Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Last Man Standing

Another stint at taking my life in my hands trying to get out of the village, but needs must to get to civilisation, now they are not only zooming up the only two way road in and out but they are on their phones while doing so.

Anyway, after another fraught day dealing with BT I settled down and took my Dead Man's Hand stuff to the club, due to the faffing about I hadn't managed to come up with a scenario so we just went for goodies versus baddies, three lots of six bad men against two lots of seven lawmen. I took my Mexicans with The Spider looking for revenge after his rep took a dive in the last game. Ryan was late which probably didn't help our overall plan, but then again we didn't really have a plan. The Law were in one quarter of the table with me opposite them, Andy in the far corner and Ryan's men at the end of the same row of buildings as the lawmen these were eventually moved into the centre of town opposite the jail just as Ryan turned up.

I decided to rush towards the Red Dog Saloon where Simon's posse were holed up, in the hope of getting some lucky shots in and dropping some deputies, Simon obliged by coming my way, meanwhile Johnny, the other lawman, was moving along the street taking cover behind a nearby hearse and a stalled wagon on Main Street. My gringo compadres at the other end of the street seemed to be keeping as far away from trouble as they could, Ryan turned up, took command of his men, and despite some Hollywood type diving and ducking found at the end of it he was out of range. No one was having much luck as bullets flew and hit wood, nothing or dirt, even a point blank shotgun blast managed to miss a wily Mexican.

That however soon came to an end as Simon's men found the range, my boys were falling like dominoes to the great delight of Andy for some reason, we put the fallen in Boot Hill cemetery and it seemed to have a very large Mexican section.

The Spider himself went down, as we called time I only had one man left who wasn't going to make the Big Nerve Test if we had managed another round. Ryan too lost a few men while Andy was relatively unscathed despite Johnny moving his fashion conscious deputies in their matching long coats into close range.

Time ran away with us but we all enjoyed the game and the Law easily got a win on casualties inflicted, I think in the end they would also have managed to clean out the town if the game had gone on.

Boot Hill fills up.
 So, I have my army for Sunday, I am all packed, I am also taking my son's army down for him and a few extra troops for a mate, I feel like I need a little break so I am looking forward to this jaunt, I am also heading off early tomorrow to hopefully beat the traffic and possibly be at the school to pick up my granddaughter who has asked her parents to make an effort and feed me 'Scottish' food.

I now have the rest of the day to redo a couple of bases, type out my list, amend a couple of maps (grrrrr) and still get to the pub at 3.30. Oh, and I have also bought some more stuff for Bolt Action, another M3 for the British and a Hanomag for the Germans (the one with the rockets on the side) and a couple of stowage sets, another couple of trucks for each side should see to my transport needs.

I am now going off grid until next week.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Age of Warlords

After having not a lot of time to do much and rushing around I have a bit of time at the moment, the authors I am working with are all off on jaunts of some kind or other, one is a battlefield guide, and the Atlas is at a very early stage so I probably have a couple of days to ponder all sorts of stuff. The big thing this week is I am heading south to Chorleywood on Thursday morning for a little break to my sons, I hope to take in the Imperial War Museum and possibly the Guards as well. I had wanted to go to the Army Museum but I believe that is closed for renovations or some such, however I will check. A night in Smoke on Friday and the RAF Museum on the Saturday.

I have a full on day on the Sunday, I will be heading early to Peterborough for the Age of Warlords gaming day, three 2,000 point War and Conquest battles with armies ranging from Patrician Roman to Merovingian Franks. Then it is back home, I had thought of stopping over and heading north fully rested on the Monday, but as I am skint and the money saved would be better spent on Bolt Action stuff I will bite the bullet and hit the road once we are done.

Organiser Andy Hawes' excellent Saxon Gedriht.

