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Monday 28 September 2015

Brutal Boks Bounce Back

England lack disipline and give away a 10 point lead .

What a weekend. England blow it in spectacular fashion- help by some seriously good Welsh kicking by Dan Biggar.  But to squander a 10 point lead by simple indiscipline is appalling- I lost count after 13 penalties- including at least one given away by the bloody captain.
 Laugh! I thought I'd never start !  To cock it up so mightily in your own back yard takes  real "skill" What did my head in was that- England played well in the first half and barring the penalty count were doing OK until the last 20 mins or so then when the subs came on it all fell apart
The Sprinboks batter Samoa and looked like a different team becasue they had something to prove .
 Now Its up to France .... or just possibly Ireland. Wales simply won't have any men left but if they can stick a band-aid on a few .... maybe 

Sunday 20 September 2015

Brave Blossoms Bash Boks

Never to be thought of. The Japanese beat the Springboks in Brighton !  What am I going on about. The Rugby World Cup  of course- the greatest sporting event in the world. Forget all those elen a siode round ball pansies. Soccer as we know is a game for girls.
 Mind you maybe I should be a bit chary about mentioning the Rugger as the last World Cup  caused me to leave the  "dwedfully" middle class OFW  group- not that I cared in the end. After all when some over paid (or over pensioned)   middle class tosser tells me "This is not a dmocracy"- the second word in my considered reply will be "OFF" .So as it happens I'm well out of it.
 So on to better things. What a game! The Brave Blossoms were awesome. Inventive ,sharp, clinical, fast,. The Boks- well possibly complacent - expecting to win by 30 points so it took them a while to get that they were in a game. but at times they looked depressingly old and ordinary
 If you are a rugger fan and you have not seen the -Ion its you I'm talking to- its well worth a watch.
 England- well they just got away with it against Fiji  but no-one had any broken legs or bones sticking out of the snotter so OK for the next bout
Catch Samoa against the USA next but my next "must see at all costs " is Japan v Scotland on Wednesday can the Blossoms do the Porriges ??? On current form they may well.

Wargames- well I did play a Ancients game to Tactica yesterday in 15mm and yes it was a tight gems- went doem to the wire BUT- because I fannied about I came second- Should have sent the forwards in (Roman Legionaries to the untutored)  to make the Hard Yards up the middle instead of worrying about the wingers until it was too late- poor timing. Mind you his back line was faster(more cavalry) and his front row(Elephants) didn't half taker some stopping.
 Picture when I get them out of the phone !

PS- The Welsh seem to be made of porcelain  4 more injuries against tiny Uraguay- at this rate they'll have nobody left. They are having a very poor run of luck that way

Thursday 17 September 2015

What- Exactly -am I disenchanted about ???

Good question that- do you mean aside from most of the human race or are we being more particular here?
 You might even say that I'm disgruntled- but since I'm not sure I've ever been gruntled in the first place  how would I tell?.
 It will always be a fascination to me as to why many - perhaps most of our brethren can't or won't explain  the why of what they do - it is as if they are ashamed of it. Do they indeed know why . Why  indulge in any part of our hobby at all and "Cos its fun" does not alone cut it as an explanation. How did it get to be "fun" in your eyes ? What differentiates "funA" from "funB". Why are certain periods perennially popular and others "commeth up and are cut down like a flower" .
 How did the hobby  change from a - largely- miniatures driven hobby of the late 1970s- 1980s become the almost entirely "games driven" hobby of today . Is all the blame to be put on the "games designer dudes" probably not..

25 or 28mm Normans . Painted by me about 20 years ago.

More of my ECW collection.

Indian Mutiny Puch - up.Hodsons Horse attacking Mutineers.

