Sunday, 26 November 2017

Norm is spending my money again.....

or is he?




I have been thinking about Xmas and what exciting things I might like to buy for myself (sorry Santa!). Norm has just reviewed the latest version of the LnL Tactical Starter Kit. Like his review of Tank on Tank from LnL, which finally switched me on to the very interesting aspects of that tactical system, I have finally been convinced that LnL Tactical is something I should try out. 

I played Squad Leader in the dim and distant but avoided ASL and also Combat Commander and most of the other tactical games. I have always had my eye on LnL because I'm interested in their Mogadishu game and their Libya expansion. Norm's review has convinced me to take a closer look.

The starter kit has been free in the US (only paying postage). It has been in some of the one-line shops for less than a tenner but a little trawl today produced none in stock anywhere. I have checked Wargames Vault for a PnP version and, to my surprise, realised I had already downloaded the two starter sets that now comprise the latest printed version. These are on Wargames Vault for £0, a real bargain for a couple of decent little games. I just need some time to set them up and play them!

A few other things have popped up recently (ooer Matron!) which may be of interest:



  • Dadi and Piombo the Italian publishers of Impulse and Basic Impulse have just released a small game version called Basic Battles. This is an adaptation of Basic Impetus for periods from the ECW to Colonial Wars. It is on Wargames Vault for £0. Grab a copy now!!!! Who needs Black Friday!
  • High Flying Dice Games have got something interesting in development, a small game on the Fulda Gap called Land of Confusion. Nuff said (thoughts of Wurzburg and the Fulda Gap game).
  • Real Time Wargames, the rather unusual (quirky?) rules producers, now have a game on the Italian Renaissance. It uses squares and includes a campaign. It is £25 but looks very, very interesting. 
  • The magazine Counter Fact has released a solo game on the current real world ISIS problem in Libya. I have read some reviews of this and it looks like a good solo system. Wargames Vault for $14.95.
  • Last but not least, Lou Coatney had released another free PnP game on NW Europe this time it is Market Garden (Eagle Attack). One for a rainy afternoon perhaps, very printer friendly!
Lots to be getting on with then! Next jobs are finishing Ground Zero and starting a new project on Kursk to be called Steel, Steel, Steel! This will be small, area based and probably solo with the player taking charge of the 4th Panzer Armee. Such fun.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Unboxing: Operation Icarus from Tiny Battle Publishing



A quick update after a long week at work. First up I have come across this unboxing video for Icarus. It is a very attractive game and I'm really pleased with how it has turned out. It is available through Wargames Vault as a PnP.

Second up, is that I have tracked down Dave Kershaw's designer diary on BGG for Albuera which is under development for White Dog games. Well worth a look.

I have had another idea for a game but that is for a longer post in the near future!

Sunday, 22 October 2017

A bit of an update.....

and another interesting list?

Well, I have more work than I can shake a stick at just now so progress on projects has been very limited. I have, however, been keeping my hand in and maintaining a keen interest in new stuff.

Albuera: I have been lucky enough to have the chance to do a bit of play testing on Dave Kershaw's new game (which will be out shortly through White Dog). A great area game with some really unique features and fantastic artwork. This will be available as a PnP so you can get it pretty easily. Highly recommended. His designer diary is hidden on BGG so I'll include a link when I can find it.


Donetsk: I have recently obtained a copy of Yaah! Magazine issue 9 with a really interesting modern tactical game. Well worth having a look at and a really challenging battle.



Rifles in the Ardennes (RITA): Tiny Battles have come up with a surprise game by Gottardo Zancani the guy that did Space Infantry. This game, otherwise known as RITA, is a solitaire infantry game with tanks etc. It looks really intriguing and is on my list for Xmas. It is on Wargames Vault for a very reasonable $12.   

Modern warfare: My current interest in modern warfare continues unabated. I recently bought an interesting book, The Defence of Jisr al-Doreaa, in the style of Duffers Drift concerned with US counter-insurgency tactics in Iraq. It is not quite written with the aplomb of Duffers but is nevertheless very enlightening. The book includes Duffers Drift and is well worth while getting for that. However, I have now found the text on the interweb and you can read it here. This link also includes additional training material including videos.  

