Monday 30 June 2014

Peterborough Hyperbowl Dreadball tournament signups now fixed!

Due to a misconfiguration of our webserver, it was not possible to actually sign up for the Peterborough Hyperbowl Dreadball tournament.

We have now fixed and tested this, so you will now be able to sign up. Hope to see you there!

-- Mike (cursing WordPress WP-SuperCache).

Sunday 29 June 2014

What I did this weekend...

Not as much as I liked, since external events seems to have nabbed much of my time this weekend.

However, I did manage to base up and prime about 80 assorted Battlefront, Peter Pig and Command Decision dead and wounded US figures onto Flames of War medium bases (thanks MarkG - yours are going in the post in the morning) for Bloody Omaha, as well as sort out my base stash of small bases ready to make some single wounded figure + 2 x 7mm dice frame bases to count casualties.

Tonight's job is fixing the club's Paypal gateway...

Saturday 28 June 2014

Audiobook review - "Anarchy" - Stewart Binns

I was mildly amused to discover, partway through listening to the Audible audiobook of this, that I had an earlier book in the series on my unread pile. Only mildly amused, because, to be honest, by about halfway through, I was pretty much convinced I didn't want to read another!

What can I say? I love good historical fiction, the kind where the author does good research into the period, and then fleshes out history with plausible, well-written speculative insights into the characters and events that history presents. I was really hoping this would be on a par with Sharon Penman's superb 'When Christ and His Saints Slept' as an inspiration and insight into what's potentially a fascinating period to wargame in - a good historical novel is just as speculative as a good wargame.

Sadly, it wasn't. The hero is the fictitious 'Hal of Hereford', a descendant of Hereward the Wake and a bearer of the mystical 'Talisman of Truth', an implausible sounding pendant that links Hereward, the hero, Richard the Lionheart and lord alone knows who else. He feels like an implausibly heroic and self-indulgent "Marty Stu" - by less than halfway through the book he's become a knight of Venice and co-founder of the Knights Templar (which he then deserts), before we're 2/3 through he's met John Komnenos, survived the wrath of Henry I, and is busy stealing Empress Matilda's affections from Geoffrey of Anjou, and fathering a line of English kings...

As a pseudo-historical roll in the hay, it's sort of OK. Except that for a book titled "Anarchy", I find it a bit of a con, given that Henry I doesn't die until chapter 25 of 37, and the account of the ensuing decade and a half (i.e. the Anarchy of the title) skips from Wikipedia high spot to Wikipedia high spot (the Battle of Lincoln, Matilda's entry into London, and her escape from Oxford being pretty much it), and wraps up before Stephen dies, leaving the accession of Henry II to a postscript and entirely glossing over most of the last seven or eight years of Stephen's reign (in which our hero is living in blissful sin with Matilda in Aquitaine... and MAN does he overuse the word 'blissful'). Somewhere along the way (and I'm actually facepalming and shouting at the car stereo at this point) the hero also adopts the pseudonym 'Robin of Hode' (oh puhlease), gets made Earl of Huntington by Henry I (for massively implausible reasons to do with keeping the whiny Matilda happy after Henry finds out the hero's sleeping with his daughter), and awarded lands in Barnsedale and (oh, look) Sherwood Forest. Oh, and his loyal sidekick Eadmer (masquerading as, wait for it, William of Scarlett) makes up songs about Robin which become popular ballads...

Stephen of Blois, unlike Penman's take on him, is just obnoxiously arrogant and unlikeable. And then there's the whiny, lovesick, earthy, sexy, gorgeous Matilda, who has to go to 'Hal' to make any key decision in her life, and has some of the most awfully stilted dialogue - in fact, dialogue is not his strong point. This was not helped by an unfortunate quirk of the guy reading the audiobook, who actually did a decent job on switching voices up until the point that I realised one of his female voices sounded like K9 from Dr. Who, after which it was kind of hard to take them seriously.

I guess it must have something going for it, since I did manage to finish it (although some of that was just a degree of morbid curiosity). If you want a pseudo-historical romp, it's, like I said, not bad. But it doesn't hold a candle to Penman.

