Tuesday 27 December 2022

Happy Christmas & Eleven Years strong

 Good morning all

As the title reads this post is celebrating all things festive and my blog's eleventh birthday !  The birthday was on 6th December

Before I crack on with the annual review let me update you on progress from the 'new home front'.

Seven days ago we moved in proper to the new home. Well actually we have moved into the two bedroom annex that is on site given the main house has no heating, lighting or water and a leaky roof. All of these issues were known in advance and given one option might be to tear the existing house down its not a problem. We were always planning to move into the annex and things have been made much more comfortable with a brand new fitted kitchen and bathroom turned around in under a week. The whole place has also been given a complete redecoration by yours truly (all those painting skills have come in handy). 

The move was hampered by sub zero temperatures for much of the week but fortunately a new wood burner in the annex has kept us toasty and warm and things are starting to fall into place. The final piece of the jigsaw fell into place last monday when we finally completed the sale of our old family home. It was sad to see the the old place go and if the new owner has only a small fraction of the happy memories I have from that house then they are a lucky man.

As mentioned our move was blessed with a light snowfall which of couse made everything look very pretty and our 200 metre long driveway very lethal..

The New Shed following this years first snowfall.

 The new 'drive'  looked very picturesque

So onto the main thrust of this post - it is Shed Wars 11th Birthday and as you can see from the stats below the blog is still collecting followers and new hits

I finally topped the 500 follower list (I think the 2018 number is wrong) and page views are nearing the 2 million mark. Thius has all been accomplished with very little new content or activity.

2022 has been very much focussed on finding our new home/project and as such both the number of wargames and wargaming activities have been somewhat curtailed. Hopefully things will change as 2023 develops.

Highlights of 2022 must include

January's game - The Battle of Ginnis - more Here

I was published twice in the year by Wargames illustrated firstly with a rather good article on the Wars of the Roses games we fought  

Our contribution to supporting Billhooks had not gone unnoticed by the authors and WI and I was asked around this time to contribute to the Billhooks Deluxe ruleset (recently published). Sadly my article was not published in the final copy due to size constraints.

Of course the big event took place in March when we refought the battle of five armies at Imber Court
This was a massive 28mm fantasy wargame featuring over 2500 figures. More Here

A write up of this was also published in Wargames Illustrated.

In April I finished my late Crusader army 

and in May we refought the Battle of Arsuf twice  - more Here

Throughout the year we played more games including US Cavalry vs Indians, the English Civil War and Muskets and Tomahawks. I just wasn't  very good at publishing them.

As the year drew on we became more and more focussed on the house move so things started to ease off in the shed.

Perhaps the last big game in the old shed was our refight of the ECW Battle of Edgehill. here

This was a tight affair but ably demonstrated that my own ECW collection was now sufficient to fight most big battles of the period...

And so an end of gaming in the old Shed. In the past 20 years the Shed has welcomed dozens of players, hosted hundreds of games and seen thousands of tiny men march to the drums of war. It was my den, my man cave, ,my retreat from the pressures of life. It will be missed. However as I sit here tapping out these words on my keyboard  I have a new shed to decorate and a new table to build and a new adventure to begin.

As for the new adventure stay close because I will be revealing some news in the next week or so ...

Wishing you all a very merry christmas and a happy new year

Eric the Shed

Saturday 26 November 2022

The NEW Shed part 2

Good Morning All

part 1 can be found HERE

Last weekend several of my gaming friends volunteered to help empty the old shed and transport the collection to the new premises. I don't think any of them truly believed how much stuff I had accumulated over the last 20 odd years.

Fortified with bacon sandwiches and coffee it took about two hours for eight of us to empty the old shed and to load up one large van and four cars. Two estate cars were needed just to carry my figures ! Fortunately I had boxed most of the stuff in the previous weeks.

The picture below shows the main part of the old shed with stuff stacked up and ready to go..

The second room in the old shed was a bit more chaotic.

As we started emptying the building it dawned on me that my gaming tables were not going to be leaving the premises. They were just too big to get through my house to the van. So sadly these would have to be broken down and rebuilt at the other end.

So two hours later a small copnvpoy left Surbiton and headed south west. Fortunately the M25 was behaving itself and we all arrived safely at the new games destination 25 minutes later.

Unloading was significantly easier as the vehicles could be brought right up to the new shed and with a line formed all the vehicles were unloaded within the hour.

Sitting in the middle of my new games room was about 90% of my collection

I say 90% because there is still some more stuff to bring...

That night nursing a beer I returned to my old shed and looked inside - it was empty (almost)  but it had brought so many wonderful memories...

A big thank you to Stuart, Mark F, Mark K, John, Tony, Vince, and Colin for their support last weekend. Without your help it would have taken so much longer.

