I’m please to say that the occasional gaming meet ups on a Friday have become a regular occurance. I thought I’d share with you some recent pictures. We have a regular venue which has the added bonus of serving excellent food. For someone who always thinks with his belly this is very important.
Firstly we trialed a set of 18th century rules that Tim has been writing. Great 54mm fun in the best traditions. Rifle fire was pretty nasty at short range and melee, especially involving cavalry, very deadly. Party poppers made a welcome return to represent grapeshot too.
After lunch and after that game had been finished and packed away we set up for a quick Vietnam themed Combat Search and Rescue scenario. 1/72nd aircraft were used with 54mm infantry. The pilot was randomly located in a grid (we used the symbols on the carpet) and a Forward Air Controller had to coordinate the search and rescue as well as directing aircraft to try and stop the NVA overruning the downed pilot. A great little game that we got through twice.
My home town of Huddersfield has a fairly big gaming scene. It recently got bigger with the arrival of Powder Monkey Gaming located just outside the town centre it is within a short walk of mine. There are loads of great tables set up for Sci Fi, fantasy, and historical gaming as well as a growing selection of games, figures and paint.
I’ve been for a few games there already, it is a pleasure to play on their terrain.
It is great to see a game shop so close and with the increasingly popular tornaments and events there I only hope that they grow from strength to strength.
I was going to do an update post but I thought you don’t want to just read about me maoning about my problems so I thought I’d do something more positive and tell you about something fun…
… one thing I’ve really been enjoying recently is a series of large scale outdoor games run by Tim. As I’m sure most of you know the first widely publilshed book on wargaming was H G Wells’ Little Wars*. These were games played on the floor with traditional 54mm toy soldiers. There has been a recent renassiance of these games with the publication of Funny Little Wars and Little Cold Wars, these games use the same sort of mechanisms (occasionally a matchstick firing cannon gets up- graded to a nerf gun). The games are based around fun and enjoying some gaming time with friends rather than a serious military simulation, however it is interesting how ‘good’ a result, ie historically plausible, these games generate.
Anyway enough waffle from, me on to the pictures:
So there you have what I’ve been enjoying gaming the most recently. I hope you found it of interest.
I have got a whole pile of pics covering what I’ve been doing so I’ll put them out when I can in what will probably be a mixed up order.
* Robert Louis Stephenson had written a book on gaming earlier but it didn’t get anything like the wide reception Wells’ did.
One of the (many) facebook groups I’m on posted a link to a you tube video… it was an old British Army of the Rhine instructional video of how to defend against a Soviet attack in the early 1980s. I’m a sucker for that doctrine/ training type of thing so gave it a watch. It did give me an idea for a 5core: Brigade Commander scenario and, mindful of the current climate, decided to run it for Evan and Bill.
The video shows the escalating attacks of a Russian division as it contacts a BAOR defensive line. The video ends with the Soviets forming up for a bigger attack in regimental strength. For the scenario I swapped Brits for West Germans (all provided by Evan) and let the Soviets (from the collection of Bill) deploy after the West Germans had set up. Bill picked two points of Evan defensive line and deployed a company, followed by a battalion 6″ back and the rest of the regiment another 6″ behind that at each point selected. If you watch the video you’ll see where I was coming from with this deployment. The objective for the game was the crossroads.
As usual we used the Brigade Commander rules from Nordic Weasel. We three are big fans of the system and have built up considerable forces between us. We use a 50mm square base to represent a company and a smaller base for a platoon sized attached asset.
The game swung backwards and forwards with the crossroads changing hands a few times. In the end, although casualties were very light on both sides, Bill had pushed Evan back from the area around the crossroads and had disrupted Evan’s armour so I decided it was a winning draw to Bill’s Soviets.
I may do a urban skirmish game based on the final, defeated assault of Bill’s mechanised infantry company. Something for later on….
I tend to work better to a deadline so was more than happy to run a game of Zona Alfa for friends with a week’s notice, even though I still had nearly 30 models to paint in that time. Firstly I needed to finish off the various zone hostiles that I had collected, these are the various monster/ fauna that inhabit the zone and make life difficult for the players. I had a mix of zombies from Mantic, Copplestone and Pig Iron. All were painted in a similar muted palette and complement each other. The Mantic and Copplestone ones go well together as they look like the reanimated corpses of previous expiditions to the zone….
