Friday 31 May 2013

Shiny Happy Cossacks

The third and (thankfully) final regiment of Tratvian Cossacks is now complete!  Resplendent in their high-gloss topcoat of Ronseal outdoor varnish they now fear neither man nor weather. 
Like their chums, these chaps are Armies in Plastic 1/32 figures.  Light conversions were required to produce the standard bearer and trumpeter.

Thursday 30 May 2013

Contre Les Viets

I recently rediscovered these photos from COW 2001. This was a Megablitz game run by Ian Drury. It dealt with the Vietnamese assaults on the French position at Dien Bien Phu and used 20mm toys (and 1/144 aircraft) from Ian's collection. At my behest he is currently scouring his archives for the game briefings and orbats as we'd both like to run it again.

In the game I commanded the French - given the passage of time my recollections of the finer details of the game - including the names of the other players - are understandably hazy.
The terrain consisted mostly of jungle and the French defended positions - with charming names including Beatrice, Anne-Marie and Gabrielle.
To help combat the vast hordes of Viet Minh (and their Chinese 'advisors'...) French aviation assets made a number of sorties.  The Armee de l'Air provided B-26s while the Navy sent Consolidated Privateers (think Liberator with a single tail fin).

As the Commie noose tightened around the defenders it was largely the bombers which saved us.  The general personally participated in fighting off several assaults on his command post - being ultimately reduced to hurling empty cognac bottles and blowing Gitanes smoke in the attackers' faces.

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Little Wars Centenary part 4 - King Boris and the trombone of doom

For the final round of games the Forbodian Army again took the field.  The enemy (in this case the British Indian style army of Julian Spilsbury (ably assisted by Andy Hussey) had two guns occupying a fortified position while infantry and cavalry forces were poised to reinforce them.  Flags were used to represent units until they were sighted by the enemy.
The slightly bizarre (even for me) title of the post relates to Julian's need to designate one of his figures as a sniper.  Lacking a suitable pose, he selected a trombonist...
As with the previous rounds, four games took place at once, but I was too busy to pay the others much attention.
King Boris's cunning plan was to assault the redoubt with one of the infantry battalions while the other flanked it. 
The cavalry brigade was massed on the right, poised to head off to the distant second objective. 
Annoyingly orders had arrived tasking the Forbodian artillery with (notional) other targets for three turns.
The Forbodian's second brigade-level cavalry charge of the weekend went just as well as the first. 
The enemy infantry battalion was eliminated - but at considerable cost! 
This was bearable until an enemy cavalry regiment showed up and saw off the survivors!
It was at this point that I uttered the now infamous words "If you were a gentleman sir, you would charge that Gatling."  Julian did so, with entirely predictable results. 
This event gave rise to his subsequent accusations of "Forbodian mind games."  I'm sure I don't know what he means.
While all this was going on the Forbodian infantry had successfully taken the redoubt and held it against two enemy assaults.  Even the trombone player perished in the second wave. 
This turned out to be the closest run game of the entire weekend which Boris's brave boys won by only 71 points to 70!  A thoroughly enjoyable conclusion to a splendid weekend.

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Little Wars Centenary part 3 - Advance to Contact

I did warn you that there was more still to come from this event.  By the time the second round of games began the rain had stopped and the lawn was dry enough for 'proper' outdoor action.  This post will deal with the encounter between The Forbodian Army led in person by my alter ego King Boris III and the rough colonial types of Army Red/White/Blue (think turn of the century US) commanded by the Young Master, Jack Wright.  The scenario was that a RWB force held a central position while the Forbodians were advancing from two directions.  RWB reinforcements would arrive according to dice rolls during the game.
I (or rather King B) decided to mass the cavalry brigade (two regiments) in the south while he accompanied the infantry and artillery advancing from the east.  Deciding from the first on a policy of 'Shock and Awe', the cavalry advanced rapidly (see first picture) to tackle an enemy infantry battalion.  In doing so it took several hits from rifle fire from it's front and right but in the finest traditions of the Forbodian Army*, pressed on regardless.