 Now I'm not entirely immune to the lure of games for their own sake- I love "Kingmaker" and quite like "Axis and Allies" but personally I draw a distinction between "games" and "wargames" , For example I could no more imagine a refight of Towton using DBA or Lion Rampant or Saga than fly in the air. The Battle of Towton deserves more respect than a 40-50 figures a side  dice rolling contest. That distinction seems to have been lost some time in the 1990s or early nougties. Why? It can't only be laziness surely. Convenience Wargaming ?
 So a few daft questions
 How many sets of rules do you think there were in the 1980s compared to today. I'd really like to know and yes I'm only talking about historical rules here. My impression - and I could be wrong- is that there were far far fewer then than now WRG still dominated Ancients - but they were not alone there was Gawd 'elp us Newbury fast play- which wasn't ! and my still favoured Tactica. There were others I forget and almost certainly sets from the USA I've never heard of but were there as many as a dozen sets? WHAB didn't appear until 1998 so what did we have pre-1992?. Not simply Ancients but other periods too.. I recall rules by Tabletop games- most of which were unplayable I say 1992 because that was the year Old Glory UK came into being so in theory AFTER that date I'm a professional and some of what happens from then on IS my fault!
How many sets of rules do you own today? I hate rules in general and  certain sets in particular. They can so often get in the way, Yet having said that I probably own around 30+ sets - most of which I've played at least once. Some of which I have played an awful lot over the years- with or without local modifications. Most of the sets I have are at least 5 years old, many somewhat older. Only a very few less than 5 years old as these latter all fall into the "been there done that" category- they have nothing new  except eye candy. There are of course sets that I have not played for decades WRG1685-1845 for a start! as well as 2 by Tabletop from the 1970s- Lance- a medieval set I used to play quite a bit  and Tercio for Pike and shot
. That number doesn't count sets in proper books  and sets I wrote myself don't count at all .
 Compared to some blokes a mere 30 sets is nothing. None of these are considered holy writ- no negative freedom here. Rules lawyers are consigned to the nearest scorpion pit without mercy. Argue from a historical perspective and- as Umpire I'll listen and you may win your point. Argue that "on page 239 of Wundarules 6.9 ..." and - metaphorically speaking its "hello stingy " . It is not beyond the realms of possibility  for the Umpire to bin a set of rules part way through a game. Now the games players amongst you may gasp and mutter  but since when was the conduct of  warfare governed by set rules?. Indeed a few years back I ran a 40mm ACW game  where I deliberately changed the rules every move or so  to keep the players thinking.
 Yet there are now more rules than ever before and far  more games of a very limited nature . Imagination and the historical background has gone out of the window ....

 Or has it?

Drabant 28mm- we'll be taking the whole Drabant range both 40mm and 28mm .

Ottoman Turkish Dellis- "mad heads"
  Again I draw a distinction  between what appears to happen in the magazines and what actually happens in the real world. Looking at the games at Gateshead and Newark- when you could see 'em I was pleasantly surprised by the wideish mix of periods and styles. Sure there were some that didn't take my fancy- but there were plenty of others- a lovely Battle of the Yellow Ford and a nice clean looking 20mm Cold War goes Hot scenario to name just two that I had time to see. The list for the up and comng Derby World Wargames has some intresting looking stuff- by no means all  boutique games being pushed by some company wishing to advertise its latest out of the box job. Though there is more of an accent on "the newst set we publish" than in former decades. Nevertheless the majority of the games both demo and PP are A histoical and B interesting- there is even one game using Flats !  I must get a look at the 6mm one-to one Napoleonic game.It is intresting that  most of the Sci-Fi or fantasy games are PP and most of the demos are historical. Interesting that of the 8 or 9 sci-fant games listed 3 are being put on by the same commercial  outfit  I'm sure that says something   just not sure what .!
Check out the list of games here
 I'm actually looking forward to  the show.
 The lads from the "like a Stonewall" group (AKA Mansfield Mafia!!) are doing Quatre Bras .
 My mate Peter Bradford is doing ACW "McPhersons Ridge" - both of these in 25mm - or 28mm if you prefer- since a goodly proprtion of the figures on each of these are Old Glory I should know how tall they are ! The Ilkley lads are doing Marignano- which I'll have to take a look at.
 There is a noticable  narrowing of the "available" periods however  
Of the total of 43 or  44 games listed both Demo and PP
 7 are WW2- though one of these may be listed twice
7 are Napoleonic- but mostly Waterloo campaign  only 2 games NOT being hundred days inspired
5 are pre-gunpowder (1 Ancient 2 "Dark Ages" 1 high medieval 1 samuarai)
3 may be loosely termed "pike and shot"- this includes Poltava which is the only game set in the 18th century
2 are ACW
1 Colonial- Zulu War
2 Modern- Afghnistan and Africa
5 are WW1- technically one is a western gunfigt- set in 1917 - the Wild bunch but there you go !
The Old Glory Turkish High Command- OXT23 6 different generals plus the Janisary "Kazan" cooking pot  and some extra officers- a mere £24.00 per pack.
10 are Sci-fant- this includes one called "open skirmish"- but since that is all it says it is hardly informative
Janisarries. I almost have enough Turks for an army .... almost
Later Turkish Spahis- Suvallieri  possibly  mid 17th century or later as they have pistols.