Next up ....refurbishing the new gaff

Part 3 can be found Here

Friday 11 November 2022

The NEW Shed - part 1

Morning folks

Just to bring people up to speed my wife and I recently completed our purchase of a new home. By Christmas we have to move out of our existing home and transport 30 years of life to the new gaff...the fact that the new home is run down (almost derelict in places) makes it all rather exciting.

On the positive front the new home has a rather super wooden building that will for the time being serve as my new games room (Mrs Shed wants to convert it into an air bnb chalet). This old building was used as an office by the previous owners. 

The building itself is about 30ft by 20ft and has a Loo, central heating and a kitchenette all are in desperate need of repair or replacement. The building is surrounded by brambles and ferns, covered in ivy and in some areas in need of repair.

Inside the office was abandoned, old desks, phones, computers and vast amounts of paper.

So this week I have been clearing the ground to see what condition the building is really in...the front entrance is OK but water damage and rot has set in around the base.

Clearing the ground has helped inspection

The building has been built on a slope and it was only when clearing the overgrowth did I realise how high the base had been built...before below

After clearing the ground

Inside the office has now been cleared - just some scrap metal to go

The interior is actually pretty good - needs a massive clean, a lick of paint and a new floor.

As work progresses I'll keep you posted...

Part 2 can be found HERE

Saturday 29 October 2022

Times they are a changing !

Morning All

It is with a sad (but also excited) heart that I can report that the last game has been fought in my current Shed. 

For those of you unaware Mrs Shed and I have spent the last 18months planning to move from Surbiton in SW London to pastures new and this of course meant leaving my beloved games room behind. Today I am delighted to report that we have now (finally) exchanged and completed on a new property.

We are in a fortunate position to be staying in our existing home for a couple of months before moving into the new pad. 

The new place is best described as a doer-upper although this description may well be generous. What I can say is that we have bought a rather eclectic almost derelict property with several outbuildings all sitting inside 10 acres of beautiful mature woodland. Better still its only just outside the M25 and about 30 minutes from where we currently live.

One of the outbuildings is a large timber building (complete with toilet and kitchenette) which could become my new games room. The alternative is a large 40ft long garage. Much will depend upon Mrs Shed. Ultimately the plan is to have the new games room up and running by spring of next year, this does mean games will be few and far between with much of my time focussed on the new project.

Pictures will be posted in next post ....

plus whilst I have been waiting for the endless saga of property exchange to take place I have cracked on with my Ancient Greeks - 600 Hoplites and 300 Phalangites now painted. Again pictures in a new post soon.  

Friday 2 September 2022

Battle of Edgehill - a 28mm Wargame using Pike & Shotte

 Afternoon All

On Monday I hosted a rather large epic Pike & Shotte engagement that was a recreation of the ECW Battle of Edgehill which incidentally celebrates its 380th anniversary later this year. The plan was to host six players (three aside) who would take the Royalist and Parliamentary commands for this opening battle of the English Civil War. 

Sadly two of my players got stuck in traffic and 3 hours later still had not appeared. (We discovered that a jack knifed lorry on the A3 was the culprit).  We pushed on with four players and because it was such a great close game the decision to refight this again next Monday has been agreed with a further four new players. Hopefully I'll be able to provide a full AAR of that battle post event.

Prior to providing details of the game I can report that we are now getting close to the potential housemove - hopefully we will exchange and complete on our new home in the next couple of weeks. Given the amount of work to be done on the new place we have decided to stay put oat our existing home for the next couple of months and move out at the end of November. This does mean that the games in the shed are coming to an end but as I mentioned in a previous post the new games room at the new place is much bigger (but also needs a lot of work). As and when things happen I'll post an update . back to Edge Hill.

The Forces gather


The Battle of Edge Hill was the first pitched battle of the English Civil War. It was fought on the 23rd October 1642 near Edge Hill and Kineton in Warwickshire.

This engagement resulted from the failed attempts by King Charles I and his Parliament to come to a constitutional agreement on how England should be governed. By early 1642 war looked inevitable as both factions mustered large armies. In October Charles I marched from his base in Shrewsbury to sieze London and confront the rebels. Parliaments forces uunder the command of the Earl of Essex marched north to meet him.

By the 22nd October both forces were close to each other with Charles occupying the high ground (Edge Hill). With Essex showing no inclination to attack the upper ground Charles marched his army into the lower valley on the 23rd and battle commenced.

Both sides were very inexperienced with few of the troops on the field ever having being exposed to fire. Many of both sides fled or ignored orders. Neither army gained an advantage and the battle is seen as an inconclusive affair.

Both sides were evenly matched with Parliament fielding more artillery pieces. In terms of regimental strength the Royalists fielded more units but these were typically smaller in size than their counterparts.

