31 March 2015

A game of Global conquest...

We are running a large wargame this week with 30 odd players and a team of Umpires.

Our fictional world has 3 major powers (Blue, Red and Grey), each allied to 3 minor powers (Purple, Green and Yellow respectively) who between them control the only canal between continents, plus some non State Actors (Orange).  The world is set up as shown below with two large oceans (in white):
Each country is run with a team of players including a President, Diplomat, Treasurer and Military Commanders.. There are a range of game moderators who also run the UN and World Bank.  Each turn includes economic & trade, diplomacy, industry and of course military action in a pretty rapid fire sequence:

10 mins of team strategising
10 mins of interaction between teams
20 mins for moderated game moves (in a separate room, only Commanders allowed)
10 min for combat resolution

We will running 8 turns over 2 half day sessions later this week, after which Victory will be calculated as follows:
And finally, each turn a country gets to generate military assets by expending resources, each of which has special capabilities:

As you can see, Units have Attack-Defence-Move stats like a classic SPI/AH board game, which are used to resolve combat with a few die rolls

Apparently you can't hoard up technology points to develop nuclear weapons...I know because I asked :-D

I am on the Blue team in the role of Diplomat (an unusual role for me!) and all alliances and deals must be sealed with real world beers!

More to follow as the game unfolds...

27 March 2015

Unreasonable distractions

Awesomely, this is one of our textbooks
There are very real perils in undertaking the fascinating Strategy and Policy course of study I am doing at the moment.  Each week we study a new war in depth, analysing the strategies of different sides, diplomatic and economic factors, operational conduct and so on.  Clearly this has a reading burden associated with it, but its also a burden to the gamer in that every week something shiny comes along!  One week I want to refight the Pelopennesian War between Athens and Sparta, the next week it is the French Indian Wars, then the Napoleonic era... you can see the problem!  Really quite unfair to the wargamer's typically undisciplined mind.

This week really threatened to make me crumble as we revisited the German Wars of Unification, reactivating my desire to game the FPW which I have mostly held a lid on since the early 1990s.  I almost fell off the wagon for Baccus's lovely 6mm range last year, so I just have to close my eyes and think about all the other projects I have in train or planned.  Like my 6mm ECW project.  Of course, if somebody wanted to jump in (I'm thinking of you 'Bish) I might have to change my mind yet again..

And before anyone says it: yes, its great to have such a dilemma!

26 March 2015

Addendum: The Fall of Kagul III

Dave (who posted the original pics) has told me that the following house rules were used for the extra models (to the best of his memory).  Hope this helps resurrect some old favourites to the table!

  • Hormagaunts were Stealers you could hit on a 4+, rolled two dice in combat (vice 3) and subtracted -1 from the highest.
  • Warriors you could only hit on the sustain, they had Parry and added +2 to the highest roll.
  • Carnifex was like Warrior but need two hits to kill . It also got to add the lowest die rolled to its combat score.
  • Chaplain was a Sergeant with +2 to his combat roll and a 4+ save. (But I've seen some more elegant options to this around the net)
  • Inquisitor was all that, plus a digi weapon that killed anything before it attacked on a 6.

24 March 2015

Space Hulk: The Fall of Kagul III

Some nice footage of Space Hulk gaming at Adepticon 2015 over the weekend, with an interesting scenario for six players.  Not sure what rules were used or who manufactured the Hulk terrain.

Pics and narrative courtesy of Dave here: http://www.forum.specialist-arms.com/index.php?topic=7081.0

A huge game of Space Hulk played on a Creative Gamescape setup. Four marine players had to find an Inquisitor and get him off planet in twenty turns. Probably the closest game I ever played (see the last couple of captions) which made for a very cinematic game.
Ultramarines on the hunt for the Inquisitor 
Deathwing looking for a way to open the landing bay door

The board - 4 marine and 2 stealer players
Blood Angels look for the Inquisitor on the other side of the landing bay

Hormagaunts get shot to pieces

The Chaplain was the luckiest model on the board. He waded through bug after bug and lost combat 5ish times but made his saves each time

Shoot the bugs Brothers, not the wall!
Racking up the kill count

Moving toward the second level

The Grey Knight Captain shot down an entire swarm guarding the bay door console

This guy was fun to bring around the corner - the warrior won

The Inquisitor is found

Overwatch time!
The guy took out the warrior.  A hormagaunt finally got him
A stealer gets the first Grey Knight kill

With one turn left the Carnifex stands between the Inquisitor and his escape!
He boxcar-ed it! He and the pilot race toward the shuttle and...and 1AP short.  Bugs win!

