Thursday, 29 January 2015


At some point this afternoon I reached 1,000 hits, so thank you to all who have made an effort to read my musings. If you peruse the Members section you will see that Jeremy Clarkson is my newest follower. I like Clarkson, but have no time for his sidekicks, Guinea Pig and the one who is reliving the '70's, I was there, it was no fun, like the 'swinging sixties' with all that free love, I looked, again nada. He is one of my 'go to' professional moaners along with Richard Littlejohn and Rod Liddle, the latter being my all time favourite, I don't always agree with them and don't always remember to look them up, but now and again they hit the spot.
I was going to set a game up today, but just when you think you'll never be asked to draw another map of Smolensk in 1941, along comes a request. It was like that last year with Normandy, you could drop me blindfolded from a Dakota and I would find my way to Sword beach.
Anyway, what has all this to do with wargaming, nothing, but I am intending to go to Vapnartak on Sunday to pick up a few things I 'need', things I will not be able to live without, all wargame related of course. The journey could be in danger if this weather keeps up however, so if it doesn't happen, then there will be a battle report.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Lazy Weekend and Lights.

Not a lot of wargaming going on at the moment, no club night either next week as we are being moved to a smaller, dingy room for the night for reasons which elude me, so I have decided to take a night off. I have sent draft maps for the 'big' project but will not hear back from the author until next week.
Strategic map for 'big' project.
 So I have managed to salvage some time for myself. Part of which involved completing a small map project for a WWI memoir.
Salonika Front 1917.
 And I have picked up the paint brushes, I have got a good bit of work done, on the tray are the front two ranks of a Saxon warband and to the side are the back ranks, with luck they will be based and ready to commit mayhem by next weekend. I am not a great painter, but I don't think my boys would disgrace me on any table, but I have a tip, one tip. Throw your metal paints away and buy Vallejo Model Air metals, they are not solid, you don't have to water them down and you only need one coat, they are fantastic. I can't claim orginality for this, I saw it on a WSS YouTube video, if you don't already use them, do try.

Do you remember the old days when if a light bulb popped, you went down the shop and picked another off the shelf for 50p and hey presto! Now I have a small collection of differing sizes, wattages, voltages, different fittings, small screw, big screw, bayonet etc. all coming in around £4. I am supposed to feel better about my green credentials with these and how I am saving the planet, or allowing the Bengal Tiger and White Rhino to breed so they do not become extinct and I can still see them. Well, my chances of seeing one or other on Warton Crag are not going to increase just because I have to make a journey to B&Q and I doubt my air quality will improve either, but my blood pressure is going through the roof.
Pick a light, any light..............

Friday, 23 January 2015

Can't Move, You Needed a 4

OK, so what is the big deal these days with activation, and that’s with a capital A. There doesn’t seem to be a rule set which does not go out of its way to stop you doing what you want on the wargame table. Yes, I realise that things didn’t always go well for real commanders and there were subordinates who were tardy at best and downright disobedient at worst, although the former probably outnumbers the latter. But if a general sends an order to a Corps commander to advance, half of his troops don’t suddenly decide to sit put and do nothing because, to be honest I can’t even think of a because, they just wouldn’t. A battalion commander forms an attack plan against a defended farmhouse at 0600 hrs, then for the next three hours two platoons and three sections simply do nothing. We all forget to move someone, or shoot, or manoeuvre, that’s fog enough for me, I have lost battles because I forgot a rule or was so busy doing something at one end of the table I ignored the other end. I have nothing against differing activations as long as everyone eventually gets to do something. I have seen people spend hours waiting for a certain card or the right number on a die to turn up before actually managing to take part in a game.  I have four games with activation of one kind or another, War & Conquest, Dead Man's Hand, Dux Britanniarum and X-Wing, all clever and unpredictable, but everything gets a move, you won’t lose a game because you didn’t role a 4 or get a face card. X-Wing may be predictable but nonetheless it has a clever activation sequence which usually baffles me and leaves my starships acting more like dodgems at the fairground.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015


Club night and I was up against Matt's Irish Raiders with my Romano-British in our Dux Britanniarum campaign. I have not beat 'those people' as R.E. Lee called the enemy, I have been close, but no coconuts. I had to protect the village and I got the jump on Matt and could have set up comfortably behind the hedges in shieldwall, but there is no point waiting a week for a game and then sitting in a corner all night. I find with Dux sometimes the objective of the raid becomes secondary to destroying the enemy, if you do that, you win anyway. Matt thought the same and bounded up the centre and straight into my waiting troops, not yet quite ready to receive him. With both of us on low force morale I thought kill the foot raiders and it's end of story, back to mine for a nightcap. A magnificent fight ensued in which I suffered horrendous casualties but simply could not kill the Raiders, because of the rules they take more shock than kills. Despite all this, and losing a couple of groups, my men made one more heroic effort, but Matt made his Force Morale throws and threw in his cavalry along with the 'I never miss incredible Irish Dark Age Sniper" and it was game over.
What can I moan about? Well, I am glad you asked that question, I had several chances to kill or deliver shock and twice I managed neither, I had good hit dice but lousy kill dice and needing sixes makes it even harder. I do have to say Matt's men did fight well.

