Monday, 31 August 2015

More free stuff....

Not only free but really good!

Another wet day, I've had my usual weekend morning stroll and have had to dry off and warm up!

Having a day in doors is not a bad thing when you have some new stuff to play with. Here are a couple of free games to interest you.

Tigers at Minsk: A game by Norm Smith. This is a kit that allows you to play a scenario (KG Sivers) from his hex based miniatures game using a map and counters. This originated as a square based map game called Into Battle (2013). Here is a picture of me playing the original KG Sivers scenario following quite a severe injury to the thumb during the preparation of the counters. 

The new map is hex based...

You can find the rules, map, counters and an AAR at Norm's blog. It is well worthwhile exploring this little game.

Phalanx: Phil Sabin has recently used a simplified version of his hex based game Phalanx at this years International Ancient Warfare Conference in Wales. Here is a review of the event from the editor of Ancient Warfare Magazine.

The original game was published by the SoA but a version was also published in Wargames Illustrated. I love this game as it allows you to play 36 ancient battles with some very small generic armies. In this version there are two hoplite armies which use very simple rules to allow you to fight some basic battles. Once you have mastered this you can move on to the full version of Phalanx (then Legion, then Strategos II and then Lost Battles!). You can pick up the kit from the Lost Battles Yahoo Group.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Back from more holidays!

And its raining....

I have had another week off, that makes a whole two weeks this summer. This time I and the family have been in Norfolk.

As you can see, nice weather, great light and a lovely time. Now we are back it has started to rain and may do so for some time. Never mind, I have been doing some thinking, not of the ponderous sort but more focused on a couple of specific problems I set myself.

1. Tannenberg: I spent some time looking at my preferred combat model (from Worthington's Holdfast) and continue to think that it is probably a good fit. I took some prints of my work on the OB on holiday with me and discovered that I didn't think very much of my research! Next step is to revisit the books and bash out another one. A bit disappointing. especially when the map had gone so well.

2. OHW Napoleonics: I was incited to take Neil Thomas' One Hour Wargames with me by two things, firstly Kaptain Kobold's latest version of his OHW Great Northern War variant and, secondly, Max Foy's latest thoughts on how to play simple Napoleonic battles on a hex grid "Maneuvering in hexes". This set me to thinking about doing a version of my In a Cocked Hex rules for Napoleonics. Essentially this would be an excuse to give the Cocked Hex rules another going over, look at the Kaptain's variant rules on combat (rolling to hit rather than just rolling for casualties) and then having another go at my hex grid variant of Neil's Napoleonic rules. 

I'll sleep on this and give it another think tomorrow!

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Under an August Sun?

More Tannenberg

Not quite an August sun today, a bit rainy in fact, so time to update the blog.

I like to take a difficult book on holiday with me, the sort of book that is hard to read on a train journey without falling asleep. This year it was....

I bought this in February 2014 when I started work on my Tannenberg game. I have had it on my desk since then and have made various attempts to get through it. I have now succeeded and found that it is a very good book.

Dennis Showalter provides a very insightful analysis of Russo-German relations from 1870 onwards. Although he has a heavy weight style of writing, especially on the political and strategic background, the description of combat operations is simply superb. Perhaps one of the best descriptions of a battle since "The Battle" by Alessandro Barbero! Critical points are that neither side knew where the other actually was and neither side really knew the other's intentions. German corps and divisional commanders frequently did what they wanted, when they wanted to, so top down direction was very difficult.

I also had the opportunity to drop into Claymore in Edinburgh the other week. Probably my favourite show. I bought a game....

With a hundred counters, this is a brigade level game of the battle against the Russian 2nd Army around Tannenberg. It looks very good, although Decision Games have had to carry out major surgery on their Fire and Movement standard rules to make them work for this battle. The rule book is therefore a mess. Other than that it looks very interesting.

So guess what, I have dusted off my Tannenberg design and got on with it. The map is now done, hurrah!

I now also have a more informed view of the OOB, it will be corps level for the Russians and division for the Germans. I have also better understood the movement dynamics and scale following the descriptions of the operations in the book. 

The combat model was the sticking point last time and I have now resolved to use the Worthington Games approach in Holdfast, i.e very simple. It will be interesting to test this out.

Friday, 14 August 2015



Just back from my hols to find that Compass Games have announced  "Tricorne: American Revolution", a Command and Colors system. Nuff said. Due next year so start saving now.

In my dreams it looks like this, a miniatures version of Hold the Line.

More news...... It will be a kickstarter (OK with me), from the USA (boo, mainly for postage and import VAT reasons) and it will have miniatures of M44 quality (hurrah).