Tuesday 22 June 2021

A double measure of Bells

 Hot on the heels of the US Spitfire come another two USAAF fighters - this time home-grown P-39 Aircobras.  These are again from the Partizan plane purchase so I neither built nor painted them.  As usual my role has been to effect a few repairs and apply a coat of varnish.  Amazingly both still have intact undercarriage - but I can’t see it lasting!  No idea what make the kits are, though I’m sure Airfix offered a P-39.  

Monday 21 June 2021

Reverse Lend-Lease?

Five years on and the Partizan ‘plane purchase still has much to offer.  

Having dug out the box of US WW2 aircraft in search of something else, I decided to seize the opportunity to tidy up a few more models. First up is this Spitfire wearing US markings. I’m not sure what make the kit is. I slapped on a coat of Ronseal Clear Satin varnish to smarten it up and preserve the decals. I may revisit the canopy framing later. 

Wednesday 16 June 2021

COW 2021 Timetable & session list


Here is the timetable and session list.  The paper programme will be sent to attendees next week and pdf versions are in the Files section of the WD io Group.


John Bassett


75 minutes                                                                                                       all attendees

The government of a small eastern European country is attempting to change sides during a world war.

Time for a bold realignment. But which of your Cabinet colleagues can you actually trust?  How loyal is the Army?  Is the Prime Minister really up to the job?  And how best to deal with all those political prisoners?

Is this hour for you to stand firm for principle and destiny or would it be better to head to Switzerland with those Renaissance paintings you put to one side just in case...?


John Bassett


1 hour                                                                                                                          any

A presentation and conversation about the historical realities behind the plenary game: the problems, pitfalls and ways out of being a minor power on the losing side in a global war.


Tim Gow & Nick Huband


2 hours                                                                                                                       

A lawn game very loosely based on the second battle of Villers Bretonneux (24 April 1918). Starting with a gas attack and going rapidly downhill from there, this game is absolutely not simply a lame excuse for the fielding of large numbers of 1/32 model tanks.


Ian Drury

The Centurions: Counter-insurgency operations in Algeria, 1958

2 hours                                                                                                                        4-6

The French army pioneered air mobile warfare in its doomed attempt to defeat the 1950s insurgency in Algeria. Your chance to assault clifftops in the Kabylie mountains from Piasecki ‘Banane’ helicopters, supported by S–58 ‘Pirate’ gunships using 20mm figures and 1/72nd aircraft. Soundtrack by Edith Piaf.


John Armatys


1½ hours - 2 hours                                                                                                      6-8

Terrorists have taken hostages in Tudor Mansion. The area has been secured by local security forces but, as they approached the house, Dr. Black was murdered by the terrorists. The Hostage Rescue Team has been deployed. A silly game cunningly developed from the virtual version….


David Bradbury



Do you believe in the golden future time when tyrant man shall be o'erthrown? Or do you think four legs good, two legs better? Come and fight for your chosen side in this climatic struggle for the future of Animal Farm.


Russell King


3 hours                                                                                                                        8-10

Managing a nuclear crisis related to hostile activity by ORANGEland. You will be a key member of the War Book Executive Government arm (GOV-EX) of HM Government, responsible for operationalising HM-CABINET decisions. Normal Governmental scrutiny is of course not possible at this time and you will work in a collegiate manner to arrive at saving the maximal amount of life and suffering of the Queen's subjects. Based on contemporary documents.


Russell King


60-90 minutes                                                                                                             5-6

Gunning stolen high-performance vehicles the length of West German autobahns, the early members of the Rote Armee Fraktion try to get the maximum suss on the chaos of their own Revolutionary Cells. You may well know how to play Cluedo. But do you know who is blowing-up US soldiers 'for fun'?  And who is the Black September Movement link at Munich '72? A road map, a lentil stew, a long-term isolation cell, and an extra-judicial killing awaits.


Graham Evans


4 hours                                                                                                                        4-6

Spanish Civil War Divisional Level game with 15mm Figures

“For Whom The Dice Rolls” is the much revised, published version of “Send Not To Know” which originally debuted at COW in 2011. The rules were written specifically for the SCW, trying to avoid being an add on or a set of “WW2-lite” rules. Within the rules the battalion is the basic unit of manoeuvre within a brigade structure. Heavy artillery and air strikes are included as part of an “Off Table Asset” system. The game uses an integrated IGO-UGO system with players alternating activations within a turn, the total number activations within each player phase being driven by runs of playing cards. The game challenges the player to put together a coherent plan within the confines of command structures that encompass armies often made up of multiple factions. (NB this is one of Graham’s rare game systems without squares).


