Saturday, 19 October 2019

still alive...

In Brussels, enjoying good food, good beer, good chocolate. :)

Slowly working through the Sealion audiobook, which is my hobby activity for the long weekend. 

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Back to Dux...

...'cause I may actually have a brain today.

Did a bit more tidying on the rules clarifications section, prompted by a question on Twitter. I think that's now done, barring getting Rich to confirm some of my and Derek's interpretations. Basically anything that's come up recently seems to be in the 'that's obvious if you apply the rules logically' category :D

OK - also. I am running Bloody Omaha here at the Mill House on Sat 16 Nov. There is probably room for one or two more players, and I'd give preference to folks who haven't managed to get to play it yet. If you're interested please drop me an email at fleetfootmike @ Gmail.

Best laid plans....

Seems like I'm not the only one laid low with assorted lurghis - spent a good half hour tidying and prepping for the club committee meeting to have over half the team cancel for various health and unforeseen reasons. But the studio is at least tidy!

Ah well. We had a good discussion of various things, and postponed the main meeting till next week :D Such is life.

So. Off to Brussels on Friday for a long weekend. Any suggestions for hobby-related things to visit while there?

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

I had a great title for this post when I thought about it last thing last night...

...but I can't remember what it is now. (FX: more Lemsip)

So, yesterday. I pre-ordered Bad Squiddo's fabulous Bofors gun because, well, it's fabulous, and also see not-so-Secret Project S!

Also composed several relatively carefully worded tweet replies and - on a related tack - considered editing the podcast before realising that (probably fortunately) it had been superseded by events, and I was going to have to think very carefully and rerecord one section. Still have a decidedly croaky voice and no brain, so that's not one for now.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Man flu and the Royal Game of Ur

Not really connected, except that I wouldn't have discovered the latter without a dose of the former rendering me incapable of stringing many coherent thoughts together.

But hey, I vanished down a YouTube rabbit hole yesterday  (as this requires very little brain) and came up with something that's both about ancient history and boardgames. Good enough for here, no?

The Royal Game of Ur, for those not aware, is generally held to be the oldest playable board game in existence. The latter appeared on a cuneiform tablet in the British Museum, and were the subject of some serious research by Irving Finkel, who's one of the museum curators.  The video in question is from blogger/YouTuber Tom Scott (of whom I'm a fan), who actually took on Finkel at the game.

What actually makes it interesting is that, despite (in the form they were playing it) being a very simple game (you can explain the rules in under two minutes) it has a fascinating combination of luck and strategy, has dice that are basically ancient D4's (well, technically D2's!) and is a game with an interesting self-balancing property where the further ahead you are, the easier it is for your opponent to catch up (given a bit of luck and optimal play).

A fun game: I shall have to grab a copy to add it to our copy of Hnefatafl.

Monday, 14 October 2019

Copyright, licenses and mapmaking...

Been finishing off some top-down map assets for Wonderdraft tonight - which led to some thinking about how I want to license assets like that - obviously it's good to get them out so folks can use them, but equally it'd be nice to see some small reward for the time that I put in.

A bit of thought and discussion later - stuff like that (map assets, 3D files, etc - not scenarios or the like) I'n going to put out as CC-BY-NC, which means it's under a Creative Commons (CC) license, so you can use it for your own projects; if you publish the result for others to use, you should credit me (BY); and this is restricted to Non-Commercial (NC) use.

Commercial use? Ask me. To quote what I've said on the linked page, while I am (obviously) interesting in making some small return on my effort, I’m equally interested in supporting independent creators and getting my work out there. Depending on who you are and what your project is, commercial licenses for things I create may range anywhere from ‘just give me a credit’ upwards.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Recommended Listening

If you are into Ancients at all and aren't listening to the Ancient Warfare podcast (and for that matter subscribing to the magazine), why not? :D

Can I particularly commend to you the most recent couple of episodes, one on the rôle of geography and maps in ancient warfare, and the other on how re-enactment and experimental archaeology contribute to our understand of ancient battles. Listened to the first and a chunk of the second on my way back from the O2 last night - definitely worth a listen.

As far as my podcast goes, sadly I have very little voice of any use (thank you for the cold, dear), so I'm not editing/fixing stuff today.

Friday, 11 October 2019

More yak-shaving....

