Tag Archives: Blotz

A Song of Sand and Heat

I’ve recently been playing the Game of Thrones miniatures game called “A Song of Ice and Fire” from CMON with various members of the Swindon And District War-games Club (strangely enough based in Swindon). It is an excellent fantasy miniatures war-game based around the George RR Martin A Song of Ice and Fire books (if you’re a fan of the TV series, then you’ll know what’s going on). I fell in love with the rules after a few games, it enthused me like no other rules system has done for a long time, and it’s currently my preferred set of fantasy war-games rules at the moment.

OK, so like most warmers I started to tinker. Not so much with the ASOIAF game, since I’m enjoying everything that game is currently throwing my way, but rather to see where else I can apply the mechanisms. To this end I looked at whether it would be a nice fit for my recent Sudan excursion. My figures have been deliberately based to support a variety of existing popular rule sets, including ‘The Sword and the Flame, ‘The Men Who Would be Kings’, and ‘Sharpe Practice’. To use the miniatures for these rules would simply mean creating unit movement trays to take the figures. To this end I discussed my ideas with the vary accommodating Simon and Sue at Blotz and in a very short order had bases suitable for my Dervisher infantry and cavalry, as well as more tailored bases for the regular Egyptian and British infantry.

You’ll have seen my progress in getting these units rebased and ready for the table in previous posts. For the Dervishers I’ve now managed to have 6 units of Beja tribesmen (the classic ‘Fuzzy Wuzzies’). as well as 2 units of Beja camel riders, and 2 units of Baggara cavalry. My Brits are somewhat smaller with only 6 units of infantry now complete. I’m in the progress of sorting out the Gardner and Gatling guns, then will need to order some more bases from Blotz for the guns. Next up will be rebasing more of the Brits, as well as organising the Mahdist Ansar infantry. At some point I’ll need to sort out things for British cavalry, along with the Egyptian infantry (and the Naval Brigade, the Indian troops, the Nile Arabs etc. and of course the steam ships…)

Well, back to the rules. I’ve managed to redo the rules for the Sudan, keeping many of the core mechanics, and introducing things which are key features of 19th century colonial wargames. I have a revised intrigue board, and even a series of different sets of generals cards for the two sides. I’m still working on the various unit stats so that I can get the forces to the table. I’ve had to change some of the core principles of the game though due to the asymmetric nature of the two principle protagonists; we have fast moving irregular troops who are primarily vicious close combat types fighting against formed regular troops who rely upon long range shooting to try and keep the enemy at bay. To this end I’ve introduced some longer ranges for shooting, going beyond the 6″ short and 12″ long in the original rules. I’ve also introduced some basic formations for the formed troops (line, march column, and of course square), as well as new unit types such as different river craft, with trains to eventually make their appearance for later period events.

Certain elements of the original rules aren’t really pertinent to the Sudan (or even historical games in general), so those aspects have been dropped. The game modes were dropped in favour of scenarios, but I have attempted to keep these non-specific to allow for the casual pick-up and play games. There are however some specific scenarios to cover some of the more pertinent battles in the campaigns.

Sudan Rebasing Cock-up

Shortly before Christmas I decided to dig out my 28mm Colonial Sudan armies and pep them up. The main intention was to rebase the forces entirely so that they could be used for different rule sets with different sabot bases.

To this end I ordered a batch of 5mm and 10mm rare earth magnets, along with 20mm and 25mm steel washers. I then spoke with Simon at Blotz to have a batch of unit trays made which would take the washer based figures with holes for the magnets beneath.

After spending a long weekend stripping figures from bases and sticking them to the recently received washers I then applied the basing material and painted the figure bases ready for the new movement trays.

The movement trays arrived within a day or so (Simon and Sue’s service through Blotz is second to none and highly recommended), and I started to insert the magnets and test out the based figures. The movement trays were perfect, taking the washer based infantry cleanly and being a perfect fit for the rare earth magnets.

It was only then that I noticed that the figure bases weren’t’ ‘sticking’ to the magnets. After a short while of mucking around and testing various bases, magnets (and other magnets, and other washers) I realised that the washers which I had bought, and spent days lovingly rebasing my figures onto weren’t in fact attracted to magnets.