John Curry

Hiding in plain sight: the relationship between hobby and professional wargaming

1 hour                                                                                                                          any


The talk will focus on the theme of how the hobby have influenced developments in professional gaming over the last two centuries. The plan is for the talk to be broadcast live via Zoom to members of WD who cannot attend the conference.


Graham Evans

It’s Getting A Bit Chile

3-4 hours                                                                                                                     4-6

Land warfare in the 1879 Pacific War with 15mm figures

Returning after its premiere at COW 2016, here’s a chance to play the heavily revised and updated rules for battles between Peru, Chile and Bolivia in the infamous “Saltpeter” or “10 Cent War” that shaped modern South America. The game plays on a 3” gridded playing surface, and features novel firing and close combat mechanisms that inflict disorder on units. Disorder has to be manged through rallying and unit formation to ensure that armies do not disintegrate through mis-management. Commanders are represented as unique individuals whose abilities shape the way armies fight and perform on the table top. Plus it looks really colourful and has lots of llamas.


Graham Evans

Dicing With Death

30 minutes                                                                                                                   up to 6

A quick play gladiatorial combat game designed by WD founder Derek Henderson, who sadly is no longer able to attend COW. The rules use a novel poker dice style combat system, which has wider application. The game will be played with really old 25mm gladiator figures from the early 70s, and will feature an arena in a biscuit tin. Ideal for late night games in the bar.


John Curry

Invasion and Blockade

2 hour                                                                                                                          1-8

Tactics was a board wargame published in 1954 and is credited as being the first commercially successful printed (i.e. board) wargame. My research has shown this not to be true. This session is an opportunity to play two rare examples of games published prior to World War II. Invasion (1938) and Blockade (1939) were by Dennis Wheatley and they anticipated some of the opening games of the subsequent war.  


John Bassett


2 hours                                                                                                                        6-8

A game on the future of Putin's Russia and the struggle for the succession.  As Russia approaches the 2024 Presidential election the Kremlin has to manage a number of crises in which many actors, including liberal reformers, the energy sector, the intelligence services, hard line nationalists and the military all have stakes.  Your chance to preside over the secession of the Russian Far East, roaring hyper-inflation, a rising tide of extremism in Central Asia and NATO enlargement in the Caucasus...


Mark Flanagan

War Plan Red: A Second Boston Tea Party

90 minutes                                                                                                                   2-4

With the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty in tatters the former allies entered into the feared naval arms race against each other.  The cost crippled economies that had not yet recovered from the Great War.  A fiercely isolationist American tipped Great Britain into an ill thought out Second Naval Treaty with Japan.  US Import tariffs and an aggressive US stop and search policy on inbound merchant ships to Canada caused a trade war to turn into a Naval War.

Based on the game mechanism of the Atlantic Chase WWII game player plot out their naval campaign. 

Miniatures (with suitably fast play rules) will appear if the fabled War Plan Red "Battle of Sable Island" occurs.


Stephen Aguilar-Millan, Charlotte Aguilar-Millan, Robert Eagling


4 hours                                                                                                                        6-9

In a near term wild card scenario, what would happen if China, as we know the current territorial entity to be, were to fragment? Where would the fault lines of separation occur? More to the point, how could various actors guide this fragmentation to achieve an outcome more to their liking?
China Implodes is a game set in the near future that examines the political turmoil that could result from a less cohesive China. Played at the grand strategic level, the players will represent various internal and external political actors who may be affected by a fragmenting China. The game will progress using matrix style arguments, with the umpires adding a little spice to ensure that a hot dish is served up.


Tom Mouat


2 hours                                                                                                                        5-6

A Matrix game about the current situation in the Ukraine.  Roles for Russia, Ukraine, Ukrainian Separatists, The USA, The EU, and Other global Actors, including China, COVID-19/Economic factors, and Refugees.


Tom Mouat


2 hours                                                                                                                        4-6

A Staff-Planning Game based on the author's experiences at the Department of Health during the COVID-19 pandemic, including reminiscences about 39 Victoria Street... You have just arrived at 39 Victoria as a "military planning team" to assist the battalions of highly-paid consultants in solving the pandemic crisis (Operation MOONSHOT). The head of the team (ex-SAS) has just returned from Downing Street and wants you to come up with a plan for mass testing in the Channel Islands!  (This game is completely fictitious. Any resemblance in the game between any persons or Government Departments, living or dead, is entirely coincidental).