23 March 2015

Blood Bowl 2 gameplay video

The new Blood bowl 2 on PC is nearly here and this new video (below) shows some amazing gameplay. It is perhaps fortunate for my Uni studies that its not coming out on Mac anytime soon...


This disturbing and rebellious quote is posted to celebrate Alan's successful completion of the 5th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge and his great placing in 8th position.  Well done mate!
Oliver Cromwell at the Battle of Marston Moor, 1644
I had rather have a plain russet-coated captain that knows what he fights for and loves what he knows, than that which you call a gentleman and is nothing else. I honour a gentleman that is so indeed. 

Taken from a Letter from Colonel Cromwell to Sir William Spring, Earl of Manchester, Sept. 1643.

21 March 2015

Hundred Days of Napoleon: Bicentennary

Pretty much everybody knows that this year sees the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June.  Today is the 200th Anniversary of Napoleon's return to Paris from exile on Elba and start the hundred days campaign which would culminate in his defeat at Waterloo.
Napoleon leaving Elba, painted by Joseph Beaume (from Wikipedia)

20 March 2015

Archival Vietnam wargame footage

Last week was Old Stuff Day so I'm catching up on that now.  Thought I would repost some authentic Man Cave footage taken during a Vietnam game Comrade James and I played in 2009 during the gaming weekend that came to known as "Turnerquade I".  Silly but fun!


"Helos Inbound"

19 March 2015

Tinker Fox ECW Campaign

An interesting and wonderfully FREE campaign system for the ECW:

"Tinker Fox - an English Civil War campaign game of garrison warfare in the England, Scotland and Ireland, 1642-1652, using the BATTLEFINDER card system (also for use with Very Civile Actions)"

Tinker Fox uses an interesting strategic movement system which abstracts the area into key areas.  This allows you to do away with detailed map movements (and get on the with the business of dispatching those rebellious Roundheads!).

Pretty neat.  I would also consider going further and 'cut' some of the linkages between sections (for deep river etc) to make strategic chokepoints.

One can see this interesting system (with tactical games resolves with a C&C variant).  Very interesting with some nice ideas for Campaigning


Alternatively, the Napoleonic rules "Blucher" include a short campaign system which would also give an interesting game with less preparation required:

SCHARNHORST: The Campaign System
Blücher includes a campaign system called Scharnhorst which acts as a pre-game. Players plot the movement of their columns along roads and across the countryside. They must make the difficult decisions about spreading out their forces to control key points, while remaining within supporting distance in order to mass for a battle once the enemy has been located.
Of course your opponent may not let you fight on the field of your choice, with all the forces you would like. Was it wise to have sent so much of your cavalry on reconnaissance now that they arrive late and fatigued for the battle? Did you neglect to secure a key road or town in the rear of your position, forcing you to fight at a disadvantage?
Scharnhorst does away with the traditional wargame roles of “attacker and defender.” The players script the battle with their own choices of maneuver and objectives, and the fortunes of the campaign may change dramatically once the fighting is underway.

15 March 2015

Let them eat Pi

Right now the time is 9:26:53, on 14 Mar 15
Using the US calendar format that makes it: 3.14.15 9:26:53, the first 10 digits of Pi
The geek in me finds that very cool!

11 March 2015

Back to the 'Nam

Interesting Vietnam gaming news on two fronts this week:

First up, Flashpoint Miniatures are getting close to releasing their new Vietnam rules which is great news.  I know Jimmi there has been working hard on them and having had some long chats with him about what he wanted to do with them, I'm excited!

