Friday, 28 September 2012

A boost for the club

Following our open day I posted that we had five separate visitors that expressed an interest in becoming members; I was quite pleased with that. The real issue, of course, is how many would actually become members?

We had our first post open day club meeting on Tuesday and two of these interested visitors came along, a husband and wife team no less! They are to bring along some 15mm ancients to the next meeting and want to try Hail Caesar, so far so good. They have been given membership forms so lets wait and see.

Once I got home there was an answer phone message from a third of our visitors. He was apologising for not being able to make it to the meeting that night but assuring me he would be at the next, fantastic news! He asked for a chat but failed to leave a contact number and there was a second call after his so I couldn't check either.

We have no membership forms or fees yet but this does look positive, and not bad for one simple open day....we didn't get this much interest from Broadside!!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Some new pics of our Open Day

I thought you all might like to see some of the pictures taken at our open day. My thanks to Andy for taking them and making them available.

Martin (left) takes on Alex with a 15mm SYW clash using Black Powder

Some of Martins brillianly painted figures, all Old Glory I am told

The German gun boat, part of the great ww1 African lakes game provided by our good friends of the Maidstone Wargames Society

The British flotilla to deal with the pasky Hun!

Phil, Richard and Clive provided us with some nostalgia by playing this ancients game with WRG 6th edition!!

Some of Phil's Peltasts

and some of Richard's Pikemen

Mark and Steve T. with their Operation Squad game, Waffen SS take on some British Fusiliers

Some of Mark's US Paras, used in a second game

The table used for Operation Squad

And now, a chance for you to all join in the fun! Can you provide a suitable caption for this picture?

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Memoir '44

Hi JFaria, welcome to my blog!

Every so often the term 'Memoir 44' appears on the Wargames Miscellany blog, a board game that Bob is quite fond of it seems. I am not a huge boardgames fan myself, although that is not necessarily true; I just never seem to play any is probably more accurate. Some of them are so expensive I would rather spend the cash on figures, but so many look good. I have a copy of War on Terror: The Boardgame! that I roll out occasionally and I do enjoy that, so I wonder what is stopping me?

Anyhooo, having seen the various boards and expansion packs available to Memoir 44 players on Bob's blog I have to admit my curiosity was piqued. I then noticed that you could download 'Memoir '44 Online' via Steam, the online games site. It was free too, so I gave it a go and downloaded the program and was impressed. Whilst the download is free you will need to buy points to play games but these are very, very cheap and you get 45 to start with. i have played a dozen games and have loads of points left, another 135 points will cost you just £4.00. The game plays exactly as the boardgame would but with the added bonus that you could play people from anywhere in the world. The game is simple enough to get to grips with and the basic rules very straight forward. The interesting thing for me is that the board is divided into three sectors, left centre and right, and the actions you can perform are dictated by cards that only allow you limited activations. For example, you may have a lot of pieces in your centre and right sectors but most of the cards you end up with will only activate units in your left sector; or vice versa, its all quite random. As you play one card it is replaced with another so things can change turn by turn.

Combat is worked out by rolling a number of special dice marked with an infantryman, tank, grenade, flag and a star. All units roll the same dice but the number rolled depends upon range and cover etc. so, if you are attacking a tank unit, for example, and get to roll four dice you will kill one model in the unit for every tank or grenade symbol you roll. Flags make the unit retreat one space and stars are misses. If you roll an infantryman against tanks then that is a miss, a tank symbol against infantry is a miss; grenades kill everything. It is a simple but elegant system.

Thing you can do is download the game and see for yourself, I can heartily recommend much so that I am now seriously considering buying a 'hard copy'! Prices vary wildly I have noticed so do shop around if you are ever tempted, Amazon seems the best option so far.

Just thought I would bring this natty download to you attention, it has got to be worth a look. And, if anyone out there plays Memoir '44 the board game, let me know what you think of it.

Monday, 17 September 2012

MHWC Open Day

The Mayor of Swale and two of our younger visitors making the Armourfast tanks

Well, that wasn't so bad. We have now had our first Open Day (as opposed to Broadside Show) and I have to say that it was pretty successful........ok, apart from one of our guest clubs not turning up and one or two other cancellations.....but, apart from those it was pretty successful.

We had no idea how much interest we would generate, it was a simple club event after all and aimed at the local general public as much as other wargamers. We had advertised at the Military Odyssey show, magazines and a myriad of poster and flyer spots wherever we could put them. We had some 23 visitors through the door, not many, but all were interested and brought something to the party, so to speak. The local Mayor spent over an hour with us and spoke to everyone; she had never come across wargaming before but left impressed (her words) with the knowledge, dedication and enthusiasm of all involved. Can't argue with that.