Both sides eager for battle.

The Irish foot are pushed back, but there are too many empty slots in my ranks.
 And now disaster number two. While moving some wargame gear at the end and trying to not knock over someone else's boxes, I knocked mine over, for the first time ever I dropped a box of soldiers, you can imagine how sick I felt.

Bits and pieces.
I rushed home only wanting to see the damage, it looked worse than it was but I still spent an hour and a half with a tube of superglue until after midnight.

I got up at 0600 hrs this morning and put the finishing touches to my boys, never again. Now off for a well deserved bagel. And last but not least, I had a report that the link to my map site was 'dead', it has now been fixed, so go and look.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Busy Morning

Every now and again I get the urge to organise things, tidy up, I think it's a hang over from my Navy days when everything I had had to fit in an iron box 3x2x3 feet, or something impossible like that, you were not allowed a lot of space to keep the Commie's at bay. Anyway, I have a large map project on the horizon and will have to spend a lot of time on it, at the moment I can do some work in the Post Office, allowing for the odd bleedin' customer of course. But I really need a second monitor, and as I had one laying around I decided to set it up in the shop.

The opulent Work Station 1.

The more functional Work Station 2.

Surprisingly it all went splendidly, OK, I did have one hiccup, but my son helped me out on that otherwise the second monitor would have went through the window, but it didn't. The shop side of the premises I closed down nearly two years ago now and only a huge space with a Post Office counter in the corner remains, that space doubles as a wargame room as you will see from the odd photograph on here. It generally works except that with the dark nights we usually have inquisitive faces pushed up against the cold windows looking at the men playing with toys. But I am old and wise enough to live with that and enjoy the space. I also ignore them, which drives them up the wall.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Superstitious Moi?

As much as I admire Napoleon I have never been able to get into Napoleonics, my first brush with them was in the Navy, two guys had armies the like of which I had never seen and have never forgot, but despite dropping tons of hints I was never invited to play, I can almost hear the gasps of disbelief, but I got over it. I have heard that when getting ready to promote a new officer, Napoleon always asked "is he lucky". How lucky do you feel when you play, I readily forget all the times I get away with plus whatever, or draw that 'kill everyone you contact' card and instead dwell on "if only that had been a three' or something similar.
I once fought a battle many moons ago, which just goes to show you how bitter I can be, when a bunch of elephants were charged by my French Ribauds, I glibly remarked "only three ones can lose this", but my maths were out, as three two's had the same result. Have you ever took great pleasure and extra care in painting up that unit of Imperial Guard, Iron Brigade, Comitatus or Stormtroopers, ceremoniously adding the banner at the last moment before they join the rest of the army. You then give them pride of place in the line, charge them in, downhill, impetuous, every plus in the book behind them, only to get that dark cloud start to come over you, everything slows down, the dice leave your hand, gracefully arc to the table, you just know what's coming, your guys come to a complete halt or worse, are defeated by a bunch of badly painted nobody's and run.
I have an Iron Brigade which runs at the sight of a gray uniform and whom I always have doubts about but I also have my very first ACW unit, the 44th New York which will fight even if down to the regimental mascot. I once had a French knight, the Comte de Alencon whom even my opponents would espy on the table and keep away from.Why is that, they are just metal after all?

Now here is crazy, each army has its own dice and I do not like to use a different colour with them, I had to replace the yellow dice as they are useless (?), and as other people had normal colours I had to get velvet black and teal so I did not inadvertently pick up someone elses. What colour is teal anyway?

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Napoleon and I

Yet another post I hear you say, well, I am semi-retired and don't usually work on a Monday, Wednesday or Thursday and as the weather precludes all those jobs the missus wants me to do but I don't, I can amuse myself in front of the keyboard. While I am on the subject, how many crooked shelves, bad paint jobs and flowers thrown out as weeds does it take before a woman realises you are not Handy Andy! That aside, I thought I would share this with you, how many people do you know can say they had an acquaintance in common with Napoleon, all right more a giant tortoise than an acquaintance, but he did see the big man. I met said tortoise on St. Helena in the grounds of Napoleon's house in 1970, I believe it died eventually around 1990. As you can see I am unsure just how dangerous it might be and am ready to flee at a moments notice. I also saw his first grave, not as impressive as the one in Paris, a small hole in a gully with a large flat stone on top, his jailer really didn't like him. You may also pick up that my naval uniform owes more to Morecambe and Wise than Hugo Boss.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

