Monday, 27 November 2017

Expectation of arrivals

My next shipment from the USA of  Blue Moon, Old Glory, Sash and Saber and Raven Banner will - so says UPS- be delivered this coming Wednesday. It is a big shipment of 15 boxes/crates containing roughly a quarter of a tonne of miniatures. Chaps waiting for back order will as usual be dealt with on a "longest wait first sorted" basis once I have broken down and sorted out the several thousand packs of figures. This job may take a while but stuff will start leaving here on Thursday and Friday I should think with the bulk going off early next week.
 As soon as this lot is sorted I will be putting in another order to the USA for the gear I've run out of in the intervening time while this order was being cast and packed though I cannot guarantee that I'll get that in hand before Christmas.
As always if your are unsure drop me an email or give me a bell- details on the website - alsp check out the oldglory newsdesk blog on the OGUK  website.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Shiny Chasseurs and a Curassier

As always when you work for a living personal stuff takes longer than you estimate - usually by a good way.
 Thus it was with these finally finished Chasseurs of the French Imperial Guard- Napoleonic  of course. I've been at these for what seems like years and there are only 10 of them. Of course I've been painting other stuff as well both for this project and for others such as the 40mm Wars of the Roses game our group put on at the Durham show last June.




However these are now finally finished all but the Officer being 30mm Minifigs from the late 60s- early 70s . The Officer himself being a Stadden. Horses are Stadden or Willie.





 I've also begun a unit of Minot French Curassiers. These need work most notably with their carbines(which were I dong an earlier campaign I need not worry about but this is 1815 so they need carbines). Now I have carbines for a good number of these. It comes as a small casting integral with the valise but the figures have no carbine belts so as it stands just sort of hangs there uselessly. Carbine belts are easily made from metal foil from used bottles of a decent red. French, Spanish or Italian- your choice, though currently my taste runs to Italian. Its a bit fiddly  but better than letting the carbine hang at a silly angle from nothing in particular. The casualty- hiding quite sensibly in the shrubbery is also a minot.







Was hoping to get the first shinyloo game in this weekend but it does not look likely. Most of the rest of the T.W.A.T.S.  have work commitments so once again I will probably have to postpone until I can get enough TWATS in one place.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Set unit sizes in wargames rules

One of the things in "modern" wargaming that really sets my teeth on edge is the use of set and immutable unit sizes. For me an otherwise decent set of rules such as Honours of War or Maurice is totally ruined by the use of the same unit sizes for all nationalities.
 Now the two sets I have mentioned are by no means the only ones or even the worst offender(That prize goes as with most things to DBR)  indeed any set of rules which enforces a set organisation upon the player will get my back up. Now as it happens I like both Maurice and Honours of war and- certainly with the latter if I can work out how to solve the problem of the set unit sizes the rules will rise further in my estimation.
 If you take even a cursory look at any campaign you quickly see that unit strengths in any give army vary widely and that between armies and nationalities the variation is even wider. So why do so many  of today's "game designers" cop out and impose a set organisation upon the players?. Equally why do so many players accept it. Well that one is easy because its FunFunFun and  please don't ask us to know anything about what we are doing because knowing stuff isn't funfunfun . Of course it may be even more funfunfun if the organisations are completely fictitious and bear no resemblance to reality.(DBR again and of course Pikemans Lament ) Never forgetting for one moment that the funsters only allow their kind of funfunfun  to be any fun at all- and who appointed them the Fun Police anyway?

 So if knowing your military history- even a little bit- isn't fun then why bother to be a WAR gamer at all. There are plenty of games that do not require any kind of knowledge, that are equally as absorbing (so I'm told).
Without the history and knowledge I couldn't be bothered with the actual gaming. It would have no real point of itself and I'm sure I could find another reason to meet my mates down the pub.

However back to the plot.
 Set unit sizes - or rather rules which force set unis sizes are only a gaming convenience. A lazy way of organising rules for the convenience of the game designer and in theory the convenience of the gamer who then- obeying the diktats of the game won't need to sully his mind with anything as difficult as actually knowing about the period he is playing.
 Now there are plenty of rule sets which don't force unit sizes upon you.My favourite commercial ECW set -Forlorn Hope- doesn't. WRG didn't. The Classics didn't really- though Grant came close but you could get round his unit sizes easily as the rules were figure driven WHAB didn't or its offshoots. Young didn't- though his suggested units sort of did the rules were not dependent upon the unit sizes  to actually function and that is the nub of my distaste for set unit sizes.  If the set unit size is and worse- the points system are part of how the combat and morale mechanisms function then - at least to me- it is pretty obvious that the game designer has not read up on his period- or if he has he then decides to chuck all of that out in favour of his favourite(this week) "game mechanism" . Now this may not matter if you are making a fantasy game of a sci-fi game or a game of zombie  vampire cowboy nazis or whatever adolescent bandwaggon you are jumping on this afternoon but it should matter if you are  writing any set of rules which purports to depict an historical period.

As I write it occurs- not for the first time- that there may be a widening distinction between the "game designer" and the rules writer. Their objectives may be very different. A rules writer may actually want to reflect the historical period in his rules for wargaming the military actions of that period.  A game designer may simply want to make  what he considers to be a "good game"- whatever that might be. Now if the 2 differing sets of criteria overlap all well and good  you may - just may get a good game that reflects its chosen period or part of it. Many "games" these days are significantly more limited in scope than say Forlorn Hope or Tactica  or WRG  or even Black Powder . But of course to actually mention this to the Fun Police brings down coals of fire upon any who do not want lightweight adolescent amusement ALL the time (instead of just some of the time) and whose idea of fun  may be different from another zombie dice rolling contest.

The set unit size is of course only a symptom of limited game disease and convenience wargaming and in themselves there is nothing actually wrong with either but if that is all that is left when the Fun Police have finished..... Fortunately at the moment there are still enough blokes out there who have their own idea of fun.













Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Avec mes sabots- a belated part deux....

