Future plans… ideas brewing.

Now that a couple of weeks has past since my Case Blue ’42 megagame I have recovered and can start looking to future projects.

I’ve hada chance to look at the feedback from the game and, with one exception, it is all positive. That is really gratifying that so many people enjoyed the game. As for the less than glowing feedback I know what went wrong and how to fix it in the future. Either way it hasn’t put me off running more games. I’m not sure if I’ll do another big game next year by myself or as co-designer but I’d like to help in a supporting role to someone else; a few ideas have been mentioned that I’m looking forward to helping out with… watch this space. The year after I’m looking at developing a 1919 post WW1 German Freikorp  game with the nascent Wiemar republic struggling with both internal and external threats. I was rooting through a pile of books today looking for something else and found a few that will be useful for research purposes so have left them somewhere accesible (OK there are currently a trip hazard).

I was thinking that given all the resources that I have made up for Case Blue it would be a shame just to have them sat in a box for ages so I put my mind to thining what I could use them for. The feedback on the game said that the core mechanics are solid but just need a few rough edges rounding off, a second or third large scale run should do that. The obvious thing would be to use the maps to game Operation Uranus (the Soviet winter attack that encircled Stalingrad) and possibly let the Germans attempt to relieve Paulus and his troops stuck in Stalingrad.

The decision to be made would be should the game start with a roughly historical set- up or one extrapolated from the end of the megagame? Given that players on both sides were arguing over who exactly won it could be a controversial choice… Doing it has a half sized game with 20 or so players would be an easy enough proposition.

Another option for using the components could be do stage something of a prequel: Karkhov in May 1942. Most of the units could do duty there but I would need a new map. It has a lot to offer in that it saw a large and argueably overambitious Soviet attack that caught the Germans unaware that resulted in some very large tank battles. The Germans did rally and inflict a heavy defeat on the Soviets but would it go that way in a re- run. I should dig out the excellent David Glantz book I’ve got on the battle and have a think.

Given that none of the players or units got onto the Stalingrad map in Case Blue ’42 I thought of a nice way to use the map. I’ll develop a Stalingrad urban combat game to take round the local wargames shows to drum up some interest in Pennine Megagames and what we do.

Moving away from megagaming I’ve some other plans too: a VBCW game set within Huddersfield with all the players nominally on the same side but with hidden agenda; this will probably end up being  a RPG/ commitee/ map game mash up. I’ve written up a scenario for a multiplayer game of 5core: Brigade Commander that I’d like to try, nothing too big- probably 7 players or so. We’ve all collected so much stuff in a short period of time it would be nice to see it all being used at once. I’d like to run a Vietnam campaign at a skirmish level based on actions against the Ho Chi Minh trail, be nice if I could integrate low level air and ground gaming in that one.

I cat sat for friends of mine last weekend (seven rescue cats, some with health issues, and a snake) and they very generously got me some Necromunda figures as a thank you so that will be a project for the next few weeks. I hope that I enjoy the new version as much as I did the original. I bought some GW Chaos Cultists to have a practice with so I can get back into the swing of painting that stule of figures again. I’ve had a hankering for doing some sci fi gaming recently so the Van Saar figures scratch that itch nicely. I’ll mix them in with some of the nice Copplestone sculpts that are still available from Moonbase and North Star that I’ve long coveted.

Well, that turned out to be a longer post than expected guess I had more ideas than I thought. Best get cracking.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

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Something of an update.

I’be been a bit quiet on the blogging front recently and that is due to my upcoming megagame eating up all my hobby time. The playtesting and writing is over just now got the production side of things to do…

… I have been getting in the odd game here and there. Tonight was a playtest of some Vietnam mods to 5core Company Commander that Evan is working on ( sorry no pictures). The game before that was my Chechen game- the scenario needs tweaking before we play it again but it looked good- and I did take some pictures:

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A establishing shot of the table- a road that needed to be cleared going through heavily wooded ground.

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Some of my Chechens dug into and ambush position.

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A Russian Vodnik armoured car enters the table.

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Covered by the guns of the AFVs the Russian infantry begins to advance.

As is usual I took loads of photos at the start but then got wrapped up in the game and forgot to take so many. Still endless photos of my Chechens being gunned down by 14.5mm MG fire wouldn’t be a great reflection on my gaming skills now….

 

I was doing some reading on the battles that Army Group Centre was in in 1942 on the Eastern Front late in bed the other night and the thought occured to me that I wasn’t enjoying the book… that got me thinking it was perhaps because it was translated from Russian as I’ve never enjoyed reading any book that has been translated from Russian. Whether it is a history book or Dostoevsky and regardless of who the tranlator is they have never sat well with me. Have any of you noticed this?

 

One more thing of note: I did play in one of those ‘Escape Rooms’ that are very popular at the moment. Basically you are looked in a room and have to solve various puzzles against the clock to win, ours (I went with some of the Pennine Megagames crowd) was submarine themed- that got my vote straight away. We escaped with over 10 mins to spare so we did quite well considering there were lots in our team who’d never played before. Good fun and I’d do one again. No photos from that either as they don’t want to spoil the surprise for subsequent players. The link to the company’s web page is here.

Cheers,

 

Pete.

Of plastic kits and modelling shows….

On Sunday I popped into the local IPMS (International Plastic Modellers Society) show held at the leisure centre in town before I hit the gym there for an hour or so. I had quick run round the display tables- the standard of craftsmanship was very high and a bit of an impulse shopping spree on the trade stands.

 

Whilst there I also made a decision about my current and future gaming collection. !/72nd scale aircraft are just too big- I’m going to pare down my collection of them and go for 1/144 for those models that don’t need to land on the table. Helicopters will be kept in 1/72 though to match up with my 20mm collection. This should free up quite a bit of space. To this end I’m starting to list my kit collection on ebay- the money I make will be invest back into 1/144th scale kits or other toys.

So what did I buy?

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As you can see I’ve started on my 1/144th collection. The paints are for a 6mm project, new sprue cutter- always good to have a sharp pair, the now out of production MMS Russian AT gun will be used for a Megablitz/ Crossfire project. The two diecasts were cheap and the impulse purchase, one is a limited edition but I’ll take it out of its box and use it in a wargame….

My painting has been quite slow due to the weather. I paint in a shed which is rather cold; not that the temperature bothers me but my breath condensing on metal figures makes it hard to paint. However I did mange to finish these 28mm Soviets:

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I’ll do better pictures when all of them are finished.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

 

 

2018 – Plots and Plans.

First of all: Happy New Year.

 

Again I’m not going to make any concrete plans, I’ll just womble through as before though I took up Russo- Japanese Naval Gaming which was fun and I intend to do more of it.

The Spanish Civil War figures I mentioned this time last year have still stayed in their boxes so I shall see if I get round to them this year coming.

Operational gaming didn’t quite happen but I’ve been doing a lot of prep work for my next  operational megagame: ‘Case Blue ’42: The Drive to Stalingrad’ that I’ll be running in Sheffield in June:

http://www.penninemegagames.co.uk/case-blue-42.html

I’ve also got plans for a few more multiplayer games too so I’ll blog more on them as I develop the ideas further.

To be honest 2017 in gaming terms was one of the best it terms of vareity of games played from tabletop games in various scales, air and naval too. Board games and megagames of different genres. Long may it continue into 2018… I hope yours is as good too.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

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.

 

 

 

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.