Monday, 30 September 2019

Triremes In Action - Again

I played a quick game of Galleys & Galleons yesterday using my scratchbuilt triremes. I just ran them as 'vanilla' ships this time - C3 Q3 - Galley, Ramming, Shallow Draft, Yare - and gave each side six. The 'Athenians' were in blue, their allies in green, the 'Spartans' in red and their allies in yellow.

The main reason for playing was to see how putting the ships on bases improved determining whether a vessel from being rammed in the front or side. It did. Whilst running the models baseless looks better, I found that there were a few grey areas when determining the direction of attack. Since there are modifiers and game effect dependent on knowing it, I wanted it to be unambiguous.

Anyway, here are the Athenians moving up.

The Spartans made heavy work of negotiating the islands in their deployment area.

Two galleys from each side got ahead of the others. They exchanged missile fire, but neither was able to line up a ram on the other.

The green galley quickly scooted ahead as more Spartan ships closed in on it. Meanwhile the rest of the Athenian fleet worked its way around the central island.

The Athenian allies smashed into the Spartan galleys, forcing one to surrender.

The height of the battle. In the straits between the three islands the Athenian allies fight the Spartan galleys, whilst the Athenians work their way into the action. At the bottom of the picture are Sparta's ally galleys.

The Spartan allies moved swiftly into action, severely damaging an Athenian ship.

They pushed into the straits, sweeping all before them.

The Athenians were caught facing the wrong way as the Spartan allies wrought havoc on the,

The battle was a Spartan victory, mostly brought about by the final attack of their allies in the yellow galleys.

I'm enjoying these games, although ramming is an incredibly random tactic in this game. The activation rules do make for some interesting decisions, especially since galleys need activations in order to move. Ships are often left exposed to attack because other ships cause a turnover trying to get into the action or achieve an objective. The wonderful All At Sea table produced one horror in this game - an Athenian galley ran itself into a rocky island after failing a roll on a damage dice, resulting in some garbled order.

I hope to have the more nimble biremes ready for the next game.

Sunday, 29 September 2019


I was horribly busy with work this week just gone, and did ComicCon on Saturday, but I did manage to start work on another set of generic galleys for galleys & Galleons. This batch will be biremes - slightly smaller than the triremes, but more nimble.

Friday, 27 September 2019


I've been up on a client site in Sydney all week, which has been exhausting in itself - I really don't know how people manage that commute every day. And with it being a sales site I got dragged screaming and kicking into their regular end of week sales celebration, which involved unlimited quantities of wine and cheese. So whilst I managed to get to wargaming on a Thursday evening, I have written this blog post about our game whilst half-cut and in a low-level cheese coma.

Just so you know.

Anyway, we played Blucher. Austrians vs French at 300pts. We actually had three players to a side, but simply managed one CinC by committee. Some members of our group, whilst they like Blucher in principle, also feel that it's (i) slow, (ii) low on decisiveness and (iii) lacking in chrome, so have been ruthlessly house-ruling it. I don't personally have a problem with Blucher as it stands, but I guess it's not a period in which I'm either well-read or that interested in, so what do I know? Anyway, the latest set of house-rules were in use last night. They make firing more decisive, and frequent, but units operate at full strength for longer to offset it a little. There are a few other bits and pieces, but those were the ones pertinent to our game.

I won't bore you with details. The Austrians defended a ridge, and the French attacked. Somehow we left a gap on our right and the French exploited it, and our main infantry command, despite putting up a brave fight, was fairly mangled. My command was on the left, anchored on a village and with some rough field in front of it, and was barely troubled by the French. On the far-right our cavalry looked poised to turn the French left until a pile of French cavalry and infantry turned up in their rear and put an end to it. On the whole it was a bit of a French win.

Here's the pretty pictures. Gary and Peter provided the toys.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Triremes In Action

Having completed my pseudo-ancient warships, I had time to give them a first outing. One of the beauties of Galleys & Galleons is how quick and easy it is to set up a game. For galley warfare the rules recommend larger forces than for the sailing actions they're designed for - 200pts per side/player. I created two forces of just over 200pts, each with five ships. They were all triremes straight from the rules - Q3 C3, with Ramming, Yare and Shallow Draft. However for one side (the 'Athenians') I added Expert Oarsmen to three ships, whilst to the other (the 'Spartans') I gave two ships Drilled Soldiers. This gave the Athenians an advantage when rolling for lost oars after a ram, whilst the Spartans got an edge in boarding actions.

I grabbed a load of islands, and positioned them at random, then randomly determined the starting corner for each force. This was a straight head-to-head fight. I decided to play it until one side had taken over half losses, with crippled ships counting as half a ship for such a calculation.

Here's the start. The Athenians are bottom left and the Spartans top right.

The Athenians. The three blue ships in the lead are the Athenian ones, with the expert rowers, followed by two yellow allied ships.

