Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Decks are now clear

Right, I can now relax and get started on the new army, all my little projects that have been hanging around have been done.

First up is the two Centurions needed to add to the Twelfth, I could just have left the officers already in the ranks but I like a separate figure as it is much easier to know whether he is killed or not as the battle progresses, so they will be the Pilus Prior of the cohort, I had roped in a couple of Senators but these can now go back to attending the Emperor.

Secondly is a little van I got for a quid at a market in Lancaster, it was the only one which looked fairly 1940's or thereabouts, it has been sitting on the shelf now for months. I couldn't start a new army without getting this out of the way too, so I Googled French vans of the period and for better or worse, right or wrong, came up with a postal van. It still has to be varnished to take the shine off some of the metal parts but that particular itch has now been scratched.

Now I can happily get stuck into that cavalry on the worktop.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Whose Afraid of the Big Bad Greeks?

The missus left for a week of outdoor pursuits in the Lakes on Saturday so naturally I organised a game, back to War and Conquest with Kevin seeking revenge despite beating me at Bolt Action.

I decided to use my terrain builder and the Greeks managed to pull out a couple of marshes and a village, these were immediately set down to protect the ever vulnerable Greek flanks, a good move, I got a hill and a wood, I was quite happy to have the wood in the middle to hopefully break the Greek line. I had to deploy first so I put all my legionary cohorts on my right supported by the massed archers, the left I thought could hold the hill and see how the battle developed, it wasn't as strong as I would have liked but neither was it weak. To hold this gap I had an auxiliary cohort, horse archers, heavy cavalry and my excellent Lanciarii. The enemy put all their hoplites opposite my legionaries, the rest of the army, peltasts, cavalry and a large warband were opposite my weak left, I felt that the left would hold.

My right slowly organised itself as three phalanxes swept forward, the fourth seemed to get confused and couldn't find the room to form up on the end of the line due to the wood, I took advantage of this and advanced in echelon with my extreme right, the massed archers I decided would get stuck in once I had engaged the first phalanx and take them in the flank.

Things at first looked good on the left, my heavy cavalry went after some light cavalry while I hoped my slingers in the wood would damage the Greek heavy cavalry, this didn't happen but it forced them to turn on the slingers. Meanwhile the Auxiliaries formed up on top of the hill in plenty of time to receive the warband, the Lanciarii took up a position to flank the warband, what could go wrong. Well the cohort on the hill broke and fled, luckily outdistancing the pursuers and rallying at the end of the turn, but my left suddenly looked very dodgy. I had to pull the horse archers away from trouble once again so they really had still to take part in the fight, my slingers also fled but this left the Greek cavalry with the Lanciarii on their flank throwing javelins and a good chance to rush them so things were not too bad.

Once again however the warband hit the rallying auxiliaries and although these men fought bravely they once again ran, and once again outdistanced their tormentors and rallied, it was not to happen a third time as, caught again, they dispersed. They had however managed to delay the victorious warband. As I surveyed the fighting on the left I realised I had left my cavalry in a very precarious position and expected to lose them, but through some incredible luck I got the drop on the Peltasts and charged through and over them. Now I would lose the cavalry as they were surrounded by missile troops, twice these forces missed with everything they threw at them, allowing the cavalry to continue on their victorious ride and claim the archers tormenting them. Now the Lanciarii hit the heavy cavalry and another enemy unit took to its heels, the danger had been averted.

Meanwhile on the right my veterans hit a weakened phalanx and destroyed it, next in line, Cohors I, did not do so well but again stood their ground for a long time before running. The crises was reached as the Greek reserve phalanx was hit and routed by the Lanciarii, this once again left me with spare units to surround the remaining hoplites. Way over on the left the warband too was being surrounded by my skirmishers as it tried to catch my horse archers, it could not ignore these troops to go to the left and help its friends. It was all over for the Greeks.

