Monday, 28 December 2009

Project Categorisation

Since I seem to be better at starting rather than finishing projects I have decided to categorise them to help me focus. So far I'm thinking of the following five project stages:

Stage 1 - The Idea
I've had a great idea for a new project but haven't actually done anything about it other than some superficial research on the internet or in my existing library.

I regularly have a very, very large number of projects in this stage!

Stage 2 - The "Investment"
I have actually spent some money. It might just be on more research material or something more substantial in the way of figures, terrain etc. But at least I am committed!

Stage 3 - The Construction
So by now I've actually been forced to do something more than simply buying stuff. Planning, building, painting etc. i.e. a significant commitment of time rather than just money. These are "real" projects.

Stage 4 - The Pilot
At this stage I have something I can actually put onto a table. So the figures, terrain, rules and scenario(s) are in place, at least sufficiently to enable a game to be played. There is still work to be done to finish the project but I am seeing some return on my "investment".

Stage 5 - The Completion
I'm not sure if any project really reaches this stage but I'm considering this one to mean "complete" as originally envisaged and that any further expansion etc. will be considered to be a separate project (and so we go around again!).

My next task to actually list out all the projects in each category - that may take a little while! I can then prioritise them and, hopefully, 2010 will see more progress...

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for spending your valuable time looking at my witterings!

I am hoping that Santa will bring me some gaming related presents and so I hope to have some interesting things to post about after Christmas.

May I wish you all the very best for the festive season and for a happy and prosperous 2010 (with lots of gaming)!

In case you didn't know the Hogswatch card above is by the fabulously talented Paul Kidby.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Wargames Weekend - Planning

Even though 2009 isn't quite finished I'm in the process of trying to plan the games for Lenin's next visit in January. At the moment it's looking as follows:

28mm Crusader Skirmish
A chance to try out the Two Hour Wargames' CR3.0 - Swordplay rules (which are available as a free download by the way) to see if these are worth pursuing as our future "pointy stick" skirmish rules. It also gives me an opportunity to get my Gripping Beast crusader figures out again which will be nice, along with the new desert buildings I've picked up recently.

28mm Early WW1
A conversion of the second scenario from the SkirmishCampaigns Rommel's Road to Verdun booklet to the Two Hour Wargames' Nuts! rules (it's not quite big enough for the Lardies' Through the Mud & the Blood I suspect). This will be another chance to get my Renegade WW1 Germans and French onto the table (ah Les Pantalons Rouge!)

15mm Early WW2
I'm going to use this as an opportunity to finish off some more of my Peter Pig 15mm figures and am going to try running a larger game than normal using Spearhead (with the Germans suitably toned down!)

Lenin is indicating Through the Mud & the Blood (may be 28mm Normandy or 15mm Lebanon), Bag the MiG and Fantastic Worlds (which could be an outing for his Star Trek figures). But, as always, everything could change in the next few weeks!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Lardies Xmas Special out now!

The TooFatLardies have released their latest seasonal special packed to the gunnels with stuff for almost all their sets of rules.

This time we're being treated to over 120 pages of fascinating content including:
  • Campaign – An AWI campaign for Sharp Practice and Tea Taxes & Tories
  • Bocage Bustin' – an article on US tactics for dealing with the bocage for TW&T and IABSM
  • The Game to End All Games – a solo WW1 scenario for Through the Mud and the Blood (TTM&TB) but translatable to other periods
  • I Wish to Amuse the Fleet with a Signal – Command and Control in Kiss Me Hardy
  • Bag the Hun Walkthrough – a step by step guide to Bag the Hun 2
  • Get Your Frickin' Tentacle Out of my Face – Sci-Fi variant for I Ain't Been Shot Mum
  • The Laziest TW&T of All – More rule ideas to simplify Troops Weapons & Tactics
  • Allan Watermain and the Tomb of the Prophet – Pulp adventure scenario for TTM&TB
  • The Second Seminole War – A guide to the war for Sharp Practice
  • Two Men of Talavera – A Le Feu Sacre III scenario for the Peninsular
  • The Defence of Crap Island – A Japanese amphibious landing scenario for the Pacific
  • Thanks Heavens for Fellatio! – a scenario for Sharp Practice
  • Rating Commanders for They Couldn't Hit An Elephant
  • Revenge at Camp El Juba – An If the Lord Spares Us scenario
  • Heroes of the Hearthrug – An overview of the author of Carpet Campaign's life.
  • Carpet Campaigns – A 1910 rule set for toy soldier battles
  • The Savio River Crossing – A vietnam scenario for TW&T
  • Una, Grande y Libre – A SCW scenario for Triumph of the Will
  • Escape from the `Joy – A 1920 Irish Prison Break for TTM&TB
  • Taking Command – ideas for a battalion level version of IABSM
  • Totensontag – A desert war scenario for IABSM
  • Strike Wing – A Bag the Hun scenario
It's available as a PDF download from their website for a fiver.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

The Gathering Storm Part One - Scotland and the North

Solway Crafts and Miniatures have recently released their second source book for their alternative history setting 1938: A Very British Civil War. Originally intended to be a single volume they had so much interest that they decided to split it in two and so this is Part One covering Scotland and the North with a second part expected early in the new year.

