Saturday, 29 March 2014

WW1 Centenary Europe Wide Event

A mass public event backed by the Government is being planned to commemorate the centenary and will echo Sir Edward Grey's famous epitaph "the lamps are going out all over Europe".
People will be encouraged to switch their lights out in favour of a single light on August 4, 2014, which will mark 100 years after Britain declared war on Germany. The ‘Lights Out’ scheme is one of a series of arts events planned to mark the centenary of World War One. People from all four nations will be invited to turn off their lights and to replace them with one single light to
remember a day that changed the world forever.

A Late Night Prom will precede the Lights Out event which will take place at the same time a candlelit vigil of prayer, readings and music held in Westminster Abbey. During the event, candles will be extinguished one by one until a single flame is xtinguished at 11pm.

“Culture is part of the fabric of British society. Ensuring a cultural element flows throughout the centenary will be vital part of our commemorations, particularly as a way of engaging young people and helping them make that
connection with the past, " said Culture Secretary, Maria Miller.

“The 14-18 Now cultural programme will help all of us to pause in remembrance and to understand the resonance of the First World War today.” Events will take place over the next four years and will centre around three key moments: the declaration of war, the start of the Battle of the Somme and

The ultimatum that led to war

Germany’s Schlieffen Plan was born in response to the events that had occurred in Sarajevo in June 1914. Conscious of the great might of Russia and France, the German military hierarchy had doomed Belgium to an invasion. Britain had guaranteed Belgium’s neutrality as far back as 1839.

The declaration of war on Germany was an ultimatum, led by Prime Minister Herbert Asquith, who had given Germany an ultimatum to get out of Belgium by midnight of August 3rd, 1914.  The reply was in effect a rejection of the British demand and subsequently war was declared.Asquith had to make a decision  — to act or not to act —this decision was one that would have a big impact on British society and its history. What would you have done?

Asquith chose not to turn a blind eye to war in mainland Europe so instead he stood up to the bullying of Germany. But, it’s impossible to tell what impact not getting involved could have had on Britain...

The first leg of the official cultural programme, entitled 14 -18 NOW, begins in June and will culminate on the important date in August. The programme is funded by a £10m grant from the National Lottery and £5m each from Arts Council England and The Heritage Lottery Fund.

Events to look out for as part of the 14-18 NOW Cultural Programme:
Letter to an Unknown Soldier: Sebastian Faulks, Andrew Motion and Stephen Fry will be among 50 writers taking part in a project inspired by Charles Jagger's statue in Paddington Station of a soldier reading a letter from home. The public will also be invited to write their own letters, which will be published online and stored in the British Library's digital archive

Dazzle Ships: Artist Carlos Cruz-Diez will paint a version of a 'Dazzle Ship' - a method of painting ships in bold patterns to make them a confusing target for enemy artillery - in Liverpool's Albert Dock.

Shot at Dawn: photographer Chloe Dewe Mathews will present images of the locations where British, French and Belgian troops were executed for cowardice and desertion.

The Proms: a specially-themed Late Night Prom will be held on the anniversary of the declaration of war.

Live Music Now: young professional musicians will visit elderly people at lunch clubs and in care homes, recording their recollections and using them as inspiration for songs.

Charlie Ward: inspired by the fact Charlie Chaplin shorts were screened on the ceilings of hospitals for the war wounded, audiences will lie in hospital beds to watch a performance that includes Chaplin excerpts.

Does It Matter? Disability and the First World War: five contemporary disabled artists will present their takes on the legacies of war and disability in Britain today.

BalletBoyz: a new full-length show taking inspiration from images of the First World War.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

4Grounds Shogunate Buildings - Bushido, Ronin.

I recently sold some old bits and pieces on ebay and decided to treat myself to some new buildings for my numerous Samurai games – I have had my eye on the special deal which gives you all 4 Shogunate buildings and a load of fencing from 4ground.

The information on the 4ground website shows they’ve done a lot of homework in order to get these models to be architecturally accurate.

According to 4grounds site, one of the houses is a ‘home to a Komae family of smallholders. This lowland Minka (vernacular built) dwelling is made from Kyoro-Gumi wooden post-framing, with both partial plastered bamboo panels and timber boarded panels’.

The other house is ‘a lowland home to a Honbyakushō (literally-First Farmer) family’. It has ‘ two Hi-en Engawa (full length verandas), one each side, both with Naga-ita (wood planking) roofing. The cottage itself has a Buki (thatched) Kirizuma roof, and the mune-jimai (ridge cover) is the relatively common Oki-chi.’

