Sunday, 17 July 2016

Maurice and the Curates Egg.

 Our latest attempt to find a decent set of 18th century rules other than the somewhat dates Warfare in the Age of Reason led us to getting Theatrical Steve to run a game of Maurice- the 18th century game by Sam Mustapha.. Steve has used these rules quite a bit so should know his way around them but they were new to the rest of the TWATS.
Now we've only played the one game and overall there is a lot to like here but equally some strange bits of complete tripe too
 So Tripe 1 Organisation- all units are "4 bases" which seem to represent eith an infantry battalion or a cavalry regiment. Now other rules do this and for much of the 18th century it is tripe. Cavalry were -in contemporary documents usually counted by Squadron not regiment- as the number of squadrons in a regiment could vary widely between time and place. So many French cavalry regiments were only 2 squadrons- though some were 4 and the French massed their cavalry by Brigades of around 8 squadrons British cavalry regiments were most often 3 squadrons- though there were exceptions - a very few Prussian regiments were 10 squadrons. Average Cavalry unit strengths varies much more widely than infantry battalions yet here we have the same old saw as perpetrated in many rules (AOR included) of infantry and cavalry units being the same strength-  they can even take the same number of hits ... Hmmmm.
Good bit1 The card driven system is actually interesting and keeps you alert. The various cards can mitigate or otherwise the nasty habits of the odious cubes(that 's dice to the rest of you!) so give that you have the good fortune to hold the right cards at the right time then things can happen. This is the major point of this system and goes a very long way to mitigating some of the tripe.
Tripe2- No continuity- you can issue orders to a unit or brigade to advance- or even-in certain circumstances your whole army  but that is only for 1 move- they forget the lot next turn. This also applies to artillery who can be given orders to bombard but you have to repeat yourself every time you want them to fire - unless its canister. Since any commander can only issue 1 action per turn this leads to a very bitty action with no planning even remotely possible unless you happen to get the right card at the right time-and can play it.
 If you don't get the right cards in even roughly the right order pack it in and save yourself some time. This is overly harsh but you MUST have the right cards near games end or all you may or may not have achieved previously is for nothing.- though the odious cubes also have a deliterious effect too. I lost7 army break points in 1 turn when up to that point had lost none- so I threw my hand in which at the time had only 1 useful card- of 4  sop could not advance to finish off the French while they had more and more useful cards.
 Not sure if this is actually a wargame- its more like bragg or draw poker. The model soldiers are irrelevant so like many "games" today it joins the anti-soldier crusade.
 Nevertheless with a bit of tweaking it could be made into something very tasty indeed and is definitely worth further investigation. For smalller sizes-15mm and down it could be the answer if we can sort out the organisational trouble and some of the lack of continuity in the orders system .
 I'd give it a cautious 7/10
 However after a little thought here are a couple of amendment ideas
 My biggest bugbear was the simple fact that sub- commanders seem pointless as they cannot perform any actions so how about making the total number of actions per turn equal to the number of sub-commanders so in the case of our first game 3 per turn since this includes such things as artillery fire and rallying as well as movement then this might make things move along a bit. However I'd add some severe codicils and limits so no sub- commander could do more than one action in any turn and  drawing new cards would be limited to the number of the most "costly" action . Still thinking about this.
 Equally I'd allow artillery to keep firing at the same target after the first fire without needing an action BUT if they wished to change targets that would cost an action.
 Also in order to make an action the sub-commander would need to be within command distance of the CinC- so cards would need to be spent. This would simply give more options and continuity.

As for the game itself in actual toy soldier terms it was pretty small- each british infantry bigade being only 3 battalions of 16- orrible to look at and cavalry units of 12- but since the soldiers are not pertinant to the actual gameplay then I don't know why I'm telling you this .....
 Mind you a minor miracle occoured Jim the Builder actually managed to turn up- thats 2 games in the last 2 years Jim- both in the last 2 months !!

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Britains Trees.

