Saturday 26 October 2013

Sleeping at work.

Luk came to work the other day having had to have a haircut. He wasn't very pleased with the result -- especially all the people who gathered around saying "What happened???" so in the end he refused to do any work and went to sleep curled up around Cuddly Badger.

All together now... Ahhhhhh!!!!....

Saturday 12 October 2013

Spiffy Tokens for Flintloque 3

We're switching to using FL3 largely to avoid the faff of written orders. However, instead of orders it needs a lot more tokens -- especially if you're planning to have no scribbling or notes at all.

I though this would work much better with some proper tokens (rather than photocopied things stuck to cardboard). When I found a UK supplier for the 15mm round wooden disks which are used as game pieces in 'German' style boardgames a solution was becoming obvious...

They sell them individually in various colours or big bags of 50 each of 6 colours. The colours will help distinguish the tokens;
  • red - wounds.
  • yellow - status markers.
  • green - turn-long markers and Command Points.
  • blue - activation.
  • black - dead.
  • grey - objectives and shaken.
I was also going to use blue for hit tokens (the idea being that all blue tokens go at the end of a turn) but actually that was a bad idea because it's hard work telling hits from activations. I'm re-doing the hit markers in pink (because they become red wounds later..)

I also ordered white for some of the undead specific markers; sooner or later there are going to be Zombies...

So the next part of the problem was how to make the actual token parts. Laser-printable sticker sheets are the answer here; they're like address label sheets but don't have any scoring on them. You just print where-ever you want.

I didn't really fancy cutting out that many circles -- for a two-section game you need 20 Activations, probably 20-25 "Wound", a bunch of "Dead" markers, maybe a dozen "Unloaded" and so on. It adds up quite quickly -- and I want to be doing big games of 3 or 4 sections a side (otherwise where would the chaos come from?)

Fortunately, I found on Ebay a place selling various scrap-booking punches -- including a half-inch circle. Punching out the circles from sticker sheets is easy -- you turn the punch upside down and then you can line the hole-punch up and click it through.

(I'd like to emphasise I did not pick a pink one. They just come in pink. Apparently these things come in different colours depending on the size of the hole.)

The sticker sheets can be a little fragile, so in practice I tend to put a couple of sheets of scrap paper behind them.

The tokens themselves then needed designs. Fortunately, since I'm a software engineer, firing up a text editor (GNU Emacs) and writing a bunch of PostScript solved that problem.. the PS converts easily into a PDF which can then be printed. Pixel artwork is a bit of a pain in raw PS; and even drawing stuff is fiddly and time consuming. Fortunately, we're talking about half-inch diameter circles; there's not a lot of room for extra stuff. So actually it worked out that I could get most of the way there by using a decorative font and using the text of the token itself as the artwork.

The PDF files containing the tokens is free for downloading if you fancy using it; it could also be used to create tokens by either gluing printed sheets or printed stickers to sheets of thin foam (available in hobby stores in loads of colours). Or just use cardboard, but you miss having the colours then.

It's actually taken me a while and a couple of iterations to work out what tokens are needed; I can't, for instance, see why one needs "Misfire" -- that's just an "Unloaded". Or "Critical Hit"; you turn a critical hit into a bunch of "Hit" tokens and those are the ones you need. Nor can I really see what the "Double Length" initiatives are for...

(If I'm wrong on this, please let me know!)

So after those, and then adding some extras -- objective markers, fire, blown up and, of course, "Gold!" that fills a sheet. I've started on a second set of markers for various skills which need their status recording and undead markers. And the "over the hills and far away.." is, of course, the marker for a musician who's playing this turn... :-)

And how spiffy have these turned out then...?

More Flintloque Painting

Over the last few weeks I've been painting my way through the figures I stripped from their original painting and assembling them into usable small groups. There were also a bunch of figures still in various blister packs -- I bought a job lot of them from somewhere in the 90s and they're something of a random selection . I recently picked up another similar batch, which included several limited-edition figures which are no longer available. Sadly a couple of them have been damaged by years in storage but the repairs aren't beyond me.

While ordering a rulebook from AA I rounded out the remaining units with small packs, so they're currently in the assemble/undercoat pipeline.

Onto the painting output; These groups were originally 200pt groups for FL 2 but it seems 300 is roughly equivalent for FL 3, so I've redone the organisations a bit, helped by a Python script which compiles unit description files into a PostScript printout which then turns into a PDF and which is then overlayed onto the FL3 unit roster, so we get neatly filled in sheets and I don't have to add up all the points values by hand.

French Elf Grenadiers

The grenadiers are made up of an Elf from the Slaughterloo officer pack, several regular line figures with their pompoms removed and the Elf figures from Sharke's Victory. Interestingly, I ended up with two of one of those characters. In order to make them less obviously duplicates in this unit, I gave one of them extra baggage in the form of some packs out of my spares box and a lute -- no idea where this came from, but it just fits nicely into the character of these figures.

