Thursday, January 20, 2011

To War

Welcome to my blog!

My intention is to record my journey as I explore the rich history of the Napoleonic Wars through 6mm miniatures and the Black Powder rules. By way of background I grew up playing the Milton Bradley games Hero Quest and Space Crusade (based on the Games Workshop worlds), which naturally led to playing Warhammer Fantasy and 40K. My favourite game out them all was Epic (variously called "Space Marine", "Titan Legions" or "Epic 40K") which was 40K played with 6mm miniatures on a grand scale: Hundreds of infantry, dozens of tanks, and giant war machines. I also loved Warmaster (the epic version of Fantasy). But they weren't GW's most profitable games so they dropped them...

Fast-forward ten years and I'm a burned-out 40K player who, besides irregular dabbling in Blood Bowl, hasn't really played a whole lot else and is struggling to maintain his enthusiasm. I hadn't painted anything for many months and had only played a handful of recent games - I was over it.

Enter my excellent friend John who had signed up to play Black Powder at CanCon and wanted to get in some more practice games. Now Black Powder was put together by the aptly-named "Nottingham Mafia", being Rick Priestley and friends, and draws on the Warmaster system among others. It emphasises scenarios over tournament play and can be used with whatever scale miniatures you like.

Neither of us had appropriate miniatures so John had cut out some cardboard bases to represent the units. We didn't really have a scenario in mind so we agreed to play until someone lost a brigade. We then embarked on three hours of the most exciting, challenging, intense, and above all fun wargaming I have experienced in decades. I made an absolute mess of the deployment on my left flank which was compounded by the fact that the Brigade Commander on that flank repeatedly failed to issue any successful orders, leaving my line badly exposed to John's advancing cavalry. John's first battalion charged heroically into my massed guns and was duly massacred. One of his other battalions got caught on the march in some woods, but I couldn't capitalise because the damn commander (yup, the same numpty who couldn't get the flank organised) couldn't get organised to issue the necessary engagement orders.

When we called it quits the battle was in the balance, although I'd say John would have gone on to win. We had completely lost track of time which shows just how much fun we were having. I came home buzzing and spent the next two hours coming down off this gaming high by researching everything I could about the Napoleonic Wars online. I honestly can't remember the last time I had so much fun playing a tabletop wargame.

So here we are. I've had my watershed moment and I am about to embark on a major change in my wargaming career. This blog will record the journey and hopefully end up chock full of battle reports, book reviews, tutorials and photos. I hope you find something useful here.

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