Monday 31 March 2014

Tonight's boards

Downstairs at the club tonight was an excellent advert for Last Valley, Warbases and whoever made Gary's trenches (help!? Gary?)

Herewith three shots of the revised Brecourt Manor table, and a teaser of our (not quite finished) Salute table....

Sunday 30 March 2014

The follow up question...

The streak is back on! ;) (Ok, it's only 2, but..,)

Particularly for those of you whose answers to the question "how did you get started in wargaming?" were some variant on "Airfix"... And who didn't expand on it:

Where/how did you figure out/learn what to DO with the figures?

Saturday 29 March 2014

The end of the streak..

Well, that wasn't meant to happen!

Yesterday marks (apart from my Dad's birthday) the first day since December 17th 2012 I haven't posted on this blog. That's (I think) 466 consecutive days and slightly more posts, since there are a couple of days on which I posted twice.

It's not even that I had nothing to post - I have at least three things queued up in my head, and must have said to myself 'need to blog' at least three times yesterday. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line yesterday it got beaten by 'need to go to bed', and to tell you the truth...

...I clean forgot to post before I did.

So. Here we go. Consecutive daily posting streak: 1.

Thursday 27 March 2014

Terrain factory

Tonight Andy from the club (that's one of the five Andy's from the club, to be more specific) and I got started on the terrain tiles for Salute.

Much the same process as last time: 3mm MDF, 50mm craft foam from the nice folks at Panel Systems, No More Nails, cheapo brown emulsion.

Next step on Saturday.

And it's not too late to answer yesterday's question, to which there will be a followup question tomorrow!

Wednesday 26 March 2014

A question

Apropos of something Rich just posted on the TfL Yahoo! group, I'd like to ask you, my readers, a question.

What got you into wargaming?

If you haven't read my blog back far enough, you'll have to wait till tomorrow for my answer ;)

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Lard Central

A quick plug for a nice piece of work by Derek of Derek's Wee Toys blog...

Basically, he's used the NetVibes framework to pull together a nice global feed of all things Lardie. Looks great, and I for one shall be keeping an eye on it.

The only question is... if I link to it from my blog, which is linked to it... will the universe implode on itself in a fit of web recursion? :D

Monday 24 March 2014

Chain of Command meta points list

For those of you not on the TFL forums (or haven't been keeping up) and who have an interest in exploring CoC force list design, you will be very interested in one of Rich's latest posts, which basically produces a points list for designing force lists :D

It's pretty simple, and it's (I shouldn't have to say this to most readers, but just in case....) obviously only intended as a guideline and not a resource for gaming the system, but it does make it very easy to (say) figure out how much the Home Guard lists or perhaps a Falklands list might cost.

The thread's here. Enjoy!

Sunday 23 March 2014

What I Did This Weekend...

Phew. I have had a weekend. Mostly working to make sure one of our teams at work actually has a system to use at 7.30am tomorrow, which has meant a chunk of yesterday and most of today fixing code that I thought was working on Friday :D This particular replacement system has been a millstone round my neck for the best part of two years, and I am very grateful to get it off my plate and out into the real world to replace the thing of horror that was doing its job.

On the good side, I did manage to get about half the workshop floor made visible on Saturday lunchtime, rather than covered in a large amount of electrical and musical... stuff, which bodes well for actually having space to get the terrain boards built for Salute on Saturday. I now have about 6 tower PCs of varying vintages to get rid of.

Also just sent off to 4Ground for another God-knows-how-many sheets of tiles: it's amazing how fast you go through their tile sheets roofing 28mm buildings (we're doing a club build on half a dozen Warbases VBCW buildings). And yes, I did succumb to the Russian Trucks Kickstarter. Consider it my reward for not shelling out far more on the Dreadball Xtreme one :D

Plans for this week? Club Dreadball league on Monday - time to see if the Valkryies can manage a win in league play, after last time's close defeat. After which, some more tidying in the workshop, and I'm going to see if I can get a couple more of the Warbases buildings from my stash assembled.

Saturday 22 March 2014

Kickstarter Watch - Russian 28mm trucks

3D render of GAZ AAA
A bit specialist, you might think - but if you followed the Winter War Kickstarter from last year, or alternatively were on a different planet when that happened, and have been collecting some of the Warlord Russians, this Kickstarter may entertain....

