Thursday, April 24, 2014

ANZAC day post 2014

Laurent VC Street. A street I saw regularly in my childhood town of Hawera in New Zealand. Named after Henry John Laurent a Victoria Cross recipient from WWI. As a kid I thought it was unusual to see a street name with VC in it and didn't think much beyond that. Later in life I realised what VC stood for. The highest medal for gallantry in the face of the enemy that a British and Commonwealth servicemen can receive.

So who was Harry?
One of five Laurens men (later anglicised to Laurents) who served on the front lines of WWI. That's one mighty contribution by a single family alone. When he enlisted he said "I am going to live to see my country free." At that time his father lived in Hawera. He left with the 6th Reinforcements. Enlisted with the NZEF in May 1915 aged 20. Prior to that he was in the Territorial Force since he was 16 years old.
Like his long lived grandfather who was 93 when he won the VC he lived til 92 and was the last NZ WWI VC winner at the time of his death.

Joined the Western Front 1916, 2nd Battalion, 3rd NZ Rifle Brigade.
Wounded in the Somme Offensive.
Become Sergeant by 1918.

WWII, commanded a Home Guard Battalion.
Retired with Rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Hundred Days Offensive
It was for action during this period which Harry was awarded the VC. The Hundred Days Offensive was the final period of WWI from August 8 til November 11, 1918. A rapid series of attacks that pushed the Germans out of France and the armistice followed.

The Citation
After the 2nd battle of Bapaume the NZ division was in pursuit of German forces.
September 12 Harry leads a patrol in the area east of Gouzeacourt Wood. Orders....locate and regain contact with the German front line.
Harrys VC gazettal notice.

To return with 112 prisoners from a patrol must have been a big surprise when they arrived back at the NZ front line. I wonder if all of his family returned from WWI? As prestigious as VC is returning alive would have been the best reward for any family.

Lest We Forget

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dystopian sea battle

I have not completed much painting at all recently. Been a little busy on the home front. The Dragon left me and the kid to go and help out her elderly Dad 3,000km away after he had the very same operation that I had earlier in the year. All has gone well and he is on the mend and The Dragon will return to her natural habitat soon. It was an unusual Easter without her around. Hope yours was a good one.
I have managed to get some actual game time in recently though. I tried my very first game of Warmachine at 25 points. No pictures sorry. My opponent was very patient and answered all my questions and created the opportunity for me to destroy his warcaster which ends the game. A few days later the rule book turned up for me at Comics NT and I have been flicking through it every now and then since picking it up. I enjoyed the game and it had a nice brawling, throw down confrontational feel about it. The resource management, distribution and timing of the use of the Warcasters focus tokens is interesting and fun. Each figure/unit is activated and it moves, shoots, charges, cast spells and fights before you move to the next figure. Took a little to get used to as most other games I have played recently each action is in it's own phase. I am looking forward to my next game and the rule book has a couple of great looking multi-player scenarios. Hopefully I can convince a group of players that we need to try them out as group games are a great way to exchange information despite them often being slower than one versus one.
On the subject of group games. A player put a request out for opponents for a large Dystopian ocean based game. 4 x 1200 point Naval forces went head to head on a 6x4 table and as I had acquired the new Objectives set we included that in our game. Objectives may be captured by ending movement near them and you draw a card from an Objectives card deck. Laughter and shock broke out as captured objectives unfortunately started blazing fires on ships. With such a large game and the system being what it is with each player activating a squadron at a time (which can sometimes just be a single ship, aircraft, skimmer or submersible) we actually did not get through that many turns. But I think we all enjoyed the game all the same and it made me look forward to the new version 2 rules soon to be released. Hopefully some things get streamlined. I am looking forward to hopefully acquiring some new Tiny Flyer movement trays when they are released. I saw some here. It will help with managing the toys on the table. Some great looking new toys in that link.
An idea I need to put into use is using a coloured dice code when allocating shooting. eg. Black dice = regular ordnance, Red dice = Rockets. This will make it an easy visual reminder of who is hopefully getting hit and by what. A small token to place near squadrons that have been activated in a turn as well will come in handy. I used dice which worked fine in our game but small things like this will improve my game.
For now I probably won't play this game again until Version 2 is released.
Yellow is a Sandbank. White tokens are objectives.

Magenta coloured dice indicate squadrons that have been activated.
My Robot squid tries to nom nom nom a ship. Yummy!

In the distance blue hulled French skimming ships. French was my ally in this game. We faced 2 x Antarctic fleets.
 Cheers from Brendon (The Kiwi)    

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dark Age Kings of War game 2 (Lots of photos)

We decided that rather than play our next game of Vikings vs Anglo-Saxons at home we would head down to the Club on a Sunday arvo and try the forces on a proper 6x4 table. So once again I faced the young Viking Warlord Princess. Forces exactly the same as last time.

This time I lined up the nasty Berserkers for some shooting pain as a priority. One unit hung on til the end of the game and I said at the time "I am sure it had wounds on it from shooting earlier?". After reviewing the photo evidence I was right. Likely would have made them leave the table by end game but that's the way it goes sometimes. :)

It was a great game and the extra room made the game feel better. At one end we placed some swamps and the other with woods and a building but we crept a wood section towards the centre.
Without adding up any points differences I am sure the game ended in a draw this time. It played out over 12 turns and in Kings of War you roll at the end of turn 12 to see if you get another turn. It wasn't to be and the sun must have set and the bruised remainders withdrew to plastic boxes to be transported home again. 

Happy kid who wants to DESTROY my forces with her heathens.
Move forward. Slinger between the woods get some wounds on some Berserkers.
Swamp end view. Anglo-saxon hero about to destroy a small unit of viking bowmen.
Forest end view.
Nice knowing ya. Flank charge from a horde on Anglo-Saxon slingers! Chance of survival = very, very, very low.
Turn 4 at the swamp end. 6 wounds already on my Anglo-Saxon unit. Doesn't bode well for the future.
(Princess Viking Warlord figure on the white horse with blue and white shield.)
Mad Viking priest cops a wound from the slingers in the swamp. It just made him crazier.
Mad Monks unit didn't last long when attacked by a Viking General. 
Despite the presence of an Army Standard on horseback the Anglo-Saxon horde in the middle goes bye bye!
Taken from the forest end.
Viking Bowmen unit eventually gets taken out at the swampy end.
Two Anglo Saxon hordes charge a Viking Horde. The Viking Horde holds and they bounce off.
Meanwhile in the forest at the back steadily march another Viking horde.
Viking General charges a Standard at top.
Turn 8 and drama in the swampy fen zone.
Viking Shield Wall horde rotates on the vacant spot left by an Anglo-Saxon unit they destroyed.
Berserkers give the slingers the old chop-chop in a swamp.
Rear attack from a Viking General = Triple his attacks. Extra ouch on an already red dice heavy Anglo-Saxon horde!
They couldn't take any more so are removed from the table.
Anglo-Saxon Priest and Army Standard urge the Foot Guard to fight on.
Priest has a handy Heal ability. Helps shake off a wound.
Mighty heroes clash then bounce off each other trading blows.
W = Wavering. Not a permanent condition but indicates a unit was very close to being removed.
All over. The End! A draw this tine.
Great game and a fun time. Looking back on these pics makes me keen to try it all again.
Might have to have another read of the rules though.
We managed to find some red 20 sided dice at Comics NT recently so they will come in handy for the hordes that have big number of wounds on them in the future.  
Cheers from Brendon (The Kiwi)