This is a 50 page full colour production with 15 sections written by a variety of contributors interspersed with pictures of miniatures, flags and the the like. Six pages in the centre of the booklet are given over to a photo gallery.

The contents are as follows:
  • Introduction
  • The State of the War
  • Scotland's Own Civil War
  • The Northern Army
  • The Chopwell Communists
  • Yorkshire and the Civil War
  • War in the Lakes
  • Chester and the Siege of Liverpool
  • The Isle of Man
  • American Volunteers
  • The Photo Section
  • The New Model Red Army
  • Wynd-Grator and Joshua Force
  • The Court and Royalist Factions
  • Minor Fascist groups and the BUF
A couple of small scenarios are also included.

The layout and style is a little inconsistent with a mixture of two and three column formats with photos and text inserts. Each page has a coloured background (similar to that on the cover) with the text boxes being darker and the photos held in by simulated tabs.

The content is the product of enthusiasts who have taken the ideas in the original source book and developed them through research, their own inventiveness and tried to provide a world which allows them to use the figures available.

It was always going to be difficult for this booklet to make the same impact as the first. The whole concept of the alternative timeline carried the first source book and more than made up for its weaknesses. This volume just cannot compete on the same basis, it is simply fleshing out that original idea albeit in some interesting and inventive ways. The main advantage of the original was that it provided many creative seeds which you could develop to fit your own vision and, whilst this new volume does suggest the book is "a guide but not the final word", it does feel more limiting than the first.

This is an interesting read and there are certainly some useful ideas in it. Whether it is worth the £12 plus postage is really a question of whether you need those ideas.

Friday, 11 December 2009

More BCW Coming Soon...

Musketeer Miniatures have posted some pictures of some of the new BCW figures which should be coming early next year:

A BUF HMG team:
and a Militia anti-tank rifle team:As usual both sculpted by the inestimable talents of Paul Hicks.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

More Copplestone Tanks...

Apparently the next addition to Copplestone's interwar tanks will be a Vickers Independent:


Who can say no to FIVE turrets?!

Copplestone Medium Mark III

Copplestone Castings have just added an interwar Medium Mark III tank to their site:


Only three were actually built but in our alternative 1938 world who knows?

It is a little on the expensive side but given the size and unusual nature of it possibly not surprisingly so.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Wargames Weekend: The Photos

Here are all the photos from the recent weekend of gaming:

Probability eh?

So what are the chances of this?

And no there isn't anything supporting it on the other side!

This was the result of one of my throws during the weekend. Clearly my house is in a high magical field?

Wargames Weekend: The Crystals of Death

Our final game of the weekend saw the return of the Doctor, the Brigadier and UNIT.

For a change I took the part of the good guys and Lenin gave me the following briefing:

To: Brigadier Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart
From: Headquarters, United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, Geneva

Subject: Parasol Chemicals Ltd., London, SW1

Routine monitoring of worldwide chemical purchases has detected a disturbing pattern with regard to the purchases being made by the above named corporation. The combination of chemicals is one that has previously been linked to extraterrestrial life forms.

Undercover surveillance of the chemical plant has raised further concerns, when the plant’s security guards were observed wearing strange helmets and carrying firearms. The UK Home Office has confirmed that the plant does not have the authority for armed guards and thus they are just as keen as UNIT to find out what is going on. Consequently the UK Government has agreed to allow UNIT to continue their investigations and take whatever actions UNIT deems appropriate to resolve the situation.

UNIT (UK) has therefore been tasked with raiding the plant, arresting the workforce and seizing all documents and other materials.

Standard rules of engagement apply, see attached.

Given the possible extraterrestrial link, assistance has been requested from UNIT’s scientific advisor, though his whereabouts are currently not known.

Just to make my life even more difficult here are the rules of engagement:

INSTRUCTIONS TO UNIT PERSONNEL EMPLOYED ON GUARD DUTIES, INTERNAL SECURITY AND DUTIES IN AID OF THE CIVIL POWER IN THE UNITED KINGDOM

General

1. Before you use force it is your duty to assess the situation and then use the minimum amount of force necessary to deal with it. If you have done this and you are absolutely satisfied that there is no effective force at your disposal except opening fire, you may do so in the circumstances detailed below.

When to Fire

2. You may fire in the following circumstances:

a. On the lawful orders of your superior officer, by word or through written orders.

b. To protect yourself or other persons from death or grievous bodily harm.

c. To protect property which you have been ordered to guard and which is in the act of being forcibly destroyed or removed.

How to Fire

3. a. Fire only aimed shots.

b. Aim at the target e.g. at the middle of the body.

c. Fire only the minimum number of single shots necessary to achieve your purpose.

So going in all guns blazing wasn't going to be an option!

I decided on a simple direct approach. We drove up in a couple of Land Rovers, blocked the main entrance and challenged the guard at the main gate (who appeared to be holding some soft of weapon - obviously in clear contravention of the firearms regulations!). The guard levelled his weapon so we opened fire (unfortunately to no great effect). Fortunately his firing wasn't terribly effective either but on the next turn we managed to subdue him.

We then advanced into the plant, searched the gatehouse and encountered some more guards. All of them were wearing some sort of strange helmet and moving more like automata than normal people. Having taken a couple of casualties we dealt with them we advanced further in.

