Sunday 31 May 2015

A brief visit to Partizan

A reimaging of Quatre Bras as an 18th Century game using
"The War Game Rules" and a lot of figures that have
been seen at the annual Scarborough games!
Game by the A Military Gentleman ("AMG") forum.
"To The Strongest" - a very well-run demo.
It's quite odd, after our recent run of visits, being at a show as a punter, not putting on a game. Carl (to whom thanks for the lift) and I made it to Kelham Hall for around 1pm, thereby avoiding the usual morning rush, with the express intent of doing the shopping we never got to do at Salute (if any), checking out the games and in my case paying Neil Shuck lots of money for Duel in the Dark and all its expansions.

Mission accomplished on all counts. Carl picked up some WW2 undead from Warlord (in case we revisit Dead's Army), and I scred some nice 15mm flexible roads from S & Scenics and two more 4Ground 15mm French buildings, as well as the aforementioned board game from Neil.

I was looking (as was Carl) for some Sails of Glory ships - the only ones to be had were on Caliver's stand, IMO overpriced, in rather tatty boxes and in one case with a broken mast, so no luck there.

Saturday 30 May 2015

All the way from Down Under

Courtesy of Anchorage forum member Berthier - one Kickstarter-exclusive captains/crew deck for Sails of Glory, for a very reasonable price.

Friday 29 May 2015

Heads up for anyone in the Middlesborough area

...largely because they asked nicely and because how can you not like the glorious pun? Courtesy of Brian and Hayley Waugh (father and daughter team up in Middlesborough), there would appear to be a new online store and game centre open....

...rejoicing in the obvious but fun title of Waugh Games.

Purpose built game centre along with the store: sounds great - free parking, onsite food, terrain, Warmachine & Hordes tournaments, Warhammer, Dropzone, Impetus, Dystopian Wars .... Everything Malestrom used to be, by the sounds of it, without the drama :D

If you're interested in using the centre for games or tournaments, check their site, or contact Hayley on 01642 430719 or e-mail her at

(My turn for a plug - don't forget, Hayley, you can now book yourselves a trade stand at Hereward Wargames Show in November! :D)

Thursday 28 May 2015


Just a heads up to say I'll be at the show on Sunday from lunchtime, if anyone wants to say hi. Apart from anything else, I'll be buying Mr Shuck's copy of "Duel in the Dark" off him :D

Wednesday 27 May 2015

Sails of Glory - check this out

I was going to post about something else today, but I know at least a few of my followers will want to see this from the Anchorage: fredmiracle's AAR on the recreation of the Glorious First Of June at Enfilade in the NW USA...

I mean, holy <bleeping> <bleep>....

...and that's just the British rear division!

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Designing a setting: part 4 - faction differences

Something that cropped up in the recording of an upcoming Meeples podcast: the difference between factions in settings.

There's kind of a scale: at one end we have most any war on Earth, to a greater or lesser extent. The factions are all fundamentally identical (like, duh, human!), and for the most part their technologies are identical or close to it. Sure, we can find counter-examples, such as (say) German tanks vs Polish cavalry, English longbows, but, to be fair, most of those are simply one side not catching up with the other, rather than anything deeper. At the other end, Spartan's Planetfall is a great example (and so, to a lesser extent, is 40K), where the factions are technologically vastly different to the point of having gone down completely divergent development lines (and races), and the core factions pretty much do not share any tech within the context of the game.

It's another design decision, I guess. How 'alien' are your factions to each other, both in terms of species, and almost as interestingly, technology? And you're not restricted to the endpoints of the line: for example, let's imagine a humanocentric setting where the raw materials to do anti-gravity and Battletech-like are artificial muscles ('myomer') are both rare. Divide the humans into two: one faction controls most of the AG raw material, one the myomer, and has for long enough that their technologies have evolved to match - one side uses grav-tanks, the other 'mech walkers.