 It is interesting in the wider context what ISN'T there. Nothing much from  the 16th  17th or 18th centuries (3 games for 300years )no "BC" Ancients at all . Only 1 game that might be termed "Classical" Ancients- Teutoberger Wald . Of the historical games  24 are from the last 200 years of Human history but mostly concetrated into 4 areas  within that. No naval at all only 1 air game the same WW1as last year- I wonder if its run by the same ignorant bugger who pushed me out of the way when I was having a butchers- silly sod in a flying helmet  Oh dearie me !
 No  ECW or TYW Seven years War or AWI. No 19th century European- all of which have featured previously. Not sure if any of the games are 15mm- which is odd considering how many 15mm I sell  and I know I'm far from alone here..I'm aware that it doesn't happen much but should any historically minded Joe public step in he'd have a thin time  give the relatively few periods on offer.
 Nevertheless these is still some intresting stuff there and I'm still looking forward to it so maybe I'm not as disenchanted as I though I was ....... maybe ........

PS The photos are all deliberately chosen as periods that are not in the list of games for the Derby show. But all are ranges that we WILL be taking to the show.We'll also be taking stuff that is being gamed at the show- so ACW Napoleonic and WW2 all in 15mm- ACW in 28mm too .

Tuesday 15 September 2015

More shiny dudes

 Well despite the  rush of recent shows and the preparing for the second biggest show of our year- Thats Donnington or Derby World Wargames if you prefer -   only Salute is bigger- I'm still managing the odd half- hour here and there at the paintng table.
 I've evn painted a few 15mm- other than tanks which is a minor miracle. Nevertheless Mostly I've been shining on
Shiny or what!
More shiny- the Shinyloo French cavalry growing slowly . I'll be accused of having and army next !
 I now have almost enough of the shiny lads for a small game - possibly featherstonian possibly Youngian.... that still remains to be seen.

Not shiny but short- you saw them here first ! 

The picture above shows some of the soon to be released Blue Moon 15mm Dacians- these lads have their choppers out with a vengeance. I'm also told that there will be Imperial Romans and Sarmations in the mix as well. I've also seen other Dacian Infantry. I assume- but don't KNOW that these will be out at Fall In or thereabouts.
 but you saw them here first !!!

Tuesday 8 September 2015

No regrets.. No tears Goodbye .. and then some more important stuff.