What seems like an age ago  one of my early posts was entitles "Avec me sabots" in 2012  so it shows how long I have been running this little blog.
 However those were for my 40mm figures. I have used them in the ECW/TYW collections and also for the tiny groups of 40mm Marlburians that I have painted.
The "singles" look.

As I increased the "shinyloo" collection it occurred to me that  some of my more thumbfingered compatriots at the T.W.A.T.S. might not be best pleased at having to move all of the figures about in singles so, just to be on the safe side I invested in some more of those spiffing bases by Warbases only this time I chose those with 20mm diameter holes for the 30mm figures of the "shinyloo" forces.
 Maling these new sabot bases fit in stylistically is not a problem- a bit fiddly perhaps but definitely worth the effort.. The biggest problem was making sure the base -tex didn't gum up the holes.
 I still think I prefer the single figure look overall but these are a useful compromise as they are still pretty attractive. Also an unforseen advantage arose. The French should deploy in 3 ranks- so I bought bases that were 3x3 for them so each French "Charge" type company of 18 men is on 2 bases. The British companies of 16 men are on either 1 base in 2 ranks of 8 or 2 bases each of 2 ranks of 4 . Actually I bought the wrong bases for the Brits- well too many of the 16man bases anyway- or so I thought at first, but now I have both options available and I'm even beginning to think about extending this idea into other periods.

The "sabot" look.

Cavalry will remain as singles- unless I can get bases made to order- which is certainly possible. For charge type games I think I'd do cavalry bases in 4s... still thinking about this though. It may even be that for actual melee contact in games I will make the players leave the bases behind.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

More on Derby worlds

I've had this round robin email from the DerbyWorlds organiser as well as being asked to join some possibly non-existant Farcebook group to "present a cohereant front" or somesuch. Now when I followed the suggestions to join said group nothing happened and I've had nothing back from the emailer of the invitation. However here is the text of the DerbyWorlds organiser email in full

Hi All,

Here is a summary of the Derby Worlds 2017 show.  We appreciate all the efforts made by traders, tournament players, demo games and participation games to help ensure the show was a success.  As you are all aware, in March this year, Donington, with no notice cancelled our booking (which was made in March 2016!), and we still have not given the deposit back.  We were faced with cancelling the show or getting something underway.  Options were limited as we needed a large enough venue which also had that date available and as the only viable option was Hangar 42 we elected to go for that rather than simply cancelling the show.  A show rarely recovers from a missed year.  Whilst the new venue certainly has improved lighting, parking and overall facilities, the 20% less usable floor area compared to Donington was always going to be an interim challenge.  Many people think we chose to move venue, but I can assure you we did not want to.  It created a massive amount of unplanned work and substantial cost too.  For clarification, Donington no longer host events, and even the car boot sales, antique sales etc have been left in the same situation as us.

Overall the show went well with the vast majority of attendees both enjoying it and appreciating that it did in fact take place.  As anticipated, the total attendees were slightly down compared with 2016, and that was expected with the venue change.  Total number of paying visitors were 16% down at 1458 over the weekend compared to 1728 in 2016.

We advertised heavily in the press in the 6 months ahead of the show and on Facebook, Twitter and gave out over 20,000 flyers with the new location and details on there, as well as adding direction signs at all major junctions heading to the venue.

The main challenge in regard to space on the day, is that a small minority of traders took a very selfish line and for example having booked a 12ft x 6ft stand, took a 12ft x 10ft space and so reduced the aisle width as well as taking space from other traders, forcing further issues.  Others with a 24ft x 6ft booking ignored direct requests to them (and us physically moving their tables back to the stand size they had booked) and created a 26ft x 9ft stand, again compromising the aisles and other trade stands. The vast majority of traders were hugely supportive of the event continuing and were extremely helpful throughout the weekend, and a number of them even compromised their stands in light of others actions of others.  We are truly thankful to those.  Some traders and demos already have booked for 2018.  Two of our staff members who were key to running the event did not turn up for work despite having those 3 days of the show booked in their work schedule.  That situation has been resolved.  The company setting delivering and setting up the tables were scheduled to be finished at 12.00 and did not finish until after 14.00 which compounded the issue too.

The feedback on the catering was positive, especially in comparison to Donington.  Likewise many visitors liked the fact they could pay their entry by card and keep cash for the show.  The cash machines with free withdrawals were relatively popular, and enabled many to take cash out for show purchases.  The vouchers given out for the tournament entrants worked well and certainly ensure a good flow of sales from the tournament players.

As is the way of the world, it is easy to post negative comments on internet forums and I am sure you have read some of them.  Sadly none of them have taken any time to find out the background or future plans, and indeed contain inaccuracies.  Surprisingly some traders have also made posts too rather than establish any facts.  Some of you have written in, or phoned in, and given us constructive feedback for 2018.  The actions we can put in place are key to the show continuing in 2018 and beyond.  It is nice to note that there is a balance out there and some have taken a more positive tone, with a clear knowledge of the issues that Donington created for us at short notice.

Certainly for 2018 the following actions are being implemented, and I am sure further ones will too.

Marquee outside for Tournaments to allow us to create 8ft trader stands plus 8ft aisles in the main hall.
Marquee outside for Tournaments with booking-in to reduce the tournament entry queues.
Additional signs for the toilets (as although on the plan some were unaware of the 2 toilet blocks on the far side of the hall)
Even more signs at junctions leading to the venue.
Increased Derby Worlds staff.
Look at how we can have the 2nd roller shutter accessed for setup/breakdown too.
Revise the setting up of the tables to increase the start time available on Friday for setting up from at least midday.

Derby Worlds 2018 will be on the 6th and 7th October 2018.  We anticipate with the actions in place as above that the event will run much more smoothly in 2018, though any thoughts and directions appreciated as ever to ensure that Derby Worlds continues to be a key event on the Wargaming calendar.