Friday 27 June 2014

Designing a setting: part 3 - technology, cheese, open-endedness and replay value

Way back when I started this series of thoughts, I got some very useful comments on the initial post, which I'm going to pick up on now that we've covered fluff as a key ingredient to a setting. Specifically, I'm thinking about open-endedness, and development/evolution, which means it's 'Mike waffles and ponders' time!

There's a tricky line to draw here. In an ideal world, story development is/should be a given. It's about the fluff - your setting moves along - much as (say) the VBCW setting does - so that there are always new things happening, but not so fast that people don't have time to play with what's available. If we look at the real-world setting of WW2 as an example, in six years an awful lot happens, factions rise and fall, technology advances...

Not all settings get this last bit right. Battletech (I quote this a lot, because as big, sweeping, SF settings go, it's one of the biggest and for the most part best) doesn't, in my opinion. The arrival of the Clans is a massive 'outside context problem', which isn't, in and of itself, an issue - it gives the existing factions new adversaries, the chance for new Alliances. But unfortunately at around about the same time, the Clans bring new tech with them, and the existing factions develop new tech, and it's game breaking tech, and they got that bit badly wrong. One of the core unwritten precepts of the original 3025/6 tech Battletech was that, to sum it up crudely, the only things that could blow a Mech's head off in one shot could only do so at short range. With the advent of the 3050-era tech, and extended range PPCs and Ultra AC-20s (for example), death from long range was suddenly much more likely. To be fair, this is actually a rather dumb piece of brokenness in the rules about the amount of armour and internal structure 'Mechs can have: the rules were originally designed around 3025-era balance, for which they work beautifully.

40K, of course, does this far worse, in that it doesn't really even pretend that what it's doing is advancing the setting - it's just pure 'cheese' - changes to the rules, because it can, and because it wants another pull on the direct line from little Johnny to daddy's plastic.

It's an interesting problem, though. You can make the argument that WW2 has this: bring a Tiger into an early war scenario, and it's massively unbalancing. And if you want to 'follow along' with WW2 as the campaign advances, you wind up replacing all your armies by the end of the war to keep with the story. But at least with any self-respecting set of rules, the game doesn't go out of whack if your forces are from the same period with the setting.

War, though, is a great driver for technology. You can't escape how much military technology advanced during both world wars and then slowed down a large amount thereafter. If your setting is at all high-tech, it's difficult to avoid (Moore's Law, anyone! :D) the fact that technology will and should get better over time unless you've hit some arbitrary, physical or scientific limit (the speed of light, the size of an atom of silicon, the strength/height of a normal human, etc).

Having waffled my way through that (*grin*) I think what I'm saying is that advancing the 'story' of a campaign is great: giving people new opponents and/or new contexts in which to fight enhances the odds they'll stick with your setting, that magic that is 'replay value'. And sure, everyone likes 'the new shiny': the trick is not to do new in-game tech and weaponry for the wrong reasons, not to make it so awesome that you can't, effectively, play the game without it. Introduce it slowly, make it scarce, make it have disadvantages - even if these boil down to 'it's so expensive you can only have 1', or 'you can have that Tech 3 energy weapon, but you need to mount it on a slow, massive chassis that can't use other tech because it needs all the power...'

In short - it's as much a game-design balance problem as anything else. If your developing story starts to lead you towards the new shiny, you need to consider long and hard what it does to the game.

Thursday 26 June 2014

Too Fat Lardies 10th anniversary Summer Special

Just buy it, ok?

Six quid (thats about ten bucks and small change) for a PDF chock full of excellent scenarios and campaigns for Chain of Command, Bag the Hun, Sharp Practice and Charlie Don't Surf, as well as a Samurai variant on Dux Britanniarum and some rules for swarms in Quadrant 13 - among other things.

Even if you don't currently own any TFL rules, it's worth it simply to get a feel for what's possible. 20 quid will get you that and a PDF copy of Chain of Command, too!

