Tuesday, 29 December 2015

2015: What happened there then?

Having fun slowly!

I have taken a look at my plan for the year and decided that I have simply been a bit slow in getting my projects finished rather than being a real under achiever. The point was, after all, to enjoy myself rather than knock myself out. So what did actually happen?

The stuff I actually completed......

KISS My Arras! This saw the light of day back in January 2015.
The small version of Arras!
This is both a set of wargame rules for use on a hex grid and a hex map game. I have just sorted out the counters and these are now on the Arras page. I have not had much feedback on this but I think it is one of my better ideas. I had originally decided to try to do this in 6mm but my recent purchase of some Zvezda British tanks will push me towards 15mm.  

In a Cocked Hex: I finished this in February.

These were a hex grid adaptation of Neil Thomas' One-Hour Wargames rules. I'm also quite happy with these and will have to get the rest of my WSS armies painted up next year.

Quatre Bras a la Carte: I finally nailed this down in April after several goes.

As you can see, a hex grid map game based on my earlier Waterloo a la Carte game. This was my Waterloo 200 celebration and I have quite enjoyed playing around with it. 

Hats, Horses and Hexes: This OHW hex grid adaptation in November was driven by ideas from Kaptain Kobold and some nice fantasy maps (Borsetshire and Midsomer) for the ECW.

Again, this was another little project that I got a lot of pleasure from.

Stuff that didn't get finished.......and there is quite a lot of it!
  • Tannenberg: I did quite a bit more work on this but couldn't crack the combat model. I now have a few ideas from a game published by Norm (Anzio) so will have another go next year.
  • Firestorm Neuve Chappelle: I also did a lot more work on this and have completed the map and OB. Again, its the combat model that is problematic and I'm still thinking about it.
  • Rembarre: A tentative game(s) on the Vendee war. I love this period and will be pursuing it next year. This will be a hex grid game (plus map and counters version) which will allow several battles from the war to be played out in the form of a campaign.
  • Napoleonic OHW hex grid rules: Still in an early draft form. I have learnt a lot from Kaptain Kobold about the OHW rules and how they can be tweaked for different periods. I'm desperate to get this done so I can get on with some toy soldier painting.
  • Somewhere in Africa: Yes, I am trying to tweak the Five Core rules into a hex grid (I'm beginning to think I may have a real problem here with hex grids!). This will be set in modern times in the fictional country of Gonzonia and use 20mm toys.
  • Venture Fair: This one is just stuck in the works for the moment but is certainly not forgotten.
So there we go, I did things I wasn't planning and then my planned jobs just did not get done. I have had a lot of fun though!

Monday, 28 December 2015

My heart lies in Africa....

Oh Cheryl where are you?

I'm afraid this bit of complete arsing about was brought on by my finding out that the Kenyan operation against Al-Shabaab in southern Somalia in 2012 was named Linda Nchi. Thinking that this Linda might be related to Beyonce I found this amusing. Not so funny when you find out that it really means "Protecting the country" in English. The KDF operation was, happily, very successful. 

However, in Gonzonia when they name operations after a girl they have only one girl in mind.....Cheryl Miller!  Yes, the GDF have a long history of taking their operational names from the classic TV programme Daktari, filmed in Gonzonia in the 1960s, and starring all time top actress Cheryl Miller.

As we will see during 2016, the GDF recent actions have included Operation Elephant. 

Operation Clarence, I'd be cross eyed too if she was sitting on top of me!

And, of course, Operation Cheryl. If I can stop mucking about long enough to get on with some painting, Op. CHERYL 16 is first up and involves US forces assisting the GDF to rescue UN hostages from their El-Kebab captors.

Obviously, Cheryl was the first girl I fell in love with and you can see why!

Sunday, 27 December 2015

What has Santa brought this year?

Lots of prezzies actually!

When you get to my age the risk of ending up with nothing more interesting than socks and shirts at Christmas is very high. Lets face it, men only get new clothes at Christmas and that's because our loved ones have had enough of the old ones they gave us last time. Hey ho!

This years cunning plan has involved buying my own presents and then, very carefully, not looking at them until Christmas Day. I pretty much succeeded and was very pleased with what I had got for myself.

