1914 British Expeditionary Force.

I went to see the perimer of the Peter Jackson film ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ a couple of weeks back; if you haven’t heard of the film please look it up. Technically amazing and a very powerful piece of cinema. When it goes on general release I highly recommend you to go and see it.

I was inspired, partly by the film and mostly because I wanted them for a scenario, to dig out my small collection of WW1 figures and paint some up.

This small unit of 20mm BEF troops from 1914 are from Lancer Miniatures clicky and are mostly armed with rifles barring the few command figures that go with them.

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The figures have plenty of character and painted up very quickly using my standard techniques. Now I just need to get all the German opposition painted so I can game out the opening phases of the Great War.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

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Assorted games from recent weeks.

As much as I’ve been busy beavering away in the shed making kits and painting I have been getting quite a few games in too. I’ve not done a battle report in a while for the simple reason that trying to take photos at meaningful points in the game comes third to a) playing the game and b) having a laugh with my mates, the latter is the best reason for gaming imo.

Nonetheless I have taken some ‘happy snaps’ as it were of a few recents evening’s gaming so thought I’d put them up here:

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First up we have the old Milton Bradley game Battlemasters from 1992. Done in conjunction with Games Workshop as an entry level game it comes with a rather nice printed plastic mat.

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Paul had found a cheap copy in a charity shop so he took it up to the games club and gave it a run through that evening. It plays quick so we managed to get two full games in. The above photo gives you some idea of how the random card cannon mechanisms works.

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The second scenario saw the ‘evil/ chaos’ army attempting to force a river crossing to take out a fortified tower. It seemed to be a quite a tall order for them to do that given that the ‘Empire’ army was at full strength.

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I ran a nice little 6mm 5core: Brigade Commander game for Evan and Bill that saw Bill’s 1980s British defend a section of the German countryside from Evan attacking Soviets. You can’t beat a bit of 1980s Cold War what if? gaming to stir nostalgic memories of the 1980s. I really should get a CD of 80s music to go with these games.

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The twist in the scenario was that the Soviets faced a large flanking counter attack that they weren’t ecpecting. Here Evan tries to reposition his troops in the face of approaching British armour.

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Here a MIG 23 from the VVS tries to halt the encroaching Chieftans threatening to overrun the Soviet HQ. The game ended in a bloody draw.

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I have managed to get a couple of games of the French expansion of The Great War board game. The op[ening games are based around the battles for Verdun. The first game seemed a tough ask for the defending French. I played the game twice in an evening with Paul swopping side: on both occasions the French were decisively beaten.

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I played the second of the new scenarios with Evan. Again we played it twice, again the French were beaten both times. Evan played as the Germans the first time. Veteran gamer that he is he quickly indentified the the weakpoint in my defences and went for it winning comfortably. After we swopped sides I looked at the board and couldn’t come up with a better plan so copied his shamelessly for much the same result.

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I dug out my modest fleets of Russo- Japanese War ships for a naval battle with Paul. We could have probably done with a bigger table as this turned out to be the naval equivalent of a knife fight in a telephone box.

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Here Paul’s Russian battleship is trying to ram my battleship squadron, having crossed his ‘T’ I gave him little option. Fortunately he bounced off my side armour and a lucky critical hit roll sunk him. A fun game, I need to add to my collection though before I can play the war as a campaign as I intend to do at some point.

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Finally with have the recent Too Fat Lardies’ tank skirmish ruleset What a Tanker. Evan ran the game for Bill and I, I had three BT7s and a T28 facing off against a STUGIII, Pz38t and a PzII. After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing around the table Bill whittled me down for the win. I’ve mixed views on the game (I think the games set in the early war don’t work, for boring mathematical reason, due to the game design) but that aside it was one of the most enjoyable evening gaming I had had in a long time.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

The Great War: The French Expansion Kickstarter has arrived.

The Great War is a game inthe Command and Colours family by Richard Borg which I got into when it was first kickstartered (is that a verb now? I kickstarter, you kickstarter, we all kickstarter?) a few years ago. The Great war as a conflict can be tricky to game, especially the Western Front in its trench warfare phase; whilst low level games of trench raiding may work gaming the actual attacks across the no man’s land can be problematical.*

Richard Borg has made a very fun game that uses managing two hands of cards to allow you to ‘enjoy’ the frustrations of the war. It is very difficult to set up a good run of things, tanks break down all the time and you never have enough artillery but when you can coordinate everything it is very satisfying. As a result when the 3rd, French, expansion (based around the battle of Verdun, was announced I backed it straight away.

I picked it up from the Post Office on Saturday and got it opened up.

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The main box with the modest extras I got, I managed to restrain myself and not go overboard with buying everything this time.

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The back of the box telling you what you get.

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The contents- lots of scenarios, a full set of figures for the French and extras for the Germans and British.

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The figures again separated by type.

One nice feature is that this exapansion adds loads of specialists to the mix (spotters, officers, extra ammo carriers, flamethrowers… that kind of thing) as well as rules to add them into the previously published scenarios. By using a list to see how many to add into each game and then cross referencing a table to see what was available in each year of the war you have, for the first time, a personal choice in the make up of your force in a scenario.

