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...