Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Leader of Men

So I just received and read a set of mini rules from Task Force Publishing, , called "A Leader of Men."

Looks very good on first read.  Has several features I like such as a strong command and morale mechanisms and otherwise simple firing and movement mechanisms.  The other thing I like about the rules is there is no need for special rules for Germans behaving differently than Russians or other silly fluff.   A German Rifle-mg stand shoots and moves like a Russian rifle-mg stand.  Differences between forces are covered by the various morale and quality ratings and the turn-activation sequence.

The rules do use card activation, which I don't usually care for when it is just a rules gimmick, but the designer of "A Leader of Men" thought a lot and designed the game around the card activation system.  The game will tend to draw focus and action on where the fighting is most intense (i.e. stands are closest) and if  this focus is not getting a player closer to his objective, then in effect the player has lost control of events and will need to strive mightily to shift the focus back to where it needs to be.

The game runs by pulling a card, a player activates a unit that then takes morale checks, rally checks, moves and fires and can modify these actions with the unit commander's command points.  Sort of like the Ambush Alley or Two-Hour Wargames sequence, but the whole things reads a lot easier and should play easier.  At least for someone just starting a set of rules.

The rules do suffer from multiple terms for the same checks in both the rules and quick reference sheet which serve to confuse the reader.  But a careful reading of the examples included in the rules will clear up that confusion.  Also, the movement rate for infantry does not seem be defined anywhere in the rules but I'm sure an email to the author or the game forums would reveal that answer.  Over all, the rules will receive no award for the best written, but the designer's intent still comes through clear.

It looks to be a wild and woolly game system with units (platoon of 4-8 stands) being easily affected by morale and command problems but, if not quite as easily, also brought back on the firing line.  A players troops, under the stress of combat, may decide to fall back or go to ground despite what the owning player wants them to do.  Makes a player want to keep a small reserve to exploit those times when the enemy falters and you need a fresh force to throw into the breach.  Or plug a whole in your own defenses when a well placed artillery rounds takes out your key MG nest.

Basing is general so forces bases for FoW, Crossfire, or Poor Bloody Infantry will work well.  Typically, these rules use 3-5 figures mounted on a stand.  Individually based 28mm can work to by just keeping 3-5 figures in base to base contact to represent a "stand."

I look forward to running a game with these rules one day soon.

Paining Up Soviet WWII Troops

Over the past week, I've been very busy . . . Partisan Brigade, 4x KV-85, 6x T-70, 6x BA-64, 2x GAZ-67, 4x Wagons, 6x Limbers.  Vehicles are Battle Honors/Quality Castings 15mm, partisans are Eureka 15mm.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

More KV-85 and the Photo Setup

Worked with the Canon Rebel to see if I could get decent shots of 15mm infantry.  Nothing worth posting so far.  Going back to my Olympus 3MPixel camera, I got some better shots of recently painted armor.  Again 15mm Battle Honors/Quality Casting models.  Need more focal depth (treads out of focus) and need to straighten that barrel!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

WWII Soviets and a Better Photography Setup

Been busy this past week painting Soviet vehicles. Also setup a light box to improve photography but I still need to work at it some more. Light is uneven because of two different wattage bulbs (I'll correct that tomorrow), and still working on the camera settings. Camera is an old 3 megapixel Olympus. Once I get that camera squared away, I'll try the Canon Rebel SLR. Ooo-yeah. Anyway, here's some pics. Minis are all Battle Honors/Quality Casting 15mm.

HMGS Movies-

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Score on The Border

We are currently in our "January 1525" Campaign Turn.

Here's the score from Raids and Hot Trods along the most murderous border . . .

Raid #1: The Bournes sent two Heidman agin The Armstrangs. The Armstrangs were plundered, lauched a Hot Trod and were kicked to the dirt, lost a heidman that was ransomed back. Score: Bournes +95, Armstrangs -91

Raid #2 The Armstrangs sent Sim Armstrang to raid the Bournes. The Bournes rode down the hapless Armstrangs in a very Hot Trod. Score Armstrangs -84, Bournes +95.

Raid #3 The Scotts sent 3 heidman a-raidin upon the Bournes. Score Scotts +97, Bournes -37

The other riding families stayed home near their warm hearths.

So after one month of Border Mayhem, the cumulative scores are:
Bourne: 153
Scott: 97
Patton: 0
Charlton: 0
Hapless Armstrang: -175

Players need to give me their heidman assignments for February 1525

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Bloody Borders

So far we have one Sunday of raiding in. The Bourne's and Armstrang's have traded raids with the Armstrang's coming off the worse. We still need to carry out the raids by the Scott's. The Patton's and Charlton's are staying home and guarding their borders. So far the Bourne's lead among the plunderers.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

British Napoleonic Infantry

I'm painting up more British Napoleonic Infantry, but this pic is of some very nice AB Minis I ordered from Dragon Painting Service in Hong Kong. I based them.

Soviet WWII Infantry Regiment for CD-TOB

This past weekend I felt the need to build up my Soviet WWII force in 15mm. Cranked out a two battalions of infantry along with their regimental HQ and companies. Based for Command Decision Test of Battle. These are pictures of the Regimental HQ Troop.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Starting a new project, 15mm Napoleonics. First up are British Artillery. Couple thousand more to go. Figures are Old Glory 15's.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The latest Moss Troopers are done. And here are all their little friends, too.

Friday, April 10, 2009

How to Identify Troops

So with Border Reivers, there was no uniform to show a particular affiliation. How are players to know whose troops are whose in the middle of a big melee? Any ideas?

I've read that groups would wear armbands of a particular color to show affiliation, but also these colors were known so troopers carried other colors with them if they needed to change sides quickly! I'd rather not paint armbands though.

Maybe a particular colored rock on the stand?

More Border Reivers

Painting up some more Border Reivers. These are from the Dixon "Flodden" line of miniatures.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Bastle House-Finished!

Lt gray and bone white shade, some green shading on patches of grass. Viola.

Bastle VI

A couple more gray shades on the stonework and dk sand over the ground.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bastle House V

A little more shading and color before shading with tans and greys

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bastle House IV

Bastle house with first shade applied. Nothing too dramatic yet.

Border Reiver Rules!

The rules I'm planning to use for upcoming Border fights are at

These are free rules with simple battle set-up and campaign tracking. We should be able to get in two fights in a 5-hour session.

Basically each player in the campaign game will be a Border family and start out with five "heidmen." A Heidman being a senior or trusted or influential member of the family. Each campaign turn, the player will assign his Heidmen to either raiding (name the targeted family), or guard the hearth (stay close to your land), or guard the border (be ready to pursue any reivers). Then all the raids will be fought out involving raiders and those guarding the hearth, and then "hot trods" will be resolved involving any raiders and border guards. Loot is counted, captives ransomed.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Bastle House III

Bastle House primed with raw umber acrylic paint.

Bastle House II

Bastle House "as received."

Bastle House I

Bastle Houses from "Grand Manner" are getting painted up. Bastle houses were unique to the English-Scottish Border. When Reivers were about, the locals would lock their livestock in the ground floor and retire themselves to the first floor. The ground floor was secured by stout doors that would take reivers some time to get through. The first floor also had stout doors and small windows. With a slate, steeply pitched roof, the Bastle House was secure from quick entry and arson and slowed down any Reivers until help could arrive.

Reiver Miniatures

Vendel and Dixon Reivers all ready to go. 18 mounted Reivers, 71 foot Reivers, 10 Infantry, a few civilians. 11 mounted Reivers to be painted along with a dozen or so more foot Reivers.