Kind regards
Josh



Now if they put this lot into practice some of this years teething problems will go. Though I didn't need a sign to find the loos. As I said in the previous post on this subject as a new untried show it was OK . I was well aware of the short notice problem and none of the actual practical difficulties really gave me the hump other than up to a point the overcrowding of the trade area-
 So lets see if they can do what they want to do. Hope so 

Friday, 13 October 2017

The Battle of Bumbletown September 1777

So there were were a mere 4 T.W.AT.S. for our September game. A  game which had been put off until the 30th for various reasons- on the 29th it looked as if 7 or 8 members would turn up but last minute work and  a case of the Squitters put paid to that!
  Therfore Gentle Reader  there were only 4 stalwart fellows for this engagement.
 to wit- Myself ,Jim the Builder , Andrew the Tekkie and Mechanical Shaun. Jim was in the chair and he elected to run a 15mm AWI game with his rather tasty collection of newly painted Blue Moon. Rules would be the  AWI  set British Grenadier.
 The stage was set for a bit of a bloodbath.....
The Battlefield a few moves in . The British navigate past the pond, The Patriot redoubt on the extreme right.Bumbletown on the left. 

 The Patriot Forces- this time commanded by yours truly were a mixed bag as you would expect . Some decent regulars and some iffy militia backed up by good artillery, This lot faced a somewhat larger British force of all regulars including Grenadiers and Footguards with a German Brigade of Hessian mercenaries and slightly less artillery than the Patriots.
 Aredoubt containing our 4 guns dominated the right and much of our centre and funnelled the British somewhat o n the left the hamlet of Bumbletown (founded by Jedidiah Bumble in 1763 pop 69) was defended by the Bumbltown Minutemen. The main American battleline was a bit stretched and despite fence lines and redoubts this was- eventually- a serious matter.

View from Bumbletown across the field.. Their are an awful lot of British. 

 However all started well for the  outnumbered Patriots with their artillery performing particularly well. The German Brigade- commanded by Shaun  however began an advance on Bumbletown whilst in the centre the British Brigade hung back somewhat because of the havoc being caused by the Patriot guns in the redoubt . Also - after hanging back for a while a unit of Patriot backwoodsmen advanced from the redoubt into the woods to their from with the intention of taking the British guns in flank and subjecting them to accurate rifle fire. This took time but eventually was to neutralise the British guns as well as seeing off a small infantry unit.
The Bumbletown minutemen resist the Hessian onslaught.

On the Patriot left the Hessian bundled the minutemen out of Bumbletown but were brought up short by the fence line and a battalion of regulars. Taking heart the minutemen saw off the Hessian Jaegers and the regulars eventually broke a musketeer battalion - with help from the militia.
 However in the centre the deluge was about to appear- no less than 4 British battalion including Grenadiers and Footguards descended upon the Patriot centre.. Enfilading fire from a militia battalion was not enough (odious cubes!) nor was a first volley from a battalion of regulars(odious cubes again) and after a brutal melee the regulars broke finding British Grenadier bayonets just too much.(odious cubes yet again).
 It is starting to go just a bit pear shaped..

With a gaping hole in the centre and the left engaged with the Hessians it was time to go - so standing not upon the order of our going we went ....

Allover me like a rash. Time to be off home I think.

The extra 2 British units were crucial here giving them a powerful reserve to which our mixed bag of regulars and militia ultimately had no real answer- yes we bloodied them and at one point Andrew was ready to pack it in, in despair but Shaun stiffened his resolve and shouted  "Vorwarts" in crusty  Germanic accents !  Guzzeling his diet Coke the while(well he was driving so his beer was imaginary)

So it all went pear shaped at the end for the Patriots.. Nevertheless a pretty good game. I do like British Grenadier despite a few foibles it is the best commercial AWI set I've come across - and would work well for the War of 1812 and possibly- with a few amendments 18th century India as well.
 As always thanks are due to Landlady Jean for excellent Beef Butties and the White Hot was very drinkable as well- cos I wasn't driving .

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Derby Worlds 2017- A traders view.

Last weekend saw the latest incarnation of the Derby World Wargames- now called "DerbyWorlds"  at the new venue of Bruntingthorpe in the middle of Rural Leicestershire.
 The high trade stand price (20% rise on last year)  gave me to decide on a smaller stand and only take the 15mm lines- which currently outsell 25/28mm by almost two to one. Customers could of course pre-order anything we  have in stock of whatever size- so chaps orders 10mm and 25mm and even some 40mm - without these pre-orders  we would have been dead and buried. Most of the other traders I spoke to said the same.
 Now I doubt not that other bloggers will heap coals of fire upon the heads of the organisers - and yes some are possibly deserved - but equally some are not.
Bruntingthorpe is 10 miles away from almost everything  but once you get there it is not a bad venue at all. I've been in worse many times- any sweaty jock-strap and wee wee smelling sports hall for a start. In theory access was pretty good and unlike some we had no problem unloading on Friday. Though loading up at shows end was a bit like wacky races.

 Blaming the actual venue  for a poor show is of course nonsense the venue problems were all caused by the show organisers- well the new one anyhow. You can't get a quart into a pint pot. This venue was about 30% smaller than Donnington yet  the same or greater numbers of Traders games and competitions were shoe horned in- like a fat bird trying to get into a size 10 frock.  So the show was cramped and oversubscribed for the size of the venue- not the fault of the venue. Lighting was a bit average but at least part of that was caused by the overcrowding and the height of some traders advertising banners.
 Trade was not exactly brisk but over the whole weekend we did OK but no more than that. Frankly not awful for a new show in a new venue- which despite its ancestry this event was.  Catering was well above normal show standards  but as is often the case at these "event venues" not exactly cheap. Mind you the roast pork butties were excellent..