Done by Gavin Tyler, who's the man behind the original Winter War Kickstarter, it's already well past its goal with 12 days to go - it's not intended to be as big as the original one, but it does have some rather nice looking variants on the GAZ AAA truck that was the Russian Army's workhorse for most of WW2.

Tempted? You bet.

Friday 21 March 2014

Dux Raiders cover art and maps

Rich has just posted some art from Dux Raiders, which will (be still my wallet) be out at Salute.

It looks gorgeous.

I must confess to having had a wee bit of a preview peek at the actual text, and...

All I can say (so as not to steal Rich's thunder) is that you're going to love it. I'm busy debating which of the Picts, Irish and Scotti to repurpose some of my Ancient British as :D

Thursday 20 March 2014

Warbases animals

(Via Andrew @ Loki's Great Hall, who has them all nicely painted up on his site).

Martin mentioned these at Hammerhead, while we were admiring their upcoming 15mm Pegasus Bridge - and I have to say they look for the most part really tasty. If you're into Dux Britanniarum or similar especially, the cows and sheep are going to be perfect.

So, coming out at Salute they have:

  • 2 Highland cattle (with a calf)
  • 4 Soay sheep (a nice period-authentic ancient breed)
  • 2 Shire horses - I'm not 100% convinced about the head sculpts on these, and my wife (who as you may recall is a vet) says one looks like a Shire, but the other looks more like a 54mm Shetland :(
  • 3 Anglo-Nubian goats
  • a bloodhound
  • a British Bulldog, apparently called Churchill (oh, yes yes yes yes yes...)
Guess some of those better go on the shopping list! The cattle and sheep look superb.

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Only three and a half weeks to Salute

Terrain board bases ordered (not without a 10 min phone call to make sure AndyM and I weren't talking at cross purposes about the slots for magnets!)

Terrain board foam on order also.

This weekend's job (if I can't manage it before) is to tidy the workshop to the point where the club can build 6 2' square terrain boards for Dead's Army.

Other than that? I need to paint the Foundry Vicar and Rector (there are too many good puns about the Vickers' gun not to!), and finish off my Warbases buildings to go with the club's stock.

After that? It's drawing up a Salute shopping list: the things I know are on it are Dux: Raiders, asome Crusader Fallschirmjägers, some PSC 15mm Churchills and some Perry metal War of the Roses command figures.

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Another addition to the lead pile...

Having shamelessly plugged the Black Tree Design sale, I'd sworn I wasn't going to yield to temptation...

...until the miserable so-and-so's decided to add an extra 10% St. Patrick's Day discount on Monday!

Which netted me two packs of early war Fallschirmjäger for the draft list Rich published on the TFL Yahoo! group just before Hammerhead, having failed to do so at the show. I'll round these out with some Crusader FJ at Salute, and they'll make an interestingly different opponent for the Home Guard. The list has three sections, each with three teams - one three man MG34, two four man rifle. Should make very interesting playing. (Also, they get 6 command dice.)

Monday 17 March 2014

Battle Report - 17 Mar 2014 - "Dead's Army"

As some of you may have noticed, we're planning to take our wacky Hallowe'en game from last year, "Dead's Army" to Salute. [Please note that, despite what the programme will say, this is a participation game. What else would you expect from us!?]

As it was a playtest, things were a little disjointed and paused occasionally. There will be a prize if you can figure out how many different rules systems we knowingly stole from :D

The sleepy inland village of Walmington Parva is woken by the
sound of hurrying feet as the Home Guard turn up to investigate
reports of parachutes.... 
Corporal Jones' section advance towards the church....

Captain Mainwaring runs down a bunch of the undead...

"Oi! Napoleon! What do you think you're doing with my ruddy van?"

Jones' van unloads a bunch of Walmington-on-Sea's finest.

Sunday 16 March 2014

Black Tree Design sale

If you're looking for some more figures for Chain of Command in 28mm or some Picts for Dux Raiders (among other things), you probably ought to be aware that Black Tree Design are doing some 20-35% discounts this week on a lot of their ranges, if you're a Premier Member.

