Sunday, 22 October 2017

Frocktober 2017

Warning! This post is going to contain a lots of frock pictures. But on the plus side, many of them won't have me in them.

Yes, once again it's that Frocktober time of year, and I'm using this blog to promote the annual fundraiser by the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation here in Australia.

Here's what they say:

Ovarian cancer is an insidious disease, often known as a “silent-killer” as symptoms are vague and often strike without warning. Unlike many other cancers there is no early detection test. Consequently ovarian cancer is often diagnosed in its late stages and only 20%-30% of women will survive beyond five years of diagnosis. In comparison, survival rates increase to 80-100% when ovarian cancer is detected and treated early.

The Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation is Australia’s pre-eminent ovarian cancer research body. Our goal is to raise ovarian cancer awareness and vital funds for the development of an early detection test that will save women’s lives.

We receive no government funding and rely on the support of our community and business supporters to assist in driving our research forward.


The classic way to raise funds is to wear a dress every day in October. As I've said before, this isn't very practical for me, or for many other (regardless of gender). But this year my daughter decided to wear formal or cosplay outfits to her university classes on as many days as she could. So this year she gets top-billing in my annual Frocktober post. She has a page set up for donations, and I'd love for you to go there now and make a small (or not so small) contribution. Thank you. Here it is:

Maya's Frocktober Page


Now enjoy the pictures.










I think she still has a couple of outfits left in her for this coming week as well.

Maya gets top billing, but Mrs Kobold and I haven't been idle as well. A couple of weeks ago we headed out to the Southern Highlands (with Maya) looking awesome together:






Then today we went back to Goulburn because Catherine wanted to visit a second-hand book emporium there, and I wanted to go to the war memorial.


This is Goulburn's War Memorial. I blogged about it a few years ago.


And this is me browsing the Argyle Book Emporium.


I picked up a few goodies.


And this is just me.


As I say, Maya is probably good for a few more outfits, and I may have one more outing left in me this month as well, but I think this post has quite enough Frocktobering in it to convince you to donate. So here's that link again:

Maya - Frocktober 2017

Saturday, 21 October 2017

GEV

When I went away to Brisbane last week, I was travelling very light, so I threw a couple of paperbacks and some microgames in my bag. One of them was this copy of GEV, from way back in 1978 and unplayed for a good 30 years. I never got to play it whilst I was away, but it's been raining all day and I couldn't be bothered leaving the office at lunchtime and I remembered it was still in my bag. I downloaded a dice app onto my phone ...



... and away I went.

I set up Scenario 1 - Breakthrough. The Combine (Blue) have to get as many of their 12 GEVs off the opposite edge of the map as they can. The Paneuropeans (White) have to stop them. Aside from 20 points of infantry, I selected 2 howitzers and 4 light tanks for the Paneuropeans.


I had an hour in which to sort out the counters, brush up on the rules, set up the scenario and play. Limited time meant I opted for a simple approach of running straight at the enemy. The howitzers are quite dangerous and can't be ignored, since they can pretty much pick off a GEV each turn. I mobbed this one, destroying it.


The other one survived the attacks against it, but was disrupted, allowing me to slip past it.


Four GEVs escaped past it.


On the other flank with the howitzer gone the attackers could move with impunity, but the Paneuropean light tanks were able to block them.


The Combine GEVs were picked off one after the other as they tried to slip past the defences.


The game ended in a very marginal Paneuropean victory (48-46), with them having destroyed 8 GEVs for the loss of the howitzer and a point of infantry.

It was fun and quick to play, and I'm sure my tactics were terrible, but I was trying to relearn the game as I went along. It was a pleasant way to while away a lunchbreak.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Baroque

Fired up by the small skirmishes of The Pikeman's Lament, our group have been looking at a set of rules for larger 17th century battles. To this end we decided to give Baroque a go last night. It's an extension of the Impetus system, which a couple of members are familiar with; the rest of us would learn as we went along.

Gary put together a couple of armies from his collection; a lot of the figures were not correct in any way at all, but he managed Swedes (in the foreground) against Poles (background).