I am taking a Saxon Heptarchy army, I normally fight battles at 2500 points so the loss of that extra 500 is a bit of a bind. I have two choices, I keep the basic infantry units big and take a couple of cavalry units or I keep them smaller and get more of them but only one mounted, not quite sure yet which way to go. I also have to compromise on the Gedriht warbands, these are the kings guards and companions and should be some of the best troops at the event, so as ever it is quality or quantity.

I shall be meeting up with some friends from the normal WAC gaming days and getting the lowdown on our November meet, the Twelfth will be marching south for battle that month. I was sorry I missed last years Age of Warlords but the photos were excellent and the reports were all positive so I have made the effort this year.

I am supposed to be doing Dead Man's Hand at the club tomorrow night, so maybe one more report before I head off, I hope to get a lot of pictures and have some stirring tales for next week after Sunday.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Market Garden

Yesterday three club members braved the roads around here and managed to eventually find there way to Warton from Grange-over-Sands, a very genteel, up-market town of these here parts. Rob  wanted to do a large Market Garden themed game, which many WWII gamers are doing at the moment of course, ours just happened to be on the very first day of the anniversary of the battle. Nice timing.

I wasn't sure what Rob wanted in the way of terrain so set up an empty table and at last used my portable 6x4 for the inevitable wargame paraphernalia required for such a large game. The lads duly arrived on time which meant I had to fend off the odd customer whose looks of amazement as their PO turned into a part of Holland were a treasure to behold until noon when I closed.

What we had was a canal with a bridge over it around which was a small town, halfway between the canal and the other end of the table were fields and gentle rises and of course the main road which entered through a large patch of woodland. I know about Arnhem of course but not so well up on what happened during the rest of the campaign, for this battle we had American paratroopers who had been ordered to take the bridge but once on the ground had decided to secure the high ground first, this left a window of opportunity for the Germans to get into the village and protect the bridge while the Americans then awaited the arrival of their allies.

I took the Germans, mainly because after all my work on the Flak wagon I wanted to use it, Paul was with me and was given the village to defend, my troops would come on on the other side of the canal and hopefully delay the Americans. Rob took the paratroops and would probe the German defences while waiting for the armour to turn up, commanded by Stuart. Both Stuart and Paul were new to Bolt Action but long time WWII players.

Paul managed quite nicely to get his men ensconced in the town, he also put his PAK 40 and Marder III in sheltered positions with fairly good lines of sight into the hinterland. I on the other hand found myself restricted, I brought my Panzer IV on as support for my three squads but found that I was not going to get to the hedge line before the Ami's, I was also fearful of a squad of British Paras and a sniper team way over on the right which could easily enfilade me. I did make an attempt but luckily my platoon made it back to cover before the British armour got the range. I dug in around the bridge and a nearby house. My sniper made the first shot of the game and took out an American NCO, looking good.

Stuart turned up and came through the woods, this turned out to be a mistake as it was slow going, he recovered mid game and put his men onto the road, his left got through the trees much quicker and he flung his armour forward. The British were a bit cautious due to the firepower in the village and the threat of my lone tank behind a small hill, rightly so as the PAK 40 hit 'Betsy' coming over a hill and took her tracks out and caused a fire, this was put out only to have another one started by another hit later, Betsy led a charmed life but she wasn't going anywhere, the PAK crew now rested on their laurels and they couldn't hit her again.

Stuart unlimbered his 17pdr and took out the PAK crew with a HE round, not one man survived, I had tried to help with my sniper but only managed to ever get one crew member, the Marder however did manage to brew up the 17pdr's M3 tow.

I had hemmed in my tank with my own me and needed to sort myself out so it could again manouvre, I rushed a squad back to the village only for them to be cut up pretty badly but they held, out in the open but they remained viable. There had been a threat from a sneaky bazooka team heading for my tank but the sniper took care of them, my medic hit the dust before he could help anyone and I had to reverse the PzIV once again.

It was now that Paul moved on the annoying British para squad, I at last brought on my AA vehicle to support him and it paid off as the Para's disappeared and I also managed to shoot up a sniper team as well, one of whom was a woman, however we were Waffen-SS.