The deepest discounts are on WW2 US and Early Romans, but there's a decent choice on all manner of stuff. Best of all, being a Premier Member just requires signing in.

Saturday 15 March 2014

A quarter of a million!

Holy <deleted>, Batman!

Look to the right....

I hadn't noticed, either, mostly because I've been posting before breakfast in the US most days this week. This post comes to you while I'm somewhere over Iceland, I think...

Whoops. Nearly forgot...


Friday 14 March 2014

How to speak Lard :D

I keep seeing any number of rules questions re (particularly) Chain of Command, IABSM and Dux Britanniarum of late.

If I might share a tip I discovered while Andy and I were trying to get our heads round Dux Britanniarum, which is of pretty universal application, especially if Rich Clarke is the primary author of the rules...

Don't overanalyse.

Rich does tend to write very simple, direct rules: there can be a danger of looking for cleverness and complexity that isn't there. For example, if the rules say 'X for troop types A and B', then it is almost certainly the case that the rule was not intended to apply for troop types C and D, even if it doesn't say 'only A and B'. (Specific ones temporarily escaping me, but there are, for example, Dux Brit rules phrased this way that only apply to formations, or only to groups.)

The second tip, of course, is 'do check the errata' :D But in general? Take the rules literally. If a rule is worded so as to apparently omit your specific case, it probably doesn't apply. If you still can't figure out a resolution, or doing so seems completely wrong, consider the spirit of the rule. And of course, if all else fails? Ask on the list or the forum :D

Thursday 13 March 2014

Kickstarter Watch - Across the Dead Earth

Neil's just published an interview with Richard Chappell, creator of Across the Dead Earth, which has a Kickstarter live at the moment.

I have to say, from a skim of the KS page, it looks rather sweet. It is another 'RPG-lite' gang-based game, which do seem to be all the rage at present, but the figures do also look eminently nickable :D for (say) Judge Dredd mutants, Deadzone Rebs, etc.

And it's already passed its funding target! It gets points, too, for having decent pledge levels that aren't going to break the bank.

Wednesday 12 March 2014

BBC History magazine - Vikings and WW1 Days

For those of you in the UK, and not (like I will be) planning on being sound asleep (as I'll have landed at 0730 on Saturday)...

If you're around the Bristol area, BBC History magazine are putting on a series of talks about the Vikings and WW1. They do cost £60/£70 to get in (including lunch) but they do look rather interesting.

Sat March 15 - Vikings Day:

  • Janina Ramirez - The Vikings as ‘Other’: Are ‘They’ In Fact ‘Us’?
  • Philip Parker - Ruling without Kings: State and Society in Viking Iceland
  • Gareth Williams - Ships and Society in the Viking Age
  • Dr Ryan Lavelle - Fighting the Vikings: War and Peace in Viking-Age Britain
  • Judith Jesch - Treasures of the Sword-Trees: Viking Poets and Poetry
Sun March 16 - First World War Day:

  • Mark Bostridge -1914: England’s Fateful Year
  • Margaret MacMillan - Accidental or Inevitable? The Outbreak of the First World War
  • Dr Nick Lloyd - Hundred Days: The End of the Great War
  • David Reynolds - The Long Shadow: The Great War and the Twentieth Century
  • Panel debate/Q&A

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Dark Ages gaming Facebook group

Brief post today, as I'm scurrying out to day 1 of the real reason I'm over in the US...

For those of you on Facebook, Heer Browne has just created a new group for folks interested in Dark Ages gaming, "Wall of Shields". If the group he runs on the historical uses of Flames of War is anything to go by, it'll be worth a look.  You can find me there.

Monday 10 March 2014

(Audio) Book Review - "The Liberator" by Alex Kershaw

[Flying back to Seattle today. Should have more time in the evenings for the rest of this week - being mostly over the jet lag helps!

Must not succumb to 15mm 'Nam...]

Picked this up on my Audible subscription a month or so ago: it's the biography of Felix Sparks, an officer in the US 157th Infantry Regiment from the Sicily invasion through to the liberation of Germany during WW2.


From a wargamer/military history point of view, it did open my eyes rather to the 'other' European campaigns (Sicily, Italy and the South of France), which is good, as I think we do tend to all get a bit hung up on the glories of D-Day and the Normandy campaign. Certainly gave me some ideas.