Village rice barn and Peasant labourer’s dwelling
According to the 4ground website, these models depicts a lowland farmstead dwellings, the home to a family of ‘mizunomi’, or farm labourers. These most simple of houses were made of wooden post-framing, with timber boarded panel walls throughout. Also a lowland rice barn. All villages had an estimated field tax burden that they had to pay in produce to their Daimyo. The rice tax was collected and stored in village rice barns/large outbuildings like this one, called ‘mura bei no naya’.

Whilst the two kits are designed on the same plan, there are differences, the barn lacks the loft-vents of the dwelling, and doesn’t have a verandah. The barn has double doors, which are fully operable. And inside, of course, the barn has no raised sleeping/eating floor. The roof comes off the barn in the same way as the dwelling.

All in all a cracking set of wargames buildings, great quality and very simple to put together. The miniature is the pictures is a GCT Bushido Ashigaru Yariman and the buildings are well in scale even though the Bushido miniatures are quite tall.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Guildball - Match Report: Fisherman Guild vs Butchers Guild

Good Afternoon Empireites and welcome to our first Guildball Match Report. This afternoon saw The Fishermans Guild team: Trident Harbour GBC (Guildball Club) vs the Butchers Guild team: Cleaver Street GBC.
Fishermens Guild
Butchers Guild

The local pitch was in good order and on a very pleasant afternnoon the match started with the Fishermen kicking off to the Butchers.

Ox from the Butchers ran onto the ball whilst players from both teams made moves into postion and jockeyed for position.

Ox storms forward with the ball and the two teams start to clash.

Greyscale from the Fishermen puts a few hits on the Butchers but the is Charged by Boar who takes out Greyscale completely.

The Fishermens Captain, Shark, attacks Boar and manages to knock him down and Kraken knocks down Boiler on the opposite side of the pitch.

Ox still with the ball makes a good run past the opposing Fishermen and shoots towards the goal.

The shot is good and he scores, the Butchers go 1-0 up and the ball is rebounded up the pitch from the Goal Post with Siren running after it.

Boiler stands up and moves away from Kraken towards the ball, taking the damaging Parting Shot but managing to stay on his feet.

Boiler nicks the ball away from Siren and boots it towards Shank. Shank collects the ball but is Harpooned by Kraken and dragged towards the huge Fisherman player. Shank is then incerimoniously knocked down and the ball scatters behind Kraken.

Shark sprints towards the ball, collects it and kicks it, looping the pass over Krakens head towards the waiting feet of Siren. Siren then dashes forward with a lovely Pass and Move.

Ox Charges into Angel and knocks her down and Siren lines a shot up on goal and scores a Screamer!! 1-1

and thats it folks, the game had to be called there for reasons beyond normal control. A Draw is a fair result for this first match.

Tune in for more Guildball soon....

Friday, 14 March 2014

Bloodbowl Match Karond Kar Oblivion vs Asguard Marauders

Nearly at the end of our local Bloodbowl League. This was the Divisional Semi-Final, so win this and I theoretically only have two games left, the Divisional Final and the League Final against the opposite Division winners.

I was up against Paul again with his Norse. I had beaten him during the season but now his team was alot more skilled up and very bashy.

With the Norse being  a higher rating than the Oblivion I hired a Mercenary Witch Elf and a Wandering Apothacary.

The weather was nice and the stadium started to fill with hordes of screaming fans, the Norse did seem to have the advantage on their supporters though.

The teams set up and the Dark Elves received first. The ball was kicked and the skies looked like they could change but the weather stayed nice. The Oblvion started strongly and KO'd a Wulfenwerer collected the ball and then saw it thrown to a waiting Blitzer. An Oblivion Lineman tries to add a Tackle Zone around the ball carrier but fails a dodge and falls over.

The Marauders remaining Wulfenwerer manages to sideline the Blitzer with the ball and although he escapes injury the ball is thrown back onto the field and caught by a Norse player.

The Oblivion respond well and a Lineman gets a CAS on a Norse Lineman, the ball carrier is Blitzed and Killed by a Dark Elf Blitzer. The ball pops free and another Oblivion dodges through the Norse lines and collects the ball.

