A busy few days: Recon show, Necromunda, The Great War and Wargames magazines.

Last weekend I, with Paul, flew the flag for Pennine Megagames by taking the demo version of ‘Harrying of the North’; it is a simple map movement and battle board participation game.

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The Normans have to hoover up supplies whilst Saxons under Edgar the Etheling try to stop them. It is mainly to show off the combat mechanisms I plan to use in the future megagame. Be honest about it, whilst the game works, it take too long for what would be available in a megagame turn so it needs streamlining more. However, with Fall Blau on the horizon I am devoting my energies into that. I plan to take a demo version of it to the Hammerhead show at Newark and possibly Chillcon in Sheffield. Pleasingly the paper figures that I cut out seemed to be very popular with the punters at Pudsey. Given how little time they took to construct I’m really pleased with how they turned out.

A couple of posts ago I mentioned that my sense of nostalgia had been tweaked by Games Workshop’s reissue of Necromunda. Well my friend Jonathon has a copy so I popped round to have a game.

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Having got such fond memories of the original and gaming in my teenage years I was hoping that it lived up to the hype.

I quickly came up with a Goliath gang and got on with it, I’m pretty sure a few of the subtleties of the rules were missed but it was good to get a feel of the new version.

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The production quality is outstanding, as it should be for such a company, and the new figures are miniature works of art. My choices for the gang weren’t ideal and as the Escher were so very good at ranged combat I took heavy casualties until I got into close combat. Still it was a learning experience and I know what I’d do differently next time.

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I’m really tempted to get the game- sadly running out of space means I may not. I’d love to make a detailed vertical board for it but the question is where to put it… I guess I really should sort out my shed. It may be the impetus I need. Either way I may start with a Goliath gang of my own for a starter; it shouldn’t be too hard to find space for ten figures.

I also played a quick game of PSC’s The Great War with Evan. Given the kickstarter I mentioned has been funded it was good to get it on the table again. The scenario we chose to play was based on the famous action of a tank named ‘Fray Bentos’ at Passchendaele:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-one/10358335/WW1-The-siege-of-Fray-Bentos-at-the-Battle-of-Passchendaele.html

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My Germans, despite getting off to a good start, failed to achieve much. Aggressive infantry backed up by the immobile but still shooting tank completely outclassed me. Another game I’ll do better at next time….

I also picked up two of the three big wargaming magazines, it is not something I often do but they both had articles that looked interesting, the differences between the two are quite marked though.

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Wargames Illustrated has by far the better production but the depth of the articles left something to be desired: the Russo-Japanese one, whilst featuring some lovely photos was a bit shallow so to speak. The campaign on the fighting in Prussia in WW2 was interesting but could have done with some better editing. Great eye candy though but little in I’d refer back to later beyond the campaign.

Miniature Wargames has undergone a few changed from when I used to buy it; it looks far more professional now. It always had the best articles in but was often let down by poor photos. Under new owners and editorship that has changed. The reason I bought the magazine was that it featured an article on the Warsaw battle 1944 by Jim Webster, he is much under rated as a games writer in my opinion. I’ve always found his writing to be worth the price of admission alone. His ideas on gaming urban warfare are no exception and something I’ll try out on my own table top soon hopefully.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

 

 

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An Update… and Normandy holiday pics…

… I figured it was about time for one.

 

The big news is that I’ve finally finished my MA in Military History and done well enough for a distinction, next step is to try and find the funding for a PHD as I’m wanting to expand my MA thesis.

 

I’ve also had a holiday to Normandy, was a nice road trip with my Dad. The extended family was down in the New Forest area for my Uncle’s wedding so it was an easy trip across the Channel to visit Normandy. All in it was only a week long trip but I managed to make the most of it.

Friday- Down to New Forest  but called in at Bletchley Park.

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A replica working Bombe.

I’d not been before – I was really impressed with it, I don’t think we saw all of it as it we only had a few hours but I’ll certainly be back. The scale of the operation was staggering in terms of the number of radio messages being intercepted and decoded.

Saturday- Uncle’s wedding.

Sunday- drove to Portsmouth for the ferry over to Ouistreham and then on to the holiday cottage.

Monday- Sword beach, The No. 4 Commando and Le Grand Bunker museum.

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Sword Beach looking west along the coast.