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Wanted - old style Flames of War bases

If anyone in the UK has old style, grey, Flames of War bases, I'll be willing to trade them for an equivalent number of the new brown ones with holes. Up to 40 of each of the small and the medium. Must be genuine Flames of War bases with the bevelled edges, though.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Peterborough Hyperbowl Dreadball Tournament - 13 July 2014

And we'll take you straight over to Valhalla for the upcoming Valkyries game...
"Hi, and welcome to another evening of Dreadball. Tonight the Valkyries take on one of our expansion teams, the..." 
"Sorry, Jase. Vish going to have to interrupt you there." 
"You're ruining my flow, big guy." 
"Vish not sure that possible. Anyway, Vish have important announcement from Commissioner Farley of the Peterborough Hyperbowl." 
"The what?" 
"The. Pete. Er. Bo. Rough. Hy. Per. Bowl. Sheesh. Anyone think it not Vish took too many hits to the helmet." 
"I heard you. I just don't know what it is." 
"Maybe if you shut up and let Vish talk for once? So. Dreadball Tournament. To official Digby Rules, as far as Vish knows. Five games. Up to twenty-four teams. Vish not have enough toes, so not offering to count entries." 
"When? Where?"
"C'mere, big guy, you have that map upside down..." 
"Do not." 
"Either you do, or I'm standing on my head. Uh. Just a moment while we sort this out, folks. Back to the studio."

While our two loveable and geographically challenged idiots are figuring it out, I'll let you know.

Peterborough Hyperbowl Dreadball Tournament (registration link)
Sunday July 13 2014, 9am-5pm
St Johns Ambulance Hall
38a Cowgate
Peterborough PE1 1NA
(Parking available on site)
Registration: £10.

Hope to see you there.

Monday 23 June 2014

Bloody Omaha at Festival Of the Forties

We've been asked by the folks organising the Festival of the Forties here in Peterborough if we could bring our D-Day game :D

It looks like it'll be the Saturday, and possibly the Sunday. Watch this space for more details!

Sunday 22 June 2014

I blame Ade

Well, someone's got to.

As we have an invite to bring the Bloody Omaha game to a 1940s weekend in Peterborough next month, I may have let slip that I was being a little keener in acquiring enough FoW 29th infantry NOT to have to reuse figures or festoon them with Post-Its.

Ade from Wyvern Wargames has taken it upon himself, the lovely man that he is, to point me at eBay auctions that might help with this... and some.. er... obliging person has... um... had a set already based but unpainted...

Normally, new boxes go for the neck end of £40. New boxes on ebay kick in around the £25 mark. Otherwise intact box that someone's already mounted on bases? £10.50. Result! Thanks, Ade!

Of course, now I have to work out how much pain there will be in getting them off the bases, since the odds are they've been based as per FoW section organisation, not the one I/Rich use for Bloody Omaha. Ah well. Worst case I might have to get ugly with a razor saw....

Saturday 21 June 2014

WIP - Dreadball coaches and refs

I managed, by dint of throwing a box of cards and bits across the club carpark late one Monday night, to lose my Deadball ref mini. I did consider buying another, but on finding the Governance of Technology range from the unpronounceable folks at Antenocitis Workshop, I figured I'd go for them instead...

I went for the Civilian Businesswoman, the Civilian Courtesan (as a cheerleader coach) and the i-Bot as a ref bot (you get two in a pack).

Friday 20 June 2014

Peterborough Heritage Festival

Due to a communications failure that wasn't the fault of anyone at the club, we won't be putting anything on at the Heritage Festival this weekend.

Sorry to anyone who was hoping to see the club's ECW game - the rest of the event is still well worth going to see, though.

Thursday 19 June 2014

Battlefront, WW1

I note with interest that Battlefront have - I think the best phrase is snuck in, with as let little fanfare, an announcement for August for, wait for it...

... Flames of War "Great War".

Yes, really.

Reading between the lines, it does appear to suffer a little from Battlefront's desire to turn everything into a tank battle, but (as someone who probably owns more BF figures and vehicles - at a rough guess about 8-900 and 100 respectively, even if over half are unpainted - than most FoW gamers), I'm interested to see what the figures come out like.

The rules are coming out in the August Wargames Illustrated, and I'll certainly give them a once over, but if I do succumb to the figures, I'd be going for "Through The Mud And Blood" or Warhammer Historical's "Great War" rules.

And yes, this is post #750...

Wednesday 18 June 2014


Somewhere, while I was busy killing Americans on Omaha Beach, this blog passed 300K page views. Next post is #750, as well, and my streak is back up over 80 posts (still a way to go on that one!)

