Saturday, June 27, 2015

In Praise of Facebook

Every fortnight for the past 6 months I've been getting together with a few blokes on Wednesday nights to play games. I have finally achieved what I've wanted for years - a regular games club where I'm not teaching and supplying everything (as is usually the case at the school club). Instead, I look forward to our club - Odin's Night - as a chance to hang out with a great bunch of gentleman gamers and play relaxed games of SAGA, Battle Group and whatever else takes our fancy.

Why the title of this post? Odin's Night came about through Facebook. Last year I decided to make a concerted push to try to get a games club happening. Frankly, I really needed it for my mental health, so with the full support of the Duchess I started looking at the practicalities. The first problem was finding a venue. I investigated a couple of local halls, but found myself suddenly looking at considerable expense and the need for public liability insurance. Sod that.

Meanwhile, I put a couple of posts up on Facebook asking who was interested in a regular gaming club. Straightway I had a couple of former students, now friends, reply. What I wasn't expecting though was that I had two colleagues from work approach me to tell me their partners were into these sorts of games but didn't have anyone to play with. Could they come along?

After a false start trying to use a local gaming venue that suddenly closed down, we also found a home. The nice people at Good Games at Chatswood were happy for us to use a table or two on Wednesday nights for free.

Since then we haven't looked back. We have a solid core group of five or so, with another couple of blokes who come along when they can. So my suggestion to you if you don't have any regular gaming buddies is to put a message out to your friends on Facebook and see what turns up.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Res ad triarios venerunt

I'm steadily chipping away at my Agema Republican Romans.

In the legion of the middle Republic, the third line was made up of the triarii, the most experienced and mature citizens. Ideally, they weren't supposed to fight, but according to Polybius formed a bulwark at the rear of the legion, kneeling and presenting their spears. The Romans even had a saying 'it has come down to the triarii', meaning that a situation was desperate.

Anyway, clearly the triarii won't be needed in any game I play, so here they are lounging around behind their shields watching my principes and hastati sweep all before them.

I've also finished three bases of velites. One nice feature of the Agema figures is that the parts from the legionaries and velites boxes are fully interchangeable, so I was able to vary some of the poses.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Realistic Shield Maidens!

This week I was chuffed to get hold of the first three realistic Viking women warriors from Annie Norman (aka the Dice Bag Lady, aka the mastermind behind Bad Squiddo Games). I'm a huge fan of what Annie is up to. Over on her site she is gradually trying to draw together lots of different ranges of realistic female figures for different periods, produced by the likes of Copplestone, Artizan and so on. This is good news for those of us who don't particularly want to be painting figures straight out of a 14 year old boy's fevered imagination all the time. It's particularly good news for those of us with daughters who we are trying to get into gaming. For my own little 8 year old Viking, I'm keen to make her a warband for SAGA with a good scattering of female characters, and no chainmail bikinis.

Annie is a big SAGA fan, and seeing a gap in the market for some realistic shield maiden figures, she has started commissioning a range of figures herself. The first of these (Lathgertha, wearing the mail shirt) is already released, the other two are up for pre-order on Annie's site. And more are on the way!

I was lucky to be able to get hold of some early production figures, so here they are. They are well cast in resin with no mould lines of any kind each coming with with a separate sprue with shield and weapon cast in a closed hand. Each figure also comes with a slotta base.

This is a great project that Annie has going, and I wish her every success. I'm looking forward to getting some paint on mine! As Neil Shuck would say: 'watch this space.'

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Legion Grows...

I have a great project going at the moment with gaming buddy Steve to finish a Roman Republican army for Basic Impetus in time for the anniversary of the Battle of Cannae on 2 August. Steve is doing the same with his Carthaginians, then we each expand our armies to play full Impetus or Sword and Spear by the anniversary of Zama in October. This is a great way to stay focused on completing an army if you can find a friend to do it with.

This long weekend saw two more units join the legion - two bases of hastati. For those of you who don't know, according to Polybios' account the hastati were the younger men of the triplex acies (three line) Roman legion of the middle Republic. They usually formed the first line, equipped with light armour, a couple of pila (heavy javelins) and a short stabbing sword (gladius), The middle line was formed of the pincipes, men in their prime similarly equipped to the hastati, but probably able to afford better armour. The third line consisted of the triarii, or mature men, equipped with longer thrusting spears. They formed the bulwark for the legion and the final reserve.

My hastati are from Agema Miniatures, mainly from their lovely plastic box, but with a couple of their metal personality figures thrown in. Next up I need to do some triarii and velites (skirmishers), while I wait for some cavalry to arrive from Relic Miniatures in Canada.