My First Matrix game. The Peninsular War 1808-1809.

Although I’ve read about them since the 1990s, and have reviewed books on them here I hadn’t managed to actually play one until quite recently.

Fortunately Tim invited me down to Sheffield to play in a game he was running, naturally I jumped at the chance. Although the period in question, Napoleonics, isn’t one I’m quite clue up on I thought I should be able to manage OK- besides my friend Jerry said he’d support me and team up.

For the uninitiated a matrix game is a game where by the players make arguments on the likely hood of how successful what they want to do will be (the original iteration of the game had a matrix of prompts to choose from hence the name). An umpire then decides the odds and you roll to see if it it is successful or not. The system, invented by Chris Engle, has been much developed over the years and is a go to tool for professional gamers. The scenario Tim had decided to run was an old one dating back to 1992, as such the system relied on the player stating and action with an intended outcome and three supporting reasons why it should happen, players were given prompt cards to help them think up supporting argument, we had to use one a turn ideally.

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I was given the role of Gen. Moore, who started in England and basically had to stop Arthur Wellesley (the future Duke of Wellington) doing well. With a full set of players, 2 British, 2 Spanish, 3 French, and month long turns we covered a big chunk of game time.

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As I was familiar with the basic concepts I flatter myself that I picked it up fairly quickly. Most of my arguments consisted of trying to stymie Wellesley rather than doing much fighting of my own and carefully trying to manoeuvre my forces to walk in at the last moment to take Madrid. This would have worked apart from an abysmal dice throw which resulted in me getting lost on the way….

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All in all I really enjoyed the game- I can see the potential of the concept but also I can see how some people that I had spoken to previously didn’t like it. The game relies entirely on the skill, knowledge and judgement of the umpire; in this regard it is more akin to a tabletop RPG rather than a standard wargame. This means someone like me who only really has a rudimentary knowledge of the Peninsular War can take part in a way that I’d find difficult in a more conventional wargame. There are other versions of the game and more info can be found herehere and here.

Tim has done his own write up of the game here and Martin, another of the players has done his here.

I left the game thinking up my own scenarios and I hope to be able to have another crack at a Matrix game soon.

Cheers,

Pete.

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From the Shed: 20mm British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) from Under Fire Miniatures.

I got a few sample of the recent BAOR range from Under Fire Miniatures and have got some paint on them.

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An a close up of one of the miniatures (with some gravestones)…

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They are really nice figures and I’m reliably informed that there are expansions to the range in the form of support weapons on the way.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

More beating around the Bush (Horizons)

A bit ago Bill and I went to see his friend Nick to playtest the latest army lists developed for Nick’s ruleset ‘Bush Horizons’. See the earlier game here.

There was a new amphibious assault army list as well as an air assault list; Bill went for the naval options whilst I was left with the helicopters. We both generated our forces and then got Nick’s wonderful toys organised.

We didn’t bother with any of the campaign systems as we wanted to just test the combat.

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The helicopters allowed me the sieze the airfield objective in a coup de main assault very early. After that I just used my helicopters and aircraft to try and whilttle down Bill’s units as he approached… to be fair there wasn’t that much he could do be slowly approach and weather the storm, opposed beach landings are never good for the attacking troops.

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A bit more cover on the table would have helped but Bill was unlucky not to down anything with his AA as I pushed my attacks quite aggresively.

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As usual it wasa pleasure to use Nick’s models and i look forward to getting another chance to play.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

Not from the Shed: Teaching my Nephews to paint.

Given it has been the summer holidays for school kids across the UK I have been doing my ‘Uncle Pete’ bit and have started to teach my nephews (11, 9, 6) how to paint.

The oldest has wanted to get into Warhammer recently after playing it with friends at school and his younger brothers have expressed and interest too. So I dragged my paint across town to help them paint some figures they have picked up.

 

The oldest has started collecting Space Marines and did this character figure.

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The middle one prefers fantasy and work on this Lizardman.

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The youngest just wanted to do the ‘cool bad guy a cloak’ so painted this Nurgle Plague Marine.

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I did this Age of Sigmar figure whilst I was there to show them some techniques.

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A great day introducing the next generation into the hobby.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

From the Shed: M1 Abrams

Just finished this modest expansion for my 6mm Cold War collection: two battalions worth of M1 Abrams for 5core: Brigade Commander. This are the first production models with the 105mm gun.

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For those ‘Cold War goes hot’ games I think that for tabletop games the balance of forces is ‘best’ in the early 80s, much later and the mix of 120mm APFSDSDU tank shells, MRLS and Apaches skews the balance too much.

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I added some roads on the bases of one battalion to differentiate it. Also I went for the plain forest green paint job on these as that way they could be easily distinguished from the M60s (in MERDC) and the later M1A1s (in NATO 3 colour).

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A trio of M1s on smaller bases rounds out this little force.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.