The Wulfenwerer frenzies and hits the ball carrier and knocks him down, the ball goes free again. The Oblivion block well and move into position to crowd the Wulfenwerer. The Wulfenwerer is pushed away and a Dark Elf Blitzer dashes forward and collects the ball. The Norse Snow Troll acutely ineffective so far Roars Wildly. The Oblivion rampage forward and a Blitzer CAS's the Marauders Thrower breaking his ribs, the Oblivion are close to scoring but the Snow Troll rages and CAS's a Dark Elf Lineman..

The Oblivion surge ahead and push a few Marauders off the pitch but no injuries are caused, the Snow Troll watches Wildly as the Dark Elves run in and score TOUCHDOWN!!! 1-0.

The Second half starts and the Dark Elves kick. The ball sails off the field whilst the Marauders Quick Snap forward. The ball is passed to a Norse Catcher and the Marauders push forward. The Oblivion manage to deck the Snow Troll and then gang foul it, only managing to stun the beast. A Marauders Wulfenwerer KO's a Dark Elf Lineman and the Norse Catcher using his Nerves of Steel dashes between some Dark Elves and passes the ball which ends up complete in the hands of a Marauders Blitzer.

The Oblivion manage to dodge backfield and put a Blitz on the ball carrier. The ball goes free and is collected by the Oblivions Runner. The Marauders Catcher Jumps Up and tries to Blitz the Runner but completely fluffs it and smashes into the ground.

The Dark Elves charge ahead and an Oblivion Lineman Kills a Norse Lineman whilst the Runner passes the ball. Its all Dark Elves now and just as the match is ending the Mercenary Witch Elf who has been quiet all game storms up and with a Frenzied attack Kills the Snow Troll just as the Oblivion ball carrier crosses the line and scores again. TOUCHDOWN!!! 2-0.

The Oblivion come out Winners and are now scheduled to meet the Talos Tobbaconists (Chaos) in the Divisional Final.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Bushido GCT Tournament - Smogcon 2014 Part 2

This is the second part of my Bushido Tournament write up covering games 3 and 4. Part one of the write up can be found here - Part 1.

Game 3. vs Chris Nord (Prefecture of Ryu) Scenario Ryodo (Zone Control)

This was another zone control game but without the Very Important Model. Now I am mostly a Prefecture player so knew this game would be hard as I knew the tricks the Samurai faction could deal out and I was actually stumped on how to counter some of them.

Chris deployed his forces with the majority taking the centre and heading for the central zone whilst his Bikou (Ninja) headed towards my friendly zone. I was at serious disadvantage here as there was a scenery item right in front of my zone and Bikou has camoflauge which means I couldnt attack or shoot her unless I was within 2" of her at the start of my activation. She is a bloody pain to counter and spent the game spitting out Shurikan attacks like a throwing star machine gun, shredding my defending Takeji.

Chris had also took a Special card which gave him pass actions, which along with Hanso's feat which meant he could order Ashigaru to move which didnt tire them left me one option. So I charged head first into the centre to try and defeat as many of his characters as possible. With Blood of Orochi blessings on Kenzo and Masunagi not being bestowed with any fervour I ended up outnumbered and was slowly defeated.

My Naoko managed to infiltrate his friendly zone but when time was called and the scenario points totalled up I had marginally lost 0-1.

Prefecture of Ryu Win 1-0 in Victory Points.

Game 4. vs Jon Conway (Temple) Scenario - Keii (6 idols, 2 each friendly and 2 neutral - prayer tokens placed score points)

Last game and Jon was a fantastic opponent, really friendly and the game was so relaxed. We both set up on opposite baselines and I won the Tactical role (every turn). My Ito all ran towards the central Neutral idols ready to lay prayer tokens. Jon moved up his Monks, Master Po and Kenko whilst his Rice Farmer tried to flank and hide behind the trees. His Gorilla beat its chest in rage and made ready to attack Naoko whilst the Water Buffalo ended up as poached beef as Kaihime pincushioned it with poisoned arrows.

Po and Kenko tried to use Ki to tank themselves up, but their mantras failed dismally as Kenzo and Masunagi ripped into them and poisioned them to boot. Hotaru moved and managed to flame Masunagi whilst Kaihime shot and killed the Rice Farmer who was still cowering behind some trees. The Gorilla missed Naoko and the Snake demon returned the attack and blinded the Ape.

Offerings to Orochi were being placed on the idols at will now and the Kami was smiling on the Ito. With no offensive support the Temple were left with Aiko and her blinded Gorilla and Hotaru.

Naoku slithered over to Aiko and made short work of Aiko. Hotaru tried to chargrill Masunagi but the Samurai shrugged off the flames licking his armour and rammed his Katana through the hotheaded antagonist.