This was Kevin's best game so far I think and if he had managed to wipe out the auxiliary cohort on the hill in the first clash he could have turned the warband against my main line, but it didn't happen, the dice gods did him no favours either when shooting at my cavalry, for two turns he failed to kill even one figure. So there you go, the Greeks continue to mature and get closer to that ever elusive victory.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

View From The Window

Doesn't look to great out there, very murky, dry for now but the cold is beginning to bite, that is probably it now until our early summer, the two weeks in May, before it all goes south again. The village is looking grubby at the moment and a dog lover left a little parcel at my gate for the first time in years, in broad daylight as well, pity I was unable to catch him/her, I have been crap free until now after I put a picture of one offender in the shop window, I shall have to be on my guard again.

We are now a one car family again, the little Jazz looked more forlorn that the Batmobile when we left it in the Mercedes forecourt, it really was out of place, two hours and about twenty signatures later we drove the 'Ghost' home. It has caused me to wonder about driverless cars, well up to a point, this one has headlights which dip and adjust as you drive along, it slows you down if you go too close to another car and it can park itself plus the usual useless it is 4deg outside, you have 57 miles left before filling up etc. What it doesn't have is an off button for the radio, you have to mute it instead, what idiot missed that one, Vorsprung Deutsch Dumb.

We have been given a grant by the Post Office, surprise, and are using it to put in new floor tiles, mainly to tart the place up a tad and also to spare me the cost of doing it when we eventually close and the place becomes my official wargame room/den. I don't have a lot of faith in the outfit doing the work, despite my wife popping in and choosing a tile they had no idea what we wanted, they also seemed less than keen to contact us and sort it out. Also the guy laying the tiles is not the guy who came and priced the job, the floor is awkward as it used to be a dwelling and has several bumps in it along with a hearth and I can see him standing there shaking his head as he tries to get out of doing it. We are closing the shop for the day, so every cloud etc.

The real world of course bimbles along, last week it was people who take out horrendous loans to get their hi-tech fixes now instead of saving up for them, you must remember in the olden days when people saved up. It is not their fault they sign up to the crazy deals and the government should do something about it, you know, the same kind of thing where the government should do something about people eating seven burgers at a sitting. Anyway if I was looking at a TV for £799 but would end up paying £2,000+ I would look elsewhere instead of looking for a pen. One of these unhappy people had borrowed to get two TV's, an X-Box, a sound system and two beds, if you are skint which of those do you not need to get? And it was no good the sanctimonious reporter pointing at the down market trader, go to any high street shop and you will be given instant moolah to buy stuff although it is obvious you don't have two pennies to rub together.

When I heard the words 'Gina Miller has been voted the most.......' I quickly added hated person in the UK, but no, it was 'influential black person of 2017', I wonder who is going to get Most Influential White Person?

Listen to me when I am telling you you are wrong!

You may or may not remember quite some time ago I ranted on about the right on vicar and his mate who tried to break into a BAE factory and damage a zillion pound jet fighter, they were pronounced not guilty this week, despite professing that was what they intended to do! This along with the posh student who stabbed her boyfriend and walked, along with many other cases makes me wonder where this jail overcrowding comes from.

November the 5th OK for you padre?

What really had me spitting blood this week, I just couldn't help it, was two 'celebs' or whatever they are telling all who would listen that their new baby would be brought up gender neutral like their other kid/s. I'd like to see some kid passing that off on entering a school in Motherwell or Middlesborough or anywhere where most people are grounded in the real world.

My children will be gender neutral and have no fashion sense so there.

And now to the real kick in the teeth, the UK government is now advocating that a UN charter drop the words 'pregnant women' and use 'pregnant people' in case the two transgender 'men' who still have wombs here are upset. Where did I put that white flag?

I really do give up, this may be the last View apart from the odd everyday madness which affects me.

