Monday, 28 January 2013

Ranger Unit

I have finished painting my first unit. A 7 man Ranger unit of Front Rank figures. Only the two kneeling guys are the same, else they are actually all different (its all in the heads).

They have come out in my usual "dark" style, but I am pleased with their overall look. They look like they actually do range about in the woods to me.

The bases still need finishing off, but these will be done in bulk to match them all up. (they will get a dry brush of sandy brown, followed by some greenery)

Apologies about the photo - (had to lighten it up with photoshop) - This will get changed when I get some new battery's for the camera  and some better light too, but I just wanted to show them off a little -

Hope you enjoy, Cheers John.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Musket and Tomahawks Review

As I am sat here ruing the negative degree temperature in the garage where I do most of my gaming, I have decided to write up a bit of a review about the set of rules I am using for my French Indian War enjoyment.

First a little about me, which may help explain my choice for this particular set of rules.

I am currently one of the moderators on the forum for Saga and Musket and Tomahawks.

Studio Tomahawk

Note I am not employed by the company or anything as grand as that. Basically I just help out in a voluntary way on the forum with rules queries and that sort of thing, and generally try to help and keep it tidy and running smoothly. Basically I do this because of my love of the rule sets for my own use, and hope to pass this enjoyment on to others.

One of the advantages of this is I get to spend part of my day reading all the posts there about Saga and Muskets and Tomahawks. This obviously gave me a bit of influence in choosing this set of rule for myself, as it is difficult to assist people with their queries when you do not know what they are talking about at all.

The other thing was I got to absorb a lot of the battle reports and wonderful miniatures that were shown on the site too, which slowly ate into my brain and made me think "Yes! I want some of that"

Prior to taking up Saga, truly "historic" type wargaming was not something I had enjoyed enough of. Plenty of fantasy and sci fi, but as someone who is actually very interested in history (particularly English) I notice I had a huge gap where this sort of gaming comes in. Even my WW2 experiance seemed to be Weird War 2 rather than straight out historical style.

Saga was my first step towards this historic/wargame mix and I have to say, I love it.

Muskets and Tomahawks is to fill the little void I get every time I watch Sharpe, and think that would be great to game. The Era is extremely close, and the scale of the game fits the theme as I tend to envisage it inside my head.
There seems to be quite a wealth of information on the period out there, if looked for carefully too, which for someone coming in with no idea about the period other than a very very rough knowledge that it took place, is quite handy.

Still thats more than enough rambling, lets get onto the Review.

Muskets and Tomahawks - A Beginners Overview.

1 - Whats it all about.

This game covers the periods from the French Indian Wars, right through to the American War of Independence (or American Revolution depending what side of the pond you are on). So approximately 1750 through to 1800 will give you a good idea of the years covered (note this is not a true  historical time scale provided by me, but for my point of view it is good enough to give you a general overview of when it all happens).

So you have the -

French Indian War
The Indian Revolutions
The American War of Independence

It is a skirmish level game, with each figure acting semi independently (they are based in units but can act individually in these units with some restrictions)

Games tend to run in a variety of point scales, from which you purchase the units for your army. 200pts is the  basic starting army size, through to 600 points and more. 400 would clearly seem to be the average game scale to look too. 200pts will get you approximately 21 figures on the table top, al though this can vary dependent on the grade and types of your troops, but as a rough guide I would say that it is a good average. With many of the manufacturers out there now producing box sets and other deals, as a rough entry price cost you can look at about £30 for your army at 200pts. I bought two armys and the rule book, and spent a total of  about £84.00. This gives me two forces to fight with, and all the rules. Not that expensive on the grand scheme of things, and compared to some of the stuff available for gaming at this time, its damn cheap i think.

2 - How does it all work

The game works on a Card driven mechanic. When you select your forces they have a Unit type. These are things like Regular, Irregular, Indian and so on. What this means is you add the appropiate cards provided with the rules to the draw deck when you have units of that type.

For example Indians get 4 cards. So when you have 1 or more Indian units in your force, you add the 4 Indian cards to the draw deck.

The draw deck consists of your cards and the opponents cards. These are shuffled together at the start of a game turn.

The cards are then turned over one at a time. All units of that type then activate on that card.

For example, You have two indian units. When one of your Indian cards is drawn, All of your Indian units may take 1 action.