Tom Mouat

2 hours                                                                                                                        4-6

A One-Shot Role Play Session in a 1980s vision of the far future, using a streamlined 2D6 system.  A lone freighter, in the depths of space, receives a weak proximity distress signal while passing through the asteroid belt. The signal is localised and the radar return is small. What is it? What should we do?


Mike Elliott

Gibraltar of The North

30 minutes (will run several times)                                                                            4

Being a (probably short) post prandial entertainment based on an incident during the Siege of Louisbourg in 1758.


Mike Elliott

Nostalgia Rules OK

2 hours                                                                                                                        up to 6

A game using Spencer Smith figures and a set of rules that first saw the light of day over 50 years ago, albeit with a few tweaks to make them easier for modern wargamers.


Sue Laflin-Barker

To Sail the Spanish Main

2 hours                                                                                                                        up to 7

The situation is still the same. The merchant fleet is attempting to reach harbour and the pirates are attempting to intercept it.. This year I want to see what effect changes in the terrain have on the game.


Tuesday 15 June 2021

Mokarex 2e Empire figures


Some of these were completed just too late to see action in the recent Paris game.  These chaps are hard plastic figures originally given away with Mokarex coffee in France and featured historic French personalities and soldiers.  They seem quite rare in the UK - I picked up a few a shows here but most came from a toy soldier show in Paris a few years ago.  I really like them.

Above - The Emperor Louis-Napoleon in this original gold plastic and daubed by me.
Marshall MacMahon.  Ideally he'd have been present for the game as he was the C in C of the Versailles troops.
Cuirassiers and a trumpeter.  These indicate one of the drawbacks of elderly hard plastic - broken swords!
Guards and musicians.

General Faidherbe.

Sunday 6 June 2021

Paris in the Springtime - part 4 - Free Man In Paris

 Today's music link:

To galvanise and motivate the defenders notorious anarchist Louise Michel toured the front lines.  Here she is 'encouraging' some guardsmen.
At the Hotel De Ville peace still reigned - despite the nearby fighting the emphasis here was very much on 'jaw jaw' rather than 'war war.'  Oh dear,

MacMahon's troops rolled forward inexorably.
By now, and by arrangement with the Prussians, Thiers, the Government's Chief Executive had sent two regiments of infantry by rail to enter the city from the north.

The new chaps were Bretons and no friends of Paris.  The main danger to them was from ill-aimed Government artillery shells!  In a happy ending of sorts, the Archbishop who you'll recall was being held hostage, was freed by daring agents in the service of Thiers and the worried cleric was soon safe behind Government lines.

Here are some of the more poorly cast and badly painted figures used in the game.  
From left: Colonel Megy, General Gallifet, General Cissey, General Cluseret, Marshal MacMahon, Colonel Rossel.  
Well done to them all!

Thursday 3 June 2021

Paris in the Springtime - part 3 - Let Me In

 Back we go to Paris, where when we left, Government troops were poised to storm the gates.

A fluke artillery round lit off a gunpowder store, taking the gatehouse with it
A rather overscale Col. Rossel manning the guns!  
The Commune's militias rushed to the walls.
Shrouded in smoke, troops swarmed through the breach.
Another gatehouse soon fell to the Government...
...but who is this innocent-looking lady?  Surely not one of the notorious and much-rumoured petroleuses?
A petrol bomb soon exploded in the gateway.  The troops weren't happy.

While some parts of the walls held, troops still flowed through the earlier breach.
The defenders were a motley crowd - this barricade was defended by a chimney sweep and a prostitute.  A dirty crowd in every way!

Not all of the Petroleuses were effective - this one blew up on the launching pad, so to speak.

The post subtitle?  Here you go...

Tuesday 1 June 2021

Paris in the Springtime - part 2 - Paris sous les bombes

Back in France, Government troops are closing on the city. For those of you wondering about the title of the game, help yourself to some music while you read.

Clearly linear formations were back in fashion!

The walls and streets fairly swarmed with Commune supporters.

Artists and photographers captured the scene for posterity.  Entertainingly, all the city gates were open - a fact reported to MacMahon by spies.  I expected Gen. Cluseret to spot this and order them closed but it was not to be.
Brisk exchanges of fire followed between Government troops and snipers on the ramparts.  MacMahon's orders prohibited wanton destruction of the city so artillery fire was limited.

As MacMahon prepared to rush the gates the barricades were manned.

And this post's subtitle?  Here you go: