Thursday, 31 August 2017

We can see Athens

Missus was out so free for another game, three in one week, my cup it runneth over, I'll be suffering from combat fatigue shortly. Anyway it was another opportunity for Kevin to get the hang of his Greek City States army, four large hoplite phalanxes this time, one mercenary and another veteran, his flank guards were two peltast units, and three skirmish commands, one the elite Cretan archers. Facing a phalanx in WAC is no fun for Romans despite what history teaches us, so I went for numbers hoping to crush the Greek flanks and then outflank the phalanxes, so I had two regular legionary cohorts and two with raw troops, the latter had officers to boost their morale. My flanks were loaded with massed Auxiliary archers, horse archers, infantry and bow armed skirmishers. Kevin does not yet have Greek cavalry so I thought it unfair to bring mine, apart from the horse archers.

Kevin's mercenaries and regular hoplites.

Legio XII on the left, Greeks on the right.

I once again decided to hit the flanks while keeping my centre out of the way, this was not too difficult as the Greek advance in phalanx was fairly slow and when they were near, I withdrew my cohorts where possible. The flanks did not crumble as fast as I thought they would, my large archer unit was not very good and the skirmishers opposite took forever to shift, I did eventually manage to chase away some skirmishers and peltasts and put my Auxiliary infantry into a good position against the Greek left.

The Romans move on the flanks and the Greeks on the centre.
Steady lads, steady.

I had a bit of a Pyrrhic victory on my left, I quickly destroyed the skirmishers but the peltasts held me up and actually fought my Lanciarii to the last man, I tried twice to make a glancing attack to reduce their numbers with the horse archers but they refused. My plan to use the Lanciarii to hit the hoplite line therefore failed. By this time the mercenaries and a regular unit were upon my two regular cohorts, I expected defeat but in an amazing combat one unit held and only narrowly missed a draw while Cohors I stopped and then routed their enemy dispersing them. A large hole had opened up in the Greek line. This setback seemed to unsettle the Greek commander.

My cohort fighting against the mercenaries held for one more turn before turning and fleeing for the rear, but the rout led the mercenaries away from the main battle. The crises had been reached, there were still two hoplite units not in action but slowly being surrounded by Romans, a quick, desperate advance may have saved the day but one of the units withdrew rather than advancing. The Romans seized their moment and attacked, the Greek left was now outflanked and outnumbered, the battle lost.

It's all over for the Greek left.

This may not sound like it but it was a tough fight for the Thunderbolts, the legionaries are outclassed by the hoplite units and therefore need to catch them on the back foot, I could have went with heavy armour and elite units but decided numbers were better for this set up hence the recruits in the line. Kevin was desperately unlucky with the unit which ran, it took casualties but did not manage to inflict any, this, and a dodgy morale throw took the unit out of the battle leaving the remaining two units on the left up against four Roman units. Plan A worked after all.

Big Treat For Me

Many years ago we were returning from a disastrous holiday in Devon when I decided to visit the Tank Museum at Bovington, due to not having a clue where it was we arrived there late and I only managed to get about an hour or so to look around. Enough to ensure I would return, I have never made that return journey but it is on the cards.

Stewart surprised me with the offer of a ticket for Father's Day next year to Tankfest, needless to say the answer was yes or more like YES! My other son on hearing decided to tag along so it will be a weekend out for the Anderson A Team. The tickets are bought and the hotel booked, three separate rooms as we are all major snorers, them more than me obviously, a tad more expensive but we will all at least sleep well.

No matter the weather next summer, it is looking good already.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

El Arana Bites The Dust

Dead Man's Hand last night, nothing complicated, Mexican bandito leader 'The Spider' had to reinforce his hold on his men after all the recent disasters so he decided to attack a small town on the border and take it over.

The locals rounded up a posse under the sheriff to fight off the invaders, both sides faced off on Main Street, the only street as it happens in this one horse town, no wait, five horse town. The Law mainly kept together and advanced down the left hand row of buildings towards the General Store, the Banditos split, one group moving up the right hand side of the street while the others dug in around the store. Bullets started flying shortly after both sides got close enough, the Mexicans around the store had a good position with cover but the townsfolk were determined to get rid of them and kept trying to get close enough to inflict some damage. El Arana and his men made a dash across the street to join the fight, the Spider miscalculated and as he approached one building a flash of gunfire wounded but did not kill him, more bullets followed.

Two of the gang bit the dust to be followed by a couple of the posse, however that was it for the Banditos, the Spider failed to gun down his opponent and suffered a mortal wound as the Sheriff and Marshall closed in. Several more of the gang now dropped and the survivors had had enough and fled.

This was a good fight only let down by my almost total inability to finish off wounded enemy, it also stood out for the fact that not one person armed with a shotgun on either side managed to hit anything, and considering most of these shots were at point blank range with both barrels that takes some doing. I had two shotguns to Simon's one, but they did neither of us any good, all it did was leave their owners isolated as they rushed forward expecting success.

What about the Spider you ask, well he has gone to wherever bad Mexican stereotypes go to when they are dead, his men have had enough of failure, Viva El Lobo!

Elsewhere we had a Japanese Saga clash, two boardgames and Stuart trying out a new WWII set of rules, but I cannot remember the name.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Napoleon I Ain't

Popped down to Kevin's this afternoon to get one of his boardgames on the table, we played Napoleon: Waterloo Campaign 1815. I checked up the rules which had been sent to me and also the forums on BoardGameGeek, the best resource as far as I know if you are in to boardgames. The game must be popular as it is now into its fourth edition, we had the first, the main problem with this being the small map, basically no larger than an A3 sheet and way too small for the number of blocks in the game.

Anyway, I took the French and had half a notion on the walk down to try a right flank manoeuvre against the Prussians and take them out first, it certainly sounded like a plan to me and Napoleonic in scope. Kevin had deployed the historical scenario and I immediately ordered the bulk of my forces off to the right in a forced march, perhaps I am being unkind to the French but my troops did not like walking and I lost a large amount to fatigue as they fell by the wayside.

I ponder the opening moves.
I saw an early chance at taking out some advanced Prussian units in Charleroi, big mistake, when revealed these outnumbered me fairly heftily and my forces retreated bruised and battered, I did manage to sneak some cavalry through the allied lines for a thrust at the Prussian lines of communication before I fell on them with the Emperor himself.

The march on Liege begins.
Kevin quickly, far more quickly than me, managed to group most of his Prussians to defend Liege, with further battles in the west south of Brussels my left wing dwindled ever more making my defeat of the Prussians a necessity for victory. Belatedly I managed to seize Brussels for a time with the cavalry but couldn't hold it as Wellington's victorious troops returned.

There is a lot of black in f ront of me.
I met Blucher outside Liege and was left only with one stratagem, I had, like Ney in 1815, to leave it all to my cavalry, they had to destroy the Prussians to get me a victory. As both sides deployed this was possible but only narrowly so before the weight of the Prussian army destroyed my right and centre. The cavalry made a brave effort but numbers were against me and as night fell I boarded my carriage and headed for Paris, the Battle of Liege had done for me. However on the bright side it saved the world from a horrendous Abba song.

The battle of Liege.
Wargames and boardgames although at times inhabiting the same ground are very different. I saw right away that the French were in trouble and sure enough it seemed they could not actually steal a march on the Allies, they could not be 'humbugged.' It took too long to move the French army and it was too easy for the line of the Meuse to be blocked by a quick thinking Allied commander, Kevin managed this perfectly well, although I did eventually manage to get to Liege. I don't think I would make it a second time. Kevin informed me of one competition in which the French won one game out of fourteen, this made me feel a lot better.

I also got hold of the rules for the fourth edition, there is a bigger map and other changes have been made, this is a quick game and the subtlety comes in I suspect the more you play it, I still think the French are on a difficult course but we will see next time.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

View From The WIndow

Its been a few weeks now and no musings due to the family weekend and then a trip to the capital, the family weekend went down a treat despite the 'mansion' leaving much to be desired, I have written a complaint to the Tourist Board for Cumbria as I have no other recourse against the manison's owner. I do not expect to recieve much in the way of satisfaction but it made me feel better, I have complained to such bodies before and they seem to take no notice whatsoever of the job they were set up to do i.e. ensure tourists have a good time or at least go away thinking they may return. I await their reply with great interest.

