Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Dux Britanniarum Raiders supplement

As you may have noticed, in my Sa-loot was a copy of Raiders, the new supplement for Dux Britanniarum by Too Fat Lardies.

Your £18 gets you a 44-page rulebook, and a deck of 54 cards to add to your Dux Britanniarum deck as needed. The book adds four new forces to the core Dux armies, the Picts, Irish, Scotti and Northern British. They're all interestingly different, and the rules also provide for a whole bunch more unit types, including some fun cavalry variants. Unlike the original rulebook, it's black and white barring the cover and a few colour inserts.

You also get what is, effectively, a kit of parts for a campaign: you can go anywhere from using the Raiders forces as occasional nuisances in a classic British vs Saxons campaign, to a battle to become High King of Ireland, to a big sprawling whole of Britain campaign: this is helped by more maps covering the rest of the British Isles.

Also? Extra campaign rules that make use of some of the symbols on the maps that weren't being used before, and you finally get rules for an Armourer's Workshop!

For £18, which is basically the price of about 10-12 metal figures, that's pretty good. I can't wait to start adding to our Dux campaign world :D Go forth and buy, and tell Rich I sent you!

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Battle Report - 14 Apr 2014 - WAB Age of Warlords

Round one of AndyH's campaign. The battle at the ford... against AndyM2 (not to be confused with AndyM, AndyB or AndyMac, either).

It opens with two champions duking it out at the ford - three rounds of combat, and Wulstan, son of Wulfhere (yes, that Wulfhere) lays the Angle Atheling low. And it all went downhill from there.

Winning the duel means I get the advantage of deployment, and get to sit two units on the ford while sending my cavalry forward on one flank.

What are we all forgetting here?

It's a Saxon army.

It's a Saxon Raider army, which means all its major foot units are warband.

Failed warband test for the Gedriht sitting on the ford, who have already been taking slingshot fire, and now charge headlong into two units of Duguth.

I think what's most impressive is that they lasted three rounds of combat, even with help from my Geoguth, despite being outnumbered.

Needless to say, the end result was Wulfstan got trampled (and wound up with a head wound) and the rest of my army fled.

On the good side - while Andy won the battle, Wulfstan did get the Glory - 5 points worth for killing the Angle's Warlord in single combat!

Monday, 14 April 2014


Presented without comment, other than to note that the Crusader packaging is hellish inefficient.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Sunday morning reflections on Salute

[Note: updating as I find them with various links to other people mentioned's reviews.]

So. Back from church, mug of tea, comfy chair. Time to ponder Salute.

*arty dissolve affect*

Come back with me to 5.30 am yesterday. Which is far too early, especially since my body clock (in 'must not oversleep' mode) has had me awake for 40 mins already. Shower, grab breakfast and the first of more than the usual number of coffees, remove two seats from car, and load up from the checklist.

Discover one of the telegraph poles has broken. Grr. Fail to grab the small pile of road signs on the painting table, and equally annoyingly fail to grab the big yellow file box on the kitchen table. This latter had a few vehicles and some livestock in it from Grahame at the club, and was dropped off during the 30 mins I was out on Friday... which my son failed to mention had been dropped off, my wife assumed I knew about, and I failed to recognise as Grahame's. Communication. Gotta love it.

Off at 6.30, pick up Grahame at 6:45 (with obligatory 'did you get the box I left for you?' conversation!)), Chris at 6:55, and we're at Excel by 8:15. A bit of a gefuffle before we find the traffic office, get our red pass and get directed up the loading ramp (I'm forced to assume that the Excel assumes that if you should ever need to deliver/collect from one of the halls, the precise knowledge of the process will be magically transferred into your brain). The great thing about the Excel, though, is that you do wind up parked right NEXT to your table/stall for unloading. More about loading later.

Carl and AndyM arrive not long after, just as I'm taking the car off to the car park. Pro tip: you want Orange car park 3 for quickest access to your vehicle after the show. More about that later.

And here it is - the finished result in all its glory (minus road signs and cattle). We'll probably do some retouching of doors and windows to a consistent style before next time (there will, I'm sure, be a next time). Our huge thanks to Warbases for the bulk pricing on the absolutely fabulous buildings. Credit also to Last Valley for the trees and hedges (from the club's stash), 4Ground for an awful lot of tiles (the General Store is tiled with Warbases tiles, but I found after a while I preferred the 4Ground ones), for the manor house, Mantic for the zombies, Wargames Factory for the Germans and Foundry for the Home Guard.

