Saturday 29 June 2013

Shed Wars TV - The launch

Hi Followers

I am delighted to announce the launch of....

You can find this on you tube at:

A big thankyou to my son - Shedson for putting this together

Hope you enjoy

The first video is a trailer for a game being fought this coming Tuesday...

A pirate adventure called 'A Game of Bones'

Until next time

Eric the Shed

Thursday 27 June 2013

Wattle Fences

With my medieval games coming on a pace I thought I would turn my attention to some wattle fencing. The following tutorial will hopefully be of interest.

Material Required:

Hardboard off cuts, bamboo skewers (99p), garden wire (2 reels for 99p), paint, pva glue, static grass – Total Cost £1.98
Tools: Jigsaw, Drill, Sharp Clippers

I decided to use standard hardboard as the base. These has been cut into strips 2 inches wide and in 6 /10 inch lengths. Once cut, the hardboard edges were then sanded down. In time I may make some corner sections

The upright posts are bamboo skewers – I have a load of these left from my FIW fort build. To fix these to the hardboard base drill holes 1/2 inch apart along an imaginary line down the centre of the base. The end post needs to be as close to the end of the base as possible so runs of fences look continuous…

Cautionary note: drill the post holes from the bottom of the base - this way the base stays flat when the drill pushes through. I always use the rough surface as the top as this is already keyed for the basing materials.

With the holes drilled push through the skewers (sharp end first helps) until the end of the skewer meets the base. Using the right drill head size really helps here, too loose and they will keep falling out, too tight and you will keep breaking the skewer. Taking a sharp pair of scissors/clippers – I use garden pruners cut the posts so they are about the height of your figures.

Once complete I covered the base in grit, sand and ballast using PVA. Leave to dry for 24 hours. The glue from the basing material will help to glue the posts in place. Once dry you can progress onto the next stage.

Using green garden wire (the stuff coated in green plastic) fix one end to the bottom of one of the end posts and then start to wattle (?). By interleaving the wire between the posts the wattle effect soon becomes apparent. Take the wattle up to about 1.5cm -  2cm high and fix off the end with a dab of superglue. This does take time – I reckon the standards fences took about five minutes each.

Once complete paint the whole thing in a dark colour – I used dark brown. The plastic coating definitely helps with the paint! And then finish off both the bases and fencing in a dry brush (eg browns & light greys)

Finish of the base with its own drybrush and fix ground cover. In my case simple static grass. Hey presto Wattle fences.

Not being satisfied with just a few fences I decided to build three fields in the same fashion. The larger of the fields has become a livestock pen, the smaller simple vegetable patches.

Here they are laid out with the priory nestled in Shedwood Forest...

Hope this has been of interest

Until next time.....

Wednesday 26 June 2013

SAGA - The Vikings have landed

So another Monday night and with only two of us around I decided we would have another crack at SAGA. Following my awful initiation into the game with the Anglo Saxons I was fortunate to discover that the dice for these guys are the same as the Anglo Danes so I thought I would give these guys a whirl against the dreaded Vikings.

It soon becomes apparent even in the second game that these forces play so very different. Using exactly the same forces as the previous game  - Warlord, 4 Hearthguard, 16 warriors and 12 levies we divided up our forces into sub units. Realising that you get more dice for the number ogf units (bar levies) on the table both sides opted to turn the warriors into 3 units. Both sides started the game with six dice.

The table was laid out in much the same way this time I was able to introduce the latest PMC building to arrive – the small church.

The forces were deployed (one unit at a time) 36 inches apart.

I had decided to split my bow armed levies with six on each wing and the bulk of my warriors massed in the centre with the Warlord and Hearthguard. With the terrain as a focus my strategy was simple allow the Vikings to advance and let them fall upon my spears whilst defending the walls of the churchyard. The first couple of turns passed uneventfully with the Vikings marching on mass down the centre of the table.

Somehow I managed to cock things up on my left flank and quite quickly one unit of thralls fell victim to a sudden charge of Viking Warriors, three levies down with two Vikings biting the dust. Continuing with the initiative the Viking unit ploughed into my warriors sent to screen the fleeing levies. The viscous Viking battleboard came into its own and a brief struggle later saw the remnants of my warrior unit defeat the remaining Valhalla affected Vikings.

With only three men in the unit remaining Mark played the Loki initiative and these guys scarpered from the field – I was down two units for the cost of one but more importantly I had lost a die.

