Thursday, 1 June 2017

Nice feedback.....

is always worth sharing!

A quick post to say that Paul has been giving my Quatre Bras a la Carte game a go and extending it to an alternative history second day. Paul has posted a nice picture....

Looking back on that game I'm sure I can make a better job of the graphics. Maybe a v2 at some future stage.

Paul's blog is also really interesting and is well worth checking out. I really like the style Paul has adopted for his Peninsular armies.....

...and lots of nice hexes!

Sunday, 21 May 2017

More interesting stuff.....

but not much action!

Real life is imposing some significant pressure so most of my projects are somewhat in disarray. However, new stuff keeps popping up that I am very enthusiastic about and may well result in some deep thinking (really!).

Now, you will recognise the picture above, this is the new Sean Chick Hold the Line variant game now adopted by Hollandspiele. This is the new box art...

Very smart. The reason for mentioning it two posts on the trot is that it is now available on Wargames Vault as a pnp for only $15. I know that this is (extremely) print heavy and not something that most of us would want to build ourselves. However, it may well be worth it just for the scenarios. 

Some free but also very interesting rules are:
  • Peter's new Grid Based Sci Fi rules. These feature a refined version of the activation rules that I was so enthusiastic about recently. Rest assured I shall be studying these closely!
  • In a similar vein, Norm has just posted his hex based ACW rules. I haven't had a chance to look at these in detail but a couple of interesting features have caught my imagination and I'll be considering these as well.
Well done Peter and Norm for a couple of fantastic rule sets!

I have also come across a couple of new (to me at least) blogs with some great stuff on them.
  • Roll a One: A 6mm focussed blog with an example of Pikeman's Lament played with Baccus 6mm figures. Very cool. Even I might be able to paint that number of tiny troops!
  • Jozie's Tin Man: This blog features some AWI house rules for Neil Thomas' OHW rules including fog of war cards. Not only is that great but he has done some work on FiveCore Company Command including US and OPFOR QRS.
All of this makes me very happy that we have such a vibrant, entertaining and thought provoking community!

Sunday, 14 May 2017

More free stuff....

and a catch up on news!

First the news....

The Horse and Musket version of Hold the Line by Sean Chick has been adopted by Hollandspiele and release is now planned. This looks great, check out the link. Worth anyone's $77.

I have been looking for good 20mm vehicles for modern battles, especially Hummers. I have found this interesting 3D print company, Butler's 3D Models, that I had completely overlooked. They do the same vehicles in 6, 15 and 20mm. Here is a sample picture.

A T72, picture is of a 15mm version but the 20mm size is only £8, very nice.

I have a long standing interest in numbers, especially how they relate to warfare. I have recently come across a series of books on Barbarossa written by someone who is obviously completely mad (Nigel Askey). The books are on Lulu and are worth checking out if you like data!  

...and now the free stuff!

Niemenczyn 1794 is a battle fought on 27th April 1794 near Vilnius. It involves the Poles and Russians during the Kościuszko Uprising. A new one on me and worth Googling. The game is by Strategemata, a well known Polish games company an is available free from the website. 54 counters and a nice small map.

Limanowa: Play test version with part of the map

Heroes of the Great War: Limanowa is by a new company, Gladiator Games Ltd. It is on Kickstarter (for good or ill). The background is:
Limanowa – the Galician town where, in the winter of 1914, Austro-Hungarian and Polish troops heroically prevented the further onslaught of the “Russian Steamroller”, saving Cracow from occupation. Limanowa – where the legendary Hungarian cavalryman Ottmár Muhr died a hero’s death heading his glorious hussars while protecting Jabloniec Hill, situated next to the town, with his men until their last breath against the Russian attackers.
There is a free print and play version available now and well worth a look. 

Pavlov's House game board
Pavlov's House is a print and play game from this years BGG PnP competition. It is a brilliant strategic/operational/tactical game from the Battle for Stalingrad to the fighting over a single building. This is from the guy that did the fantastic Castle Itter game. The files are available from the BGG page for the game. The files are also available from this website as well as a brilliant (I really mean brilliant!) overview of the battle (Pavlov's House Companion). 

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Glorious Morning......

a new AWI hex grid conversion!

I have had this on my list of things to do for a while. Here is the link to my first shot at converting Peter's excellent AWI rules to a hex grid format.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

I want some of these.....

just bigger!