Talking of scenarios: I’ve played this game at least 20 times now and am yet to repeat a game. Now with this expansion bringing the number of different scenarios up to 62 I reckon I’ve still got about a hundred game left at least before I repeat myself (I’m counting playing the same scenario from different sides as different games).

In other news, and featured here because she sat in the box the game expansion came in, I’d like to introduce my new cat: Ticker.

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I had been with out a pet for a couple of years after my last cat Mickey (huge b&w Tom) had to be euthanised after developing tumours and was waiting until a cat needed a home came along. Ticker was the cat of a friend of a friend of my Mu7m’s who sadly passed away and she needed rehoming. She has been a little timid and standoffish but she is partly, or probably mostly, siamese and I’ve heard they can be like that and take a long time to bond so I’m giving her plenty of space and affections while she settles in.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

*Though not impossible see Martin Rapier’s work here: http://tgamesweplay.blogspot.com/2018/08/amiens-1918-2.html

Bargain price game mats.

Given the quality job Pix Art Printing clicky did with the game maps for my recent Case Blue megagame I decide that I put some more business their way. Several years ago I bought a few game maps from Wargames Vault clicky with the intention of printing them out onto paper and assembling them as a jigsaw. This didn’t work so well for various reason… but now there is Pix Art I decided to send them there to be printed. Using MS Publisher I added all the images together into one massive file and then waited for a special offer to be on to maximise my savings.

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In the End I got a 130cm by 350cm vinyl at printed for £30 including delivery from Italy.

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I got a 120cm square wasteland mat that will be ideal for any game set in the Middle East/ North Africa, as a point of comparison the going rate for a comparable sized mat by itself seems to be about £25.

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This 120cm by 60cm costal strip will be great for ampibious landing be it in WW2 or the Dark Ages, the textures should work for both 20 and 28mm sized figures.

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I added a few maps from my Print and Play board game collection- here we have maps for the Russo- Japanese War, WW1, fictional WW3 and right up to date with the War in Donbass.

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A slightly smaller urban mat- should be useful for some of the 40K figures I’ve painting recently.

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Finally I printed the map for use in Brian Train’s free urban COIN game: Maracas clicky

 

All in all I’m really pleased with this. They should last for ages and as they are easy to roll storage isn’t a problem either.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

 

NormandyTrip: Back to England and Bovington Tank Museum.

The overnight ferry from La Harve to Portsmouth was uneventful, I spent it either reading or watch films on my tablet, also it was the longest I’ve ever spent on a ship. As we arrived early on Friday morning I went on deck as the boat docked to see what was moored up in Portsmouth Harbour. The two historic ships HMS Victory and HMS Warrior were visible along with a fair few contemporary RN vessels including the new HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier.

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HMS Warrior, undergoing some restortation.

 

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HMS Victory.

 

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HMS Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s biggest ever warship, I have to admit feeling a little underwhelmed by it.

 

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A Type 45 Destroyer HMS Dragon.There were at least 4 Type 45s berthed when I was there.

After docking we drove a hour and a half westwards to visit Bovington Tank Museum, a place that has been on my must visit list for a long time. The number of vehicles on display is mind boggling. Divided up into different sections it takes you through the development of the tank then we went through the Trench Experience covering WW1 and from War Horse to Horse Power and much more including the Tiger exhibit bring together a Tiger and Elefant, two Tiger IIs and a Jagdtiger. I took so many photos I can’t upload them all but I’ll put up a representative sample. If anyone has anything in particular they want to see let me know and I’ll post it.

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A view of the first hall we went in, Centurion front and centre.

 

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WW1 Mk IV ‘female’ tank.

 

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British Crusier tank from 1940.

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A Panzer III painted up in Africa Korp colours.

 

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A Sherman Firefly with Cromwell in the background.

 

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Moving on to modern stuff we have a T72 with a Patton in the background.

 

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A Saladin Armoured Car

 

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British Challenger.

 

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Another shot of the Firefly and Cromewll with the front ofa Chruchill peeking in.

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In the WW1 section we have a MkII tank.

 

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A Mk IV male with fascine.

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Austin Armoured Car of the type used in Ireland during the Anglo-Irish war.

 

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Tiger II with Porsche turret and Jagdtiger.

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Tiger II with Henschel turret.

 

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Elefant (all the way from the US) and Tiger 131.

 

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Hetzer SPG in front of a Jagdpanther.

 

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Protype of the Tortoise SPG- a British proposal to attack the Siegfried line.

 

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A T34/76 in Finnish colours.

 

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The ridiculous TOG II- a British failure from WW2, very cool all the same though.

 

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British heavy metal.

 

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The Sherman used in the recent Brad Pitt film ‘Fury’ still with its sfx weathering.

 

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Not all of the vehicles that are in the Bovington Collection are on public display- this is a view of part of the storage shed.

Going round Bovington took all day; all that was left was a long drag on a journey North back to Yorkshire to end Dad and I’s holiday.

 

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.

 

 

 

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.