From Wiktionary:
  1. Any apparently useless activity which, by allowing you to overcome intermediate difficulties, allows you to solve a larger problem.
    I was doing a bit of yak shaving this morning, and it looks like it might have paid off

Today's yak shaving involved upgrading my big iMac to macOS Catalina, as it can be done in the background, and allows me to make sure various essential bits of software don't break before I update my work laptop.

Of course, they do. Specifically, the time I was due to spend on podcast editing today went on getting a 64-bit Catalina-compatible version of Audacity working. :D

On the good side, I did also satisfy myself Wonderdraft still worked, and created a couple of assets for drawing top-down battlefield etc maps, specifically some Ordnance Survey style slope hatching.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

One of those bitty days...

... that happen occasionally in which I can't quite point at or photograph anything and say "look, I done this today"...


  • updated my 'wargamer for hire' site
  • took delivery of the bits for the club Salute 2020 game (which were originally the bits for a game at Hammerhead a few years ago, being repurposed) - this wasn't trivial, as it's about 64 square feet of plywood and foam.
  • found several miniatures I'd forgotten I'd ordered
Annoyingly, the handbrake cable on my car broke while picking James up from the station, so tomorrow morning is going to involve a visit to the garage that replaced a brake calliper during the MoT two weeks ago, since I suspect these events may not be unconnected.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

I recorded a podcast!

(sounds of various readers dying of shock)

Yup - The Miller's Tale 8 is in the can. I'm not proposing to edit it tonight, as I've found with hindsight that being at a day or so's remove from it stops the immediate post-recording sense of 'well that sucked' from just making me delete it all and start again :D

Band rehearsal tomorrow, so with luck you'll see episode 8 by the weekend.

Dux updating...

Added some more rules clarifications yesterday based on a couple of things Andy raised a week ago and an issue with Aggressive Charge that I actually got wrong on Monday (oh, the embarrassment).

Latest version of that Appendix has been bundled up in a PDF to TFL, Derek and Andy for comment

Monday, 7 October 2019

Battle Report - 07 Oct 2019 - "Treasure Hunt" Dux Britanniarum

Another playest of a Compendium raid scenario - this time a hunt for treasure. Chris (with a little help from me) took the British, and Rod and Myk the Saxons - total experience between the players being that Rod has played one and a bit games before, so this was also a teaching game. I don't have much voice left.

I'll skip the scenario details, other than to note that this one didn't need a rehash of the start conditions, and does seem to play quite well. Still tweaking how the result affects the campaign, and I have two tables still to write. But... there was one epic fight.

The British Hearthguard edge up to the wood... 
...where they find two units of Saxon Gedriht, having this turn moved up and being about to search a fallen piece of stonework for rumoured Roman treasure...

Note here this is pretty heavily weighted in favour of the Saxons - Myk has 11 dice for his elites plus 2 for his champion and 3 for his Lord for a total of 16. Chris has 11.... except he has a dragon-suited Carpe Diem, Hero of the Age (doubles his Lord's combat dice)  and another dragon-suited card, which gives him 17. Two rounds of combat: the first sees not a lot of damage done, except one kill on Chris, which he rolls onto his Lord and elects to take on his Champion... Myk does however take enough shock that round two is still quite close, and then rolls badly enough that the fight continues. One Saxon elite unit is now on 3 men and 3 shock, Chris's elites have 2 shock...

End of turn. First card up of note is Saxon Lord... Rod and Myk are holding a decent bunch of cards...

But Chris (with a bit of advice from me) plays this gem of a collection in his hand...
Step Forth - British Lord interrupts and activates immediately
Audacia - his Lord gets two more levels (boy, if THAT had turned up with the Hero of the Age...)
Carpe Diem - wrong suit, so not needed :D
So. Off comes the shock (I hadn't;t removed the dice when the pic was taken) and round we go again. 10 dice for the British, 5 figures, Lord level 5 (for the activation, not just the round), takes on 11 (8 figures, Lord + Champion -2 for shock)

And blow me if the British don't survive two more rounds, on 4 shock with 4 men left, and put excess shock on one of the Saxon Elites... unfortunately not quite enough to cause anything to break but they did fall back...

Of course, now it's time to pay the piper: Myk's Saxons do a preposterous ten hits - surprisingly Chris saves all but 4 shock and 1 kill, just doesn't lose his Amphora, but falls back a fair way...