I don't listen to music very often and either like a tune or not, although I do like proper rock n roll, but in order to cheer me up this morning here's a little tune I found which has hit a chord.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Alea Iacta Este

There is no turning back now, I have crossed my Rubicon. I phoned Keith at Aventine Miniatures today and had a productive chat with him about the Seleucid army, I wanted to order up a phalanx and a cavalry unit to start me off but he advised me to hold off. The new wave of figures coming up will suit my 'late' Seleucid's much better and they will be out shortly, I took his advice but wanted something to get ready so I settled on some light cavalry which he said would fit the bill. I have twelve horsemen coming along with shield transfers, Keith also very kindly popped a couple of figures in for me to use as Centurions for the Twelfth. From speaking on the phone to the parcel in the post took just over an hour, now that is service. I look forward to dealing with Aventine over the next few months as the army grows.

Aventine figures painted by Advance Miniatures Studio

I also took the time to take stock of my paint supply before the cavalry arrive, I have chucked out some, organised my stand and ordered up about seven new colours, I have more than enough decent brushes but need a couple for dry brushing and varnishing, nothing expensive. Up next will be some bases and magnets along with some tufts and then I should be complete.

We are off tomorrow afternoon to pick up the new car, a nice way to spend our half day off.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Freeman's Farm, Tricorne

I took a break from mapping yesterday afternoon to pop down to Kevin's for another game of Tricorne, it meant I had to do 'overtime' later last night on mapsbut needs must. The Scenario this time was Freeman's Farm, according to a report on Boardgame Geek it is hard for the American's to win, I think the guy was right.

Overtime: Gulf of Tonkin Incident

I forgot my iPad so don't have any photos, but the gist is both sides have a good mix of regulars and militia, the British however are already deployed, as are the Americans, but they also have a reserve on their left which is a way off. I decided to make a flank attack on the Yankee right which looked weak with my Hessians (I believe there is a contretemps about whether Germans troops were there or not) while the rest of the line merely sat and blasted away. I actually did very well on my left until I ran out of 'attack left' cards and had a handful of 'attack right' instead. Keven sent his centre in in a large attack on mine but it came to naught as he just missed destroying several units, my counterfire in the next turn hurled the Yanks back. I eventually had no other option but to advance my right, I had some luck as my best troops were on this flank and I soon managed to claim my seven victory flags for a win.

We intend to fight a more complex game next time with a lot of terrain and a more diverse mix of troops. Again the luck of the draw controls what happens to a large extent, I had a really good flank attack which simply ground to a halt while Kevin could never manage to spare commands to bring up his reserves. Having said that it is a very fast game once you get the hang of things and nowhere near as complex as it at first looks.

I have completed the last of my son's Carolingian cavalry, the bases have been left to him so they fit in with the rest of the army, I have also finished a Bishop character for use as an intervention point or maybe he is a character, some armies have such religious leaders. There is still an infantry unit to do but I am handing them back as I am preparing the ground for my own new army.

I have managed to do a small amount of research on the Seleucid army and am trying to get my head round all the troop types and their unpronounceable names, although the fabled Anderson Mapping Fortune still has a small way to go to rid myself of my Chinese debt I am getting very close to buying at least one unit to start. I have two more small projects to do and am trying to contain myself until these are finished.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

View From The Window

Late again, and why not, it is cool, raining, windy and grey it is very murky in the distance and I see Washington House's garage is now almost one with nature, at least the roof is, I am told there is all sorts of wildlife now resident in the building, probably not the nice fluffy kind either. There was a viewing a few days ago, the first time for months, and one of those Walter Mitty characters opined in the PO that he had sold a house for a fortune and maybe he would buy it, yeah right.