The writing is definitely more of a biography than a military history - it does also jump viewpoint characters a bit, for all it's about Sparks. My major gripes? The excusable one is the classic 'every gun's an 88' - not quite true in this case, but there are things referred to as '88s that I'd be very surprised if they were. The author also suffers a bit from the 'make and model'-itis disease a lot of military writers do - everything on the US side has to have its model name... My major gripe, though is that Kershaw does get a bit 'gosh wow' about stats - every artillery barrage is categorised in terms of rounds/minute, and every one tries to be the worst yet, for example.

That aside? An interesting and thought-provoking listen. The author does a particularly good job of covering the controversy surrounding the shooting of a number of SS soldiers by some of Sparks' men during the liberation of Dachau. I need to do some more research from other viewpoints about the whole story of those events, but Kershaw certainly makes me want to do so.

The book's full title is The Liberator: One World War II Soldier's 500-Day Odyssey From the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau, and if you'd rather read it than listen to it, that's an Amazon link.

Sunday 9 March 2014

Battlefront 'Nam sale

[As a complete aside, I do think it's rather unsporting of the US to deprive me of another hour's sleep just when I've about got used to the timezone...]

A heads up for players of FoW 'Nam, Charlie Don't Surf, and anything else that suits itself to 15mm Vietnam-era minis. Battlefront are currently offering 40% off the entire FoW 'Nam range.... The sale starts on 13 March 2014, and ends at midnight on 31 March 2014.
"As many of you may know, the end of March marks the end of the fiscal year for many companies. Here at Battlefront, our taskmaster of an accountant has given us a mandate: Make my end of year Stock Takes easy!"
Battlefront claim they have at least some of all items in stock...

I'm quite intrigued by the fact that they feel the need to emphasise this, especially given the paucity of FoW stuff (from any period) that was available at Hammerhead - literally the only people with any stock were Caliver, and they were bemoaning the fact that it when stuff arrived from Battlefront seemed to be extremely random and at the mercy of, rather alarmingly, BF's cash-flow (regular readers can find examples in the past of retailers for whom that got very messy indeed). It's been a disturbing trend over the last year or so, in fact - at the Milton Keynes show last year, every single trader with FoW stuff was shifting what they had at a discount.

I admit? As far as the game goes, I'm not massively fussed. But I do probably own more painted and unpainted Battlefront 15mms than a lot of people, and while I welcome any chance to get them cheaper, I'm a little concerned....

Question is, do I pounce now for 'Nam forces... :D

Saturday 8 March 2014

Designing a setting: part 1 - Introduction

Greetings from my weekend detour to San Jose :D

As I'm doing some proofreading before breakfast, I've been pondering concepts around world and setting design for something I'm working on this week. I did have a bit of a think about this a while back, with specific reference to all the Kickstarters that were springing up at the time, in fact... Out of that came several desirables for a setting:

  • Conflict (without which you don't have a game)
  • Multiple factions (not necessarily, but...)
  • Fluff (to draw your reader in - 'immersion' if you like)
I'm going to add one more to this, and skim it briefly in this post before I dedicate a post to each one
  • Immediacy.
This is a topic I've covered before, in the one lone episode of my podcast (before Neil nabbed me), although in setting design it's a slightly different thing. Basically it's that core concept that makes you able to 'get stuck in' to a setting quickly, without having to do tons of prep work before you start. With it comes its counterpart and (often) opposite, flexibility: the less reading and prep work users of your ruleset and/or setting have to do, the more likely they are to pick it up.

So, with that in mind, I'm off to do some copy-editing, and then grab breakfast. Watch this space for the next part.

Friday 7 March 2014

Meeples # 121

I was delighted to be invited to sit in on the recording of this one - another of Neil's chats with Jake Thornton - this time, unsurprisingly, about Dreadball Xtreme.

Enjoy! I certainly did: Jake's a very easy and great fun interview subject.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPadrt

Thursday 6 March 2014

Plastic 28mm Republican Romans

More 28mm plastic goodies...

It looks like the nice folks at Agema Miniatures have managed to book a slot in Renedra's queue (I suspect that, if your name doesn't begin with V, W or P, this is actually quite a feat), and will have the follow up to their rather lovely Velites available at Salute.

To quote:
This box set allows you to make up 40 highly detailed models of Roman Republican Legionnaires, comprising of 16 Hastati, 16 Principes and 8 Triarii. Bases are included.

Minor administrivia - as of the time you read this, I should be rolling down the runway at Heathrow in the direction of Seattle for a work security conference. I hope to keep blogging while I'm away: I suspect very early in the morning while I recover from jetlag - I do have a project to work on, which may prompt some posts.

See you soon!

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Plastic 28mm Arabs

[Via Carl from our club and Tom WD pretty much simultaneously in two different browser tabs. :) ]

Those awfully nice chaps from Gripping Beast have just announced that their new 28mm plastic Arabs will be out at Salute. The box art looks tasty, and the announcement says:
New from GB Plastics and released at SALUTE is this versatile and yummy box containing 40 warriors. You can make up to 16 archers, 16 javelin men or 32 40 [thank you, Hobbsy] spearmen from the box. Usable for SAGA or for Arab and Moorish armies from the conquest period to the siege of Vienna (at a pinch).

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Battle Report - 3 Mar 2014 - Chain of Command

Another round of Operation Sealion (with the nod to Andy Johnston's "Seelöwe Nord" novel).

It's September 22nd 1940, and the Home Guard have fallen back on a small farm partway between Carnaby and Fraisthorpe. We went with PatG's latest list, which has been adjusted quite considerably for balance, and Carl, running the early war Home Guard list, had a force value of -12 against Gary's Germans at +4.

We ran the second scenario from the rulebook (and completely forgot that Gary's actual objective is to bypass the farm and get a unit off Carl's table edge!). Carl took as reinforcements a regular Army section, a Vickers, a Lewis gun, some barbed wire and an antique WW1 19pdr field gun. Gary, on the other hand, took a newly-landed Panzer IIID.
Yes. Those are telegraph poles.

The patrol phase was fun - key point was Carl winding up with a jump off point deep in the woods on his right, as well as two around the farm complex.

Gary started out by deploying a couple of sections, and having one rush the hedge and across the road in front of the farm to the back of the milking parlour, hoping to deny Carl the jump off point in the farmyard.

It would have worked fine, had Gary not completely forgotten the jump off point in the woods at the other end of that road...

"Matthews!! Hurry up and deploy the bloody
Vickers, willya!"
...onto which Carl deployed a Vickers team, firing round the corner of the wall onto a very exposed target. Four out of six dead, no shock! The Vickers took some mortar fire in return but escaped unscathed.

The remaining pair of Germans legged it round the building onto the jump off point, whereupon a Home Guard team with Lewis gun deployed upstairs in the farm house, and took out another. The last one, very wisely, ducked into the milking parlour, still close enough to deny the jump off point, which started to become a problem as...

...with a rumble of tracks and overworked engine, a Panzer III started making its way up the road from Fraisthorpe.

Meanwhile, the Germans deployed a section in the field on their left, and made a charge for the hedge near the Vickers. The British deployed both a Home Guard section to counter this and the regular section near the postbox on the corner by the farm entrance (which was protected by barbed wire).

Carl's aim was to try and deal with the forces near the milking parlour permanently, and regain his jump point. The rifle team had a go at the lone German leader, managing merely to wound him, before the Panzer opened up from its stationary position with both co-ax and hull MGs... [Note to self: I am so printing off and collating the army lists, as I missed the fact the PzIII doesn't have a hull MG! There's a running gag going with our CoC games that I should never trust Gary's memory of the rulebook: for once I did...]

The Army boys took quite a bit of shock, copping more from the MG34 in the hedge across the field before they in turn hopped the hedge by the post box for extra cover. Meanwhile, the rifle team next to the '34 kept up covering fire on the farmhouse, keeping the heads of the Home Guard section in there down.

Over by the Vickers, which has pulled back into the wood out of range, the platoon sergeant (whose name, coincidentally, might be Wilson despite this not being Walmington on Sea) decided to do something about the situation at the milking parlour, so hightailed it across the field between him and the farmyard. This took him two phases, after which he wound up pitching several grenades in the window before he finally nailed the remaining German in there.