There was a lot of variety in the troops available; this Swedish cavalry command contained dragoons, a combined horse and shot unit and caracolling pistol-armed reiters. The opposing Poles were equally diverse.


Dave observed, pointing dramatically. On this flank, Swedish trotters faced Polish hussars.


The infantry in the centre was much as you'd expect; pike and shot units, with some integral light guns (in the Swedish case) or supporting medium guns (for the Poles).


The first combats were on the Swedish right. The dragoons seized the woods to threaten the Polish flank, whilst the lighter missile-armed Polish cavalry rushed forward to engage.


Some nifty firing followed by opportunistic charges saw the Poles disordered and routed. We quickly discovered that this was a system where, if you seized the moment, you could cause things to turn very bad for your opponent very quickly.


The Poles lost two units in one turn. Some Swedish reiters who'd pushed forward very aggressively were also caught and routed.


On the other flank JohnP launched a sudden, risky, attack on the Polish hussars with one of his units of trotters. Again, the cascade of responses, counter-charges ad pursuits took hold; the hussars failed to counter-charge, and were caught at the halt, which completely negated most of their advantages. They fell back and the Swedish pursuit took them into the second unit, which also retreated. Another pursuit saw both units routed. The Poles best cavalry were gone in virtually no time at all. Their loss collapsed that flank, and put the army's morale in jeopardy.




On the other flank a swirling continued melee was won for the Swedes when the dragoons rushed out of the woods to join the fray with clubbed muskets. The ensuing rout saw the Polish flank commander captured, and their whole army breaking.


In the centre the infantry had barely advanced into artillery range, and now the battle was over. However we decided to spend the remaining time playing their action out as a separate game in its own right, just to get a feel for the way infantry combat worked, and to better understand the game's general mechanisms.


We soon learned that having the initiative is very important, and that because you resolve the actions of each unit in turn, the timing of your shooting and attacks is critical. Even deciding when to react to enemy actions is important.


The Swedes initially had the upper hand in the infantry fight, mauling a couple of Polish infantry units as they advanced. But a sudden shift of initiative saw the Poles able to exploit an advantage they'd gained, and roll up the Swedish infantry line. The important thing was that we got to try and understand more mechanisms.


Overall we were impressed by Baroque. It has a lot of risk and reward; you can push units and risk disorder, or failure to act, but if it comes off you can make attacks that can collapse the enemy fairly quickly. I suspect that use of reserves to counter this is a key tactic. There's quite a few markers involved, mostly to keep track of casualties and disorder, but you have to remember which units have reacted, which commands have moved and even which special abilities have been used. This isn't too hard, but is worth noting for people who like a clean table. The rules seemed fiddly in places, but I suspect with further play things become more obvious. We had a fun evening, and I think that's as good a plus for a set of rules as you can ask for.

On the other table, Ralph and Daniel played Black Powder - something Napoleonic by the looks of it.




In addition Gary presented Peter with a trophy to mark his victory in our Maurice campaign. He felt it was worth marking the fact that we'd finished a club campaign; something we've never done before.



Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Army Showcase - The Knights of the Round Table

You've probably seen enough of these figures to last you a lifetime over the past couple of days, but I thought an army showcase was in order.

Back in 2002, a fellow wargamer was downsizing his collection, and gave me an unpainted Peter Pig pre-made HOTT army - The Knights of the Round Table. I started painting them, lost the impetus and stored them away. They emigrated with me in 2008, and stayed in storage until, the other week, I realised I needed a new HOTT army for my 6x6 Challenge project, dug them out, and finished them.

The army is:

1 x Hero General (Arthur)
1 x Hero (Lancelot)
1 x Magician (Merlin)
4 x Knights
2 x Blades
Optional: 1 x Paladin (Sir Galahad)


Here's Arthur


And most of the knights.



Lancelot and Galahad, plus some friends.



Merlin.


And the knights on foot.


That's it really. Lovely figures, of course. Peter Pig rarely disappoints, and they're a joy to paint.

On a totally unrelated note, one of my followers said hello to my son at the 2017 ACRA awards in Melbourne this weekend. Hi there, whoever you are. It's nice to know that my celebrity and his overlap in some small way.
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