To celebrate, apart from the obligatory Kate, I've been recording another Meeples podcast with Hobbsy and Neil - watch this space.

Tuesday 17 June 2014

Battle Report - 16 Jun 2014 - Warhammer ECW

"Sunday, 24, to Huntingdon. In this march, before wee came to Stilton, wee mett with a body of horse lately raysed out of Suffolk and Essex, about 400, commanded by Colonel .....Leiftenant-Colonel Lehunt, Major ....., Scotus, and Captain Loe. The Major and about 100 were taken that night. Gosnal, Minor, Wroth, Sym. et al' ceperunt..."
     -- The Diary of Richard Symonds, August 1645
Monday night saw us do a run through of our ECW game for the Peterborough Heritage Festival - a nice little recreation of what was little more than a skirmish around the village of Stilton (of cheese fame) just south of Peterborough. A clutch of Royalist horse ran into some more numerous but more inexperienced Roundheads, and there was something of a running battle down the main street.

Grahame umpired, with a light and informal hand that worked really well, and Ash, Chris and I took the King's men against AndyH, Carl and Pippa.

By all accounts it went pretty much according to history. Chris' dragoons raced up the main street to find a good vantage point in a building near the Blue Bell Inn, while two units of horse followed them and a third took a detour through the back gardens of Stilton.

The first clash was outside the Blue Bell, my Cavaliers being driven off by some remarkably doughty raw Roundheads, eventually reining in halfway down the High Street and turning back to face. By then, the Parliament unit had collected two rounds of shot from the dragoons, and the second unit of the King's horse had ducked out between two of the buildings to confront a second bunch of Parliament's men, which they successfully drove off.

Round the back on the left of the High Street, Ash engaged another group of Parliament's so-called finest, and succeeded in driving them off and pursuing them a goodly part of the way to Huntingdon. On the other flank, the followup skirmish went the way of Parliament after several rounds of combat, causing one unit of Royalist gallopers to flee into the Fens.

Roundhead prisoners.
There was then a sort of general pause for all parties to catch their breath and reload pistols, before combat was rejoined between the remaining forces. After several rounds, it pretty much went the way of the Royalist, the remaining Roundheads fleeing the field as the sight of a cloud of dust on the road down from Peterborough heralded the arrival of the King's main force.

Great fun - a nice, light game after the fierce concentration I needed for the weekend!

Thanks to Grahame for running it.

Monday 16 June 2014

3D printing - an eyeopener

Arrived in the post a week ago as a thank you from Pat G, the author of the Home Guard list for Chain of Command I've been having fun testing out (along with a duplicate set of models for Rich)...

From left to right and back to front, a British Type 22 pillbox, a British Type 24 pillbox, some tank traps, some milk churns (actually two types, but I missed putting one of them out to be photographed) and some oil drums.

All are to 1:56 (28mm) scale, and all are printed using Pat's RepRap 3D printer. I asked, being curious, for some more details - basically they're printed using PLA (polylactic acid), which is higher detail than ABS, but recyclable/compostable, takes paint... Print time for the big pillbox was about 2 1/2 hours at a cost of about 90p for 19m of filament. Now, obviously, you have to offset the cost of your 3D printer against that (unless you file it under 'cool toy'!) plus the use of power, and your time to design etc...

But... Seriously! Just how totally freaking cool is this? German Fallschirmjäger assault on Godwin Battery on Spurn Point here I come!

Thanks, Pat! You may have just ensured what some of my next bonus is going on :D

Sunday 15 June 2014

"Bloody Omaha" at A Bridge To Lard

Apologies for the rather terse placeholder last night - got out of the curry house with Lard Assembled to realise there was no way I was going to make it home by midnight, hence the very short phone blog post!

That aside: rewinding to the morning...

WN62 - left hand end of the German defences as the US
see it. Two mortars, two 75mm Czech AT guns in
bunkers, four MG42s in Tobruks. (This pic is from the
playtest, and thus doesn't show the second line of
wire on the cliff-top)
Tim made it up from the far side of Cambridge by just before 7am, to find the car packed and me putting the finishing touches to lunch. We hit the road about 7:05 and (after a slight mix up finding the venue) arrived at the Wyvern Wargamers in deepest darkest tractor-land at about 9:20.

