Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Prussian Purgatory

Into the tub they go...

Life hasn't been allowing much leisure time for messing about with toy soldiers of late, but with the prospect of some time off in march there is every possibility that we might get a game in.  With that in mind, I've been prepping some Prussians with a view to maybe getting to the CCN epic Waterloo scenario. 

These boys (and their pals) were part of a lot I picked up before Christmas on eBay. They weren't amenable to rebasing, so I tried a trick from Tony over at Toy Soldiering On. This involved soaking the bases in water for a couple of hours.

After an hour or two. 

And as it turned out it was super successful.  These are plastic figures unlike Tony's Wargames foundry boys and so there was a slight problem that the figures float when placed in water. But a little judicious weighting worked wonders. 

Looking pretty good actually. 

I've always considered rebasing a bit of a wargamers Purgatory. It is the dull exercise one must go through in order to reach the promised land - and I will do practically anything to avoid it. However these figures were too good a bargain to pass up and have turned out rather well I think. I am very grateful to Tony for this trick. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Great War Map


It appears I miscounted

I stated in my previous post that the map for Great War is thirteen hexes by eleven and it would appear I was talking through my hat. Here's a quick screen shot from the gameplay video.  It is in fact twelve by eleven. I presume there's solid gameplay reasons for this, but I had so hoped it would be a standard board size. 

Interesting to note that the trench system is notional. Great War trench systems were generally more complex and zig zagged a bit more, but this makes things easier for a modular tile system. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Kickstarter: The Great War

I may be the last chap on the Internet to hear about this, but be that as it may in case there is another poor soul out there that hasn't heard the good word, I thought a brief blog entry was in order.

Behold the next ruinous assault on my pocket book!

The Great War by Richard Borg is the latest installment in the Commands & Colours series of games. Produced by those fine fellows at the Plastic Soldier Company it is a board game in a box allowing players to play out the bloody battles of the Great War using the tried and tested Commands & Colours system. The game itself is being launched on Kickstarter and you can find it and an explanatory video here.  There are twenty nine days left to back this project, so there is no rush.

For anyone who is unfamiliar with Kickstarter, it is a organisation that allows companies to gather finance for projects from large groups of small investors. This can vary from project to project, but folk have used it to finance films, expeditions, exhibitions, art projects and games. In the context of Great War, what you're doing is pledging money (about £50) for a copy of the game which will be delivered when the game is made. 

Observations on what we know so far.

- The game will use a standard Command & Colours setup, that is a board with hex tiles on it and 1/100 scale plastic figures. Combat will be resolved using the standard bespoke dice.

- One rather clever aspect of the design that isn't mentioned explicitly  in the KS is that the card markers appear to be double sided.  The wire markers have shell holes on the reverse which would appear to indicate that the terrain setup can be altered by bombardments. Very clever if true.

- There will be a hundred odd 1/100 (15mm in new money) scale figures in the box and the initial release will cover the British (hurrah!) and the Germans (boo!).  The French, plucky Belgians, Russians and other expansions are in the works. Americans will be presumably two or three years off.

- Looking at the game play video, the board is a little different from previous Borg games, measuring as it does thirteen hexes by eleven (damn you Borg!).

- Lastly and I think this is an example of Kickstarter maturing as a platform - there is no doubt about it this game is getting made. The game is already written and playtested.  If I've learned anything from speaking to Richard Borg it is that he playtests his games rigorously and over a long period of time. The gameplay will be solid. Secondly, the figures are already in tooling and the boxes are being produced.

This is a type of project is being produced by a company with a proven track record that is so far as I can tell using Kickstarter as a means of marketing their product and limiting their financial exposure, which is fair enough.  KS is a great means of harnessing the enthusiasm of your audience because prospective investors are motivated to push your product to others because of the mechanism of stretch goals. 

Every KS project has a minimum funding target.  If that target is reached, at the end of the campaign, Kickstarter will give the project organiser that pot of cash (less KS fees) and the product will get made.  On occasion, a project will be wildly successful and will garner more investment than it's initial target. As the organisers most likely want more money, they create stretch goals - boundaries at which they will add extra stuff to the project. For example, The Great War is looking to raise £25,000 and will add two additional scenarios if they raise £35,000.  These extras will be added to everyone's pledge if the campaign raises the requisite amount of money. 

The stretch goals for The Great War are as follows. 

£25k base target
£35k 2 extra scenarios exclusive to Kickstarter set
£55k metal command figure sets exclusive to Kickstarter set
£75k replica Princess Mary 1914 Christmas tin, for storing cards and dice
£100k plastic Mk IV tank
£125k plastic A7 tank
Looking at these, they seem quite conservative to me - which is good. Previous Kickstarters have landed themselves in hot water by promising more than they could deliver and have either lost money, some so much so that they collapsed, or were subject to serious delays.  Even if all these stretch goals are achieved, I don't see there being any major issues with the putative delivery date of June/July. 
Now obviously, I'm generally on board for any Richard Borg produced game - but in this case in particular, this looks like a solid game, produced by a professional operation that is capable of delivering on its promises. I'm curious as to what the next few weeks will bring. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Thirsty Red Lancer

The Red Lancers or to give them their full title, the 2ieme regiment de chevau-leger lanciers de la Garde Imperiale, were a light cavalry regiment in the Imperial Guard. This chap is from Master Box and was done up by our fellow in Budapest, known only by the top secret code name, "Krisztian's Mate". 

The Red Lancers were originally hussars of the Royal Dutch Guard, but were taken were later taken into Napoleon's Imperial Guard in 1810.  They marched into Russia in 1812 and suffered massive losses, but were reformed to serve on through 1813-14, though lacking many of the original Dutchmen. 

I think you can agree that this is an extraordinary piece of work.  Perhaps this fellow is taking refreshment during the retreat from Waterloo. The Red Lancers escorted Napoleon away from the fatal field of Waterloo.  No doubt it was thirsty work. 

The reins in particular are just a fantastic example of the modelers art. The Belgian housewife is an interesting study. I'm not sure if she is looking wistfully at the Lancer, as all the nice girls like a man in uniform, or simply waiting for this unwelcome intruder, still reeking of horse sweat, blood and gunsmoke, to be gone from her home. 

Who can say?