Thursday, 21 June 2012

WW1 - some additions to the German forces

Just a quick and belated entry for a model bought last year, one for Christmas and one for my birthday.

At the top is an AV7, a WW1 tank or the Germans with a real 'steampunk' look about. Could be straight out of the (dreadful) 'League of Extraordinary Gentlemen' as the sort of diabolical machine the dastardly German top secret intelligence were designing to fight the (then) next war. I understand this was deployed long before blitzkrieg tactics were considered (an idea developed by British military thinkers anyway and the idea picked up by the Germans and put into practice before the British did). Only 7 were produced. It was introduced in 1918 and were only deployed singularly, so one model is enough.

The other two were much more famous, the 'Red Baron's' Focker triplane and a Fokker DVII. Obviously itching to get more of these, but as I'm getting them to complement land battles will do for a bit of trench strafing.

Compared to the kit you need for a WW2 army, even a few more planes will be a low cost outlay.
Three new toys!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

French Eagles for 20mm Napoleonics

 Having used the flags from the 'Warflags' site for my ACW army and been very pleased with the results, I decided I really had to replace the flags on my Napoleonic armies before they could see action. I had tried using them before, but made the mistake of scaling them down to fit the flag poles with the 'diddy' little flags moulded on to the figures, rather than replacing the lot. With my ACW armies I found that using the flags as available on the site, which are strictly speaking over-scaled for 20mm figures being for 25mm figures, actually looked much, much better. The tricky thing for the French was that they came with 'Eagles' on the top, which I had to cut off and try not to lose while replacing the plastic flag with a wire flag pole and paper flag, and using tweezers to carefully reposition again with a blob of PVA.

I've done about fifteen flag bearers for my French army, some British and Allied, and stuck on the flagpoles but not printed flags (and in most cases not painted the figures) for my Russians and the Prussians Landwher (not attempted Prussian regulars or Austrians yet). These are the French, above is just the flagbearer with an officer figure, below what they look like with a 36 figure unit. Personally, I think they massively improve the look of a unit. Will now have to find time to sit down and finish painting the shako plumes etc., varnish and base the 300 odd French infantry I have to finish to complete this army, and similar with the 600 odd British sitting nearly finished, and paint the generals, standard-bearers and some more cavalry for the Russian (Prussians still fair bit further off and Austrian's still lacking heavy cavalry and artillery). Still only started this lot in 1997, so not too badly behind schedule!!!

'Plain Terrain' Features: Work in progress

So as discussed in my previous blog post '"Plain Terrain" Features: The Concept', the idea behind a 'Plain Terrain' feature is to be a 'half-way house' between just using a plain cloth and a full set of terrain boards to game on, hopefully getting at least some of the visual appeal that comes with using terrain boards, but at only a fraction of the requirement for storage space. Even if they don't work out I should at least have some nice boards to photo my figures on for this blog.
First up I've marked up my board, some 3mm MDF from Wickes. I've gone for one large rectangular field with rounded off corners, one smaller field (initially started marking up two, but changed my mind), and several irregular areas. I wanted to make sure they would all go in a large storage box, so used the lid to make sure none would be too big.
I popped on a unit of 28mm figures to check size/scale. I could have made them a bit bigger, but then I couldn't get them in a storage box, so not a bad compromise.
Changed my mind on some of the smaller sizes, when I saw this. Some I'll have to go with because they are the result of what's left, but I'll consolidate those two they are sitting on into one.
This is a 36 figure 20mm Napoleonic unit for scale. Looks the sort of size I wanted...
...10 minutes later and I've whipped my jigsaw out and cut them up. Some of the smaller scraps I'll use for actual terrain features - eg. jungle stands or for bases to mount 'rock piles' on...
...incidently this is the sand I use for basing and would recommend it. In fact, it took me a little bit of scouting out to find the 'right' sand. It's actually called 'builders ballast' and has lots of small stones in it. Its cheap (about a quid a bag) and I've been using this bag to base my figures and make terrain for about four years - it fact it's being carted through 3 house moves! The big advantage is that you get 'rough' sand. If you want finer sand you can sieve it, or just use the stuff at the bottom. Fine sand bought in DIY shops doesn't look as good on bases and is often a funny colour (eg. bright orange) so you have to paint it. You can paint this stuff, but it is an 'earthy' colour so you don't have to. It is generally 'wet' in the bag, so you have to dry batches out to use. I just do this by spreading out on a tray to dry in the sun on a warm sunny day. This is a large batch I dried out a couple of weeks ago:
You can see all the small stones in it. Some are a bit big but you just push them to one side.
Next on with the trusty PVC glue. The funny thing about PVA is the more you buy the cheaper it gets in a dramatic way. DIY shops and stationers like WH Smith charge ridiculous amounts of money for tiny amounts of this stuff, eg. £3.50 for 150ml (ie. close to £30 a litre). If you buy a 1 litre tub it could cost you £7-8. This 2 litre tub cost a tenner (ie. £5 a litre), but you can also get 4 litre plastic containers for only £14 (ie. about £2.50 a litre). As far as I can tell its all the same stuff!   Madness! Just running out of this one. Next time, I think I'll go for the 4 litre size as I might be making some more terrain.
Once well plastered, I pour handfuls of sand over it. If I wanted a 'desert board' this would probably be all I had to do. I've got some different Gale Force 9 flocks and static grasses, so I might test out one of the more exotic ones on this one, such as 'Moorland' after maybe painting it a darker brown.
These are a sample of different ones I've knocked up so far. The small rectangular field at the back I've gone over and used a stick to put some 'plough-marks' on it. I'll see what it looks like when its dried. If it looks good I'll leave it, or maybe just paint it. If they end up looking a bit indistinct, I'll maybe sprinkle some lines of scatter on it to look like growing crops and make it more obvious. The big irregular board I'm going to try turning into 'rough pasture'. One of the things you find basing minitures is that with static grass in terms of effect, 'less is more', with small patches of scatter put on tiny blobs of glue looking much better than dense areas glued and covered. So I'll be testing out if that look will make a good-looking piece of 'plain terrain' on a larger scale. I also want to try out some as meadows, but I'm not sure that static grass is worthwhile, and might use try some green paint with a light green dry brushed over, leaving some patches of bare sand here and there.

The small scraps have been turned into 'rock stands', which use up the larger stones in the builders ballast. You can, of course, just scatter rocks on the table, but they are a pain to pick up at the end, so I find 'rock stands' more effective. I've done some on card, but they can look scruffy if the card curls, so I'm trying these on the more solid MDF. As well as 'dressing' a table, the rock stands can be useful terrain features in skirmish games, eg. Wild West or Colonial eg. North West Frontier, and also can be useful in marking 'crests' on hills, and improving the look of 'flat' hills, while like model trees being easy to move around if they get 'in the way' of moving a unit.

Unfortunately started to run out of PVA before I finished, but I'll see how the five boards I've done so far turn out, before buying some more and doing the rest.

The PVA can take up to a couple of days to really dry out, so I've put them in my workshop attic to dry before applying static. You can do this at the same time as sticking on the sand, but I've generally got better results applying it after, as it's easy to spill some and it is too much and looks messy, compared to the nice small 'clumps' you can get with tiny amounts of glue if you're patient.

I had thought that one board would give me enough pieces, but realise I might want to get a few different 'looks' for different games. I wiill get some of this by changing cloths - the boards like 'field' or the 'rough pasture' should have quite a different on a 'green' cloth to putting them on my 'desert' cloth. But also I think I'll probably want some more fields, maybe some 'desert' sand boards, a bit more meadow, maybe some 'moorland', maybe some paddy fields for Far Eastern games, and maybe something a bit more exotic ('Martian orange' or 'Lunar concrete grey'?) for Sci-Fi games. As long as they are fairly flat, I should get quite a few packed away in one large storage box.


Today proved quite a good 'drying' day so was able to move to applying 'static grass' faster than expected. Here are the results, including a shot of the 'rough pasture' with (20mm) Napoleonic Skirmishers and (28mm) LotR Gondor Knights. The piece should look like a 'dry' piece of terrain on a green cloth, and a 'fertile' piece of ground on a sand desert cloth. Perfect for a bit of urban 'waste ground', 'worn' or 'over-grazed' clearing or Spanish hillside or Western chaparral. I think I might change my mind on experimenting with different effects on the other irregular boards. Three or four of these boards to throw down on a plain cloth should make the whole table look really goooodddd!!! If nothing else I should be able to take nicer looking pics of my figures with it!

