From the shed: A selection of kits from Anyscale Models

Anyscale Models are a relatively new resin manufacturer who make kits in either 1/72nd or one 1:56, whilst a lot of the range is geared towards railway modellers there is plenty aim at the wargamer. I put in a small order a bit back and have just got round to finishing them all off.

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This pair of FIAT armoured lorries were made by the Italians and then taken into service by the Germans after the 1943 armastice. They are ideal for partisan games in the north of Italy during the last few years of the war. I painted them in acrylics and gave them a heavy weathering with a sponge.

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A simple field kitchen, ostensibly British and WW2 will do duty everywhere for  those raid on a base camp style scenarios.

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This pipe is meant to be scaled for 1:56/ 28mm wargaming but it is generic enough to be used for either I think. Again painted with a sponge.

I highly recommend looking at Anyscale, a decent range and it is all very competitively priced. I will be certainly ordering from them again soon.

Cheers,

 

Pete.

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Mixed fortunes for Tech Noir: Necromunda Campaign games 3, 4 and 5.

I’ve played several games in my Necromunda campaign in quick succession so I have decided to do the write ups in one go.

For the campaigns third game I had to intercept Niall’s gang of Genestealer Cultists who were trying to escort an Imperial agent safely through the underhive.

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I did my usual trick of setting up on the high ground to present a firing line of gangers whilst my champions and leader went in on ground level to try and do the damage.

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The plan was OK and I had a couple of early success, especially in getting rid of the webgun armed cultist that would have got annoying quickly but overal I found that whilst I wasgetting lots of hits on target I wasreally struggling to convert them into damage.

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As a consequence I got quite badly chewed up inthe game and had most of my gang out of action.

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My fourth game was a challenge against Marcus and the campaign constant opposition. It would hopefully be an easier game and allow me to regroup before my next campaign fight.

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Fighting Fighting genestealer cults again wastough, again I struggled to convert my hits into damage. This is due partly to bad luck and partly to the low power of my guns.

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The game saw us trying to defile a relic/ marker belonging to each gang. I played defensively; by trying to make the cultists come to me I was hoping that the high rate of fire I could put out would chew them up.

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This didn’t really happen, and after some nasty brushed with the bigger genestealer mutants I cheesed a win by the clock running out on the time we had to play in.

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My fith game, and fourth campaign game was against Joe’s Venator (Bounty Hunters) gang. I knew this would be a hard fight as they are a powerful and well equipped gang. This was made harder by the scenario as the game was played in the dark. Line of sighht was limited to 3 inches and 12 inches if you have night vision (as most of mine did). Furthermore isolated figures could be picked of by monsters in the dark

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The game was a bit of disaster. My luck was against me and many, many volleys of grenades were thrown in my direction (they could be thrown blind).

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Again what hits I did get on targets for the most part failed to convert into any damage.

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In the end I voluntarily withdrew from the battlefield… to add insult to injury one of my gangers was captured. My next game will be a rescue mission to try and get him back.

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After these games the weaponary for my gangers needs a re-think I’ve got some ideas of what to do plus another box of gangers and some upgrade parts so hopefully next time I should do a bit more damage.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

Hell Cannons: A Pair of improvised mortars.

The tragic long running civil war in Syria has thrown up many examples of improvised military equipment over the years: from home made sniper rifles to converted apcs. Ace models have recently immortalised two such weapons in a plastic kit.

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Hell Cannons are the name given to large improvised mortars that have been built by the rebel forces/ Free Syrian Army in the past few years. Consisting of a large metal pipe fixed to a truck axle they fire homemade shell that are mostly made from propane gas canisters. As can be imagined they are not particularly accurate and neither do they have a long range, barely reaching overa mile. A more in-depth  look at them can be found here .

Ace kits are a east European manufacturer of limited run plastic kits that cover a wide variety of subjects that are often not covered by the bigger companies. Given the limitations of their short run production their kits have a repuation of being difficult to build; the finesse and fit of the parts is not up there with the likes of Revell or Dragon. That said the two guns were built over the course of a single evening. I thought it was a nice touch that several examples of the relevant ‘shells’ were included too.

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Painting was mostly done with a sponge to get the mottled camo and rust effects and didn’t take long at all.

The first gun is from the Ahrar al- Shmal Brigade nd was seen in the Idlib area in 2013.

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The second gun was built and used by the Free Syrian Army in Aleppo in 2017.

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I have bought some suitable figures from Elhiem to use as crew but I’ve not painted them yet.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

28mm Rhodesian SAS

Bill of Under Fire Miniatures asked me to paint up some of his recent 28mm Bush War RhSAS for him.

 

I cleaned up the figures and got crking. Painting using my usual technique went OK until I completly over did the highlights and made the figures look far too white and chalky. I was on the verge of stripping them when I remembered that I’d bought a new green wash from Army Painter. I bathed it on and let it dry overnight. Fortunately it did the trick… so much so that I’m really plesed with how this quartet look.

