Thursday, 22 June 2017

The rest of the Year. Shows in 2017

 I thought I'd better bring interested chaps up to speed on Old Glory UK's show dates for the rest of 2017.
 We have 3 more events in the rest of this year.
 Next up for us will be Claymore! in Edinburgh of Saturday August 5th at the Usual venue of Edinburgh College ,Granton Campus West Granton Rd Edinburgh EH51QE.
Always a good event and well worth travelling to.We will have all of our usual show stock there . Hopefully we will also have some new Blue Moon  15mm releases in several different ranges. Mad Anthony Wayne, Xulu war and maybe Boxer Rising.

After that there will be The Other Partizan at the George Stephanson Hall, Newark Showground.  on August 20th. Now the change in venue really has sparked this show up. No more dark dreary Kelham with miners lamps on your head.! No more tortuous unload with everybody and his brother getting in the way.
 No that is all gone. Now we have a light airy hall where you CAN see your hand in front of your face and you CAN get your gear in easily. The catering is, by show standards pretty good too.
 So yes we shall be there again with all of our usual show stock

Our final show of the Year will be the Derby Worlds at the new venue of Bruntingthorpe in Leicestershire- pretty far away from Derby really and to all intents and purposes a new show. on the 7th and 8th October. The new venue looks good in the promo video- similar to Newark but perhaps a bit shinier and after a bit of a false start the new organisers seem to be getting it together.


 WE ARE ONLY TAKING 15MM and possibly 10mm ranges to this event. as we have only booked a 12 foot stand due to the high price of stands at an unproven event.
 So we will have with us all the Blue Moon 15mm and all Command Decision WW2 and Modern.and very possibly all of the 10mm Gunpowder ranges.
 All other ranges will need to be pre-ordered. as we will not be carrying 25/8mm or 40mm with us at this event.
 This restriction ONLY applies to this show

Of course pre-orders are welcome for all 3 shows and as ever the "6for5" deal will be in operation.

Now that is it for the rest of the year as far as shows are concerned.
 As I intimated in an earlier post I will not be attending Border Reiver in September- the current organisers made it quite clear that Old Glory UK would not be welcome so I am complying with their wishes.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Time to get back in the shine !

 I seem to have been painting 40mm Wars of the Roses for months.  Since about February I've done very little else as far as painting and modelling are concerned. Other projects have very definitely take a back sent.
British rifles- the 95th. Mostly Stadden but the chap with the fixed sword is a Hinchliffe.
 The look is deliberately retro.

 So now the Durham game is done it is time to give the WOTR a bit of a rest and go and do something else. Mind you the WOTR is only resting . I still want to finish the "cart of War" that I collected the components for but ran out of time to complete are also some more pieces from Irregular to add in to the forces. Currently the WOTR is the only one of my 40mm projects that has much life in it. I'm seriously thinking of selling the 40mm ACW and Napoleonic forces and possibly the Dark ages ones as well but only if I can get a respectable price for them- especially the ACW  which has a good bit of professionally painted stuff in it as well as  plenty of my own work when I could see better than I can now.  Actually the 40mm ECW/TYW project still has a bit of life as I have some half done Imperialist Cuirassiers on the table as well as a couple of other figures in various stages of dress. That is a collection that is definitely not in the sale possibility.
Another of the same. The office figure is suppoed to be Harry Smith- somehow he can't get anyone to post his letter for him!! 

So what do I do next- some more shiny dudes as they were on the desk anyway and"Shinyloo" is as good as table ready . After that some 28mm ECW I think unless something else takes my fancy ... I still have some more Moderns I want to add to my forces and I really need to get properly stuck into the 15mm ECW for the Dunkirk Dunes idea.
 However I have now finally finished all the "Shinyloo" British riflemen I have  so here are a ferw pics of them skulking behind some ancient Britains  plastic hedges which are roughly the same age as they are. All are Stadden 30mm except for a couple of Hinchliffe I acquired already painted to a fine standard in a job lot of assorted toys I got from ebay.

So all in all plenty to be going on with. Rules and games- who needs 'em  more stuff to do in the real world.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

How many rules do you need?

There is no doubt in my mind that the hobby is changing . Parts of it are  possibly in their death throes. In 20 years even assuming it survives it will be unrecognisable to the previous generations. (As incidentally will the by then  non-existant UK. With England a poor 3rd world rump that everyone in the rest of the world ignores unless it is as a holiday theme park for "Heritage" excursions)
Good or bad does not enter into it. A hobby  of sorts will still exist but will it be wargaming as we know  NOW it and  should we actually give a toss since most of us will be dead.
 It is however interesting and amusing to speculate upon the possible outcomes of some current trends- if indeed they are trends or merely fashion blips.
 Will the current passion for seemingly endless releases of similar "skirmish wargames"  continue? Will "serious" wargames be drowned in a sea of lightweight fluff?

 Will there still be a military book industry- 

Well yes of course in some form simply because there are plenty of people interested in Military History that would not come within a mile of a wargames table. Some days I can see their point!  The "reality gap" between the modern hobby's roots in Military History and many of today's "games" gets wider and wider. This trend is likely to continue simply because games companies want to sell you a different game next week in a prettier box that requires even less effort on your part. Also you had better get bored with it pretty quickly (you will) so they can sell you another one. In a prettier box but actually the same as the one you just bought- except for page 4 of the 8 page rulebook. This of course has 2 different stats for the  Death -Ray or Chaos Doomblade   or whatever silly name the d6 WITH SKULLZ on has in THAT box.

 Yes of course I'm being waspish and facetious- It's my job! 

Of course it may do to the other extreme- 10 hour games with 5000  figures a side and  50 lashes for each button out of place on those 10mm infantry but I think the former case is the more likely.

Will there still be a Model Soldier industry?

Now this one I am less sure about and the answer is probably - though how much of it will be historical is more open to question. The "miniatures gaming industry" is awash with so many similar sci-fant skirmish -a-likes  ranging from funny  WW2 (with or without Zombies) to  Steptoe in space- taking in sundry sub-Tolkien dwarf-fiddling along the way-all from blokes who want to be Games Workshop -2. so dystopian nastiness abounds (just like the UK in 2017 then) and same old same old in a different box is the rule. There is nothing new under the (plastic) sun.
 Doubtless there will still be private producers making the stuff that interests them but the accessible public face may well be almost entirely non- historical  or even non- war Wargames so new chaps- assuming there are any such may well have an even harder time  than now- especially if they are historically minded. But then they will probably be immersed in the latest VR world- sitting on an automated  kermode for 18 hours a day eating grasshopper and beetle burgers from a (recycled) plastic bag. Not seeing an actual human being for months on end - if ever -living a virtual life from a festering bedroom -only opening the door to accept the next pizza or burger delivery.

Will there still be Wargames shows?