Also, the US has just revisited it's guidance on war fighting in the light of changes in the modern world. The latest versions of FM-03 and ADP-03 Operations are on the internet. 

HE effectiveness against tanks: Norm has written an interesting blog post about how rules reflect the effectiveness of artillery against tanks. I think this discussion shows how good Norm's Tigers at Minsk are in representing WW2 tactical battles. Nice!

Small games on hex grids: A couple of other blog posts have caught my eye. First, Man of Tin has been using Don Featherstone's Close Little Wars rules on a hex grid. Very atmospheric. Also, on the Projects and Procrastination there is another adaptation of Close Wars for colonial skirmish on a grid. The games look very much like the pictures of Joseph Morschausers gridded games.    

It's never too early for an Xmas book list! Following some discussions with Duc de Gobin, I have become interested in the possibility of using GZ for Vietnam. So, my book list begins with Flashing Saber: Three Years in Vietnam by Matthew Brennan a veteran of the 1st Air Cav which I hope will have plenty of scenario material. I have also been reading some blog posts by Daniel A. Sjursen on The Nation and others. An erudite individual with extensive experience in Iraq. His book, Ghost Riders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge, is also on my list. Funnily enough, the Ghost Riders were another cavalry reconnaissance outfit. 

Well, that's it for now, back to work!

Sunday, 10 September 2017

GZ: Update


I have uploaded the next working version of GZ. This includes rules for sniper units. As you might guess from the picture above, the next section is breaching.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

GZ: Snipers...

filling in the gaps!



I'm starting to make progress with filling in some of the gaps in the current version of the rules. Next up is the sniper section. I'll update the rules page shortly.



As an aside, I'm pleased that the game I have been working on as developer for Tiny Battles (Operation Icarus) has now been released. A really nice game that produces great narrative. Well worth a look! As my first developer gig this was pretty tough and a real learning curve. No wonder my 6 x 6 challenge is behind schedule!

Sunday, 3 September 2017

GZ Vietnam.......

search and destroy!



Just to draw your attention to Duc de Gobin's brilliant use of the draft GZ rules for a Vietnam scenario. I'm always really happy when people try the rules I produce especially when it looks fantastic as well!

Saturday, 2 September 2017

GZ: Coalition forces....

half way there!



One of the nice things about GZ is that you need very few forces to have a good game. I'm looking at around 8 units per side plus a leader. Each unit is one fire team, one specialist team (HMG, ATGW, JTAC etc) or one vehicle. Above is one leader, one HMG team (ok its cheating, there are two M60 gunners which will do in my book), and one vehicle.


Here are two fire teams (working from the bottom up), HMG team, Leader, vehicle, and, lastly, an ATGW team. 

The troops are Esci US troops (a bit Cold War but they will do for me), the HMMWV is Matchbox and the rest is paper and Fab Foam.

For Coalition forces you probably just need one box of modern US infantry (Caesar make several) and for the OPFOR, one box of militia (again Caesar make two types).  

I have nearly finished painting up my US infantry and have undercoated the bad guys. I have also stocked up on Matchbox style HMMWVs including UN and Police vehicles. In the wings I have 3 M113s (Airfix) and a Revell Abrams (which was on sale for £2.99). I'm also working on an Mi-24 (1/144) to be my generic close air support.

I'm using 3D card buildings from Junior General as well as their trees and elephant grass!

Next step will be to play test through a series of training scenarios which I will post about here. I'm really pleased, this is quite exciting!

Monday, 28 August 2017

Ground Zero...

playtest version now up!



Although the rules are not yet complete, and there is much to do, I'm happy to share this current version in the hope of eliciting some useful feedback from those that take an interest. You can find them here.

The interesting thing about the mechanisms in this game are that they are very fun and very fast. Even playing both sides solo, the rules contain such a remarkable amount of uncertainty that they are very challenging. Mastering the tactics though will be the real trick.