The world of course is just as mad as before, I would like to thank Ms Afar Hirsch for reinforcing my notions of culture, this being that no matter what magic wand is waved or piece of paper you are given you cannot simply attain the culture of your chosen country overnight. Ms Hirsch is the woman leading the movement for the removal of Lord Nelson from the column in Trafalgar Square, she is British-Ghanian. If she was simply British then the thought of removing Nelson would not have crossed her mind, but being British-Ghanian she sees a man of the 18thC who, maybe, like almost every other person in the UK at that time, thought that coloured people were inferior and is therefore a racist and should not be treated like a man who saved the entire country from a French dictator so that Ms Hirsch could have her rant in 2017. However, in the end no one alive knows what Nelson thought of coloured people because he never said.

I see no protestors......wait.....

 Another case of a mad world is the village of Moffat in Dumfries and Galloway whom I believe have a sheep 'race' during their gala day, it has been going on now for some five or six years, little jockey's are sat atop the wooly steeds. Not anymore of course, despite not one of the 2,500 villagers complaining, their non protests meant nothing against the 85,000 twittersphere morons, who do not live in the village nor will ever visit the village from voicing their disapproval, the council have now made it impossible through red tape to hold the event anymore. Is there not one of our elected leaders with any backbone.

It has been a few weeks now but am I the only person who thinks that there is something wrong with the whole story of the 'model' who was kidnapped to be sold into slavery then presumably let go because she had a child. Did she really believe that someone in Milan took such a shine to her that they organised a beauty shoot. Rather than suffering the trauma of being through such an ordeal she seems only too willing now to take most of her clothes off at the mere sight of a lens. Good career move, what's next, Celebrity Big Brother?

I see the sisterhood have now managed to muscle in on TV Sport big time, I have heard more about women footballers and rugby players in the last few weeks than ever before, go girl. Funny how they all remain silent on the thousands of women shorn of their pension rights, decent, hard working women, not Slebs, sporty types, new ager's, women breaking the glass ceiling etc. Just women who don't count, not for the feminists nor the government.

I have always maintained that the Royal Mail or Post Office Limited to give it its true title are b*^%$£(s to work with/for and I am very happy they take no notice of me whatsoever, the family of a Postal worker who died recently no doubt now share my disdain. They were asked only a day or so after the man's death to return his uniform. Posties come into my shop nearly every day and I would not use the word uniform to describe their dress, I actually blurted out to one that surely he wasn't a Postie as nothing about him screamed Royal Mail. The same attitude applies to me if I am robbed, it is immediately my fault until I can prove otherwise.

I see the residents of certain streets in Luton have listened to me at some point and are now smashing the windows of cars left locally to avoid parking fees while their owners jet off on their hols. I only suggested this happen to all those people who park as near as they can to the shops, usually on yellow lines or tag on to the end of proper parking spaces so you have to squeeze by them, if you can, or luxury car owners who need two spaces so they don't get their precious scratched. But if the residents cannot park due to absent owners, so be it. I am not heartless of course, I would put signs up first.

Summertime Blues

Things are fairly quiet at the moment, I don't know about where you are but summer has been a non event here, each day brings rain, mist, heat, humidity, generally uncomfortable weather neither one thing nor the other.

Even wargaming doesn't seem to be lifting my spirits, despite getting a fair amount of time in, I shall be playing one of Kevin's 800+ boardgames on Monday, only fair as he has now fought three games of War and Conquest with me. It will be a rerun of the Waterloo campaign, a block game and as I always fancied being Napoleon, having met the tortoise you will remember, I hope to achieve victory for the Emperor.

Having no painting of my own to do, the decision to paint a new army has been put off until Winter strikes, I have volunteered to finish off the last three units of my sons Carolingian army, the first of which I completed on Thursday. I am not basing them as my style is different to his. I don't know when we will next see them across the field of glory as he has found his inner DIY self and has a new house to sort.

