Thursday, 26 September 2013

Monday, 23 September 2013

Mixing with the Wrong Sort

I have finished the Pendraken figures...

Which means I now have three quarters of a platoon of 1916 British or a platoon and a half of post 1916 British, and four half section of Germans - which is I think half a zug; plus machine guns.

It also means that I am champing at the bit to buy some more figures, though unfortunately I have spent my hobby budget for the month - and I really do need to get on with the terrain in order that I can play some games. Though in the meantime it gives me the chance to get on with working my way through my lead pile.

In other news, I suspect I am now on a list, as I was searching around the interwebz for information on German army organization, and eventually found a pdf of a book that contained everything that I need. The problem is that it is hosted on a Nazi website. It was with a very guilty heart that the page was bookmarked. So now I just need to make sure I am not involved in an elaborate - and unlikely - plot to blow up the Bank of England; or my innocent search to discover how many guns constitute a battery will appear as something completely different in the pages of the Daily Mail.

Which would be problematic as at the weekend I took the kids to a church event, and got into a conversation with the vicar - who is a railway modeller - about wargaming. And, in a roundabout way, and slightly oblique manner, the subject of a wargaming group came up. It was only in passing, but it is something I have been thinking about for a while, and perhaps next time I might pursue the conversation a little further, as there are probably enough gamers in the town and the surrounding area to make a go of it.


Sunday, 22 September 2013

Woods and Trees

Some Germans...

I have been lurking around the TMP website and was very interested in this discussion.

It got me thinking about how wargaming conventions created by rules, over time, take on the status of biblical writ.

It is not uncommon to come across the criticism of a rule set that 'it doesn't capture the feel' of a period. By which I assume the critic is referring to it not reflecting the experience of gaming that period they have gained through other/preferred rule sets.

An issue highlighted by the thread is that of cover.

The convention is that cover is gradated from none to hard, and that the definition is fixed. And from a gaming point of view, when these definitions are not being fudged for one reason or another, the types of terrain to which these apply is also pretty much fixed - fields no cover, woods light cover, walls hard cover, etc. Yet if one goes for a walk (in the real world) these classifications quickly loose all meaning. Grass is not a constant, regulation length; tall grass is as obscuring as a copse, and that is before you get into the issue of different types of woodland and trees.

But, wargames rules have used these definitions since time immemorial so it would be a brave rules writer who ditched these conventions, in order to create a dynamic environment.

This last notion is perhaps a little startling to some, as I suspect to many the highly painted (or not) metal and plastic minatures are as fixed to their position on the table as their pose. No matter that they are representative of a living breathing individual, who is mobile.

True line of sight rules perhaps work against this notion, and perhaps lead to the convention - and perhaps rightly so given it's opposite convention, "you can't see me." However what both of these positions ignore is that firing is as constant as movement, and the firing does not start when the movement stops.


Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Ups and Downs

I've made bases...
And here's a picture of the bases...
The command base has the dice holders to keep track of suppression points. It has 5 magnets, while the support bases have 4 each. Thus the sections can either be 12 over 3 bases for early war, or 9 over 2 for late war.

Next some Lewis gunners...
And some Vickers HMG...
In other news, I notice that the Lardies have got a forum. Which is good news, before this they had a Yahoo group - with all the problems that entails.

The downside is that it appears the ongoing fallout from the GW price rise appears to have pulled 'competitive' types into Chain of Command - no doubt via Bolt Action. It would be unfair, and over-dramatic, to describe the culture of the new forum as bordering on your typical 40k discussion group, but I suspect it is only a matter of time before the 'competitive' types start describing the self declared 'Lardies' as fanboys, call for a points system, and arguing the toss over FAQs  - in a tone, and a manner, that has poisoned the atmosphere of forums all over the interwebz.