Over on the rightflank I decided to try and resieze the initiative, a quick round of archery from my levies miraculously knocked out two Viking thralls hiding behind the stone wall. With growing confidfence I launched a warrior unit in to despatch the remaining thralls. With these despatched I turned on the other unit of bow levies. With some atrocious  dice I managed to bounce off the lvies leaving myself open to a counter charge. Again Loki despatched this unit and all that was left were the units in the church grounds.

Trusting god, the walls and my spears I allowed the massed ranks of Vikings to advance. The first assault was repelled with no loss to my own men. With a cry for God my Warlord and Huscarls lept the wall destroying one unit of advancing Vikings. Having planned my escape the Warlord and his guard rushed back to the cover of the wall, tired but elated.

Incensed by my sneaky tactic the Viking Chief and guard threw themselves at the wall in bloodlust. Again the stones held strong and one Viking warrior died in the ensuing melee. In a serious lapse of judgement my Warlord and the guard jumped the wall and slammed into the oppositions leader and his retainers. A bitter struggle with no winners. Alas I had kept nothing back. The Viking chief carefully summed up the situation selected his attacks and crashed home. With fatigue playing its part in the final outcome my warriors and Warlord crashed to the ground in a pool of blood. The Vikings had prevailed once again, their leader surviving thanks to the courage and sacrifice of his men.

Once again a great game, close, thrilling and very much in keeping with the dark age theme.

Sunday 23 June 2013

Tales of Shedwood - The City Guard

I have given the terrain building a little bit of a rest in the last couple of weeks and focussed on some of the figures that need painting. In one of my earlier posts I showed off the Green & White liveried fire forge mounted and dismounted men at arms.

I now have a few more to display.

First  in the Black & Yellow livery of the City of Nottingham we have 6 mounted sergeants, 12 spearmen and six crossbow armed troops. The leaders for these will come from the mounted crusaders from fireforge on order.

And finally we have a small squad of red liveried men at arms. The towers on their shields came from some old GW transfers.


Until next time...

Wednesday 19 June 2013

SAGA - A Viking engagement

On Monday night I decided to host the first game of Saga in the shed. This was the first time I had played this ruleset and it gave me the opportunity top pull out a few of the hundreds of Vikings & Saxon 28mm figures I had painted nearly 10 years ago and never played with ! In total I have around 300+ Dark Age figures painted and it was interesting to see how my painting and basing styles have improved (my opinion) over the last few years.

We decided on a very simple engagement affair with equally matched forces both valued at 5 points

These consisted of a Warlord, One Unit of Hearthguard (4 figures), 2 units of Warriors (each 8 figures strong) and a 12 man unit of Levies (Bow armed). If we understood the rules correctly this gave both forces 5 battle dice to play with.

I for my sins chose the Anglo Saxons, and Matt chose the Vikings. It became quite apparent during the game that Matt’s forces were more suitable to his board whereas the Anglo Saxons are more geared to larger units to gain their benefits. We also discovered halfway through that the Warlord receives a free activation and can drag along a unit if it is within 2 inches.

The playing areas was bordered by a beach (complete with Viking Ship and woods on the other side. Both Forces started 30 inches apart.

The following write up will be written from my perspective.

I decided that my archers would move up the right hand open side of the table thereby giving them the opportunity to fire into the opposing forces. These would be supported by the Warlord and Hearthguard. My warriors would occupy the village and seek retribution on the Viking invaders.

Moving forward we quickly realised that with a bow range of 12 inches the opportune archery fire I wanted was not going to happen unless I committed these troops to move forward. In the following round the warriors facing my levies bounded forward twice and crashed into the lightly armed troops. Lots of dice later saw half the levy force slaughtered and maimed for the cost of one viking warrior. Round one to the Nothmen.

With my levies in retreat I threw in my warlord and his hearthguard. Using the opponents fatigue (he’d moved twice and had fought a melee)to make it easier to hit my hardened troops delivered a crushing blow. However in response two of my brave Huscarls hit the dirt. Not good news. It became apparent at this point that the Vikings advantage of creating more battle dice was a big advantage !

What to do next? The Vikings were now moving into the village so I decided to send in a unit of warriors top deal with this menace. A violent struggle left no side with an advantage but casualties were severe. Matt then played the Loki dice forcing my unit of fatigued warriors to flee from the battle. Things were getting desperate for the Saxons. Throwing ion my remaining warrior unit I beat back these remnants of Matts force only to come under sudden attack from his Warlord and Guard. The second of my units bit the dust. With two units lost, my levies in disarray and half the Huscarls wiped out things were bleak. As a final act of desparation I threw my Warlord and his two bodyguards in against Matt’s Warlord.