Now and again our boiler makes a whirring noise, it is one of those noises that really annoys, I can hear it in the PO through the ceiling, it reverberates throughout the house and I have to storm upstairs or along the hall and switch the thing off then on again. I have been informed it is the fan bearings and it is getting worse, phone up the boiler maintenance people, mmmmm. Seemingly they will not service the boiler as it is not due until December, they will not come to look at it because we still have heat and hot water, but if it is not repaired it will grind to a halt and cause a lot of damage to the boiler surely, so better to fix it now? No, and don't phone us again until December! So in other words my maintenance contract is of no use to me unless I end up with cold showers and sitting with a duvet wrapped around me, oh, and of course if I cancel the contract and tell them to go take a hike, yes I pay extra.

I have been jolted awake in the last ten minutes as I sat sipping my breakfast tea in front of the TV, incredibly they were having a debate about should the Red Poppy be dropped for an alternative, cue screaming at box in the corner. You could write the script for the objectors, British troops through the ages not only defended us but brought oppression to millions of people around the world and our children should be educated to see both sides of the argument (?) and allowed to make their own minds up, after of course being taught the error of supporting the Red Poppy by teachers who are citizens of the world rather than Britain. Despite the claims of the young social justice warriors, peaceniks and greenies on the BBC couches, that they only want to open a discussion (why?) what they really want is the end of the Red Poppy. These deluded fools still waffle on about world peace when you just have to watch the news or read any paper from the past one hundred years or more to see there is no such thing and probably never will be on the evidence.

Talking about oppression what did you do for Anti-Slavery day last week, no I didn't know about it either until I heard it dropped in a conversation where a young SJW said she believed that the UK was 'irredeemably racist', now that is a big statement with which to brand a whole country, talking for my own experience of nearly 65 years being a British citizen I can say that is utter tosh and the girl should be ashamed of herself. The same muck was heralded at PMQ's in Westminster as MP's fell over themselves to condemn slavery, they failed however to condemn the nations for whom slavery is still a part of their lives, and also failed to mention that single handed the Royal Navy stopped the slave trade on the world's oceans.

A professor recently had his article that colonialism was not all bad condemned and withdrawn due to pressure from the twittersphere and the snowflakes who could not countenance such a thing. If you look at the ex empire countries who are doing well they are the ones who kept their Imperial infrastructure and the ones who are now among the world's basket cases didn't.

If you need evidence that the world has gone to hell in a hand basket have a look below at the defenders of the public protecting us from their dodgem cars and what is wrong with the other picture?

What about Harvey Weinstein, his shenanigans have at least knocked North Korea and the approach of WWIII of the front page. I see of this morning another dead guy is being looked in to, Benny Hill, who would have thought, give me a break, he is dead! Of course sitting in an office Googling is far easier for the police than going out and catching bad guys that are alive.

The picture? Well the poltroon is wearing earphones while on guard duty, god save us.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Stalemate in Normandy

In order to give Kevin a break and allow his hard pressed Greeks some rest and recuperation we played Bolt Action today. I pulled a nice little scenario from the WWPD website, something easy as Kevin is completely new to this kind of wargame and we all know BA can have its moments.

The table was set up with an objective marker smack dab in the middle, we each then placed a marker in our own table quadrant, you did not get any points for your own marker but one if you held the centre and two if you captured the enemy marker. Two units were deployed on table while half of the rest turned up on turn one and the others from turn 2, I decided to at least try and take the enemy marker while moving on the centre, these troops could always fall back and defend if needed. For some daft reason I put my Achilles and my Humber armoured car on the opposite flank from where I planned to attack.

The Germans were more concentrated and looked like putting most of their troops in the centre, these were supported by a Panzer IV while a Stug III lurked around the German marker, between the two sat a SdKfz 222 light armoured car.

I had a plan to cover the Stug with smoke to enable my Cromwell to advance to the road and machine gun the German infantry, however this took a lot longer than expected. On my right I put the Achilles on the road and opened a dual with the Panzer, I managed a hit but only immobilised the brute, but this was fine as it could not train its weapons on the crossroads. Sadly it did manage to knock out the Achilles with return fire before I could pull it into cover. Around the same time the 222 attempted to scoot along the road towards my infantry, on exposing itself it took a round which started a fire, the crew managed to put this out just as a second round blew it to smithereens.

Things were looking up, my smoke had at last turned up and the Stug was forced to move, the Cromwell fired but the shell bounced off, the return fire did not bounce off and the Cromwell went up in flames. Now the German mortar turned on my infantry approaching the centre with accurate fire which devastated one of my squads, they in turn decided not to continue their advance. A second squad had put itself in harms way and was taking a toll of an enemy squad when the Germans got the drop on them and horrendous casualties caused them to disperse.

The German infantry could now claim the crossroads and my troops were far to shaken up to prevent it, my remaining forces on the left were stuck in a house and under fire from the Stug, with all my armour gone and my infantry in no fit state to continue it was time to withdraw. I forgot to mention, my Humber moved on the crossroads only to fall victim to a Panzerfaust shot, for a couple of turns the German shooting was highly annoying to say the least.

So there you have it, a good game and one which the British will have to come back to in order to push Jerry further inland, a nice win for Kevin after suffering at the hands of the Thunderbolts for so long. I added a bit more armour to the forces than is normal for a small BA game but what's the point of having the models if you never use them? We have a game of Tricorne on Monday, Freeman's Farm, then another Greek v Roman clash next Saturday.

HMS Tartar 4th Commission 1970 16

About a week ago we visited Muscat, an ancient town still with a wall surrounding it with gates which rumour has it get locked at night. On one side of the harbour was a fort, one which could quite easily have been in a Beau Geste movie, but nowadays it is a jail, Jalali Jail, if you get on the wrong side of the Sultan you can find yourself manacled to the walls of a tiny cell for the rest of your days. We were sure we could hear sobbing wails coming from the place at night. I didn't bother to go ashore as there seemed no point, we had been looking forward to attending a public execution rumoured to be taking place but leave was not granted until after the event, so, as I said, no point.

Jalali Fort.

We left our visit to the 13th Century behind and sailed the next day for some patrol duties, we were supposed to be searching for pirates and arms smugglers but as usual we never caught anyone but it gave our Marines something to do. The vessels we stopped were traditional Arab Dhows, although looking very much like a sailing ship, and they had been at one time, they now all had diesel engines.

Searching a dhow.

On Tuesday 20 October we entered Bandar Abbas in Iran for a few hours, we managed to tie up at the wrong jetty and had to move, not a good impression, the sights ashore looked promising and we would be back later. This morning we were in Dubai, a very different Dubai than it is today, Sharjah is only ten miles away and the sporty crowd immediately got in touch with the RAF and Scots Guards for hockey, football and rugby, yes you are correct, we RO's stayed well clear. For us it was the nearest hotel which served alcohol, I think it was the Continental, very posh, much posher than the Moons Plaza, and what has always stuck in my mind from Dubai was the flat bread, lovely stuff. The British forces in the area put on a mini Military Tattoo as the Jocks were heading back to Blighty, I just remember the bread. We missed out on quite a lot of excursions which the rest of the crew enjoyed, OK we didn't need to do as much work on maintenance but we suffered by having to keep watches in ports without communications centres, and there was not a lot of them around the Gulf.

Old Dubai 1970

In a couple of days we are heading back to Bahrain, more maintenance, once again done at a leisurely pace.

Friday, 20 October 2017


During my flights to China I caught up with some movies, especially Spiderman: Homecoming, which I was looking forward to, having seen the new, cheeky webspinner in Marvel's Civil War and liking him. I suffered the movie because I was on a plane and had nothing to do for around eight hours and I couldn't sleep, the film was so politically correct it was set in an America a normal person would not recognise with white people seemingly being a minority, unless they were bad guys, at least they are not British any more.

I also caught The Wall, in which an American soldier is trapped behind a wall by a super sniper, it starts off well but you can see the ending coming in a taxi, it should have been a gripping tale but it failed and settled around mediocre. Transpecos was much better, following a day in the life of some border cops down Mexico way, I can't say much about it but it has a few surprises and is worth a bag of munchies and a few beers.