It was then we encountered something that can only be described a a green shambling carpet like mound. It violently assaulted one of the men so we opened fire on it. It was clearly pretty tough because it took quite some fire to subdue it. But then others appeared.

Two of the men I'd sent off to reconnoitre the other side of the plan reported finding a container with some strange glowing crystals in it. So I ordered them to secure the container and await further instructions. Meanwhile we had a serious problem on our hands. We couldn't use our heavy weapons for fear of a catastrophic explosion and these creatures were proving difficult to suppress. Fortunately they moved somewhat slower than us and didn't appear to have any ranged weapons so things weren't all in their favour.

Just when we were at a loss as to how to proceed I heard a familiar sound and a blue police box appeared on top of one of the chemical tanks. It was the Doctor and Jo Grant who emerged and seeing our predicament the Doctor withdrew into the Tardis to put together a device which would help us. Eventually he re-emerged and the device identified the location of the alien mind control device. With that eliminated we managed to deal with the last of the aliens and secure the plant.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Wargames Weekend: Mission - The Manor

Our penultimate game was another alternative history outing, this time set in World War 2. Set as part of Operation Sealion, I played a platoon of Fallschirmjaeger intent on capturing The Manor, a British communications centre. Lenin took charge of the small force defending it.

Everything went quite well with me advancing the section on the right flank up to the road followed by the centre section. Then some fool in the left hand section managed to get spotted coming out of the woods and the game was up! So instead of finding the Manor with only light defences the entire defending force was stood to waiting for me.

My first attempt to get an MG34 out of the woods to cover the perimeter was a bit of a fiasco. So I decided on a more co-ordinated approach which did draw plenty of fire but left me with some troops in a position to return fire. My MG34s managed to keep the Brit's heads down and I sent a small party forward to cut the barbed wire fence on the right. After that it was a desperate holding action for the defenders, hoping to give the communications room enough time to destroy the code books, equipment and the like.

Reinforcements from the local Home Guard turned up, better late than never. But had been spotted by one of my men and so came under some heavy fire when they tried to advance and decided that discretion was the better part of valour and withdrew.

So the Manor and what remained of its equipment and documents fell into the hands of the Reich despite the valiant efforts of the defenders.

The Manor itself is my Grand Manner building with the figures mostly from Foundry. We used our favourite WW2 rules, Nuts! from Two Hour Wargames.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Wargames Weekend: Operation Argos IV

Next up Lenin put on a science fiction game using his extensive collection of AT-43 kit but with the Two Hour Wargames' 5150 rules.

I was cast as an officer in Faulkner Consulting, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Parasol Corporation, which is one of the biggest corporate entities in known space. Faulkner Consulting was, in reality, a private military corporation that acts as enforcers and trouble-shooters for Parasol.

My mission was to proceed to the planet Argos IV and extract a three-person biomedical
science team from the Kildare Foundation, another Parasol subsidiary, that has been carrying out a planetary survey. The science team had reported some sort of difficulty, the exact nature of
which was unclear, and had requested an immediate extraction.

I was briefed that Argos IV was a primeval world with surface conditions not unlike Earth millions of years ago when the most sophisticated forms of life were plants and insects. I was informed that it was doubtful that the science team had encountered any hostile life forms, but it is possible that they are having problems with a rival corporation.

The only suitable landing area for my dropship was some distance from the scientists╩╝ camp, so
my team needed to approach it on foot, through the primeval forest. I started with one squad of
light infantry, but each time that the activation dice totalled seven and my side had the higher die score I got a chance to roll on the reinforcement table to determine whether additional forces were available.

Perhaps unsurprisingly it turned out not to be a walk in the park! No sooner had we advanced a little towards the camp than some rather strange aliens appeared along with a rather nasty looking walker. Fortunately the walker appeared to be crewed by a graduate of the stormtrooper school of accuracy and its first two shots were close enough to tip me off but not to do any damage. Fortunately my missile launcher team got a lucky first shot and knocked it out.

Even after taking out the walker it was pretty hard going as the aliens just kept appearing and not only from in front. My first squad took quite a few casualties but reinforcements including a Fire Toad and a second squad meant I eventually managed to knock out the strange devices the aliens were using to transport in and after that it was a lot easier!

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Wargames Weekend: The Glencleave Incident

On the Saturday we started off with a little bit of alternative history with the dastardly Hun trying to start the Great War early. The basic premise was a German agent had discovered the secret location of the Committee for National Defence's meeting, at Glencleave castle in Scotland, and the Germans decided this was an excellent opportunity to kill or capture the committee and steal the plans. It was also a chance to try out some of their new fangled landing craft!So dawn breaks and a German torpedo boat and two landing craft appear out of the mist heading for the beach by the castle. The two British sentries don't notice the intruders until the torpedo boat is about to dock at the small jetty and the landing craft have hit the beach behind a small copse. The Germans set up an MG08 on the jetty to cover the castle walls and their infantry advance through the woods. Meanwhile the sentries have raised the alarm but the small castle garrison takes quite a while to react!

Fortunately for the British, whilst the Germans have set up their covering positions, they seem to lack the aggressive spirit for a quick assault. This gives the small garrison the chance to get into a position to cover the main gate. It takes a little while for the Germans to blow the gate and their engineers take a couple of casualties in the process. Then the main assault begins with the first German section streaming through the gate and into rifle fire from the chaps covering the gate. After some brief but bloody close combat the Germans are repulsed.