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They have been painted in plain green fatigures to represent the sort worn on external operations into Mozambique.

 

I left the base unfinished as per Bill’s request.

You can by the figures here .

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

Megagames Round up and next year’s calendar.

Megagames Round- up.

 

Now that is all my megagames done and dusted for the year it is time to take stock I guess. With the games this year so far it means I’ve been to 32 games in total (designed/run 2, played 12 and controlled 18). I really need to play more I think- it is always fun to do so, just a shame that the operational games that I prefer are few and far between these days. I should really try to get to another groups’ game as a player next year….

 

On the subject of next year: Pennine Megagames have announced the calendar for 2019:

23rd March sees Buccaneer link being run in Sheffield. Set in the War of Spanish Succession it is a prequel to John’s popular game from last year. I hope to reprise my control role from last time as I enjoyed it so much.

On the 18th May Becky put on Trope High link in Leeds. Think every high school film mashed together… so lot of roleplaying possibilities there at the school where everyone has a secret. I’m very interested to see how this one develops as it is something very different to our previous games and should bring in a different crowd of gamers.

22nd June will be a chance to refight the whole of WW1 in Cubespiel link from Tom. This will be run in Manchester- I’m looking forward to this one. An ambitious design but with Tom’s background I’m sure it will make for an interesting game.

At the end of the summer, 14th September, Paul will run Hold the Line ’39 link in Sheffield. Will the Polish mange to stop the German juggernaut this time around? Given how well the full-scale test of the rules worked with Czech mate this is another game that I’m wanting to play in.

Flying, Trading, Misbehaving link is a new game from a new designer Sam inspired by the Firefly universe being run in Manchester 12th October. This should be a good game for all the SF fans out there. Plenty to do whether you want to roleplay or just fight out space battles or even trading.

Pickles rounds off the year on the 16th November in Manchester again with Who Will Watch Them link , a negotiation game of super power limitation talks that could well be disrupted by super villains. Given the popularity of the Marvel/ DC franchises this one could go down well too. Superheroes and me don’t get on but Pickles’ design skills mean this will be a good game.

 

For more details see the Pennine Megagames website or look on facebook for us.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

Serious Gaming: Entrusted 2.


Back in the middle of this year I got the chance to act as control in Paul Howarth and Ben Green’s hospital simulator game intrusted. See past blog report  here. Fund had been secured to run the game again for a different group of healthcare professionals and again I got the chance to help deliver it.

 

The format of the game was to be slightly different this time. It was intended that all the players would be part of a single hospital; although the narrative was continued from the last game in that the participants were now running the old hospital post- merger, otherwise the basic premise and three levels of players was retained. I went over early with Paul to Manchester to help sort things out before the game and go through the changes that had been made to the game since last time. It was nice to get a better grasp on the mechanisms of the game as last time my control role wasn’t really focused on them.

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The plenary Briefing.

After the attendees had arrived and the plenary briefing delivered we set up the room for the next day and retired to the bar. A pleasant couple of hours was spent with the control team drinking, chatting and playing a board game. In our case a run through of a the rather good Black Orchestrawhere you attempt to assassinate Hitler, we did with a briefcase bomb… There is a serious point to this, I’m of the opinion that gaming together, regardless of the game, can only improve a person’s and group’s skill level when acting as part of a control team.

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The evening’s recreational game.

After breakfast at the hotel we started early with the game and watched the players try to organise the hospital. A failure on their part to stock take what staff cards they had available at the start meant that they had plenty in turn one but then struggled in the second and subsequent turns. There were insufficient resources at the scenario start to deal with everything perfectly, this was meant to engender a discussion from the bottom- up to the board level players to get more resources this didn’t really happen for a good few hours. As this time, I was supervising the admissions/ Intensive Care unit and surgical wards I saw that the players worked incredibly hard to process the patients through the hospital and to a degree I start to empathise with them. This became apparent when the board level players came into the main room to describe their latest social media campaign. I sensed a degree of annoyance go through some of the players that they had been working hard whilst the board had been coming up with new hashtags for a twitter campaign. It was very interesting to see that as in the last game I saw how hard that the board/ directorate were working and I know full well that social media presence and public perception is of utmost importance in today’s media saturated landscape so I would not want to do the board a disservice and suggest that they were having an easier time of it than those in the main room running the basic hospital functions. One of the points of contentions was a refusal to hire the extra nurse, of non- British nationality, that were needed to man the wards. The staffing crisis got so severe that the intensive care unit was not used for a couple of turns.

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A pair of the wards staffed and with paitents.

