Saturday, 10 February 2018

Getting a grip....

on 2018!

OK, so its nearly March and what have I been up to? Well, I have a couple of irons in the fire for this year but don't yet have a timescale so I have been a bit reluctant to get stuck into anything big until I know what the plans are. It is quite exciting and I want to be in a position to crack on with it once I get the green light.

In the meantime, work continues on GZ. I have a long term phobia about aircraft canopies. I get glue on them, muck up painting the frames and generally am not happy with them. Having procured a nice 1/100 Zvezda Hind I decided to follow the style set by Tim Gow over on Megablitz and More. As evidenced by his Sea Hawk model, Tim paints canopies with aplomb so......

Not yet wholly finished but I'm very happy with it. By the way, I have crawled around inside a Hind at Coventry Air Museum on cockpit day. I'm only average in size but I could hardly fit in the pilot's seat, let alone the gunner's position. Even the rear troop compartment was far too small for me. WW3 in Europe would have been a walkover for NATO as they would only be fighting very small Russians!

The key thing is that now I have a helicopter I can finally finish the air rules for GZ.

There are a couple of other things on my radar at the moment:

Up the Blue: I have been following developments on Alex's blog over recent months and his development of WW2 and modern tank rules for OHW style games. His latest battle report is here. Duc de Gobin has been busy play testing the rules (here). Duc has put me in touch with Alex and I'm looking forward to having a go myself in the near future!

October Hammer: Another masterpiece from Nordic Weasel. For a mere $5.99 (that is less than five pre-Brexit pounds) you get 40+ pages of rules including a campaign system and 15 pre-canned armies. Very nice. This will be the subject of a more detailed post shortly.

I haven't blogged for a while, mainly due to work but, having done this post I'm feeling back on track!

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Phew, glad that's over.....

2017 that is!

GZ a work in progress!
I hope everyone has had a good Christmas and a happy new. I have taken a bit of time out to recuperate after a very busy year. As part of the usual festivities, I greatly enjoyed Norm's annual Xmas post. A great tradition that has replaced the Queens Speech in my house.

As for last year......

First up it is necessary to record my abject failure to take part in Capt. Kobold's 6 by 6 challenge (play six games six times each). And thanks to the Capt. for not mentioning my failure in his annual review. I had chosen to play six games largely focusing on solitaire techniques. However, immediately after exposing myself by volunteering I got involved in a number of projects which I greatly enjoyed and which took up a big chunk of my time.  

I developed Op. Icarus for the fantastic Tiny Battles outfit......

This was a real challenge and a great learning opportunity.

I then did some play testing for Steve Kling of the Historical Games Co.

First up was Poltava which was released as a freebie for an exhibition at the Swedish Army Museum and went down very well. Second was working on Steve's design for the Battle of St. Louis (1780) which used a similar system. I don't think this has been published as yet.

And then some further play testing for Dave Kershaw on his Albuera game which has not yet been published but will no doubt appear shortly. 

All in all, very challenging and a lot of fun.

On my own design front, I adapted a couple of excellent rule sets put together by Peter, a guy that knows how to design brilliant mechanics. First was Glorious Morning, adapting Peter's AWI rules to a hex grid format. 

I'm in the process of working up some small scenarios for Glorious Morning using a small hex grid with counters to cover the Southern Campaign. This one is for Camden but is not yet finished. I'm having trouble with the number of units and the scale of the grid, just needs further thought. 

Second was Ground Zero, this uses a great activation mechanic that I borrowed from Peter adapted to a hex grid and to modern warfare. This is definitely not yet finished. However, I am greatly enthused by the adoption of the mechanics by Duc de Gobin and friends to Vietnam.

The last project I started last year was Steel, Steel, Steel.  This is a solitaire area game of the Southern Front at Kursk. I've been working on this since 2013 and I'm determined to get it finished!

Now for 2018.....

Given how unsuccessful I was in my forward look to last year, this year I will mainly be planning to finish the scenarios for Glorious Morning, complete the work on GZ and look at a Vietnam version and also to get to grips with Steel.  

In readiness for some top quality brain work on these designs I have spent Christmas reading the collected Hammers Slammers novels. I have also been doing some literature research on combat values which, unfortunately, leads me to the conclusion that no one actually has the remotest idea about how to model modern combat. More on this later (and probably at great length).

My last thought for this post is that I am looking forward to a couple of really interesting things. 

  • Vicki has been working on a tactical grid based game of the battle of Stalingrad. The great thing about this is that the troops are worms and the fighting is in Wormingrad. Nuff said.
  • Nordic Weasel have been busy with a tactical rule set called Squad Hammer. This has now developed into Trench Hammer (WW1) and October Hammer (Russian revolution). I think these may be important research materials!
The last thing to say, but I should have probably said this first, is thank you to everyone that has read my posts, commented with helpful and constructive thoughts and has kept my enthusiasm up. Hopefully 2018 will be a good year for all of us!

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Winter Offensive.....

but some tidying up first!

KISS My Arras! At long last I have finished the scenario instructions after much thought and tweaking. Very happy with the result. This is one of my designs that can be played as a map and counter game or just set up on a table and play with toys. Revised map and rules (v2) can be found here.

Dragoons Rampant Another little job I have had hanging around for a while is revisiting the the artillery ratings in this adaptation of Dragon Rampant for the Peninsular War. These tweaks make the artillery units more like those in Pikeman's Lament but still with the need to order a re-load activation. I still like these rules a lot and have plenty of Hat guerrillas to paint up (at some point in the future I think!). Latest version of the rules and unit characteristics can be found here.  