First off, a nice selection of Zvezda tanks. A clear indication that I'm pondering Arras again.

I stocked up at my new very nice games store.....

I can see myself getting into difficulties here. It is a nice new shop on an industrial estate with a good selection of Zvezda, PSC and Vallejo (my priority purchases) plus a wide range of other miniatures and rules. It also has a nice games area and a huge warehouse out the back which can be used for tournaments. The people who own the enterprise have an interest in FoW and they have already run one large tournament here. I'll be back (once I have saved up some money!).

I also got some books...

Black Ops and Honours of War are pretty much de rigueur at the moment. Ordered but not yet delivered is Lion Rampant. I have a couple of the earlier Osprey wargames rules which I wasn't over impressed with but I'm living in hope that one of these turns out to be brilliant.

What is brilliant is Brains and Bullets. Probably the most insightful analysis of modern tactical issues I have ever read. In fact, I sat down with this on Christmas Day and have just finished it. Simply stunning. Read this alongside Sidney Jary's 18 Platoon then design a tactical game that reflects real life. That's some challenge but one I'll ponder as something for next year (oh dear that sounds like a big job!).

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Free stuff.....

Well, it is Christmas after all!

In the spirit of the season here is some free stuff you might like to play with over the holidays. Actually, its not like I'm giving away my own free stuff, it is from a variety of sources. Nevertheless, fill your boots!

1. First Blood: The Guadalcanal Campaign

I have recently rediscovered this little gem on the campaign for Guadalcanal. It was originally a give away game many moons ago in an Avalon Hill magazine (AHIKS magazine, I can't remember what this stands for but I think it was to do with their player ranking system). It now has up to date graphics for map and counters and retains its simple rules. 

I have always struggled to understand the time and space issues on Guadalcanal and this looks like a very good introductory game.

You can find the materials necessary to put this game together on the Grognards website, use the "Updated Graphics" files, these appear to work well. This looks like a really nice game.

2. Arnhem

Most old wargamers will remember the SPI West Wall Quad and the Arnhem game which covered the whole of the Market-Garden Operation. Mind you, you'd have to be quite old to remember it when it first appeared. It was 1976 and I was still at school!. Blimey, I'm 57 now. What gets me about this game is that it is such a good simulation of the battles for the bridges. It also has multiple options for free deployment and weather effects so you really can do some "what if" scenario planning. 

Decision Games issued an updated version in their new folio series but, as is usual with DG, it was shagged up beyond all recognition (ShUBAR?). I have long wanted another copy of this game, mine disappeared long ago (and I had two copies as well!). Well, the rules, map and counters (including smart new ones) can be found on the Geek here. Stick it on a USB and go to your print shop and, voila, a full copy of the game. This is such a rewarding game I really recommend that you have a go if you have not played it before.

3. Battle for Arnhem

There is a print n play play-test version of a new game available on BGG. I haven't had a chance to get to grips with this yet but the comments coming in from others mean that it looks like a promising little game on Op. Market-Garden. There is a lot of praise for the rule book which is somewhat unusual and therefore worth checking out. Give it a try and, if you are in a giving mood, contribute to the BGG annual fundraiser and win some geekgold (actually its nice to have but I don't know what to spend it on!).

4. Wargame Downloads

Not as big an operation as Wargames Vault but well worth an occasional look. This offers PnP games at very reasonable prices and runs a permanent sale with some items up for $0. There are a couple at the moment, Hoke's Run and Front Royal, both ACW games and well worth picking up.

5. Wargames Vault Winter Offensive

The Vault is running its winter sale (25% off till 4 January). So not free but very cheap. I highly recommend that you take a look, especially if you have an interest in Nordic Weasel (as I do).

Its Christmas....