Some few weeks  ago I discovered , in the back of the Garage a box of scenery I'd half-forgotten was there.. In it lay treasure!
Back in the late 1970s I'd boght a bundle of the then still in production Britains trees , hedges and walls. I'd added to them in the early 80s during my flirtation with WW2 skirmishing in 54mm. All those assoRted figures and building are now long gone- though there is a photo of one of the games in Mil-mod I think - that we did at NortheRn Militaire one year when I was a member of Durham Wargames Group.
 However the trees somehow survived. The dammed things were all in bits and covered in dust , casting talc and not a few spiders but after a couple of days sorting through them I re-assembled most of them. The cold had got to one or two and made the plastic a bit brittle so I lost a couple but once assembled they do look the business and by no means out of place with the 30mm "Shinyloo" British in the photos. I could also of course use them for 40mm

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Miniature Wargames no 399

 I've had this issue for a couple of weeks or so and frankly was- at first a bit puzzled by it. Now I know that Henry- quite rightly IMHO does not go in for themes but if I was to be a bit harsh this issue has a theme and that is "In Jokes"
 Let me explain.
Star feature is the Editors own piece on Fictional Wars and Fictional countries and yes it is very well done with some lovely maps outlining the basis for his own Fictional world and the recent gaming weekend in Yorkshire(another fictional place???)  Now  if that is your thing then you have a splendid bit of reading but unless you understand the"world" then the whole thing is going to leave you a bit flat- you won't get the jokes- why does this unit have a beetroot on its colours pray tell?. For aficionados of this kind of thing this is a cracker - but for the rest of us? Fictional world and coutries are only really meaningful to those involved.
 Next in the InJokes league is a scenario for the new Airfix WW2 game by Modiphius.. Now if you have the game and  know how to play this would be a useful  few pages but if you don't it is a waste of space I'm afraid - simply because it is all written in In game jargon. So you won't get the "jokes" here either Niether can you really convert the scenario to another system as not enough info is on offer. . Since I have no intention of buying into this "game" as I have at least 3 or 4 sets of WW2 rules already it was largely superfluous. Nice advert for the game though.
 Other articles include the continuing series on the Great Patriotic War- thats WW2 eastern front to the rest of us again good stuff if that's your thing- its not mine but it IS beginning to pique my interest.
 Making palm tree- never an easy thing to do -  but I have mine now  but this is still useful stuff . A pleasant article on Marlburians by  Paul Robinson- now I wouldn't call it the PERFECT period but there is no doubt that these lads certainly make it look dammed fine ! The mass effect of the game at Partizan looked good too. Nice one boys! -My personal favourites were the Savoyards - but then they were OG so I'm biased- but then I could re-start my own small Blue Moon collection... Maybe.
Mike Hobbs  Forwardv observer column cause me to laugh out loud- regarding the  "argument"  of what is fantasy and what is not- now my own line in the sand here is simple fictional coutries wherin the armies are also fictional along with uniforms and organisation are yes Fantasy. There is a huge difference between "could have happened" as in an Historical re-fight taking a different turn and  "Never could have happened" as in Imperial Romans taking on Aztec or Samurai or whatever.
 To simply dismiss it all as "just playing games" is, once again to infantilise what we do. To trivialise all the years of work and research that plenty of blokes have put in over the year. This is not to say that ALL that we do should be deadly serious but niether should it be trivialised either.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Back to the Thin Lead Line.

 It is going to take a while to get over the current and continuing  political/ financial turmoil but I suppose we have to start somewhere. Picking up the pieces I mean
 Now as it happens I've received a list of up and coming new packs from Blue Moon which I expect to have in August- hopefully in time for Claymore but certainly in time for Partizan
 this lot reads so far as follows.