GHQ perfection in 1/285, would you believe it!
I have just turned in a major piece of work on a development project so now have a short space of time to do some wider thinking before the next stage. 

My jumble of thoughts are on the subject of modern warfare, the type of small unit activity I'm working on in my temporarily paused Desert Eagle. What set off this train of thinking was the recent battle between Turkish troops supported by their Free Syrian Army proxies (Ahrar al-Sham) and ISIS for the control of al-Bab, a key town in central northern Syria. This is at the outer limits of the current Euphrates Shield operation. The Turks set out to take al-Bab and fought an intense battle for the hospital area. In this battle they lost 10 Leopard 2A4s, a Sabra M60 plus 4 APCs/armoured recce vehicles. Bellingcat have covered this here in a brilliant article.

Apart from proving that the Turkish Leopards are a bit feeble, as was seen in the earlier border fighting, it also shows the scope for using lots of tanks. I have become interested in the possibility of using 12mm scale for this type of game.

I have checked out what is available and I want vehicles that are quite large and the ability to use individually based infantry. 10mm is pretty barren in this respect. However, the Minifigs 12mm range is comprehensive. They do packs of three different types of arab insurgents (28 for £4.05) and US and Russian special forces. Irregular miniature do a range of large 10mm modern troops specifically to fit with 12mm vehicles which is described as Modern Bush Wars. So all set to go? Very nearly.

Minifigs do all the tanks you could ask for plus HMMWVs and Toyotas with MGs and recoilless guns. What they don't do is the new breed of HMMWV with armoured turrets which are the de rigeur vehicle for the Middle East. Where can I find something that will fit with 12mm? Not even Shapeways have anything that fits. I don't relish trying to scratch build turrets in this scale! Any ideas?

In other news.......

  • Activation mechanics: Peter at "Grid based wargaming - but not always!" has come up with a very simple, adaptable die roll based activation mechanism. Simply brilliant.
  • Scum...: A supplement has just been published with additional rules and units. A must for $1.49!  

Friday, 24 March 2017

More grid stuff.....

and even more scum than I was expecting!

A couple of interesting things have come-up....

Nice hat!
Rommel: A new set of rules from Sam Mustafa. The two best things about this are that the game covers more than just N. Africa and that it is an operational game using a grid! The squares are 6", representing 1km across. On a 6 by 4 table this gives 12km by 8km and allows one to two divisions a side in battalion sized units. Teaser material is now available on Sam's website and he has gone into some detail about the game in a recent podcast.

Scum of the Earth: I have mentioned the beta version of this before. The beta version was badged as an AWI/Napoleonic small battles game on a 2 by 2 board. The final version has now been published. What is great is that it contains period specific rules for:
English Civil War, Seven Years War, American Revolution, Napoleonic Wars, First Schleswig War, Crimean War, American Civil War, Second Schleswig War, Austro-Prussian War, Colonial battles, Franco-Prussian War, Spanish American War, Russo-Japanese War and 1914. 
That is quite a bit more than I was expecting and is most welcome. All for $12.99. There are some really interesting mechanisms in these rules and I'm keen to give them a go. 

How can anyone say this is not a golden age!

Monday, 13 March 2017

What's this!

Travel Battle!

This just popped up on the Perry Miniatures site. A travel Napoleonics game with 2x3D geometric boards each of 10 by 10 1" squares.

The games comes with:

  • 160 x Infantry 
  • 24 x Cavalry 
  • 4 x Guns and 12 crew 
  • 6 x Brigadiers 
  • 6 x Buildings 
  • 4 x Dice 
  • 1 x Set of rules
The miniatures ar 8mm plastic (very interesting!) in red or blue.

This looks great, the only drawback is a £50 pre-order price.  

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Poltava (2)....

more stuff!

My last post on this game included the Swedish tactical considerations map. Steve has now, very kindly, sent me the Russian tactical considerations map. I think this is such a good idea. Possibly a little difficult to do for a large game, but certainly very effective for a game this size. Nice one! 

Hopefully the game will be available commercially at some stage.

Saturday, 25 February 2017


game launched!

The Poltava game that I helped playtest was designed as a freebie for the Swedish Army Museum's exhibition of wargaming that runs through to January next year. The event has now launched and there is a very nice review of the exhibition on the Dalauppror blog. No feedback on the game yet but it will be interesting to see what people think of it.