The two red ships are the Spartans, whilst the green ships are their allies.

Both sides slowly closed, with the Spartans getting the better of the activation rolls. The Athenians were still sorting out the columns they'd been forced into to pass between two islands. The Spartans sent two allied vessels to the right of the island in the centre of the board, and their other three ships round the other way.

The Athenians got their act together at this point, and quickly intercepted the Spartan flanking move.

The Spartan allies made the first attack, damaging an Athenian vessel. Head-on rams are risky in Galleys & Galleons; not only do they do less damage, but there's a risk you will damage your own oars as well as those of the enemy. The expert rower trait on the Athenian ships makes it less likely they will take this damage.

The Athenians counterattacked, smashing into the Spartan allies. On the other side of the island the two Athenian ally ships faced off the main Spartan force, which seemed content to sit and watch (they had appalling activation rolls).

The Athenians pressed their attack. One Spartan ally vessel was crippled, then forced to surrender after being subjected to sustained archery. The other was rammed repeatedly, and sank.

The main Spartan force continued to edge forward cautiously, whilst the Athenian allies used the islands to cover their vulnerable flanks.

The Athenian ships slowly reorganised themselves ...

... then, as the Spartans continued to act with caution, rounded the island to attack them.

A Spartan vessel was rammed amidships, suffering significant damage.

The Athenians pressed home their attack. The Spartans ship grappled and boarded one of its attackers, with their soldiers gaining the upper hand, but it wasn't enough.

The Athenians grappled from two directions, and the Spartan ship surrendered. You can assume their soldiers fought to the last, but the crew didn't.

The Spartans had one success; their remaining ally ship rammed an Athenian ally vessel and sank it.

With two ships surrendered and one sunk, the Spartans had lost. The Athenians suffered light damage on two ships, and had an ally vessel sunk.

Once again the activation system gave a tense and exciting game. Both sides lost opportunities to attack the other through failed activations, and attempts to coordinate movement failed for the same reason. You really have to choose how many activation dice you're going to roll carefully. It will be interesting to see how the more agile biremes, with a Quality of 2, change things. Once I make some, that is.

Triremes - Completed

I finished painting the first batch of my pseudo-ancient galleys this morning. I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out.

Burlesque Update #10

When I last posted an update I had just done my first independent performance as a solo artist, at a local fundraiser. Since then I have more performances under my belt. I previewed the first in my previous update - Burlesque in Hand in Sydney. This is a monthly show that's really fun and friendly, and does a great job of showcasing both experienced performers and, as they quaintly like to call them, 'fresh meat'. It has a great reputation for giving inexperienced performers a chance to shine, and was the first show I applied to after I made my solo debut.

Although I was apprehensive about what would be my first time at a 'proper' show without the support of the rest of our burlesque school, I ended up having a fantastic time, with a keen crowd to cheer me on, a lovely bunch of other performers backstage, and smooth and friendly organisation by the Burlesque In Hand team.

Of course I added to my photo collection. For this show the photos were by Allan Rees-Bevan (@arb.photographer). He did a nice pre-show promo shot of each of us.

And there were proper performance shots as well.

My next performance was at the closing night gala for Wollongong's Queer Arts Festival, now in its third year and growing larger with each iteration. At the centre of the festival is an exhibition of art by the local LGBT community, and both Mrs Kobold and I contributed - she a poem, and me a collection of photos taken backstage at some of our earlier burlesque shows.

Here I am posing with my contribution.

And one of the photos, featuring my lovely daughter.

The Gala itself was a fun evening, and I was thrilled to do my performance in what was essentially a variety show rather than a straight burlesque show. To be fair the nature of the festival, and the people involved, meant that a lot of the variety were drag acts, but after burlesque performers I can't think of any group of people more fun to share a backstage with than a bunch of drag-queens. I don't think there were any official photos of the actual event, and at the time of writing haven't seen any unofficial ones either. It was the same act as before so you can imagine what it was like. But here I am mucking around taking selfies during the technical rehearsal. As you can see, the show was actually in the art gallery itself.

(As an aside, one of the other festival events I attended was a karaoke night. Whilst I've done it in a private room with just friends and family, I'd never done proper, public karaoke before. Let me just say that I enjoyed my first taste of it enough to go back later in the evening for another try. As with my burlesque performances, I made up for lack of talent with boundless enthusiasm.)

And this last week I was back in Sydney for another of the regular shows, Red Light Confidential. Again, there are no official photos of this event yet and the backstage ones are the same as above. This show marked the end of my independent solo performances for a while; I've done four shows in the past few months, and I think my act has had enough exposure for a while. I'm preparing for another group performance in October, but my next step is to choreograph another solo routine. This is quite daunting, but will be an interesting challenge. I've selected some music, and have a rough idea what I want the act to look like. Now I just need to build the 'story' and work out the moves.

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