There we called it, which was a bit of a shame, as I was quite keen to see what wound happen when the Saxon Elite turned round to find 12 warriors backed by 12 levy, all in a large formation in Shieldwall behind them :D
Need to check up on some rules for Aggressive Charge, among other things. A very useful session.

Battle Report - 06 Oct 2019 - "Marston Moor" - Pike and Shotte

Slightly late (as I had a bunch of photos to sort through), here's Sunday's refight of Marston Moor using Warlord's Pike and Shotte rules. Huge thanks to Gary for organising it, and Rod, Pippa, Ash, Dan, Grahame, AndyM, and Shawn for making it an enjoyable day.

[This is our seventh (or so) ECW battle recreation - Carl ran Edgehill in 2012 with Warhammer ECW, Gary ran Newbury later in the same year with Pike and Shotte, Grahame ran the little-known skirmish in Stilton in 2014 (as well as at a couple of shows), we've run Cropredy twice, once in 2011 and once in 2012 (both with WECW), and of course we ran Bridlington the other week.]
Initial deployments, Parliament on the left. My rough guess is there's a bit under 1000 figures on the table.
Initial advances in the centre. Hampered by Pippa (as Tiller) having rotten luck with activation rolls, and AndyM (Lord Fairfax) and Shawn (Baille) not doing much better.
Gary (Black Tom Fairfax) starts his assault on the right.
Parliament's right wing continues its advance while Rod (Goring) attempts to deploy in response. 
I (Rupert) do a quick head count and realise the right is in trouble, so send Rupert's two units of Horse (including his rather beefy Lifeguards) to Rod's aid.

Nothing's actually happening on the Royalist right, as neither Dan (Cromwell) or Ash (Byron) appear to be able to throw anything under a 9 for activation! 
Rupert's Horse arrive. But possibly too late.
Make that definitely too late. 
Serious cavalry action ensues on the Royalist right. Tom's stray unit of commanded shot get caught in the crossfire, but somehow manage to repel a charge from some Roundhead cavalry. Twice.
I (Newcastle) bravely elected not to form hedgehog with the foot facing Dan's cavalry, and despite being pushed back...
...survived, clearly inspired by the commanded shot to their right. Dan's front rank falls back for the first of several breathers. 
The astute will notice there is no left flank cavalry of a Royalist persuasion remaining. Told you Rupert was too late :(
Tiller's second rank of foot wheel and mount a sterling defence of the hedge line. 
...while Baille and Lord Fairfax decide the time is right to attack the centre.
...leading to a bit of a meat grinder.

Over on the right, Dan wades in again, and eventually the Royalist right breaks.
Gritty defence of the left, still, but it's only a matter of time.
And there we called it - a resounding win for Parliament, and a great game.

My one lone gripe, which has always been the case for the Warlord mass combat rulesets, is that it is very easy to fluff one roll and end up doing precisely nothing for one or more turns with an entire brigade/battalia. While I laud their attempt to add some friction to the rules, IMO it can be a little bipolar, especially if you're attempting to move a large chunk of units as one and you miss the roll.

That said, it only detracts a little from an excellent day. Even if Parliament won :D

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Prepping for Sunday

Gary from our club is putting on a recreation of Marston Moor using Pike and Shotte tomorrow.

Lucky (?) me gets to be Prince Rupert, so I spent a chunk of the afternoon having a quick read up about the battle and tidying up my small collection of Warlord ECW figures. Looks like I need another KR Multicase box, although this one might have to include a fair bit of pick and pluck to fit the pikes ;D

Friday, 4 October 2019

Review: Feed Me Games

If you've been around Twitter or the right parts of Facebook or other social media, you will have noticed mention of a new gaming site - Feed Me Games.

Essentially, it aims to pull together games of all kinds (roleplayers, wargamers, boardgamers) onto one social media site, free from spam, harassment and general idiocy. Since I fit all three of the first categories (and hopefully none of the second three :D), I signed up - you can find me there, predictably enough, as TroubleAtTheMill.

What do I think?

Mostly, I think it suffers from not having hit critical mass yet - starting this kind of thing is always difficult, as without enough people interacting, it won't take off. Witness Google+, which, with a much less laudable and focussed aim and a much bigger company behind it, never really took off, and ditto Google Wave (which I think was criminally underused and absolutely brilliant, and I wish Google had kept it going, but that's by the by). Traffic is slowly ramping up - my D&D 5E discussion group is acquiring a half dozen or so members a day.