It is actually a very simple but effective change from the standard I go, you go style of play and tends to lend to some exciting flips waiting to see which units will go next.

Will those Indians get two actions to manage to run right through the open ground before those militia fire upon them, or will the militia go while the Indians are in the middle of the open ground?

What is an action though - well it is actually pretty simple - Move Shoot or Reload.

There are various modifiers and things to take into account, but these are usually pretty simple to work out. Ranges, cover, difficult ground. All the standard wargame things. The rules for these are nothing new, basic d6 requiring certain numbers.

3 - What brings it all to life for me is 

What really makes this game shine for me is the important part of scenarios and missions this system then delivers.

Each player rolls a basic mission they are attempting. There are 6 basic missions in the book. This mission chance is modified by the type of army you have built, so a more scouting type army will be more likely to get an appropriate scouting type mission.

You can then add a "side plot" to this mission. These are separate mini missions which help affect the outcome of the game.

There are also random events cards that can be added to the Decks for even more variation. It may just start raining mid game, or a wild animal could attack a unit as they get too close to its hidden lair.

Basically to coin a phrase used by a few others, it gives a cinematic style game. You feel a story unfolding as you play, rather than just rolling some dice and playing a battle for no reason.

I have developed a strange urge to start naming my characters and units, and writing little story's about them, rather than just placing them on the table and saying "they are rangers".

4 - What you Get for your Buck.

The basic rulebook costs around £24.00.

For this you get the Book, which has all the rules and the army lists for all of the armys.

You also get a pack of cards. You get all the cards required for running a game. You do not need extras.

There is a quick reference sheet you can copy in the back of the book, but this is also downloadable for free from the Studio Tomahawk forum -  LINK - Note you will need to log in to access this in the armoury section though.

There is also a nice army roster sheet available there that one of the wonderful players of the game designed too.

5 - Armys in Brief

A quick bit about the basic army lists that are available -

The basic Factions for the FIW are

British, may have Indian allies

French (also Canadians) may have Indian allies

Indians (pure Indian force)

The basic Factions for the AWI are

British, may have Indian allies, May have German allies

Germans - May be played as a stand alone faction

American - may have Indian allies, May have French allies

French - A limited list more in line with the Germans

Now These are not an in depth analysis of the lists by any means, but it does show some of the many variances that are available for those that like that sort of information.

Hope this is of interest to some of you. I have played two games of this so far, and am immensely enjoying the experience. The games are fun, the feeling is of a story told,and the rules are fairly straight forward.

I do not hesitate in recommending this to anyone to try out.

Cheers, John.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Second Game

We had our second game last night. Again another really enjoyable time. A few more rules were added (or remembered) and it played out pretty smoothly.

The forces this time were 210pts (why the odd extra ten? well my figure collections nicely point up at that score for both factions, Oh and my French are here I have just had one of those weeks since my last post where between life and the snow I just have had no time to do anything fun).

British had - 210pts

Mission - Slaughter, Side plot - I will never forget his face (The French Indian squad leader)

Regular Officer
10 x Regular Infantry
7 x Rangers
6 x Indians

French had - 209pts

Mission - Scouting mission, Side plot - Friendship (don't kill the British officer)

Officer de la Marine (French officer with the light troop officer upgrade)
10 x Compagnies Franches de la Marine
6 x Chasseurs
6 x Indians
Plus the French received an extra 21pts of civilians -
Civilian Officer
8 x Civilians

Here is the table all set up and ready, with the figures ready to deploy  -

The Civilans deployed their officer in the WIP Perry farmhouse, and the bunch of 8 sat by the barn behind some light fencing.

The British put their regulars and officer coming up the road, the Indians took the left flank through the woods and the Rangers advanced across the central field.

Most of the first turn consisted of movements, with an couple of incidents of note.

The regulars pushed the civilians back with some long ranged fire, killing two and making them flee (no actions for them this turn as their cards both ended at the bottom of the deck)

The rangers managed to creep right up upon the officer looking out the doorway, and shoot him down from their vantage point in the centre wood.

The Indians advanced into the big woods on the left.

The French had a bit of a mixed bag of a turn. The Indians came on the (my) right flank behind the barn and into the woods there. They did pick off a Regular, who stood firm (I noticed barring bad dice these guys are very hard to shift)

The Chasseurs advanced up the left flank taking cover in the field behind the stone wall.