 Well thats it done finito Benito . Over   Brilliant. No more Stygian Gloom . The last Kelham Hall Parizan is dead.
 Long Live Brighter Partizan !!! 
Thank God thats over. Over the last few year the bunch of  pillocks who took over Kelham Hall from the previous owners have moverd heaven and earth to be obstructive and unplaeasant to the Partizan Organisers. If only half of the stuff I have heard is true then the MD of Kelhamn Hall Ltd needs a slap . For the amont of crap he has put in my way alone he needs a slap 
However No more..
 No More  Getting to your stand to find that the Venue owners have filled the space with staging.
No More  Being charged £14.00 for 3 pints (Here I was almost on the phone to my Lawyers Hadaway and Shyteman! )
NO more Manky overpriced bacon butties or saugages that look like dildos for bunny rabbits
No more tea  that looks as if I've peed in it- and thats before the teabag goes in ...(Dunk it Man Dunk It!!)
 well at least not in that part of Notts anyhow ...
 There's No regrets,
 No Tears Goodbye,
 Idon't want you back,
 We'd only Cry ,

Thank you Scott Walker and Goodnight
Goodnight Ladies 
Goodnight Sweet Ladies
Goddnight Goodnight
 and flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest .... 

More Important Matters. 

40mm French Hussars


 I finally got hold of my copy of MW389. Its a Good 'un! There is stuff in it to read and not just more tedious scenarios for rules I've never heard of. There is stuff that shows evidence of actual serious thought.
 Leaving aside the stuff on fencing and Waterloo and 6mm figures- all of which have their uses I'm really talking about 2 or 3 articles
 Conrad Kinch's piece on points systems put both sides of the case well. Now I don't use them myself but others do so the vitriol they attract is "pointless" - I'd use them if I played competitions though and I've always thought they have a place- merely becasue I find them tedious is beside the point use them if you wish or don't . Points systems however do beget Army lists and so feed into  Neil Shucks piece on Warhammer Fantasy and its new derivative Age of Sigmar- neither are something I give a toss about per se but again they feed into the constant debate about the Future of the Hobby and it is intresting that both autors - Kinch and Shuck say much the same as I did in my "Who Needs Army Lists" piece  in the mag  around this time last year. 
Plus ca Change thinks I !! 
 Mind you a picture of my idea of hell appears in this article Row after Row of identical competiton tables filled with identikit war gamers - if they think thats fun then fine- Positive Freedom all round but me I'll pass- all those backsides bending in unison ... Nah ! 
 Mind you Mr Shuck's remarks on price- Plastic is not always cheaper- I can think of plastic sets that are more expensive than our standard 28mm packs. then you have to spend half a life time building one or two ..... 
 Neagative Freedom by Rob Wyeness definitly caught my eye. Even if he started from a Fanstasy perspective. My first thought was God almighty these dudes are really weird as I read phrases like "the need to play a game" and "anyone who is a geek" and "freedoms to go too far" I wondered if these chaps get out much  or if they live in their mothers attic - like a modern Mrs Rochester perhaps ! 
 But reading on and coming to the crux I realised that the point was a fine one well made- for myself- although I barely touch Fantasy at all and only a tad more sci-fi I'm all in favour of positive Freedom in wargames as well as life - so  the rules are merely a toolbos and never Holy Writ and Whatever Blows your skirt up Dude ! Those of you who read this blog will know that on the whole I'm a Positive Freedom advocate- though the term was new to me. You'd think that  from a Historical perspective there would be much more Negative than Positive Freedom - but in my experience that is not so. Period is immaterial here its the players attiude that counts - I'd define 2 basic types in our hobby really - though as always there are shadings and extremesand some chaps do bits of both depending upon mood . These types are "Competitors" and "Storytellers" . I'm pretty much in the storyteller camp  I find competitors on the whole too narrow in outlook  for a storyteller the Rules can  get in the way for a competitor they are to be used to advantage- to narrow the focus for a victory and an ego boost. The storyteller gets his ego boost when the story is well told. so competitors are Negative Freedom Types- the Rules give them the structure and boundaries they crave. The Storytellers will use the rules to support the narrative - but will discard the bits that don't work- a much more open ended arrangement. As a general rule I opine that "period" is more to a storytellers taste and "game"  more to that of the competitor.
  I'm betting most games companies are in favour of as much Negative Freedom as they can force down your throat .