After the battle Charles continued his march south to London but was not strong enough to take the city - the next action in the war was the Battle of Brentford which we fought a few years back - details here

A map of the battlefield 

Orders of Battle

As in previous re-enactments of big battles I wanted to get as many of the right units on the table and to support my efforts of this battle I drew upon the army lists in the excellent Nick Lipscombe's book on the English Civil War. This really is an excellent tome for the period and a must for all wargamers interested in this period.

Fantastic Book ...if a little expensive

Taking the musters and units for the armies present I copied these across into a spreadsheet and determined the relative sizes of the units based on troop counts. As according to Warlord's Pike & Shotte rules units were designated as small, standard and medium.

These would be represented on the table by my growing ECW collection. Given the footprint of all the units the sleeves of muskets for each pike block were limited to one base either side.

These are shown below

The Royalist force...

The victor would be the side that broke the enemy first  - the breakpoint of the Royalists was set at 16 units and Parliament 14.

As in previous games all the units and commanders had their designated unit cards (Home made) with the stats including ranges, movement and stamina. An example is shown below.

We have modified the rules slightly for this game - 

1. Ranges and movement have been reduced by 30%
2. Movement can either be done deployed or in column (the higher number ids column movement)
3. Three ranges are given - up to 4" hits on 3+, 4-8" hits on 4+, 8-12" hits on 6+

Finally 90% of the units on the table were designated as 'freshly raised' - in effect the first time they gave fire of came into melee their was a chance they might panic.
All the commanders have their own cards as below

The command rating is shown top left and the plus number is the extra die added if said commander joins a combat.

The cards are colour coded blue and orange for the two sides 

The following photos are from the first game...a full AAR will be produced for game 2 - hopefully I will remember to take more pictures

Below - Prince Ruperts Cavalry Wing on the Royalist right flank

The Parliament centre stretching out to their right wing

Both sides edged forward - a stream bisects the field but appears to have played no major part in the battle. It was just there for aesthetic purposes

The Rebel right wing

Parliaments horse on the right wing push forward supported by dragoons on the far right

The centres close

The Infantry mass for a big push of pike

Across the field regiments jostle for advantage

Cavalry charges proved somewhat ineffective to both sides

Full scale melee on the Parliamentary left flank

Parliament has won in the centre and is pushing forward

The Generals survey the carnage

Our first fight saw the Royalists lose marginally - thanks in part to the numerical superiority of the Parliamentarian artillery

Come back soon for a fuller AAR on the second refight

Wednesday 17 August 2022

Greeks, Macedonians and maybe Persians - the next project

Good Evening All

As promised in my last post I stated I was going to announce news of my newest project and hopefully this will not disappoint. For the last couple of years I have been focussing on adding units to my current collections and rebasing many of those that have been painted in the past.

I think its fair to say that the Shed seems to have adopted the Warlord Games rulesets of Hail Caesar, Pike and Shotte and Black Powder for most of our big multiplayer games. Given they all come from the stable they share many similarities in that they are quick to learn, handled big multiplayer games wonderfully and large games can be fought out in an afternoon or evening. My next project will fit with this premise and although I already have Imperial Romans and Celtic opponents I had a hankering to go further back in time to the period of Ancient Greece and Alexander the Great. From the Persian invasions of Greece by Darius and Xerxes (lets face it who doesn't want to refight Thermopylae with 300 Spartans) to the sweeping conquests of Alexander across the Persian Empire and the following wars of Succession this period offers a lot of possibilities (and Elephants !).

Where to start?

My plan is very simple build big Hellenistic and Macedonian armies to begin with. These can fight amongst each other (Peloponesian Wars/Wars of Succession). Once done I'll turn my attention to the eclectic Persian forces. The only criteria will be to build this army for less than 50p per foot and £1.50 per horse. With almost 1000 initially planned this is going to both take time and money. 

the good news is that the project has started....over the last couple of weeks I have won a couple of good bids on ebay and secured some great value boxes from House of  Hobbies. These folks offer a great service and currently have some great deals on Warlord products  - currently 30% off this summer

The two boxes of Greek starter armies the Spartan box give about 450 Hoplites, some Peltasts, Light Cavalry and command stands. The Successor starter boxes each provide 100 Pikes, Companion Horse and an Elephant in each. Current estimates around 30p per figure.

The next job is to get some of these assembled and some paint slapped on...

So last weekend I cracked on and painted up 100 Phalangites - still to be based

They are a real simple paint job washed with ink - still needs a varnish

On top of the Pikes I also tackled some standard Hoplites...24 Greeks. Again these were painted in a very simple white and blue colour scheme followed by Army painter and varnished.

The shield decals are the standard ones in the box and look great. Once applied the whole figure was matt varnished. Again these need to be based.

As with all projects it must crack on so I decided to start on my Spartan army - the plan is to create about 8 of these infantry units (24 strong). The first 40 are now in the pipeline

How long is it going to take? In two weeks I have almost finished 160 figures (not based) so with a fair wind hopefully by Christmas the Greeks will begin to muster.

More soon