Friday, 16 February 2018
The Little Wars 54mm Games Day which is being organised by Mike Lewis of Black Hat Miniatures is getting closer (all the details can be found here).
There are several games being planned and this has been a good incentive to get painting again for the first time in ages and get some more of my North West Frontier figures painted and based and ready for their debut. I'm not a natural painter... for me its very much a means to an end, so it has helped having a deadline to work to.
I had initially just left the figures on their moulded base but I've now changed my mind and have been busy rebasing them onto 40mm bases from Warbases. Next up are some Highlanders...why did I ever think tackling Tartan in this scale would be a fun challenge!!!
Sunday, 4 February 2018
I recently ordered a copy of La Ultima Cruzada by Bob Cordery of Wargaming Miscellany fame.
Amongst his many talents Bob is a bit of an expert on the Spanish Civil War and this is a revised 2nd edition of an excellent source book with a wealth of information for historians and wargamers alike.
The book weighs in at 276 pages with chapters including a very clear chronology of the war and info on key political parties and leaders (not an easy thing to do for the SCW) and detailed information on the armies, navies and airforces for each side. There are also some guides on uniforms which include some photographs of painted 54mm figures from Bob's collection. Sadly these are in black and white so are less useful but the amount of info and the level of detail in the book is excellent.
If you have an interest in this period I'd say it's an essential buy!!
Tuesday, 16 January 2018
Although I bought the Battle of Britain boardgame from Plastic Soldier Company back in October I'd only managed one actual game...this was with Eric the Shed towards the end of last year and I was soundly beaten! So I was pleased to get a chance to give it a second outing this week at Guildford.
|Action over the South Coast|
The game mechanics
The game mechanics are fairy straightforward. Squadrons are organised into Luftflotte or Groups and these comprise 6 German squadrons made up of a mix of fighters and bombers versus RAF squadrons made up of 3 fighters. The actual composition of each squadron is initially random but can then be adjusted as the game progresses.
The Luftwaffe allocate missions to each squadron; again these are drawn randomly but the German player has some control over where they are allocated. As German planes reach the British coast and cross a radar marker, the RAF have the option to intercept them. This can be pretty deadly as the RAF field all 3 fighter squadrons while the Luftwaffe have to put up a random draw of 3 of the 6 cards, which could result in the German bombers being caught in an unwelcome air battle. The snag for the RAF is that they only have resources to engage in 5 air combats each turn which means inevitably some bombers will get through.
Assuming that some of the bombers at least have made to their targets they are then able to make a bombing run (and risk ack-ack fire in the process). Squadrons then return automatically to home but do have to check on losses on the way back depending how much fuel they have used on the way
|Go Luftflotte 5!!!!|
So how did our game go? I was very lucky in that my initial choice of bombing missions was largely concentrated on the south and east coasts so I was able to knock out a couple of radar stations in turn 1. Some lucky dice throwing on my part also meant that the RAF took heavy casualties...especially 10 Group covering the South and West. I had less success around the SE but did manage to knock out a radar station in the North West and avoid too many casualties on Luftflotte 5. The high amount of damage meant the RAF couldn't repair everything and get planes back in the air and crucially the gap in radar cover meant I was able to pile squadrons through the gaps and bomb Exeter and Swansea. Although these were repaired next turn I was also able to bomb Portsmouth and the Port of London and keep the pressure up on the South coast. Luftwaffe casualties were mounting this point however and we ran out of time for the final turn but it was looking like a narrow victory for the Luftwaffe.
|Each Luftflotte has a management board to organise flights and missions|
Monday, 8 January 2018
So the first proper game of 2018 was a boardgame which my son got at xmas (I'm feeling old...we used to get him games like Operation and Monopoly, then Warhammer stuff and now it's games about the global war on Terror!)
The map focuses on the Europe, the Middle East and parts of Africa and Asia. Each Muslim country
has a state of government which can be influenced by either side: the USA wants to have 'Good' governance as this makes states less likely to be swayed by the Jihadists and also enhances the USAs prestige rating: once enough states are 'Good' the USA wins. The Jihadists, meanwhile want to destabilise the governments of Muslim states as a prelude to then launching a major Jihad and creating an Islamic regime...get enough of these and the game is over. Of course the Jihadists can use other tactics including getting their hands on some stray WMDs that might become available...either via Pakistan, Russia or Centra Asian States. If the Jihadists can sneak one of those into the USA and set off a nuke or release a deadly virus then it's an immediate win although it's seems like an exceptionally tricky thing to pull off.