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The Museum entrance with a couple of artillery pieces outside.

Tueday- Arromanches and the Mulberry Harbour, the DDay Museum there and the Longues Sur Mer battery.

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The remains of one of the Mulberrys.

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A casemate and gun at Longues- Sur- Mer.

Wednesday- Point Du Hoc and Omaha beach.

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An open gun pit at Pointe Du Hoc.

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Omaha beach looking East.

Thursday- Peagasus Bridge, Gondree Cafe, Airbourne Museum and Merville Battery before getting the overnight ferry back to Portsmouth.

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The new bridge and memorials.

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The original bridge in the grounds of the museum.

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A casemate at Merville.

Friday- Arrived in Portsmouth, saw the new RN aircraft carrier and lots of Type 45 destroyers as we docked then drove and hour west to see Bovington Tank Museum.

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The biggest ever ship for the Royal Navy.

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Just one of the halls at Bovington Tank Museum.

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Some of the heavy making up the Tiger exhibit at Bovington.

As you can see it was a pretty packed holiday. It was the first time I’d visited any WW2 battlefield; it was something I took a lot from and will be something I’ll be repeating next year (probably around my birthday time). The deeper appreciation of the events and sacrifices you get from touring places yourself cannot be overstated. Omaha beach was particularly poignant as it was so quiet being midweek and the end of the season. That said the sites that had an American connection were busier than those which did not. As a whole the museums were great (Bovington especially so as well as the new one at Pegasus Bridge) I took hundreds of photos so if people are particularly keen I’ll do a blog entry on each site…?

On to the gaming side of things:

Pennine Megagames is going from strength to strength at the moment. Next years calendar has been decided upon with just a few dates to confirm. Starting with Cockroaches, Copper and Cows (the Mexican Revolution) we then go to The Shot heard around the Universe (rebellious planets in space). June sees a trip to the Eastern Front with Fall Blau ’42, an operational game being developed by myself and Matt. This will be followed by Megamunda– as the name suggests a SF game blending Necromunda and Judge Dredd. Everybody Dies III: Playing with Fire adds more dragons to the well known Game of Throne setting. Finally, double dealing and espionage in 60s/70s South America in Juntas sees out the year. I’m really enjoying getting my teeth stuck into all the operational accounts of 1942 to develop the game engine for the Fall Blau game.

In parallel to this I am working up a Post Norman Invasion of 1066 game that I’ll submit for consideration next year. Set in 1069 it sees the Normans try to cement their control of the North against the last Saxon attempts to retake the crown. The combat system got an early run out at the recent Fiasco show in Leeds. It will be making an appearance next at Recon in Pudsey in early December if anyone wants to catch it.

I’m rather pleased with how my first attempt at making a map has come out.

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I used the paper figures from the Helion book series. I’m really pleased with how well the turned out (I’ll put them in another blog entry) I manged to get two decent sized armies done in a week.

The next expansion to the rather good The Great War board game is up on Kickstarter at the moment:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1992455033/richard-borgs-the-great-war-french-army-expansion?ref=user_menu

I’ve backed this, it looks like it will be bringing in some interesting new rules, the French expansion is set around Verdun which got my interest straight away.

I’m awaiting the new Next War: Poland game to come out, I’ve played the Korea and Indo- Pakistan versions and enjoyed them so this is a must buy. They are not the easiest rules to play but they scratch my modern chit and hex itch.

Oddly for me I’ve been all misty- eyed and nostalgic for my youth now that Games Workshop have reworked Necromunda. I’m seriously considering picking it up, however cost and storage will be an issue.

On to figures I’m still plugging away with my 20mm WW2 and modern figures. I’m currently working up a linked series of scenarios to tie smaller 20mm skirmishes to a big 6mm battle. My Cold War 6mm collection is still a work in progress, some 2nd hand acquisitions have led to an Arab Israeli in 1973 side project. That and I keep eyeing up the new Baccus WW2 miniatures.

Naval and Air war is still going along. Though more movement will be made on those projects when I go to a show next and pick up some more bits from Tumbling Dice. Getting some 6mm figures to tie into my Russo- Japanese warships is another possibility I’m considering at the moment.

All in all plenty to keep me occupied- thanks for reading.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

 

Trench Raiding- a new project perhaps.

