Some 6mm terrain.

MDF laser cut terrain has really taken off in the wargames world in recent years, I’ve been buying the odd bit for my 20mm collection for a few years now but have only just got round to getting some for my 6mm games.

 

I bought three buildings from Blotz to try. The bigger buildings come in sections and it is a nice touch that you are able to buy ruined levels to have the same building with different levels of destruction.

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Construction was simple enough using PVA glue and following the online instructions. I took my time and let sub assemblies dry before moving on to the next stage. MDF can soak up paint due to its porus natures so the buildings got two coats of spray paint (from pound shop cans) before I went at them with hobby acrylics.

 

Overall I’m impressed with them and will order some more further down the line.

http://blotz.co.uk/

 

I recently pick up some small pieces of 6mm scatter terrain from Leven Miniatures to use as markers and objectives. I went for the fuel dumps, supply dumps and the sandbags.

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The above strips of sandbags are intended to be put just infront of a company base (50mm square for 5core: Brigade Commander) to show that it is dug in. I’ll be after a few more bits from Leven next time I see them at a wargames show.

http://www.levenminiatures.co.uk/

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

 

Very British Civil War 2 – the megagame.

The 4th February saw Pennine Megagames host their first game of the year, reprising last year’s Very British Civil War game. Starting where the last game ended  we saw four factions battle it out in the north of England. For those of you who are not familiar with the setting imagine an alternative 1930s where King Edward refuses to abdicate to marry Simpsons, this triggers a chain of events leading to Mosley being PM. Fascists battle Royalist battle The Anglican League battle the Socialists.

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The game is a nice mix of political and military play, meaning that there is something for everyone’s preferred style. The game started with the fascists in the ascendency both politically and military but a strong socialist block in South Yorkshire. My role on the day was as the military umpire responsible for overseeing all the combats movement on the map generated as well as acting as ‘shop’ for any military themed supplies. I also had to feedback any pertinent results to the political umpires, for example air strikes of heavy artillery used against populated areas would have a detrimental effect on any political or financial support to the guilty party. At this point I should like to apologise to John Mizon as he had to read my barely legible scrawl to find out who had shelled who. After every turn there was a quick radio bulletin read by John Moley, who did a fantastic job again reprising his role from the original VBCW. This was great as it allowed umpires such as myself who had a pretty narrow view of the game the chance to catch up on the political manoeuvring that had gone on. ?I find this useful as it added a bit of context to the subsequent map moves and combats. The new venue in Sheffield was pretty much perfect- a working Army Reserve bases based in a stately home style house on the edge of Sheffield.

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I had a pretty busy day- after a few turns the combats ran themselves: the board that the fights took place on was quite straightforward and many players had been in the first game too. A few changes were made to how the game was set up to hopefully generate a few more combats. In the last game many players were content to just sit tight and not attack each other. This worked a treat the game saw everything from bitter urban combat in the ruins of Manchester to large armoured clashes on the outskirts of Leeds and armoured trains supporting militia in the foothills of the Pennines.

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For a strong start the fascists were quickly pushed into a corner, the game turning into a 3 v 1 knockdown, a result of some player deviating from the brief and some fairly unlikely alliances being formed: still that is megagame  players for you… Towards the end of the day the Anglican League were taking to the field with some pretty substantial armies.

 

The most memorable part of the game was the death of Spode (a fascist former March Warden of the North) which prompted this Hitler rant parody video:

All in all the game went well, everybody seemed to enjoy themselves and their may well be a third part next year.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

2017 – Plots and Plans

2016 wasa busy year IRL so I didn’t get much hobby stuff done. My biggest gaming achievement was running my first megagame, something I have wanted to do for a long time, so that is ticked off the list. Part of this year will be spent planning another megagame for 2018.

 

The SCW stuff stayed in their boxes so that needs to be rectified this year. Other plans include more naval (starting with the Russo- Japanese  War) and some operational level gaming. Continuing with the 6mm Cold War project too.

 

Still I shall see what happens, hobby stuff is meant to be fun and not forced.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

Assorted vehicles and terrain bits.

I’ve got these finally finished off since the new year (I’ll also do a looking forward/ looking backward post tomorrow) so I thought I’d do a big photo dump of a post to get them out there:

First up- a 6mm sized ruined factory made from bit of resin I got from a private seller on the Lead Adventure Forum.

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A small house from Leven miniatures, again in 6mm.

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A barricade from S and S model scaled for 20mm. I’m tempted to give the bus some more weathering.

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A Armourfast 1/72 Valentine converted to a Bishop with an S and S aftermarket part; the short coming of the Armourfast suspension are evident in the photo more than in real life. I may yet do some remedial work on them.

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A cheak FAI 1/72 diecast repainted and decaled into a Finnish scheme.

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A trio of 1.72 Rhodesian Bush War vehicles from S and S.

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A Rhodesian SAS conversion of a Unimog,

 

 

An armoured lorry.

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Another Unimog conversion; this time a mortar carrier. I’ll add the crew at a later date.

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Three diecast 1/72 BTR60PBs.

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Firstly a simple repaint.

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One converted into a command variant BTR60PAU, conversion kit by S and S.

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Repainted with infantry seated on the outside Afghan style (they considered mines a bigger risk than snipers). Infantry by S and S again.

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Cheers,

 

Pete.

4th quarter and end of year report 2016

In the last quarter I:

Painted 1 28mm figure, finished 4 1/72nd scale vehicles and read 33 books.

Over the last year I have:

painted 91 20mm, 1 28mm, 104 6mm and 24 15mm figures; built and painted 12 1/72nd kits, 73 1/300th vehicles and 2 1/1200th boats.

Also I have read 108 books.

Totals have been down compared to previous years but I’ve been finishing of my MA.

Happy New Year btw; I’ll do a plans for 2017 post soon.

Cheers,

Pete.

Popes, Poison and Perfidy: The Megagame.

A few weekends ago I attended the last Pennine Megagame of the Year- Popes Poison and Perfidy run in Manchester and developed by Paul Howarth.

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Set in Renaissance Italy and based very loosely on the old boardgame Machiavelli  (the only real similarity was the map). It was, and still is, a period I know little about but the game was set just as the French were set to invade the Italian peninsular to capture Naples. Players represented either Italian city states of the major powers  (France, Spain and the Holy Roman Empire- aka Austria) that were dabbling in Italian politics. Paul’s design had several sub games to it: there was a trading game very similar to shove ha’penny. A group of grognard condottieri battled it out for money on the military map whilst the usual scheming and politicking went on between the teams. Top to it all off there was a mechanism for city states to commission great works of art- paints public buildings etc. to compete to be the most cultured amongst the city states.

My role in the game was to be in charge of all the spying and assassination attempts, the lovely dark side of politics. Accordingly I had read ‘The Prince’ in the week prior to the game. The regional controls (Jerry taking care of the major powers, Rupert the northern half of Italy and John Moley the southern half of Italy) would come to me with requests for information from their spy networks, or assassination plots that they wished to press forward with. Players could attempt to take out a player’s support base or try to off the player themselves. With this remit I had to keep a fairly good track of the game, fortunately the other control players were really good at passing along any pertinent info. However I was ensconced in a side room without a direct line of sight to the maps so a bit of backwards and forwarding was needed.

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After a bit of a slow start things really started to get busy. The assassinations came constantly. The mechanisms were based on rolling two dice based on the rating of the spy or assassin (the players had a qualitative grading of their asset but not access to the corresponding quantitative value). France’s Cardinal put a hit on the Pope 6 turns running; the Pope only finally succumbing to old wounds after the 6th attempt. The Viennese players ignored the main map and spent the majority of the game trying to assassinate each other. Matt broke away from Naples and proclaimed himself the ‘King of Regusa’; immediately leading to two assassination attempts (one from his old team) and the wrath of the Turks descending upon him.

The game worked really well, the players seemed to enjoy things and it was the most fun I had as control yet I think (at least in somebody else’s game). The pub discussion afterwards continued for a good few hours which is always the sign of a good game.

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

http://www.penninemegagames.co.uk/

 

‘The Chosin Few’- my first megagame as designer.

Saturday saw Pennine Megagames put on a Korean war flavoured game by Simon and I: ‘The Chosin Few’. As you have probably guessed it was based on the desperate battle around the Chosin reservoir in North Korea in the winter of 1950 that saw the 1st Marine Division conduct a fighting withdrawal in terrible conditions against a numerically superior foe.

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Running a megagame has been on my personal wargaming ‘to do list’ for a long time, I wanted my game to have the same feel as my first: Jim Wallman’s Operation Goodwood run at the Royal Armouries in 2011. Also I wanted to do something different from a standard set piece attack so I decided to pick a fighting withdrawal, one of the trickier military manoeuvres to pull off. Even spliting the duties 50/50 with Simon a lot of work goes into a megagame and I certainly have a lot more understanding of what you need to get one up and running. It is also one of the reason my blog posts have been a little thin on the ground recently. The production of the game components, whilst enjoyable, was rather time consuming.

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After a few trouble with venues the biggest worry I had over the game was recruiting enough players, given the popularity of some of the other games that Pennine Megagames have run that has not been a problem as they often went to a waiting list. However both of this year’s military themed games (Chosin and Jena) seemed to suffer from a combination of low numbers and a high rate of players dropping out. Oddly though the military themes seem popular it is the games that give or are perceived to give more individual agency to the players that are the most popular. Perhaps there is something off putting about a game set in the more rigid hierarchy of a military organization.

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Given the increase of interest in megagaming after the viral success of the Shut up and Sit Down video perhaps the demographics of those attending games have shifted. The choice of topic, the Korean War, may not of helped matters as a lot of people considered it too niche. Whilst amongst the wargames community it is a well known battle in a well known war I will concede that in the wider gaming world it may be seen as something as an unknown. Fortunately enough players came to ensure the game ran well. I’m pretty sure that it ran as well as it did partly because of the numbers of players.

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The control team did a superb job, after a few turns they were running the map by themselves requiring very little input from either Simon or I. Given that a couple of the team are not hardcore wargamers I really appreciate the effort that they put in. Before the game Simon and I decided to split the control duties with him running the map and me taking care of the rest of the game trying to ensure it’s smooth running. Part of this was visiting the players commanding each side as their superior officer. In the role I could give them certain prods or on one occasion admonish them for not being aggressive enough. It was during these in character visits that I gave out any reinforcements that had become available. We decided not to program the arrival of these forces but to use them as a mechanism to moderate the pace of the game. Unlike the games I run at home an early finish when people have paid you for a days gaming is undesirable. As a balancing mechanism it worked well and was nice to be able to follow the variable fortunes of the game from the privileged position of the control map.

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One player was not too happy in the role that he had as a Chinese Commissar, after a brief chat about things regarding the game and his expectations of it, he inquired if he had any agents behind the enemy lines. I thought that this was an eminently sensible suggestion and came up with a mini game on the fly. I drew up a list of agents in the villages/ towns that the UN players occupied and gave them a ratings based on their loyalty to the party, the accuracy of their intelligence and the effort that they were prepared to put in to collect it. It was a good addition to the game as it acted as a reconnaissance asset for the Chinese who were otherwise just finding units when they made contact with them. (In contrast the American had six flights of Corsairs that could either be used for tactical strikes or reconnaissance.) In Hamhung for example they were two agents both loyal to the party but one who was lazy and unreliable who mostly gave the Chinese what they wanted to hear and the other who gave an exact report every time. Having a double blind game made it much easier to decide on the rate of the flow of information from the contacts. Other ideas were recruiting mountain guides to gain a movement advantage and setting up a propaganda unit in Hamhung, the proved useful when the UN started to bomb the town in support of combat operations there. These addition had the double bonus for keeping all the players involved in the game as well as adding extra depth to it. On the topic of propaganda and the media one of the control had a mini role in the game for one turn; they took on the persona of Marguerite Higgins and were ‘flown’ in to interview General Smith commanding the 1st Marine Division.

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In retrospect a lot more could have been done with the commissar role, other than the few bits that we developed onthefly with those players being asked by control to report back on the morale and socialist fevour of their troops. If the game were to run again all of these aspects that evolved during the course of play would be developed much further.

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Given that the obvious objective for the Chinese is the city of Hamhung at the bottom of the map, the origin of the UN supply lines, it madde sense to havea mini game prepared for the urban combat there. Having two megastacks fighting each other for a dot on a map would have been rather unsatisfying from both the player’s experience and a game design point of view.

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Overall the game ran as well as I hoped it would. I had made a few minor errors with labelling the counters but nothing that couldn’t be rectified witha few strokes of the pen. Everyone I spoke to after the game seemed to have enjoyed themselves and for a game with 20 players it was very satisfying to hear that. The Pennine Megagame calendar has been finalised for 2017 so it will be the year after that when I do my next game. However there will be a trimmed down show friendly version of ‘The Chosin Few’ going to Fiasco in Leeds at the end of this month if anyone wants to see it.

You can find Simon’s write up here: http://lestradesgame.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/the-chosin-few-post-mortem.html

Cheers,

Pete.