There was an interesting comments from Kaptain Kobold on my earlier post about how much scripting was required for the Poltava game. Poltava is a complex battle. I thought that the postcard game dealt very well with the phases of the battle. The following picture illustrates the objectives that the swedes need to hit before they can win.

It works really well and is a great illustration of how wargames can provide a platform for learning about history. It is also challenging and fun!

I hope that the game is successful and that Steve Kling takes the system forward to further battles. He has mentioned Yorktown and I think that a full set of AWI battles would be a nice idea.

By the way, I have come to think that if I wasn't English (whatever that might mean) then being Swedish would be my next option!

Monday, 20 February 2017

Secret game.....

no secret any more!

One of my 6 by 6 games was labelled "secret game". It is a bit of a cheat since I had already played more than six times since Christmas.

I have been privileged to have taken part in the play testing of a new game "The Battle of Poltava 1709" by Steve Kling. Steve is a real expert on the Great Northern War. His company Historical Games Co. has published Fields of Battle Vol 1 covering 8 battles of the GNW and also a brilliant GNW compendium in two volumes. 

I'm a big fan of small games which are exemplified by the battles in Vol 1. I'm also a big fan of Sweden and the GNW. So, I volunteered to do some play testing for a post card game which will be given away to visitors to the Swedish Army museum in an exhibition that starts this month featuring wargames through the ages.

As you can see, the game really is a post card game with an A4 map and 30 counters. The Armemuseum Facebook site blows the gaff on the game. 

The game is a mix of the FoB rules and the Postcard from the Revolution series by Mike DeSanto. It is very challenging and historical with a really good combination of strategy and luck. 

I'm massively pleased to have had some involvement in this game. I'm not sure if this game will be available commercially but I understand Steve has intentions to use it more widely. The Battle of Yorktown has been mentioned! Very cool.

As this is a bit of a cheat I may well have to put another game into my 6 by 6 challenge.

Sunday, 12 February 2017


of the earth!

The Duke of Wellington having a ponder
I too have been pondering but not in a picturesque setting. I have been reading the beta version of Scum of the Earth by Nordic Weasel. I don't think this game is a derivative of their earlier Starport Scum skirmish games and it looks like a new system to me, although familiarly weaseley (and don't ask me about the stoat joke again!).
The French system of conscription brings together a fair sample of all classes; ours is composed of the scum of the earth — the mere scum of the earth. It is only wonderful that we should be able to make so much out of them afterwards. 
Duke of Wellington speaking about soldiers in the British Army, 4 November 1813
I'm assuming the title comes from the Duke's famous saying and the game is, of course, about black powder warfare (broadly Napoleonic Wars to the Crimea).

I have to say that I really like this system. The key things are that it is simple, has clever mechanics, low rules overheads and is very, very small. One important thing is that, like the Rampant/Lament system, it allows you to play battles which are not just skirmishes with a couple of bods. But, as it says in the rules, this will look just like Sharpe on the telly.

Broad outline of the game:

  • Played on a 24" by 24" board (DBA sized!).
  • 3-5 units a side, 6 infantry figures or 3 cavalrymen per unit or one gun per artillery unit.
  • Unit can have traits (including scum so watch for looting!) and characters (musicians) which impact on movement or combat.
  • There are leaders (on white horses) who inspire courage tests and combat results.
  • There are simple basic formations, but no facing (yet).
  • IgoUgo with rolling for initiative each turn.
  • Units attempt to roll for movement (d6 plus a modifier e.g. 3 for cavalry) and the total is the move in inches.
  • Crossing bad going or obstacles requires a minimum score on the movement die.
  • Scoring 0 on the d6 (modified or natural) allows the enemy a reaction move by one unit.
  • After movement there is artillery fire, infantry fire and close combat.
  • The attacker fires a volley (d6 plus modifiers) and the defender rolls a d6 (plus modifiers) to see if it withstands the fire or is shaken and retreats with losses.
  • Melee is a similar d6 plus modifiers comparison.
The beta version contains only the basics so far and is not yet complete. It does look very promising though. The reason for this being that it will fit on a six by six hex grid and therefore can be used with the OHW scenarios! I feel a hex grid conversion coming on!!!!

Saturday, 11 February 2017

New stuff.....

its quite nice!