Eventually the Germans find the initiative to make a second assault and, whilst they inflict quite a few more casualties on the garrison they are thrown back again. Unfortunately for the Brits the third German assault overwhelms the defenders are they are forced back to the castle keep.

Meanwhile the committee have been furiously trying to stuff the defence plans into the furnace in order to stop them falling into enemy hands.

The few remaining castle troops try to hold out in the keep but once the door is blown the superior German numbers eventually wear them down and despite a staunch defence from the committee themselves they are almost all put out of action.

The remainder of the British force, which was based in the nearby village of Glencleave, now arrives but is pinned down by German machine gun fire. A fire fight ensues with the retreating Germans, with their prisoners and what was left of the plans, trying to fall back to the landing craft under British rifle fire whilst being covered by their own machine guns.

An outflanking manoeuvre through the woods by a brave British NCO silenced one of the German guns but not in time to stop the others steaming away.

Fortunately for Britain the whole thing was a complete blind set up by our fledgling intelligence services and the captured committee members turns out to be an actor. With both sides being a little embarrassed by the whole incident it is all hushed up...

All the figures, with the exception of the boat crews and the committee members, were from the Renegade Miniatures WW1 range with the castle from Hudson & Allen.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Artizan - More Armed Bobbies

Artizan Designs have added some more armed police to their Thrilling Tales range:

Since I picked up a set of their rifle armed chaps I must add these...

Wargames Weekend: The Men of Company B

Our next game of the weekend was a playtest of The Men of Company B rules from Peter Pig. As with their other RFCM publications these are template based and share a number of mechanics with AK47 Republic.

We used the terrain set up tables in the rules to arrange things and I put together a US force using the points system. I decided on a search and destroy mission and divided my troops into two units which I had choppered into position on either side of the only village on the table.


With one unit covering the other went into the village and stumbled onto a booby trap. Fortunately I managed to disarm it before it did any serious damage. I then had the men advance up the valley to check out a nearby section of jungle. Unfortunately this proved to be home to charlie and we took a bit of a pasting. Eventually I managed to get the other unit onto their flank and called in some air support in the form of a huey gunship but, whilst I managed to eliminate the VC, my first unit was virtually wiped out.

To add insult to injury Lenin had played one of his cards and the VC turned into civilian casualties!

With the game end point having been reached we totted up my victory points and, perhaps unsurprisingly, it was a bit of a catastrophic failure for the US.

Wargames Weekend: Blunte's Captain

Last weekend Lenin popped over for another visit and we managed to get a few games in. The first was a 28mm Peninsular game using my expanded Front Rank figure collection and the Too Fat Lardies' Sharp Practice rules.

The scenario was adapted from the Lardies' scenario booklet, the Compleat Fondler both to cope with the smaller number of figures available and my need to move it into my own pseudo Sharpe world.

This was a purely light infantry action with the French advancing across the table and hoping to push through the British force. The British were handicapped with the somewhat inept senior officer and whilst he was in command the French managed to make some headway. A small French unit managed to keep Lt. Blunte and the 95th Rifles occupied on one flank whilst the main French force advanced on the other.

Fortunately for the Brits Captain Smalls managed to catch a French volley and was badly wounded allowing Lt. Blunte to take command. He leapt into action and the British fortunes were transformed with the French advance petering out.

Once again Sharp Practice proved to be an entertaining set of rules and gave an excellent game.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Richard III: Wars of the Roses

I just picked up my copy of Richard III, the new block game from Columbia Games, from the sorting office this afternoon. It has been a while in coming since I pre-ordered it and getting clobbered for £4 VAT (plus the outrageous £8 Royal Mail handling fee!) was a pain.

Anyway, I popped the sixty odd stickers onto the blocks and read through the rules earlier and it looks very interesting. The board is the usual card type but it doesn't detract from the overall excellent presentation.

The combat system is based on the traditional Columbia and the card action/event system is similar to that used in Hammer of the Scots amongst others.

Once I have had a chance to give it a go I'll post my thoughts.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Spam

I seem to be suffering a lot of spam comments on one particular post. They're all in Japanese but a quick google translate indicates they're nothing to do with gaming! If it becomes more widespread I may have to move to moderated comments (which would be a shame).

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Workbench update

After a few weekends when I've had very little time for gaming stuff I've just had a chance to sort out the debris on my workbench. After putting lots of stuff away I've now got out the figures I'll be working on next. It's mostly basing 28mm Crusader and Foundry early WW2 figures plus Vendel and Graven Images Elizabethan and Tudor Irish.

I'd quite forgotten how many Tudor figures I actually had and also how far I had got with them the last time they were out (which was quite a while ago). I've been meaning to write a set of rules for these for some time (the main reason that they haven't hit the table yet) and have some ideas but I do need to actually get them fleshed out into a state where I can actually put a game on. I'm planning to focus on the running battles rather than the set pieces as the latter are a bit of a foregone conclusion! Ideally I'd like to get the mechanics in a state where one side could be driven automatically to enable solo gaming without losing too much flavour.

Anyway, must get back to basing on they'll never get done!