Blue Moon 15mm

15NMB-08  Bavarian Generals (5 mounted) 
15NMW- 15 Wurttemburg Generals (5 mounted) 
15NMX-12  1808-1809 Saxon Generals (5 mounted) 

15NMX-38  1810-1814 Saxon Generals (5 mounted) 
15NMB-03 Bavarian Light Infantry Cimmand
15NMW-07 Wurttemburg Foot Artillery in Helmet
15NMW-09 Wurttemburg Horse Artillery in Helmet
15NMW-11 Wurttemburg Chevaux Leger
15NMW-12 Wurttemburg Chevaux Leger Command
15NMW-13 Wurttemburg Mounted Jaegers /Chasseurs with Command
15NMW-14 Wurttemburg Dragoons with Command

Grandscale 10mm

 Seven Years War.
SYW-112 Prussian Freicorps
SYW-113 Prussian Jaegers
SYW-204 Austrian Grenz

Prices will of course depend to an extent upon the exchange rate and the bank rate. Prices may have to go up a quid a bag  across the board for the larger packs perhaps 50p for the smaller ones. As always I'll keep price rises to a minimum - and avoid them if I can.

The following day
 I've also received a largish list of new Vehicles for Command Decision  bot WW2 and Modern
 Much of the WW2 are Russian but the list(Various BT type tanks and variants) also includes a good number of US vehicles such as the locust light tank..
 The modern vehicles are  US models- such as M-60  but also include M-109 SPG variants.
 In total there are 38 new packs of tanks .

Monday, 27 June 2016

I was going to keep my gob shut but ....

The wine has been drawn and now must be drunk. We are where we are- for good or evil.#

 Frankly I'm not happy. OK we've a few years before the major ramifications of the out  become apparent- though the immediate one of the pound falling through the floor is enough to be going on with.
I voted to remain for the following reasons
 1/. Stability- in a world that is in thrall to the "markets"   like it or not(and I don't) stability is EVERYTHING. It is not nice but its the truth.
2/. None of the emotional outie arguments convinced me and some of them were downright nasty. UKIP are a bunch of almost fascists I was sickened by that awful poster. I would not want to be associated -even by implication- with a bunch who could come up with that.
3/. Though the remain campaign was only marginally better of itself I refer  you to clause 1 above.
 4/. The ramifications of an out vote were simply awful- break up of the UK being only the most obvious. Why would you choose  to make you life harder.
5/. I export to the EU and can remember doing it before the single market- when the parperwork was onerous and time consuming- now it isn't but it may be again  or may not we don't know.
6/. The outies had no plan. With the possible exception of Michael Gove they were and are a bunch of amoral opportunists. Boris for PM Gawd 'elp us.
 Now I'm aware that there were plenty of  reasonable people who voted out BUT and its  big but  that is not how the campaign played out. ALL of the various Vox Pops on the many news bulletins   showed that the "outie in the street" so to speak was ONLY concerned about immigration. This ranged from genuine worry to plenty of knee jerk bigotry and attitudes I hoped had died last century.
 Without suggesting that all the outies are bigots it WAS the bigot vote that swung it.
 These same bigots are now smug and even more unpleasant(Farage again)
7/. The issue if Sovereignty in today's global world is just eyewash- a non -issue for little Englanders to get steamed about when reading their Daily Mail. Why- I refer you to point 1. The Markets rule

However were are where we are and must live with this. I'd be happier if the outies had had a plan before they got us where we are now.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

They are not mine(yet). They are Alans ....

A deliberately daft title for what is basically just a note to show off some more new Drabant 28mm figures These are of course Alans. Another of the Steppe peoples  of the Early Medieval period.
 Dammed nice models these.

As you can see these are well up to the standard.. I'll have these as soon as my next- re-suply from Russia arrives.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

More Russian Goodness

 Here are a couple of photos of Drabant's latest releases which I'll be adding to the website as soon as I get stock.
 These are Cumans and are well up to the standard we have come to expect from Drabant.

PS. I've just been informed that some Alans are also on the sculpting table. Needless to say Photos when I have them and stock in hand as soon as I can get them . I'm currently awaiting a re-supply from Russia which , hopefully will contain these goodies as well as re- stock of  much of the rest of the Dark Ages range . I'm pretty low on these currently as they have been moving just a tad ....