More Pics of ACW game

Although we 'left behind' the really posh 'Club Camera' when we made our split with the Card Players etc., Ginge continues in his role of 'Official Club Photographer' and a very nice job he does too. These are some of his pics of our last ACW game, which are rather better than my efforts on my phone camera. In fact, are those really my figures!?! They look far too good! Click on them to see full size, which you need to do to appreciate the superior camerawork

If you want to see more of this gorgeous eye-candy with better painted figures than my own check out our club's photo gallery

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Steve's LOTR Forces

Steve's sent me a text  last yearof his full roster of LOTR figures. Having just posted my inventory of figures for Ben  I'm posting this so we can work out what we have bewteen us.


Gil Galad
Around 80 Elves

Around 20 humans (unpainted, I guess Numoreans for Last Alliance)

The Shire
Paladin Took
Lobelia Sackville Baggins
14 more Hobbits


Saruman (unpainted)
Dragon (unpainted)
Uruk Shamen
Assorted (I think uruk/orc) captains
A Balrog!!!!
A Troll
Around 60 Uruks
Around 30 Orcs
About 60 Goblins
10 Wolf Riders

By my reckoning that is around 144 Elves, 66 Numenoreans, 98 Uruk-hai, 94 Orcs, 120 Goblins and 23 Wolf Riders between us!

GW LOTR Figure Inventory for Ben

Steve and I discussed doing something with the Games Workshop 'Lord of the Rings' Figures early last year and for a couple of months in the early part of 2011 I went on something of an eBay buying and painting frenzy to get some armies together. Courtesy of eBay I also acquired copies of the Battle Strategy game rules and the War of the Ring rules.

I still think these gorgeous figures sculpted by the Perry's are brilliant, and it has got me into enjoying painting 28mm, which much as I love 20mm, I have to confess do really repay the effort much more. But inevitably all enthusiasms fade, and by the end of the year I'd switch my attentions to my WW1 and WAB Anglo-Saxon army, with buying Star Wars figs being my current fad.

Ben at the Club has expressed some interest in getting his own LotR collection out and brought some brilliantly painted dwarfs and Corsairs of Umbar along. I have been promising Ben an inventory of my LotR figures for some time so we can match them up for some time, and been a bit re-miss in following up on it, so anyway here we go.


Fellowship of the Ring

Characters (All Painted unless otherwise noted)

Gandalf the Grey (with Hat)
Gandalf the Grey (without Hat - fighting Balrog Pose)
Gandalf the White on Shadowfax - (Basic paint job - could be repainted)
Aragorn (with Sword, Amon Hen pose)
Aragorn (with Cloak, Sword and Firebrand, Weathertop pose)
Boromir (with Horn)
Boromir (shot by arrows)
Legolas (with Bow)
Mounted Legolas- (Basic paint job - could be repainted)
Gimli (with Axe)
Frodo, Sam, Pippin and Merry (Weathertop set)

Riders of Rohan - Most complete (and most completely painted army)


Theodan Mounted
Eomer Mounted (Painting not finished)
Theoden (on Foot)
Gamling (on Foot) (Unpainted)
Eowyn (on Foot) (Unpainted)

24 Mounted Riders of Rohan (Painted & Finished)
Plus 5/6 to be repaired
Already on blog here:

32 Warriors of Rohan (on Foot) - (Painted & Finished)
-20 are archers

Gondor (Third Age)


Mounted Boromir - Bought painted
Mounted Standard Bearer- Bought painted to a high standard
Denethor (on Foot) - Unpainted
Boromir on Foot (with Horn, as Fellowship)- Bought painted
Faramir on Foot (basic paint job could be repainted)

50 Gondor Warriors (All painted, half need varnishing/bases terrained)
-16 are Bowmen
16 Mounted Gondor Knights (bought painted to a high standard)
-2 are in need of repair

25 Rangers (Good for either Northern Rangers or Ithilian Rangers)- All painted. On blog here:

Numenorians (Second Age)


Isildur on Foot - Painting needs completing
Elendil on Foot- Painting needs completing
Isildur and Elendil wounded (Sauron Set) - Unpainted

46 Numenorian Warriors (26 Painted, 20 Undercoated/half painted)

High Elves 



27 High Elf Warriors with Glaive (Painted, some need finishing)
37 High Elf Warriors with Bow (27 Painted, 10 undercoated, some of rest need finishing)

I also have a set of Ral Partha High Elves. Different look same scale.

Wood Elves

-I don't have any official LotR Wood Elf figures as such, but I do have 30? Wood Elf figures with bow which I cast myself using Prince August moukls (4 different poses) which are very compatible, but currently unpainted.


-As with the Wood Elves I do not have any official LotR Dwarf figures, but I do have some highly compatible Ral Partha figures. All painted.


Mordor (most are painted)

Sauron (Second Age Large Figure)

Witch King on Fell Beast  (Still unassembled but bought painted)

5 Nazgul on Foot (Weathertop set)

4/5 Orc Characters (not sure which)

64 Mordor Orcs

Already on blog here:

1 Mordor Troll (acquired badly painted, need to repaint)

Although it is not an 'official' model I have recently acquired a 'Shelob' sized spider within a cheap toy set and have various other giant spider models.

Also have numerous Ral Partha Orcs - while not 'official' are much closer to Tolkein 'realism' than more extravagent GW Warhammer style orcs.



Mounted Haradrim Chieftain (Unpainted)
Haradrim on Foot (possibly a conversion has birds head)

40 Harad Warriors (Mostly painted, need finishing)
-24 are archers, 16 Spear

6 Harad Riders (unpainted)


1 Standard Bearer

32 Easterling Warriors (acquired some painted, some undercoated, some unpainted)
- 14 Bowmen
- 13 Swordsmen
- 5 Pikemen

Misty Mountains

Balrog (unassembled and unpainted)
89 Goblins (All painted, some need varnishing/bases terraining)
-Around 24 are archers

13 Warg Riders
 - 8 are plastic and in process of being repainted/touched up
 - 5 are metal and are unpainted and lack bases

1 Cave Troll with Hammer
-Also an 'unofficial' plastic troll figure that could make passable Cave Troll if painted.

Isengard - Bought all painted to a 'serviceable' standard


Grima Wormtongue (Unpainted)
Lurtz (with Bow, Amon Hen Set)
2 Lurtz (with Sword and Shield)
2 Uruk-hai carrying Hobbits (Amon Hen Set)
1 Uruk-hai Standard Bearers

38 Uruk-hai
- 18 Pikemen
- 20 Swordsmen
12 Uruk-hai Bowmen
4 Uruk-hai Scouts (3 from Amon Hen Set)
8 Uruk-hai Berserkers
6 Siege Troops
3 Assault Ballista Crew (No Ballista)
3 Siege Ladders
2 Mines

(Note also have GW Warhammer Siege Tower).


Two Dragons (one painted red, one blue) not official, Ral Partha figures.

As mentioned I also have other Fantasy figures which might be compatible for 'Lord of the Rings' scenarios. There are basically three sources. One is my collection of Ral Partha Fantasy figures.Ral Partha figures made in the US were back in the 1970s/80s thought even better than the figures being produced by 'Citadel' (since acquired by GW) in the UK. A lot of the plastic 'Mage Knight' figures are based on original Ral Partha sculpts. As mentioned the Ral Partha collection includes, Dwarves, High Elves, Orcs, Goblins, Trolls - probably more suitable as giants in a Tolkein context- not to mention wizards, witches, warlocks, fighters, thieves, assassins, barabrians, undead, demons, dragons, wyverns, wolves and various monsters.The other is the casts that I have done from Price August moulds (Wood Elves). The third source is my Warhammer Fantasy collection which includes Dark Elves and High Elves, which much as GW would frown on the use of these in an 'official' game they are highly Tolkein 'inspired' at the end of the day, and would be suitable for say a Similliarion era battle. The other thing in my collections are Skeletons and Zombies (Ral Partha and GW), which much as Peter Jackson/GW had their own take on the 'Army of the Dead', not hard to see how these could 'bulk' up such a force.