Could I win and seize back the initiative and win the day....NO. The combination of my fatigue and his superior battle dice won the game. In two hours we had fought a thoroughly entertaining game. We lerarned a great deal about what work and what doesn’t. We realised that despite having similar forces available the unique flavour of the battleboards does create differing game plays. Forward going we will need to adapt the unuts to match the boards. Saga has now joined the list of Shed Wars.

Until next time:

Note: Figures are a range of Foundry, Gripping Beast, BlackTree, the buildings are from PMC.

Monday 17 June 2013

Tales of Shedwood: Fireforge Mounted Sergeants & Infantry

Being a bit of an insomniac I was up early over the weekend and decided to crack on with the figuires for the Tales of Shedwood. As mentioned earlier I had purchased plastic fireforge mounted sergeants and infantry. Its been some years since i tackled plastic figures so this going to be interesting. At the back of my mind were a number of factors...

1.       At £20 for a box of 12 cavalry (£1.60/figure) was this good value compared with the £3+ I could expect to pay for a metal figure? The Infantry 48 figures for £22 was great value.
2.       Could my clumsy fingers put together these figures in a satisfactory way?
3.       Would they stand the test of time compared with the standard lead miniature?
4.       Were they ‘heavy enough – with a steel washer base for the table?

Both sets of figures are really nice, the mouldings appear to be clean and the plastic at first glance looks durable. There are lots of options with regards to weapons, heads, shields and poses. There will be a number of spare bits at the end of the day. I think it is fair to say that these are much better value than the GW plastic ranges with more torsos, legs etc but I still don’t understand why these guys don’t sell torso packs separately – with so many spare parts I do feel that I am missing out?

A few more observations if you are going to buy into the mounted range.

1.       I glued the horses torsos together and then started on their tails. It would appear that the tail needs to be glued to one half of the body first before sticking the torsos together. Otherwise its a bit of a pain to fit cleanly.
2.       The shields and shield arms should be positioned once the rider is sitting on the horse otherwise the shield will get in the way of the saddle pommel/horse neck
3.       If you are looking to create a set of figures in a similar pose – don’t expect you can do from these guys. With bodies turning, horse heads twisting and in a variety of motions (trots, canters & gallops) this is not going to happen.

The infantry figures are far more straightforward and from a box of 48 you can either make up 48 spearmen, 24 xbows/24 spears or all maneer of axe, sword and mace armed troops. With six diffeent body styles, 12 different heads and 54 different shierld types there is loads of variety.
In the end I pushed on with six mounted men at arms , six crossbows and six spears all painted in the same green & white livery

Until next time....

Thursday 13 June 2013

Half Year Report & The 100th Post

This Blog was launched in December 2011 and six months ago I wrote a report on the progress achieved to date. At the time I mentioned that I had achieved in the first year of its life 54 postings, 25,000 page views and 90 followers.

I made a rather bold statement that I wanted to treble the total number of page views to 75,000 and increase my number of followers to 180. Given that we are nearly half way through the year (believe it or not) I thought I would provide a small update on how things were going.

In the first six months of this year I have now broken the 100 post barrier (This post is number 100), achieved close to 50,000 page views and increased the following to 131. With the exception of the followers numbers I have effectively doubled in six months what was achieved in the whole of last year. So if progress continues at the current rate the targets I set for myself a year ago should be attainable.

What can I promise you in the next six months....

More on the Medieval/Robin Hood themed project during the summer months,

More games actions - a big Pirate event is planned for Tuesday 25th June,

Watch my progress as I start to build from scratch hedges, ditches and wattle fences.

Introductory games on Saga, 10mm Napoleonics and Mad Max...

Its going to be fun...

On a final note my better half, Mrs Shed, suggested that some ogf the followers might want to purchase a Shed Wars t-shirt ? So if you are interested in some fancy new beachwear for your summer holidays drop me a line. I can promise you that if I do go ahead with this initiative the Tshirt will be black with the Shedwars green logo. Once I have an idea of numbers (and sizes)I'll put up a reasonable cost (best guess underr a tenner plus P&P) and I'll add a couple of quid to go to Help a Heroes.

I'll try and get a copy made up in the next couple of weeks...