Personally (and this is very much a personal opinion), I like to stray towards the 'same but different' end. This may be something to do with the fact that I'm fond of subtlety: I like the idea of being characterised by difference, rather than defined by it.

Anyway. That's today's pondering, brought on by running out of podcasts on the train back from London. Enjoy :D

Monday 25 May 2015

Battle Report - 25-May-2015 - Sails of Glory

All about to go sadly wrong for the French...
The game I was /meant/ to run, with fewer players since they'd all played last week - specifically, just me and Dave :

Captured, pardieu!
I took Le Berwick, and Dave HMS Defence for a little one on one scrap. Things opened up with a mutual broadside, causing Le Berwick to spring a leak and Defence to catch fire, and we spent a goodly while circling each other while effecting repairs. I missed one golden opportunity in which I had an uncontested broadside, but no crew free to fire that side, before eventually misjudging how close to the wind I could sail, and being grappled and boarded by the British.
And it all fits flat on the floor of the
boot of the Skoda....

Another good fun introduction though - that's another person keen on the game who is up for more :D

Sunday 24 May 2015


Apparently, according to my wife, I only ever visit Hobbycraft to find a box to put things in.

I'm starting to think she might be right.

That's all my French ships in a very handy art storage box from the aforementioned Hobbycraft, with their ship decks and logs in cut-out-and-glue boxes courtesy of ChyronDave on the Anchorage.

Saturday 23 May 2015

The odd ship or two...

Ok - 26, actually. The only duplicates are the ones from the starter set, but since all the ships have double-sided ID cards and two names, this is Not A Problem. Figuring out how to store them IS.

Friday 22 May 2015

Another pleasant evening

...this time spent recording an episode (well, half a one) of Meeples with the exceedingly pleasant company of Messrs. Hobbs and Shuck, which never fails to bring a smile to my face :D

I had other plans for this evening involving sorting out the box of 18 Sails of Glory ships (including a second starter set) that arrived on Wednesday, but that's going to have to wait till tomorrow, I think: Napoleonic ship recognition class here I come!

That and having another read of the rules, since I appear to be running another game on Monday.

Thursday 21 May 2015

No wargames-related blogging today...

It's the first day of the cricket season, so....


James: 9 not out, a run out and 4-0-14-3 opening the bowling in a 14 run win.

A very pleasant evening.

Wednesday 20 May 2015

Hereward Wargames Show update - game table booking form is up!

My eyes have finally mostly recovered enough I can do Wordpress magic, so the show's game table booking form is finally up at

You probably won't be surprised to learn we're hoping for mostly participation games :D

Also, note that submission of the form doesn’t mean we’ll accept your game: until we get a decent idea of how many games we’ve got, we won’t be able to see how they’ll all fit into the space we have available. We’ll let you know as soon as possible, though.

Tuesday 19 May 2015

Wargame Bloggers Quarterly

Just as a heads up, issue 4 of the above is out. Well worth a look if you haven't seen it before, and... why not contribute?

Monday 18 May 2015

Battle Report - 18th May 2015 - Sails of Glory

That's HMS Terpsichore in the middle of this dance.
The wind's blowing bottom to top....
Well, that wasn't meant to happen this week :D

Sadly, Gary, who's running our 100 Days Black Powder campaign, is busy discovering the joys of parenthood, specifically the bit where your kids give you their viruses, so at about an hour's notice I got to run some Sails of Glory.

We went for a pretty basic 2 on 2 from the starter box, the French (Rich and Dan) having the Courageuse and the Genereux, and the British (Carl and Dale) HMS Vanguard and HMS Terpsichore.  Dale rapidly proved he should be let nowhere near anything involving sailing and the wind, as the Terpsichore found herself in irons, bow into the wind, then collided with the Vanguard, and then in rather rapid succession was broadsided, then simultaneously boarded and raked stem to stern by the French. Meanwhile, Carl managed to survive the collision (having the bigger ship!), and by dint of some smarter manoeuvring and being the only Captain never to get caught bow-to-wind, managed to sail to safety back off the British edge of the table.