Now this one is a hard call- I honestly don't know. Speaking commercially many perhaps most shows simply are not worth the effort of hiring a van. There was a time when even the smallest show was worth the advertising time. This is no longer the case. Back in the 1990s I did 26 shows a year and could have done more if I chose. This year- 2017- I will do a total of 7. I know of some companies who do none at all and are happy that way. Personally I still value customer contact both by phone and face to face at shows.. Though again I know of outfits who will not speak to the people who put bread in their mouths without the  interdiction of a computer interface or sometimes even at all.
 The drive to greater personal isolation and therefore  outside control continues-. We are entering an age of Totalitarianism by commercial pressure- usually by Insurance companies so wargamers may become even more personally isolated  because of factors outside the hobby. This will of course mean that games companies will have to produce smaller and  simpler  boxed games that Daddy can play with Tarquin or Jocasta for the odd half -hour that their attention span lasts before the next burst of social media input fries their brains .

Of course in the Orwellian nightmare that will be  Gaminland no dissension will be allowed, no departure from the 2 foot square table or the ready painted plastic spaceship or day-glo elf(unless by special  Gaming Police dispensation it is a 4 foot square table). Those caught reading Chandler or Reid or Young sent to  CORRECTICON  A convention of re-education and force read  Martin and  strapped helpless and screaming  to Lion Rampant games !!

I suspect a few larger shows will survive and even thrive- given a stable economy- which of course went out of the window last June- but given current trends they will be mostly sci-fant and games will be merely those put on by the games companies for their own advertising needs. To the "commercial=popular therefore MUST be good" type of games player this will be hog heaven but to those of you who prefer diversity and individual thought perhaps not so splendid. Those of us who like toy soldiers  in numbers more than a couple of dozen will all be dead by then.
 Of course we might all get fed up and take up something interesting like Alligator wrestling or Crochet so that we don't suffer what Zabadak called "meh"  after you have been to yet another same old same old show. Now I'm not at that point yet by a long chalk- but maybe I can just see it from here.

Am I going round the bend.

 Quite possibly with the unmitigated gold star f**k up perpetrated by the sorry bunch of self-centred  non-entities masquerading as a government that you have saddled  the country with since this time last year. The strane on the brane(quoting Molesworth) has been enuff to last a lifftime .
 Nevertheless within the hobby the short term -i.e. the next couple of years, looks OK at the moment- new stuff coming out from Blue Moon , Raven Banner and Drabant- and those are just 3 of the companies I deal with . Other miniatures companies also producing historical stuff despite the deluge of same old same old sci-fant.

Rules, Games, Games Rules

  Rules are really beginning to get up my nose. Or perhaps we have to call them "Games" now. Especially as I realise that in the last couple of years I've spent more money on the bloody things that I did in the previous 10 years.
 What did I get for my shekels. 4 Ospreys and 3 hardbacks and 1 softback
 to whit
 The Hardbacks
 Black Powder- which is pretty awful . Hard to find stuff in the book and historical bunk to book. Full of errors and gamsey rubbish.Sort of OK ish with smaller scales if you  be bothered to wade through all the tripe to find the good bits - of which there are some.

Pike and Shotte- Better but still not good-  some silly formations and troop distinctions that bear only an occasional resemblance to the actuality mar what is a not too bad rule set if you know your period. However these days the urge to "play the game" at the expense of period whilst not universal is pretty common. Sacrificing period for mere dice rolling does not inspire me.

7TV A splendid idea and probably not a bad game but the cost to get a decent set up is a bit prohibitive especially for something  where  the likelihood of  multiple games is pretty remote and EACH of those games possibly require a different set up with some different characters- at around 3-4 quid a figure. plus specialist scenery and props- find me a decent 1/50th ish scale Jag mkII or a Ford Capri or Ford Transit(this last I can get but it is not cheap) or what about a Dofge Charger orFord pickup.
 I have not given up on this but it is far harder to get it right than say an ECW army.

Now 4 Ospreys
En Garde- Not a bad set of rules for low level  skirmishes. Though perhaps a bit  fiddly. Definitely has potential for 40mm use.
 Lion Rampant/Pikemans Lament.
 The same crap in different covers. I honestly fail to see why they are even remotely popular. Childish and simplistic and especially PL- actually  run counter to the history if purports to be inspired by

Honours of War. I have not yet made up my mind about these. They are not rubbish by any means but the one size fits all unit sizes and formations are a big downer (despite the optional rules for larger or smaller units)  but very common in lots of "games" these days. It is as if the writers don't want to tax the poor players brain with anything that might resemble they way things were done in the period under consideration. Yet there is still useful stuff here especially for smaller size figure games.
 However as I now study my own (very recently aquired) copy I see more potential if I can solve the "standard unit" problem to my own satisfaction.
 Of the rules bought over the last couple of years these are probably the best.
and finally
 Cold War Commander
 This is the absolute pits- makes Lion Rampant look historical, What utter dross.  No organisation worth a damn and no way of using the rules with your own. Long winded and simplistic- which is quite hard to do. The gamiest game of them all . To be rubbish it would have to improve.

So 8  different- well 7 different- sets of rules/games. Using them I have played a total of 3 games- 2 of which were Black Powder the other beoing Honours of War in 10mm  which - with a bit of tweaking will be essayed again I think.

However in toto these 8 sets have cost  me about a ton or maybe a bit more. I'd estimate that about half of that is money down the drain. The "quality" and limitations of many more recent "games" has been at least partly responsible for a partial reversion to retro wargaming. Team Yankee seems to be not a great deal more than a posher prettier version of Charles Grants WW2 rules - with a bit of Lionel Tarr thrown in. There is nothing  in many of these sets that an averagely knowledgeable chap could not do himself so why I have spent a ton plus looking for better rules ,in retrospect , I cannot imgine.

What you must decide.

Is exactly which bits of the above are satire, parody or merely taking the p""".and which bits are interpretations of o cold hard facts and which to be candid(e) 
 are all for the best in this the best of all possible worlds.

Seriously for a moment I invite your comments- unlike at least one other blog I visited and temporarily commented on very recently I will not delete stuff I personally don't agree with - as long as it is not libellous or illegal- discussion and differing opinions are paradoxically one of the things we may be losing in the social media age. 

Monday, 12 June 2017

The Battle of Brassicthorpe 10 June 1467- the Durham show.

So yes it was all done and dusted and all went well. No more Wars of the Roses for a while.
 What AM I moaning on about?
 The Durham Wargames Group Open Day of course.
 We had a full turnout of T.W.A.T.S for the game a total of 7 members and a couple of visitors..
 The table provided by the DWG was splendid giving us 10 feet by 6 of playing space plus a 2 feet by 6 space at one end for all the bits and pieces that accrue on a game  that must not be on the playing space.
General view of the table early in the day- Yorkists at the top  behind the hedge line

Despite the fact that the game was to use 40mm figures the actual building were all "28mm"- though technically those I had scratch built- around half of those on the table -were to 1/50th scale. Tobe honest this was a bit of a stopgap as I'd simply not had the time to built a medieval town in 1/43rd scale which would have been accurate as to scaling but , very possibly, would not have looked half as good as the result we had on the day. The rest of the buildings were old Hudson and Allen foam models- almost unobtainable today but still looking miles better than many of those lazer cut flatpack things that you see about the place.
Models were mostly my own- the ex Brook Miniatures 40mm range now available from Old Glory UK

Others were by Irregular Miniatures and the wagon by Doug Miller.
 Painting was either by me or James Main.
The Earl of Oxford's Lancastrian - arrive late but begin their advance. 

