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


  1. Andy, I couldn't agree more about travel battle. I really can't see the point but maybe to the generation younger than us it pushes some buttons.

    I had the big horn game as well and it was an excellent piece of entertainment. The box was the same size as a traditional Monopoly box (as iirc were most boxed games by waddingtons - easy on the storage).

    Yes, Falkirk was great.

  2. Hmmm - I bought it. Am part way through painting it (had moments of wishing I hadn't started) and it's looking OK. My reasons - I like grids, I like the growing area of cross-over between figure and hex and wanted to support that venture. I see pleasures in writing my own rules for it and in using it as a model for upscaling to something larger.

    I feel its a bit like the Neil Thomas rules, it is not the thing itself that fascinates, but rather what might come out from it - We shall just have to see.

    Your 40mm WoR games sounds rather interesting, though I doubt I will make Newark, with Phalanx being the more likely next show.

    1. My questions then would be
      Is there enoght there to make anything of it that could not have been done with a copy of 1 of Neil's books- I do own a couple of these- the basic concept appears so limited to a traditional wargamer like me that I can't see why you would bther playing it more than a few times. I feel much the same about many of today's "games" rampant or not. Now I admit to not liking grids or hexes on a figure game simply because it spoils the look of the thing which is always the reason I choose figure games over boardgames but then equally I'm not PRIMARILY a "games player". It is always about the models and the history first and the dice rolling afterwards. The current "games first" everything else nowhere fashion leaves me a bit cold overall.

  3. I suppose we are a niche hobby, with a load niches that sit within that - makes me wonder sometimes how anyone can make a profit out of us and also that we are lucky that there is such commercial diversity.

    Gamers do seem to be having a lot of rampant fun, so although I don't, I would haveto say that anything that makes people collect and play must be good.

    I think there are some gamers (non-boardgame background) that find grid concepts awkward to apply and not pleasing to the eye and so maybe a game that 'shows the way' might be helpful and there are a tone of dads who want to play with the kids and again, simple and compact and probably more important - short, may be the the thing that attracts to TravelBattle.

    I think you are right to question whether one could simply do something similar with other material, but not everyone wants to or can!

    I think we have yet to see where this game ends up in the gamers world and whether it will generate enough interest for follow up products. Although I have bought it, it is a sideline fancy and I do substantially understand where you are coming from on this.

  4. So far I've wasted 20 quid on getting rampant! The current fashion for simplistic children's games cannot all be dad driven surely? What if young Tarquin thinks it is all a waste of time but only complies to keep Dad happy? Whilst there is nothing wrong with more startup level stuff you do wonder how many players grow up.
    For me TB looks so unattractive especially the playing surface- that it fails on that front unless you are prepared to put in the work which rather negates it as a startup level game. For that rampant in it various guises may be better and Neil's books certainly are but both of those require extra effort too and yes TB CAN be played straight from the box however ghastly it looks (like eating a burger out of a bag in McDonalds cos they don't do plates) so you do wonder how many of its purchaser will do the extra work to make it look even half decent.
    You obviously see advantages in a grid system -I don't and not only for the look of the thing though that is a major point for me. The whole grid system is so artificial that for me it simply puts another barrier between me and "realism" and there are enough of those about already without erecting another it's mere convenience does not come close to cancelling out those downsides.
    Your point regarding the plethora of product we do have is well made so there is plenty of choice. As you say we will have to see if TB makes a lasting impression.

  5. I've said it elsewhere... I genuinely don't get the attraction... and I'm clearly missing something... it's a load of plastic tat I could do myself in 30 seconds with some hardboard, and 6 or 2mm troop blocks, but people are doling out their fifty squids like they have nothing else to spend it on.... astonishing... Emperor's new clothes??????? Having said that - fair play to those who enjoy it/want it - I look forward to hearing/seeing some of the games....

    PS. I was going to start this with "I'm not going to repeat myself as.. " but then did.. :o))

    1. Steve the cynic in me wonders if the attraction is simply that it is by G.A,P.'S.Therefore to some TB MUST be good as the sainted pair have let the light of their countenances fall upon it.
      But perhaps that is too cynical even for me.

    2. Ha - I don't think the Perry pull is that great but I base that only on the two or three bloggers I follow who have bought in to it.. from a review of their blogs it isn't primarily that they are Perry fans - for them it appears to be more the grid/hex based game... they are C&C players already (or other hex/grid based game systems)... what I am quite surprised about is that they are buying more than one!

    3. Steve- my views on hex games are mostly above except to add that I find the whole grid thing to "gamsey" if that makes sense- for set ups involving model soldiers. The grid somehow detracts from the models and the terrain imposing itself upon the players. The wargaming mainstream is continuing to move away from it historical roots at a steady pace despite what we can do so TB is merely another step into Gamininntland where all thought is discouraged by the Dice Police. - not there yet though ....The Resistance Lives On.

  6. Surely if you need a game to play on the move,two gladiator figures some magnetic bases, a cheap set of rules and a biscuit tin would be quite sufficient.But that of course requires effort and imagination.Like cooking food from scratch! I despair at the things Wargames spend their money on

    1. Dave I direct you to a blog run by a mate of mine for his views on TB

      though if I did need a mobile game- Gawd knows why I would but if... the a tin full of gladiators would be my first choice.
      It is the cynicism - sorry- marketing of the whole TB scam that I also find a bit off. Mind you they are not doing anything out of the ordinary there.
      Now for almost the same money I actually bought 10 Empress ECW cavalry at Newark- bloody lovely models but by Gum on the dear side. Dearer that stuff I import from Russia. Am I glad I got 'em yes- rather have them than a load of 8mm Plastikrap and monopoly houses plus a whole 8 pages of "rules"
      HELL YES!

  7. PLease do not despair on my account and I can assure you that my imagination and effort is fully intact. Yesterday I posted my hex based ACW rules, a fair old effort and a fairly tight set. I include a link here to show that playing with toy soldiers is alive and well ... in whatever guise. LINK -

  8. Picking up on an earlier point I don't find "grid concepts awkward" just unsightly and deeply unrealistic.
    The idea that we who hate them mi
    must be "shown the way" by a bunch of overpriced platikrap is frankly slightly insulting.
    Lets face it at the bottom this is about intellectual laziness- for some purchasers at least- though by no means all. For some it is about being presented with their "fun" in a nice easy package by people they seem to view as demi-gods of gamin' innit like.
    Our hobby has a serious number of butterflies of which I am one- look at the different periods I do but the butterfly syndrome is now made much worse(or better) by the sheer number of different products out there where no input from the purchaser is actually required.
    Now this is not to say that some purchaser don't input . Somewill - we have examples here but that input is no required in the same way as say researching and building 2 ECW or SYW armies - or indeed any other "period" bsed wargame.

  9. Is any of that bad if the individual is actually enjoying their hobby? or is there only one right way? I can live with everything from unpainted figures to badly creased game cloths at shows, I would do neither myself, but think it is better to see someone gaming than not gaming and tend not to judge.

    1. Judge is too strong a word-(and of course everybody judges to an extent so trying to be PC does not wash) I don't care in real world terms but find the just let it go as long as he's gamin' innit attitude too wishy washy for my taste. For me it leads to lowest common denominator games such as many of those that are presented today which if they were the only option-rather than just the current fashion- I would not bother with a hobby so intellectually vacuous.
      Now none of this may be "bad" or indeed "good" but surely to forebear to comment is merely cowardly.