 My biggest bitch with the whole affair was the tone and attitude of  Kaiser Rushforth Ltd- who now seem to own the event.- It was they I paid my stand fee to rather than as previously Derby Wargames Associates. It was obvious from the printed show guide that this event was no longer the Derby World Wargames - to present a showcase for the whole hobby- but rather a showcase foe the owning company to promote their view of the hobby and to make a few quid(nothing wrong with that last bit but  the tone wasn't half laying it on a bit thick) Indeed I'd go further the whole tone of the organisers emails was rather like a workshop junkie on speed - continually telling we traders how exciting it all was and how wonderful it all would be- as if they were trying to convince themselves or manipulate us and the customers.- and assuming we were all 10 year old boys. I could small the  patronising corporate BS  from some distance. Not only was it slightly unpleasant it was not needed.
 None of that really impinged upon the actual show but may have helped to make it rather less than it should have been.
 However taking the show as a new event with the associated teething problems of such then overall it was not too bad sort of a 5 out of 10 maybe a 6 - just(the last point for the Pork Butties alone really)

Will I go back- probably . Will I take a larger more expensive stand- no chance. We will stick to a smaller stand and take only 15mm lines for the day sales. Other sizes will once again need to be pre-ordered..
 Do the organisers need to up their game? Damn right they do for the wedge that the traders and the punters are putting out somebody needs to be less patronising and a little bit smarter.
 We'll see what next year brings

Friday, 22 September 2017

A Perfect Storm(ing)

 The appearance of a photo of Todd Fishers amazing Storming of the Tuiilieries  game in the most recent WI causwed me to dig out my one and only copy of the now defunct US magazine Historical Gamer with its article written by Jim Purky on that splendid game.
 Now as I've said previously I was involved in that I built Paris.... well 36 square feet of it  for that game. Ian Weekly built the actual palace and 2 other chaps whose names escaped me until I re-read the article also supplies building and scenery for the game namely Duke Siefried who constructed the gardens and Herb Gundt who provided the posher bits of upper crust Paris that I didn't do . No my job was the festering slums of the Sans Cullottes and it was a far far better thing than I ever did - up to that point anyhow.
 But rather tha go on  here is the picture that started this current trian of thought and following is the article from Historical Gamer

.
The photo which appeared in the current Wargames Illustrated- no 360. The picture is at least 26 years old.
 We knew how to wargame back in the old days !!

  It is now over a quarter of a century since the game was played. Now as it happens I didn't play but I know cos I was there- with paint and glue all over my fingers.
 Wouldn't have missed it.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

A Pair of Magazines

It has been a while since I looked at the various magazines on offer. This has been mostly because of simple time pressure. It has been pretty busy here for a showless September. No complaints though! It simply means that I don't have much time for extraneous activities  such as reading the magazines.
 However the hubbub has slowed to its normal dull roar so I can find enough time to take at least some notice of the rest of the wargaming world .
 So first off Miniature Wargames
 This one is no414 so it has been a year since John Treadaway took over.
 Now if you are a Sci-fant dude this is a good issue indeed. Not only does it have the Darker Horizons section which has some readable reviews but also in the body of the mag a nice piece by Roger Dixon on building a "Customs Office"  since this was a follow up from the previous issues"Landing Pad" there is a definite Sci-fi vibe. Yet it is not in "Darker Horizons"  The creeping insidious anti- history crusade continues?
 Nevertheless Mr Dixon knows what he is about and it would not take a great brain to simply miss out the obvious sci-fi elements and make this a scruffy border post for any era from say 1914 onwards.
 Now as regular readers will know I'm not really a sci-fant chap. I do have a small sci-fi collection and yes they may come out of their boxes once in a while for the odd silly lightweight game but Fantasy is another matter. I admire the sheer artistry of some fantasy miniatures-see those on page 37 of this issue-but my problem with Fantasy is twofold,
1/, It is so much more expensive than historical stuff. Sometimes massively so. Therefore beginning from scratch is going to cost a good wedge of bunce.
2/, The killer-  I'd not want to simply copy someone else's fantasy but have one of my own as it were- in much the same way as the fictional countries afficianardos do . The idea of  simply pulling another fantasy skirmish-a -like out of the box and being merely a rules slave just knocks the whole idea  of Fantasy Wargaming on the head for me. (As an aside my preference would be more Hyborian than Middle Earth with perhaps a few shades of  Cabot of Gor... but it is not going to happen despite the plethora of splendid figures about.)

 Anyway back to the mags
 Despite the foregoing there are a couple of decent historically based pieces here Jon Sutherland continues with his revamping of old Ancients rules. I actually played "Hoplite Warfare" back in the day and recall enjoying it simply because it WASN'T W.R.G..
 Dave Tuck's piece on "Wargaming my Way- or rather as he puts it "our way" for his group had me nodding in agreement.
 The show report on Claymore was very useful. I was there but too busy to see most of the games- never for instance saw the Nordlingen game at all .
A second part to his Solo Colonial by Chris Jarvis also appeared but solo just does not float my boat- does NOT mean that this was not- like it's first part- a useful piece.
 Back this up with a good slew of reviews- including some Old Glory and Blue Moon product- even if the Editor did have bother navigating the OGUK site ( Sorry John that is the problem when you have almost 5000 different products most of which are not your thing .... ) and you have a pretty rounded issue.

 Included with this was the Show Guide for the Derby Worlds- which is of course nowhere near Derby this year, It is pretty obvious that the new owners want to turn this show into a Fantasy heavy  competition heavy event. Most of the infomercials are from fantasy outfits as are most of the adverts. Yet to counter that I'm happy to see that SSAFA have a stand. This is a charity worth supporting so I will again.
 Only a couple of weeks to this event now so we'll see. Just a reminder that OGUK will only be taking 15mm to the show- so All the Blue moon we have plus Command Decision. If we have any room left we will add some 10mm  but  no 28mm (except maybe Drabant) and no 40mm will be coming to the show. Pre-orders are welcome- see the Old Glory Newsdeak on www.oldgloryuk.com