Thursday, 27 August 2009

More British Civil War from Musketeer

Musketeer have shown some previews of their next 1938 figures, this time it's brigands and they look very interesting:

Saturday, 22 August 2009

JWS Reunion

As you may have notice from my Twitter feed, last weekend was a get together for the old guard of the Jersey Wargames Society. We haven't got together as a group for quite a while and so we decided to put on a few games.

First up Lenin provided the Battle of Um Bbongo Gorge as an outing for his extensive Darkest Africa figure collection. Playing to type I took the part of Commandant Hercule Poirot (a famous Belgian) the representative of His Majesty Leopold II, King of the Belgians. As the only representative of law and order in the chaos that is Africa, my mission was to stop an invasion by that upstart self-appointed so-called king Ndofa, tackle any slavers and collect taxes and export duties.Things did not start well when I was ambushed by some uppity locals and one section took rather a beating. Having regrouped I spotted some suspicious arabs who could only be up to no good and advanced to investigate. A closer look and the application of my "little grey cells" told me they were slavers and quite hostile. After giving them a pretty good thrashing I turned back toward the local village which was under attack from that rotter Ndofa. After clearing up the misunderstanding with the locals we joined forces to stop Ndofa from stealing the the village cattle and drove him off, albeit the village was a little scorched afterwards. With little persuasion the villagers paid their tax dues in cattle and I was free to discuss the export of ivory and other goods with some big game hunters (must have been after some very big game as they had a small artillery piece!). I made a rapid assessment and secured the appropriate duty and then escorted them to our steamer.

The afternoon game was the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513. With most of the players knowing relatively little about the actual battle it unfolded in a relatively historic way with the English discovering the marsh in front of the Scots position the hard way. With some nicely conflicting victory conditions the Scots forces (some of which I was commanding) played a pretty defensive game but eventually the English got their forces through the marsh and our lack of effective ranged weapons led to the natural conclusion.
On the Sunday we were treated to a series of small games all of which had been cleverly designed to fit onto a chess board. The first I played was a tavern fight between the Three Musketeers and Rochefort with some Cardinal's Guards.
The rules provided for all the usual chandalier swinging, bar sliding and table crushing action and use poker dice for combat resolution. As Rochefort I managed to capture two of the Musketeers and D'Artagnan but one slipped through my fingers...
The next compact game was the Fight in Balin's Tomb between the Fellowship of the Ring and a horde of goblins with a Cave Troll! This game is still in the development stage but provided some fun action, especially with the Troll.

Next on the agenda was my game, Chaos in Caracabra de la Cruz, a 28mm skirmish in the Spanish Civil War. With five factions, three Nationalists and two Republican, with some interesting victory conditions the game promised some interesting encounters.

Clearly some of the players actually read their victory conditions because the Carlist contingent followed their's precisely and captured and held a significant part of the village. The Anarchist and Communist militias almost opened fire on each other but the timely intervention of the local priest, in defence of his church, avoided that blue on blue encounter. The Falange reached the church but couldn't get in a withdrew, just in time to block and advance by the Communists who had already had a little encounter with the Guardia Civil.

The Anarchists decided that dynamite was the obvious solution to a locked church door; however the effect led to an appropriate quote from the Italian Job! A similar attempt by the Communists to use dynamite went a little awry when it turned out the dynamitero was quite a familar with it as he'd made out and dropped it amongst his own side.

Meanwhile the Anarchists, playing to type, blew up the church and withdrew (almost in that order!). In the end though it was the Carlists who held on to their conquests, despite a serious challenge from the retreating Anarchists.

This Land Divided

This Land Divided: Skirmishes and Battles in Wilkes County February and March 1779 is a new supplement for Sharp Practice from the TooFATLardies. Written by Chris Stoesen, a resident of the area, this 74 page pdf booklet provides background and scenarios for a variety of actions in Georgia during the American War of Independence.

Starting with a single page introduction from Richard Clarke the booklet provides 7 pages of background information including the actions covered in the later scenario section. This is followed by 4 pages with an outline of notable units and personalities and a single page bibliography. Another 5 pages address the information necessary to play the scenarios using Sharp Practice, covering troops types, cards, national characteristics, odd weapons, big man creation and the like.

We then reach the meat of the supplement with twelve scenarios of various sizes. Each has a historical background and map followed by briefings for the Loyalists, Rebels and the umpire. The final page of the booklet provides a summary of the figure requirements which really highlights the varying size of the scenarios. The smallest (Scenario 4 - Middleton's Ferry) only requires 21 Loyalist and 13 Rebel figures whilst the largest requires 115 Loyalists and 103 Rebels.

Given the location and period these are militia actions some with indian allies but are no less interesting for that. Indeed they provide a welcome break from some of the more "traditional" AWI supplements which seem to focus mostly on the regular actions.

The booklet is clear and well laid out. As it's not a core Lardies production it doesn't have their humourous asides and the like relying on an apparently well researched historical style. It is not a full supplement for playing AWI using Sharp Practice however but neither is it advertised as such. It resistricts itself to the provision of the necessary information to cover the troops and weapons used in the scenarios.

Unfortunately I have not yet had the time (or indeed collected the toys [yet anyway!]) to play the scenarios but I found the booklet interesting and the scenarios certainly look promising.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Another project?