Carl meanwhile, on the other flank, was desperately hoping to get a 1 amid his command dice, as the Panzer was by now right up by the barbed wire at the farm entrance, and he had a chance of a flank shot (given the 19pdr's measly AP of 2, a front shot wasn't going to work).

About now the German section on Gary's left decided to make a proper go of clearing out the wood with the Vickers in, helped by hitting the section hard with two intersecting fields of fire and then hopping the hedge in close assault. The Home Guard didn't stick around long enough to actually engage in close assault, as the Germans had a 4:1 advantage in dice.

There we called it, it being 10.35. Probably as a German victory, even though both sides had stuff left to d

As ever, a cracker of a game - my thanks to Carl and Gary!

Monday 3 March 2014

Osprey's new Games division

From their press release today (via @Wargamerdotcom on Twitter):
Osprey Publishing is expanding its product list with the creation of a dedicated games division. Osprey Games will follow the great successes enjoyed by the company’s miniature wargaming lines with new products, and will also expand to include board and card games, allowing Osprey both to strengthen and diversify its position in these thriving niche sectors.
With the 2008 release of Field of Glory in collaboration with Slitherine Strategies Ltd, Osprey Publishing began to focus specifically on a hobby with which it had always had a very close relationship – miniatures wargaming. While Osprey books had long provided guides for figure painters, scenario writers and wargamers of all stripes, Field of Glory was the first product specifically created for this audience. Hot on the heels of this incredibly successful release came other projects, including the Force on Force modern rules (with Ambush Alley Games) and Renaissance and Napoleonic versions of the Field of Glory rules. More recently, the Bolt Action World War II rules (with Warlord Games) and the Osprey Wargames series of smaller rulebooks have established Osprey as one of the foremost publishers of wargaming rules.
In addition to expanding the existing wargaming lines, Osprey Games is also going to develop board and card games, applying Osprey’s reputation for high-quality artwork to a whole new market, and is set to start recruiting for a Games Developer to manage this side of the division. The board and card game hobby has become increasingly popular in recent years, and, much like wargaming, can be seen as a natural extension of Osprey’s publishing pedigree.
Interesting, but hardly unexpected. My one fervent hope, having played several of their 'small book' releases (In Her Majesty's Name, Of Gods and Mortals and Dux Bellorum), is that they'll employ at least a part time proofreader/editor who plays wargames[1]. There's a common thread running through several of their rulebooks that, while they're very prettily laid out books, it's a royal pain to find anything in the rules in a hurry. They just aren't geared for the gamer to find rules in mid-game.

[1] Say... wait. I've done that. :D

Sunday 2 March 2014

Scaling up

I'm moved to ponder (which regulars will know is always dangerous, and new readers can discover for themselves by checking out posts tagged with 'thoughts' on here) by several threads and discussions here and there in the past couple of months on Big Games.

What do I mean by Big Games?

In this context, that moment down the club or wherever where you decide that you want to take a system you love on your usual 6'x4' table, and do something more epic on 8'x6' or 10'x6' or bigger, so you can get masses of figures on a table and Make It Look Totally Awesome...

And it never... quite... works. Moreso with some systems than others, granted, but...

Why not?

It's kind of the inverse of the 'will <X> work with <Y> scale figures' question that you hear asked so often. (To which, in case anyone is still in doubt, the answer is YES OF COURSE, possibly given a little scale tweaking). Yes, games are often designed with a particular figure scale in mind, but... much more importantly, games are designed with a particular force size in mind. And in general, the rules will creak far more if you step outside the designer's idea of typical force size than they will figure size or table size. The latter are merely issues of ground scale, which you can fix with a calculator, spreadsheet, custom-marked ruler or swapping from cm to inches.

Admittedly, some work better than others: you can, for example, push most of the Warhammer-based systems (40K, Fantasy, WAB, Bolt Action) a bit more than you can, say, Chain of Command. Even so, though, you will get to the point where the granularity of the rules starts to break down in the face of more and more figures to move and interact.

So what do you do?

Actually, it hit me after a couple of comments from Rich on the TFL Yahoo! Group re large games of Chain of Command.