Rules were a slightly adapted  version of Tony Clipsom's set "Foray"  which gave us far more flexibility that Lion Rampant- which it was suggested on another blog  was what we were using..

The game itself was a close affair with the advantage swinging first one way then the other. First the Lancastirans- defending the town had a hard time for Yorkist archery. Then as more Lancatrian troops arrived the balance swung a little. Lancastrian artillery then broke a Yorkist unit- which refused to rally for some time- some truly Bum dice there Jim. It was so rough for the Yorkists that they had no choice but to charge the Lancastrian battle line but in the ensuing melee they were vindicated - 2 Lancastian banners falling and the units breaking immediately. Some Truly Bum dice there too Liam.
 At this point with their battle line in tatters the Lancastrians conceded.
The Lancastrian artillery lie in wait. 

 There were just over 170 40mm figures on the table so it was not huge. Nevertheless there was enough interest for a total of 8 players of and on throughout the day- which of course was the point.
Yorkist Men -at Arms failing to rally. Fuzzy hand of God possibly swearing !! 

As for the show itself it was as you would expect for a small event. Friendly - sometimes a little crowded and good fun.
 I actually spent some cash! I bought some more 40mm Medivals from Irregular which will go to add to the Wars of the Roses forces Pavisiers and cavalry which my range does not have. They blend in pretty well in terms of size.
 And Guess what? I bought a book !  An account of Benedict Arnold's invasion of Canada at the beginning of the AWI. Published in 1901 and only a tenner- why would I not.

So as always a good day had by all. Assuming we are invited we will be back to the Durham show next year- and yes it does very much look as if it will be the only event in the North-East I attend- of which more in a later post- but nevertheless I do enjoy this event. We will have to start thinking about next year's game.

Well done Durham Wargames Group.

Now a break form painting Wars of the Roses.........

Monday, 5 June 2017

In the home stretch.

Well here we are in the last few days before the Durham Wargames Group Open Day  next Saturday. The last few figures need to be finished but all the clever stuff has been done and the scenario is almost devised. Needless to say silly phrases(in the context of a show demo game) like "quick and easy" and "fun to play(especially if you have the mental capacity of a backward haddock)" are not a major part of the lexicon here. Having said that however Tony Clipsom's set Foray are not exactly mentally stretching either, they are simple  enough but do have a good bit of flavour, repay period tactics and yet despite all of that should qualify to be "fun"  without that dreaded epithet meaning  "intellectually vacant" as so often seems to be the case these days.
 Now some of you may feel that I'm attaching and unwonted importance to the Durham Wargames Group Open Day . After all it is a pretty small show as shows go and I'm not even *officially" trading there.
Banners and Standards. All of these will appear in the game. Most are hand painted except the 2 superb cloth printed one by John Hutchinson.  Standard bearers are mostly conversions  from basic figures requiring head and arm swaps.

 There are two sets of reasons for this
 Group  1/.
 It is a fun  show which I and the rest of the T.W.A,T.S enjoy.
We have been invited to do games there for around 10 years or a bit less now so always try to  put on a decent effort. See previous post. The D.W.G. always make us feel welcome.
 It is the only show we do as a group.
 (Though we did once put on a Naval game at the Border Reivers  show at very short notice. I'm still unsure if any of the current "committee" noticed)
 For those of our group who work the Old Glory stand it is a sort of pressure off "busmans holiday" where we can wear our punters hats for a day.
The wagon is a Doug Miller piece and is a bugger to put together. The 3 Courrour cavalry are by Irregular and are rather nice. 

Group 2/.
It is quite possible that Durham Wargames Group Open Day will be the ONLY event  I do in the North-East this year.
I am no longer the sponsor of the Border Reivers event.  Earlier this year I received a somewhat brusque letter from the new committee telling me they had "terminated the relationship".This has been on the cards for a while but the letter was still an unpleasant surprise as my efforts to talk to them(at the Derby show and others) had met with stonewalling despite their accusation that I no longer gave  any input .... Hmmm still trying to work that one out. .
 However I don't mind the fact of no longer being the sponsor  that is their decision,though the matter could have been handled better
 So far this year I have not received an invitation to the event and I have NEVER in 26 years gone to any show I don't receive and invitation to- in other words I don't ask to be invited , never have never will. It is not  appropriate.
Now if they choose not to invite me fine- they tell me in said letter I can have a free stand- if the show goes ahead- for "past services"  However last year was hardly worth getting a van for even as sponsor so if I am invited I will have to take a view on it but if I'm not well that's £250.00  Van Hire Diesel and crew wages I don't have to shell out. So either way I shan't lose any sleep.

Close up of one of the Irregular cavalry figures. Whilst a bit rough in the casting they do repay careful painting . This particular figure comes with some head variation and is very useful indeed. So much so I've ordered some more to be collected at the show. 

Now none of this matters in the bigger picture of our hobby except to say that I'll continue to go to the Durham Wagames Group Open Day as long as the continue to invite us.
 If it is the only show we do in the North East that's fine too. We will still enjoy it.
 Maybe the rest are not worth the effort.

Blue Pigs on my Fingers !!

 Having to put the various badges on the liveried retainers has made me realise why I hate decals!
 Now of the contingents I've chosen for this game 4 of the 6 I happen to have decals for which I aquired when I  bought up the Brooks Miniatures 40mm Wars of the Roses range so I have
 Ragged staffs for Warwick
 Red Griffins for Clifford
 White Lions for Mowbray
 Blue Boars for Oxford-
 What a bloody fiddle and faff to get them in the right place in the right order. The dammed things stick to everything - especially fingers-  but the place you want 'em. But it is done- all but 4 blue pigs for Oxford- how many of them will end up on my fingers.....again.
 Still it will be worth it. Looking forward to seeing this lot all laid out  on the 10 feet by 6 table on Saturday.
 Come along and see us- and the other games etc at the Durham Wargames Group Open day Vane tempest Gilesgate Durham.
 It will be a good day.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Contingent upon being finished in time

My next gig so to speak is the Durham show on June 10th. Now Old Glory UK don't trade there as there simply isn't any space and frankly the show - whilst very enjoyable is just too small. So as we have done for the past several years we- that is the Tantobie Warfare and Tactical Society- will be running a demo game.
 Unlike many other demo crews around the country we will be running a different game from last year. if you recall last year Jim the Builder ran a 10mm Seven years War battle with over 2000 little 10mm dudes on the table.
 Indeed as I try to recall the games we have run at this show in the past I get quite a list of different periods and sixes.
 Off the top of my head I recall
 40mm American Civil War-possibly twice 2 different games including one where I deliberately changed the rules every few moves and made the players change sides.
28mm English Civil War
10mm Seven Years War- twice 2 different games
1/600th Russo- Japanese War naval.
28mm War of Austrian Succession.
15mm Modern- "not the Gulf War at all".
 and this year
40mm Wars of the Roses
Many but possibly not all of the games are recorded somewhere on this blog - which is now longer than Ben Hur and War and Peace put together- now THAT is a truly scary thought!
The Earl of Oxford's standard and badge banner.

