The Roaring Northerners are Dave Stewart, John Hill and Iain Robertson; a loose affiliation of tabletop wargamers and figure painters who inhabit the frozen and somewhat soggy wastelands of west central Scotland. Shadowy and secretive, they stoically quest to reduce the scale of the lead mountain that threatens to engulf them all, and perhaps even find the time for the occasional game...
....This is their story

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

The old Champion.

That was the first thing he noticed. The boy wasn't heavy. 16 or 17 summers at most and still a good two years away from his full strength. Someone who didn't know what they were talking about had also told him he was fast, and he had believed them. The boy was all toes and bounce, sway and move. Well, all to the good, he'd seen off light and fast often enough and he'd do so again. 
The boy's mail shirt was just a bit too big and the helmet looked uncomfortably, a bit too tight. Who was he covering for? Father? Older brother? This certainly was not the hero he had been led to believe he would be facing, but sometimes it happened. Oh well, if this was the best they could do, so be it. Shake off the beer haze, concentrate, this was not the man, this was not the day. Growl and clash axe on shield. Give the locals crowding around the edge of the ring something to marvel at. Not one in ten of them knew what they were watching and not one in a hundred would be any better than the boy, but their baying, foul-breathed, spittle-streaked reek was what mattered today. 
Time was when the dance came easy, when the tricks weren't needed and the killing was simple. But that was a long time ago, before they added "of the hundred battles" whenever his name was mentioned, and when he could have drunk twice as much as he had last night and still been able to fuck the serving girl, regardless of whose daughter she turned out to be in the morning. Time was. But times change, and now it's all about not offending, making treaties and keeping alliances. Until some mud-Jarl with two and a half goats and a stinking little burgh to his name gets ideas above his station and one of his sheep needs to be slaughtered to show him who is in charge, that is. Then the old champion gets called out again and all is forgiven once more.
The boy is getting bored of circling, he can sense it. Watch the eyes, watch the eyes, here he comes! Whoa! Spear point snaking! So, he is a bit quick, but he falls away badly to his right and his shield grip is poor. Does no-one teach these boys any technique anymore! Shake off the beer haze, concentrate, this is not the man, this is not the day. Pose and growl, get the crowd going, draw him in, don't chase him. Here he comes again! Spear point snakes in low this time, not so much fall to the right, but the footwork isn't good and the power isn't there. Just as well because he is quick! 
Shake off the beer haze. Time to slow this lad down a bit. He tries to come in low and fast again, so step in hard this time, pivot and slam the shield boss up and out. There is a metallic crunch and the boy reels away, blood already showing on the side of his face next to the helmet cheek piece. That'll do it! 
This is not the man, this is not the day. The boy's pride is hurt, it's in his eyes. He circles a while to clear his head, but he recovers fast and he comes back in quick and hard. This time the boy's defence is better the shields crunch and grate and the spear point snakes in again, this time over the top. But the axe is starting to sing in the old champion's hand once more, like she used to. She sings and bites and the spear head falls lifeless. 
The boy throws away the severed spear shaft and draws his sword. Now he will have to fight in close. Time to finish this. The boy comes in off a three step run, fast and airborne to give the sword slash greater force, but the old champion has seen it all before. Drop, down and forward, shield up, axe swinging in a perfect arc, biting into the boy's left knee. It buckles, almost sliced through. He falls away unable to support himself, agonised surprise on his face. The old champion continues the axe's swing, pivoting his whole body around and accelerating the singing axe head. The boy is still falling as the axe kisses his neck just below the ill-fitting helmet. 
This was not the man, this was not the day. Strut and growl, clash axe on shield, make sure the onlookers know what has happened here today, as the boy chokes and squirms his last on the bloody grass.What was it they called him? 
No matter. 
There will be another man, there will be another day.

David Stewart.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Flame out, prepare to eject!

In the search for something meaningful to base a scenario round for Force on Force, I've been working on various waifs 'n' strays for the cold war. First on the list, a couple of RAF aircrew, who are most assuredly not having a good day.

Figures are modern Elhiem, painted up to give the impression of 1980s RAF Germany types (not strictly accurate, but good enough for 3-foot distant).

I can forsee some sort of scenario, whereby the pilots start the game in the middle of the table (possibly moving about randomly with the aid of a scatter dice, until they enter optimum range of either side), with a NATO rescue party closing in from one side and a Soviet sweeper team from the other, with the objective of carting the luckless aviators back to their respective table edges (with the neccessary dependents penalties being enforced on whatever unit currently has custody of the fliers).

It does, however, still remain for us to get a sufficient handle on the rules to allow basic gameplay, before we get totally carried away with ourselfves...


Show Report- Carronade 2015

May sees Falkirk District Wargames Club’s annual Carronade show up at Graeme High School, always a cracker of a show if you can get along to it. This year was no different with 5 halls packed with traders, demo games, participation games, painting competitions, bring-and-buy and a generally great atmosphere.

I was up this year just as a punter, and took the opportunity to grab a few snaps as I wandered round…

A very nice looking desert board, with apologies to the club
responsible, I've waylaid my notes with who you are!
A truly beautiful Vietnam layout, featuring loads of airpower,
just what I like to see!
The civilian vehicles were also a winning touch.


Kirriemuir Wargames Club's outstanding St Albans board

Hall 1
Towton, a wonderfully snow Lion Rampant board,
featuring a 2-D terrain mat. I'm not usually a fan of these at all,
but this looked really good.
Hall 2
A seriously impressive 54mm Napoleonics game
Bolt Action in Stalingrad with the EK Warlords

Another Bolt Action board, this time in the Far East.
Extra points for that Rolls Royce!
Centre Hall
Hall 3
RAF Leuchars Veterans, always a great display from these guys
ACW isn't really my bag, but it never fails to look impressive
on the table, here with some wonderful artefacts
to add to the flavour....

Unfortunately, some of the pictures I took have somehow corrupted in transferring them to the PCs, so apologies to those I have missed, notably several traders, the 54mm mediaeval game and Bathgate Wargames Club's Skull Island game (definitely an award there for most colourful game!)

A great show, and as ever I was relieved of a not insignificant amount of cash through the wide array of shiny goodies on offer (which may one day morph into painted figures and terrain...).

Many thanks to Falkirk District Wargames Club for a wonderful day!


Battle Report- NATO Central Front, Northern Germany, 1986

A rather belated update of a game from a few(!) weeks ago, Force on Force Cold War...

After a dismal first showing several months ago (admittedly with only one BAOR section each), Dave and I decided to have another bash at the Force on Force Cold War rules up at the East Kilbride Warlords club, this time with a proper force on each side. I had command of the stalwart BAOR on the defensive, while Dave held the reins of the WarPac juggernaut, in the shape of his Czechoslovak Motor Rifles.

What followed was a far more entertaining game than last time round (still interrupted with copious amounts of book-checking and sucking of teeth and muttering, but definitely less than last time!). We probably skipped over more rules and game mechanics than we intended, and over simplified much, but this time it definitely seemed to flow better, even if we did do a lot in the wrong order and forget to do half of the things we should have done. Who knows, maybe at some point we’ll get a proper game in, and actually use all the bells and whistles properly?! (Who are we kidding…)

Anyway, on with the pictures of shiny toys. Transport yourself to northern Germany, it’s 1986, Active Edge has been called and the balloon is well and truly skybound at a fearsome rate of knots.  We join the Queen’s Own Atholl Rangers on the Forward Edge of Battle, anxiously awaiting what is about to tear out from the eastern forests…

Central to the Czech armoured onslaught was Dave’s newly painted T-72, which promptly drew all sorts of MILAN and Charlie G fire, and thus quickly succumbed to the first rule of miniature wargaming…

Callsign 211, apparently in some confusion as to what way they should be facing…

A Section move forward, covered by some Yeomanry types…

… while B Section and a MILAN team anchor the opposite flank

A Blowpipe team pressed into service in the surface to surface role. We counted it as a Charlie G, similarly, Dave’s lone SA-7 operator became an RPG-7.

Plan A did not end well for the Yeomanry…

The T-72 proves rather more effective as cover than it did as an unstoppable dealer of high-explosive death…

…while Callsign 213 manoeuvre through the woods

And then there were 3…

Platoon HQ, not doing a great deal.

Tank action!


As for the result, after a hard fought slog, the BAOR managed to grind the WarPac advance to a standstill mid-table, buying time for a NATO regroup further west, and allowing the orderly withdrawal of forward elements. Or something like that.

What did we learn? 1. Dave needs more BMPs 2. Charlie Gs > MILAN, you, your mum and your dog. Czechs rolling on D6s struggle to match BAOR on D8s; either they need heavily reinforcing (we should have let the casualties re-spawn at the table edge) or the die qualities need adjusting. All in all though, good fun and certainly made more sense this time round!