local club, The Devon Wargames Group's Lardy games day which basks in the wonderful title of Clotted Lard II. I decided to set my game in the North West Frontier of India in the turbulent 1920's. I also decided I was going to host 4 players (I looked upon games with only two players with wistful feeling of envy during the day) so I was going to have to provide the requisite forces for them all. Things were going swimmingly, you may have seen my Highlanders and my Sikh's for the Imperial Indian forces and I'd also completed some of the Tribesmen for the opposing force. I'd completed the Fort and some buildings for terrain and so I figured I was cruising along at quite a decent pace.
Next up was the rocky hills of the North West Frontier. While perusing the Lead Adventure forum, I came across an excellent technique for building rocky hills and immediately pinched it. The basis for the hills is blue expanded polystyrene cut into the correct shapes and glued onto MDF bases.
Then, using a hot glue gun, I glued bark chippings to the foam in order to build up the rocky texture. I took a couple of attempts to get it too look right but I found that gluing them as densely as possible gave the right look. I then used a tub of premixed filler to fill all the gaps so that as much of the foam was covered as possible. This was a messy old business and my garage floor is covered in splats of the stuff.
Once that was dry I then used sharp sand that I has sieved to get different sizes of rocks and then textured the rest of the outcrops with small rocks and sand. Liberally covering areas with PVA and then sprinkling on the small stones and then doing the same with areas where I wanted the sand. The whole thing then got a spray of watered down PVA in an old kitchen cleaner spray bottle, to make sure that everything sticks, and left to dry.
Once dry, the outcrops/hills got a generous coating of brown masonry paint with a blast of dark brown spray paint in the recesses where the blue foam suddenly became really obvious (I know the risk of melting the foam but by this stage everything had had a couple of coats of PVA and the structure was fairly solid so if there was a bit of melting it wouldn't matter).
Once the masonry paint was dry it was time to rip open the tester colour samples (£1.50 a tester, although they have started selling them in little tubes with sponge applicators which makes things a little trickier than the old pots). I started off with a couple of tones of grey and then added Egytian sand (or something like that) and worked up to a light rocky colour, dry brushing as rough as you like. I then went over the bottom third with a lighter sandy colour to help blend into the mat a little more, I could have gone lighter but I was happy at that stage.
And then I got the fateful email from Bob, some games have dropped out, can I take an extra player? I was straight onto the internet ordering more figures. I figures the quickest delivery and fastest to paint might be the Perry's figures, so I ordered another unit of figures and a little mountain gun and set about reorganising the Tribesman forces, hoping that I'd counted everything properly.
I knew I had to complete another section of Sikh's and I still had 29 tribesmen to finish before I could tackle the new arrivals. I dumped the plan for a Biplane that I had just finished building and instead added a mountain gun and crew to the Indian forces.
It doesn't look it but this was a pain to build and I'm bloody amazed it isn't superglued to my fingers. This still needed painting and so did it's crew!
I lashed out some Jump off point for the Tribesmen after toing and froing between ideas for months...
And prepped up some civilians and scenery pieces to make the village look lived in (did i tell you I also decided to do a couple of more houses and sets of walls plus I decided I need a new set of roads, yep, I'm an idiot)
So the Mountain gun got finished...
And so did the other one...
And the last 10 Tribesmen...
And the villagers and scenic pieces...
And the rest of the board was raring to go...
2 Armoured cars
2 Pieces of artillery
10 scenic pieces
13 Rocky outcrops
5 Road sections
8 Jump off points
and one cup of tea.
All that was left to do now was run the games!
Being an alert and attentive type I was positive that the day was due to start at 10 and so when I rocked up a 8.45 I thought I had plenty of time to set up while chatting to the other attendees and drinking copious cups of tea. I was therefore dismayed to find that we were due to start at 9 and I had to get my arse in gear!
That being said, it all went really well. All 10 players had a great time, even the ones that had never played Chain of Command before.