On the way back from the barbers yesterday I popped into the local branch of the British Bookshops chain. I spotted Fusiliers by Mark Urban but not having read his previous work and with AWI not currently on my radar I wasn't sure. Of course the £2.99 price tag overcame all!

I've been looking at the Perry Miniatures ranges and wondering whether to do another project with their lovely figures, especially given their excellent service. This book combined with This Land Divided the latest TooFatLardies Sharp Practice supplement are certainly pushing me towards AWI (albeit from two different theatres of the war).

I'll post my thoughts on both once I have had a chance to read them.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Gaming ADD Strikes Again

Despite not having any of the following on my projects list for this year I have found myself distracted from the planned projects by a few interesting sidelines - some of which I have actually begun "investing" in:

28mm Sudan
I have been admiring the Perry Miniatures Sudan figures for some time and following a recent (much smaller scale game) my interest was rekindled. I rather rashly put in an order and with amazing speed the figures arrived. I have also picked up a couple of suitable buildings and a steamer so I have plenty of scenario ideas!

28mm Dahomey
This is another period of interest which has been restarted. I initially read about the French conquest of Dahomey in Douglas Porch's book on the French Foreign Legion and I have been contemplating picking up some of the Dixon Miniatures figures for it.

28mm Sahara
Yet another colonial period but the French Foreign Legion once again. I do already have some of the Redoubt Enterprises March or Die range and I have been thinking of building this up to allow for larger forces to be deployed on each side.

As a result of all this renewed interest in colonial I suspect a couple of my other projects will take a back seat for a while. I may also get distracted again once my Front Rank Napoleonics come back from the painter!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Super Service - Scarab and Brigade Games

I ordered some more 28mm WW1 figures on 1st July from Scarab Miniatures and Brigade Games. These were mainly for my late war French troops as I need figures which can easily be identified as grenadiers and rifle grenadiers for Through the Mud and the Blood. Whilst both do the former only Scarab seems to do suitable figures with VB grenade launchers. It was also an opportunity to have a look at Scarab's figures for real (website photos aren't always ideal).


Both companies sent emails out on 3rd July saying they had dispatched the orders and I received the Scarab one on 6th July and the Brigade one on 10th July. An excellent service from both firms!

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Wargames Weekend: Fear & Faith

Our final game was a playtest of the Fear and Faith rules from Ganesha Games. These are a set of horror rules based on their Song of Blades and Heroes engine.

The scenario was a simple "last man standing" over possession of an ancient Greek site during World War Two. I played to type as the forces of darkness with a Vampir Gruppe consisting of, surprise surprise, a vampire (and a Nazi one to boot), two She Wolves and six zombies. Lenin had a small section of British infantry accompanied by an army chaplain.


Things started fairly slowly as we got familiar with the rules and my zombies advanced slowly across the table chanting "Gehirn". Lenin found it tricky to dispatch the zombies as they needed an aimed shot (to the head) and so, after an initial advance, decided on a more defensive strategy.


I decided to take the offensive and assumed gaseous form with my vampire in order to infiltrate the British position. Eventually I managed to materialise among them and a battle between the force of light and dark was joined. Unfortunately for the light the chaplain was unable to skewer me when he had the advantage but I gave him a nasty nip when it was my turn. As the chaplain was the only one with the wooden stakes the Brits decided discretion was the better part of valour and withdrew.
The main issue I had with the rules (which I whinged on and one about - as Lenin would happily tell you) was the need to roll to activate each figure. My dice rolling is erratic at the best of times and so this made the game a little frustrating. I also had a bit of a problem rationalising why my "big bad" character needed to roll to take any actions at all. Lenin did point out that the rules did have an option to avoid this and that some of the attributes (for example fear) would have been better substituted for others which would have made the game play out slightly differently.
All in all I'm not sure that the rules provide many advantages over others we already use other than being a little simpler (which is not to be sniffed at since I have difficulty remembering even the most straightforward sets). We're going to take a little time to reflect on them in order to decide whether to give them another chance or try some other alternatives based on our existing stock of the rules.

Wargames Weekend: Galatas Village

Next up was the next part of our invasion of Crete campaign. Fortunately my Fallschirmsjaeger had managed to find some of the rest of their scattered force as the original team took quite a pasting last time.

Our objective in this scenario was to move from Cemetery Hill and take the village of Galatas. I decided on a two pronged attack one side of which immediately came under fire from a bren gun team on the other side of the valley.

After quite a fire fight I managed to pin down the bren gun team and send some men over to close assault the position. Meanwhile, on the other flank, we had discovered the allied troops holed up in the village. A few casualties were taken crossing the dry gully and advancing to within charge range of the buildings. We just needed to keep the allies heads down long enough for a close assault.

With the bren gun position neutralised on the left flank I was able to put some firepower on the flank of the village and the troops on the right assaulted the buildings. One succumbed quickly but there was a vicious hand to hand fight for the second building but in the end my superior numbers made all the difference.

Wargames Weekend: Patrols in the Sudan

Following on from the Spanish Civil War game we decided to give Peter Pig's Patrols in the Sudan a go. As my Essex Sudan figures aren't quite based correctly for the rules we had to work around that (the wide Mahdist bases acted as two bases each for example).

Lenin took charge of the British forces with his mission to recce a village and report back.

It took a little while to get the hang of the rules, something that wasn't helped by the terrible layout, poor proofreading and limited explanations in the rules.

