Showing posts with label review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label review. Show all posts

13 Jun 2015

Reviewing the new "Painting War" series of magazines

One of the nice things about producing a website such as this one is that occasionally nice people send you nice stuff - and this is exactly what happened when Quino Ruiz contacted me via the Facebook Page to see if I wanted to road-test a couple of editions of their new magazine (more of that later...) Painting War.

Read what I thought about the first three issues in my comprehensive review

6 Mar 2015

This site, reviewed in Miniature Wargames!

Some nice words from Henry Hyde at Miniature Wargames about this site, as is the "Blog of the Month" for February 2015!

"This month, get yourself over to the Madaxeman site at
which is rammed full of excellent stuff. One aspect that I really like is where he tests various rulesets, such as a recent tryout of L’Art de la Guerre Ancients rules at
Art_de_la_Guerre_review.php. There’s a lovely sense of humour underpinning the site, with lots of variety, recently including a photo report of a Field of Glory Renaissance tournament complete with comic strip speech bubbles! Great stuff. "

Fame at last!! 

12 Nov 2014

Pike & Shot(te) Video game review

In a new departure for this site, here's a link to a YouTube video I managed to create in which I do a very bad job of playing Slitherine's new Renaissance video game based on FoG:R, Pike & Shot.

You can see it on YouTube here.

Here also are a couple of screen-grabs of the YouTube video of the game.

Overall it's very simple to pick up, the game rattles along at a decent pace and the AI appears to be sensible - no MTW-style clouds of units milling around aimlessly here!  However the graphics are a little basic to say the least, and it's hard to imagine why they haven't included at least a simple form of Campaign Mode in the core game (I think it's under way and planned for an update soon).

That, for me, means the current price of close on £40 (I think £36 as I write this..?) is probably a little bit on the steep side - even accepting the "this is for a limited audience so the price will need to be different to a Total War type title" argument. Once this isn't "shiny and new" and Slitherine presumably decide to knock a few quid off and it will start to look a lot more sensible - add the campaign mode and this will be even more true. Anyway, a decent game and also your only choice for this relatively obscure and poorly served period in the games market.

See how much it costs on Slitherine's site now!

24 Oct 2014

L'Art de la Guerre - new Ancients rules, reviewed...

A short battle report and review of the "new" (well, new to English translation, but actually the third edition) of L'Art de la Guerre Ancients rules is now on this site.

Hopefully it will give you a bit of a flavour of what seems a very enjoyable, familiar-yet-different set of rules.

9 Dec 2013

The Wargaming Compendium - Book Review

For quite some time I've been meaning to post an embarrassingly effusive review of Henry Hydes's book, The Wargaming Compendium, which I got my grubby paws on earlier in the summer soon after it came out.

Now, this sort of generic "guide to wargaming" isn't normally the sort of thing that floats my boat - I'm no hard-core grognard, but I think that I know my way around a table, have painted just a few toy soldiers in my time, and have hardly enough days in the week to read the military history and hard SF which populate the rest of my to-do book and Kindle pile. So, why on earth would anyone want to add to that something which is basically a wargaming primer on steroids?

Well, for starters, the steroids have certainly helped this little idea of a book grow up into a strapping hulk of a coffee-table-gracing tome. Weighing in at the "wow, that's as much as a decent sized tool box" level, the whole thing exudes quality from the cover inwards. And it's the innards that really cut the mustard, with over 500 pages seemingly almost all of them carrying at least one colour photo or illustration to grace the text.

The book itself is divided, FoG-style, into sections which are colour coded by a small block on the edge of each page - starting off with a colourful introduction of how the author got into wargaming in the first place (a Britains cannon that fired match sticks if you must know) through "Basic Concepts" (stuff you can use to explain to a non-initiate what is going on) and then leading right into one of the best sections of the book - a History of Wargaming which could almost stand up as a (40-page) book in it's own right, containing a nice mix of geeky historical details from the 1800's plus some bang up to date moments of "oh, yes, I had some of those!" as well.

Other sections include "Choosing a Period" (which could easily be re-titled "all you needed to know about the periods you don't currently play but have occasionally thought about, in a nutshell"), "Assembling your Forces" (a well illustrated section on basic painting techniques, with an especially useful reference section on painting horses), and then a few chapters which go into detail of periods as diverse as the Wild West, Gladiatorial Combat, a map-based game in Ancient Greece and even a fairly full-on set of rules for 1685-1845 European combat, all well presented and written to clearly illustrate how the author has built up the rules from basic concepts to the finished game. The rules bits I did admittedly skip through a little - one day I might revisit them, but the periods are not that interesting to me and to be honest I almost felt like I had squeezed full value out of the book by page 255 (where they start) anyway!