Baby Driver, I didn't catch on until much later hearing the song at the end, I was just annoyed at a bloke being called Baby, again a beer and pretzel movie, it has some nice car chases and although I think Jamie Foxx should stick to music he comes across very well as a psycho killer in this film. Certainly watchable.

I hit on a bit of luck at last and managed to get the latest season of Veep with Julia Louis-Dreyfus a brilliant political comedy which has suddenly developed a vicious, nasty streak for some reason and which if it continues will sadly put me off the next season. I also caught up with the nerds in Silicon Valley, the hero is a complete loser but the supporting cast, especially Gilfoyle and Bachman, keep me glued to their attempts at making a fortune.

I continued to have some luck as I prepared for Gotham season four, but on watching 'previously....' I realised I had missed the second half of season three, so I have binged on that for a week. Despite continuing to be first class entertainment the original violence which surprised now and again seems to have fallen victim to pressure behind the scenes, or maybe it's just me overthinking. The Autumn looks set to be fair, Stranger Things and Narcos should be back, the latter may be already, Daredevil has been put back until 2019, which is a shame.

The BBC have scored another own goal with The Vietnam War, a huge television history of the war by Ken Burns which is simply brilliant, for some reason they have hidden it away on a Monday night at 2200 hrs. The did the same with, so far, the best comedy series on the planet (Sienfeld), what is wrong with these people, why pay for brilliance and then be ashamed to pop it on prime time. The documentary is even handed, fair, shocking and sad, once again the politicians, on both sides do not come out well.

For the first time in my life I have not been reading any military history, I have turned to, well it is hard to describe, I am reading books by political and social commentators with whose views I wholeheartedly agree but who put them over so much better i.e. Mark Steyn and Douglas Murray. I have not given up entirely on military history as I have The Opium War sitting waiting, I must get a visit in to a bookshop soon to see what is available.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Balloon Busters

This week was Wings of War week and it was up to me to get off my backside and sort something out. We were going to have six players so I thought a bit of a competition, each player would get his choice of two aircraft, this was 1918 so all the stuff was first class, on choosing his two aircraft the player would get a die roll for each to see if the pilot had an ace ability, on a 5 or 6 he did and he got to pick from the ace abilities card deck. The players would get two points for shooting down an enemy, minus one for each plane they lost and a whopping five points if they brought the balloon down.

I jazzed things up a bit by offering both Richthofen brothers with ace abilities as standard in triplanes and giving the British two Bristol fighters, these planes have not been used before so they were getting their first run out.

Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond my control we had four players rather than six, which was a shame as I would have liked to have seen the skies buzzing with aircraft, but we all get caught out at times. Maybe later we can try it again.

I was German and choose two lovely Fokker DVIII's while Ryan (Ryan Air .... come on) took two Siemans Schukert DIII's, for the RAF Andy had two SE5a's and Simon took the Bristols. Both sides headed towards the opponents balloon, well we all did but Ryan seemed to be taking the long way round. After the first pass I decided to send one of my planes back to defend our balloon, Simon had the same idea but brought both of his back, this left my one DVIII on his own but he gallantly pursued his mission and soon was pumping the dirigible full of lead. Meanwhile Ryan and Andy got caught up in some desperate dogfighting around the German balloon.

I lost the first aircraft, my Ace was struggling with a wound while his engine smoked and belched flames, he couldn't fight off two Bristol fighters and down he went in a fiery ball. I decided to bring on Richthofen, although it was a black triplane as the original lost its magnet while unpacking. Andy lost an SE5 and brought on a Camel as replacement, somewhere in the maelstrom Ryan also lost one of his. All this time I kept plugging away at the balloon with my remaining DVIII, the damage cards were piling up on it while my pilot dodged death for a long time, sadly though he too spiralled earthwards. The triplane arrived to help but he didn't last long, there seemed to be something wrong with our bloody planes today, or something like that. I took a Fokker DVII for my last choice, as had Ryan and we both sped towards the badly damaged British balloon, the one I had badly damaged may I add and suffered while doing it. In came a red nosed Fokker, a quick burst and five points to Ryan Air.