On Tuesday Evan and I had game session of PSC’s The Great War, its a cracking game and always fun to play. It did lead to a conversation over a cup of tea post- game about gaming WW1 in general, this lead to us both wanting to do some trench raiding. Obviously the biggest requirement for trench raiding is a trench system itself and this is the usual stumbling block for me as I’ve not more room for major terrain projects. Whilst in an ideal world I’d invest in a set of the great vac- formed trench systems from Early War miniatures link . I then remembered seeing a blog post on a Russo Japanese War trench raid here and thought that it looked like a decent solution. The trench tiles can be found here . I printed out a couple of pieces; one full size which would be fine for 28mm (I am tempted as there some very nice 28mm ranges but again there is a storage issue) and a couple scaled down a bit for 20mm, these last two I mounted in my usual vinyl tile and clear sticky backed plastic style.

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I grabbed a couple of 20mm figures from the shed (UFM’s RAR as it happens and I think it looks spot on.

I’ll put in an order with Frontline Wargaming for some suitable WW1 figures link : Brit, French, German trench raiders as well as bombers, some basic riflemen to act as opposition and possibly some mortars to act as objectives for the raids.

It should be a fairly cheap project and also make a game that it good to while a way a spare hour or so too.

 

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.

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.

Update.

Been a while since I’ve done one of these. I’ve finished the module work on my MA for the time being (just got some reading to catch up on) so I’ve got a bit more time to myself.

 

Accordingly I’ve been getting some work done in the shed- mostly focussing on my 6mm 1980s Cold War forces. A bit tricky to paint as they are rather small but I’m going for effect when they are massed together rather than individual masterpieces. There will be photos in due course. Also started on some 20mm Commandos for the Guild Forum’s group build.

 

Managed to get a few games in- well umpiring them at any rate. Funny how much of the rules we had forgotten.

I ran a Normandy game:

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A Stalingrad game:

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This evenings game wasa tank fest seeing hordes (well 8) of T34/85s facing off against a pair of Tigers. Sadly I didn’t take any pictures.

 

With regards to boardgaming I got in a game of ‘Fire in the Lake’ the Vietnam COIN game published by GMT. Their series has quickly become my favourite board game series and this Vietnam game is my preferred installment.

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Its belend of Euro game style mechanics with a strong military/political theme makes for great game play.

 

Additionally I backed the ‘This War of Mine’ kickstarter. Based on the powerful and moving PC game I’m looking forward to early next year when I should get my copy.

 

Megagaming is going from strength to strength too which is very encouraging. The next one is Jena 1806 wher I’m stepping into to Boney’s shoes, should be an interesting experience and one I’ll do a full report on.

 

That’s all for now.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

 

 

Callan: came for the wargaming, stayed for the drama.

Being borm in 1978 there are quite a few classic shows that other wargamers reference that were before my time.

One of these shows has been Callan. Bob Cordery of Wargames Miscellany (a blog well worth checking out btw) wrote about the show in reference to its old school wargaming charm and suggested that I looked it up.

I watched the episode he suggested and really liked it but not for the wargaming reason he was so fond of. Growing up and cutting my wargaming teeth with GW it featured a style of gaming that has never been part of my past but the story and plot of the show had me hooked. Since then I have been acquiring the series on DVD and have become quite the fan.

Basically Callan (starring Edward Woodward in the eponymous role) is a bitter cynical antihero, a skilled assassin working for British intelligence with a high degree of loathing of the state and its officials as well as himself as killing is the only trade he has seemed any good at. Set comtempoarily in the height of the Cold War it is the complete antithesis of James Bond. Dirty deeds and questionable morals with none to truely trust beats implausible chases and naff one liners in my book everytime.

 

The show ran for four series after a successful pilot epiode from the late 60s to the early 70s. Sadly alot of the first and second series have been lost, given that this was before the widespread introuduction of home recording they have probably gone for good. After the series finished the pilot episode was refilmed as a full length feature which is  also good; sadly the legacy was soiled somewhat by a TV special in the early 80s. Vrey dissapointed in the way in which the 80’s monstrosity killed off Meres (Callan’s fellow agent and subject of a lot of his ire, tempered by a sense of grudging respect for his abilities) I found his brand of cheery public school psychopathy to my liking.

I think this episode is one of my favourites  as it includes all of the themes that I have mentioned above and is certainly worth your time.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.