My thanks as always to Peter for the fundamental ideas from his Grid Based SciFi game which form the basis of these rules.

Friday, 11 August 2017

GZ: Training scenario...

it seems to work!



AO Barnet: Block B3 Building 6

Mission: This area has been infiltrated by OPFOR during the night. Surveillance indicates the enemy have occupied building B6 (red circle) with the intent of interdicting the main supply route (dual carriage road to north). The intent is to enter the building using fire and manouvre and destroy enemy forces in close combat.

Enemy: Estimated at 10, light weapons including automatic weapons. Likely course of action is to resist as exfiltration routes are limited.

Own forces: Three fire teams from ready response squad plus one HMG team as manoeuvre support. 

Terrain: The enemy occupies a walled area (low walls) surrounded with open ground. scrub and trees to the south provides a covered approach to the rear of B6.

Time: Building to be cleared by 0700. Units to secure Line of Departure at 0500.

Execution: HMG team to provide support by fire from covered position to left of start line (yellow) with fire team 3. Teams 1 and 2 to manoeuvre and gain access to walled area and then assault and clear the building.

Time schedule: Supporting fires to commence at 0515 and manoeuvre to commence at 0520.

My apologies to anyone that knows how to use METT-TC and OPORD procedures correctly. This is a quick trial run of the basic mechanisms in GZ to see whether they produce the game I have in my head.
  
Set up

So, not quite like the surveillance photo but not bad. OPFOR occupy the house and a small walled grove. Coalition in the tree line, teams 1,2 and 3 reading from the right with the HMG team on the far left.
    

By the way, Fab Foam hexes and Junior General paper house and trees. The low walls do not block LoS but do provide cover. Friendly teams do block LoS.

0515: HMG suppresses the OPFOR team on the roof but it rallies and goes into overwatch. Teams 1 and 2 manoeuvre. 


0525: The HMG team keeps OPFOR on the roof suppressed while Teams 1 and 2 start engaging the enemy in the grove to little effect.


0530: The HMG team fully suppresses the enemy on the roof who now disperse (destroyed, but in reality they couldn't take the heat and scarpered). Coalition pop smoke to obscure the enemy's LoS from the grove.


0535: The guys in the grove make a break for the house as Coalition teams move up to set up a new base of fire. That HMG is proving tricky to move up!


0540: Small arms fire pins the OPFOR team down in the open, they are disrupted and finding it hard to rally and move into cover. Unsportingly, Team 3 with a great LoS pours intense fire into the enemy who crumble and run. My plan had been to use Team 1 to try out the close assault rules.


AAR: Did the rules do the job?

Absolutely, I'm really happy with that little battle. It told a story and the tactical feel was spot on. Even though the rules are simple, they are a bit slippery and I made some errors. 

Tactically, although in this scenario this was the right start line (concealed approach and cover for the support teams), it was too far from the building to make a rapid assault.

Although I rated the Coalition troops as three activation dice (i.e. very good) and the OPFOR troops as 2 (which is not shabby), if the OPFOR had an HMG on the roof then there would have been problems as they would have raked the start line. As it was, two Coalition teams took casualties. 

Overall, a nice little battle. My fallback plan was to call in an airstrike which I might do next time just to see how it works.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Ground Zero.....

street fighting in Vietnam!



On my first post about GZ Duc commented that it could be used for Hue or even a 1985 cold war gone hot battle in Germany. Well, the funny thing is that I chanced upon this article on the War is Boring site about the new book on Hue by Mark "Black Hawk Down" Bowden. The book will be released in the UK in a few weeks and looks like it will be really interesting.

What caught my eye is the video above of a CBS news report from the battlefield. This shows some fascinating things:

  • As a nine year old I was glued to the evening news abut Vietnam so this looks really familiar. This sort of coverage though is not something you expect nowadays and probably reflects some significant changes in news reporting and societal norms. I don't see Kate Adie doing anything like the reporter in this news item.
  • The US Marines had to relearn street fighting from scratch, as every generation of soldiers does. What this report shows is a classic hesitation in troops moving from a covered position under fire to make an assault. You see Marines making the "is it worth it" calculation and then deciding that it isn't with some unfortunate results.
My design objective with GZ is to make a simple game that feels like the real world, but without the bullets. This seems a bit tricky but I'm hoping I'm almost there. More on this soon. In the meantime, I'm dipping back into Leo Murray's Brains and Bullets which is very much on the money in terms of the reality of combat.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Even more free stuff.....

how cool is that?