So according to the victory conditions we had won, but alas there was fifteen minutes to go and Simon was closing on our balloon while Andy fought off what was left of the German defenders, my fingers were crossed under the table. Although Simon got a shot in at the balloon, it still had one point left, but that was rendered useless by the fact it burst into flames, thereby ensuring it would not survive. So both sides had managed to destroy each others balloon but Simon ended with twelve points and Ryan with ten, Andy had very little but at least he didn't have a minus score like me.

A good game but I would like to try it with more players at some point. Elsewhere we had a boardgame and a large Frostgrave game.

I have almost finished the Carolingian cavalry, I will give them some shading tonight and then have them varnished and ready for the weekend. I have a few small projects of my own to get sorted out and will also have to get the organisation for the new army done so that I know what I am looking at. Doing some Bolt Action at the weekend, looking forward to that.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

View From The Window

Yes, dismal again, just like my mood at the moment. Were you among the small number in the country who enjoyed the tropical heatwave of BBQ weather yesterday before the hurricane hits, did you lounge in the area warmer than Istanbul, how do these people still have jobs at the end of the month. I have deliberately lay in a bit more than usual today as I have no plans whatsoever and the highlight of my day will be a nice fried breakfast in an hour or so, but it is early yet.

At sometime during this morning I passed 200,000 hits on here, I am quite chuffed with that, this blog managed to scratch my writing itch once I gave up on the Wargame magazines and my cartography took up the spare time which a declining customer base in the Post Office gave me. My co-author has mooted a new flag booklet for the Confederate Army of Tennessee at some point, but otherwise I shall stay with the blog.

The public don't want it, doctors don't want it, politicians don't want it, almost nobody wants it, what am I? I am an imposition on your privacy which you will be asked on a visit to any NHS outlet near you from 2019, you will be asked your sexual preferences, yes you can say no but there is a tick box for that as well, but not one for 'what the hell has this to do with my ingrown toe nail.' Oh, who does want it, the LGBT Foundation lobby group in Manchester, who are obviously out of touch as you can now add another fifteen letters to that, but the NHS are using their Joker, sorry, white flag on this one.

Why is every year now 1984?

Another surrender involves a trader in Loughborough who has been banned from the market in case her wares bring back memories of the Crusades which may upset a certain part of our population, do we have a lot of Saracens here, she sells mugs and bric a brac with Knights Templar themes. Now considering the vast majority of the public have such a grasp of history that they think Winston Churchill is a dog mascot selling insurance they might be a tad premature with this one. They didn't ban her when her mugs etc. showed Nazi memorabilia, go figure.

I read last week that we were preparing our plans for going to war with North Korea in the event the Americans pull our lead. Yes, the badly coiffured leader of that country is a nut, but what have the North Korean's ever done to us? Couldn't we just sit around the table and ask him if he seriously thinks anyone would want his country and just whom is he 'defending' it from. Besides, how stupid would it be to send an aircraft carrier with no planes and hardly enough surface ships to provide proper anti-submarine and anti-air cover to protect it.

And while we are on about the RN, not the one I was in of course it was different back then, who would have thought a woman on a submarine would have an affair with one of the officers, well just about everyone who didn't think putting women on ships and submarines was appropriate to be honest. Now we have the prospect of one of our nuclear submarines 'striking' because of some hanky panky in the wardroom, and when were matelots allowed to strike? More than one person being bolshie together could be considered mutiny in my day.