PS and how many other writers could get Scott Walker Shakespear and Charllotte Bronte into the same few hundred words .

Friday 4 September 2015

The Agony and the Pointlessness

 Received my copy of WSS 80 yesterday- Punic wars being the featured topic. Not a bad issue at all. I used to  do the Punic Wars back in the 80s. I had largish 25mm armies for both Rome and Carthage. A right mixture of figures- QT. Britannia, Lamming, Garrison, Minifigs- all the Usual suspects of those far off times. I moved them on sometime in the 90s. I actually can't remember where or when  but overall there was the best part of 800 figures. We(by we I mean myself and Dave Hulland and sometimes Dave Reay and Ron Emery) refought Trebbia and Ticino and doubtless some others so I was intrested to see  the modern take on something I have not touched for 20 odd years
 So what did we get- A DBA game of the battle of Bagradas - hmmmm  can't speak to the rules but the article was a good one despite its lapse into  Jargon for the actual armies. Try as I might I really don't get the appeal of DBA as a system and apparently no -one can explain this- If I can explain why I don't like it- armies too small that don't look right on the table.  No unit structure that follows the period. Gobblegook jargon, to name but 3 reasons(there are more)  why can no-one explain why they do like it. One thing I've discovered  many wargamers really have massive  trouble with why ... the answers are almost always flippant or childish
 However moving swiftly on There was a nice review of the "To the Strongest" - a rule set I've heard eulogised by a couple of chaps previously . Now this is a card driven system- which is a nice idea but I'm not keen on gridded movement- which it also is but I suppose it wouldn't be difficult to junk that and use rulers instead. I'm quite attracted by the cards idea as I'm really coming to HATE dice.
 So given the above its no surprise I found Richard Clarkes piece on D6 a bit wearing. What is this obsession wargamers have with bloody dice!- I have it myself devil a doubt, hate the bloody things- yet despite that his basic logic was impeccable- which made the article even more wearing .... still have to use the damned dice then ...
The Painting article was really  nice- I've used similar- non metallic metallics for years off and on - directional light was the sort of stuff I learned in Art classes- but it was nice refresher- and there are materials now that I didn't have back then  I'll have a bash at this- again - especially on flats..
  I groaned mightily at "The Irregular" this issue- and not just the bit about Mulletts and Ra-Ra skirts what  caused the groaning was the  burbling on about "innovative Games mechanisms" and "push your luck engines"(don't think he drives a Morris Marina !!!) that tedious bloody gamespeak rears its head again  oh ****!! more damnable gamesey jargon . Mind you I do  think the point about reducing artificial .barriers was well made.
 A nice Ancient Naval article- not my thing but very well done and well written - Nice to see a bit of Naval stuff. 
 Next we are told to play some kind of Ancient game with 48 figure armies(and its not DBA!!)- Pass
 Waterloo - the assault on La Haye Saint on a four foot table-  pass 
A nice article on the Punic war in Sicily - most of which I'd forgotten or never knew.
 Three other articles - all more or less about skirmish games- in different period but skirmish games all the same.
 so overall not a bad mag at all - things to read in it which was nice .... 
Finally there was Rick Priestly's column- more agonising about the Future of the Hobby - but not quite- I even agreed with most of it- certainly the principles and only differed in the details- I doubt you'll ever convince me that "Games Workshop" is " proper" wargaming or that actual games actually matter but there is no doubt that on the whole GW has been beneficial at laying the groundwork for many historical gamers over the last 30 or so years and that equally assuming kids can only deal with simple games is bloody patronising indeed see my earlier post
My "In the Light of preceding Blog posts t posts" article  earlier in this blog   says some of  the same and like Rick come to no conclusions because there aren't any and who cares anyway . Why agonise again and again .Nobody will give a toss when you are dead