Here's a better look at the backs of the Warbases terraces.

All very painless to put together, and so English :D the gardens were great fun to do - second building from the back was AndyM, which I took as inspiration for the front two. The nearest is all dug to vegetables, complete with Dig For Victory poster on the fence. We joked that this was passive-aggressive motivation for their next door neighbour, who has a scruffy wilderness of a garden (a man after my own heart!) and would have had a goat or a sheep if I'd remembered the yellow box file!

You can just pick out a Warbases five bar gate in the hedge (hinged on a cocktail stick stuck into the foam board), and a Warbases stile at the end of the path along the backs of the houses leading to the cricket club car park.

Front view of 1-8 The Green, Walmington Parva. Nearest two painted by Grahame, then AndyM, and the General Store by me.

For next time, I intend to build some little sabot bases to go under each building out of plasticard, with pavement in front and down the alleys between.

Also needing a retouch before next time are the chimney pots - you may notice Andy's are better than the rest :D
Up at the far end of the village, past the manor house, we have the cemetery and the church.

The cemetery was pretty much built by Rob, barring the lych gate which I knocked together on Friday from two coffee stirrers, some square section balsa, a few bits of plasticard and some left over 4Ground tiles. The gravestones are Renedra (the Renedra guys were very taken with the end result!), the walls are scratch built, and the landscaping is the usual mix of Javis and other products.

The church is Warbases again, liberally ivy-ed with a roughly 3-1 mix of Woodland Scenics coarse grass scatter and earth flock onto superglue. Anyone who's ever tried to remove ivy from a wall will appreciate that it's a tenacious little bastard, and leaves fine bits of stems and the like marking the wall - the earth scatter in the mix does this rather well.

The cricket ground is a whimsical addition - I freely admit its too small, but it was fun to do. The fences are Ratio GWR station fencing in OO scale: each end is superglued to a panel pin which can be stuck in the board.

Eagle eyed players would notice that someone has pasted a 'Careless Talk Costs Lives' poster over the 'Walmington Parva Cricket Club' sign (just out of shot). The sign is two bits of wooden meat skewer and a piece of plasticard, again, stuck into the foam base.

We get our first players by about 10:15, by which time I'd already snagged some flyers from Warbases' stall, picked up my and Andy's copies of Dux Raiders from Too Fat Lardies stall and collected a pre-order from Dave Thomas (Crusader early-war Fallschirmjäger) as well as a couple of blisters of Perry Yorkist command.  I also picked up the first batch of my Winter War Kickstarter Finns and Russians from Baker Company, which are sadly about fifth down the painting pile. Also passed by Scrivs', Tom W-D er al's rather immense and awesome IABSM game, featuring a serious piece of terrain building - the hill was almost head high on me, and I'm 6'2"+. Briefly ran into Neil from Meeples (twice, once with Jake Thornton - it's really weird recognising someone by their voice alone), Henry Hyde, Chris Hall (showing off 4Ground's amazing Dead Man's Hand buildings), TimD, Roger B-W, and any number of others.

At 12 there was a gathering at the Lardies' rather superb Chain of Command demo.

If you want to know a bit more about how this table went together, Rich has a series of posts up on the TFL blog chronicling the process. Well worth a read.
And here's the gathering of assorted folks from the TFL Yahoo! group and forum. Thanks to Roger Bell-West for the photo (on my iPhone).

Takeways from this, BTW - for all that a 6'x4' game will fit on two of Salute's 6'x2'6" tables, three's definitely better in terms of having space to store papers, dice etc.

Back to our game for a bit - I was kind of in and out for the morning, what with catching up with various people, and at 1pm it was bloggers' meetup time. I've lost track of everyone I met, but I did finally get to talk to as well as meet (we didn't talk at last year's) Ashley, and finally meet as well as talk to (we talk a LOT on Meeples) Mike Hobbs.

Final round of purchases: a very big raid on 4Ground for most of a 15mm French town (I broke their top discount bracket, which got me 25% off) - I did forget to pick up their colour-matched paints, since I do have certain opinions on their buildings, and I will be needing said paints later. More on this in another post.

I also popped by Stafford Games, picked up a couple of discounted boxes of Napoleon At War figures, two Wings of Glory planes, a pot of Vallejo Lufwaffe camouflage blue for the Fallschirmjäger and had a chat with Walt from Commission Figurines.

He had the 28mm Stalingrad Steam Mill on display.


For scale? it's a over a foot high.

And the roof comes off, and there's places to park figures by nearly every window.