The Marines and their officer went Irregular for the game, and moved across the centre next to the barn.

Their firing was petty good and another Regular British fell, where upon they recoiled (ah said bad dice roll).

Overall it was a bit of an odd turn. 3 civilians dead versus 2 British regulars. Of course it wouldn't be one of our games with out extreme oddness to come.

Here are the positions after turn 1 -

Here are the fleeing Civilians

Look at those sneaky Indians. "where? I can't see them). The view from the recoiled regulars.

Meanwhile the sneaky British allies do their Indian thing, hoping to hold off the Chasseurs.

Game turn two began after I went and made the tea while Stuart shuffled the deck. Now the oddness began.
Somedays randomness is just weird to the max.

Basically The first load of card that turned where all French. Then the next Load of cards were all French, and the next. Somehow Stu had managed to shuffle the deck (you can see him doing it in the end of turn 1 photo) and get all bar 1 Indian card onto the top of the deck.

The result of this, was basically he did a lot of movement and shooting and reloading while I drunk my tea lol. 

The civilians moved into cover behind the barn, the Chasseurs took up position behind the wall shooting one Indian, The Indians blasted my regulars down to two men (who still refused to budge) and the Marines shot my Rangers taking them down to 3 men.

Finally the Britsh cards arrived. Now I knew I had the majority of the activations coming up, so played to my missions -

The Rangers advanced trying to get to the civilian unit and also to push the Marines back, only their aim was clearly shaken and they failed in this task.

The Regulars and the Officer went head long straight at the Indians, The troops ready to sacrifice themselves for the Officers life if need be. they got to 2" from the Indians and the officer prayed next turn cards would arrive so he could charge his side plot nemesis.

The Indians on the left moved into point blank, shot at the Chasseurs, killed just one, then Threw their tomahawks, felling another before harging into melee, 5 Indians vs 4 Chasseurs.

A bloody combat ensued, With the Indians killing all the Chasseurs  for one loss. 

Sadly the Turn was at an end. The British Morale card was plugged into the deck as losses where high enough from this turn.

Here is the table at the end of turn two-

The regulars and their officer are ready for a rumble with the Indians.

The Indians are looking at some civilians thinking "we can see you"

The depleted Rangers tough it out in the open, oh dear!

The next turn Began. It looked good for a minute. The British Indians went first and unleashed a couple of shots at the distant Civilians. Sadly no hits were forthcoming and with that my slim hopes were dashed -

On the other flank, The Indians got a reprieve and their card came out before the Officer could charge home. They unleashed some Tomahawks, killing the two Regulars, and fled back through the woods. They really did not want to have to fight my officer in hand to hand it seems. (this was the funny result of stu's side plot)

The Officer got the next action and moved slowly through the woods desperate to catch them and avenge his (side plot) honour.

Next up came the British Morale. Oh Oh!

It was better part of Valour time it seems. The Officer routed off the board (It sounds better to say he clearly got lost in the woods ). The Indians decided they had had enough slaying today and also routed off the board.

The Brave Rangers only fled. Hah so no activations for them.

We called it a game here. A Major Victory for the French was declared.

What a great game it was. It ebbed and flowed from one side to the other. More shall be coming soon.

I will also add some pics of the French too when I get a chance, More great Front rank figures.

Again Comments and suggestions are more than welcome, finally, here is the shot of the end table, see those rangers run.... 

Cheers, John. 

Thursday, 10 January 2013

First Game

Played my first game last night. 200pts British vs Canadian(French) set in the FIW genre.

Stu and I both greatly enjoyed it. Much fun was had by both players. It was that good I realised afterwards I had only had one smoke break during the game, and had neglected my photography efforts a little. I did capture a few images though which I will include.

British Force -

Regular Officer
10 x Regular Infantry
6 x Rangers with sharp shooter
5 x Indians

Objective - Scouting Mission
Side plot - Let us thwart their plans!

Canadian(French) Force -

Canadian Officer
7 x Canadian Militia
7 x Canadian Militia
8 x Provincial Infantry

Objective - Engagement
Side plot - Emotive

Here is the table with the scenery all ready (armys are not deployed yet, just there at setting up) -

And here are the cards all shuffled and ready. Sleeves were supplied free by a friend. Oh dear...

The Canadian force deployed spread across the table, militia and officer by the buildings, provincials in the centre  and militia heading into the wooded area, whilst the British had to move on from their edge.