I had half inched some of the rules from the Chain of Command Abyssinia Supplement (not an official one but still recommended) that give a better feel to the reactions of irregular troops. Essentially, the motivation of the tribesmen rise or fall depending how well they are doing and this motivation adds or subtracts to their rolls when they take shock. Unlike other, regular troops, Tribesmen don't carry shock from phase to phase, instead the test each time the take a certain amount of shock in a single phase, if they roll badly on the test they may either be pinned (an then spend ages trying to unpin themselves) or they might just run away, making the very sensible decision that being shot as isn't fun.
The Indian Imperial force were looking to force the Khan of Pahndland and his erstwhile allies away from the Fort of Magutsabad and capture of kill the Khan if at all possible.
The Tribesmen were trying to give the British Dogs and lackeys a bloody nose, chasing them back to the Punjab and at the same time secure the weapons and ammo the Imperialists had secured in the village.
In the First game, The Highlanders decided to secure the village in attempt to push through onto the road while the Sikh's took to the hills and tried to take on the Tribesmen amassing there.
The accurate shooting from the tribesmen took it's toll on the Lewis Gun section that had taken up position on the roof of the building at the edge of the village. Tribesmen on foot and on horseback swarmed towards the village.
Another section of Highlanders debussed and headed across the village to try and get onto the roof of an adjacent building, seeing their chance, the mounted tribesmen charged down the main road in the town and massacred the stranded section as the corporal fumbled around in his pockets for the keys to the house.
Only two of the horsemen survived the battle and they left themselves easy pickings for the Lewis Gun section on the rooftop. Nevertheless, His Majesties forces had been given a nasty surprise. However, the sound of British made petrol engines soon heralded an change in fortune as the two armoured cars moved through the village catching two of the groups of Tribesmen as they attempted to follow up the cavalry into town. Hammering at the startled tribesmen with their twin Vickers guns, the poorly armed denizens of the Frontier were soon running back to the hills.
On the other flank, the Sikh's traded shots with the Tribesmen, both were trying to pin down troops and it was obvious that the Tribesmen and the Khan himself were playing a cautious game and deciding not to commit too many troops until they saw which way the wind was blowing.
Eventually the Sikh's were successful and pushed up the side of the valley, capturing one of the Tribesmens deployment points and causing their morale to drop dangerously.
To counter this, the Khan and is Ally deployed their followers on the ridge outside the Fort and poured fire down into the beleaguered Sikh's. This was countered by deploying the mountain gun to try and clear some of the ruffians out of the rocks. But in a surprise move, the Tribesmen deployed there own artillery piece and fired before the Loyal Indians had a chance to do likewise....the old Tribesman lowered the taper to cannons to touch hole and ....BOOM!...it missed by a mile.
This left a clear shot for the Indian crew and a very tempting target. They took their time and weren't about to make the same mistake as their opponents. The shot wiped out the old artillery piece and it's crew and dropped the morale of the allied tribe to zero. They fled the field. With both of the Khans allies in tatters and the Armoured cars heading up the road, the Khan decided he'd rather fight another day and headed to the hills himself.
Phew! And that was only the first game!
In the second game the Imperial deployment was reversed with the Sikh's deploying into the town and the Highlanders scurrying around in the Rocks.
One Warband was stuck in the hills outside the town, taking punishment from the Sikh's but never quite enough to break them. They took the occasional pot shot at the armoured cars with their antique Elephant gun but failed to destroy the noisy brutes.
The Highlanders managed to Pin one group of tribesmen in the hills. They're chief spent most of the game trying to get them to move forward but they were having none of it. The Sikh's deployed the mountain gun on the roof of one of the buildings in attempt to answer the long range fire that was coming their way from the tower of the Fort but it didn't have the desired effect.
The Tribesmen in the hills steadily ramped up the pressure that the Highlanders were under and the Sikh's moved out to try and take the deployment point on their flank, only for it to be snatched away from them. In a bit to try and push the Tribesmen back and take advantage of the pinned group in the middle, the highlanders moved forward, putting more of them in the firing line.
Two brilliant games with 10 brilliant players. All my hard work was totally worth it, especially when Lardy Rich called a bastard for the second year in row when he came over to look at the games.