A Difficult Decision

I was hoping to put up an AAR today as I attended the local club last night, however the lads running the game did not turn up, not before I decided to head for home at least. I suspect this was due to the inclement weather and they would not have wanted stuck in Lancaster and been unable to get home. It is always worse on the edge of the Lakes than here around Morecambe Bay, albeit was still a miserable night. I was offered an opening in a Chain of Command game, but, at the risk of alienating the small number of readers I do have, I do not like it, it isn’t just me either, there is a guy in Yarmouth I believe. Anyway, on the drive home I decided to put my Wars of the Roses army up for sale, they don’t get out very often and I have to be brutally honest and say even if they did, Poleaxed 2 is not the most popular of rulesets. It cannot be argued that they do not do the period justice, but they are boring in that once you have arrayed your army, the battle pretty much takes care of itself. On the plus side, it will give me cash and storage room for another army, I suspect only wargamers see the rationale behind that.

One of very few outings.

A refight of Bosworth.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Tax Collectors Coach

 I wrote a scenario to add to my collection for Dux Britanniarum which involved a tax collector. The gentleman in question is collecting his dues from a surly lot of villagers who do not have access to online, when up pops the local commander and a bunch of marauding Saxons. Said fat cat immediately hides while the others race for the spoils. Anyway, this Roman Travelling Coach from Warlord Games was too good to pass up for my financial wizard, so I added it to my Christmas list.

Coach and 'stuff' primed and ready, notice collectors table and chest.


Local worthy checking who pays what, with trophy wife checking make up.
 I will have to work on my photography, but my house does not have a lot of light and it is way too cold and wet to take such precious pieces outside. The driver by the way bears an uncanny resemblance to the Emperor Palpatine(?) from Star Wars. I will be back at the painting table this week once I prime a large Saxon warband for hire by my Romano-British warlord, come to think of it, the tax collector turned up just in time.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Appeal Thrown Out!

This just in, I still lost. So the significance of the die rolls in the last photograph is that I lost out on destroying this unit by one inch! How jammy is that!

Wargame Weekend

My son managed to tear himself away from Real Life to come over for a couple of games, I had wanted to do a couple of battles but what with travelling and having to eat and visit the pub, we compromised and went with W&C for Saturday afternoon and X-Wing on Sunday morning. My days of wargaming into the wee small hours are over.
We took 2000 point armies, Stewart the Early Saxons, and me my beloved Romano-British. Nothing spectacular about the layout, a wall of warriors each with some 'chancers' on one of the flanks, we had both chosen the same one, me cavalry and him Franks. I had to kill off the enemy elites to win my objective, so I went straight for his Gedriht which were opposite my Comitatus troops, hoping for a quick victory.

Straight forward deployment, the Franks are behind the tree up on the left.
British battle line.

Saxon battle line.

The lines clash.
 Stewart's skirmishers have retreated behind his line while mine failed a glancing attack on the Geoguth warband in the foreground, my Pedyt's with the help of the good Bishop eventually routed this unit. In the centre my other troops wait, hoping the Comitatus can destroy the Gedriht, both leaders were in the centre of the fight here, Aelfrith the Saxon receiving a slash on his left thigh. Way over on my left the Franks keep pushing my archers but never quite catching them, while my cavalry hold back remaining a threat so that the Franks do not flank my line.
To the last man!
 Having no experts on hand I am not sure we completed this combat correctly, this is the situation on the last move as the Comitatus killed off five men to leave one companion along with his chief and standard bearer.  It was almost impossible to shift these elite troops with their respective leaders in the front line due to the high morale, so instead there was immense slaughter. Stewart called time and we toted the points up, he was ten in front, giving him the win. However, I have an appeal waiting in the wings, if Aelfrith's men were lifted off as being under minimum numbers would he have been captured, or limped away with that gamy leg, my men too exhausted to bovver? Anyway, the Recrimination Phase in the pub passed uneventfully.
Dum, dum, dum, dumda dum.
The X-Wing game involved several of the new ships as Stewart wanted to see what they were like before he fights any more tournaments. I readily admit I am rubbish at this, but it is an excellent, clever game and good fun. It also allows you to buy loads of lovely little spaceships, and yes, I went ahead and repainted mine, the Firespray (red and white ship) in the picture is a personalised ship for the female ace, Kath Scarlett, the others are Stewart's, straight out of the box. I managed to take out the large vessel but lady luck was with Miss Scarlett as she put paid to my remaining ship in very short order at the end.
All told a good couple of days fighting.