And anyway what 'special' relationship do we have with the US, it seems to have come as a shock to our ruling class that we are no more thought of, and perhaps less thought of than Papua New Guinea etc. Yes Ronnie Reagan had a soft spot for us but Obama's first act on moving in to the White House was to ditch Churchill's (the man, not the dog) statue, the defence rests M'lud.

That'll have to go.

I don't leave many reviews on TripAdvisor, I could count them on one hand, I sometimes say we will have to but I then don't get around to it, but in exceptional circumstances I will. If I had paid £38 for two nights at a hotel in Blackpool to 'celebrate' my wedding anniversary and it was really bad I would keep my mouth shut. The £19 a night price tag tells you you are not going to have your bed turned down and a Ferrerro Roche on the pillow, so why you would go to the newspapers and crow about it is beyond me.

I wonder what time Happy Hour is?

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Once More......

Having almost recovered from the holiday blues and my jet lag, things are beginning to fall into place, the Monday game at Kevin's, Tuesday at the club, Wednesday at the pub and still more gaming on Thursday afternoon.

This was the first Thursday in a while and I half expected to be facing Republican Romans but they are not quite ready yet so it was the Greeks once more, this time however we went for 3,000 points a side, not a lot but enough for at least one extra unit and some additional command figures. Because of this I set up an 8x5 table instead of 6x4, Kevin and I like to fight a simple pitched battle and do not use the objective cards, we also fight until one side is defeated.

This week the Twelfth had four legionary cohorts, one auxiliary and the usual supports, I did treat myself to a unit of Contarii heavy cavalry, the enemy had four phalanxes and a horde of light troops, Peltasts, Hill Tribes and dozens of skirmishers. I put all my strength on my left and centre while most of the support went to the right, the Greeks were fairly strong on their left but there were large gaps in the rest of the line. I saw an opportunity to hit Kevin's right while holding off the rest of his troops, a wood in the centre of his line became a hurdle for him, although I wanted to use the Contarii aggressively I was a little daunted by the amount of firepower to the front of them.

The battle got off to a shaky start as my firepower failed miserably to dent the enemy but this improved dramatically during the next few turns and the Greeks lost all their support from their left, the Contarii advanced but I never quite got close enough and the target of their ire, some Peltasts, kept managing to run away. The Hill Tribes warband was being cut to ribbons by missiles, and although it eventually, and bravely, charged, it was no real threat to my Auxiliaries who had hot footed it to my right flank. A phalanx had also been sent to help but when the Hill Tribes routed, this became the target of all my combined firepower, massed archers, slingers and horse archers and they died to a man. At the same time my cavalry at last got their chance to hit the Peltasts, the poor infantry didn't stand a chance and were ridden down.

As this was going on my left advanced as quick as possible and swept away the skirmishers and Peltasts on the Greek right, Kevin had decided to send a second phalanx to shore up his left but it left the two remaining spear blocks surrounded by Romans. I slowly fell back just enough to lead the Greeks on and then slammed into their flanks. The Praetorians hesitated long enough for me to curse them but recovered and joined the fray, the numbers told and with Cohors I closing on the Greek rear it was all over.

It is easy to say of course once the dust settles but if I had been Kevin I would have settled four phalanxes on the right between the villa and the wood and simply gone forward as fast as possible at the Cohorts opposite, I would not have advanced the left and played for time there. The maths are against the Romans if the blocks hit in phalanx but my men have only succumbed once in all our battles and even that was after a long drawn out combat. I think Kevin will do better with his Carthaginians or Successors, these armies have a much better troop choice than the Greeks and may agree more with his play style once he has had a few more games and developed one. It does take time to get to grips with an army and what it can and cannot do, I have been doing this for three years now against Kevin's few months. Anyway he can have a rest as I think the next game will be Bolt Action.

I have also changed my mind again about the new army, it is not going to be Pyrrhic, but Successor, however I am very busy with maps at the moment and some other small projects so it is looking more like December before I buy some troops, perhaps Santa will be kind.

A comment I am sure the Greeks would endorse!