I also had a small selection of Reaper Bones models to represent the mutants, both large and standard size, that can also appear in the game. Nicola very kindly painted these three for me.
I also wanted to round out my collection of military types witha few more figures. I got some of the Under Fire Miniatures cold war camo suited Soviets and added Pig Iron Productions gas mask heads and backpacks to give them more of a STALKER vibe. Whilst the hardness of the metal that both companies used made drilling them tough on the fingers I’m really pleased with how they turned out.
For the game at the club I wrote a brief intro to the game (which I can post if people want) and made up four forces for the players to use: two military, one scientist and one bandit. After a quick run through of the rules they teams set off to revover the protyped weapon left cached by a previous expedition into the zone. I purposely ignored the Allies and Enemies rules for this game, mainly as it was a one off zero sum mission it would added more combat to get the players better used to the rules.
Set in a level one zone I placed the two hot spots so that the players would be able to interact with at least one lot of zone hostiles each.
In the end the Scientist and the Military player ended up trading shots and finding out how bloody the combat syestem can be whilst the Bandits crept forward clearining a hotspot and then cunningly used electric juice to speed forward to snatch the mission objective, after the Military team had dispatched the rats it had spawned the previous turn. The scientist cleared the hotspot closesst to them, again hiding a rat swarm before finding an anomily there and getting a rare artifact. At the point the Bandits were attracting a lot of attention so began to take a lot of fire as the other two teams attempted to snatch the weapon for themselves… at the expense of most of their team they did manage to get it off the table. However, I did point out to the players that in a campaign game they’d need to watch their casualties more and that finding a rare artifact could mean that whilst you don’t win the game the money it earns your team may be more beneficial in the long run.
The game went down really well and there are a couple more players who wish to try it so hopefully there will be enough interest to get a campaign going. I’m sure I did some of the rules wrong but it has been a long time since I ran the game, pre COVID19 infact. As always I enjoy running the game and seeing how the players interact as much as I do playing.
It will feature her painting, gaming and history based projects. I know some of what is coming up and I’m really excited for you to be able to see what Nicola has been working on and has been planning for the future.
If you could pop over to her blog and say hello and follow her I’d be very grateful. Also if you need any further encouragement she has just put up a battle report where we both played the new Ravenfeast rules by Little Wars TV, I got horribly slaughtered in the game so you can relish the victory over me with her there.
Been rather busy recently with uni work so not had much time to do as much hobby stuff but I know where my priorities lie. As such I’ve not bneen gaming much. There was a brief window where people from 2 different households could meet inside before my area was subject to a localised lockdown… in that gap I managed to get a small game of Zone Alfa (Osprey Games) in with Joe. I painted up some more minis for it which I’ll put up soon.
We had planned to get a Zone Alfa campaign up and running at the club, but Covid put paid to that. I had, however, started to get a few bits and pieces for it in 28mm so that is the scale I played against Joe with. I know I was planning to do 20mm Zone Alfa at home, and I still am, but we were being sensible and socially distanced; so we only touched our own toys, tape measures and dice and so on.
My previous game of Zone Alfa degenerated into a rather bloody gun fight as the factions we both played were mutally atagonistic. This time as we both ran military teams so were cautiously allied. We could have rolled to shoot at each other but neither of us decided to.
In the end this worked in our favour as it was a good refresher on how the exploration, anomalies and zone hostiles worked.
We weren’t using the game as part of a campaign- where Zone Alfa shines- more as a rules refresher. I think in the end Joe’s forces would have looted more stuff than me but I’d have got mnore experience for my team as I killed more.
It was really good to get to roll some dice again and get new figures on the table. Shame that the new lockdown has already got in the way of 2 games that I had planned. It was also nice to have some of my 3D printed terrain on the table too. Hopefully I won’t have to wait too long until my next game now.
Last week I got the chance to play in another Matrix game- this time a rerun of the Falklands War of 1982. Again it was with the group from the Sheffield Wargames club but with a suitable socially distanced format through Skype.
Matrix games are really all about structured discussion- state and action and an effect with three reasons why it will happen and then the umpire adjudicates and in this case tells you if you have succeded or not. You are not limited to just yourself and your forces you can try and have an effect on anything.
The game was for seven players, Thatcher and Admiral Woodward for the UK, President Reagan and General Haig for the US, Galtieri for the Argentinians, As well as Pinochet and the UN being played. Each player was given their own briefing in advance. I was given the role of President Reagan with the basic tasks of ensuring that the islands were returned to the UK and offering some support too.
I played quite aggressively; with the US as the preminent economic power house I made sure to funnel supplies to the Brits (I knew they’d need them) as well as trying to distract the Soviets with naval exercises in the Med, hopefully to stop them meddling. I also gave Pinochet some cash to run month long exercises with his armed forces to make sure the Argentines were distracted there too. Am pleased to say that the game followed the history fairly well with the Black Buck raids, Exocets and the eventual recapture of the Islands all happening in more or less the right order.
The game was great fun to play- a good chance to do a bit of roleplaying too. Can’t thank Tim enough for running the game and the other players for making it so much fun. The format of the game worked really well over Skype too. Tim just set the camera up at the representationmal map whilst we presented our arguements.
With a couple of matrix games under my belt I’mm eager to play another one.
You can find Tim’s reports on the game here and here. The scenario is considered a matrix game classic and has been well recieved by a wide vareity of players and organisations, it is available in this book.
Just before the social distancing and lockdown came into effect here in the UK Evan and I tried the Aeronautica Imperialis stater box that I got for xmas. Having painted up all the aircraft in it I was keen to give it a go, Evan is always keen on any sort of air war game too.
We started off with simply one aircraft each; I took the Ork Dakka jet whilst Evan went with the Imperials. Getting the hang of the movement rules was easy enough and the shooting is simple to resolve. That said the Ork plane was shot down pretty quickly.
We then upped the numbers with Evan having both Imperial fighters whilst I took three Dakka jets. Whilst they can dish it out the Dakka jets have a glass jaw so it was another Imperial victory.
For the third game Evan took one bomber, with the mission to cross the table and escape, whilst I retained the three Dakka jets (I couldn’t help but reference the WW2 dogfight between a Sunderland and 3 JU88s in the Bay of Biscay here). With the last possible chance I managed to get the bomber shot down having whittled its hit points away one by one.
We managed all three small games in about 2 hours, just shows how quick to pick up the game is. Both of us really enjoyed it, I’ve picked up the expanded rules/ campaign book so wer’ll definiately be playing it again.
Paul’s Story Living Games company was approached by a couple who wanted a game run as part of their wedding celebrations. Being keen board gamers they fancied something that could involve their party of 30 so Paul came up with a game set in the not too distant future where nation states/ regional power blocks battled each other and tried to contain an outbreak of an unknown virus.
The two of us headed up to the North Yorkshire venue a bit unsure what to expect- given the party was made up of all first time megagamers and possibly hungover.
We set up the main world map on the snooker table in the country house and I commandeered the dining table to run the science game. The wedding party were mulling around snacking and drinking already- some had got into the spirit of things and had got into costume.
Given all of the constraints of the game and the inexperience of the players the game went fantastically. After a rather polite start they got the hang of things and were playing against each others. An ill advised attack by Russia on the US blew up in the face of Europe who supported Russia rather than the actual aggressors. Guess it comes down what can be proved by the UN player.
Later on in the game the US did take a massive hit and had most of its population wiped out, I wasn’t quite sure what happened here as I was busy trying to help the science players eradicate the virus and stop the bioterrorists that had been revealed.
All in all it was really refreshing and motivating to see so much enthusiasm of these first timers. The way they approached the game was great to see and it showed that you don’t need that many control to keep a game moving. Both Paul and I were made very welcome and Paul’s game must have gone down well as they have book him again for next year and their first year anniversary.
On the way home I did ponder whether there are too many controls in some games given how well it ran with just two of us. Perhaps the more control present the less that players, either consciously or otherwise, are prepared to do for themselves.