The grenadiers round out my Elf 'regiment' of two line sections, one grenadier and one voltigeur.

French Elf Lancers.

These are just two blister packs. At 233pts, they're a little understrength; even with swords as a secondary weapon (to avoid the -2 melee penalty after the first fighting round). At some point I'll add a Captain and they'll be a nice unit.

Orc Dragoons.

These are another two blister packs. They're the survivors of a Dragoon unit which was hit by artillery fire -- that's why there's three on foot and only two mounted. A mix of veteran and experience with pistols, carbines and swords, they're 292pts.

Orc Officers on Foot.

The foot officer in a pelisse is from a blister pack of officers, and the Duke and O'Toole are from Sharke's Victory.

Mounted Orc Officers.

The unnamed officer and Hogan are from blister packs and the mounted version of Wheeling Turn is from my copy of Slaughterloo.

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Flintloque with Regular Infantry!

So after the last game, in which we learned that elite cavalry are brutal, we had a go with regular soldiery. This was also our first game with more than two players. I think it worked out well, but we are going to have to start doing orders with tokens. Dan sent in pictures because I never remember to take any...

Mission: Capture the Farm.

British: Brought a unit of 8 Grenadiers (average/regulars, a captain, sergeant, a flag, a drummer and four lads). Along with them are 8 Scots Rats (mix of raw/reg and exp/reg, they have a captain and a piper).

French: 10 Voltigeurs (a mix of experiences, led on this occasion by a Sergent) and a Ligne company (10 Elves, led by a Lieutenant).

By dint of Dan and myself being say on different edges of the table we kind of defaulted into a valiant two pronged assault while the Elves lounged about brushing their hair.

Rats Advance!!
The rats, brave but never the sharpest lollipops in the kitbag, formed into their traditional pack formation and headed off towards the Ligne. Who, you may not be able to tell from this picture, were skulking in the woods as pointy-eared fops are wont to. Loading their muskets.

Orcs Reach the Farm Wall
Meanwhile the Orc lads head for the farm. Capt. Aylesbury leads the musketeers to the wall where they exchanged some boring and pointless gunplay with the elves on the wall opposite. Well. It was pointless for the Orcs. The Elves were hitting things and cheering..

Colour Party Moving Around the Farm.
The rest of the Grenadiers advance up into cover and try and work out what to do next. Unfortunately there's only three of them so the thinking is difficult and the answers are not immediately forthcoming.

Less Rats Advance!!
The rats huddle together while moving -- like that's going to protect their decreasing numbers from a section and a half of elves throwing lead at them with varying degrees of competence. Eventually the survivors close on the Voltigeurs and try to bite them. It doesn't go well. The elves outnumber them enough to simply hold them down and stab them. Ow!

Several Rats cannae tek it na mo' and run squeaking. One is later hung by the provosts for leaving the field without the correct paperwork[1].

The Orcs Make Their Move
Captain Aylesbury decides that the gunfire isn't working (in the sense of; Orc muskets are like Orcs -- loud, but not actually very effective at shooting) and clearly the Orcs were going to come off worst against the better musketry.

Instead he leads those Orcs armed with suitable weapons on a charge across the courtyard to fight the Elves face-to-face. There's hacking with swords and spontoons, but the wall in the way reduces the effectiveness. Eventually[2], Sergeant Dunstable remembered that he's a Grenadier and that he brought grenades!! In the most effective move of the battle he hurls a bunch at the Elf forces and in a crowning moment of awesome, hits the Voltiguer section leader. As the world is filled with the pitter-patter of bits of Elf falling from the sky, the section takes a morale check and an Elf runs away. (He is also later hung by provosts for not sticking around until the final whistle.)

But it's too late. Having shot, stabbed or routed all the Rats, the Ligne company is now rounding the farm and the brave Orcs are desperately, desperately outnumbered. The ones in the courtyard continue to run about waving swords and bayonets, but every turn they're not in hand-to-hand, there's a batch of Elves thumping them with close range musketry and the ground is getting thick with bodies.

Now, in our defence, when the game ended, the courtyard was actually held by an actual brave Orc. But he was outnumbered about 15 to 1 so he wasn't a particularly good candidate for longevity. And we did also save the Colours: Ensign Lootin decided that beetling for the table-edge was the better part of valour. But sadly the farm really does seem to belong to the French and at a surprisingly small cost to them.

(It's OK, we'll shell it tomorrow...)

[1]A note from his mum.
[2]He was promoted for his ability to unimaginatively stick to the rules.

Sunday 8 September 2013

What I Did On My Week Off.

People seemed fairly keen on me having some time off. And to be honest after the stressy year I've had, I needed a break as well. So what did I get done? Well, I tidied up the garage a lot and shredded mountains of paperwork dating back to the mid-90s for a business that I no longer run...