I did manage to catch up with some of my favourite TV shows and binge watched them only to be left slightly disappointed after the long wait. Veep, a very clever political comedy has turned to vicious nastiness rather than funny nastiness, you would have to watch it, there are new script writers and they obviously are not as sharp as the originator Armando Iannucci. It could be heading for my recycle bin. Silicon Valley still holds me due to the excellent supporting cast, the lead character is simply not believable, he is a computer genius who invents some fantastic programme but doesn't make a penny out of it while everyone else around him does. He is just too dumb.

The Man In The High Castle has just hit the bin, this was touted as better than SS-GB, yes I know anything was better than that, an alternative history in which Germany and Japan won the war and conquered America, or large parts of it. The plot revolves around film which shows the Allies actually winning the war despite the fact they obviously didn't, are the films fake, are they real, do I care. Confusing as all this is what finished me was the Japanese character seemingly going back in time to another reality, my brain hurt, bin.

I can do confusing, as my continuing interest in Preacher shows, if you have not read the comics, sorry, graphic novels, then God gets fed up and comes down to earth for some quality time and Preacher decides to confront him over the mess he has made. Preacher has an Irish vampire and a murderous girlfriend for company, I particularly like the vampire.

Cassidy (vampire) and the lovely Tulip (killer)

On Wednesday the usual suspects at the bar waxed lyrical about The State, Channel 4's piece on ISIS, I decided to give it a watch, the storyline following the two brothers I enjoyed but I found the one pertaining to the woman doctor hard to swallow. She is a firm believer and her son is shown to be brainwashed but overnight she decides she has had enough and both flee back to the UK where she is shown to be unrepentant, so why flee? The day to day madness of ISIS was shown very well and it really is terrifying.

What now, nothing as far as I can see, too much reality and social propaganda for me to enjoy the box these days. I need a good book.

Oh, I almost forgot, the boys from Kurupt FM are back on People Just Do Nothing or PJDN if you are a fan, a brilliantly funny programme of a group of people caught up in their own small world. If a character ever deserved his own show it is the wonderful Chabuddy G played by Asim Chaudhry.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

HMS Tartar 4th Commission 1970 13

We left Bahrain last Monday after getting our Royal Marine squad back from some exercising in the desert we also picked up some stowaways from the Army and RAF who decided to come along on our trip to Karachi to see how the Senior Service got things done. As usual it was not plain sailing, after all we were here guarding the Persian Gulf, which thankfully was a lot more peaceful back then than it is now, or maybe we were just good at it.

We met up with HMS Brereton, one of a few minesweepers we had local as a 'presence' and she would accompany us to Pakistan, Brereton became familiar later as being under the command of Prince Charles and in the same squadron as HMS Sheraton, my last sea going billet, great ship. A few days out we met the ESSO Warwickshire, a tanker which had taken mail from us months before, this time we swapped magazines and books and gave the crew a large parcel of 'nutty' (sweets) in thanks for being our postie. It rained that night, the first rain we have seen since mid July. We, or rather the seamen, cleaned the ship so that we could impress the locals in Karachi, somehow only the starboard side was made especially lovely which was a waste of time as we tied up on the port side when we got there.

HMS Brereton

I will always remember the line in the sea as we approached Karachi, on one side it was nice and blue, on the other, the one we were sailing into it was a murky brown, this feeling of dilapidation was not to leave me until we left. On getting alongside we not only for the first time had those circular metal washers on the ropes, to prevent rats etc. coming onboard, we also had sentries with clubs walk the decks. We had to shift moorings shortly after arriving as the jetty could not support us. I also remember sneaking past baskets of evil looking meat as I made my way to the upperdeck, thankfully one look at them from the QM and it was all sent back.

The officers had their usual cocktail parties and invites ashore but we had to make our own entertainment here, although I do remember an invite to the Karachi Sailing Club, which was a very genteel day out for a matelot and once again no chance of romance with any young memsahibs. We did get along to a reception, by default, given by the Naval Attache, as the bus trundled along a desperate series of holes with some road around them, for an instant I looked up one of the streets to see an old greybeard being chased and stoned by a mob, think of Gandalf and marauding Orks and you get the idea. We were gone before I could say anything, I still think of that old fella, anyway, after banging into a wall we arrived at the posh do, were allowed one drink and then ushered out before we embarrassed anyone.