You're actually using the wrong rules to achieve what you want. If, for example you want a big, sprawling, company level WW2 game in 28mm on a 12'x6' table with a 1:1 figure scale? Don't use Chain of Command or Bolt Action, however much you might want to. Use IABSM/FoW/Battlegroup and nudge the ground scale up a bit. Think about it: you wouldn't generally use IABSM for a platoon level action, you'd use CoC or Bolt Action.

Just a (possibly controversial) thought.

Saturday 1 March 2014

Back from Hammerhead

Getting up in time to set off for Hammerhead at 7.30 was not going to be a problem, given it was going to be, relatively speaking, one of my later rising times this week. You can therefore, I'm sure, imagine my ill-concealed and unbounded joy and delight when I was paged by one of work's database servers at 0345.

Breakfast (in fact, the whole day) contained more caffeine than usual, but we did get to Hammerhead's new venue before 0850.

Initial impressions: the main room (the Cedric Ford pavillion at Newark Showground) is bigger than the main room at Kelham Hall, at least in the horizontal dimensions. I'd reckon the overall space Hammerhead (and other shows) use at Partizan is generally bigger: at a guess, about the same number of games (maybe a few fewer) but definitely fewer traders. The organisers had changed this year, too, from COGS to the Forest Outlaws club, with additional sponsorship by Kallistra (I gather Paul from Kallistra is a member of the club). There were probably more games using Hexon terrain in one place than I think I've ever seen before!

There's a bar along one edge, also serving food. The sausage sandwich was decently generous, and the  lunchtime jacket potato filling and really rather good. Prices were about what you would expect from such a venue (£3.50 or so for the jacket spud), and the tea... was actually several stages better than 'drinkable' and most welcome. Can't comment on the beer, much as I was gasping for one, as I was driving.

So... anyway. Our game...

Well, to be accurate, our games, as Mark from our club managed to slip in his rather fabulous Pegasus Bridge Bolt Action game using the Warlord bridge model at the last minute, and had a decent crowd round it (with help from those of us not running the other game) most of the day.

We, on the other hand, were much less sensible.

Permit me to introduce the first skirmish in A Very Tiny Civil War, The Battle For The Patio, featuring Loyalist and Revolutionary forces of garden gnomes with allied small furry animals (a rabbit and a squirrel), featuring cameo appearances (on the random events table) by a cat, a swarm of ants and some bird droppings. A simple grid based movement system (hey, you have patio flagstones? Use 'em!) with rules, as ever, on one page of A4, and game design and silliness, as ever, by Grahame and Chris.

We had plans (encouraged by the late Tony Barnes) to do some very silly things at Kelham this year, had the show been there, of which the sanest involved Zeppelins and the balcony. In light of the venue change, we went for differently silly. I'm pretty sure, but open to contradiction, that this is one of the first 1:1 scale games at Hammerhead :D

We didn't win (for once!). But who cares? :D We had fun, and it was clear that the considerable number of folks who had a go did to. It's a test of how warped our games are what the average punter's first reaction is: we like to aim for a double take and a slow shake of their head as they walk past as a good working initial benchmark. :D

I spent more money (with our Treasurer's help) on the club's behalf than I did personally this year - we hit Last Valley hard and early and stripped Andy's stall of what felt like about half his trees, as well as a stack of buildings from Warbases (while admiring their 15mm Pegasus Bridge - yes, them as WELL as 4Ground) and some 40K scenery from the bring and buy. Some of it's for the scenery cupboard, some for our Salute game. For myself, I went with the intention of either a) picking up some Crusader 28mm early war Fallschirmjäger, b) crossing a few more items off my 15mm wish list or c) picking up some 15mm NW Europe buildings. In the end I went with b), collecting another company box of Battlefront US 29th Infantry, a pair of Bren carriers and a box of PSC Cromwells (and on updating my wish list, I'm annoyed to notice I passed up on 2 M7 Priests, thinking I didn't need them!)

Other than that? Spent some time admiring a wide range of games, a fair bit of time saying 'excuse me' (this suggests the show was decently packed) and had several chats with Neil from Meeples.

Many thanks to the Forest Outlaws for putting on an excellent show - to those who decided not to come because of the changes? Your loss. You missed a treat.

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