* The motto of the Forbodian Army is "Death and Glory, but hopefully not in that order."
Young Mr Wright looks on with concern as the Forbodian cavalry gallop forth.
Needless to say, RWB resorted to ungentlemanly tricks like hiding behind trees.
The King himself (in the red motor car) leads his troops into action.
Worried RWB riflemen tried desperately to empty as many saddles as possible...
Meanwhile the infantry marched ever onwards, clearing enemy sharpshooters from the woods.

The Forbodian cavalry won their fight and while the enemy HQ was a tempting target, it's
accompanying artillery was rather less attractive.  To press on or withdraw?
This decision became a lot easier when a fresh unit of enemy cavalry trotted into sight!

The cavalry having withdrawn, and with the infantry in firm control of the distant woods (and thus the road through them), we called it a day.  A hard fought battle which the Forbodians won on points.

Friday 24 May 2013

Daft dice

My Triples purchases conclude with these ridiculous dice.  Other than not having bought any silly dice for ages I can't explain why I bought any of them...
D6 and D10 - in French!
Probability dice.  Probably a good idea.
And finally - the dog dice!  Who thinks of these things?

Thursday 23 May 2013

Conference of Wargamers 2013 session update

As at the time of writing, the sessions which will be presented at COW 2013 are as follows.  There is still time to book - details are on the Wargame Developments website.

Mike Young
Homo Sapiens vs. Neanderthal. The 2013 plenary game will be a “cardboard simulator” representing the first great victorious war of mankind – that in which Homo Sapiens Sapiens eradicated the Neanderthals. The game will involve much running around the Knuston site and grunting, as the Neanderthals defend their hearth, women, children and crops from the encroachment of Homo Sapiens. You will all need to come dressed as a caveman. So bring along any fur coats or sheepskin rugs you may have to dress up in. Please also bring along an inflatable plastic club if you have one. You will also each need to bring an extra small sock for a mysterious use.  What could possibly go wrong?
ADVANCE WARNING. Which team you are on will be determined by your weight at the start of the conference. The heaviest two thirds of you will play Neanderthals and the lightest one third Homo Sapiens. So if you want to be on the favourite team now is the perfect excuse to start that diet you have always been meaning to do

WD Display Team North
Plucky Brits trying to bag a few Huns before going home by Christmas.  A fast-paced WW1 participation game.

Tim Gow, John Armatys & Martin Rapier (so basically WDDTN again)
The Fletcher Pratt Naval war game with 1/200 scale toy ships – on the lawn!

John Armatys
The game of political advancement in the Roman Republic which involves much rolling of dice and instructing stone masons to carve suitable inscriptions on tombs. An entertainment for up to six players.

Sue Laflin Barker
It's still the morning after the smugglers have landed their goods. They are still trying to deliver the contraband to those who have ordered it and the Revenue are still trying to intercept it. I have made some adjustments to the rules which I hope will make the game run more smoothly. As before there is room for up to 4 tavern keepers and up to 3 revenue.

Jim Wallman
A committee game set in World War II about designing and constructing a scheme of fortifications.

Jim Wallman
A Game for Boys from twelve years of age to one hundred and fifty and for that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys' games and books.  Basically cocking about on the lawn with big toy soldiers and matchstick firing guns.

Graham Evans
A brief description of the session - 15mm rules for warfare in mid 19th Century China. The mechanisms are designed to cover combat between Imperial forces (their European style supports such as Chinese Gordon's Ever Victorious Army) and the various rebels (mainly the Taiping) and also the Barbarian Invaders. The core system uses the EDNA approach to simulate unit cohesion.

Phil Barker
A WW2 ‘Sharp End’ toy soldier game.

John Curry
The first mega-game, the worst commando raid in history,how Paddy Griffith prevented World War III, Why WD never ruled the (wargaming) world, Video interview by ??, the True story of Don Featherstone’s Skirmish Wargames, the demise of the Wargames Newsletter and future directions History of Wargaming Project

John Curry
This will be a recreation of the almost unknown skirmish game from the early days of modern wargaming. Hidden scenario, limited situational awareness each player will command small band of men. Whether these men are equally determined as the players will be seen.