Karachi Sailing Club
 So it was off to the Seaman's mission for the start of a run ashore, the Blue something or other it was called, beer was 10/6, so not cheap and in the city it was in short supply, if you could find it. We stopped a taxi, there must have been about five or six of us, and got him to understand we wanted beer, his mate got out and went into the boot to provide enough room, it was still a squeeze. We arrived at a club which was closed but within ten minutes or so they opened up for us, we did get booze but we were the only people in there along with other crew members who turned up, not a great run ashore, I don't think I bothered again after that.

Some of our crew managed to hitch a lift on an RAF transport for a trip to Rawalpindi and Peshawar taking in the Khyber Pass, they were also put up at a fancy hotel care of the British High Commission, or so I am told, being a lowly RO I didn't hear about this jolly and I suspect the twenty or so who managed a seat were no lower in rank than Petty Officer. Of course we couldn't just clear off for a few days as we had to keep watches while in harbour.

We would be back at sea again bound for Bahrain on the 24th August, there will be three Pakistani destroyers sailing along with us for the morning, I have seen some of these moored in the harbour and have not been impressed, I suspect they are WWII vintage or shortly after. I never thought I would look forward to getting back to Bahrain.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

All Greek To Me

Bit of a hectic time recently so no View this morning, I was on the M25, I made the right choice leaving early because instead of the five and a half hours which the journey down took, I got home in three hours forty-five.

This battle was actually fought last Thursday afternoon but I have not had a minute since then, Kevin turned up with his very own Greek City States army, always a great moment getting an army on to the battlefield for the first time. He had brought three large hoplite units, a large warband of Hill Tribes and a unit of Peltasts, to support these he had a small light cavalry command and three lots of skirmishers, one Cretan archers, experts in missile fire. I didn't want to go all heavy on his first outing so took a 'normal' Roman force from the Twelfth, a Praetorian cohort and two regular cohorts with my new Auxiliary cohort as a support along with some auxiliary cavalry, my light troops consisted of some archers, horse-archers and my Lanciarii. Oh, and I also brought along two bolt-shooters

I was a bit wary of the 'phalanx' rule which toughens up the hoplite units quite a bit so decided to hit his flanks while keeping the centre back until it was needed. This plan was helped somewhat in that I knew if I neutralised the Greek skirmishers then there was no threat to my cavalry and Kevin's lights would not stand up to them, on my right it was a different matter the very large warband held this flank along with the Cretan's. I met this threat with Cohors II and my bolt shooters while I aimed to take care of the archers with the Lanciarii.

The battle went as I expected, I quickly destroyed the Greek right and this gave Kevin pause with one of his hoplite units now that Roman cavalry could not be ignored, he had managed to sneak one hoplite unit forward and it began to advance on my Auxiliaries. I miscalculated the distance and the Greeks ploughed into my green unit, my boys fought well and stood for at least three turns before routing, I couldn't really ask any more of them. On my right the warband suffered from the bolt shooters as it hesitated on a nearby hill before charging the Lanciari, who escaped, and then slamming into Cohors II, I was confident about this fight and sure enough the Warband ran and were dispersed in short shrift, both Greek flanks were now in the air.

The Hill Tribes meet an unmoveable object (Cohors II)

A hoplite unit was sent to stop Cohors II so this left an opening for me in the centre, I had lost the Lanciarii but the Cretan's and another skirmish unit had gone, Kevin now depended on his Peltasts holding their ground but the weight of the Roman attack was against this. Cohors I defeated the Peltasts twice but they kept managing to flee and rally, but the eventual outcome was a foregone conclusion.
The crises point.

The Romans about to claim victory.

This left one bunch of hoplites against whom my cavalry and Praetorians advanced, Kevin turned into the cavalry but shortly after this Cohors II magnificently defeated their enemy and the Peltasts eventually dispersed. With only one success on the battlefield Kevin yielded his sword.