Wargames Illustrated.
 As usual a very slick issue concentrating on"Revolution- wargaming revolts and uprisings"- or so the cover says. In practice this means the AWI and the Russian Civil War. However there is a good selection of other articles tow  including the rather bizarre idea  of using the "Rampant" system for Bronze age warfare- another bloody skirmish-a - like then . Yes another skirmish -a- like appears in the form of a "game" called "Forager"  in which - so we are told "the deeds straight out of a  Sharpe novel can come to life"- what again!!  Been there done that. I wonder who actually buys all these neverending revamps of yet another skirmish game. There are so so many about. Does the tedium never end.
 Now none of that is the fault of the magazine but the massive number of similar skirmish games really is becoming so samey- can't the games designers find another bandwagon to jump on for next month?
 The rest of the articles are actually not half bad if a bit samey to look at- though the James II article was a bit of a stand out for me.  Historicon looked good. I must get over there again as it has been a few years now. Indeed I got a bit of a shock on page 15 of the mag was a picture of Todd Fishers celebrated "Storming the Tuilleries "game . I hadn't seen that for years.  And yes it brought back memories as I was involved more than a little.Now as it says Ian Weekly built the palace itself but the 36 square feet of Revolutionary Paris was built by your Gentle Author.
 The only other pictures I have of this massive game appear in the now defunct US magazine "Historical Gamer" from October 1992 where unlike WI  I do get a mention. Mind you the WI staffers simply may not have known who built what if was over a quarter of a century ago....

Other articles cover the Helder campaign of 1799 - interesting this - one I've looked at myself in the past as well as a visit/interview with Sarissa Precision- another of those lazer cut building outfits- with some nice looking gear.
Its is a full magazine and I've missed stuff out- a wonderful looking "Camrai" game at Partizan for instance- again I was too busy to see the bloody  thing at the show so photos have to do.
 Ah C'est la Guerre!

I'm still not that keen on the layout of WI to be honest but this issue was a good bit less "in yer face" than some previously so perhaps it is getting better.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

The waiting will soon be over....

It has been a bit of a thin time here at OGUK the last week or so. I've been waiting for my next shipment from the USA for what seems forever.  Well it should arrive this coming Wednesday, according to UPS. There will be 11 boxes/crates with an awful lot of soldiers in them. Some of this stuff was actually ordered in Mid-July. Indeed some was ordered in late June but didn't get into my last shipment.That would be the new 15mm Boxer Rebellion from Blue Moon. However more of this range has come out since then so I should have almost all of it in this shipment.

 Local readers of this might wonder why I'm writing on the same day as the Border Reiver show- well chaps I'm not there nor will ever be again. For details see earlier posts or indeed contact me directly


 Anyhow on to more important matters- well anything at all really. I'm also hoping to have at least some of the new Blue Moon Napoleonic Russian Cossacks in this shipment though probably not all of them as some were released too late to go in I think. Likewise the newest British Napoleonic release but any that are missing from this lot I'll get in next time which shipment will hopefully be timed to arrive in time for the Derby Worlds at the new venue in rural Leicestershire on 7th and 8th October
 Now as I have said previously I'm only taking a 12 foot stand at this event so will only be bringing 15mm and possibly 10mm to the show. The only 28mm we will take for certain is Drabant  Raven Banner and just maybe our remaining discounted unit packs. All other stuff will need to be pre-ordered although we will be offering our "pay at the show and get it post free" service for items we don't have with us.


So that is all the news that is fit to print this time around More info as I get it
 The Old Glory UK newshound .....



Dateline September 7th 2017
 11 boxes arrived yesterday- finished unpacking them and have sorted much  but not all
 I now have stock of the new Boxer Rising range and the new Russian Napoleonic Cossacks as well as a bundle of Mad Anthony Wayne.
 These will be added to the website in the next few days- some are already there but need to be activated.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Other things that Shine.

Regular readers will notice that I'm quite taken with my "Shinyloo" project  which finally is almost table ready. Indeed if all goes to plan the next but one T.W.A.T.S   game should be their first outing. The whole project is so different from my other periods- not just in terms of look but also in terms of approach and yes style. In theory this will also change the "gaming experience" though that awful phrase was never part of the original idea.
A Stadden AWI British General, possibly Howe, bought in the 1980s already secondhand.
Repainted at least once and possibly with as many as 3or 4 coats of varnish!

 Indeed  most modern gaming jargon leaves me cold as it is frequently gobbledegook and often put in to confuse and obfuscate the lack of actual content in the latest skirmish-a-like. The "rampant" series being a perfect example of this (though by no means the only one) 3 or 4  books containing mostly the same rules trying to get the punters to believe that they are different. The startling thing is that some of you fall for it. Indeed I did myself and only AFTER purchase did I realise I had bought a pig in a poke.

However the foregoing is not to the point  caveat emptor thinks I, moving on...

 So getting back to the shine and the main thrust of this piece. "Shinyloo" has caused me to re-think quite a few of my smaller wargaming periods- especially those where the collections have older figures in them.. Now the ECW collection is already split into two distinct groups and is not small having both older Hincliffe and Garrison  units- most bought from DC of the splendid "Unfashionably Shiny" blog but also additions of my own - most notable my single regiment of Les Higgins Jason 30mm and a single troop of Jason cavalry but also more recent additions from this year of Hincliffe,Essex and Foremost cavalry. All of these are shiny dudes simply because it seems to fit the style of the models. Equally I have more "modern" ECW forces- almost entirely Old Glory given a matt finish and again added to as recently as a couple of months ago. Now I've no objection to using all of these on the same table for a big game but with around 1000 plus figures to move to the pub it is not likely to happen soon. Nevertheless the point  here is that - for certain periods- shiny has taken my fancy.