In terms of expanding the collection, high on my wish list is a set of the new Galadrim Elves to give the High Elf force a decent variety of poses as the holding glaive overhead pose looks a bit silly in large units on their own. Also some Wargs without riders for Misty mountains/Witch Kingdom of Angor and maybe a few more Haradrim riders. The other thing I've been checking out is some 'wild men' for Isengard's Dunland allies and the wild men/warriors of the Witch Kingdom of Angor. I follow the 'Rough War of the Ring' blog which used plastic Gripping Beast and Wargames Factory for these, as the official figures are expensive and dull. I have been doing some digging around, though, and concluded that the old Grenadier Barbarians (sculpted by a young Mark Copplestone) and sold by EM4 look much more my idea of an axe-wielding 'Wild Man', for Dunland at least. At £1.30 a figure a lot cheaper than GW and as I'm toying with doing something 'Game of Thrones' related would make great 'Wildings' too.

Also have experimented with converting plastic Gondor Warriors (which are cheap and plentiful on eBay) into Arnor Warriors (which are metal and expensive) with a little bit of green stuff and very happy with the results. Seen some people have done similar for Rohan Royal guard which in metal cost an arm and a leg even second hand on eBay. In a similar vein thought of painting some Rohan figures in different colours/patterns (tartan?) for other warriors from the books or at least appendices, such as Rhiovannians (humans who lived beyond the Misty Mountains before the Easterlings came, and intermarried with the Gondor Royal family and ended up falling out with Gondor). Eorl the Young brought his Riders from East of the Misty Mountains to settle in Rohan, so fair bet that they'd look similar. Also thought of adding green stuff turbans to Rohan figures to get some cheap generic 'Southron' or even actual historical Saracen figures. As I got into buying this collection mainly through the cheapness that they can be picked up on eBay (often just 30p a figure for common plastics), tend to think of other ways of exploiting this.

GW does not produce any Huorns, only a couple of expensive Ents. In the Wood Elf army for Warhammer Fantasy, however, it does produce a set of plastic 'Dryads', clearly inspired by the Huorn/Ent concept, and how different can you make a walking tree? So an easy way to kit out an Ent Army.

Friday, 8 June 2012

ACW with Fire and Fury

My deployment on my left, a division just started to move in column to take the  hill in front
 Having completed both my American Civil War armies last year, it recently occurred to me that I had only so far got only one game out of them. A couple of week's ago, with Steve's encouragement, I got them out for a participation game, inviting Mac and Martin in. A number of things conspired to slow things down - I turned up a little late, Mac and Martin were new to the game, I didn't have a scenario prepared as such, and Fire and Fury games take a while to set up as all the units have different numbers of stands which need to be counted out etc., and halfway through ref'ing I got a business call and had to disappear for 15 minutes. The net result was that by time we came to pack up we had barely got through three or four moves and the armies barely got to exchange a couple of musket balls. It wasn't a total disaster, I was pleased to see having mastered the playsheet and my two page rules summary, Steve after just one game played a year ago, had no problem taking other the ref'ing for two new guys, who got the hang of the mechanisms very easily.

Anyway, both myself and Steve, who was sufficiently enthused by the first game to start work on making 'worm-fences' and talking Martin into very generously giving him a huge stash of unpainted plastic figures to put together his own armies, thought we'd at least like to have a go seeing if we could get a decent game done in a club night.

As in our previous game we just used the army lists from last year's 'Antietam: First Attack' Scenario from the excellent website, mainly because I'd made all the unit labels, with a division of cavalry thrown in each on top. In theory, these scenarios are designed to be played in a couple of hours.

For the battle itself I'll let the pictures and captions tell the story:
Deployment in my centre. William's two strong brigades in front of shot were my reserve 

Close up of some Zouves in Double Day's Division

Steve deploying the Reb's, he sneakily kept a significant force off-table

Steve moves up a division with cannon onto a ridge in front of his position

Steve's division in place on the ridge. Having placed his cavalry division in the centre he shifted them right across to his right flank. Cunning devils these Reb' generals!