It's kind of a bit of everything - it looks and feels as if it's derived from Facebook, with a front page news feed of all your interesting stuff, plus groups, personal blogs, messages and events - and ads, which might make it the one social media site on which I wouldn't bitch about ads, because they're actually relevant. It's not perfect, and I think jaytee and his partner are well aware of that - there are always going to be teething problems (trust me, I'm a web developer) with a site like this - but what there is for the most part clean, pretty robust, properly secure and usable.

I know there's already plenty of places for us gamers to be social - Twitter, Facebook, Blogger etc. I'm loath to move lock stock and barrel to  FMG (hell, I'm damn proud of my page view count here!), but I do think it has the potential to be a good home for discussions, and for cross-pollination between the various strands of the gaming hobby. I certainly intend to give it my support, and I'd like to encourage folks reading this to do so as well: if enough of us do, it has the potential to be a really good place.

[Note: this is going to be one of the very few posts I cross-post verbatim to The Sage DM]

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Boxes to put things in....

Postman delivered my KR Multicase order this morning :D

Have removed the Saxons and British from their Really Useful boxes, and pretty much filled the box with foot and a few cavalry that haven't made it on the table yet. Also flagged a bunch of stuff for repair, which is going to be Saturday's project, I think, if I can find enough small shields and wire spears :D
Look. A box! With lots of
blue foam trays in it.

I also basecoated some 28mm boxes from the TT Combat Venice set - strictly I suppose they're crates but who cares. They need some drybrushing and in a couple of cases picking out rope handles, but all in all they're nice resin models. And I have a pile more coming from Annie at Bad Squiddo tomorrow!
Smaller scale boxes!

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

If this is Wednesday, it must be....

....scenery night.

Andrew and AndyM dropped by tonight, so while Andrew painted stonework and shutters, Andy and I set to work on the grape-box bridge.

Bridge ramp design - using Apple Pages as my decent CAD package doesn't run on the studio MacBook. The black line is the 5mm foam board decking, the green (bounded by the yellow) marks the side plates, and the lower blue triangle the supports...
...yielding a pair of templates like so. 
And here's the finished result. 
Also note the detailing on the sides (card cutouts), and the guttering on the deck (a side effect of the way the box is made :D)

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Lining up Dux....

Spent lunch time adding the changes to the Rescue raid scenario to the master Compendium. We'll probably play it again a couple of times as both Andy and I want to check that it's winnable for the British without more tweaks.

Also decided I'm fed up of keeping easily breakable figures (with spears etc) in Really Useful Boxes, so ordered some trays and a case from KRMulticase (which did involve a fair amount of figuring out which trays to get!). Given they're regulars at all the shows, picking up more should I need them (especially as it's likely to be just core trays, which they carry all the time) should be easy. Pro-tip, though - buy the bundle with a case, it's loads cheaper!

I'm happy to keep the FoW-based infantry in RUB's for now, I think.

Monday, 30 September 2019

Battle Report - 30-Sep-2019 - "The Rescue" Dux Britanniarum

Another playtest tonight, with Rod taking the Britons, Carl the Saxons and Andy H and I advising.

One false start - most accurately summed up as 'say, these deployment rules really don't work, do they?' :D But the second attempt, after we'd tweaked it, came right down to the wire, with the Saxons just managing to get their rescued notable off table before getting thumped by a goodly number of British.

The Saxons prepare to make a run for it with their newly-rescued village elder.
The Saxons (centre right) flee towards their reinforcements  while the British attempt to head them off (bottom left).
It was a bit damp at club tonight. 

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Another Appendix crossed off.

That's the how to work through a campaign month section done for the Compendium, bar a couple of things to do with civil war and regicide I need to sanity check.

Everything neatly gathered in two pages with page references. Quite fun tracking down what happens when in the month :D

A small note: as I'm tracking references through three books, I've adopted the following convention. Page references within the main text (and the Index) will be tagged as follows:

  •  D## - Dux Britanniarum
  •  R##  - Dux Raiders
  •  C##  - the Compendium

Saturday, 28 September 2019

One MIIIIIIILLLLION page views!!!!!


Never thought I'd get that far when I started. A huge thank you to everyone who's ever read, commented, followed or shared....