The book then moves on with a canter through "Other Aspects of Wargaming" which have not already been covered, including naval, air combat, roleplaying and pulp actions, all again with excellent photos on every page before wrapping up with a "Digital" section which covers basic figure photography, and how to use and set up a basic wargames blog or website (what a good idea...!). Right at the back there are 30 pages (yes!) of reference lists, covering manufacturers, a UK show calendar and a list of UK museums amongst other things.

Where the book impresses most is to manage, somehow, to weave the "beginner" aspects into something which even a well seasoned old git like myself found genuinely enjoyable and interesting to read - often much to my surprise.

If you wanted to nit-pick, you could say the home-brew rules are a bit, well, home-brewed and cover periods that may not be of interest to everyone... but even skipping this whole section still leaves a 300+ page book! Some readers might also get a little tired of the writing style, which on occasion veers a little too far towards "so, dear reader, as you send forth your brave miniature troopers once more on their quest for glory for your burgeoning tabletop empire...." but to be honest even this a pretty forgiveable transgression, either on the basis that it is pretty clearly a consequence of the authors enthusiasm for the subject, or even that it sometimes lends an air of "HG Wells" to the whole proceedings anyway!

Bottom line is that you probably should add this to the list of "must have" Wargaming books, whatever your interest are - and this is a pretty short list which essentially comprises Harry Pearson's "Achtung Schweinhund!" (which now appears also to be available on Kindle), a Donald Featherstone or two and perhaps not much else.

And in any case, it's Christmas soon, so you could always send one of the links below to your better half as a suggestion for your stocking!

2 Apr 2009

Samurai Armies 1467-1694

Samurai Armies 1467-1694 is the latest tome from Osprey in their Battle Orders series. Written by Stephen Turnbull (who along with Anthony Bryant has authored most of Osprey's range of Samurai books) this volume covers the period of Japanese history when the country was split into a multitude of rival princedoms and Samurai leaders fought for local - and eventually national - dominance.

The book itself is a weighty tome - no "8 pages of colour plates with some sketchy and largely irrelevant bonus text wrapped round it " Osprey this one!

This volume's 96 text-heavy pages do go into detail on Samurai history & politics of the period, giving an overview of how Japan changed and developed and highlighting the origins of the key players and clans. however - and most importantly for the likes of us gamers - there is absolutely stacks about warfare, battle tactics, uniforms, heraldry, with detailed maps and tactically astute accounts of battles and campaigns - in fact, everything from page 21 onwards is pretty much about the nitty gritty of warfare.

The book covers a number of key wargame-related topics in great detail, devoting many pages to each. The 17-page "Campaigns" section covers battlefield formations, communications, weaponry and how evolutions in weaponry (ie the arquebus) affected samurai tactics throughout this period.

20 Pages of "Strategic Engagement and Battlefield Movement" follows several key campaigns and uses them to highlight the classic array of formalized - and formula-busting - tactics used by key generals of the era.

A further 18 page section addresses in yet more detail the great battles of the Tokugawa Shoguns, from the unification of Japan through to the formation of the first real "Japanese" army and its abortive mission to subjugate Korea.

For someone like myself for whom Samurai armies are not a passion, but something which fits into the "I'd like one one day just for the painting" the book is initially a somewhat challenging read, with a host of names of Japanese leaders and the rather confusing histories of various warring dynasties crammed into the first few pages.

However once this is out of the way (which it is quite soon) the book quickly kicks into a new life as something that almost seems to have been designed as a wargamers companion, and the speed at which I was able to take it all in increased dramatically.

By the time I'd finished I felt confident that the book had given me just enough history and background to put a context around what must be on many peoples "to do" lists, and shared enough pictures and uniform guides to inspire me to have a go at the uniforms, banners and flags as well. For a wargamer thinking of dipping their toe in Japanese waters then, it'd be hard to see how a one-volume guide to the period could be better put together.

Buy this book now from Amazon

30 Nov 2008

New Xyston Gaesati Photos

Reviews Now added to the Photo Gallery, including some size comparison photos vs Essex Minis Celts, and shots of the figures next to a ruler.

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