I take the hill with Doubleday's division planning to simply bombard the farm. In fact, my shooting was lousy all night and I don't think I killed a single stand with cannon or musket

My Cavalry division on my right proved very troublesome, several times it failed to move properly then the first brigade broke and ran as soon as they came under shellfire

Steve then brings on his reserves in battle columns in the centre where he originally deployed his cavalry, threatening to break through my weak centre/right. With time slipping away I ordered a general advance backed up by my reserves

Steve advanced an infantry brigade against mine, and gets his cavalry ready to charge down the flank

Overview of my left flank as I change plan and get ready to assault the farm

The first brigade sent into assault the farm got wiped out, so with a Rebel yell they get up and  charge my brigade, as part of a general assault across the left flank

While I charge in the centre

Steve throws in his cavalry into the attack on the left

By the next turn battle was joined across the line, on the right and centre I took a lickin'...

...But on the left I was more successful and sent him scrambling back to the cover of the farm walls...

...and drove back his infantry and cavalry!

...out of time again! Damnation! But at least we got to grips this time. Just two more moves and we reckon some sort of conclusion could have shaken out
So again an unfinished game! At least this time we could examine things closer to isolate what slowed it down and what could speed things up next time. Set up was a big issue. Counting out all the stands for each brigade and sorting out the divisions, labels etc. meant it took nearly an hour to set up, not great when you've only got three hours at your disposal. Next, in the Antietam scenario, I'd noticed that the battle kicked off with the lead brigades of each army virtually running straight into each other. At the time, I'd thought that unsatisfactory because it gave the generals limited scope for manuever. But in retrospect we started the armies too far apart. Too much time was wasted in getting into position, especially as just moving a Fire & Fury army takes a while as you need to dice for each brigade before you can move it (which ironically and unlike most games makes it quicker to complete a turn with multiple generals not slower). If we could cut half an hour off set up time, another half an hour off through putting the forces closer and maybe having some 'trained generals' able to set up and move their own divisions without supervision, we might just get a game cracked in an evening yet.

Getting some action in! Some games at the New Club

If this blog has been somewhat neglected of late (yes thank you for pointing that out repeatedly Martin! Hope you are satisfied with recent updates - which include some older stuff btw which I've slipped in earlier in the blog so you'll need to check out back to February to get everything new including the pics/battle reports on my triumphs in the sadly aborted 'Winter King' club tournament) it is mainly because less of my efforts have gone into painting and making things - which tends to get photo'd to show off to get people interested in playing- and most of my efforts have gone into playing with mine, and other people's toys.

So largely to keep Martin happy (who needs 'Followers' anyway), I've added this to keep the blog a bit more up-to-date.

The other people's toys I've been playing with include Martin's very nice WW2 tanks - you must teach me how to get that finish, mine aren't a patch on yours I'm afraid.
Basically this was a pretty straight forward Rapid Fire game set on the Eastern Front, I guess some time around 1943. I got a force of Panzer IIIs and Panzer IVs with a couple of Tigers. I had to face down a force of T34/76s and later on some KV-1s. Basically my Tigers slunk into a wood and popped away at the advancing T34/76s. When my Pz IIIs and Pz IVs came on the board, I slipped them alongside them, though they did not get much in the way of hits compared to the Tigers. Things were going ok until disaster struck and one of my Tigers was hit and brewed up. The other then failed its morale test, hit reverse gear and drove off the board!

From there on in I ceased to be in the driving seat. My Pz IIIs and Pz IVs started to see more explosions than Guy Fawkes day, only trading back a few hits. Then the KV 1s made an appearance, and Martin in his generosity decided to rectify my complete incompetance in losing my Tigers, so early on, whose '88s were they only guns able to easily take on the KV1's, and allowed me to bring on two more Tigers. At this point I still had a few Pz IIIs and Pz IVs left. The Tigers held back to take as many shots as they could before the KV1s reached them. But once the KV 1's and remaining T34s were well across the halfway line on the table, I moved my Pz IIIs and Pz IVs, who had been hiding among the burning wrecks (completely unhistorically it was pointed out to me as tankers would avoid wrecks like the plague in case they blew up, and to emphasise the point Martin started rolling to see if they would explode). They dashed out and raced around the back of the Ruskie tanks. The result was an exciting and tense ending as the Russians closed on my Tigers, but I shot up tank after tank with my '88s or from behind, with the game ending with me taking out the final KV1 with my Tiger at point blank range, in an all or nothing shot!