WN64 top right - mostly overlooks the draw off table to
the US right. A mortar, a rifle team and two MG42s
in Tobruks.
Since the playtest, I've added another complete box of FoW 29th Infantry, making 330+ US figures in all, up against a paltry 50 Germans (6 MG teams, 4 Mortars, 2 big men). This is still short of the total - if wave 3 ever makes it to shore, I need to have killed about half the Americans to furnish enough figures for wave 3 (Rich's estimate of 'only a company' relies on the fact that their figures are individually based, rather than in 4s, FoW style!), but as it turned out, worked out fine. Someday, I may shell out on another 29th box and two boat sections to make it up to the full 500 minis: at which point, I think I'd GM the Germans even more aggressively. :D

I also shelled out on some small PostIts to label the bases - not ideal in respect of being somewhat garish, but the colour coding did help! In an ideal world (again) I'd letter the back edges of bases, but at least this way I can reuse figures.

The one thing I didn't get time to do is build a pile of casualty bases - before this game goes to a show, I'd like the ability to remove bases and actually replace them with casualty bases, as I think it would increase the impact of what's already quite a gripping game. I'd also toy with rebuilding the beach boards, but that's a long term plan :D

Anyway. That aside:

An Allied aerial photograph of the beach
as the US assault goes in.
Players for the morning were Neil, John, Dave and Jamie, who got stuck in with a will, despite the weather conditions in the Channel meaning the first wave only landed a couple of LCVPs to start with. Wave one was, in fact, so delayed that the last LVCP arrived after the first of wave 2!

The '88 down the beach on WN61 opened up good and early, took out one of the DD Shermans, and scared the hell out of a second (not often you see a Sherman survive a direct hit from a Pak43... it didn't survive the followup, though). Unfortunately for the Germans, just after that the US naval bombardment finally took out the '88.

Meanwhile, the infantry pushed up the beach to the shingle, taking a fairly hefty hammer from the German machine guns as they did so. The German FOO managed to get through to his battery and call down some pre-registered fire on one of the gaps in the beach obstacles. One of the surviving DDs got a direct hit on one of the WN62 bunkers, taking out one of the two Czech 75mms that overlooked the beach.

By (real world) lunchtime, a couple of engineering teams had made it up off the beach, and blown a sizeable gap in the wire using Bangalore torpedoes, with a decent sized group of assorted infantry from several sections in support. Ten LCVP had made it onto the beach, all but three intact - one taking a near direct hit that pretty much wiped out its passengers barring a couple of small sections.

This is what we call a target rich environment.
The after lunch team was slightly more intimidating to umpire, containing as it did Rob "Blenneville or Bust" Avery, and Nick Skinner of TFL, as well as Noddy and Chris (I think - sorry if I missed who ended up playing, guys)... so no pressure, then, with the most prolific IABSM scenario author and one of the game's co-authors playing!

A ragtag mix of troops from several different boat sections began to push its way inland through the marsh, aided by several more gaps being blown in the wire and me making the schoolboy error of going for calling for a new aiming point for the artillery (with the attendant issue of getting the bloody battery commander to work with a new set of coordinates), rather than having the FOO 'walk' the fire towards the very tempting targets.

That same damn Sherman (due to get 'Killer' graffitied on its turret, methinks) took out the second 75mm bunker, and some concentrated fire from several BAR teams and infantry sections, as well as a coax MG from another DD, took out the MG that had being doing the most damage in front of WN62 (the Beast of Omaha), and began working through the triple layers of wire protecting the German standpoint.

About this point, the lead section worked its way inland to the bottom of a U-shaped valley that wasn't visible from WN62 or WN64. Sadly, it was visible from the small bunker at the head of the valley, in which another MG42 team was lurking - the US got caught in the open, and absolutely hammered.

Revenge was fairly swift, however, as everything that could draw a bead on that bunker now did so... as it was a 'poor' shot due to being well dug in, it did survive for quite a while.

Meanwhile, Rob's infantry, with several flamethrowers, was making for WN62, whose useful defences were down to one MG42 that could hit him (the other two were concentrating on the buildup of troops crossing the marsh).