Shiny scenery. All of the hedges, fences and haystacks are at least 60 years oldand have been repainted and repaired as well as being based up for wargames


So  given that some of the first Stadden 30mm I ever bought- sometime in the late 80s were AWI- all secondhand and including a steal of a 30 plus man unit of SYW Prussians for a mere two quid at a Durham wargames group auction , you'd think that my AWI forces would be as shiny as can be. But no gentle reader, you would be wrong. When I first painted them yes they were shiny but for reasons which now escape me I matt varnished them in the noughties. Gawd knows why, upon reflection - possibly because my modern AWI units were matt and indeed still are.. Anyhow digging out the AWI forces for a future game I realised that the matt varnished Staddens were a bit dull and chipped and could do with a bit of TLC  which they are now slowly getting- along with nice new shiny coats of fresh varnish. Now since I was also restoring and repainting some 1950s Britians and Timpo fences and haystacks at the same time then they received a coat of gloss varnish as well  so we now have shiny scenery!. Some of these -bought for just a few quid- scenic items are actually for 54 mm figures but don't look out of place with 30mm or 40mm. They did need a good bit of restoration- one of the hay haystacks had a hole in it- being hollowcast it was a bit obvious. However filling and re-texturing was no problem and now the only way I can tell where the damage was is by touch. All the items needed repainting but that was a doddle- even trying to make the flatish hedges look a bit like a theatre backdrop was not too difficult- though I may need a tad more practice at this.

Stadden 30mm American riflement skulking behind hedges and fences 



 I've thought for some time that I wanted a somewhat different look to some of my collections and games. I don't know about you but these days many show games look so samey- especially from more than 6 feet away. Green blocks of terrain tiles  ready made scenery - often those laser cut buildings- which not infrequently look like  flatpack furniture for the wargames table unless some chap has put in the extra effort needed to make them look like model buildings. Of course it depends on the when and the where but I do find myself surprised and indeed rather pleased when a demo- game LOOKS different from the herd. Newark- this coming Sunday is always a respectable bet for games that stand out as it has not, so far, been infected with samey-gamey 4 feet square skirmish -a -likes to the same extent as other shows I've been to over the last few years.

Stadden  AWI British grenadiers with light Infantry doing their own skulking.


Now I'm not altogether sure where this is going  but if I get a retro look to the scenery that fits the retro look of the figures- both AWI and Napoleonic then my work here is done.......

More Stadden. . Units will grow as I repiant and restore these old figure. 


Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Not sure what to think!!

As you are all well aware our hobby is very individual. Would not have it any other way myself, yet sometimes, just sometimes something really makes me wonder why the hell some blokes bother.
 So it was when MW412  plopped on the matt a few days ago.
 Actually it is not a bad magazine the star article being for a Caesars Gallic War campaign. Althoigh not really my thing this is meaty stuff and I'm sure some of the ideas and mechanics could be used for later periods.
 The " Island in the Sun article... well although set in 1935  technologically speaking it felt more like 1905 or 1915  as far as the political background went- nothing too new here - Featherstone was doing  his "Mythical East Asia " campaign in the 1960s and this reads like an updated version . Nothing wrong with that at all.
In the steadily growing Darker Horizons Fantasy section there was actually something decent - needed to be after the nice to look at but risably  sub-titled "How to paint a  realistic elven army" - my italics- Gimme a break ! Since when did Elfs  become real.?
 Now this new piece highlighted the Dropship from the movie Aliens and was basically a how build one using a commercial kit and as a sometime SF game it was tempting. I can see the 69th M.I.LF. debussing from one or more of those suckers but as I'm unlikely to drop a ton and half for  just one of them I will have to find another option ..... Nice article though.

 There was other stuff- building Greek Temples and a pirate scenarioand a nice little piece about the Maidstone Wargames Society but the rest of the mag - bar one piece- was mostly reviews- including a long review of Bob Cordery's Portable Wargame books- now however interesting these may be to some I simply can't see the point. If you are so time, or family or space pressured that you can only give up an hour or so a week to wargaming then frankly I would not bother. You should have better things to do.

 Now as it happens I only tend to actually PLAY around a dozen times a year or even a little less- which actually works out at  a bit less than an hour a week but personally I'd rather spend time doing fewer but arguably better games  with my mates that this 2 foot square fiddlefarting about just because they need to indulge a "gaming fix". Oh and no I don't have- or indeed want my own table- rather have more bookshelves and play at the pub with the rest of the T.W.A.T.S. We actually - at least some of the time prefer to put a bit of personal effort in.

Speaking of effort we now come to the piece that inspired the title of this post. "Hypocrisy in Wargaming- written by - once you read the piece- one of the Hypocrites. He makes it clear that he likes the visual side of the hobby and tells us how important it is- then says that it shouldn't matter , well not for him anyway . Not that his assertions are wrong  but I'm afraid he just come across as a bit whiney. It is at bottom another anti- painting and modelling piece by one of the "Can't paint , won't paint" brigade- though I suspect that being colour- blind is a bit of a handicap. Having said that one of our members suffers from this malady to an extent and it has not stopped him. This fellas seem to come from the Fantasy competitions part of the hobby -  but the piece appears in the main body of the mag rather than the Fantasy Ghetto of "Darker Horizons".

 I'm not sure but this lad seems to have been persecuted for putting unpainted models on the table at  some Fantasy Competition or other using some game I've never heard of by a company I don't care about. If true- no reason to doubt the chaps veracity- then somebody is guilty of at best bad manners at worst being a complete bastard deserving of one of two outcomes. Either walk away and tell 'em to shove their competition or give the offender a punch up the throat- your choice here depending upon the severity of the offence! (But of course in the whiney world  you have created you can be as nasty as you like to anyone you like without fear of retribution... and they call it freedom ...)

 This must be a fantasy thing. I've not seen unpainted models on a table at a public event since about 1979 and even then that was unusual enough to be memorable (They were flesh pink Atlantic plastic Ancient Egyptians). I've not had unpainted models on any of my games since about 1974. As I grew up it became one of those  "Things That Are Just Not Done" - you know like farting before a Bishop - (especially when you know it should be his turn!)

So it seems to me as if this bloke wants to use his disability to explain why he- and others like him should not follow the rules laid down(or perhaps not) by the various fantasy outfits who run these competitions. You know if it was me I'd tell 'em to "garn ferk thersels"  in no uncertain terms.
 Some of the claims he makes about the various competitions  simply would not happen in Historical wargaming(you must use this brand of figures for this game - again GFY)  The piece overall simply made me even  less likely to ever play any form of Fantasy game ever. The whole scene comes across from this a just too narrow and possibly at times dammed unpleasant.