Not bad for a group that currently only has half-a dozen members and has never reached double figures-well not for very long . If pressed we could probably add 15mm WW2- in at least 2 different theatres and maybe 20mm Cold War goes hot and 15mm Ancients- though this last might take more work just sorting out how many Greeks Shaun and Jim have between them!
 Now no mention is made of rules or "games" here as we would tend to tailor the rules we used to the period and scenario- especially if we are doing a public demo. At least one of the crew would be a dedicated talking head- usually me but all of the crew are capable of, and will talk to interested parties - unlike so many demos I see at shows where you are often ignored and- extremely -shouldered out of the way (that would be a pillock in a flying helmet at Derby a year or so back- tosser... I let him live.)
The Liveried contingent of the Earl of Oxford.

Equally there will always be someone at the table unlike more than one game I saw at Partizan last weekend, though to be fair most of the games were manned all the time and of course, being Partixan I saw none of those "introverts R us " board/card/boutique/skirmish/usually sci-fant games that are sometimes a feature of smaller show(not so far at Durham though) seemingly put on by clubs who just want to play the same game in a different room from their usual club night. Not really appropriate for a show that punters- however few or many- pay to get into. If that kind of crap gets to be the majority game type at shows, then goodbye shows. I don't care if they are "fun to play" ,  A bunch of mumbling unwashed around a 2 foot square board littered with cards is hardly impressive or inspiring and maybe a little hard on the olfactory organs as at York. So we don't do that because it is self centred and pathetic  and if that is being judgemental then I am JUDGE DREDD! .
(I was going to say Judge Jeffries but you have to have read a book or two to know who he was)

Oxford and Northumberland with artillery support

 Nevertheless I am quite proud of our little group and what we can do with just a little effort. So as always I am quite looking forward to the Durham show.
 As for the game my personal target was 120 finished singly  based 40mm figures plus a couple of guns. I have exceeded that by a little with a fortnight to go and some blokes still on the painting table. Jim the Builder will add around 30-40 more figures. Rules will be deliberately simple - but hopefully not simplistic and the table action should actually resemble a 15th century encounter. (so not rampant then) Basically the rules will be an altered version of Tony Clipsom's set Foray but with Imperial measurement instead of metric- somehow it does not seem right for medieval England to be in Millimetres !
Now as inn previous years you can order stuff for me to bring to the show- pay on the day or previously  your choice- though I won't have card facilities on the day as I'm not trading.
 Contact me on

See you at the show.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

The Next few weeks ......

After a pretty successful Carronade in Falkirk last weekend (I do like that show) you might think I'd be due a bit of time off. No chance We are at Partizan in Newark- that's Notts in the UK  in case Transatlantic readers were wondering if they had missed something in New Jersey !
After that, a bare 2 weeks later comes the Durham Wargames Group Open Day on June 10th.
 I'm not really trading there -though anyone who wants stuff bringing can email me on - save yourself a bit of postage and possibly take advantage of the "6 for5" deal.
Troops from the retinue of John Mowbray Duke of Norfolk. Mostly a Yorkist.

 The main thrust of the day for me will however, be the 40mm Wars of the Roses game Jim the Builder and I are putting together  It will be in the smaller of the 2 min rooms at the show and is growing nicely. The photos show the latest figures I've painted and Jim reckons to have around 40 figures finished by the time of the show which should bring the forces (they are not large enough to be "armies")  to a little under a hundred a side ... maybe.
A couple of individual armigerious gentlemen wearing their coats of arms. Just because I fancied painting them.

Of course one of the madder asides with the Wars of the Roses in that splendid baordgame Kingmaker which manages to capture the feel of the period without being too pedantic. It is the only boardgame I own and is a speldid basis for a campaign. However you can bet that during a wargame of the WOTR someone will begin to utter phrases such as "Mowbray to Framlingham" or Percy to Alnwick" in the same way that some chaps utter lines from Zulu during a Zulu war game.... sad isn't it?

So the plan is for a colourful game at the show- come along it is a small show but worth a look. Details in the picture above.

Why waste time and money on this dross?

Now on to an entirely different matter. I have read the various reviews of the Perry's Travel Battle on TMP and on a couple of the blogs I follow and I still can't see the point other than to make God's Anointed Perry's  some more shekels.  The whole thing is so insipid and brain free. It might be great if you are eight- I recall having a game  called Battle of the Little Big Horn or something that was on a squared board with roughly 40mm plastic US cavalry and Indians. As I recall the figures were even coloured in so already it looked better than this latest effort. I doubt the box it came in was much bigger either but I might be wrong there. The Perry thing look a dammed sight more unattractive with it little Monopoly houses and 2 legged horses.  If you want easy to move about and ready to play there are shedloads of more attractive boardgames out there- and I speak as a non- boardgamer, I've seen interesting looking games with very very pretty counters and maps that beat the shyte out of a couple of gridded plastic squares with a few monopoly houses on - sometimes for  far less money and with more options too.
 If you like  model soldiers in your wargames then TB is pretty much the antithesis of what you are about. for rules dudes the rules seem simplistic to the point of childishness- again great if your are eight(or perhaps if you are 38 and missing being 8) but not really for grown ups.
All this nonsense about  being able to travel with it- see the raised eyebrows of those pert and efficient   girls behind reception in hotels I use as you grasp your Travel Battle box with your luggage (Too mean to watch the porn channel like everyone else is what she is thinking !!!!)  Nah leave me with some shreds of credibility......

But joking apart I really can't see the point. There are far better ways of  having a travelling wargame-though why you need to I still can't fathom-  than this collection of plastikrap.. I wonder which bunch of fanboys will be the first to try to pass it off as a demo at a show- that will be yet another nadir

Friday, 12 May 2017

Drabant Does It Again.

I've just had some more news from  those fine chaps in Russia, Drabant miniatures.  My next shipment will include some new releases.
 The  E range- Nomadic Horse People will have Pechengs added
The Pechengs 

 Tallifer will be added to the Normans

Tallifer- another Norman personality.

and a new pack of Saxons will replace the old A2801 pack with some really smart active figures.
 Anyhow judge for yourselves as here are the pictures.
The new Saxons

As you can see they are well up to the Drabant standard.
 The new Saxons will mix with A2807 the shieldwall to make a pretty impressive unit . I may be even tempted back into the Dark Ages myself.
 I'm actually tempted to  sell my 40mm Viking and Normans and replace them with these fantastic models or maybe I'll just add some to the collection

Monday, 8 May 2017

Villainous Saltpetre

So the 40mm Wars of the Roses project marches on.  Figures are actually coming off the painting table at a pace slightly faster than glacial. Not only that but a second "comedy bombard"  and crew are now finished so there will be one for each side and perhaps, if time permits, more than one as I have parts for 2 more including a double barrelled "cart of war" which should be amusing ...assuming I get it finished.

The first "comedy bombard"  made from an Old Glory OXTG1  Super-heavy gun- with scratch built  carriage and mantlet.

 2 of the guns are identical- being the Hincliffe 25mm  Landsknecht Siege gun- in the foremost range. Now frankly nice model though it is it is not what it says on the tin- being on a 15th century "burgundian" type carriage which had largely been superseded  by guns with trunnions by the 1520's  or so . Nevertheless it makes a cracking 15th century "medium" gun for 40mm,
 The crew- like the Bombard are all minor conversions from  my 40mm Wars of the Roses range- the ex- Brooks Miniatures range which I now own and have added to. There are now roughly 30 different figures in the range.