The Temple had crumbled and the Ito had pleased Orochi with their offerings.

Ito Win 2-1 in Victory Points.

So all four games completed and the final results were announced. I came 4th. I was only 1 point behind 3rd place which went to my 3rd game opponent Chris Nord.

A fantastic day and tournament and I was really pleased with my efforts with a completely untried force.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Bushido GCT Tournament - Smogcon 2014 Part 1

Last month saw me attend Smogcon 2014 in Guildford. Smogcon is a 3 day event usually dedicated to Warmachine and Hordes tournaments and events but this year they had expanded, moving to a new venue and hosting Dropzone Commander by Hawk Wargames and Bushido by GCT.

I arrived early on the Sunday morning all ready to participate in GCT's first Grand Master Bushido Tournament. For this event I took my newly painted up Ito faction. These are a lovely faction Half Snake, Half Samurai/Ashigaru with some nastly tricks including being able to spread poison about.

I have never used Ito in any game/demo/ or tournament before so it would be a huge learning curve, but I enjoy competing with new forces and testing myself.

The tournament consited of four games, each with a different scenario and this report will cover the first two games.

My Ito force consited of:

Masunagi Ito (Samurai beatstick)
Kaihime Ito (Half Snake Archer)
Kenzo Ito (Half Snake Samurai)
Naoko (Snake Monster that can blind people)
Takeji (Ashigaru fighter)
Sakura (Priestess that channels Ki)

Game 1. vs Dominic Westerland (Savage Wave) Scenario - Seigyo (Idols)

Both sides set up on baseline depolyment and my Ito gained the initiative. I started by running my characters towards the Idols. The Savage Wave countered with their Oni and Nian on their right flank with the Cave Bat waiting to swoop in on their left. Kaihime and Naoko both attack and poison the Oni.

The Cave Bat enters right in the corner behind the Ito lines but Sakura lets rip with Psychic Venom and poisons it. Kenzo and Masunagi use Lightning Reflexes and Martial Prowess to defeat and destroy the two Oni Zuba and Bobata.

Tra-Peng the Bakemono tries to net Kenzo but comletely misses. The Ito manage to turn Idols to their advantage.

The Cave Bat is poisoned again and then dies from a charge by Takeji. Tra-Peng is shot by Kaihime and killed. The Nian retreats away from the dominating Ito. Another Idol is turned.

The Ito are in full control now and all three Idols have been turned to their advantage. The Nian leaps and tries to pick of Naoko but the Snake Demon survives the attack.

Naoko is locked in combat with the Nian and with some bad rolls both characters end up at a standstill.

After 6 turns the Ito control every Idol and the Nian manages to disengage and slink away to find a new Oni master.

Ito WIN 3-0 in Victory Points.

Game 2. vs Oskar Jansson (Ito) Scenario - Ichio Reitan (Zone Control with Very Important Model VIM)

This game was against Oskar, a very good player from Sweden who had, had great success with his Ito all weekend (the tournament was on the sunday but the rest of teh weekend had been set up as a campaign and Oskar had pretty much run away with that)

Naturally I was a bit nervous as he was experience with Ito where as I had only played one game with them. We pretty much had a similar force but he had a Jade Mamba Guard where I had the Preistess.

The Scenario dictated that we had to choose a VIM, and we both chose Kenzo. You got 1 Victory Point at the end of the game if your VIM was closer to the opposing baseline than your opponents. VP's were also scored for controling the zones on the board.

Deployment again was baseline and Oskar won initative. In fact he won initiative every turn, we only played 3 turns though as we ran out of time (this was a very tense game)

The game began with each character basically mirroring each other vying for control and the best advantage. Boths sides then knew they would have to commit and both mine and Oskars Naoko were throwing out poison and blind counters on opposing characters.

I gained the upper hand and managed to take out Oskars Naoko but in the resulting melee's my Masunagi had become seriously wounded and poisoned and died at the end of the turn.

Turn 3 saw a flurry of action with my Kenzo finishing of Oskars. So Oskar had lost his VIM, as long as my Kenzo survived I would be guaranteed at least 1 VP. The opposing Kaihime's end up in a shooting dual and Oskars Jade Mamba Ashigaru manages to push away my Kaihime but she still remained in part of the control zone.

Sakura moves up into the control zone just as time is called. After judging the contols zones it was found that they were drawn so as my Kenzo had survived I had won the scenario (just)

Ito WIN 1-0 in Victory Points.

Part 2 soon.