I went into my local game store (Battlefield Hobbies) the other day. The mission was to find under coat (Vallejo Surface Primer), matt varnish and matt medium. Mission accomplished. However, I noticed a big stack of Team Yankee rule books, the small version that comes with some of the other products. I asked how much they were to find they were free. So, I now have the rules. Something to ponder. I don't know if this is the practice elsewhere but something to bear in mind.


I was reading Geordie's Big Battles blog yesterday and found this great description of a small Battle of Britain fighter encounter. The rules used were Blood Red Skies. I hadn't come across these before and tracked them down to Warlord Games. The rules are actually free and you can get them from their website. Warlord have some 1/200 aircraft product coming out later this year which the rules will support. A bit pricey but I reckon you can have a lot of fun with just the free rules and some nice Zvezda kits.

Now, I can either play around with the free stuff or get back to work on Ground Zero. Decisions, decisions! 

Friday, 4 August 2017

More free stuff....

well, nearly!


I'm continuing work on the Ground Zero rules and am aiming to have an initial playtest version out in the next week. This will feature infantry only combat so will be very simple. This time round I'm looking to get feedback as the rules develop.

In the meantime a few shiny new things have popped up, they are mainly free too!

Panzer Grenadier: The game system from Avalanche that has millions of scenarios. They are now advertising a free try it out module, all you need to do is pay postage for the counters and map, the rest is downloadable. You can find this package here. You can also download the latest rules and even a set of modern rules for free.

I have never looked too closely at this system, I simply don't like the maps, but it might be worth it for free. I'm still very much into Flying Pig/Tiny Battles Platoon Command system at present to want to branch out (even further some might say!).

Lee at Gettysburg: This is a Lock n Load game that is a revamp of one of their POD games. The reason for mentioning this is that is is on Wargames Vault for "pay what you want".  I leave it to you whether you can resist the temptation to pay not very much for a $14.99 game at full price. I for one really like the map. It may be a little odd for some people's taste but it suits mine fine.

Last Full Measure: Another Gettysburg game, totally free from the designer's page here. I don't like the look of this much, very late 1970's, but that doesn't mean its not a good game!

The Second Battle of Kharkov: Here's a free scholarly article, Prelude to Fall Blau: The Second Battle of Kharkov.

Thanks to Consimworld News for some of these references!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Cleared Hot!

Ground Zero: Helicopters



JTAC: “Deuce 31, Broadsword 11, 5-line, Type 2 control, BOT, rockets and guns, my position is checkpoint 295 marked by IR strobe, northwest 200, single technical vehicle marked by IR SPARKLE, make all attacks over my right shoulder, left pull, keep all effects of fires west of MSR Clovis.”
A/C: “Deuce 31 copies over your right shoulder, left pull, keep all effects of fires west of MSR Clovis, pushing.”
JTAC: “Deuce 31, CONTINUE.”
A/C: “Deuce 31 and flight, VISUAL, TALLY, IN.”
JTAC: “Deuce 31 and flight, CLEARED HOT.”
Today I have mainly been thinking about rotary wing close air support (RW CAS). To you and me that's choppers! Here are the first thoughts.....
Helicopters: Helicopters have special capabilities and vulnerabilities. These rules modify all relevant sections above. Helicopters have three activation dice. On an odd d6 result they may only move (they cannot rally, go into Overwatch). A helicopter may not discard an odd d6 result.
A helicopter may be subject to anti-aircraft fire as opportunity fire from enemy units in Overwatch in any hex that it starts in, passes through or ends its move action in. A helicopter that does not move at least three hexes in a move action becomes a sitting target and enemy units firing receive a fire bonus when firing at it.
Helicopters ignore terrain restrictions. They may only land in clear hexes that contain no vehicles (or wrecks).
Unlike other units, helicopters may fire at more than one target if they have more than one even d6 result. They may also make an intense attack on a single target if they have more than one even d6 result.
Special actions available to helicopters include: Landing, taking off, embarking or disembarking passengers (this includes allowing passengers to disembark by rappelling) and lasing targets for air strikes.