Now I do not think this is not going to be a very in depth and stunning report I am afraid, I was too busy having fun and checking the odd rule to take notes (or lots of pictures) so apologies.

Basically the British advanced their Regulars and Officer up the centre of the board, the Indians advanced diagonally through the field on the left, and the Rangers took to the woods.

After a bit of jostling for positions, The regulars spotted a chance and opened fire on the Provincial unit.
3 Provincials died, and they fled back towards their lines. You can see them running in the following picture, although the poor Regular troops had gotten a bit decimated by fire from the Canadian militia and officer behind the wall. The regulars remained steadfast in their position though. A few reloading's had taken place before the picture was taken. 

Fortunately the Regulars kept the Canadians busy for a while with their stubborn refusal to break, so the Indians had chance to slip across the left side of the board  and nab a scouting objective for the top corner.

Here are the Indians slipping there way up the left flank -

Meanwhile on the right flank, an epic fight between the 6 Rangers and a unit of 7 Canadians was brewing. Sight was finally gained between the units and shots rang out in the woods. A couple of early hits pushed the rangers back, but they came forward again(next turn) and managed to shoot a couple of the Canadians and then get the drop on the Canadians with a charge. Melee was very brutal. The 4 British Rangers butchered the rest of the Canadian force without taking a hit back. I don't know what Stu did here, but his dice just died completely. Mine, unfortunately for him were suddenly on fire.

The rangers pushed on and secured the other top objective point. At this point we went onto the next turn(3)

I needed to get off the board from my edge, with my forces now.yet still kill more Canadians to make him take reaction to get my side plot. Stu need to kill 6 more of of my men to end it this turn.

The Indians and Canadians took all their activations speeding down the flanks back to my board edges.

In the center battle raged, with the Canadian forces taking the edge. They killed all my remaining Regulars and the Provincials then gunned down my officer at point blank range. Fortunately for me though before this occurred I had taken out enough of the Canadians and his officer to make him require his morale card to be added to the deck next turn. So was mine though. He needed to kill one more figure to win outright there, but had run out of actions to do so.

The next turn started and The British got lucky and headed back to their lines with Indians and Rangers. the Indians left the table, Then the fates intervened - The Canadian morale card came up. His units held, and the dice were kind, but it was too late, next card saw the rangers leave the table.

Final score was - Decisive Victory to the British.

It may of said decisive on the tin, but man it was so close to not being one.

We did not use all the optional rules and left a few other bits out too as it was our first try at these rules (Stu had not even read them) but as I say, we both greatly enjoyed it. I think it can only get better from here.

Thanks for reading this. Any comments or thoughts are more than welcome, 

Cheers, John.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Not too much by way of reporting today, as I was out playing D&D this evening.

One more ranger has been completed, the leader figure, so that is two rangers finished and one Indian. Still a few more to go but they are coming along.

I also received one of the Perry Farmhouse kits in the post today, which I cheekily got my friend to spray brown for me whilst we were at his for the D&D, which will speed up my painting time no end once its assembled. I figure a light dry brush and then a nice wash to blend it all back will see it pretty much done once its assembled. The plan is for a more rustic look for this.

I also got notification my French are in the post, which if I am lucky means they will arrive tomorrow.

As I have my first game tomorrow this would be rather handy though it does mean I will be spending the early part of the evening sticking them to bases. Still I have some proxies to take their place if they do not arrive.

I am really looking forward to trying the game out. I shall endeavour to get photos and write some sort of report of course.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Today I decided to paint one of the Indians. I also made a start on a couple more of the rangers, but only to pass the time between work on the Indian figure.

I was very pleased with how he turned out. A very nice figure, and the level of detail is quite astonishing. I hope I have done him justice.

Here is a close up of the face, it shows the face paint well, which shockingly actually came out just as I was trying to get it to look. The faded patches where the skin shows through are deliberate to make it look worn.
I am amazed it worked so well, the hard bit will be replicating the look on others. We shall see how I get on I guess.

 Finally another picture of the first ranger, all varnished and ready for basing. I shall do that by unit though so they get a matching look. I have made the mistake before of doing half a unit here, half a unit there and getting some slight colour differences on the base. (The picture did not come out all that well, but I will put it up as it does show the hand correction, even if the face does not show up)

Thanks for looking, again any thoughts are welcome and appreciated, John.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Well the boys have been cleaned up (very minimal flash and mould lines I have to say) and stuck to some bases (renedra 20mm squares) that I had from my plastic Saga stuff.