Great game!

The other exceptionally nice toys which I have been very lucky to get to play with are Phil's Early Imperial Romans and barbarian German army. Phil is keen to get us playing 'War and Conquest' rules for ancients, not least because the rulebook features many of his fantastically painted figures. I've been a tad sceptical, because they looked initially just another re-working of the Games Workshop Fantasy/WAB rules. Much as I don't mind rules from this stable, I don't see them as the 'holy grail', don't like having to keep buying new rule books, and I like other rulesets, too, including the completely unfashionable DBA rules. 

I rapidly re-deployed my cavalry from right to left flank to stop the Germans, only to have them sent packing
Although the result of the game can only be described as a crushing defeat for me, I was very much impressed with the simple tweaks to the WAB concept in 'War and Conquest' rules that indeed made for a much, much better game on the whole, as Phil and Tony had claimed. One big difference was the simple initiative test at the start of each turn, which meant sometimes one army could move twice before the other one did. One frustrating thing about WAB is that it is actually fairly hard to make intelligent maneuver count for anything. A player can just still back leisurely and watch an enemy unit march down a flank, and in a calm and measured way just counter it with a turn or whatever when it suits them. The initiative roll changes all of this, because an enemy could come on much quicker than you expected. I also liked the fact that you could influence this initiative roll with your Strategic Influence Points, a couple of times in the game, which can also be used to add another dice to a morale check (in 'War and Conquest' you already roll 3 dice for a morale test and choose the best two, unlike WAB where you just roll two).  

Warband charges into my advancing line of legionaries
This ability to use your generalship to influence the battle at key moments is a welcome addition, compared to WAB, which at times seems to be a prolonged exercise in dice rolling to determine an outcome.
Beautifully painted German warband
I also like the way that having different (and secret) battle objectives was built into the game. It can be a bland assumption in too many games that most battles are fought simply to beat the enemy, and the game is much richer with objectives.
German Noble Cavalry after seeing off my Roman Cavalry
I was less convinced that having the third dice for the morale test is NECESSARILY a good thing in all wargames. Certainly for many classical battles, there is clear evidence that many combats between units was hard fought and could go on for hours, so making it easier to stand/harder to break the enemy makes sense for these sorts of battles. I'm less sure that that is the case for all Dark Age conflicts. Some were hard fought - the Battle of Hastings went on all day-but we don't know how large the armies were in some conflicts, and could in fact have involved quite small forces, who were somewhat more skittish.
My legionary line starts to crumble
Anyway, would definitely play these again, and no problem switching over to 'War and Conquest' from WAB if everyone else does especialy as the army lists are offered free on the website forum, so I'm not expected to buy another set of expensive supplements with another regurgitation of historical information I often have elsewhere any way, just to be able to field an army.

These howling barbarians were too much for my legionaries on the night and eventually most of my legions collapsed

Now we have a lot of very good-looking games down at our club, and if I do not post more pics of Reece, Phil's and Tony's amazing armies and Chris's brilliant Wild West and Pirate games, it is only because they are much better covered in the Club Photo Gallery taken with the club camera, which week-in-week out shows games which look like exhibition games in Wargames Illustrated. This particular game though I couldn't resist taking a snaps and is a game of British Grenadier put on by a member tempted back to the club after our schism with the Card Players/WH 40K players at the old club.

As with the photos of Phil's game, make sure you click on the photos to get a proper look at these amazing figures.

Finally a game that is tempting me, but with so much else on offer I haven't had time to try out is 'Saga' Gripping Beast's Dark Age Skirmish game, which Reece introduced to the club, and is proving popular.
Here are a couple of shots of a game in progress and some Welsh archers. Not only do I have my WAB Anglo-Saxon (and when they have an army list for them Arthurian British) armies to draw on for figures, but I might just have enough figures to get together a Norman army. I also have some Vikings in storage that I'm hoping to get out soon. While I can't justify the expense/painting time/storage requirement of Norman and Viking armies for WAB/War and Conquest, a small skirmish force is an entirely different matter!