So, here's a few stats:

Most popular posts:

  1. 42588 views - Almost missed today's post - no idea why this one is top
  2. 37181 views - Compendium update/accountability post 24th Jan - *shuffles feet*
  3. 11695 views - Heraldry 101, summary post - I really enjoyed writing this series

Most common tags:

  1. club (271) 
  2. WW2 (204) 
  3. battle report (154)

Top referrers (not counting Google and the blog itself):

  1. Twitter
  2. TMP
  3. Facebook

Most frequent commenter:

  • Blogger doesn't provide stats for this, and I'm not about to load 3600 comments into a spreadsheet to find out, but a quick visual skim suggests it's A J by a country mile!

Most views by country:

  • United States 311489
  • United Kingdom 221579
  • Russia 98483 - I appreciate there *are* wargamers in Russia, but I wonder how many of these views actually are?

Total income from blog:

Not telling, but it's really not a lot :D

I may add more stats later :D

Oh, and here's Kate, because, well, Kate.

Friday, 27 September 2019

Compendium progress

I'm now sufficiently close to done that I'm pretty confident of a page count, confident enough to go get a printing quote from our local print-on-demand folks. 

Scary, huh?

Also, playtesting again next Monday, which means we're getting close to first pass playtests of all the raid scenarios.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Finishing off the Dark Ops sloop

All done:

Burnt Umber acrylic on all the external wood, plus a 4Ground Glazed Tile Red trim line on the hull plus the stern decoration and porthole trim. Added some 4Ground Gold detail on the stern roundel. Light wash of Vallejo Sepia Shade wash on the deck planking just to cut the 'new' look. Burnt Umber + wash on the mast and yard.

Removed the slightly clunky MDF assembly that holds the yard across the mast, filed a flat on both where they join, wood-glue'd them together then wound thread around the join. If I'm feeling really adventurous I may try some thread rigging :D

And there she is in port.

If anyone's interested in the kit, it's available here.

(Also did a bit of touchup on the pink stucco from yesterday :D)

Kickstarter Watch - May '40 Miniatures Early War Fallschirmjäger

Ending on Sunday morning, this is a KS I am definitely backing.

The guys from May '40 Miniatures are also responsible for some lovely 1940 Dutch (which you can see on their website), and it's probably no surprise, really, because, hey, they're Dutch. :D

But equally, don't dismiss these because you don't want to do early war Holland... They're also good for early war in Norway, Belgium and Crete, and what-if scenarios in the likes of Gibraltar (that could be fun!), Malta and England (Operation: Sealion - guess why I'm backing them! I need more opponents for my Home Guard). There's also awesome stuff in the add-ons like a 1/56 resin DFS230 glider for €30!

The KS ends on Sunday, and it's currently touch and go whether it'll make it - I think it really deserves to, because the sculpts are really really pretty[tm], so -- pledge away! Please!

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

If this is Wednesday it must be Venice...

Rob and Andrew dropped round to beat up on the TTCombat Venice paintwork some more.

We were doing a lot of 'fix this on all buildings that need this' so there's not a lot of finished stuff to show, but....
Dark Ops small sloop - nice MDF kit, except that a couple of the trickier bits had a tendency to delaminate, and I am going to change how the mast and yard are fitted to each other, 

Some classic Venetian pink stucco. Needs a touch up and probably a second coat.

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Research listening

Been stuck on public transport for about four hours today, so I managed to start off on one of the books I’ve been saving for Secret Project S ( come on, let’s face it, given the letter and the title of the book it should be pretty obvious). Leo McKinstry’s “Operation Sealion”.

I’m a few chapters in and there is a lot of interesting background concerning such things as the formation of the LDV, and the fate of German sympathisers in 1940 Britain....

Battle Report - 23 Sep 2019 - “Escape from Bridlington“ Pikemans Lament

A huge and somewhat epic scenario run by Grahame, which saw the Royalists attempt to defend Bridlington from a Parliament landing force, while simultaneously attempting to spirit Queen Henrietta and a whole bunch of wagons of ammunition off to York.

I had the dubious pleasure along with Tom of attempting to defend Bridlington: suffice it to say we were somewhat overwhelmed by boatloads (in the literal and figurative senses) of Roundheads, but we did hold them up but enough that Shawn and the ammunition train managed to get away.

Pictures without captions unfortunately, as I’m stuck on the iPad and it doesn’t seem to handle lots of pictures in the blogspot editor very well.   Also, apologies this is a day late, but I had to get up at stupid o’clock this morning to get into London.  Drop back in a couple of days and I may caption them  :)

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