Friday, December 1, 2017

Tear Down this Wall! - Rebuilding Compound Walls

I had a lot of different wall sections for Middle Eastern Compounds that I made over the years -many different sizes, shapes and colors. Some mounted on tiles - my Afghan Village compounds for example - some single pieces.

I rarely used the village tiles. They turned out to be too inflexible and harder to transport and set up than necessary. All the different walls, compounds and colors didn´t really fit and they are not a good match with my new desert terrain mat.

So last week I butchered all the different walls and standardized them.

Work began by dismantling the wall sections, removing them from their bases. Most were on cardboard bases that had warped consirably due to painting, turning them into unattractive pieces.
I got rid of all the cardboard, slashed up the tiles into compounds and wall sections and began cutting PVA-bases.  The picture below shows how many walls were involved: 

Work was split over several days. At one point I had to take a break because I had a blister forming on my index finger from cutting the PVA. Fortunately I stopped soon enough and was able to continue working the next day when the irritation had gone.

After all the bases were prepared, I started mounting them. At that point, I had standardized their size, but you can still see the very different colors - Most of the walls were kept raw white and not even painted. Shame on my past self ;)   Terrain was never my strong suit.

After gluing, sanding and priming the pieces, I commenced painting and treated the wall sections with the airbrush.

After everything had dried, the sand received some treatment with drybrushing and washes. Finally, I added some flock and let all of it dry.  After a few hours of work, I had transformed all the ugly pieces to a new standard:

Ironically as I looked for space to store them neatly, I discovered more wall sections that I had missed on the first search. But I´m done with walls for the near future, they´ll either follow at a later point or find their way right into the bin.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Code Red - Blocking Detachment (Game 2)

In our last game, the Opfor units suffered a resounding defeat at the hands of a US mechanized detachment suppressing and outflanking them in a forward defense position.

After this rather one-sided game, we decided to play the game in reversed roles. I would take over Opfor and have my friend attack.

I have to admit I was a bit anxious - after all, I had to prove that the forces and setup were balanced and that the shortcoming of both sides could be overcome....

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Code Red - Blocking Detachment (Game 1)

Last weekend we didn´t only play By Fire and Sword, but also got some playtesting done for Code Red. 

This report covers the first of three playtest games. The games were quickly thrown together, without much thought about balance, dramatic scenarios or somesuch.  

We threw a US Mechanized Formation against a Russian-Style Force using my Soviet Cold War models. Somewhere in the Desert, a US Intervention force was pushing along a valley to reach a strategic refinery that had to be defended by the local authorities.  Let´s call our Russians OPFOR for the remainder of this report.

We wanted to test Vehicles some more, so both factions got vehicles. Unfortunately I forgot to give the Americans some spare AT weapons on their infantry squads -  it turned out to be an interesting tactical challenge to work with what you got.  

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Eagle and Lion - A Fire and Sword Battle Report

In the Dark woods of the north, a duel between Lion and Eagle takes place as two scouting parties clash on their reconnaissance missions.  

A Muscovite Force led by the venerable Golova Rurik Borikov makes contact with a Swedish Detachment led by Malte Larsson. 

Borikov has deployed a Group of Servant Cossacks on his right flank facing Swedish Dragoons while placing his cavalry in the centre and on the left flank.  The Swedish Deployment mirrors the Muscovite troop placement as both sides seek to contest the broken ground with infantry while sending their cavalry along the clearings in the forest and onto the ploughed fields.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Code Red - Quickstart Rules released (EN/DE)

After almost three years of design and playtesting it is time to release the very first playable edition of Code Red to our fellow wargamers.

Code Red is a standalone ruleset for modern wargaming designed to recreate real and hypothetical conflicts after 1945.

These rules have started out as a set of Houserules for a popular Modern Wargaming ruleset to address some of its shortcomings, but have evolved into a unique and distinct set of rules with a special focus on:
  • Command and Control and the role of leaders on the battlefield
  • Morale and Suppression and their effect on units
  • Tactical Depth and interesting decisions facing the player
The rules are designed to provide a level of tactical realism, narrative quality, scaleability and simplicity that makes them easy to learn but hard to master. We´ve been trying to master them for 3 years now and we´re still not there ;)

After more than 3 years of development and testing, we´re confident to provide a challenging and fun game for those of you who want to dive deeper into the logic of modern warfare.

As a first step on our way to the final release we´re making the simplified QuickStart rules available both in English and German. These documents condense the essential rules for your first experience of Code Red into less than 10 pages.

Of course we had to cut some things from the 90 page full rule set, but we´re confident about the scope of the quickstart rules and we´re hoping they make you look forward to the full ruleset.

We´re planning to release the German version of the full rules in late 2017 to early 2018.
The english translation will follow later and I will make no promises as to when exactly.

We´ve published the rules for free on my website - klicking the banner below will navigate you to the right place to download them for free:


Saturday, October 14, 2017

As they lay dead

Just a quickie today - finished three Insurgent Casualties today which will be part of the next batch of releases.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Your orders, Sir?

By Fire and Sword requires order markers to play -  three kinds, to be precise:
  • Move
  • Charge
  • Defend
Lacking these markers turned some of my first games into an ugly mess, as we had to improvise using paper slips to display our orders.

Being a cheapo, I refuse buying expensive tin order markes when I can build them easily. After our latest game with paper markers I decided it was time to prepare some proper markers.

These are pretty simple if you know how they are made.
The base are my usual synthetic cork pieces cut into slices - you might as well use metal, plastic or coins, doesn´t matter.
The symbol on the marker is a slip of plasticard cut into triangles and rectangles, which I then used to build these simple symbols by gluing them onto my base.  Then they got a treatment of oxide paste and a bit of gravel on the symbol-side before they went into painting.


Of course orders aren´t the only thing I´ve been working on. I also completed the last base of Cavalry to add another 3 Boyar Son bases to my force for our game scheduled tomorrow.

As these troops are not exactly high performers, I also prepared some casualty markers for my Muscovites. These were a bit more work than the orders, as I sculpted these from scratch.

I actually tried the Tony Barton tile technique (read more about it here) using oven-baking clay for some of them. For casualties that worked quite well - which prompted me to take the experiment one step further and try a full figure.

Read more about how that went soon ;)