Initial impressions? Great fun. I'd reckon a second game would be ample to get comfortable with the rules. You do, though, need a fair amount of peripheral table space for the ship logs/counter storage. Every time I found myself thinking 'I wonder if the rules cover...' I found out they did. :D I'd have liked more than 30 mins and a couple of YouTube gameplay videos worth of preparation, and the folks on the Anchorage forum are dead right on two points:

  • it's not worth it unless you play the advanced rules (special damage, crew actions etc)
  • the rulebook layout is NOT conducive to playing the advanced rules :D
The forum has a downloadable reference sheet [you'll need a forum login] with turn order and page numbers, and this is utterly invaluable and makes the advanced rules much easier to follow, as log as you read it through a couple of times, and then follow it step by step! As you can guess, we didn't for the first few turns :D

Sunday 17 May 2015


Anyone recommend a good reference for the standing rigging on Napoleonic ships?

No, I'm not planning on doing it. I'm married to a veterinary surgeon, who is much better at micro-sutures than I am. ;)

Saturday 16 May 2015

Book Review - "The Last British Dambuster"

I'm actually listening to this (as a break for my still-iffy eyes) rather than reading it, but I'd strongly recommend it either way - the audio book is superbly read.

This is the autobiography of George "Johnny" Johnson, DFM, bomb aimer with Joe McCarthy's crew on the Dams raid and veteran of two tours of duty with Bomber Command. As well as being the story of his life both in and out of the RAF, it's one of the few books that seems to convey what it was actually like to be part of the crew of a Lanc.

Look, just read it, ok? :D 

Friday 15 May 2015

Thursday 14 May 2015

More Sails of Glory

Well, actually, more just an amused note.

The ships, it transpires, are 1/1000 scale, much to the annoyance of a lot of naval wargamers who have existing fleets in 1/1200... However, on the good side, 1/1000 is pretty much 2mm scale, and there's a bunch of folks do some pretty nice (and cheap!) buildings and scenery in that scale - Brigade Models, Langton and Irregular Miniatures for starters.

The only amusing thing is that '2mm scale' in wargames terms is 1/1000, whereas if you ask a railway modeller, '2mm scale' is 2mm to the foot, not 2mm figure height, and therefore about 1/144 scale. Plenty of scope for useless Google results :D

Wednesday 13 May 2015

Sails of Glory

I appear to have had a minor accident online, as it were :D

I use the Dice Shop Online enough that I'm on their mailing list, and last Thursday they decided to do a sale (I assume because they're stopping stocking it) of Sails of Glory - main box down by £10, ships down by almost 50% (£17.50 ships of the line for under a tenner). Since I've didn't yield to temptation on the Kickstarter, I bit...

It doesn't count towards the pledge, yer honour. They\re already painted (no, I'm not going to rey the 'it's a board game' argument) :D

Already had a chat with Lesley's Bits Box (a KR dealer) at Campaign re more sensible packaging. Which is good, because I also just picked up another starter set and FOURTEEN extra ships on eBay for £130. *scuffs feet, grins sheepishly*

I feel a club campaign coming on....

Tuesday 12 May 2015

Game Report - 12 May 2015 - Duel in the Dark

My good friend Chris is a co-founder of the local board games club, Posh Games. While I'm not a regular attender, Chris does drop around occasionally for a game, and in conversation during a game of Lords of Waterdeep the other Sunday, we got to discussing the insane price of out-of-print games. I happened to mention "Duel in the Dark" as an example, and to my surprise, Chris owns a copy. So, while James was at ceicket (about 5 mins up the road from Chris') I finally got to play it. I've wanted to play this excellent game of the Bomber Command raids on Germany since one of the first Meeples episodes I ever listened to reviewed it, and I have to say it didn't disappoint.

For a really detailed review, I'd strongly recommend that episode of Meeples. In short, each mission pits a British bomber raid, plotted ahead of time on a hex board using movement cards, with prior knowledge of weather etc but not defences, against German fighters and flak.