Well, the in-laws have arrived, the children are fighting and I'm coming down with a cold. I'm looking forward to a few days of much deserved chilling out which is exactly what will happen once I have had my presents and and cooked the lunch tomorrow. There are two final things to leave you with:
  • the first is that Norm has promised his usual Xmas posting tomorrow morning which I will very happily read just before I start on lunch and once have opened a large bottle of beer. Check Norm's posting here. Hopefully Norm's house move has gone OK and I'll have something interesting to read tomorrow;
  • the second is that I know people who are facing a very difficult Christmas through no fault of their own. My thoughts are with them and I hope they can get through it OK knowing what they face next year. Very very sad but very true and my thoughts and prayers are with them.
Hopefully I'm back up to normal posting speed after Xmas so see you then, a Merry Christmas to you one and all!

Friday, 18 December 2015

Midwinter update....

Weather hot but the news is cool!

I haven't posted for a while due to pressures of the day job. However, I have not stopped thinking about stuff which will now have to go on the list for next year. So, a nice opportunity before Christmas to get my thoughts in order. 

1. Battlefield Hobbies: This is a new wargames store and gaming facility(?). I came across their Facebook page by accident via PBIcandy. A new wargames store is always pretty rare. What's even more rare is that this one is situated only a short walk from my house in Daventry. Simply unbelievable. Judging by the clientele in the photo I'll fit right in. I'll check it out tomorrow and will do a short write up. I'll even take some photos.

2. Airfix Battles: This project is continuing to surprise me. I see that Benthamfish is now engaged in the game design process. You can check his blog here! This looks like it might be very good indeed. 

3. Aurelian: A new game from Sam Mustafa. This looks like Blucher with ancients. The BGG entry reads like this:
Aurelian is a tabletop game about the Crisis of the Third Century, the period during which the Roman empire nearly disintegrated in constant civil war and foreign invasions.Players take one of four roles: a Roman, Germanic, Sarmatian, or Persian commander. Any number of players can conduct a campaign, in which each type of army has a different set of victory conditions. While holding off Rome's many enemies, the Roman players are also trying to defeat each other and ultimately become (and remain!) emperor.Aurelian can be played with miniatures, or with "unit tiles" on any flat surface, much in the same manner as Blücher's unit cards. The centerpiece of the game is the campaign, in which each player manages the fortunes of his character and faction, much in the manner of the campaigns in Maurice and Longstreet. 
Sounds good. I have this vague idea that PSC have been mentioned in connection with this project but can't seem to find the reference.

4. Neil Thomas' Modern Rules: Well, not quite. Brian Cowan has just published his interpretation of Neil Thomas' second world war rules on the AMW Yahoo Group. Brian has done a great job. The rules include army lists for Vietnam, Yom Kippur, Falklands, Cold War Europe, Modern wars in Afghanistan etc. Well worth a look.

5. Nordic Weasel: Well I'm a dedicated Weasel fan. I'm not sure that sounds good, but it is. The Fivecore series rolls on with this really tempting collection of additional and optional rules. Available for very little ($3.99) from the Wargames Vault. Also on my Weasel list are Laserstorm (sci-fi) and War Story (a narrative based game). This is great stuff, mainly because it is very simple (just like me) and completely interchangeable. My Somewhere in Africa game will use all three levels of Fivecore (skirmish, company and brigade). Looking forward to it next year.

Also, the Polemos GNW rules are now re-released by Baccus and also on the Vault for not much. Something else for Santa to sort out (actually that means I have to pay for it and my wife says, "Happy Christmas").

6. Horse and Musket: This is the Hold the Line adaptation in development by Sean Chick. The rules are now available on BGG as well as a Vassal module so you can get to it now. No news about a publisher yet but its definitely on my list when it comes out.

7. Ideas: Yep, still having some. Thankfully, other people come up with them and I play with them. Two important things so far this month:

  • Kaptain Kobold has done some more work on his OHW ECW rules. These are very interesting and I may re-visit my ECW hex based interpretation as a result. Dashing cavalry anyone?
  • Combat model for Tannenberg: I have really been struggling with this. I've got a map and OBs and a good idea about time and space. However, the combat model is just missing and I have not been able to get excited about it. Never fear, someone else has had a good idea and I'll just nick it. This idea comes from my chum Norm and his published game Anzio. More on this next year but its a real relief that I have finally got to grips with it.
Unfortunately, its back to work now with a lot to do before Christmas. Hopefully I'll post again before the big day. Cheers.