Phil Steele
A talk and presentation about the Battle of Bosworth.  This will be followed by:

Phil Steele
The new 54mm DBA version of Bosworth.  

Jim Roche
Another singalong session following on from last year’s triumph.  This will have a nautical theme…

John Bassett
Zona di Camorra
Liberated Naples, 1943: a small team from British Intelligence. hunts for leading Fascists in an ancient, starving city rife with racketeering, prostitution and vendettas. A rather dark role-play on post-conflict reconstruction with some adult themes.

Alan Paull
A simple game of carrier action in World War II
World War 2 aircraft carrier battles were immensely complicated affairs, with many types of aircraft, weapons, different types of carrier and multitudinous other ships. Or were they? 16 card Carrier Strike portrays the essence of carrier battles in a simple format requiring cards, dice, markers and a playing area to represent the ocean. Cries of Tora!, Tora!, Tora! are completely optional.

Wayne Thomas & David Brock
A 15mm foray into the Balkans circa 1912 using a "Far Away Wars" variant. Greeks v Ottomans

Ian Drury
A second demonstration of GENERAL QUARTERS III: this time a night action off Guadalcanal in late 1942. All aboard for the Tokyo Express. . .

Bob Cordery & Tim Gow
A planning session followed by a map-based wargame (with toys!)  about Operation Vijay, - the Indian ‘liberation’ of Goa in 1961.

Funny Little Wars at Triples

The FLW game at Triples proved to be an enormously popular spectacle.  A late addition to the programme, the game was run by and used toys from the collections of Pinder, D and Spilsbury, J together with a green cloth provided by Thomas, S. 
DP's Airfix bus - looking rather better then mine...
I provided some photos from previous games.

Faces of battle.  Scary eh?
JS was particularly keen that I captured this rare evidence of his accurate artillery fire.
Visitors of all ages were encouraged to have a go firing the cannon!

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Books from Triples

My Triples purchases continue with a number of books on the 1940 French campaign.  Firstly there are all three volumes of the French edition of Sixty Days That Shook The West by Jacques Benoist-Mechin. 
 Do I read French well? No, or rather 'non' but these books contain rather splendid maps.
The other volumes are all books I have been vaguely planning to pick up at some point - especially the memoir by General Spears.

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Figures of fun at Triples

Some of my more sensible purchases from Triples:
A box full of elderly 25mm Greenwood & Ball/Garrison Assyrians. 
They'll need some retouching before being based and varnished.
This purchase also included around 80 unpainted castings.

The Bring & Buy yielded still more ancient ancients! 

A combination of Bring & Buy finds and a trader's rummage box provided this gaggle of
54mm plastic guards and bandsmen.  Many will find their way into my Funny Little Wars forces.

Monday 20 May 2013

Ten Rounds Rapid at Sheffield Triples

Wargame Developments' splendid Ten Rounds Rapid game (as designed by Martin Rapier) was run throughout the weekend.  All of our players claimed to have enjoyed the experience!  The 20-minute game sees the single player (although we did have some who played as teams) commanding a BEF battalion in August 1914 while the pointy-helmeted field grey hordes relentlessly advance.  Results were varied - with the line generally being held - but there were a few disasters and the Colonel was killed twice!
Fellow blogger Stephen Beat at his first wargames show playing his first wargame!

A worrying moment for the Brits as the Colonel pitches in to repel a German assault!

One of the disasters - the Germans have taken one of the four front line areas while the Brits have been forced out of another two!

Another blogger - Pete - plays the game.  He did rather well.
The 'Norfolk Pals' (Tony Hawkins - left - and friends) 
Some of the spectators were particularly well turned out - here men of the Durham Pals
display appropriate respect for the officers' leadership skills....
Ben Hawley (centre) led Oliver and Richard to victory!