For my first time, I didn't do too badly as the British: I feinted towards the Ruhr with the Mosquito Pathfinders, and curved north of the Ruhr and Kassel, past Hamburg (a bit of a poor routing choice with hindsight, given the dense concentrations of flak and searchlights along the Rhine: I should have gone outbound over the much more lightly defended Kassel) before bombing a well-marked Lubeck,

On the good side the wind was blowing from the NE, which meant that once the German fighters had bitten on the the feint they had no choice to land and refuel, so my actual bombing run was cloud-free (thanks to a fortuitous change of wind blowing the clouds clear of Lubeck), uncontested (barring the aforementioned flak and searchlights) and worth 20VP. I took advantage of the rule that allows me to replot my homeward route, and elected for a fast run straight out across the North Sea with the Mosquito providing escort. Again, I think with hindsight I could have eked out a few VPs by better use of the Mossie, but in the end Chris won by 6, largely due to the amount of flak I flew through.

As far as the theme of the game goes: as I think I may have observed in the past, whatever one's views on the rightness or otherwise of the WW2 bomber offensive, I salute as among the bravest of the brave, the young men that willingly got into our aircraft night after night, knowing all too clearly the odds on their return from the count of empty chairs at their mess, to carry the war to the enemy in aircraft protected by a couple of mm of aluminium.

Monday 11 May 2015

Too Fat Lardies "Fighting Season" AAR

Apologies for this being a 'repost a link' day: pretty knackered from two days at Campaign, and then to add insult to injury a database server at work paged me at 0-dark-thirty this morning.

That said though, I've been itching to see an AAR for the Lardies' modern asymmetric warfare Chain of Command derivative, "Fighting Season". So, if you haven't been paying attention, it's on their blog. Fascinating stuff, and it's interesting how a few tweaks to the core CoC system make for a very different game.

Sunday 10 May 2015

Back from Campaign Day 2

And another 4 1/2 miles :D

Another excellent day fuelled by a combination of Costa coffee, and to be honest, the obvious enjoyment from kids young and old (and thanks from their parents, quite often). As I said to a few people, if all I come back from running this game with is sore feet and knees, backache, and the knowledge that we\ve introduced 30 or 40 youngsters to both wargaming and a story of heroism that deserves to be retold, I'll be more than happy.

"Bomb gone, skipper!"
"Uh... lost the port outer. And the ... make that both
starboard engines...."
Two absolute classic runs today - the young lad who made it to drop the bomb (successfully) on one engine, and the two guys from the Northampton club who pulled off one of the great lucky runs, like... ever...

Three moves out from the dam, they got hit by flak. Controls hit, plane can't turn. Fortunately at this point they're flying straight down the middle of the lake. Unfortunately the flak has their number...

Next move - big flak burst over the starboard wing, plane heels over, sideslips off course to starboard. Cue much consternation. "We're stuffed, right?"

One move out. Another flak hit. Engine hit. Dice for it... port outer. By the very simplistic rules, that's going to pull the plane to port....

Dead centre, bang on speed and height. "Bomb GONE..."

I grin. "If I were you? I'd haul back on the stick, get some height, and order your crew to bail out." Pause. "This side of the dam."

Huge thanks to everyone from the club who helped out - AndyM, Dan, Grahame, Ash and Pippa - and to the folks from the MK club and to the Centre:MK events staff for an excellent venue and a great show.

Saturday 9 May 2015

Back from Campaign Day 1

Another 4 1/2 miles walked running the Dambusters game :D Campaign is a very public show (it runs in a large open space in a shopping mall in central Milton Keynes) with an emphasis on games that involve the public, where, as you can guess, we fitted right in.

Quote of the day: "I was looking at your table thinking 'hmm, they haven't got their table set up yet' and then it suddenly clicked what it was, and it went from 'ho hum' to 'awesome' in nothing flat."

As I was slightly less rushed off my feet in preparation this time, I managed to transfer the sound player app onto my iPad, leaving my phone free for photographs, so this time you get some decent ones.