The upside of this is that it is an indicator that Chain of Command has been a commercial success, and possibly made a greater reach than other TFL rule sets. Which has the further positive that the mechanics such as the patrol phase and the initiative system may be more widely adopted, improving the wargaming experience across the board, and encouraging more creative thinking in rules across the board.

But regardless, it will be interesting to see how the Lardies react to this.

And it may well be that the Yahoo group had a similar culture - though I doubt it. Forums have a particular poisonous effect all of their own. I managed one forum post before running in an arsehat keyboard warrior - which has to be some sort of record.

We shall see.


Monday, 16 September 2013


I've been working on the WWI British...

In other news I have been enjoying the ongoing row on the Flames of War section of the ETC forums. I am sure that a psychiatrist would find it useful as a case study into the mindset of tournament wargamers.

Back in the real world this thread from the Great War forum was most interesting.

It concerns the famous Kitchener recruiting poster, and the claims made earlier in the year by James Taylor that the pointing finger of Lord Kitchener had significantly less effect than is popularly imagined. Again the story makes an interesting case study - this time in media studies - as it turns out that the poster didn't exist in the form, or within the timescale, that numerous set designers have imagined in films of the period.

However it turns out that far from the moustachioed Lord staring down Big Brother-like, stirring the patriotic juices of young men, it would seem his influence was of a far more personal nature. As the image originally appeared on the front cover of a London magazine, which subsequently sold postcards of the print in batches of 100. Making the appeal of a far more personal nature.

Also within the discussion on the Great War forum was this link to a book by Keith Greaves called The Politics of Manpower, which highlights the difficulties the authorities were having in recruiting men for the army - which again undermines another of the myths perpetuated in popular fictions concerning 'war fever' over the issue of plucky little Belgium.

Oh and while I'm on the subject of the way in which the media alter distort events to create a different reality that suits political realities, this is a very useful documentary that both highlights the tragedy of the Serbs and rather blows a hole in the narrative that the events of the holocaust was an aberration that appeared seemingly out of nothing. And on a related topic I doubt the Guardian would want to be reminded of their wish that the Sebian nation should be dragged out to sea.


Thursday, 12 September 2013

Swelling the Ranks

Two more battalions of British WSS...

Which makes four fifths of Ferguson's brigade...
I have also painted up the samples I received from Pendraken....
Originally I mounted the figures on pennys, but after watching the John Boy Walton version of All Quiet n the Western Front, I opted for M5 washers. They are perhaps a little narrow, and might make the figures a little fiddly, but they also make the base size proportionate for trenches.

And as the washers are steel I can mount them on magetised half squad scenic bases.


Sunday, 8 September 2013


In typical wargamer fashion I have been painting 6mm War of the Spanish Succession British Infantry...

... that I found in a box while I was looking for something else.

And in equally typical wargamer fashion I have been daydreaming and netshopping in order to start a new period. However I have managed to rein myself in by reasoning that the figures have been sitting in a bo for the best part of five years, therefore the impulse that purchased them has long since passed - and I should just accept the pleasure I have had painting them.

And indeed they have been - and continue to be (as there are another two regiments to paint) - a pleasure to paint.

Which in turn is a positive as the true desire I have is for World War 1, and find myself constantly checking the Baccus website news section in the hope that their promised Great War range has been released (or even mentioned officially).

Of course were I not being a wargame magpie, and was spending my time productively, I would pressing on with the terrain; so that I could play Chain of Command. But that would be too simple - and requires a trip to a model railway shop - and would also mean that I can't daydream about how I can make the mechanics of Chain of Command - especially the patrol phase and the activation system - work for the War of the Spanish Succession in a brigade sized game (which can be scaled up to a refight of Blenheim at roughly 1:10 scale).

Of course all of this could be easily derailed were Pendraken to send me the promised sample. In which case would probably lead to me jumping into WWI in 10mm, which in turn, after painting a couple of units, would provide the impetus to finish the table and get playing Chain of Command, while the small mountain of 10mm lead awaits my wargaming brain to cycle back around to them.