Lenin managed to get the column to the village relatively easily, largely because of my inability to get troops onto the table. When I did attack he managed to get his units to turn to face ir redeploy and shot my Mahdists to pieces.

But when he tried to return he had quite a few more problems. One unit attempted to scout some brush and was surprised my one of mine who managed to get into hand to hand and gave them a damned good thrashing. Another of his units marched in column past some broken ground and I took the opportunity to charge into his flank. Unfortunately for Lenin his column failed to turn to face and paid the penalty. I then turned to the next unit in the column and that suffered a similar fate to the first. The remaining unit was holding the village but unlike the others this was a veteran unit of highlanders and they were not going to be a push over.
I managed to get units into templates either side of it forcing it to move into square. But when I assaulted him it all began to go wrong. The highlanders managed to shoot the leaders of both of the Mahdist units which then stalled in rifle range and were shot to pieces. The highlanders then managed to march away and complete the mission.
Despite taking substantial casualties Lenin managed to score a victory mainly due to the losses by the Mahdists and having successfully completed the mission.
Patrols in the Sudan provides a fun game despite the poor presentation and will be hitting the table again.

Wargames Weekend: Muerte in Merida

Our third game was a great opportunity to get my Grand Manner Spanish terrain out with some of my Anglian Miniatures figures along with a chance to try an adaptation of the Lardies Through the Mud and the Blood rules.

I played to type as the Nationalists but this time in defence. The Legion had captured Merida and the Republicans, reinforced by Asaltos from Madrid, decided to try taking it back.

My main challenge was holding the large town wall with only three sections. Things started well but the Asaltos penetrated the perimeter before one of my sections managed to reach it (one of the challenges of the card driven system with a small number of Big Men). It was at this stage that we found the modifier for moving attackers in melee (defender loses 2 dice per attackers dice of movement) which resulted in my section being routed.


The Asaltos went on to attack the next unit in the flank routing it also. As a result my big men spent most of their time removing shock points in order to turn the around. Eventually I managed to rally the units but they lost the firefight with the Republicans and the latter were victorious.

What was apparent was that Mud & Blood does not easily translate to periods with smaller unit sizes. I also plan to query that pesky melee modifier on the Lardies discussion group.

Wargames Weekend: Ambush Alley

Our second game was a chance to get Ambush Alley to the table. I played the US forces and had three 4 man fireteams who had been sent in to rescue two civilian contractors who had got into trouble. On the first turn the men spotted an Improvised Explosive Device (IDE) hidden in a car situated right between our entry point and the target. Consequently we couldn't take the most direct route. I started by sending one fireteam into one building to tackle an insurgent hotspot whilst the remainder of the unit crossed a nearby wall. The first fireteam then advanced toward another building but came under insurgent fire and took casualties. In trying to withdraw two of the men were killed and the others were wounded. The other two teams advanced under fire but were able to neutralise it and secure another building. One team took up a covering position whilst the other advanced across an alley way to try to secure another building overlooking another hotspot. They then came under intensive fire and took casualties. At this point I decided to withdraw to regroup.

The game was certainly difficult for the US forces, although the insurgency level was set very high, I can see how this would be challenging at most levels. However our main concern was that whilst fun the rules are very specifically designed for modern urban combat against insurgents and this will make them of somewhat limited use for us. For this type of game they are likely to get other outings but I suspect this may not be that frequent as we don't tend to play these type of scenarios very often.

Wargames Weekend: 1938 The Spirit of Dr Syn Lives On

Last weekend Lenin came over for another visit. We managed to get six tabletop games into the three days and had plenty of variety of periods and rules. Our first game was a chance for me to get my new Musketeer Miniatures figures onto the table for A Very British Civil War.

A group of like minded Men of Kent (or possibly Kentish Men - I didn't make the brief particular on that point) decided to emulate that infamous resident of Dymchurch, Dr Syn, and smuggle some weapons into the country in order to give that awful upstart Mosley a damned good thrashing. The driving force behind this plan were two ex army types, Captain Jack "Bulldog" Dunbar DSO MC and Major Sir Alfred Ayes-Waughter. Accompanied by the Major's faithful gamekeeper Harry Johnson they intended to load a consignment of arms purchased from some friendly chaps in the colonies onto a lorry and head back to the Major's manor.

Unfortunately some cad had given the game away and, acting on information received, Inspector Hugh "Snapper" Jorgan decided to visit the coast accompanied by three armed constables. To make matters worse one of the constables had told his brother, a shining light in the local BUF, who have decided to turn out and assist the boys in blue.
The inspector and the constables were proceeding in a southerly direction when they came under a hail of bullets from two different directions and were pinned down. Fortunately an element of the BUF arrived and distracted the gunmen allowing the police to advance but not before one of the constables had thought better of the whole adventure and taken to his heels.

A pitched battle ensued between the BUF and the gunmen, ably commanded by the Major, and casualties were suffered on both sides. Unfortunately the rebel's lewis gun ran out of ammunition at a critical moment and let the BUF supported by their sergeant, who was carrying a sub-machine gun, to close. A desperate melee was joined but the Major, with his extensive experience of hand to hand fighting, managed to end up the last man standing after polishing of at least four of the BUF blighters but, unfortunately, not before the rest of his group had been rendered insensible.