I'll go and play with some more civilised gentlemen down the boozer !












Sunday, 9 July 2017

Odious Cubes Strike again... and fiddling in a little sack!

There are large parts of our hobby that I find distinctly risable and last Saturday saw laughter in fine measure- both at ourselves and at the situation.
 Let me explain....
 Saturday saw out usual gathering at our usual watering hole for a game. We had a total of 6 members abnd guests present. Steve- in the chair Andrew Shaun, Lim aka Garth- and Liam's younger brother Jake
 Steve was in the chair and opted for a WW2 Russian Front game in 20mm. He has a really cracking collection of models by various makers including Elheim a maker I'd not seen in any detail before-who do some really sweet 20mm models. If I were a 20mm man I'd be sending some shekels his way but I'm not so I'm saved!!
Russians- dug in . 

 I opted for the Russians- expecting some T-34 and Katyuska .WRONG!  It is 1941 so the Russians don't have any decent kit. Hi-tech is a T -26 or BT-7  or some big klunky wossname with guns sticking out in all directions but not enough crew to man them all.
 Mind you the Germans were not much better off top of their tree was a 38t
 So the stage was set for an interesting day- just not quite in the way I imagined.
Panzer 38t.Halted by consistant Russian Mortar fire. 

 Steve chose the "Battlegroup"  rules which the rest of us had never tried and yes they very definitely have a plus side but they also have some pretty strong minus points as well . Most notably  no command structure worth a damn...(actually that is not strictly true but you will see what I mean)  Very VERY dice heavy- this is another "game" where  rolling D6 is seen as an intellectual activity and also some fiddling about in a small sack to draw chits- which are mostly pointless unless they are super deadly. Both sides spent at least as much time fighting the rules as they did each other. This "game" suffered from the modern curse of "mechanisms" seemingly put in for their own sake rather than as an aid to the players understanding of how battles worked.
The Germans finally reach their intitial objective.

  This game was at a relatively low command level of squads and platoons rather than say CD where the level is companies and Battalions. The major problem here was in the area of command. Now as you would expect the Russian Command Structure in 194 was a bit ropey to say the least. No problem there but the game called for you to roll "order dice" every move to see how many orders you could issue. Again no problem there, not a bad idea at all. However for reasons not explained to me troops immediately forgot any orders they had already been issued with at the beginning of each turn. Further a tank unit for example consisted  of individual tanks which each had to be issued an individual order so 5 tanks 5 orders-  though there seemed to be some kind of "command Radius" which meant tanks were almost track to track-each turn even if an order had already been issued to them. Add to this an IGOUGO turn system and the game slowed to a crawl with large periods of time doing nothing, waiting for the other side.  Andrew commented that the whole thing felt rather "bitty". I know what he means.. The skill - with this "game" is to fight the rules not the opponent. I can see the point of some of this stuff after all it introduces Clauswitzian friction into the game rather nicely but this is obviously designed as a "game" for mechanism freaks rather than period freaks ... and in this particular case the drawing of chits from Steve's little felt sack changed the game so utterly that skill or period knowledge had nothing to do with it at all only luck- there were apparently 2 "air strike" chits in the bag-  out of around 50  chits I think the Germans drew them both in succession and killed 60% of the Russian armour in 1 turn - or was it two. The Russian air and artillery was not negligable- halting their tank advance and wiping out an infantry squad and frankly had it not been for the luck of the draw the game may well have bogged down into a stalemate as each side fought the rulebook to try to get something to happen. I would have expected a German command superiority here but Shaun And Andrew seem to have lesser but similar problems- they never seemed to be abler to move all of their troops - even those not in contact without the re-issuing of the same repeated orders each turn.

The start of the Russian counter attck. Most of these troops and more would be slaughtered by 2 Stuka attacks .


 Frankly that to me is a clumsy mechanism which does not reflect the actuality. Troops will usually attempt to carry out there orders until the situation changes so having to repeat the same order to non-moving troops or troops not in contact with the enemy is just silly and over complex. Now changing orders can be hard so perhaps needing more order points to change an order would help here rather than repeating yourself. Overall there was more than a hint of  the currently fashionable "game mechanism for the sake of mechanism" here than a set of low level WW2 rules.

The Victorious Germans after our single air strike came in. 

 Yet these were not complete rubbish by any means. We will need to play several more games to be sure but there is a bit of potential here. Combat resolution is pretty simple- artillery does work well  though perhaps some kind of observation rules might help. One game does not give you all the nuance- assuming these rules have any- but I'm certainly willing to give them another bash

Monday, 3 July 2017

Shining again

I decided to have a little bash at photographing some of the nice shiny French I've recently added to the "Shinyloo" project which now only needs some available table time for the first game. I suspect that a little tweaking will be needed but nothing major.


 When I consider what bloody awful condition some of these figures were in when I bought them and how they look now I am on the verge of being rather smug- if not actually so !



 The Chasseurs of the Guard are mostly old 30mm Minifigs on Stadden or Willie Horses . Most of the Grenadiers are Minot- with some Stadden
 The single Mameluke is a Stadden




My mind is working towards using "Charge!" for the games but with a few amendments. Mostly to organisation - French Companies for instance will have 18 privates- allowing them to form 3 ranks of 6 . They will of course only be allowed to fire 2 ranks deep. This should neatly give the British their historical fire superiority without unbalancing the rules. -Solving the tactical problem this causes will be the French Commanders task. The only other amendment I'm thinking of is adding specific rules for the British Rifle. A longer range certainly but hampered by slower loading, perhaps an ability to "pick off" officers etc at closer ranges. Still thinking about this. Possibly not until a game or two have actually been played .