Sci-Fi stuff......A game on a 6 by 8 square grid board with homemade tanks and infantry!

You can see more about this on Vicky's Crazy Wargames World, a very neat blog. I think there is a Japanese name for these cartoon type models (and it's not bonzai). Vicky uses a modified version of Lock n Load's Tank on Tank rules, recently reviewed in detail by Norm. 

Here is a link to Peter's Sci-FI Company Action rules, also derived from Tank on Tank. I don't know if they are the same as the ones Vicky is using but they are pretty cool.

Weasel stuff.......

Two interesting things:

Trench warfare is a campaign game for any FiveCore product, for only $2.99!

Scum of the Earth is for 3-5 six figure units on a 2 foot by 2 foot table. This is a Beta version and is available on a "pay what you want" basis. All I can say about this is that it looks very very interesting.

Both are available from Wargames Vault

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Let's try 6 by 6?

Oh, alright then!

Not that I have had my arm twisted, more like I have already started so I might as well do it properly.

Kaptain Kobold kicked-off the idea and you can find out more about it here. The aim is to play six games six times this year and blog about the plays.

I have decided that I should be clear about the reasons for the type of games I'm including and also the reasons for each game being chosen.

What type of games to play? The idea is that you can play anything you like, rules, boardgames, published or home grown. I have decided to concentrate on my favourite sort of game: small, quick to set up and play with interesting mechanics. So, have some fun and learn from the experience.

I will not be playing my own designs. I have also realised that if I play games by other people which are complete and ready to go I will not be distracted by rewriting anything or realising that I hadn't actually finished designing them or building them!

Which games will I play? After a lot of thought......

My pimped large map for 1914 with my new counters
1914 Opening Moves (Minden Games): As it says on the tin, the opening 1914 campaign in the west. Solitaire game, ready to go!

Remagen Bridge (Minden Games): Another solitaire game, the US take the bridge over the Rhine. Also ready to go (but not pimped!).

Flying Eagles (High Flying Dice Games): A very neat small game about WW1 air combat. Card activation. 

An Loc, nice map
Courage under Fire (HFDG): The battle for An Loc during the Vietnam war.  Area movement and card activation. Originally published by Minden Games!

Manoeuvre (GMT): The brilliant little Napoleonic game using a gridded playing map and card activation. 

The secret last game: Yes, I have been doing something interesting since Christmas, helping to play test a game for a designer in the US. I have played more than six games of this but will not reveal anything until it has been published later this month. It has been a very pleasant and challenging experience and also a great learning opportunity working with someone who knows what they are doing. 

So, some themes here (grids, areas, card activation, solitaire). With an eye on refining my Mosul game, I'll be starting off with Courage under Fire. More later...

Monday, 16 January 2017

2017 Thinking about........


Hmmmh, getting into 2017 is like sliding slowly into a cold bath.....Brexit, Trump, Putin. It ain't fun and it ain't getting any better!

Dangerous places: CTS shooting ISIS drones in Mosul
On that optimistic note I have finally got into gear and done some thinking about what rules I want to play around with this year. As I'm not inclined to play the rules as written I'm looking for stuff that I can tweak and play with.

Old favourites

Having re-read Bolt Action again over Christmas I have put it away again and returned to my old favourites: AK47 in the guise of a modern middle east version (AK74 perhaps!) and Neil Thomas' OHW, especially Peter's AWI version

New favourites?

As belated Christmas presents I got hold of a copy of Rogue Stars (because I liked the activation model) and have pre-ordered Pikeman's Lament (because it will be brilliant).

I have been havering about Chosen Men, I'm not sure I'll like it so I'm awaiting reviews. I haven't got enough on my Amazon card either!

I am also very excited about the latest Nordic Weasel production: From Shako to Coal-Scuttle. Ivan mentions Neil Thomas in his write up so that's good enough for me (I also mucked about with the beta version so I'm pretty keen on this one). Out in a couple of days for $10.

A favourite I didn't know I had! 

Yes, I got this last year and immediately shelved it. I now carry it with me wherever I go. It has the world's best wargame model for suppression fire. You can expect me to bang on about this for a whole year, it's great and I probably will play the rules as written (OK, lying but it will be close).

I also have a new project which will take up some time but which I am extremely excited to take part in. Whatever world leaders get up to, I'm hoping for a kind and memorable 2017 and I hope you have one too. Best wishes!