A good afternoon and a delight to see Kevin's army, I think I got off lucky and some hesitation in the centre caused by the danger to their flanks sort of threw the Greeks off a tad. Kevin has gone back to the drawing board and I will perhaps introduce some heavy cavalry next time.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Prussia '44

The family weekend was a success, the weather was not too promising but it came good for Saturday and especially Sunday, our sports day, which only went to prove if you are an old geezer like me you should not try to pretend you are a young gazelle.

Unsure of what was happening for club night I rang Simon and he said he would like to try out some ideas for Bolt Action, smaller forces and more realistic scenarios, so that was fine by me and only meant popping two boxes in the car.

As we pondered what we would do I mentioned an idea about having a bridge set for demolition, but the troops tasked with this had to await the last of their retreating friends before doing so. I got the idea that the game should also be an infantry only clash from a post on Tales from GHQ, Simon had already thought of that so we were in agreement. We decided that a small number of Pioneers supported by one squad and an MMG were in situ around the bridge, if possible the bridge would not be blown until the rest of the force, coming down the road, were across and safe. If something happened to the Pioneers and the infantry had to blow the bridge then they would need to make a die roll, not having the expertise of the Pioneers. The Russians could dismantle the explosives if they spent a full move on the bridge doing nothing else.

We established where the Russians would arrive and one squad had managed to sneak across the river so that the defenders were assaulted from both sides, the German MMG opened up on the first Russians to appear and knocked them back into the woods, a good start. This went south when the second Soviet squad opened up and took out the MMG, my main defence, on the west side of the river there was now only the small group of Pioneers left, my squad in the east had two more enemy squads coming at them so could not go to their aid.

Despite taking some losses the Pioneers nonetheless held the Russians off, but they weren't going to last, I thought of retreating them but it would be a dodgy move and would leave them exposed, however they failed their order test so they stayed put. The Russians on the east bank aggressively assaulted my squad in a nearby house, my brave boys fought them off, then the sound of truck engines could be heard as the remaining Germans arrived, it was looking bad for the Soviets. Within a short time the Russian forces on the east bank were eliminated, but on the west bank they had now destroyed the Pioneers and taken the house commanding the bridge. I moved towards the house but hesitated with my second squad, this gave Simon the opportunity to rush at the bridge. The game hung in the balance, I turned all my firepower on the men scrambling over the stonework, 20+ shots and only four kills, the Russians managed to tear up the Pioneers handy work and I lost the bridge.

A tense and exciting game considering the forces were both around 550-600 points on a small table with a scenario almost made up as we went along.

War and Conquest action tomorrow, Kevin will be bringing his Greek City States army for its first outing and I will get the Thunderbolts out, this will be a tough challenge for the Twelfth and my own skills, I must work on my pre-battle speech.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Glan Gathering

I am off to our annual meet up of the Anderson Clan tomorrow, I am closing the PO until Monday, I have warned my two regulars so I can leave with a clear conscience, I don't much care to be honest, I had four customers this morning and all they wanted was money, no letters, no parcels.

We will eat and drink, we will play old fashioned games, sing, argue and shed a tear for our departed parents while taking a walk down memory lane. I hope the weather is kind to us for the egg and spoon, three-legged race and that one where you stand in a sack amongst others.

There will be no View this week for those who enjoy my ranting.

So, have a good weekend because I certainly will.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Interesting Night

I took a lazy approach to last nights club night, I tend to do now and again as I work in the shop all day, drawing maps and then run about daft trying to sort everything out in half an hour. So I texted Andy and was told there was a Black Powder American War of Independence game on but Rob was not coming, I booked a couple of slots for Simon and I. When we turned up Rob was there and it was Stuart running a 'Land of the Free' game, not BP.

The game was a trial for the rules, published by Osprey, of course. It was probably a tad large for a first game but the troops looked nice, I especially liked Stuart's resplendent redcoats with their large yellow flags. I was not the British for a change in this game, I just happened to be sat where the 'enemy' was setting up, so I took two French 'groups', I was also given the job of CinC while harbouring thoughts of a poisoned chalice.