I also bought a car. My beloved old Hyundai, mere weeks after having a new clutch and a recovered gearbox fitted (to replace the one which shredded itself), once again started to make a funny road-speed-related thrumming sound. Something expensive about to fall off type sounds. So I decided it was probably time to follow all the advice that I should buy a new car (or at least a less elderly one).

I also managed to get WAY loads of Flintloque figures painted.

After discovering that veteran light elite figures are murderous, we thought we should revert to using regular line infantry, so for 200 points each;

Britorc Centre Company of
9 Privates and a Lieutenant

Britorc Grenadier Company of
6 Privates, a Sergeant and a Captain.

Highland Scots Rats Centre Company of
6 Privates, a Captain and (of course) a Piper.

Ferach Elf Centre Company of
9 Soldats and a Lieutenant.

Another Ferach Elf Centre Company of
9 Soldats and a Lieutenant
Wow. More Elves are on the painting table...

Tuesday 3 September 2013

Wheat's Louisiana Tigers

I fancied doing a slightly unusual unit for the ACW skirmishing.

I wanted to do a reasonable sized unit as well so for $400, Wheat's Tigers.

Most of the time these guys get represented on the table as Zouaves, but only 1 of the five companies were equipped as Zouaves -- and then only at the beginning of the war. The other companies were outfitted in "salt-and-pepper" weave trousers, red firemen's shirts and both fezzes (which they apparently left in camp) and straw hats. I really liked the idea of the straw hats, so that's what I did them with.

The figures are Redoubt with 'bare' heads and the straw hats are a mix of plastic and metal parts from Warlord's ECW range.

There's a bunch of riflemen, a sergeant, lieutenant, drummer and flag-bearer. All the riflemen are Zouaves (higher pluck than regulars); it turns out that in larger LotOW games, it simply gets too annoying trying to have different skill/pluck ratings within the units, so the recent additions are units with all the figures the same. It makes it a little more tricky to juggle the unit to fit the cost, but I think it's worth it for the better playability.

Monday 2 September 2013


Flintloque comes with the ten elves posted below and six Orc riflemen including the famous Sharke and Harpy.

Now they've got their flag, you can have a look;

The figures are, of course, AA and the flag is from Redoubt who do a pack of flags especially for Sharpe-based stuff (two colours for the South Essex and this 95th Rifles pennant). The rest of the rifles (including another Sharpe!) are still on the painting table.


I painted these a bit ago but they've got bored waiting for me to finish the opposition and photo them all in one go... they're the rocketmen, from the 1950s TV series "Raddigan's Rocketmen" (read a description of the series).

The eponymous hero, Colonel Raddigan, CSM Vickalovich and the source of all the series' technobabble: Sergeant Zigby.

Captain Ousterman, Smithson (a hand-to-hand combat specialist) and in the background a two-man heavy machine-gun team.

A squad of six rocket infantry led by a Corporal.

The figures are from Scheltrum via the B&B at Salute and are picked and armed to make 100, 200 and 300 ratings units for 7TV.

Monday 13 May 2013

A few weeks back we had another decent size ACW skirmish game and Dan grabbed some pictures. So here I am shamelessly stealing them for the blog...

So this is a decent way through the game -- the objective is to take and hold the crossroads which is in the centre of this image hidden by the trees.

The union main body -- a few sharpshooters and some line infantry commanded by a major -- have taken the walls around the crossroads. The yellow dots are marking figures eligible to shoot. In games this size it starts getting hard to remember who moved, who's unloaded etc without some markers.
The confederate main advance is moving down the road towards them while more infantry shelter in the woods.

Meanwhile, once gain on the right flank, the Zouaves are engaged in another slog against more line infantry across another cornfield. (I swear I really have bought the flags for these guys now... they just arrived after this game).

The game ended with the main confederate body having reach the crossroads, but both flanks dissolving under fire -- on the right from some Feds armed with repeating rifles (which it turns out are dead handy for this sort of thing) and on the left by simply being outnumbered. Another couple of turns and they'd have been surrounded, so it was a pretty much a weak victory for the Union (because they took a lot of casualties to get there).

Finally, after all the weekends spent working, got back to painting. This is a section of Elf Voltigeur for Flintloque -- the guys at the club are up for having a game. As ever, if I provide the figures.. :-)

They're actually from an original edition box set I picked up ages ago at a Bring&Buy at (I think) Salute. I got Sharke's Victory and Deadloque 1st ed ages ago when they were relatively newly released, so when I saw a reasonably priced base set considered it a bargain to get the actual rules.

Painted with a mix of VJ and CDA with Army Painter washes. Still need bases doing, but it was late Sunday before I'd got the colours on.

Next weekend I'll have a bash at the Orcs to go with them. Then we can try it out. And then if it flies, I can paint the other couple of hundred quidworth of figures which are stored under my table. Some of them are still in the original blister packs...