Next project! Underway now. A not very good possible cover picture. More soon.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Norm is spending my money again.....

or is he?

I have been thinking about Xmas and what exciting things I might like to buy for myself (sorry Santa!). Norm has just reviewed the latest version of the LnL Tactical Starter Kit. Like his review of Tank on Tank from LnL, which finally switched me on to the very interesting aspects of that tactical system, I have finally been convinced that LnL Tactical is something I should try out. 

I played Squad Leader in the dim and distant but avoided ASL and also Combat Commander and most of the other tactical games. I have always had my eye on LnL because I'm interested in their Mogadishu game and their Libya expansion. Norm's review has convinced me to take a closer look.

The starter kit has been free in the US (only paying postage). It has been in some of the one-line shops for less than a tenner but a little trawl today produced none in stock anywhere. I have checked Wargames Vault for a PnP version and, to my surprise, realised I had already downloaded the two starter sets that now comprise the latest printed version. These are on Wargames Vault for £0, a real bargain for a couple of decent little games. I just need some time to set them up and play them!

A few other things have popped up recently (ooer Matron!) which may be of interest:

  • Dadi and Piombo the Italian publishers of Impulse and Basic Impulse have just released a small game version called Basic Battles. This is an adaptation of Basic Impetus for periods from the ECW to Colonial Wars. It is on Wargames Vault for £0. Grab a copy now!!!! Who needs Black Friday!
  • High Flying Dice Games have got something interesting in development, a small game on the Fulda Gap called Land of Confusion. Nuff said (thoughts of Wurzburg and the Fulda Gap game).
  • Real Time Wargames, the rather unusual (quirky?) rules producers, now have a game on the Italian Renaissance. It uses squares and includes a campaign. It is £25 but looks very, very interesting. 
  • The magazine Counter Fact has released a solo game on the current real world ISIS problem in Libya. I have read some reviews of this and it looks like a good solo system. Wargames Vault for $14.95.
  • Last but not least, Lou Coatney had released another free PnP game on NW Europe this time it is Market Garden (Eagle Attack). One for a rainy afternoon perhaps, very printer friendly!
Lots to be getting on with then! Next jobs are finishing Ground Zero and starting a new project on Kursk to be called Steel, Steel, Steel! This will be small, area based and probably solo with the player taking charge of the 4th Panzer Armee. Such fun.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Unboxing: Operation Icarus from Tiny Battle Publishing

A quick update after a long week at work. First up I have come across this unboxing video for Icarus. It is a very attractive game and I'm really pleased with how it has turned out. It is available through Wargames Vault as a PnP.

Second up, is that I have tracked down Dave Kershaw's designer diary on BGG for Albuera which is under development for White Dog games. Well worth a look.

I have had another idea for a game but that is for a longer post in the near future!

Sunday, 22 October 2017

A bit of an update.....

and another interesting list?

Well, I have more work than I can shake a stick at just now so progress on projects has been very limited. I have, however, been keeping my hand in and maintaining a keen interest in new stuff.

Albuera: I have been lucky enough to have the chance to do a bit of play testing on Dave Kershaw's new game (which will be out shortly through White Dog). A great area game with some really unique features and fantastic artwork. This will be available as a PnP so you can get it pretty easily. Highly recommended. His designer diary is hidden on BGG so I'll include a link when I can find it.

Donetsk: I have recently obtained a copy of Yaah! Magazine issue 9 with a really interesting modern tactical game. Well worth having a look at and a really challenging battle.

Rifles in the Ardennes (RITA): Tiny Battles have come up with a surprise game by Gottardo Zancani the guy that did Space Infantry. This game, otherwise known as RITA, is a solitaire infantry game with tanks etc. It looks really intriguing and is on my list for Xmas. It is on Wargames Vault for a very reasonable $12.   

Modern warfare: My current interest in modern warfare continues unabated. I recently bought an interesting book, The Defence of Jisr al-Doreaa, in the style of Duffers Drift concerned with US counter-insurgency tactics in Iraq. It is not quite written with the aplomb of Duffers but is nevertheless very enlightening. The book includes Duffers Drift and is well worth while getting for that. However, I have now found the text on the interweb and you can read it here. This link also includes additional training material including videos.  

Also, the US has just revisited it's guidance on war fighting in the light of changes in the modern world. The latest versions of FM-03 and ADP-03 Operations are on the internet. 

HE effectiveness against tanks: Norm has written an interesting blog post about how rules reflect the effectiveness of artillery against tanks. I think this discussion shows how good Norm's Tigers at Minsk are in representing WW2 tactical battles. Nice!

Small games on hex grids: A couple of other blog posts have caught my eye. First, Man of Tin has been using Don Featherstone's Close Little Wars rules on a hex grid. Very atmospheric. Also, on the Projects and Procrastination there is another adaptation of Close Wars for colonial skirmish on a grid. The games look very much like the pictures of Joseph Morschausers gridded games.    

It's never too early for an Xmas book list! Following some discussions with Duc de Gobin, I have become interested in the possibility of using GZ for Vietnam. So, my book list begins with Flashing Saber: Three Years in Vietnam by Matthew Brennan a veteran of the 1st Air Cav which I hope will have plenty of scenario material. I have also been reading some blog posts by Daniel A. Sjursen on The Nation and others. An erudite individual with extensive experience in Iraq. His book, Ghost Riders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge, is also on my list. Funnily enough, the Ghost Riders were another cavalry reconnaissance outfit. 

Well, that's it for now, back to work!

Sunday, 10 September 2017

GZ: Update

I have uploaded the next working version of GZ. This includes rules for sniper units. As you might guess from the picture above, the next section is breaching.