Saturday, 20 February 2010

Polemos - Napoleonics

A quick note on Polemos while I think about it. Not really a review, just some thoughts.

First thought. I think the approach of the rule mechanics. So much so that I thinking (somewhat idly) about another period from Baccus. The Seven Year War is looking interesting as is the War of the Spanish Succession.

Second thought. 6mm figures are a lot to paint. I made a mistake in buying sooooo many infantry in one go. Now after painting a large Russian army for Flames of War I though I had my production line techniques sorted, but these little guys really tested it. I am trying to figure out how many I painted but it must be in the order of 800 infantry alone!

To be fair it is more of a colouring-in exercise than truly painting (though there are some 6mm artists out there), but still.

The figures are actually quite cheap. It is just the investment in time.

By the way - 6mm figures on the Polemos 60x30mm bases look fantastic. No doubt. Pictures to come.

Third thought. The rules are really pretty simple. They play well and are, all-in-all, easy to learn. There are ambiguities - as expected - but so far common sense has generally cut through the problem and we have moved on.

I have now played two real games and I am still on the learning curve - and I can feel that curve flattening off already. Really nice work - considering my new found requirements for simple, playable and good games that can be retained between monthly games..

Recommended. Check them out at Baccus miniatures.

Thought of the Day

I was reading the latest White Dwarf today and made an interesting observation. Don't worry, I have not turned back to the Dark Side.

I was reading a battle report for some Warhammer Fantasy Battles game and realised that they pretty much just crashed into each other after an initial setup phase. Now while this might be typical for Warhammer Fantasy (it was pretty much tactica de jour in 40k) it struck me as odd. Why? I have started playing 6mm grand tactical or strategy games. At this scale - on the same sized table - manoeuvre is necessary, but also an important part of the battle. This sort of manoeuvring is what really tips the advantage. The combat plays out in a pretty straightforward fashion. After all - how detailed can you get when one base represents an infantry battalion?

This follows on from a related discussion on the 6mm Yahoo group about initiative mechanics in rules, and the relevance of these rules to reality. There were various positions being taken, but the thing I took away was that historically position (and the prior manoeuvring) often gave the initiative.

So we come back to the Warhammer Fantasy battle report and by association 40k. I now understand something that has been bothering me about the Games Workshop rules. The bulk of the "manoeuvring" is represented by the initial placement and so represents two forces that have just made contact. Not necessarily contact with sharp and pointy things, but enough contact to draw up battle lines. Any remaining manoeuvring is cramped and somewhat incidental I think. I may be underselling the GW stuff a little here, but it does seems a little contrived now. As a result games are decided by the will of dice - not particularly tactical or strategic, other than a rock/paper/scissors style stacking of odds.

The realisation for me - was that I appreciate the opportunity to manoeuvre prior to contact. Whereas Warhammer Fantasy & 40k put you in the position of T-1 turn before first fighting, a ruleset like Polemos can give you 5 or 10 or more turns before contact. Plenty of time to consolidate position or drive some advantage. Now I appreciate this may prolong a game, but to me it seems preferable to grunt-rushing the enemy.

I like it. :)

[[includes some minor edits for readability]]

Monday, 28 September 2009


It has been a long time since I posted. So long some people prodded me about the lack of recent posts.

So suitably chastened and with some spare time, a new post.

The absence has largely been due to a lack of things to report. Lacking motivation and inspiration I have not been painting anything. What shook me out of my wargaming funk was a game of Wings of War. I have been playing the free rules, with a house rule or two and have had an absolute blast. I played the full rules once or twice and apart from the damage cards, I think it pushed it a bit past optimum playability.

The game mechanics are so simple and easy to learn that you end up focusing on the tactics - dogfighting WWI aircraft. This is not to say that it is an easy game to master, just an easy game to learn. This is what makes the game so good and a real revelation for me, coming in from DBM, WH40k, FoW and so on. For the first time a while I was enjoying the playing of games, as much as I normally enjoy the painting. Reminds me of something the Too Fat Lardies say: play the period, not the rules.