The German FOO was screaming at the battery of 105s on the other end of the line - the support card came up FOUR times before he finally got them to fire on the fifth turn of the card, and its fire came in way long, causing next to no casualties that matter.

It all ended in a bit of a hurry - the German gunner on the shore-facing end of WN62 failed to hold off the group of US infantry, and Rob, who'd been itching to get a flamethrower in range for half the afternoon, finally managed it.

Up in the head of the valley, the MG42 fell silent under sheer weight of incoming fire, and lack of Rally cards, and that was pretty much all she wrote. WN62 will fall to close assault and more flamethrowers shortly, WN64 is vulnerable as soon as the Americans get a couple of sections 'up top', and they have forced a way off the beach towards Coleville-sur-Mer. Applause all round.

I wasn't keeping track of casualties, but from a rough estimate of the bases that got removed plus the number of blue mini-dice (kills) on the table, I'd guess that the Americans lost considerably over 100 out of 300+ figures, and the Germans about two dozen (in fact, up until quite late in the afternoon session, you could count the German casualties on the fingers of one hand.)

IABSM? Absolutely awesome. The 'feel' of the whole game, IMO, was just perfect.

Huge thanks to all my players, and playtesters, to Rich Clarke for the original scenario and digging out his notes for me, but especially to Andy Miller. who despite spending two days helping me build the scenery, still hasn't spent more than a couple of hours with the actual game.

Saturday 14 June 2014


On the way back from very successful day at the Evesham club. Won't be back before midnight.

Friday 13 June 2014

Things I learnt this week...

While finishing off stuff for Operation Market Larden tomorrow:

- PSC WarSprays smell considerably more and worse than AP primers, or so my wife tells me. Also, they can't get a can of spray to you within a week.
- EvoStik general purpose PVA dries about three times as fast as specialised 'scenery' glue. And costs about the same for 10x the amount.
- Woodland Scenics 'Realistic Water' dries about 3 times as fast on a hot week in June than in an unheated workshop in January
- Battlefront are definitely having problems. If it's not in stock (and do phone and check!) at your preferred supplier, don't expect them to be able to get it this side of doomsday.

Speaking of which, I need a BF US M7 Priest. Anyone got one going spare? Pref unpainted.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday 12 June 2014

Megagames 2015

If you were intrigued by my earlier post on Megagames, you may be interested to know that the Megagame Makers folks have announced their list of games for 2015.

It looks kind of fun - there are games in both London and Leeds:

  • Watch The Skies 2 - The Megagame of Alien Terror (London - 21 March 2015)
  • D-Day Dodgers - Campaign in Italy 1943-44  (Leeds - mid-April 2015 (TBA))
  • A New Age Dawns - Revolutionary wars in Europe (London - 9 May 2015)
  • Don't Panic! - The Invasion of Britain 1940 (London - 13 June 2015)
  • City of Shadows - Crime, Corruption and Weird Science (London - 12 September 2015)
  • A New Age Dawns 2 - Revolutionary wars in Europe (Leeds - Mid October 2015 (TBA))
  • Come To A King - 11th Century power politics in Britain (London - 14 November 2015)

Wednesday 11 June 2014

Peterborough Heritage Festival - 21/22 June

A quick plug:

We (as in Peterborough Wargames Club) will be at the Peterborough Heritage Festival on Saturday and Sunday next week (21st and 22nd). It's an all weekend event, in and around Cathedral Square in the middle of town, with scads of re-enactors and living history displays, a food and craft market and who knows what else.

We'll be (provisionally) running:
  • on the Saturday, a game of Check Your Six featuring one of the local US bomber groups returning from a daylight raid.
  • on the Sunday, a recreation of the battle of Stilton using Warhammer ECW
Look out for the folks in the blue club shirts, and come say "hi" - I'll be around Sat a.m. and some of Sunday p.m.. If you're within a reasonable travelling distance, it promises to be a fun day out. Bring the kids!

Tuesday 10 June 2014

Proper preparation prevents....

Heh. You know the rest.

Being amused at just how much prep something like Bloody Omaha or Dead's Army takes to be done properly. And why you playtest...

Making sure you have all the figures you need?  Sure. Riiight. And who thought his German mortar sections were painted? That would be me :D

Making sure you have all the dice you need? Have you any idea how many shock/kill dice Bloody Omaha needs - no? Neither had I until Sunday!