The following day.
Had another look at the batch of pictures I took  before deleting the rubbish and decided to add 2 more photos to this group. The Grenadier officer with his arm stuck out is a 30mm Minifig with a replacement sword from flattened brass wire. The Chasseur officer is a Staddenon a Stadden Horse.



Thursday, 29 June 2017

What do you expect from a "Wargames Show" ?

 Recently I was reading up a few blog posts regarding the recent Durham Wargames Group show- which the T.W.A.T.S  attended with a 40mm Wars of the Roses game- which it has to be said was well received by several bloggers despite the odd factual inaccuracy.
 However in other ways the show got a bit of a spanking. Various chaps called it tired and lacklustre which I think was a bit harsh- and wishing to consign it to the dustbin of history is a bit unkind even if it is just a chairman's ego trip,

Sash and Saber 40mm Napoleonics. Emulating a pic from a Featherstone book.


 Now I'm not conversant with internal politics at the Durham club- nor do I wish to be but the points raided by Colin Ashton and Zabadak are worth considering in regard to small shows in general and what people expect from them.

 Putting my traders hat on for a moment I don't go to Durham primarily as a trader  as it is too small- and possibly more importantly - there is no space.

40mm English Civil War - again from a Featherstone book. The figures are  mostly Romanoff some with Sash and Saber heads



However even if there were space I'm not sure I'd go as it is too small and I doubt I'd cover the £250-£300 it would cost to do. Frankly an awful lot of small shows are like that. Battleground in Middlesborough  did not do the economic business- the last one I did being- financially speaking- the worst show I'd attended for over 20 years (which probably means , taking price rises and inflation into account the worst EVER by a long way). Border Reiver looked to be heading that way too. Now I'm no longer involved -and have no axe to grind- being no longer financially responsible for the show (and yes taking a cut of the fees and door money since I was paying most of the bills) I can say that without that - in straight day trade so to speak -the show was ,at best, marginal over the last 4 or 5 years with last year being pretty poor. Over the years I've been to other small shows across the country where trading has frankly been at best marginal at worst a waste of time. Over time these events have been winnowed out of the Old Glory UK calendar.


40mm Sash and Saber Viking and Saxons slugging it out. Again from a Featherstone book 


Now how other traders  fare at these events is, of course, a question for them and nothing to do with me so if they do OK  and fulfil their own criteria then they will keep going I assume. Of course if they are part-timers they may not have strictly economic  criteria to fulfil but that is another story.


Old Glory 25mm - or 28mm if you prefer . The difference is purley academic. This picture inspired by Young.



Now back in " ye olden tymes" before the internet going to shows was just as much about advertising as about making a few quid. Despite some chaps thinking traders should go to shows "for the marketing opportunity"(whatever that actually means. In extremis  it has tended to mean standing about for 8 hours while some geezer tells you the sandals of your 15mm Samnites are from the wrong century or asking you why your 10mm figures don't have bare feet. Yes both of these happened to me at different shows - neither of which we do now) shows just are not as important as they used to be. Now as it happens I still think customer contact is important so will continue doing some shows each year as long as they remain economically viable which,for me, means not actually losing money by turning up i.e I'd like to at least break even. In the past I've given shows a couple of years to do this  but now I'm down to a bedrock 7 events a year ALL  of which have in past years cut the mustard.
 This year only the new Derby Worlds at Bruntingthorpe in Leicestershire is a possible candidate for future dismissal but we'll have to see. Yes Old Glory UK are going to the show but as I said in a previous post I'm only taking the 15mm lines and maybe 10mm so other range will have to be pre-ordered Jumping the stand price by almost 20% was a bit on the steep side so even with a smaller stand  factoring in Van hire, Hotels and crew wages a Grand will have gone before I've sold a soldier. It therefore follows that on the whole, for me smaller shows are not always economic

Now taking off my trading hat and putting on the Punters cap.....

As a punter my wants at a show -especially a small one -are a bit different and Durham filled those very well. This is not to say that I don't see Colin's and Zabadak's points as, if  I and the rest of the T.W.A.T.S  were not doing a demo there I personally probably would not go- simply because in most respects I'm no ordinary punter in that I live with this stuff every day. I'm surrounded by it and on most days -unlike a hobbyist- I can't simply walk away and do something else.
 Having said that I enjoyed Durham in a way that I didn't enjoy many of the lacklustre shows I have traded at. It is pretty nice to talk to chaps without my traders hat on and to connect with the hobby in a way other than business. The onus to at least cover your sometimes considerable costs simply is not there.

But in the wider sense is that enough? I like running a demo  game now and again but is that the same for everyone? I enjoy the player and punter interaction but obviously some gamers do not judging by how hard it is at some shows to actually get a word out of some demonstrators. This kind of stuff has happened at shows since Christ was a corporal. "Introverts R Us " is nothing new but at best it is bad manners at worst downright nasty.What these people expect from a show is largely beyond me. I can't see why they would bother when all they do is the same as they would on "club night".


More 28mm Old Glory and Sash and Saber. Inspired by Young.


My personal impression is that it is on the rise again after mostly disappearing in the 90s. I do far fewer shows  these days than I did back then so perhaps I notice ignorance(and bad hygiene) more now than I did then. What that means is that I don't want to fall into the same trap on my "one demo a year" as I have found at other shows. Not being obsessed by the actual gaming is an advantage here. Understanding that mere dice rolling is not an intellectual activity means that I can turn my energies to other things within the broad spectrum of the hobby. And yes blokes at shows often ARE interested in other aspects of the hobby besides the dice rolling. Whatever the game design lobby may think.

 On that level Durham does well and gives us what we want from a small local event. No pressure, a  relaxing day . A chance to put on something a little better that our normal games in the pub (no beef butties though!)and a chance to talk to chaps outside our group about what we- and they- enjoy about the hobby. So for a smaller event that will do nicely thank you.


The photos- all of these are "studio shots" of pictures I've done at various time "re-imagining" pictures from the classic books. I leave it to you , Gentle Reader, to guess which books .

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.

 NOW PLEASE READ THIS.

 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.