The other completed gun. That Hinchliffe piece looks just right for 40mm
Now if I'd been a boring "samey-gamey" type I could have done Wars of the Roses in 25/28mm just the same old same old, after all it is easy there are plenty of good ranges about including the Old
Glory one and I used to have some 15mm Essex WOTR  but then doing things the expected way has never had any appeal for me - at least not since I packed in competitive gaming in the early 80s.
 No the point here is to present something a little differently. After all boredom is an ever present threat when all you do is play  pillock Rampant or whatever skirmish game is flavour ofthe week this week.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

More Roses- More Thorns.

Since the last post in the "Battles" department I've been  bashing out more 40mm Wars of the Roses gear and will be doing so for at least another month.
 So it seemed appropriate that our April game should be another go at this period to get our heads round it for the Durham Show at the beginning of June.
 Thus it was that 4 T.W.A.T.S. gathered at our usual pub  for the game last Saturday..
 We toyed with the idea of Lion Rampant- but you know my views on that and after looking through the book Andrew the Tekkiie joined in my disdain as did Shaun and Jeff - the others present.
 So it was back to Tony Clipsom's set Foray which we had used last time and quite liked- though it had the odd problem- this time we'd test a little more deeply.
I thought I'd do an atmospheric black and white shot of the table laid out before the action began. Very featherstone . Actually the only shaft of sunlight that day caught me at the wrong moment. Yorkists at the far end. 

So , after a bit of dice rolling Floating Jeff and Mechanical Shaun took the Yorkist forces and decided to defend. They were outnumbered but did have the advantage of villainous saltpetre in the form of my almost scratch built  comedy bombard and converted crew. Andrew the Tekkie took the more numerous  Lancastrians.
 He had to attack  over the town ditch which would impede progress and was declared to be "verie muche filled with  the noisome shytte and rubbishe of ye towne" . Or he could take the bridge and keep out of the poo!.
 Longbowmen immediately searched for targets- at a range of a meter in these rules and arrows flew tick and fast.
The Yorkist position showing the come dy bombard and rubber rivers that don't lie down! 

 The "comedy Bombard" ended up being pretty effective - despite all the obstacles I could put in its way. Shaun deftly avoided throwing any doubles so did not explode and managed to actually fire two rather effective shots removing a total of 4 casualties from the Earl of Oxfords retinue which halted their advance for some time. In the Lancastrian centre Lord Clifford company continued its advance and on the left The earl of Northumberland showered Warwick with arrows and caused him to retire into the town- the way was clear to cross. Would Northumerland's men deliberately put feet into the  unwholesome semi- solids of the town ditch?
Yorkist archers on the brigde- not getting their boots covered in poo!
Warwick's company on the far side.

 As it happened they never got the chance Warwick rallied his men with much shouting began to return to the ditch. However that was not the worst for the House of Lancaster. Clifford's company in the centre came under fire again and this time it was too much after a truly bum die roll-  yes a 1- they broke and with his centre gone Andrew conceded.
Warwick.s men rallying in the town.

Archery  became the dominant feature of the game very quickly. Longbows are deadly . Too deadly we felt, so after a bit of discussion we changed firing from D6 base to D10 and Longbows immediately became useless ! . On a D6 base shooting was, or at least seemed, for more effective than in the previous game- even at long range with only a 6 needed for a hit- and plate armoured men needing 2 hits.
 After more discussion we decided to put armour based saving throws into the next game- though not for hits caused by gunpowder weapons. Ranges seem about right though somehow the metric distances don't "feel" right. This is daft I know but a medieval game should have medieval measurement so I'm going to convert the rules to inches. I'll also make a few other modifications but I don't want to change the basic simplicity of the system.. In many ways I'd rather roll more D6 so it should average out rather than fewer but different dice at the behest  of a more complex set of mechanisms..
 Any how that is the theory.......
Clifford's company moves up with Northumberland in support.
The same place in the following turn - BUMMER shouts Andrew as Cliffords men break and  he has nothing left but empty space.

The next outing for these lads will be the Durham Wargames Group open day on June 10th. The game will be bigger with roughly half as many troops again as were on this table and also more villainous saltpetre- yes I have more  comedy bombards .
 Old Glory don't have a trade stand there but as always anybody who wants to avoid paying postage - and collect gear at the show should contact me  at
 Mind you I've gt 2 shows I'm trading at in the coming month Carronade -Falkirk on May 13th and Partizan on May 21st - so a crowded month with no time for any games .
C'est la guerre!

Monday, 24 April 2017

Salute 2017- from the Trader's perspective

Now there is no getting away from it Salute is one of the most important single days in a Trader's year. I'm not saying that a bad 'un can stuff your year  no it is not THAT important but a good 'un can mean you can have some "Jam today" with your  usual bread and water. Mind you last year we had extra Jam so there was no way this year was going to match those dizzy heights.
 I knew this before hand- plenty of chaps had told me they were not going this year - reasons many and varied including "It is mostly fantasy now" and - often this- it's too bloody expensive what with parking and entrance you've dropped £30 plus before you are in -then the prices for cha and wads are ruinous .... so some chaps did not go.- they bought their gear by mail instead.
 Nevertheless we were still knackered by the end of the day and could afford to eat that night and even have a half of shandy to wash it down!
 Overall though I did get the impression that the show was having a slightly "off" year. No big deal, it happens.  No real surprise after the  very high point of last year. I don't think any of this was down to the organiser just chaps taking a breather. There certainly were far fewer European chaps about. I never had to do the "4 customers in 3 different languages at the same time" thing that has been a feature of more than one past Salute. Possibly because of their election, there seemed to be a lack of Frenchmen. I don't recall any Italians though there were several Spanish and some Germans.
 However  the Brexit nonsense makes you wonder if perhaps some chaps just don't feel as welcome here as they used to. It does make you wonder.
 I still didn't get a look round and saw no historical games that took my fancy on my couple of trips to the kharsi.. Indeed only at 1 Participation game did I linger. This being the Tring Club's 40mm Wars of the Roses game. A deliberately simple entry level  game  using my Romanoff Miniatures Warriors for the Working Day range. Now running a PP game is a skill I don't really have but this seemed popular and was well presented. Nice one Boys.
 Don't get me wrong here it is still the best gig in town but not this year quite topping their own hight standards.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Roses with Thorns.

Well that is  the hundred up. One hundred finished 40mm Wars of the Roses figure  finished and based. I've organised these in 6 "retinues" to wit Edward IV Warwick the Kingmaker, The Earl of Suffolk for the Yorkists and The Earl of Northumberland, Lord Clifford and the Earl of Oxford for the Lancastrians. Each retinue has a core of men in livery coats to which armoured men -at -arms and unliveried billmen and archers can be added as the scenario dictates.
 More are of course on the painting table- including conversion for a couple of gun crews.
 I'm enjoying this little aside- which by June and the Durham show will be a good bit larger. I quite like producing unique models- even though I'm no sculptor.

The Earl of Oxford's "Star with Streams"- though the precise appearance is somewhat conjectural.
There are now a fair number of conversions and chop jobs within the collection..

The first few of Suffolk's liveried men. Archer on the painting table.

Being in metal the parts are a good bit less fragile that plastic- larger too being 40mm . Makes life easier- very little hunting about on the floor for bits you have pinged off when cutting them from the sprue.

A small skirmish over a palisade with a mantlet. I built the latter for a still under construction gun. The palisades are by Irregular-supposedly for 40mm but a bit small. I may have to make some taller ones. 
So the project marches on. I've a 40mm waggon to build. That promises to be a challenge.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Catching up on my reading.

Now as a general rules I'm not a massive fan of "amateur" magazines either paper of e-zines. I'm never quite sure what they are about.
 I've read a few and have always ended up just a tab bemused as to why....
 So when I decidec to subscribe to a new e-zine I did wonder why I'd bothered.

Wargamers Notes Quarterly, once I actually got around to reading is does not come across like other publications of its "type". It is far far better than that.
 Now I'm not one of those chaps who expect  a whole magazine to be to their taste every time - and it isn't but that does not make it any worse. Indeed the variety of styles makes it rather the better.
 Point One.
 IT TREATS ME LIKE AN ADULT. Yipee no  childish patronising drivel here. There is an assumption that I can read long words without the use of my fingers and that I won't find any article of more than 1000 wordS too long for my brain.
Point Two
The first two issues (told you I was behind with my reading) are now on my reader and likely to stay there  

 The mix of articles gives you plenty to read  so far shows us that not all wargames are brain  dead one- hour 2 foot  square table skirmishes with 10 men a side. The chaps here have a terrible tendency to use their brains. My personal favourite articles include a re-fight of the Ruso-Japanese Naval battles of 1904-5  . I have small squadrons for this period in 1/600th and this series shows another way to do it. Never a bad idea to see alternatives.
 There is quite a lot of stuff on solo play- never one of my things but again  that does not stop the articles being readable though for myself the idea of taking control of the forces almost entirely out of the players hands is anathema- though in solo play I can see the point- assuming I could see the point of solo play which I never really have but then different strokes etc.
 Anice Sci- Fi "Narrative Campaign  article again gave me the odd idea or two - just get the silly sci-fi stuff out again it is time Denzil Washington Snipes tries to wrest power from Fidel Ernesto Guevara Smith- AGAIN !

Also it has to be said I like the look of this ezine- some care and thought has gone into the presentation.
 Nice one(well two) boys- I await the next issue with interest.
 for info on the mag contact

worth a punt I'd say .

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The Shining does not stop.

Although currently most of my figure painting has been 40mm Wars of the Roses - for our demo at the Durham show in June. I find myself unable to completely (albeit temporarily) abandon Shinyloo.
 I recently picked up a bunch of second hand Stadden 30mm models. These had been through the mill  and some were in a pretty shocking condition. "Painted"(or rather not) by a man who had done the deed with a 4 inch brush whilst wearing a bag on  his head.  These poor lads had then been abused and forgotten- possibly for decades before being rescued by yours truly. They all need a good bit of TLC but most of them can go - once restored -into existing units.
 I've already completed some of them adding to the 44th foot which now boast 2 whole "Charge" style companies plus a few over to start the 3rd which I may just have enough figures in hand for, though some need repairing.and a Battalion HQ. The Royal Scots Greys now has 13 completed figures with 7 more  in hand to do, but all of these need repairs. I've about a dozen Minot French Cuirassiers but all of them need carbine belts as Minot never bothered but gave them a carbine attached to a separate valise which means the weapon hangs from nothing at a silly angle- rather like our current Government. These belts will be made of metal foil- usually from bottles of Italian or Spanish red. I do like a decent Pugliese..
In the Stadden pruchase mentioned above was a single Mameluke. He arrived without plume or Sword and rather battered to boot. Now complete he will join the Chasseurs of the Guard.
 A Sergeant of Line Grenadiers. Plume ad bayonet added. The figure is a Stadden 30mm again in a poor condition when acquired.
I needed a Kings Colour for the 44th. Painting a Stadden standard bearer was the best option.  It was truly a bugger to paint but sits well alongside the Regimental colour. 
Colonel and Colours of the Regiment- all Stadden 30mm figures.
The unit as it currently stands. Effectively 2 Charge style companies. 

As for the French  I have a lot of Minot Imperial Guard and a fair bundle of Stadden but of Line Infantry only a few- most of the centre companies will end up being Hincliffe Foremost- still available but falling into my personal parameters for this project as they were first made in the 70s.. Nevertheless I will have to get some Suren Fusiliers but the "army" is going to be very Imperial Guard heavy simply because the secondhand and restored figures are principally Imperial Guard.
So this project moves on - still slowly - but the first game- using "Charge!" will be this yearas there are now well over 200 completed figures.
 But first I have to get the 40mm Wars of the Roses game for the Durham show in June sorted- more of that in my next post.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Anodyne phrases of advertising blurb.

What is it with so called "professional" organisations these days. You ask 'em a question and they fob you off with bland gobbledegook interspersed with a lecture on how wonderful they are- designed to leave you feeling that if YOU don't think they are wonderful it must be your fault.
Let me explain

Last week I received my copy of Miniature Wargames- the one with the Salute programme in it.  Now this has nothing at all to do with the magazine which was well up to scratch but rather with an advert placed within the Salute programme for the Derby Worlds show in early October.Which has a new ordganiser.....
 Seeing the advert I thought all was well. So imagine my discomfiture when a bare 24 hours later I received an email with the trade stand application form to find that
 a/. the venue had been changed- so was not the one in the advert.
b/. the stand price had risen by almost 20%
c/. almost no explanation was given for the above except to say that "the new owners of the old venue had decided against hosting large events"

Now the new venue-Hanger 42 at Brintingthorpe Lutterworth Leicstershire actually looks pretty good being large and spacious though somewhat out in the sticks which may prove problematic for some (I've so far found no mention of public transport links) and I'm told- not by the organisers that nearby accommodation is thin on the ground so there will be travelling.
 Now I understand that the organisers may have been put between a rock and a hard place but do they say any of this NO we just get how utterly splendid the new venue is and how utterly wonderful it is all going to be provided we all toe the line.