The Americans had been halted despite bravely trying to rush the bridge, they had managed to deplete several defending squads but whom nevertheless still managed to hold on. Stewart now rushed my tank with his infantry, a hail of fire hit them from a defended building, they still got through but failed to dent the steel monster, they did give me a fright though. 'Lindy Lou' the other Sherman had moved forward to take a shot at my Flak wagon but cursed when it realised American para's were in the way, lucky for me as I hadn't given the rest of the battlefield much thought and had decided to go after a Bren carrier which looked like easy meat, oops.

That was the last move, the game was called, we had spent about six hours playing, eating cakes, drinking tea and beer and generally chatting, a good afternoon. It was deemed the Germans would hold on so they got the honours.

Our first game of Bolt Action Second Edition, what was the outcome? I love the templates, much better than the last way of doing things, we were a bit perplexed by the auto-cannon but on reading the book later I can see where we went wrong but that was only on one occasion. I also like the officer getting extra orders and we used this quite a bit, however we were all a bit sceptical how it would work at the higher level, captains and majors and think this would probably unbalance the game, one or two orders being just perfect. No doubt you won't get a lot of majors at least running around but I can see it being a gift for 'win at all costs' players.

There was one situation which came up where my troops on the road had all used their initiatives and Stuart in his turn could have taken three out the bag, one for his officer, then trundled his anti-tank tow down the road onto my flank, unlimbered then shot. Now that I think about it I may have to check whether guns unlimbering on an advance can actually shoot. Anyway at the time we thought they could and felt it was not very sporting, so he didn't do it.

As I said they are all WWII veteran gamers and like many others with BA had a discussion about weapon ranges, justified no doubt, but I can live with it as my main objective with the rules is a good game with a WWII feel to it. So, despite my rising dislike of Warlord Games' handling of the whole Second Edition saga the rules are fine and for me does what it says on the tin, I look forward to many more enjoyable games, thanks lads.

View From The Window

Well, what will today bring, grey scudding clouds to the north and east while to the south it looks fairly blue, excellent visibility although there is nothing to see, slept very well last night so a tad late this morning and the road is already busy, for a Sunday. No stock cars causing mayhem like there was last week, you take your chances when parking on Main Street. The PO is quieter than usual, can't put this down to the road closures as I generally see the same faces most of the time, but over the past few weeks there has definitely been a decline, I wonder how much longer the PO can run this place at a loss.

The big thing this week is British Telecom, you may remember I ordered my fibre broadband to the house way back in June or July, since then I was given two tall tales and had the order cancelled once, they did come and fit the wires to the wall, surprisingly they were not blocked at all(?), but they didn't come last Wednesday to put the wire to my router, they moved the date to next Tuesday without telling me. This piece of news took me about an hour and a half to obtain after failing to communicate with one of the world's largest communications companies.

A few days earlier Paul, Malcolm or Rupert phoned me from the sub-continent again as he has taken my rebuffing of his cheap electricity offer personally and has decided to annoy me every week until I come to my senses, his singing a song down the phone was the last straw. The telephone preference service which is supposed to stop unwanted calls but doesn't obviously was no use, I have had cause to complain to Ofcom in the past only to find out they too have no teeth and are paid vast amounts of taxpayers money for simply listening to your complaint then shrugging you off. I decided therefore to get Caller ID, simples yes, no.

I tried calling BT again only to get fed up and decide to do it online, the BT computer told me to go away as I did not have an account with them, I have two and receive bills from them. I then spent forty minutes waiting for a human being to talk to only to be told the line was not commercial but business and she could do nothing for me, I was passed to the business people who told me, go on guess, I was a commercial line and not a business line etc. The woman must have heard the explosion coming and quickly told me to hang on, half an hour later she triumphantly put me through to another woman who told me caller ID would be on my phone in a few hours at the princely sum of £10 a quarter. So forty quid a year to stop being bothered by someone who shouldn't be phoning me in the first place.