Secondly, Battlefront is expanding their Vietnam range later this year with some lovely Brown Water Navy goodness.  Love 'em or hate 'em, their figs are nice and spur new www eye candy! See the news release below

This will also be reinforced with me starting a University elective on the Vietnam War shortly, everything from the French facing off against the Viet Minh to the Chinese expedition in early 1979 - excellent!  I'm looking forward to delving back into my Nam gaming collection when I eventually get home!  Thanks to Steve from Sound Officer's Call for rekindling my interest with his eye candy!

From the Battlefront Website (http://www.flamesofwar.com/hobby.aspx?art_id=4814)

Brown Water Navy
Brown Water NavyApril sees us return to the jungle as we visit the Mekong Delta with the new Brown Water Navy book. This book cover the river fighting in the delta’s and allows you to fight a completely new style of Vietnam game. With a complete range of riverine boats to choose, from the little PBR’s to the big CCB Monitors these boats give your US forces the ability to assault the river banks and carve their way into the jungle. Never one to make it easy for the US the VC have a few tricks up their sleeves making this environment a truly unique gaming theatre.
Brown Water Navy
Brown Water NavyBrown Water Navy
Brown Water Navy
You will be seeing a complete range of models and terrain as well as delta river mats (2’x4’ ) that come in a set that can be swapped around to give you a variety of a full 6’x4’ delta system.

211-D, layer seven, next to the clothesline post.

I don't care about this letter's validity, its been amusing me on a and off for years (its been carbon dated to around 1994).  I thought I would share it this time around:

Paleoanthropology Division
Smithsonian Institute
207 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20078

Dear Sir:

Thank you for your latest submission to the Institute, labeled "211-D, layer seven, next to the clothesline post. Hominid skull." We have given this specimen a careful and detailed examination, and regret to inform you that we disagree with your theory that it represents "conclusive proof of the presence of Early Man in Charleston County two million years ago." Rather, it appears that what you have found is the head of a Barbie doll, of the variety one of our staff, who has small children, believes to be the "Malibu Barbie". It is evident that you have given a great deal of thought to the analysis of this specimen, and you may be quite certain that those of us who are familiar with your prior work in the field were loathe to come to contradiction with your findings. However, we do feel that there are a number of physical attributes of the specimen which might have tipped you off to it's modern origin:

     1. The material is molded plastic. Ancient hominid remains are typically fossilized bone.

     2. The cranial capacity of the specimen is approximately 9 cubic centimeters, well below the threshold of even the earliest identified proto-hominids.

     3. The dentition pattern evident on the "skull" is more
consistent with the common domesticated dog than it is with the "ravenous man-eating Pliocene clams" you speculate roamed the wetlands during that time. This latter finding is certainly one of the most intriguing hypotheses you have submitted in your history with this institution, but the evidence seems to weigh rather heavily against it. Without going into too much detail, let us say that:

          A. The specimen looks like the head of a Barbie doll that a dog has chewed on.
          B. Clams don't have teeth.

It is with feelings tinged with melancholy that we must deny your request to have the specimen carbon dated. This is partially due to the heavy load our lab must bear in it's normal operation, and partly due to carbon dating's notorious inaccuracy in fossils of recent geologic record. To the best of our knowledge, no Barbie dolls were produced prior to 1956 AD, and carbon dating is likely to produce wildly inaccurate results. Sadly, we must also deny your request that we approach the National Science Foundation's Phylogeny Department with the concept of assigning your specimen the scientific name "Australopithecus spiff-arino." Speaking personally, I, for one, fought tenaciously for the acceptance of your proposed taxonomy, but was ultimately voted down because the species name you selected was hyphenated, and didn't really sound like it might be Latin.

However, we gladly accept your generous donation of this fascinating specimen to the museum. While it is undoubtedly not a hominid fossil, it is, nonetheless, yet another riveting example of the great body of work you seem to accumulate here so effortlessly. You should know that our Director has reserved a special shelf in his own office for the display of the specimens you have previously submitted to the Institution, and the entire staff speculates daily on what you will happen upon next in your digs at the site you have discovered in your back yard. We eagerly anticipate your trip to our nation's capital that you proposed in your last letter, and several of us are pressing the Director to pay for it. We are particularly interested in hearing you expand on your theories surrounding the "trans-positating fillifitation of ferrous ions in a structural matrix" that makes the excellent juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex femur you recently discovered take on the deceptive appearance of a rusty 9-mm Sears Craftsman automotive crescent wrench.