Whilst the new mechanics are improved I think that a few player aids to speed up the learning of the game could be utilised in and subsequent run of the game.  I’d suggest that the quicker that the players understand and are comfortable with the basic mechanics the sooner that they can be different problem and scenarios can be injected in the game to generate the inter- department and inter- hierarchy discussions that will provide the greatest learning experience for the attendees.

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Discussions around anesthetist’s staffing level in the surgical theatres.

In the debrief there were some great comments by the attendees which showed that they got a lot from the game and again it was great to see gaming being used for something so beneficial.

Cheers,

Pete.

Megagame Report: Juntas.

Taking inspiration from the classic old board game of the same name (which I still haven’t played yet) Paul put on this megagame in Manchester on the 24th November. The scenario was expanded beyond the premise of the board game to have players taking on the role of the ruling politicos/ families of four fictional 1960/ 1970s South American countries, all of which were centred around the Anaconda basin. Also, there were players representing various multinational corporations trying to exploit the countries natural resources; four 2- person ambassador teams from the major powers (USA/ UK/ France/ USSR), five single player roles were given over to intelligence operators (all with bland names starting with ‘J’) and finally there were two players taking the roles of writers floating about looking for the story of the century. These final two roles were based on Ernest Hemmingway and Paul Theroux.

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The network figures on the abstracted board.

My job on the day was to run the intelligence game, something that I always enjoy doing. The game was a mixture of open and closed maps. There was a map that everyone could see that showed the info that everyone would know but a large amount of the info about the actual state of a country was kept hidden by control. This design philosophy was reflected in the intelligence game. The players had an abstracted map of the area upon which coloured figures were moved that represented local and transnational networks that could be hired to do the intelligence officers bidding. Whilst the players could negotiate and talk to other players in the game pretty freely the only way that they could mechanically interact with the game was through the networks. The hidden information came from the fact that they invested money into each network and only I as intelligence control knew who had invested what and who had ultimate control of each network. The five players were all experienced megagamers and kept me busy all day with some excellent ideas. Of the five roles four were American, and the final one was Soviet. Three of the US players worked quite closely together whilst John, playing a National Security Agency player, acted to type and kept a distance. Daniel as the Soviet was up against it from the start as the others instantly were suspicious of him, furthermore he invested heavily in the worst network in the game meaning that their loyalty to him was only matched by their incompetence in the field. Networks could be tested to see how good they were but that was not really done by many of the players.

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A general view of the hall with the screened off umpires’ section, the open map (bottom right) and the country tables round the edge of the room.

I could tell from turn one that I was going to be in for a busy game as Matt had been planning on the train down to the game, as he told me after the game’s conclusion, for his opening gambit. He wanted to buy a large quantity of heroin to have it at hand to potentially use to destabilise any of the four played countries if it looked like that they were going to move towards socialism/ communism… very CIA. His networks spent a few early turns locating and the purchasing said drugs. Ed was seemingly unhappy with his budget allocation and rather than deal with the paperwork to increase it (which was an in- game option) decided to raise his own slush fund by having his network rob some banks for him. This did wind up the counties no end as it got docked out of their budgets, as Ed’s networks were pretty good he never had an agent captured that might’ve given him away. A couple did go out in a hail of gunshots on the steps of a bank.

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The common knowledge map of the Anaconda basin.

Within the structure of the turn I was busy all the time as I needed to keep my paperwork regarding the networks up to date, thanks are due here to Becky W for helping my out with  cash counting duities. Collate the pieces of information that the intel players were asking for, resolve any other actions then relaying any pertinent info to the relevant country controls. As such I didn’t see much of the game other than that which was through the spy’s lens. John played the slow and steady game, sticking to his brief by infiltrating and bugging each countries’ radio network. This was spotted by the other three American intel players and they did try to spy on John to find out his loyalties. I just told them that they didn’t have a high enough security clearance to have the answer. At this stage of the cold war even the acronym ‘NSA’ was classified, hence its occasional nickname of ‘No Such Agency’.

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A glimpse behind the umpire’s screen where the countries’ actual data was tracked.

Daniels lowly network was nothing but not persistent taking several turns to finally blow up a dam as an act of economic warfare. As he was about to be hunted down to the others as the game drew to a close Daniel did the sensible thing and negotiated for himself a French passport. The heroin did make its way into the game as it was infiltrated, by the troika of US players when a country went over to communism, into a player’s food to make him unwell when it was withdrawn to limit his efficiency. It may have sounded far- fetched but one only has to remember the CIA plots against Cuba’s Castro during this time frame.

All in all it was a busy but very fun day and another solid political- military game by Paul to finish off Pennine Megagames 2018 calendar. The only thing that I would think about changing from my corner of the game would be to have an intel player tied to each ambassador team as it was difficult for the USSR player to do much and the US got a bigger advantage than the others as there were four players supporting that side.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

https://www.penninemegagames.co.uk/