The game did not really get very far, new rules and one player had to leave half way through but there was enough action to get an overall feel of what the rules were aiming to achieve. Fast play for big battles I think is the idea, you get so many movement and combat actions to spend with each unit, once these are done you move on to the next one. If you time things correctly you can deliver a devastating blow to the enemy lines which the poor sods can do nothing about, so it is a brutal set of rules, the combat mechanics are very simple, perhaps too simple if you do not like your battles in broad strokes. We also have yet another initiative system, this time each side activates a group at a time until all the groups on both sides have had a turn, no big deal for me because everything gets a turn.

By the time we called a draw we were getting the hang of movement and firing, no doubt there is more to the rules, there has to be as the book is not the usual small Osprey offering but a large, hardback tome, complete with advanced rules and scenarios, it is also a decent price for these days. No, I won't be starting a new period.

I surprised Julian when he turned up and challenged him on his selling off of his Late Roman troops, the nucleus of an army, Julian is to wargaming what Del Boy is to Trotters Inc. He explained some complex wheeling and dealing which netted him a full cowboy town and the troops to start an Early Imperial Roman army with the cash he garnered from the sale, he can now sell some of his own cowboy town, no, I don't get it either.

Julian's trading acumen also benefitted Ryan who was spotted with a very large bag of Victrix Greek cavalry and a smaller one of archers. I am told the cavalry can be Macedonian, Successor or Greek, I have no idea of the differences but that must be an excellent selling point, I had a quick look inside the bag and the figures and horses especially looked excellent.

I wonder if metal figures will become a thing of the past, if plastic keeps targetting the main troop types i.e. hoplites, legionaries etc. will that mean the metal firms will not survive merely selling support troops while their core troops sit on the shelf made redundant by plastic. You cannot fault the excellence and price of most or all of the plastic figures, interesting times ahead. I wonder what the actual economics are for the manufacturers between metal and plastic.

Stuart, who ran the game last night, as well as buying everything connected with wargaming is the proud owner of a 3D printer. I noticed little white Y shapes on the table and wondered what they were for. As units got ready to move these little 45 degree thingys were popped on to the base, they show the angle clearly and immediately, what a superb idea with a myriad uses. Well done that man.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

View From The Window

Yes, it's raining again. Last week we had rain the like of which I had never seen before, as I sat watching something on the telly, an unusual occurrence these days, I decided to get up and look out the back door, luckily I did. The drain was blocked and the water was starting to build up ready to flood the living room, I had to quickly step out into the storm, rip the lid off and try and clear some of the leaves etc. within a few seconds I was sodden but the water started to subside, I should have known better, this has almost happened before, the last time there was a frog in the drain, yeuch. Job done I went and popped into the shower only to hear the missus shouting that we had another tsunami heading our way, I threw on my Speedos, no, the shorts not the budgie smugglers, and out I went again armed with a soup ladle to get at the grit in the drain. Luckily for me the drain is surrounded by wall and outhouse, so no embarrassing YouTube footage, not that you would have seen anything through the constant downpour. I now check the drain continually. One of the authors I have recently worked with lives just north of Capetown, South Africa, and is living out of buckets hoping the next rainy season will bring much needed water, he can have some of ours.

The lessons of Brexit have been completely lost on our leaders, whether you were remain or leave one of the overriding reasons was that we had had enough of them knowing what we wanted better than we did. Now we have the morons allowing adults, and I use the term loosely, deciding their own gender on a whim and it becomes official, they are going ahead with a massively expensive rail link which hardly anyone wants or believes in while a good road is becoming a thing of the past, and now they are banning petrol cars from 2040! The best selling electric car does not do what it says on the tin and gets a subsidy of £4,500 so you will buy it, if something works why does it need a subsidy? And here's a good one, you don't get the batteries with it! You have to lease them at £80 a month or buy them for £5,000 and don't forget the unmentioned colossal problem of how do we get the electricity to power all this in 2040 when we are unsure we have enough now.

And if that is not enough proof we are led by lunatics then while most motoring organisations are clamouring for an increase in motorway speeds to 80mph, the government wants to try out 60mph on sections of the M1 in the name of cutting emissions which have just topped gender issues as flavour of the month, however I predict gender will be back at No.1 again next week.
If, like me you think that we are super arrogant thinking that we can control the planet and cool it down etc., then the next item really takes a huge step for mankind. Nasa are looking for a Planetary Protection Officer to not only protect the Earth, but all the other planets we cannot get to. I do hope he/she/it works out plans in case the 102nd Fleet of the Galactic Evil Imperial Empire turns up one day.