After a few minutes of silent expletives I did a quick google search and found that not all stainless steel works with magnets. Who knew? (Well as is quite obvious, I didn’t)

So before I started the long task of rebasing the entire Sudanese army (again), I did some experimenting looking for a quick fix solution. I tried a few solutions, which included basing the washer based figures on top of other steel washers (worked because these did work with magnets) – these unfortunately stood a bit too tall of the movement tray, but could be considered a viable solution. Eventually I’ve settled on basing the washer figures on top of a thin circle of steel paper which does stick to magnets, and doesn’t make the bases stand too high above the movement tray. OK, so this does take a little time using the 25mm hole punch and sticking and trimming the bases, but it’s a lot quicker than the alternative, and definitely a lot let disheartening than completely rebasing the army again.

Part of the Sudan rebasing cock-up

Blotz can be found at most of the bigger Wargames shows in England, alternatively check them out on their website.


Blotz Highways

Blotz have got some fairly impressive new highway pieces available.  These roadways are suitable for any 10mm modern or sci-fi game system such as Dropzone Commander or similar.  The ramps have a 2 inch raise over about 8 inches which looks right on the table and gives a a gentle enough slope for vehicles to stay on.  As with the rest of Blotz stuff these are laser cut MDF


They are available from their website;


Taken from their Facebook update;

“New pieces are 1-lane on/off ramps, 30 degree curves and broken sections along with an entry/exit section for the 2-lane flyover (depending on which side of the road you drive on). Can be used to add a ramp to a different level (see pic) or simply to whizz off using the 1-lane flyover sections to elsewhere on the board.
All are now available via the website.”



Hail Caesar Conventions

I enjoy playing the game of Hail Caesar but I wouldn’t be surprised if the rules as I play them are not the same as how others play them.  In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if every different group has their own interpretations and conventions in place and isn’t aware of how they are different to others (or sometimes even the rulebook!).  I have this belief based upon an experience with Black Powder (Hail Caesars parent rules).  I went to a fantastic Napoleonic game last year and it was only about 4 hours in that the four of us in our section of the battle realised that we had been using 4 different sets of rules up to that point.  Fortunately due to the light hearted nature of the event it was of little consequence but amusing all the same.

I believe that this is because the rules are somewhat loose or relaxed in how they are written and really designed for play between ‘like minded individuals’ rather than for tournament play.

In this section I’ll endeavour to capture the various conventions which I’m currently applying, and will add more as and when I remember them, or have to define new ones for unforeseen events.

Base sizes;

Standard Infantry units are 160mm wide, and between 40mm to 80mm deep.  Most of my figures are on 40mm square bases held in unit trays 4 bases wide and 1 to 2 bases deep.  Coming from a WAB background most of my figures were originally based in 4s to a base, but with these rules I have adopted a looser basing set up for medium infantry types which I base 3 to a base.

Standard Cavalry units are around 150 to 160mm wide, and between 50mm to 100mm deep.  As before most of my figures were originally based for WAB so are on 50mm squares with 2 figures to a base.  My units are 3 bases wide and either 1 or 2 bases deep all put onto a unit movement tray.

My Light Chariots are based on 40mm wide by 60mm deep bases and 4 bases wide to a unit.

My skirmishers are usually classified as ‘small’, and on 120mm wide unit trays.  The figures are based on 1p pieces which socket into the unit tray which has an erratic distribution of the holes.

I also have a small tray which looks like a 2 figure skirmish movement tray as it only has 2 small 20mm squares on it.  These trays are for holding the unit status dice and current damage.  The status dice have the different states for the unit (Shaken, Disordered, Shake & Disordered, Close Shields, Open Order, Close Order).  This saves having to have stacks of different chits to search through and I always know that the right counter so long as I have one of these dice.  We designed the images and then sent them through to Warbases in a bulk order.  We had previously done this for Pike and Shotte and found them invaluable so did it for Hail Caesar once we started using the rules. The other hole just holds a standard D6 – usually in a similar colour to the status die and this records the amount of damage the unit has taken.  Since 6 seems to be the standard maximum for units this works OK at the moment, though should we come across units with higher stamina ratings I may have to rethink this bit. 😉

Most of my unit trays are sourced through Blotz under their wargamers accessories section


The dice can be sourced through Warbases the guys there are very helpful and were happy to give guidance.


Home Made Hedges with gates

It’s only when I got my first batch of hedges on the table that I appreciated that I’d neglected to allow for any entrances between my fields (bar leaving a gap between the hedge bases that is.)

So my next project was to construct 2 gateways for each 1 foot square worth of hedges so that there could always be an entrance and a option for a separate exit to a field.