Because each side has both different victory conditions and different mechanics for playing cards the rules can come across as more complicated than they actually are and it took me a couple of play throughs to get my head round it. The game comes with both the rulebook but also a 'playboook' which contains a detailed play through of several turns and explanations which helped.
So far it's all in the best possible taste then!? Actually it comes across fairly respectfully given the subject matter. It certainly makes you think about the implications of your decisions...leaving a plot to go off in a host country because you don't want to spend the points feels more real than in many boardgames. I know I've seen reviews in which the reviewer has been very uncomfortable about the subject matter but if you can get your head around that then it's a fascinating game. Like Twilight Struggle it can be a bit daunting at times to know where to make your next move and it takes time to build up a strategy to influence a country...there are no quick routes to victory...I'm not sure 'fun' is an appropriate word given the subject but it's a very interesting and challenging game and well worth looking out for.
Monday, 1 January 2018
January 1st, so it must be time for the traditional look back at the old year and make sketchy plans that will never be achieved for 2018!
Looking through my posts on the blog over the last 12 months I made 44 posts (plus one in draft)... 4 more than last year. These seem to come in fits and starts with some months only having a couple of posts while in others I managed to get 4 or 5 posts up. I guess this reflects work and family stuff intruding. Views of the site have risen to 135k after crossing the 100k threshold in January...these may be Russian bots of course but oh well...!! The posts which attract the most views tend to be ones about shows (eg Salute or SELWG) which didn't surprise me, but anything with "Boardgames" as a tag tends to pick up a lot more views too which I thought was interesting. There are also now 99 kind people who follow the blog...many thanks to all of you.
Boardgames dominated the year...not least because my son and I (and occasionally my wife) played a whole load of games over the summer. I also acquired several new games including Twilight Struggle, Battle of Britain, Wilderness Empires and Hold the Line. My son got a copy of Labyrinth at xmas which is a (kind of) sequel to Twilight Struggle and takes on the War on Terror. We've had a couple of goes at it over xmas but we didn't have the time to play it though fully...fascinating game although it did make my head hurt at points. I'll put up a more detailed post about the game at some point.
|The Labyrinth board|
|oops...the terror cells seem to have just acquired Pakistani WMDs!|
I've also played several boardgames over at Eric the Shed's, especially as the winter closed in. The highlight, I think, has been the new Fallout boardgame from Fantasy Flight games which was great fun and really reflected the computer game. This isn't the tabletop skirmish version by Modiphius which I'd been very excited about when it was first rumoured but then very disappointed by when I saw the game being demo'd at SELWG and even more so when I saw the price! The FFG game is a co-op exploration style game and as you advance in the game the storyline unfolds in a very entertaining way. Very tempted to get my own copy of this.
Most of my 'proper' figure games this year have been at the Shed with a smaller number at Guildford and/or my friend Andrew's. Black Powder, Pike and Shotte, Bolt Action and Chain of Command have dominated with some other games (eg Sharp Practice or Lion Rampant) making an occasional appearance but I've been fortunate to be able to get a game in most weeks with some good friends. I have to admit I'm very lucky to have fallen in with a decent circle of gamers.
Painting has been even slower than usual this year and, after my flurry of work completing my Aztecs and Conquistadors back in the summer, has pretty much ground to a halt. I'm committed to getting my North West Frontier figures moved on a bit with a deadline in March which always help focus the mind but I also have a few other bits and pieces to complete...some extra bits for Ronin and Sharp Practice and some newly acquired Cowboys. More effort and dedication is definitely required for 2018...step away from the computer games and TV and get on with painting!!!
Sunday, 31 December 2017
Well, just a couple of hours to go till the big event. Being Scottish I'm meant to be very enthusiastic about celebrating Hogmanay but I've always tended to see in the bells fairly quietly and tonight will be no exception...a nice bottle of wine and some Laphroaig and Jackie Bird and Phil and Aly on the tv (which will mean nothing to anyone outside Scotland!)
Like all good bloggers I'm meant to review the year at this point and look forward to 2018 plans but that will have to wait...maybe tomorrow...
I'd like to take the opportunity to wish everyone a good New Year and best wishes for 2018...I hope you all have a good one!!