Have you been following the case of the 'Three Musketeer' jihadis, actually there were four of them in the dock, sentenced last week for planning to further the peaceful Islamisation of the country by killing people. Well they decided they would not turn up in court to hear the sentence, when was that an option, what is the point of bringing down the heavy hand of the law when you let the offender lie back on his bunk with two fingers up to the system. They should have been dragged all the way to the dock then dragged all the way back again.

Want to pay £90 for a small carrot with foam on the top, then jump on to the taster menu bandwagon. I tried one of these in what was for a week or more the best restaurant in the UK which is near here. The first dish was based loosely on a kebab, the waiter turned up and with a flurry set down two huge dazzlingly white plates in front of us, in the centre was a small jug of yogurt and pinned on the end of what looked like a stainless steel torture implement was a piece of meat no larger than a malteser. The second 'dish' was a small square of polenta and so it went on. When asked if I would like the cheese board I immediately said yes, I was cut a sliver of Lanarkshire Blue and given a grape and a small organic cracker pounded and cooked in the old barn near the compost heap, to my horror this was not included in the taster, I had been hustled to the tune of £12. You have been warned.

Mmmm, couldn't eat another bite ......

There is a silver lining, the National Trust, you know, that organisation set up to look after the moral fibre of the nation as well as the odd old house, tried to jump on the gay wave this week in the mistaken belief we all are, by ordering its volunteers at Felbrigg Hall, see that, volunteers, to wear rainbow badges while deciding to 'out' the dead owner who kept his sexuality to himself while alive. Real life hit back at last and they have been shamed into reversing their decision, a small step for mankind ............

Friday, 4 August 2017

Saxons II: No Mercy

 I couldn't make the club this week so to get my weekly fix I offered Kevin another game as he had intimated that he wanted to try some different tactics. He used the same army list as previously while I decided to beef up everything I could, so I had two elite Gedriht units and some armoured Duguth warriors, gone were the Picts.

We lined up unit by unit and I noticed that Kevin's right was weak, so I put a Gedriht unit opposite, the rest of the plan was to hold the centre until I was ready to attack while keeping an eye on my right. The Saxons do not have a lot of skirmishers, which I think is historical but it nevertheless is a bind on the wargame table, I had decided to take a bunch of javelin armed lights this time as they are always left behind for bowmen, I wanted to hunt enemy skirmishers with them.

Romano-British on the left, Saxons on the right.

The game started well, I took some missile casualties on my left while dishing out some on my right, I did manage to rout a large unit of bowmen with the javelins but it rallied later and came back for a time before leaving for good. My attack on the British  right went well although I failed to catch the routers which meant in essence that my unit here was out of action for the rest of the battle as it had to keep chasing the none too keen enemy.

The Saxons watch confusion in the British ranks.

Meanwhile Kevin had made a very successful assault on my right, I lost my light cavalry to his mounted Comitatus which then went on to charge in and over my Ceorls, this left one unit of Duguth facing defeat as its flank now looked very dodgy. All was not lost however, just as the British seemed on the cusp of victory I knocked out several more units in the centre and this time caught them, as in the last battle it was up to Kevin's foot Comitatus to hold so that he could polish off my right. Sadly for him the unit had already lost men to missiles and as my killers followed their king downhill they savagely cut down the British Dux's companions, the rout of their leader and his men allowed me to turn my reserves towards my dodgy right. I also managed to get the last initiative and go first, this meant it was all over for the British.

The British centre and right in trouble.

The javelin armed skirmishers had done very well, and they managed to stay alive as they used a small copse of trees to shield them as they advanced. Kevin's points poured into his mounted Comitatus actually worked against the Saxons as they really have no counter for this heavy cavalry and unless lucky enough to get decent infantry into them can only harass them for the duration hoping they fall victim to missiles.

I think our next game will be in two weeks or so with some luck, if Kevin's Greeks are ready then it will be time to march out the Twelfth, looking forward to that.