                              Yours in Science,

                              Harvey Rowe
                              Curator, Antiquities

If you enjoyed this, there is a collection of classic complaint letters and their replies (most of them real) at the website here:  http://www.dearcustomerrelations.com

10 March 2015

This War without an Enemy

Came across this classic quote this week. It really struck a cord with me and I wanted to share it.

Parliamentarian General Sir William Waller (pictured above) writing to his close friend General Sir Ralph Hopton of the Royalist Army (pictured below). Sir William and Sir Ralph were opposing Army commanders in the campaign for southwest England.

'Certainly my affections to you are so unchangeable that hostility itself cannot violate my friendship with your person.  But I must be true to the course I serve... The great God who is the searcher of my heart knows with what a perfect hatred I detest this war without an enemy; but I look upon it as sent from God, and that is enough to silence all passion within me... We are both upon the stage, and must act such parts as are assigned to us in this tragedy.  Let us do it in a way of honour and without personal animosities.'

07 March 2015

WSS 77 & Battlegroup in the Desert

Amongst its other fine offerings, the latest issue of WSS 77 includes an article with Warwick Kinrade, the author of the Battlegroup rules series.  In his piece, he discusses taking the rules to North Afrika and how he intends to adapt the existing rules to that environment.

I'm not going to drop any spoilers here, other than the interesting news that the Western Desert will probably see two volumes.  This will allow rules and army lists to more accurately represent the opening years in the desert, and the later fierce fighting in Tunisia.  The same approach was taken for other theatres too and works very well.

If you are a BG fan, this is an article well worth reading.
The rest of the mag is good too :-)

06 March 2015

Book Review: Featherstone's Pike and Shot

OOP 'classic' edition
This is the second John Curry reprint that I bought recently, to go with Wesencraft's excellent "Pike and Musket" volume (which I reviewed here).  As much as I have enjoyed many other Featherstone tomes over the years, in my opinion this one is inferior to Wesencraft's book on the topic.

Reprint available from Amazon here
To be fair, I wanted this book for its information in regard to the ECW and thats not what it is.  Its a book on the entire age of warfare in the 16th and 17th centuries.  It details 15 different battles in great detail (up to 8 pages each, including  full page map) but only 3 are from the ECWs - Rocroi, Cropredy Bridge, and Auldearn.

The book is rounded out with some typically Featherstonesque rules and some references and reading lists in the back.

If you are after information about the whole period this may be of interest to you.  If you are after ECW material in particular, stick with Wesencraft's "Pike and Musket' instead.

04 March 2015

A weekend in Washington DC

Yes, he is!
The family went down to Washington DC last weekend for official purposes, but we got to enjoy a day on the Mall and visiting some of the excellent Smithsonian Museums (Air and Space, and the History of US), as well as the International Spy Museum which was a lot of fun.  We'll be back in DC for a week in April and look forward to seeing more then!

007's classic Austin Martin from Goldfinger

SS-20 'Saber' ICBM and Pershing II IRBM
Vengeance weapons...the lad is now called V-3!

Classic lines: Albatros D.Va

General Eisenhower's uniform

General Sherman's monument in front of the treasury building

02 March 2015

Have at you, sir!

Dux Homunculorum here. I'm Paul's other half. In the sense of being the one with Parliamentarian sympathies in this blogging and gaming extravaganza.

I have been eerily silent on the blog so far, for which I blame the insanely busy start of the school year, and also the fact that I've actually been painting things in my scraps of hobby time. I've been shaken out of my silence though by the arrival of a small but satisfyingly heavy box of teeny tiny men from Baccus, which Paul kindly bought, and equally kindly sent them to me to paint.

With this box our ECW plans broaden to include the wars in Scotland as well.

So what have we got? A starter army of Covenanters, another of Montrose's traitors, some cuirassiers, cannon and dragoons for England and Scotland, and flags and bases for them all. Happy days, and thanks Paul for dropping your hard earned moola on these goodies.