Now as it happens I had a question to do with stand prices and layout as the form was not entirely clear so  I emailed them and did I get an answer - well sort of but again couched in advertising BS which I found infuriating after all I've only been in the trade for 26 years and I know nothing (except the smell of bullshit when it is being spread)

 So whats a chap to do? Well my usual 18foot frontage stand has gone up to £440 and others are of course in proportion. I know of 2 past traders who have told me they are not doing it and I don't blame them.. The likely turnover is such that - with other expenses factored in  (you are spending well over a grand before you have sold a soldier)- that  even breaking even is a risk let alone making a few quid.
 So this year- assuming I attend- still the most likely- I'll cut my stand to 12 feet and only take the 15mm and 10mm ranges. Customers will need to pre-order any 25mm stuff. Now as it happens the majority of sales for the past couple of years have been Blue Moon 15mm so it may not be a bad move and it will save me about £400 or so as I'll drop a staff member too. as there is not room for 3 behind a 12 footer.
 Now I'm still thinking about this but I'm certain that the new broom has not swept cleanand that a new venue- however pretty- won't solve all the problems especially if the punters can't get there but mainly  trying to paper over the cracks with bullshit does not work - well not here anyway.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Small action between York and Lancaster

Yesyerday saw the gathering of the T.W.A.T.S. for the March meeting at our usual haunt and watering hole. As I mentioned in the previous post the game was to be a 40mm Wars of the Roses encounter.
 I decided to use Tony Clipsom's "Foray" ruleset for the reasons outlined in the previous post.
 I've concluded that  my biggest bitch with the whole rampant system - the 2 versions I have being Lion Rampant and Pikmans Lament- is organisational  rather than the actual "game mechanisms". But having said that I realise as I type that in those 2 sets the silly non-historical  organisations are PART of the game mechanism  which for me makes a total non- starter when those organisations are as ridiculous (in historical terms) as the "Rampant" ones are. Obviously medieval small unit organisation - laregly decimal . The English for example had under officers called Vintenars (leader of 20) and cantanars (leaders of 100) and of course there were companies of 20 or 50 in other armies as well as the smaller "organisations" of lower retinues- so the base everything around 6 and 12 whilst saying almost in the same breath that one  model soldier is one man is of course total cobblers. The same basic premise holds for lament and no 17th century organisations were NOT based on 6 and 12  though it holds slightly better here than in the medieval period since quite often  in the ECW a "file" was actually 6 men- though sometimes it was 8 or 10 men to the file. Of course that did not always obtain in other armies.
Shaun site behind his Yorkist forces drawn up on their hill. 

So putting away various forms of Rampant we move on to Foray which  is far more flexible organisationally speaking and yet overall is about the same complexity level  having quite a retro feel to it.
 Present for the game were 4 members Myself, as Umpire. Theatrical Steve , Mechanical Shaun and Andrew the Tekkie. Table set up was two roughly parallel ridges running more or less diagonally across the table separated by a valley with a road running through it down to a river which as it happened never featured in the game.  The Yorkists under Shaun drew up in one body on the larger and higher of the two ridges.. The Lancastrians were in 2 bodies of roughly equal size one commanded by Steve and the other by Andrew- Andrews force was drawn up on the smaller ridge and Steve's in the grounds of the small manor house.

Part of the Lancastrian array under Steve. 
Along Archery dual  ensued after it bacame clear that Shaun was nailed to his ridge. He concentrated on Steve's troops . This allowed Anrew to shoot him up a bit without relpy and in the end some truly bum dice meant that he lost about half of his archers with comparatively small loss to the Lnacastrians.
The other Lancastrian wing under Andrew.
The Hand of Shaun - descends from the Heavens to advance for the crunch. 

Now the Lancastrians advanced and having little choice the Yorkists moved towards  Steve's contingent.. A fierce melee in the centre resulted in Shaun's leader taking a hit but refusing to yeild. However morale results fored a halt on the Lancastrians so Shaun broke contact as  his right retreted andAndrew came up to outflank him. With only his left wing more or less intact - but a little outflanked Shaun conceded the game.
Headless theatrical Steve ponders as the Yorkists advance. 
 The outflanking move goes in - Job done for the Lancastrians. 

Now this was a pretty short game by our standards lasting a little over 2 hours of actual play- with breaks for hot Pork Butties and chips- and beer and an overlong set up time simply because I was winging it and had prepared nothing as I expected to be playing in an AWI game. However Jim had been called to work at the last minute I was suddenly in the chair.
 Despite this all want well and with a bit of tweaking these rules could be really tasty. Indeed there may be other versions about by now as I got these from a  Yahoo group some few years ago and the file says "test version 1.1 "
 Nevertheless I'm much encouraged by this game and want another bash with more troops.
 This will happen at the Durham show on June 11th this year for certain- but maybe we'll get another game in before then.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Rampant Foray?

 I've been dropped in it at very close to the last minute so instead of being 15mm AWI the next T.W.A.T.S  game will be 40mm Wars of the Roses  That will be tomorrow. First time out for my 40mm collection in this period and a good chance to test 2 alternative sets of rules. Even if I do have to wing it a bit.
 Tony Clipsom's "Foray" and- though I hate to say it "Lion Rampant."
 Now on reading my preference is for Foray as it actually assumes you are an adult and has at least some flavour of small scale medieval warfare. They are simple but not simplistic and very open ended. Unit sizes are elastic and there is no straitjacket of a points system. Almost the very opposite of Rampant. They may actually take some thought.
The first of Lord Clifford's retinue.
 I've been adding figures to this collection on and off for a while so that now I'm just a few short of 100 finished models with more on the painting table.

Edward IV retinue- well the first batch anyway. More to do of these.

I'm pretty chuffed with how they are coming out. iI have the Earl of Suffolk's men on the go too. Not having to stick to a hidebound set of rules means I can do whatever size units and groups I like rather than the 6 or 12 of Lion Rampant. Flexibility is the key.

These chaps will of course be added to each retinue as needed as leaders or characters.

So we will see what tomorrow brings.  I'll let you know of course.

Close up of the various Knights and Men-At Arms. 

Thursday, 16 March 2017

In the "Age of the Games Designer."...

There has - it has to be said- something of a gap in my blog posts. There are a couple of reasons for this
 1/. After a slowish start March has gone mental.  The NEW Blue moon ECW range - absolutely wonderful stuff even though I'm  biased-  is selling well the new cavalry and guns are really nice.
2/. Perhaps more to the point. I couldn't think of anything to say.
 Now I hear gasps of disbelief from my Gentle readers. What Big Andy not opening his face to give forth? Has he died ?Does the Sun still move in its wonted course?
 Well yes all is well. It is simply that I'm perhaps having a small bout of wargaming boredom.
 But having said tht see my previous "The past still blasting" and go to the link for Tantobie Internet Tattler  Now on that fine blog you will find a post "Blast from the Past", at the end of the post one of the comments by "Norm"  said  of older magazines

In the first instance, the magazines were the fabric or the glue of the gaming community, especially those not involved with a club. They were the beginning of people by example showing others how to do things in a better way. They did give a strong sense that they were written by wargamers for wargamers. 

 Now I'm not sure I completely agree with that though there is no doubt that magazines were more important back then- Some of the writers were not wargamers- this especially true of articles in  Military Modelling , Airfix Magazine ,Battle and later - to an extent Practical Wargamer.
But also

 that the hobby was actually already pretty sophisticated back then and in that regard, those magazines can still have a modern feel re their content.