Tokens? Uhuh. See above.

Unit markers? Well, yes. Till we figured out what chaos a beach with elements of TWELVE assault sections on it is, even IF they're based in 4s.

Player handouts? QRS? I'd have done those anyway, honest :D

Remembering all the bits of rules that are likely to be needed, that are in obscure dark corners of a rulebook with no index (sorry Rich!)? Playtest.

Minor scenario redesigns? Did I mention playtest?

Sunday 8 June 2014

Bloody Omaha - trial run

Huge thanks to my work colleague Alex (for whom this was his first introduction to historical wargaming) and Tim who came along to our (sadly underattended) club D-Day session. We (the above, plus Carl and Andy's M and B) ran through the scenario I'm taking to A Bridge To Lard next weekend, which was fun, hard work and very useful in terms of figuring out what was still needed...

So as not to spoil it for next weekend, here's a few teaser pictures:

Saturday 7 June 2014


But do remind me next time to CHECK my stock of basing texture paint when the shops are OPEN.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday 6 June 2014

Teasers for D-Day

Andy and I pretty much finished the Omaha terrain boards today. The only thing left is some minefields and barbed wire, which I'll actually do once the boards are set up on Sunday at the club, as I have loads of cocktail sticks and about a mile of Javis and Army Painter barbed wire :D

Here's a couple of teasers:

Thursday 5 June 2014

A relatively productive day...

No photos, as I'm tired, but...
  • A whole pile of 15mm figures based and undercoated
  • All the scenery tiles undercoated
Almost a serious planning failure on the latter - I sat down at the workbench to do a few small mods to the trench system on three of the tiles, then moved over to the big decorating/pasting table to start applying emulsion to all the tiles, and carefully laying them flat on the floor. That done, I went to pick up my glasses, to find they were the wrong side of five wet scenery tiles :D

Got a bit more time than anticipated, as James' cricket match was cancelled - that's eight out of eight since the start of the season, for various combinations of we couldn't raise a team, they couldn't raise a team, BOTH of us couldn't raise a team, rain, and tonight's, which was cancelled in glorious sunshine because the groundsman wouldn't let us use the pitch, I assume due to yesterday's rain.

It's not shaping up to be a very productive season!

Wednesday 4 June 2014

Note to self...

When making advance purchases for projects at shows, things do not get from the "won't need this for ages yet" box into the "things needed for this project" box, just because you want them to.

I must have poked the box in question with my foot twenty or thirty times this week, gone "mhmm. Roll of Javis grass mat. Don't need that," and moved on.

Tuesday 3 June 2014

More terrain tiles

Finally managed to get a day doing scenery work for D-Day/Operation Market Larden, with help from AndyM at the club.

Too busy to take WIP photos, but here's a shot of the top layer of tiles (barring one) while we were testing them for fit on the lawn, and before we'd quite finished

Usual approach - CraftFoam 50mm foam for most, 3mm MDF base. Since Andy brought a crate of power tools, initial shaping of the hill tiles was a cinch with a jigsaw. The slope was cut with a combination of a hot wire cutter and a bread knife, and then a power sander taken to it. (Blue dust all over the garden path, and with hindsight, a dust mask would have been a sensible precaution, especially since I have several!)

We also had to cut trenches (joining various Tobruks, mortar pits and bunkers), and came up with two different ways, both pretty simple:

  • The full tile top left is slightly different from the rest in that it's two 25mm foam tiles stuck together, with a set of trenches cut in the top one using the jigsaw. 
  • The hill tile below it and to the left we'd already made from one 50mm foam tile, so that approach wasn't going to work. However, taking the router to it with the bit set to 20mm depth proved remarkably easy, both to cut a trench and to make recesses for the various bunkers to fit in.
Amused, not least because someone from our club had been admiring Sid's scenery at Partizan, and commenting how WW1 would be great fun, but making trenches was really hard work...

...Or, perhaps... Not.