And, yes, I'm nicking ideas off Peter again!


Next problem to solve is that helicopters don't roam around shooting stuff up for fun. The air response must be proportionate and avoid collateral damage (as well as friendly fire) and enemy anti-air assets. That's the job of the JTAC who must have eyes on target, at least for a type 1 weapons delivery (visual contact with both target and A/C). How do we represent the JTAC and their interaction with the CAS? I have a few thoughts, they make for good scenarios! 

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Ground Zero.......

work in progress!



I suppose it says something if I have gone to the trouble of designing a logo for this game. My enforced absence from blogging and game related activities has spurred my enthusiasm.  

As usual, I blame Norm and Peter for ideas which have lurked for many months. This game represents, at long last, my attempt to model squad level modern combat in a simple way and in a way that I actually want to play.

I even have a blurb (of sorts!):

A nameless small town somewhere in the war zone. This game is played on a six by nine hex grid, there is no scale but each hex represents an area sufficient for the footprint of a small house, back yard or street.


There is no timeframe other than that each battle is concluded in a day. Each turn may represent anything from a few minutes of violent combat to several hours of desultory gunfire. Units are activated by random card draw and unit actions are dice driven. 
The troop types reflect what you see on You Tube videos, small groups of men, of varying commitment and training, largely fighting in built up areas. Weapons are light small arms with heavier weapons in support, with the ever present HMMWVs and improvised armoured vehicles. 
Scenarios reflect the reality of modern combat, often mundane tasks fraught with risk and unexpected dangers.

Nuff said at this stage but progress has been excellent. This time I will blog test games to show the mechanics in development.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

I have returned.....

not that I've been anywhere of course!

After a blistering few weeks of work I'm finally getting back into the swing of things. Not easy when my thought processes generally resemble a plate of spaghetti!

What's new?


Now, I like a bit of Firestorm and it's great to see the Team Yankee folks starting up a Cold War version. Fulda Gap here I come!

What's next?

My first task is to complete a longstanding development project which has unfortunately lapsed over the last few weeks. Once this is done and dusted my list is:

  • Ground Zero: Modern squad combat - my latest attempt to finish Desert Eagle.
  • Ground Zero: Modern platoon combat - I have recently become very interested in the Lock n Load Nations at War and World at War system. As I have said before, I'm also very interested in the Tiny Battles Platoon Command game system. First thoughts are to adapt these ideas for the Turkish assault at al-Bab, Syria, in December 2016. 
  • Arras, 1940 - Time to finish the scenario map (it is nearly done!).
  • 5Core Sandbox: Also time to play with some toy soldiers using this squad patrol campaign game system from Nordic Weasel. 
  • Pikeman's Lament: Finally, I'm doing something with the rules as written. However, I have come across this chap (Roll a One) using 6mm figures to play GNW games. Very nice! Even I could paint up enough little chaps to do this!

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Nice feedback.....

is always worth sharing!

A quick post to say that Paul has been giving my Quatre Bras a la Carte game a go and extending it to an alternative history second day. Paul has posted a nice picture....


Looking back on that game I'm sure I can make a better job of the graphics. Maybe a v2 at some future stage.

Paul's blog is also really interesting and is well worth checking out. I really like the style Paul has adopted for his Peninsular armies.....


...and lots of nice hexes!

Sunday, 21 May 2017

More interesting stuff.....

but not much action!



Real life is imposing some significant pressure so most of my projects are somewhat in disarray. However, new stuff keeps popping up that I am very enthusiastic about and may well result in some deep thinking (really!).