The gates were constructed fairly crudely from matches.  I glued 4 horizontal matches to two verticals with light touches of PVA where they touched.  I then subsequently glued a cross bar across the 4 horizontals.  When the gate was dry I clipped the two verticals until they looked the right height for the gate.

I then cut and trimmed sufficient rubberised horse hair for the hedge ends (approximately 2 inch lengths).

the gates and hedge ends were then glued to my 6 inch hedge bases (from Blotz) with the gate in the centre of the base.  I used a glue gun as this gave a very resilient bond as well as set fairly quickly.  You only have to avoid bringing your fingers (you don’t do that often I can tell you).

Gated Hedges in use in Chain of Action game before being finished off


Once set I added some ground cover around the gate and hedges in the form of putty and loose grit.  Once this was dry I gave the whole lot a spray with brown acrylic paint.

Once dry I dry brushed PVA onto the hedges and applied the flock scatter.  I use a fairly light grain Blended Turf (Earth Blend) from Woodlands Scenics.  This has a slight rubbery texture and glues very well.  It’s also got the added advantage of coming in almost a litre bottle for £9 which was considerably cheaper than the alternatives.

I then lightly dry brushed the gate as well as the ground around the hedges before adding some static flock to the base.  You could also put this around the gate if desired.  I then added some additional details in the form of flock ‘clumps’ which I get from eBay.

Dead Mans Hand – down at the Morden Corral

Phil and I get the old Western toys out after a long hiatus and had a go at Dead mans Hand using the Legend supplement lists.  It was an opportunity for Phil to use his US Cavalry whilst I wanted to get my new buildings and fencing on the table. My recently constructed 4Ground Undertakers, along with my beautify Blotz painted church and my just constructed snake fencing.

We managed to fill most of a 6 by 4 table with our buildings and wagons and it was a delight to behold.  We decided to play one of the campaign sets, and opted for the Quick and the Lead.  I took Pinkertons to give them a try and as mentioned Phil had the cavalry.

The first scenario was simply a duel which was meant to be done using t a Black Jack related theme.  Unfortunately Phil managed to get a modified 22 on the first roll of the game so killed my duelist without having an opportunity to respond. So we moved on rapidly to the second game.

this followed immediately from the first game with the two sides deploying around the town in pairs.  the victor would be the first person to take out two of the opposing side.  Our gangs were reduced in size, effectively omitting the main boss figure.  The game proved to be a good teaching exercise as I found that my dispersed pistol wielding Pinkertons were easy prey to the carbine armed cavalrymen.  It wasn’t helped by us not having the rules for the carbines so had treated them as rifles with the improved range.  That was little excuse though for my general poor performance as my men were slowly whittled down as I attempted to close into pistole range.

So with two games to Phil we entered the third game with a full 21 points of figures.  this time it was to be played to a gang breaking.  this time I played it more cagy.  I tried to keep most of my Pinkertons close together with limited rifle support from a couple of Nightwatchmen.  I was able to rapidly close onto elements of the dispersed Cavalry and gradually bring my local superiority with a pistol to bear.  Unfortunately we had to call the game to a close due to time (we were chatting far to much which isn’t really a bad thing).  this was a far closer game and I like to think that I was in a far better position than previously.  Well there is always another time, and perhaps next time we will be able to fight over the moustachery…

Useful Links

Dead mans Hand is available from Great Escape Games http://www.greatescapegames.co.uk/deadmanshand.html

Blotz can be found at http://blotz.co.uk

4Ground can be found at http://www.4ground.co.uk

Finally Started making the beautiful Undertakers from 4Ground

I bought the Undertakers kit from 4Ground over a year ago but was somewhat intimidated by the size of the kit so avoided making it. I have done smaller models from 4Ground, but this ones comes in a heavy A4 box over an inch thick.

Well I finally convinced myself to start the model and despite one cockup which is hopefully not noticeable I did eventually manage to complete it in around 4 hours. (OK so I did get sidetracked a couple of times).

All in all the model is quite easy to assemble.  The instructions in the main are easy enough to follow although I did get to a couple of incidences where I had to apply a few assumptions (even after visiting the website to find some photos from different perspectives).

The finished model looks great, and as a big positive for me it fits into a 7litre Really Useful box!

I gave it it’s first outing at the club tonight for a game of Dead Mans Hand (excellent game).  It looked great on the table and is a nice focal point, along with my church from Blotz.

Unfortunately I lost the different games.