Our club's copy of it is on its way just as soon as he's ironed out the last of the problems.

Back at the Dead's Army game, we got in a total of five games during the day: with hindsight, we could have made more of the running 'lost episode of Dad's Army' gag :D And possibly running a competition for seeing home many rules mechanics from various games you could spot that we'd stolen!

End result, 2 wins for the lads, 2 for Skorzeny and the undead, and the last game was undecided at closing time. It did seem to all crucially depend on whether the Home Guard could avoid getting into melee with the zombies for long enough to someone with line of sight on Skorzeny and kill him. Once it got to the point where Home Guard sections were retreating before dozens of zombies, it was generally all over for Walmington Parva.

Also? Keeping a fire team, or preferably the Vickers, aimed up Church Road seems to have been a really smart move. Zombies and large amounts of .303 ammo do not mix well.

Clear up time. I missed a trick big time here, since, by the time I got down to the car, the nice bloke at the entrance to the queue for the loading ramp pointed out that I was in for a 2 hour wait. So we wound up loading out through the stairs down to the car park, which I suspect is where a sizeable fraction of my 7 miles of walking ended up getting used.

Salute veterans: what's the trick here? Bail out to fetch the car ahead of the close?

Despite that, we made it back to Peterborough by 8:30. My thanks to Carl, AndyM, Grahame and Chris for working the game, everyone else from the club and elsewhere who came and said hi, and to Rob (whose cousin rather inconsiderately got married the day of Salute) for painting the zombies, building the graveyard and in fact coming up with the game in the first place.

See you next year!

Saturday, 12 April 2014

And back from Salute...

Distance driven: 180 miles
Distance walked: 7 miles
Calories burned: 4000
Amount spent: You're joking! My wife might read this. Let's just say I hit the top level of 4Ground discount :D

Full report tomorrow: right now I need tea and an early night. But for a teaser or two:

Photo by Roger Bell-West (on my iPhone:)

Friday, 11 April 2014

Ready for Salute...

At last: final laminated stack of paperwork on the kitchen side. Ready to go. Time for bed.

I'd like to sing the praises of three things without which, etc...

First up, one of the Five Andys, Andy Miller - for unstinting work painting about 40 window frames, windows and doors on various Warbases buildings today. Awesome job, and he has a much steadier hand than I do, so I'm very glad he accepted the task while I got on with (28mm scale) gardening and building a lych gate.

Second, my big Brother A3 inkjet. Compared to my previous printer, having a printer you know won't mess you about at 10pm when you have to be in the car at 6.30 the following morning, is a jewel beyond price when you're creating handouts and reference sheets (and posters, though not today) to a deadline. And it runs beautifully on third party ink at 1/4 the cost of Brother's.

And lastly the club laminator. Every club should have one. Ours is small, easily portable, heats up in a couple of minutes, never produces curled pages, and I've never had it fail. Again, exactly what you want when you're working to a deadline!

See you tomorrow!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Heartbleed - time to visit the thorny topic of passwords again...

If you remember, we had a chat (well, I had a rant) about passwords when Kickstarter had their user DB hacked a while back. Go read it again: I'll wait.

Just in case you've not been following the news of late, here's a very good reason to change your passwords. Herewith the non-techie explanation:

security hole[1] in some versions of the software that handles secure web connections has just been announced. In a nutshell, it's a programming error that allows a lovingly hand-crafted web request to undetectably coax a server into returning some of the contents of its internal memory. That internal memory is likely to contain recent unencrypted traffic - i.e. anything that passes from a browser to the site or vice versa. Session cookies. Passwords.

The bug has been out in the wild since the 14th of March 2012.

Of course, this isn't to say that someone has exploited it. But we (wearing my IT security hat here) have no way of knowing at the server end if they have done[2]

Not all sites are vulnerable (sites running on Microsoft software, sites with an older version of the software, for example). Many of the key ones were forewarned a couple of days before the vulnerability was announced, and it is an easy fix - just upgrade the software.


Now would be a good time to go change your passwords. Just in case. (And Mashable has a list of which sites you should do it on NOW and which you should wait... which I hope is being actively updated.)

And as an aside, I have to admit now is about the time I'm seriously considering moving to a password manager that will generate and remember high-complexity passwords for me.

[1] leads to more technical explanation.
[2] but we can tell if a site is vulnerable. This list is interested on that score. Also, the password app LastPass now tells you if the site you're about to change your password on has been fixed yet, and thus, whether it's worth bothering yet.
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