Now, you will recognise the picture above, this is the new Sean Chick Hold the Line variant game now adopted by Hollandspiele. This is the new box art...



Very smart. The reason for mentioning it two posts on the trot is that it is now available on Wargames Vault as a pnp for only $15. I know that this is (extremely) print heavy and not something that most of us would want to build ourselves. However, it may well be worth it just for the scenarios. 

Some free but also very interesting rules are:
  • Peter's new Grid Based Sci Fi rules. These feature a refined version of the activation rules that I was so enthusiastic about recently. Rest assured I shall be studying these closely!
  • In a similar vein, Norm has just posted his hex based ACW rules. I haven't had a chance to look at these in detail but a couple of interesting features have caught my imagination and I'll be considering these as well.
Well done Peter and Norm for a couple of fantastic rule sets!

I have also come across a couple of new (to me at least) blogs with some great stuff on them.
  • Roll a One: A 6mm focussed blog with an example of Pikeman's Lament played with Baccus 6mm figures. Very cool. Even I might be able to paint that number of tiny troops!
  • Jozie's Tin Man: This blog features some AWI house rules for Neil Thomas' OHW rules including fog of war cards. Not only is that great but he has done some work on FiveCore Company Command including US and OPFOR QRS.
All of this makes me very happy that we have such a vibrant, entertaining and thought provoking community!

Sunday, 14 May 2017

More free stuff....

and a catch up on news!


First the news....

The Horse and Musket version of Hold the Line by Sean Chick has been adopted by Hollandspiele and release is now planned. This looks great, check out the link. Worth anyone's $77.

I have been looking for good 20mm vehicles for modern battles, especially Hummers. I have found this interesting 3D print company, Butler's 3D Models, that I had completely overlooked. They do the same vehicles in 6, 15 and 20mm. Here is a sample picture.



A T72, picture is of a 15mm version but the 20mm size is only £8, very nice.




I have a long standing interest in numbers, especially how they relate to warfare. I have recently come across a series of books on Barbarossa written by someone who is obviously completely mad (Nigel Askey). The books are on Lulu and are worth checking out if you like data!  

...and now the free stuff!

Niemenczyn 1794 is a battle fought on 27th April 1794 near Vilnius. It involves the Poles and Russians during the Kościuszko Uprising. A new one on me and worth Googling. The game is by Strategemata, a well known Polish games company an is available free from the website. 54 counters and a nice small map.

Limanowa: Play test version with part of the map

Heroes of the Great War: Limanowa is by a new company, Gladiator Games Ltd. It is on Kickstarter (for good or ill). The background is:
Limanowa – the Galician town where, in the winter of 1914, Austro-Hungarian and Polish troops heroically prevented the further onslaught of the “Russian Steamroller”, saving Cracow from occupation. Limanowa – where the legendary Hungarian cavalryman Ottmár Muhr died a hero’s death heading his glorious hussars while protecting Jabloniec Hill, situated next to the town, with his men until their last breath against the Russian attackers.
There is a free print and play version available now and well worth a look. 

Pavlov's House game board
Pavlov's House is a print and play game from this years BGG PnP competition. It is a brilliant strategic/operational/tactical game from the Battle for Stalingrad to the fighting over a single building. This is from the guy that did the fantastic Castle Itter game. The files are available from the BGG page for the game. The files are also available from this website as well as a brilliant (I really mean brilliant!) overview of the battle (Pavlov's House Companion). 

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Glorious Morning......

a new AWI hex grid conversion!



I have had this on my list of things to do for a while. Here is the link to my first shot at converting Peter's excellent AWI rules to a hex grid format.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

I want some of these.....

just bigger!


GHQ perfection in 1/285, would you believe it!
I have just turned in a major piece of work on a development project so now have a short space of time to do some wider thinking before the next stage. 