No it doesn't end there, it was actually the next day after more phonecalls and more assurances that I had Caller ID, that I really actually got it. And what cheeses me even more and what I cannot get my head around is that since I got it I have only had one call where the number was withheld, in other words no nuisance calls, work that one out.

Where do you stand in the big Mel and Sue kerfuffle, are you going to stick two fingers up to Channel 4 as pirates or wait until the Beeb starts its own cheaper version of Bake Off and brings back the lovable duo. Forget Brexit, the Syrian ceasefire, missing children, police brutality, Black Lives Matter, Bake Off is leaving the BBC for ........... aaaaagh, Channel 4! Get a life, it is a programme about cakes for heaven's sake, fronted by an old dear, a guy who spends too much time in front of the mirror and two women wrongly described as comedians, the last series was so politically correct unless you were brain dead you could have picked the winner in the initial line up.

Mel, or is it Sue, the one who dresses like a guy and has the annoying quiff in her hair, is a draw of course as she ticks the LGBTQI box, unsure of what that is and wondering how many other capitals can be added to what used to be simply LGB, I looked it up. How old fashioned of me, here was I thinking we only came in two flavours, male and female, but no, to this can now be added Questioning and Intersex? Whom the Gods would destroy they first make mad. We are doomed.

Anything which is highly personal to oneself shouldn't that be a private matter instead of shouting it from the rooftops and either making yourself a target or cheesing other people off? Like the army jumping on the bandwagon and being 'proud' to have a transgender soldier on the front line and praising his/her 'courage'. That's not the army's job, its job is to give our forces decent weapons, decent kit, decent vehicles, stop recruits being mysteriously shot, not trumpeting the sex or not of one of them.

"Or woman Reg ..................."

I see red ink is in danger of disappearing, at least from marking duties, to mark in red is now seen as 'confrontational' so the more friendly green ink is being brought in as a substitute. I am unsure but I think in the Navy only the captain of a ship was allowed to use green ink, even then the forces were on the cusp of the modern world.

The Beeb have given a doctor a platform for his theory that we can do away with all sorts of prescription drugs, I watched some of the first episode. He showed a very large bowl full of pills and said that this was the amount that a normal child would consume up to the age of ten, I would take issue with that, I know myself I did not take large amounts of pills until I was roughly 55, up until then it was the odd paracetamol and when a child maybe an aspirin or codeine tablet. I have a granddaughter who is seven, or seven and a half she would say, so only a few years away from ten and nope, any medications she has had would hardly fill the bottom of the bowl. I also have a sneaking suspicion his test subjects have been very carefully chosen in order to have them come off their pills. Don't get me wrong, I am not sure at all if simply giving people pills is a good idea, I myself take five different pills a day, one of which I know I could probably control by diet and another which might benefit from a drastic change to rabbit food, so maybe I could get away with three, but I am not willing to take the chance of not taking the other three.

Is your computer cantankerous, does it go to sleep at lunchtime, is it a morning person? Why does my PO computer act so slow in the mornings, surely when you switch the magic juice on being a machine it should be at attention and waiting to go, not have you explain to your first customer of the day, the machine's slow, as he fidgets ready to get back to his car before the local bus takes his wing mirror off or an irate homeowner yells at him to stop blocking the drive.

And why is that sealant stuff sold in such large tubes when all you ever need is six inches of it and despite everything you do to seal the end, in a week or so when you need it again it is solid?

No view next week folks, I am off to the Smoke for a few days.

I almost forgot, silly me, remember what I said about the idiots who brought the airport to a standstill getting off with a slapped wrist? It is better than I thought, nearly all of them are from rich, upper class families, double-barrel names, never had a real job, probably have never rubbed shoulders with someone black from the 'Hood.' They got fined a paltry £95 for causing untold misery to thousands of people as well as showing our police force up once again in a bad light as they stood around helpless dolling out water and sandwiches to the dears instead of carting them away tout suite. No more than a half hour delay if I had been in charge.

Who ordered the vegan ham and pickle substitute..........