I have actually started painting too. The first guy I have done is one of the Rangers.

It is actually quite handy taking the photo as it has shown that the right hand and the face still need a little touch up to finish him off, which I must say I did not notice before the picture.

Once that has been done, I shall crack open the varnish then get some pumice on the base.

Now I do not profess to be the greatest painter (or photographer) by any means, but I do not think he has come out too badly, and seems to fit the period quite well. Your comments and observations are most welcome.

I will list paints and stuff for the pro's, but I use such a mishmash its not going to be that useful -

GW Catchacan Green
GW Scorched Earth
GW Boltgun Metal
Taimya Flat Earth
Taimya Brown
Some random makes Brown Ink (very very dark stuff)
Privateer Press Coal Black
Privateer Press sanguine red
GW Blood Red
GW Elf Flesh

That was about it for this guy, some of these paints are a bit old too (10+ years), but well they still work and mix well. I suppose its just what I am used too.

Cheers, John.

My British have arrived from Front Rank. I was very surprised at the great quality of these miniatures. Front Ranks webstore pictures really does not do any justice at all to these miniatures.

Here are some pics of the force straight from the packing -

First we have my Regular Unit, with the Army Officer. As they are hopefully to be used in a firing line, I went for just two styles of figure, the front rank kneeling, and the back rank standing. I just thought it would look more "uniform" on the table and show their regular infantry nature more.

Next is my Rangers, I went for a hunting shirt theme on these, and got a second welcome surprise as it turns out there are two slight head variants in two of the poses I picked. This means I can field a Unit of six that are all individuals when my extra 2 Indians arrive. (I have one extra of the kneeling guy)

Finally are my Indians. Again they have the Hunting shirt theme. I have two more of these coming to round the unit up, one of which is standing firing, and other one kneeling firing. These were probably the biggest surprise to me in the sculpting, as they really do not look that great on the shops site, where as they are actually very nice indeed in my opinion.

Here is a shot of the whole lot together.

Well now I have something to start getting ready. I shall base them up and slowly start exploring their paint work.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Well I got carried away again. I have ordered up some French to take on the British.

More Front Rank Figures. I also added a couple more Indians for my British force.

The French will have two options of play -

The primary list will be -

10 x Regular Infantry
6 x Chasseurs
5 Indians

Total @ 200pts exactly

Or the Secondary list of (my friend expressed an interest in these) -

Officer with Light Troop Officer and the Elite  upgrades
8 x Compagnies de la Marines
8 x Compagnies de la Marines
6 x Indians

Total @ 199pts

The British will now stand at -

10 Regular Infantry
7 Rangers
6 Indians

This will give me a little playing about room with them (not much, but some), but will lead into easier expansion I believe.

I was seriously tempted by the special Indian deal from North Star, but resisted, so I was not all bad to my wallet. I shall try and sell something first before this ends, and if so.....

Well I have found a few links to various companys doing 28mm FIW and AWI so I thought I would put them all in one place -

NorthStar which has the following lines that I saw -

Official Musket and Tomahawks Line

Crusader Line

Then there are -

Redoubt Enterprises


Front Rank

Warlord games

Perry miniatures

Wargames Foundry

AW Miniatures


Parkfield Miniatures

Hinchliffe miniatures

Irregular Miniatures

Calvacade Miniatures

Dixon Miniatures

Fife and Drum Miniatures
My blog for my Musket and Tomahawks adventures.

Just before Christmas in 2012 I picked these rules up.

As it is now 2013 I thought it was about time to start one of these here blogs about my experiences.

So far, no games played, but the rules have been read and digested.

I have ordered up from Front Rank my first army. British, the list is -

Regular Officer 25pts

10 x Regular Infantry 80pts

7 x Rangers 63pts

4 x Indians (with the Auxillery Trait) 32pts

Since I have ordered this however, I have had a couple of chats with a very nice american chap called Jay, who has helped with some advice. Namely, do not take little 4 man Indian units as they will run fast.

So when I order my French (working a list for this) I will add a couple of Indians to round up the force and provide some variation.

I have got a game booked for Wednesday the 9th January, so looking forward to that. I will try and get a solo game in before then to trial the rules out.