My jumble of thoughts are on the subject of modern warfare, the type of small unit activity I'm working on in my temporarily paused Desert Eagle. What set off this train of thinking was the recent battle between Turkish troops supported by their Free Syrian Army proxies (Ahrar al-Sham) and ISIS for the control of al-Bab, a key town in central northern Syria. This is at the outer limits of the current Euphrates Shield operation. The Turks set out to take al-Bab and fought an intense battle for the hospital area. In this battle they lost 10 Leopard 2A4s, a Sabra M60 plus 4 APCs/armoured recce vehicles. Bellingcat have covered this here in a brilliant article.

Apart from proving that the Turkish Leopards are a bit feeble, as was seen in the earlier border fighting, it also shows the scope for using lots of tanks. I have become interested in the possibility of using 12mm scale for this type of game.

I have checked out what is available and I want vehicles that are quite large and the ability to use individually based infantry. 10mm is pretty barren in this respect. However, the Minifigs 12mm range is comprehensive. They do packs of three different types of arab insurgents (28 for £4.05) and US and Russian special forces. Irregular miniature do a range of large 10mm modern troops specifically to fit with 12mm vehicles which is described as Modern Bush Wars. So all set to go? Very nearly.


Minifigs do all the tanks you could ask for plus HMMWVs and Toyotas with MGs and recoilless guns. What they don't do is the new breed of HMMWV with armoured turrets which are the de rigeur vehicle for the Middle East. Where can I find something that will fit with 12mm? Not even Shapeways have anything that fits. I don't relish trying to scratch build turrets in this scale! Any ideas?

In other news.......

  • Activation mechanics: Peter at "Grid based wargaming - but not always!" has come up with a very simple, adaptable die roll based activation mechanism. Simply brilliant.
  • Scum...: A supplement has just been published with additional rules and units. A must for $1.49!  

Friday, 24 March 2017

More grid stuff.....

and even more scum than I was expecting!

A couple of interesting things have come-up....

Nice hat!
Rommel: A new set of rules from Sam Mustafa. The two best things about this are that the game covers more than just N. Africa and that it is an operational game using a grid! The squares are 6", representing 1km across. On a 6 by 4 table this gives 12km by 8km and allows one to two divisions a side in battalion sized units. Teaser material is now available on Sam's website and he has gone into some detail about the game in a recent podcast.


Scum of the Earth: I have mentioned the beta version of this before. The beta version was badged as an AWI/Napoleonic small battles game on a 2 by 2 board. The final version has now been published. What is great is that it contains period specific rules for:
English Civil War, Seven Years War, American Revolution, Napoleonic Wars, First Schleswig War, Crimean War, American Civil War, Second Schleswig War, Austro-Prussian War, Colonial battles, Franco-Prussian War, Spanish American War, Russo-Japanese War and 1914. 
That is quite a bit more than I was expecting and is most welcome. All for $12.99. There are some really interesting mechanisms in these rules and I'm keen to give them a go. 

How can anyone say this is not a golden age!

Monday, 13 March 2017

What's this!

Travel Battle!


This just popped up on the Perry Miniatures site. A travel Napoleonics game with 2x3D geometric boards each of 10 by 10 1" squares.

The games comes with:

  • 160 x Infantry 
  • 24 x Cavalry 
  • 4 x Guns and 12 crew 
  • 6 x Brigadiers 
  • 6 x Buildings 
  • 4 x Dice 
  • 1 x Set of rules
The miniatures ar 8mm plastic (very interesting!) in red or blue.

This looks great, the only drawback is a £50 pre-order price.  

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Poltava (2)....

more stuff!




My last post on this game included the Swedish tactical considerations map. Steve has now, very kindly, sent me the Russian tactical considerations map. I think this is such a good idea. Possibly a little difficult to do for a large game, but certainly very effective for a game this size. Nice one! 

Hopefully the game will be available commercially at some stage.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Poltava......

game launched!



The Poltava game that I helped playtest was designed as a freebie for the Swedish Army Museum's exhibition of wargaming that runs through to January next year. The event has now launched and there is a very nice review of the exhibition on the Dalauppror blog. No feedback on the game yet but it will be interesting to see what people think of it.

There was an interesting comments from Kaptain Kobold on my earlier post about how much scripting was required for the Poltava game. Poltava is a complex battle. I thought that the postcard game dealt very well with the phases of the battle. The following picture illustrates the objectives that the swedes need to hit before they can win.