Friday 8 May 2015

'Twas the night before a show..

....and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Except for...

...a wargamer, slaving over a computer, an inkjet printer and a hot laminator.

Usual story pre-show, in fact. Handouts are something I always do on the night before. It helps  that I buy the inkjet cartridges in bulk, and that the Brother inkjet I use is very reliable. And that the club laminator seems to be completely bomb proof! Equipped with Apple's Pages, Pixelmator, Avery's DesignPro label printing software, Google, and a supply of printer paper, laminator pouches and sheets of labels, there's not a lot I can't do :D

Thursday 7 May 2015

More prep work

Recipe for Moehne lakeshore hills: foam hills from Bloody Omaha, one pack Gaugemaster fir trees, one bag large headed felt nails, one bottle superglue....

Hrm. Runny superglue doesn't stick the nail heads to the trees' bases very well. Time to try superglue gel...

And fail because the gel superglue runs out after three trees....

And I'm out of hot glue sticks. 

Guess I'm going shopping tomorrow.  ;)

Wednesday 6 May 2015

Kickstarter Watch - Secrets of the Third Reich II

Coming soon from Westwind (now they've mostly recovered from their last Kickstarter!) - Secrets of the Third Reich II.

I should at this point mention that if anyone fancies a demo game of this, let us know, as we can haul our tame WestWind demonstrator back from the wilds of Essex to run a game down the club. :D

Tuesday 5 May 2015

And NOW we figure it out...

Having beaten my head against the wall at Salute for failing to get the Lancaster's circuitry paired with my tablet app to control it, I proceeded to further baffle JamesB at the club, who appeared to have the identical app on his phone and a button for pairing in that app that I don't...

Yesterday I was fiddling with the app, and accidentally 'held' one of the navigation buttons at the bottom of the screen on my LG tablet down for a second or two. Hey presto! A pairing dialog! I shall forgo editorial comment on why the non-standardness of versions of Android makes this a thing, but hey...

So, rejoice! There (hopefully) will be fancy LEDs on the Lanc at Campaign. There will also be a few scenery tweaks, more flak, more medals...

Monday 4 May 2015

Club night

One of those evenings when you come home pleasantly satisfied with the range of stuff available at the club, even on a Bank Holiday Monday. 

Tonight we had Black Powder, Bolt Action, Warmachine, Dreadball (I won!) and an introductory game of Spartan's Planetfall (which I got to sit in and watch once I'd beaten Dave). Within the past month we've also had 40K, Epic, Warhammer Fantasy, Chain of Command, X-Wing, and who knows what else....

Some pictures of Adie's Planetfall demo:

[Do wish my phone would let me adjust the width of photos when I post, not leave me to fix them the following day on a computer :D]

Sunday 3 May 2015

ANZAC Diorama

Ok - this is pretty awesome.

Courtesy of Peter Jackson and the Perry twins, this 54mm scale recreation of the Battle of Chunuk Bair officially opens on Monday morning at The Great War Exhibition in Wellington, New Zealand.

Saturday 2 May 2015

Battle Report - 27 April 2015 - Black Powder

"Battle" might be a bit generous, as this was a somewhat onesided encounter in our 100 days campaign at Quatre Bras between a couple of French Divisions and a considerably smaller force of Nassauers.

Yes. This was as one-sided as it looks, even given the late arrival of the Prince of Orange and another group of Dutch-Belgians.

Hopefully, things will go better next month :D

Friday 1 May 2015

Next outing for the Dambusters game

We'll be at probably both days of Campaign 2015, the Milton Keynes wargames show at thecentre:mk (subject to having enough people to run the game properly). For those who aren't aware, Campaign runs in the large (2500+ sq ft) open space (Middleton Hall) in the middle of the shopping mall - lots of passing public footprint as well as wargamers, and obviously admission is free, and you can bribe the rest of the family with shopping! Look for the 18' of blue lino...
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