Until next time

Eric the Shed

Tuesday 11 June 2013

Three Games - One Day

On Sunday I was kindly invited by another member of the Lead Adventure Forum to attend a day of gaming in Horsham. All credit to Kevin (aka Damas) for organising such a splendid venue, refreshments and a great event.
In total eight of us, drawn from as far afield as Oxfordshire & Dorset headed to Sussex. These included the familiar names of Mamalute, Matakashi, Captain Blood, Dr De’Ath, Overlord, Mason. I’d met most of these friendly guys at previous events in the past year and its great to build new friendships at these meets.

Having started off with much gusto in the local cafe for breakfast we headed to the hall booked for our day’s play.

The group discuss the final game of the day

Quite quickly tables for the three games were set up and we could start in earnest. Three games were on offer, Matakashi’s Conan Prison break using his excellent and very clever Crom rules, a Robin Hood six player participation game run by Mamalute and Dr De’ath (using the excellent Jim Bibbly terrain show cased in a previous post) and my own 10mm scale re-enactment of a famous Zulu Wars called defending the mission.

Having quickly laid out the Zulu game I then joined the crew playing Crom. In our particular game three beautiful warrior maidens had to cross a market town on the fringes of the Shemite desert and spring their lover Conan from the prison. To do this they had to avoid the attentions of the marauding slavers and the rather violent ‘Deathdealer’ warriors. The mechanics of the game are very simple, each character has 10 dice, each turn these are allocated to combat, movement, or initiative. For example if you allocate four dice to movement – you roll and move the totalled number of inches. Combat dice allow either a number of to hit throws or defensive throws. The loser of a combat loses dice thereby preventing them from taking as many actions in the next turn – when you lose all your dice you are dead.

In the first game we played each maiden went their own way with little sign of cooperation – after all they were looking for Conan’s favour ! Quite quickly the attention of the slavers and deathdealer had reduced the number of participant in some rather savage combat. By chance Mason managed to break into prison releasing Conan from his bonds.  A chance find of Subotai hiding in the market place soon balanced the odds and after much merriment of watching Conan stagger around the board (his movement was atrocious) we soon finally brought the locals to heel. We repeated the game at the end of the day in which the maidens opted for a much stronger team approach, suffice to say they won.  

Apologies now but in the heat of the battle I took very few photos...

The morning moved on and folks moved across to the Zulu game. Two players would control the Impis, one player would lead the defence of the mission and the final player managing the relief force of Boers. Using a revised version of the Restless Native rules (see link) the game quickly gathered pace. A standard deck of cards activates units (Diamonds – British defenders, Hearts – the Boers, and the Zulu’s Spades & Clubs)  . This is a game of attrition with the Zulus attempting to reach the drift before succumbing to British volleys and cannon fire. In our game the Zulus managed to wipe out all of the British stands bar one before the third joker arrived (went through the pack twice) – a nail biting hotly contested game that went to the wire!

Thanks to Captain Blood for these photos...
Lunch was upon us so we headed out down to the local beefeater for some beer and Sunday roasts, burgers, salads and steak.

The afternoon was dominated by the six player Robin Hood participation. Each player was given a  character with a small retinue and a set of objectives. Achieving these objectives would award points, and subsequently the winner. These included the rescue/kidnap of the fair Maid Marion from the clutches of Max of Clifford, the retrieval/theft of monies from the local taxman, and the escort/assassination of disguised King Richard. Using a variant of the Sharp Practice rules we eagerly set about our tasks. I for my sins was leading a band of disgruntled knights who had been handsomely paid by Price John to murder his brother, King Richard. Sadly for me he was discovered early on by the leprous knights of St Lazarus. A fierce charge by my few knights through the village miserably failed to achieve their target (although the cowardly King Richard and his escort were severely shocked and forced to retire )

Mean whilst Little John rescued Marion and dragged her off in to Sherwood Forest (probably to show her that is name really was wrong!), and Robin with his merry men were engaged in a fierce firefight with Sheriff.
Well what of Guy of Gisbourne, rather cleverly he escorted the taxman into Nottingham castle and awaited news from the forest. He did not have to wait that long...the Sheriff fell to a well placed arrow and Guy promptly declared himself as the new Sheriff. Robin mused, and Alan a dale strummed ‘I shot the Sheriff, but I did not shoot the deputy’.

A lovely looking game, some fantastic figures on display and great fun.

Captain Blood has written a great AAR on the first game which can be found here:

With a final game of Crom to play the day soon draw to an end.

With the M25 being kind on the journey return I reflected last night over a glass of wine what a good day it had been. Thank you to all involved.

I look forward to the next event...

Until next time....