Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Reasons to be cheerful!

Reason 1: A short but sweet review of the Ramadi game by ToBG (watch at 08.25). I'm nervous about reviews of this game so it is nice to start with an enthusiastic one!

Reason 2: I was recently watching a Lindybeige You Tube video about memoirs, true or false. Mr Beige was as entertaining as usual but in this one he mentions a book: "From the city, from the plough" by Alexander Baron. A fictionalised version of the story of the 5th Wiltshires in Normandy but, essentially, a memoir. This was written in 1948 and sold a million copies. I had never heard of it even after reading continuously about the war for sixty years (OK so I mean from the mid-1960s when I learnt to read!).

5th Wiltshires were part of 43rd Wessex Division, brigaded with the 4th Somerset Light Infantry. Ring any bells? Well Sydney Jary's 18 Platoon were in the Somersets. The periods covered by the two books overlap in Normandy.

I say this with absolutely no hesitation, Baron's book is the very best book I have ever read about British infantry. The language is lyrical, almost poetic. The story is brutal. Watch Mr Beige's video linked above and hunt down a copy. You will not be disappointed!

Reason 3: I have been looking for a 20mm Hummer with a GPK turret. You would think this would be easy but it is not. I dropped a note to Peter at Butlers Printed Models and suggested it would be good to have one of these. He said he would put it on their to do list. He emailed last week to say that it is now ready!

So I have a parcel to collect tomorrow with one grenade launcher and two 50 cal versions. Really good value for £5.50 each. I think I may be cheeky and ask for some more turret options!

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Ramadi launched!

Ramadi: Phew! The game is now available after a tense few weeks of final revisions. Well done to Mark Walker (publisher), Ilya Kudriashov (art) and Art Bennett (development) for some fantastic work on this game. You can find the soft version on Wargames Vault for $10 (bargain!). The hard copy is only $26 from Tiny Battles. There is also a BGG page.

What next? Good question. My head is spinning a bit but I do have a few things lined up between now and Christmas.

  • The Battle of Waterberg: A Steve Kling design which I am really pleased to be play testing over the next few weeks. This is the 1904 battle between the Germans in SW Africa and the Herero Tribe. It looks fascinating.
  • Steel, Steel, Steel!: More work on this. I have purchased War by Numbers by Christopher Lawrence which, on the basis of a quick skim, seems to suggest that the original Avalon Hill CRT was pretty accurate. However, it does contain analysis of Germans and Soviet attack success rates at Kursk which will assist greatly with the next iteration of Steel.
  • Desert Hammer: I have been getting into Nordic Weasel's Hammer series (Squad Hammer, Trench Hammer, October Hammer, Winter Hammer etc.). This was inspired by One Hour Wargames and is an intriguing tool kit. Desert Hammer is my version in which I raid the research I did for Desert Eagle and turn it into a workable game.
Anything else? I'm hoping to paint some Stukas (if it kills me). These have been hanging around for ages and I want to get them finished. I also played Hill 70 mentioned by Tim Gow recently. A really interesting narrative online game. For anyone that is involved in leadership training and development of any sort, this little game is a great indicator of your personal leadership style. Very telling. I'm pleased to say that I captured Hill 70 first time round. I might have a go at one of these myself.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Ramadi....nearly there!

Very cool cover artwork. More details on the TB page here. Brilliant artwork by Ilya as per these examples....

Hopefully it will go down OK with players!

Saturday, 28 July 2018

More Steel!

Norm has kindly reminded me of the importance of German control of the air over Kursk. I have been doing some more thinking about that and I now have some numbers to report on.

Here is the basic data on German air sorties for the Citadel period on the Southern Front.

Making sense of this in relationship to the Soviet air effort and the ground fighting is next. Lots more to do!

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Steel, Steel, Steel!

I'm afraid that Norm has encouraged me to start thing about Kursk again by playing Dark July and assorted other Kursk related games. Although this is a slow burner (like most of my projects), I have been doing work on it in between doing other stuff.

So, here is a really interesting question: what was the most powerful German unit on the southern front of the Citadel offensive? May be a great big SS panzer division? Grossdeutschland division?

Well, OK. You guys are quite right. The panzer pushers' favourites are the biggest baddest units on the southern front. 

I have been working on data about units strengths and the graph above shows the state of the German forces on the southern front on 4 July. What interests me is the strength of a couple of infantry divisions: 106 and 320.

So not as strong as the big guys but not at all shabby. So why were these units so strong? These two units formed Corps Raus, part of Army Det. Kempf. They are strong because of the sheer amount of attached artillery units. All corps assets were allocated at divisional level. So things to consider in designing the game are around what these scores actually mean in terms of manouvre ability, fire effects and combat capability. 

Steel, Steel, Steel! will be a solitaire game with the players leading the German onslaught. It will be designed around the same sort of ideas as my Ramadi game (which is obviously why I have this in mind at the moment, as well as Norm's enthusiastic prompting!). More to come, especially around the source of the numbers and how they will be developed into a realistic game.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

I've got a Vassal module and I know how to use it!

I'm currently working with a developer on the Ramadi game. He has come up with a Vassal module in the space of a few hours so is a bit of an expert. He did it more quickly than I could load Java and Vassal from scratch. Nevertheless, all done. Now ready for my first Vassal game. Very cool.

BTW the cups are the ISIS resource pools for IEDs, fighters and assets. I'm just trying to see if I get genuinely random selections from them.

Hopefully I will be back to normal by end July.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Fun in the Grey Zone!

I have been researching potential Grey Zone scenarios. I'm considering games about the battles in Georgia, Syria, the Baltic (potential) and also the Ukraine. I came across this video of a Ukrainian tank crew having a lot of fun with their tank and thought I would share it. I think this is just great fun.