Meanwhile the remainder of the BUF contingent, ineptly commanded by Frederick Spode, were advancing on the other side of the road whilst Bulldog and his men loaded the lorry and started to move up the road. After a little cat and mouse more gunfire was exchanged and the BUF took the worst of it. The rebels managed to get their wounded onto the lorry with their contraband and escaped (albeit at a leisurely pace - since steam was the motive power) leaving the BUF and police to lick their wounds.

The figures used were a combination of the Musketeer IRA and BUF along with a couple of Copplestone personalities and we used the Two Hour Wargames Nuts! rules.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Weekend of Wargaming on the Horizon

Lenin will be paying another visit in a couple of weeks and I'm in the process of preparing the games I'll be putting on. I'm also putting a 20mm WW2 game on at the club on Thursday so I've got a lot to do.

The current plan for the weekend has me hosting a 1938 A Very British Civil War game using my 28mm Musketeer Miniatures and Two Hour Wargames' CR3.0 rules; a Spanish Civil War game with my 28mm Anglian Miniatures and the TooFatLardies' Through the Mud & the Blood (with a few appropriate special rules) and a 15mm Sudan game using Peter Pig's Patrols in the Sudan.

At the moment Lenin is planning the next game in the WW2 Crete campaign (28mm with Cr3.0), some weirdness using the Fear and Faith rules and a 15mm game using Ambush Alley.

Of course the weekend is a couple of weeks away so it's possible that lots of these might change depending on whether the preparations go well or badly!

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Summer of Lard 2009

It's that time of year and the Lardies have just released their latest summer special. This year it's 120 pages of fun including:

Algernon Pulls a Fast One: a fast play variant of their Algernon Pulls it Off WW1 air rules
Bloody Halfaya: A scenario for I Ain't Been Shot Mum (IABSM) set during the 1941 Operation Battleaxe
The Battle of Salem Church: A scenario for They Couldn't Hit an Elephant (TCHAE), their ACW rules.
Sid's Trenches: A guide to making your own trench system
Playing Fast & Loose: A guide to designing your own kriegsspiel games
Like a Rollin' Stonne: Another IABSM scenario, this time for 1940 France
Blue Swastika Rampant: A aricle on Winter War air combat and Bag the Hun
Action at Balls Bluff: Ideas for using Sharp Practice in the American Civil War plus a scenario
Meet the Fokkers: A Winter War scenario for Bag the Hun
Jean Has a Long Moustache: WW2 French Resistance scenarios for IABSM and Troops Weapons & Tactics (TW&T)
Attack on Camp El Juba: An If The Lord Spares Us scenario in WW1 Mesopotamia
Ils ne Passeront Pas: A Through the Mud & the Blood (TTM&TB) WW1 scenario
Go West: An article on ACW commanders in the western theatre for TCHAE
Hurrah for Toad: Ideas for using Big Men in IABSM who are less like heros and more like Toad from the Wind in the Willows
Mama Told Me Not to Come: A Portuguese Guinea scenario from the 1970's for IABSM or TW&T using the B'Maso supplement
The Battle of Alcaniz: A Le Feu Sacre scenario
Another Lazy TW&T: An article on simplifying TW&T this time focussing on armour
The War on Trenches: A article on working with Kalistra's trenches
Bag the Hun 2: An introduction the new edition of the WW2 air rules
Somme Enchanted Evening: A 1916 scenario TTM&TB
Six of the Best: Another Winter War Bag the Hun scenario
Fondler's Filly: A Sharp Practice scenario following on from those in The Compleat Fondler

Having only got it today I haven't had a chance to read through it all yet! But it looks like another excellent special from the Lardies and well worth the £5 for the PDF.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

KaiserRushforth Thumbs Up, Royal Mail Thumbs Down

Given the number of new 28mm figures I seem to be accumulating I decided to invest in a couple more of the KaiserRushforth storage boxes. I ordered online from the KR website on Sunday and the boxes arrived at lunchtime today - so excellent service from KaiserRushforth. Unfortunately the Royal Mail managed to crumple one of the box corners, so I am somewhat less pleased with them!

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Musketeer BEF and BUF

With a few minutes spare this afternoon I thought I'd post a couple of pictures of my 28mm Musketeer Miniatures BEF and BUF figures:I am intending to use both for A Very British Civil War but the BEF will also be useful for the Irish War of Independence too. Both sets of figures are sculpted by the talented Paul Hicks.

Mr Hicks is at it again!

This time it's armed clergy for 1938:

and very nice (or nasty, depending on your perspective!) they look too - coming soon to Musketeer Miniatures.

Grand Manner Spanish Church

I have been looking at adding the church from Grand Manner to my Spanish village for a while now. I eventually decided to take the plunge and ordered one. As usual the service was excellent and the building arrived about a week later and I am really pleased with it.

The church comes in four separate sections, the L shaped ground floor, the flat roof with bell tower and two roofs.You can se sure this will be appearing on the table at the first available opportunity!

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Anglian SCW Figures

Here are some pictures of a few of my 28mm Anglian Miniatures Spanish Civil War figures:

The anarchist militia:

Guardia De Assalto:

The Spanish Foreign Legion:
Moroccan Regulares:

Guardia Civil:

Falangista:
and finally the Carlists: