Where we are going we need roads….

As you will have seen from past posts I’ve been getting into 6mm ‘Cold War goes hot’ gaming recently. However I’ve been unhappy with roads I’ve used for my games: I just used the thinnest dirt roads from my 20mm collection. Whilst they did the job I’ve been on the look out for a more suitable replacement and after considering a few options I’ve made my own (kind of).

 

Firstly I purchased this rather nice  PDF from Wargames Vault:

http://www.wargamevault.com/product/196057/Roads-1-285

Being multilayered you can selected the different types of road marking and road surfaces before printing them out. I went for European markings and dirty asphalt dry before getting them printed out (Cheers Brian). I then used the technique I had previously utilized to make megagame counters and stuck them on to self adhesive floor tiles (4 for £1). You can get thicker more durable tiles from places other than pound shops but they need to be cut with a blade and ruler rather than scissors that slows down production.

I went from this:

IMG_7037

To this:

IMG_7038

I tidied up the edges and added a bit of weathering with marker pens and pencil crayons to give a bit of variety:

IMG_7039

I did plenty to give enough variety to the road layouts. The vinyl tiles give them a bit of flexibility but I don’t know how well they’ll drape over hills… Gentle slopes should be OK.

IMG_7040

I made up a quick layout so I could see how they look:

IMG_7042

You get a decent selection of parts although I’d have liked to see a single into dual carriage way connector. I grabbed some 6mm toys to see how they scaled (Heroics and Ros based on 50mm and 30mm squares for 5core Brigade Commander):

IMG_7043

 

Overall I’m really pleased with how they look. I’ll get a game in with them as soon as possible to try them out.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

Some Bush War figures.

I’ve been painting up some of the various figures  from Under Fire Miniatures for African bush wars and I thought I’d share them with you.

First up: two groups of  assorted Rhodesian African Rifles.

IMG_7023

IMG_7019

Moving geographically westwards and forwards chronologically I’ve done some South African infantry with the later helmet and webbing. They should be good for games set around the time of the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale.

IMG_6986

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

The French invasion of Ireland, 1796, a Napoleonic What if? Megagame.

Last Saturday I went over to Leeds for another megagame, this time however I got to be a player rather than acting on the control team. I was looking forward to the game as I really enjoyed the game designer Rupert’s previous Napoleonic outing Jena 1806 (where I got to indulge my megalomania as ‘N’ himself) and in the game, I got to play an intelligence/ political/ counter insurgency role which I knew would be fun. As with the previous Jena game movement was blind, players wrote down their daily orders and the control team adjudicated any moves on a hidden map reporting back any items of interest or when contact was made with the enemy. When two armies met, the players moved to a series of generic battle boards that were used to fight the ensuing battle out face to face. The game however continued around any fights allowing delaying actions to be fought or reinforcements to be rushed up to support.

20170520_101627

Ireland’s long troubled history with Great Britain doesn’t really need to be retold here but suffice to say that a growing nationalist movement, centred around the Protestant Wolfe Tone, wanted to take advantage of Britain’s distraction of the burgeoning Napoleonic wars on the continent to make a push for Irish independence. For the French, an invasion to provoke an Irish uprising would draw British attention away from the continent to ease their strategic situation. A French invasion fleet was assembled and slipping past the Royal Navy’s blockade sailed to the Irish coasts getting as far as Bantry Bay before being hit with a storm that scattered the fleet and ended any hopes of invading. Rupert’s game starts the storm abating and the landings taking place.

20170520_102325

There were three teams on the game, the British, the French and the revolutionary Irish.  On the British team the players were split between the regular units and fencibles, the militia and the yeomanry. I commanded the last group as the Duke of Leinster. Rather than having any units in the game that could stand in open combat I could activate 5 groups of yeomanry across southern Ireland to spy, sabotage, try to drum up support for the British or conversely stamp out any signs of insurrection. I was pleased to be assisted in my task by a young lad on his first megagame that had first been introduced to them at one of the demo games that I’ve helped Pennine Megagames put on at various wargames shows in the North. One area in which this game differed from the previous one was in the intra- team communications. A letter had to be written and placed inside an envelope and handed to control. They would then deliver it, after a suitable amount of in game time had passed, to its intended recipient.

20170520_161220

After a somewhat ineffectual briefing I had only a vague idea of the operations of the British that I was to support so our team had to work on what we thought best.  An initial attempt to get the Irish population on side was met with very little enthusiasm which left us with a bit of a dilemma over how to proceed with the game. Counter insurgency warfare is difficult enough as it is but being faced with a hostile population and no ‘carrot’ to bribe them with we were only left with the ‘stick’. We had to find a path that saw us being effective enough against any uprisings but not so severe that it brought the peasantry out in open revolt. The sectarian divisions in the population just added to this difficulty. This problem would be tricky enough on its own but it was made even more difficult as the revolutionary Irish team had an equivalent team of players trying to ferment the very revolution with were trying to damp down.

 

One thing that became clear quite early on was the postal system between teams was very slow. Information was coming to us several turns after it would have been useful or were requesting information from us that would be out of date after the time had passed for us to collect the information and to dispatch a rider to get the report to them. A lack of direction from the Commander in Chief didn’t help either; we were on our own. It felt a bit like we were playing a separate but parallel game, not a criticism per se rather than it didn’t have the communications that is common in most games. This wasn’t helped by the revolutionary Irish interfering with our mail, we just couldn’t work out if our letters weren’t getting out (which would indicate a problem close to us) or our replies were getting to us (which could be a problem further afield). We did get in on the postal interference act intercepting the French Commander in Chief’s letter. Sadly, our overzealous Yeomanry captured some of our post too so that was sent on its way.

 

The real fun started when I received a letter from someone signing themselves as ‘Celtic Soul’- I wasn’t sure if this was a wind up to waste my time or a player who was going against his team and trying to put out peace feelers. Either way I thought I’d best reply and try to get them onside. This prompted a game long exchange of letters which I kept a record of.

20170520_113156

20170520_113205

Later, I got a letter from Wolfe Tone which made me think that ‘Celtic Soul’ was a genuine player going against his team, but perhaps according to his own personal brief? The paranoia was beginning to set in. The Duke of Leinster was a sitting member of the Irish parliament as well as Commander of the Yeomanry so I could offer Wolfe Tone some degree of political appeasement (especially as I noted in my player briefing that the Duke of Leinster had previously supported Catholic emancipation. The letter writing and debating with the two other players whose characters were sitting MPs meant that towards the end of the day I had left the day today running of the counterinsurgency side of the game to my teammate. It did pay off though as an Irish player did swap sides with a large number of troops and took to the field against his previous comrades.

20170520_121610

20170520_122056

The politicking and letter writing was good fun and a role that I had not previously done in a megagame. The game ran its course with the French winning every military engagement they fought but unable to provoke a widespread Irish rebellion, partly because their slow movement meant they had to requisition lots of supply from the local population turning them against them. So, it was probably a tactical/ operational win for the French but in strategic terms they failed to create a big enough problem in Ireland for British to withdraw troops from mainland Europe. As with all megagame it is best to decide in the pub afterwards who the real winner was.

20170520_143807

Over a pint in the pub it was good to catch up with my opposite number on the revolutionary Irish, we had a good laugh over similar attempts to steal each other’s letters. The ‘Celtic Soul’ pseudonym was a wind up (still something I couldn’t afford to ignore in game). One bit of gallows humour came from him trying to spread a false rumour in Wexford that protestants were hanging catholic priest at the same time I had sent the yeomanry in to check on seditious preaching, they had exceeded the brief I had sent them with and decide to hang the priests….

 

The control team did a great job, special thanks to Holly for having to decipher my poor handwriting all day. Another enjoyable game and a role that I would like to try again in a later game.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

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

Russo- Japanese Naval- a new project.

There is nothing as much fun as a new project is there?

 

This time I’ve decided to start a naval project based around the Russo- Japanese War. Simon ( http://lestradesgame.blogspot.co.uk/ ) has gone for the slightly earlier Sino- Japanese War so there should be some crossover potential for our model collections. We both bought the appropriate starter packs from Tumbling Dice’s relatively new 1/2400th Battleships range. With the aim of fighting out the bigger actions of both wars as well as running campaign games. Simon has done some work already on the Sino- Japanese one.

I was really impressed with the little model ships. A bit tricky to assemble with regards to what goes where as it is a new period to me but fortunately I had a book in my library that had some good line drawing of the major ships. The contents of the RJW war Japanese starter pack looks like this:

20170418_220554

The corresponding Russian one looks like this:

20170418_220757

The ships were based on plasticard textured with a thick acrylic paste stippled on to look like water. Drybrushed up I think it looks quite effective. Finding the right colour schemes for the ships has proved to be somewhat difficult as a lot of the information is contradictory. In the end, I decided to base my paint selections on the information from this site:

 

http://www.wtj.com/store/index_paint_guide_hist-paint.html

 

I have two sets of rules for the period, both from A and A Game Engineering, Tsushima and Fire When Ready. Tsushima seems the simpler of the two and will allow for the large actions that we want to game to be played out quickly so with have decided to go with that set for the time being. Fire When Ready does have some excellent scenarios in its back pages which I intend to work through.

20170418_213823

We have had a few games now and seem to be getting the hang of the rules. With all naval games, I’ve played there is an element of book keeping but it is kept to a minimum with only hull hits and weapons mount losses being recorded. Combat resolutions is mainly by D10 but a variety of different sided Dice are used to determine gun damage dependant on range. The Japanese vessels are qualitatively better than the Russian equivalents but the Russian ships pack more torpedoes on which can allow for a lucky shot and getting a disabling critical hit. Cruisers are pretty tough until they get hit by a battleships’ main 12” guns at which point they look like they are made of tinfoil. In the games that we have played they have been the only actual sinkings, although the battleships have usual mutually damaged each other by game’s end.

20170418_220410

I got Evan to play a game too and he seemed pretty taken with them so that is good.

 

To move the project forward I intend to get the Battleships and Cruisers at least and maybe the destroyers too for the Battle of the Yellow Sea and Tsushima. A lot of the Japanese ships can be used for both which is handy. It should give me something to work towards for the rest of the year. I’ll add a few islands to the list too to give the table a bit of character (the ones in the photos are Evan’s).

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

Everybody Dies Harder- the Megagame.

A couple of Saturdays ago I helped control Pennine Megagames’ biggest game to date: Everybody Dies Harder. 90 players and 12 or so control assembled in Manchester for a game set in the world of Game of Thrones.

 

Those of you who know me know that fantasy stuff isn’t always my thing (especially the ‘high’ fantasy end of things) so I am completely unfamiliar with the setting having only watched part of the first episode of series one and having not read any of the books. Still a human based world with plenty of backstabbing and politicking can’t be all bad.

20170422_144001

Players were divided up into regions each one having a ruler and various subordinates, also present were representatives of various religions as well as some mysterious scholars and wandering bards, plus a separate game area for the ruling council. Given my unfamiliarity of the setting I had asked Becky (game designer) for a role that relied more on application of game mechanics rather than knowledge of the background. Accordingly, I was given responsibility of any naval activity at the main map. This basically boiled down to adjudicating any naval combat, resolving pirate raids by the Iron Islanders and checking player character sea movement. After a fairly slow start to the game I was kept busy throughout the day without ever being too rushed. If the game runs again I think that there is room in the game turn to expand the naval combat a bit to make it more engaging, something akin to land combat at least in terms of the time taken to resolve and action as well as the complexity of doing so.

 

The players seemed to really get in to the spirit of things, little surprise given the popularity of the series so the game went rather smoothly, at least from my perspective. Bizarrely it also gave me some insight into running military heavy operational games… Pennine Megagames has gamers from many backgrounds, some of which aren’t into or don’t have the knowledge of the military side of history but still happily control such games. Given that I knew nothing of the background it was the first time I found myself controlling in a setting I was completely unfamiliar with; as such I now have more empathy with those in that situation. I’m sure I can take that forward with how I can approach operational games in the future, especially with regards to the uninitiated.

 

Becky has written lots on her blog about her game which I recommend you looking at here:

 

http://www.beckybeckyblogs.com/

 

As always look at Pennine Megagames on both the web and on Facebook:

 

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

 

Everybody Dies Harder also marked the point where I have now controlled more game than I have played in- I need to do more to correct this imbalance. That said next month’s game I am down to play so I am really looking forward to that.

Cheers,

 

Pete.

1st Quarter 2017 – Progress Report

This first quarter I have painted 5 28mm and 53 20mm figures, finished off 3 1/72nd scale kits and read 35 books. It was a good quarter for reading.

 

Other than that I am busy with megagames development, I am involved with developing two games for next year. On the miniatures front I am busy with moderns in both 20mm and 6mm as well as getting some more of my 20mm WW2 stuff finished off. More pictures to follow when I’ve got stuff done.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

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.

IMG_6954

IMG_6953

IMG_6952

IMG_6949

IMG_6950

IMG_6951

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.

IMG_6947

IMG_6948

 

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.