Monday 2 June 2014

Hobby crossover for D-Day

If you have £3.75 to spare, or a local branch of WHSmiths that doesn't object to you using it as a library, do check out July's Model Rail magazine (my subs copy just arrived, it should be in the shops and on the website any day). There's a whole D-Day themed section, including some photos of locomotives being landed on the beaches, the history of rail transport of tanks etc around Britain during the war, and a rather stunning layout in 20mm (OO) scale, including about 30' of dockside, LCTs, a destroyer or two...

Well worth a look at what the folks who tend to spend more time on scenery than we do (unless you're Sid :D) can do :D

Sunday 1 June 2014

Match Report - 26 May 2014 - Dreadball

Finally having remembered where I downloaded the pictures to (the work laptop) I figure it's about time we got caught up on Monday's match reports.

Quite an interesting round in the club tournament - the first time we've had some seriously contested bidding in the MVP auction, not least because I started out playing Dale's Teratons, which gave me about 30MCr to play with, based on our team value difference. There were several people in a similar position, and after a bit of bid and counter-bid I wound up with the Enforcer (Speed 7! Guard) and Rico (Speed 6 Striker), both of which suit my playing style, namely "run around a lot, try not to get killed, and score". This is harder against teams like Dale's, as the Teratons are much more a "pound the opposition into a bloody pulp, find the ball when you're done and score if you need to" team.

Roll the highlights:
"Valkries against Devastators, you join us about half a dozen rushes in. Already four up to the ladies - one score to MVP Rico van Dien, and another two pointer to Valkyries' Striker Anya Anderson. The Teratons have the ball - although with them that's something of an afterthought - in their own three point zone. Over to you, Vish."
"Vish think Devastators making even bigger mistake than usual, Jase." 
"Wanna explain that one to our viewers?"
"Sure. They forgot Enforcer. He... quick."
"He is that. Coming off the bench now, a flat sprint past the halfway line, checks, shoulders past a turtle and puts some serious hurt on the ball carrier. Worth every MegaCred for that block alone, I'd say."
"Vish still think Digby shouldn't allow jump-packs, Jase."
"Maybe. But are you going to tell someone with that amount of combat training he can't? The ball spills right under the three point strike target, and here comes Anya Anderson at a flat run, sidesteps a Devastators defender, scoops it up, arches back. STRIKE! And that's a landslide to the Valkyries..."
The 16MCr I got for that win went straight on a support coach and a cheerleader - despite some folks' opinions, I reckon that they're value for money if you can reasonably predict where you're going to score, which I can with the Valkyries.

With time to kill, I went for an exhibition game against Rob's Nameless, the Arctech Unmentionables - another team that hands out serious levels of hurt, especially since he'd somehow won Buzzcut in the MVP auction. (As an aside - the drawback of MVPs is they tend to get the XP and stop your team advancing, of course.) The problem with Nameless, especially when they also have The Praetorian to score for them, is they're actually not bad at scoring, either.  Back to Jason and Vish for the final play.
 "Vish surprised."
"How so, big guy?"
"Vish really thought Unmentionables would have put game away by now. Enforcer and Rico both off pitch."
"Yeah. Either way - the ball's up for grabs on halfway. The Valkryies are still in this game - van Diem's quick-thinking four-pointer after the ball shattered gave them a lead, but the Unmentionables have handed out a serious beatdown since then, and that last score gives them a one point edge. And here comes Anya Anderson, the Valkyries #6, who's on a hot scoring streak over these past two games. Picks up on the run. She needs at least two points this rush: a glance at the left-hand two point spot..."
"She not want to do that... oh, smart move...."
"Yup. The two pointer's closer, but a harder target. She drops a shoulder, heads for the three. No-one's going to stop her... Over the four point spot, pushing it to get in ra...."
"Oh my..... Steady, Vish, You'll get MegaCola on the monitor. Dear me."
 "Hahaha... oh... that frodding hysterical...."
"Sorry, viewers. Vish seems to have lost it. If I can recap... no-one to beat, Anderson clears the four-point spot, arm back to let fly, and you'd think one of the Nameless had left a synth-banana skin on the floor of the strike zone, as her feet go out from under her like an Azure IX baby deer on ice. And that's the game. Join us for Vish's closing summary after this break from our sponsor, MegaCola. If he hasn't choked to death on their product."
One measly dash roll. On four dice: one 4+ would have done. And I'd have had a two dice roll for the strike.
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