It works really well and is a great illustration of how wargames can provide a platform for learning about history. It is also challenging and fun!

I hope that the game is successful and that Steve Kling takes the system forward to further battles. He has mentioned Yorktown and I think that a full set of AWI battles would be a nice idea.

By the way, I have come to think that if I wasn't English (whatever that might mean) then being Swedish would be my next option!

Monday, 20 February 2017

Secret game.....

no secret any more!

One of my 6 by 6 games was labelled "secret game". It is a bit of a cheat since I had already played more than six times since Christmas.

I have been privileged to have taken part in the play testing of a new game "The Battle of Poltava 1709" by Steve Kling. Steve is a real expert on the Great Northern War. His company Historical Games Co. has published Fields of Battle Vol 1 covering 8 battles of the GNW and also a brilliant GNW compendium in two volumes. 

I'm a big fan of small games which are exemplified by the battles in Vol 1. I'm also a big fan of Sweden and the GNW. So, I volunteered to do some play testing for a post card game which will be given away to visitors to the Swedish Army museum in an exhibition that starts this month featuring wargames through the ages.



As you can see, the game really is a post card game with an A4 map and 30 counters. The Armemuseum Facebook site blows the gaff on the game. 

The game is a mix of the FoB rules and the Postcard from the Revolution series by Mike DeSanto. It is very challenging and historical with a really good combination of strategy and luck. 

I'm massively pleased to have had some involvement in this game. I'm not sure if this game will be available commercially but I understand Steve has intentions to use it more widely. The Battle of Yorktown has been mentioned! Very cool.

As this is a bit of a cheat I may well have to put another game into my 6 by 6 challenge.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Scum......

of the earth!


The Duke of Wellington having a ponder
I too have been pondering but not in a picturesque setting. I have been reading the beta version of Scum of the Earth by Nordic Weasel. I don't think this game is a derivative of their earlier Starport Scum skirmish games and it looks like a new system to me, although familiarly weaseley (and don't ask me about the stoat joke again!).
The French system of conscription brings together a fair sample of all classes; ours is composed of the scum of the earth — the mere scum of the earth. It is only wonderful that we should be able to make so much out of them afterwards. 
Duke of Wellington speaking about soldiers in the British Army, 4 November 1813
I'm assuming the title comes from the Duke's famous saying and the game is, of course, about black powder warfare (broadly Napoleonic Wars to the Crimea).

I have to say that I really like this system. The key things are that it is simple, has clever mechanics, low rules overheads and is very, very small. One important thing is that, like the Rampant/Lament system, it allows you to play battles which are not just skirmishes with a couple of bods. But, as it says in the rules, this will look just like Sharpe on the telly.

Broad outline of the game:

  • Played on a 24" by 24" board (DBA sized!).
  • 3-5 units a side, 6 infantry figures or 3 cavalrymen per unit or one gun per artillery unit.
  • Unit can have traits (including scum so watch for looting!) and characters (musicians) which impact on movement or combat.
  • There are leaders (on white horses) who inspire courage tests and combat results.
  • There are simple basic formations, but no facing (yet).
  • IgoUgo with rolling for initiative each turn.
  • Units attempt to roll for movement (d6 plus a modifier e.g. 3 for cavalry) and the total is the move in inches.
  • Crossing bad going or obstacles requires a minimum score on the movement die.
  • Scoring 0 on the d6 (modified or natural) allows the enemy a reaction move by one unit.
  • After movement there is artillery fire, infantry fire and close combat.
  • The attacker fires a volley (d6 plus modifiers) and the defender rolls a d6 (plus modifiers) to see if it withstands the fire or is shaken and retreats with losses.
  • Melee is a similar d6 plus modifiers comparison.
The beta version contains only the basics so far and is not yet complete. It does look very promising though. The reason for this being that it will fit on a six by six hex grid and therefore can be used with the OHW scenarios! I feel a hex grid conversion coming on!!!!