Some more on WoW in a later post.

Now I should point out that I still enjoy playing NUTS!, but I am a bit worn out with WW2. Seem to have been playing that for ages and was getting a bit stale.

One of the BIG clubs members posted some news about an award nomination for the Songs of Drums and Shakos (aka SDS) rules from Ganesha Games. In short Napoleonic skirmish rules that have a good simple mechanic that delivers a good game. These are definitely at the "game" end of the "game-simulation" spectrum. But if you are like me - you want to get in a few games in a club day, not spend most of your time with your nose in a rule book. I picked up the basic mechanics in about two rounds of play and otherwise had to look up a couple of factors from a sheet from time to time.

As a result of playing a couple of games I have a set of figures on the table from the Peninsula period. I have:
  • French Voltigeurs
  • French Old Guard (these guys are terrors on the table :)
  • Black Watch Highlanders
  • Portuguese Cacadores
I have some pictures in the camera, so more about these figures and their paint job in the future. :)

These rules are available as online PDF purchases and are great value. The interest in these rules has spawned a broader interest in the Ganesha Games rules. So at the club we now have people playing Songs of Blades and Heroes (SBH), which are the original rules and are a fantasy set. The Mutants and Death Ray Guns (MDRG) has also proved popular for general sci-fi (with some adaption), inlcuding a few Dr Who games. :) I have certainly found some new uses for my idle WH40k figures.

The SDS rules introduced me to Napoleonics in general and as such I also got interested in the grand tactical scale of game. The Meeples and Miniatures blog has taken a look at the Polemos rules for this period. Normally a skirmish gamer, the M&M blogger has taken well to Polemos Napoleonics, a 6mm rule set, which was encouraging for me. So on that note and a couple of other reviews I bought the rule book for a proper look. I liked what I saw and I knocked out a set of cardboard commandos for intro gaming.

A couple of games later and I think it is a good game. The manoeuvring is slower and the combat is more decisive than I expected. That said the rules seem to give the correct feeling for the period (noting that I am a period newbie) and an appropriate level of detail for a commander - be it of a corps or an army. So with a partner in crime I now have a set of 6mm British (and Portuguese) figures from the Peninsula to play against his French. They have only just arrived, but there will be plenty of material about their painting in the future. 6mm should be... interesting.

Saturday, 14 February 2009


Once again it has been a while since I have posted. I blame work. Again.

Anyway at the last club day I managed to get in two games of NUTS! using my Russian and partially painted Germans (pictures of them soon).

Apart from the usual fumbling with new rules it went very well. The second game was very quick as the reaction tables were quite easy to remember. We got the usual number of rules wrong which changed the game subtly I am sure, but all in all it worked out very well. The main rule we missed was setup time for a moved LMG. As a result we had guys bouncing around the table like Arnie, shooting from the hip with MG-42's and DP-28's. A bit funny when you think about it.

Funniest event of the game was a misthrown grenade by the Germans, that somehow managed to ricochet of a Russian helmet and hit a German group some distance away and take two men out. Not sure we interpreted the rule correctly here, but certainly a funny and somewhat cinematic outcome. :)

As a result of those two games I am thinking about terrain, extra infantry, and some vehicles. Otherwise some scenarios are in order, probably as a campaign sequence, that can be played in a typical club day.

If you have not given NUTS! a try, I recommend doing so. It is the nuts. :D

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Russian Rifle Section

With the arrival of the Peter Pig figures (so many figures so little time :) I have been able to complete the two rifle groups. I also put the finishing touches to the busted T-34 I have.

The figures' bases have been modelled with patchy snow in hollows and under bushes. It is pretty generic sort of basing, so should be good for most scenarios. Plus the presence of some snow supports the wearing of greatcoats - so far only on the LMG gunners.

So here they are together, the first rifle group inspecting a destroyed T-34.

Points for picking the Peter Pig figure in there. But you cannot refer to past posts. :)

Updated to include a larger size image on request...