 That latter comment set me thinking. For a start, in my view, the hobby has lost much of it's past sophistication- at least as far as much of the "mainstream" is concerned. Of course it depends upon what you mean by sophistication.
The articles in  the magazines  of the 70's and 80's were often significantly more sophisticated and had more depth  that the frequently shorter simpler pieces that are printed today. Rules were frequently more sophisticated than many of today's simplistic offering. Try comparing the 1978 medieval skirmish set "Retinue" with the  child like simplicity of Lion Rampant. or WRG's 1685-1845 set with say "Black Powder"  or  "Firefly" with "Bolt Action" .
This of course is not to say anything about "better" or "worse"  or even Norm's holy grail of commercial success. Let's face it some 1970's rules were almost unplayable and production values were certainly less sophisticated as there were no pretty pictures. But I'm not always sure that today's market is any more sophisticated or  discerning that that of the 70 and 80s. Different yes , more fractured yes and of course the influence of Fantasy and Sci-Fi  "gaming" has been huge and not always to the good.
 If anything  the "game designers"  of this genre have a lot to answer for as Richard Clarke points out in his piece "Sigmoid Curve" in WSS 88. I find myself agreeing wholeheartedly with his premise and not simply for WW2. There is a lot of twaddle uttered by "game designers" - who seem to be a different breed from old fashioned "rules writers" . I'd put it like this a "game designer"  wants to design a playable game he can sell and all sorts of stuff will be subordinated to that end. A rules writer wants to produce a set of rules for a given historical period. that reflect warfare in that period. Now obviously there are shadings here Mr Clarke for instance calls himself a games designer but places himself firmly in the historical camp and backs this with evidence citing his set "Chain of Command" which I have not played but have heard lots of good things about from chaps whose opinions I respect.
 We are now in the "Age of the Game Designer" where it appears that the game is far far more important than anything else- except the sales figures of course. Otherwise why would so much lightweight crap even exist, often seemingly re-cycled in a prettier box at a higher price.
 Now I will take issue with Mr Clarke over one point. He blames the lack of realism in many rules on companies who wish to sell lots of toys that players can put on the table all at once and since these companies also sell the game rules .... then draw your own conclusions. Now I'm not saying he's wrong but tarring all model companies with the same brush is somewhat out of order.
 Old Glory for example do not really produce rules or games. We are a Model Soldier company. Most of the rules we sell come from other sources or are very period specific.. We view then as an adjunct to the soldiers rather than as an engine for selling soldiers. There are a good bundle of Soldier Companies in our world who do not make games at all. The "games company" is one of the unforseen circumstances of the Sci- Fant influence. The "Official Miniatures" line  and similar marketing tripe has had perhaps a pernicious influence out of all proportion in the minds of some of our brethren.
 So MARKETING is far more sophisticated than it was in the 70s and 80s so we come full circle back to the original point, But is marketing all there is to our hobby- I leave that answer to you Gentle Readers.

A little later.
 I've just seen Perry's latest- "TravelBattle"-  on TMP Good Grief! now we have 8mm plastic figures on a pre-coloured pre-everything plastic board. Why  do we need this. I can see that it will add  to God's Anointed Perry's bank balance but if you are that sad that you "need" to take something like this on your hols  for a "gaming fix" then  you may need medical help- or perhaps if you work away - as I did you can play with yourself in your hotel room (and yes all smutty puns intended.) You still may need medical help.
. This feeds directly into the ideas noted above Yet more "Wargaming Lite" at the expence of Featherstone's "intellectual pursuit".
 and no I won't be spending over 50 notes on such a box of twaddle.
 Any spare Nifties I have about the place will be spent on useful stuff such as a third leg......

Saturday, 4 March 2017

The Past- still blasting .

 Found a very interesting post on my good friend Andrew the Tekkies blog this morning

Now Andrew is somewhat younger than I or most of the rest of our group and I found his views on the earlier manifestations of our hobby fascinating. I've already commented on his blog so rather than repeat myself I'd  advise chaps to go and have a butchers.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Rearguard action at Utterly Edge

So there I was setting up the table for the latest T.W.A.T.S meeting yesterday when it cam to me. A question. Why are some wargamers so bloody boring? It must be in the genes- we all do it from time to time especially when riding our own pet hobby horse. Now I'd just had the latest WI drop on the mat and frankly it is tedious  full of "rules spotlights" and sycophantic twaddle about how wonderful the new Perry western desert stuff is. The whole mag was an exercise in product placement. Now you'd expect a bit of that but somehow this issue went over the top. There were a couple of interesting bit- making tents in 10mm and some nice stuff on the last weeks of the Reich - focusing on the Panzer Test facility and its extempore Panzer company. I would have liked more of this  However overall the tone was pretty childish again or rather patronising. It  sometimes seems to me as if the various writers would rather be thought "cool" than educated. Sorry to say this but this is the unforseen, pernicious influence of  SCI-FANT specifically GW and its fanboys and copycats. Even Henry Hyde's column- actually quite thoughtful -has pictures of bloody Airfix all over it.
 What is this bloody obsession with childhood
 This is all a long way from the "intellectual pursuit" that Featherstone aspired to in Advanced Wargames. And by God it is so repetitive and boring .

However back to the plot. I was in the chair for this month's game so I decided on a follow up to the Battle of Shyterly Moor -see earlier post-  I thought I'd use Pike and Shoote for the game this time as I'd had them a while- even read them- but not actually played.
 Time pressure meant I never made specific briefings but no worries I thought  the forces are all in their boxes and aside from detaching a couple of units frOm the Parliamentarian side to simulate losses from the previous engagement  all was set.
The field of battle before anyone turned up.

By Gum You could lose the will to live trying to find stuff in Pike and Shotte- what a faff- even though I 'd read them- and yes bits READ very well. Playing was so bloody slow with all that IGOUGO each player issuing orders 1 at a time by the end of move 1 we had terminal ennui.
 So I switched to  faster set.... WRG....  Well it was the only other set I had to hand.
The Royalists advance.

The actual enagagment was a follow from the Battle of Shyterly Moor  on so the Roundheads had troops deducted to simulate campaign losses- their Cuirassiers had a proper smacking last time out so declined to play this time as had 1 of their foot regiments. However they were reinforced by 2 more companies of militia shot and a couple of guns.
Royalist Horse and Dragoons bimbling about. 

 They had a distinct terrain advantage as I decided to base the scenario loosely upon the battle of Adwalton moor, so the Roundheads had a hedgeline to defend which, while gapped in parts was a significant obstacle to the somewhat more numerous Cavaliers.
Floating Jeff took the Cavaliers and Jim and Shaun the Roundheads
 Quire quickly after the tedious first turn the game became a right slogging match. Strange to say but the roundheads kept about half of their shot in reserve and the brunt was born by the 4 D class militia musketeer units. They stood to it manfully. Giving at least as good as they got and often better.
 The battle developed into a long firefight with only the superior Royalist Artillery giving them any kind of edge.
The Parliamentarians sit safe behind their hedges

 As the afternoon wore on  a unit of royalist horse finally put in a charge against some exposed roundhead shot and after a 2 move fight sent them packing and pursued- only to be hit by the Rounhead horse and sent off in turn. The better controlled roundheads did not pursue and this allowed Jim with the Roudhead right wing to break contact and beat an orderly retreat declaring that he had done enough. The rest of the Rounheads followed suit albeit in a somewhat more disorderly manner abandoning guns and baggage.
The Royalist horse finally make a move. 

 The Royalist - having had a stinging slap in the face contented themselves with collecting more abandoned Roudhead guns and more importantly enough powder for another battle.
 The Roundheads fell back on their fortified base at the town of Utterly.
 But nest time we'll use Forlorn Hope ....