The press arrived and took a lot of the usual stand there, you there...someone point at something...and all smile! I also received a phone call from the editor today who wanted some background about the club for a larger article; now that can't be bad. We even had the local WI (Hi Val! Great cakes!!!) help us out by running the refreshments, a very handy relationship and one we will call on again whilst also offering our services to them to support one of their events.

Armourfast very kindly provided us with some kits for a kiddies make and take area, this proved very popular with even Grandma's helping out...and one or two yummy mummies too....although I didn't really notice and could not, therefore, comment further.

Fun for all the family!!

But, now down to the important bit....what will the club get out of it? Actually, possibly five new members.........yes! FIVE possible new members. I say possible because until they come back and pay their membership that is exactly what they are. But, in all honesty, I can see us getting three out of the five. Two of those are a married couple that moved to the area from Tonbridge and miss playing. Another was really into the ancient game we ran and who we may have converted into a Hail Caesar player! I have high hopes but the irony of such success for such little hassle compared to running Broadside is not lost on me. Two huge shows with a third set of June 9th 2013 (hint) have netted us one new member (Hi Clive) but Broadside is not all about gaining members, it is more to do with bringing a show to our own doorsteps...even though I don't get time to actually buy anything!

Club member Martin ran a Black Powder SYW game with some very nice 15mm figures!

Would we run an Open Day again, most definitely yes. I think most clubs could get something out of such an event no matter how small. We ran three games and a make and take table whilst our good friends the Maidstone Wargames Society ran a game as our guests...and we were helped buy the WI of course. Not a big event by any means but a great shop window for us and our hobby,

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Wargames in the community

Bloody hell, I am so crap at this whole blog malarkey! When was my last post? exactly. For crying out loud Leo, get a grip man!!!


Following the success of the Broadside shows, and the support we get from local borough councillors, the club is reaching out to the wider community with offers of help. Not decorating little old ladies flats or anything like that, not since the last time....we never did find the cat. I think the loud sirens on the fire engines scared it off you know. Very temperamental animals cats...and old ladies...rude too; never heard such language! Where was I? Oh yes, helping the community.

Wargames are very visual and often quite spectacular to look at, even a basic club game can look really nice. Many such games lend themselves well to public participation too and so we are talking to non wargame groups in our area and offering to run a game at their events as an attraction; we could even help raise money by charging visitors a small fee to take part in a game. It is certainly something different and with careful selection of games possibly lucrative for the event holder. One such game we play is a western gunfight that uses cards rather than dice and is very simple to play. Younger visitors love it and can pick it up really easily too. If their character gets killed off, they can simply re-spawn at the cemetery etc.....for a small fee of course.

Our first foray into this wider world took place on Saturday last. The Minster Abbey on the Isle of Sheppey holds an annual fair and invites local groups to take part. I offered them a game, realising it would also be a useful piece of advertising for us and our open day, but also as an interesting sideshow.

we were supposed to be running a Saga Saxon Vs Viking thing...with Normans...but you know how these things go; so busy painting 1/700th scale Napoleonic ships for October etc etc etc. Instead, I decided to run something that was actually available and that we were more confident with rules wise...ish...a ww1 skirmish using 'To the Last Man' by Chris Peers. A good set of rules, once you have managed to find everything in the most frustrating rule book ever. I wont bother you all with it now but, well, blimey. The pic above shows a platoon of 1914 Brits defending a rather knocked about hamlet. The Germans, who outnumbered the Brits by something like 2:1, were part of an advance guard sent to probe ahead of the main get the idea. The pic below shows the initial German advance, the two central squads getting a rough time of it.

There were three of us playing, Steve T., Andy and my good self in a more solid and less anthropomorphic guise. Steve T. played the Brits and dug himself in to the available terrain. We decided to allow the Germans to enter the game from a random direction in DBA fashion. Steve nominated a favoured edge that was numbered 1-3 and the remaining three edges numbered 4-5 &6. We rolled a one so promptly advanced into a reasonably well prepared defence. There rules favour very early war Brits and make them hard to hit and they are able to shake of pin markers more easily...they can also shoot well too but all of this is kept within reasonable boundaries...but bloody hell did we need the extra troops! We advanced half the German platoon in the hope of keeping the Brits occupied, then bringing on the rest to exploit weak points etc. In this Andy and I were partially successful but we lost quite a few men in the process. The Brits ability to shake off pin markers and their sheltered positions made this a tough job but we kept pushing and were applying a lot of pressure. By the time we brought on our reinforcements the British line was looking a little shaky!

By the end of the game though we had pushed Steve into one central area, shown above at an earlier stage of the game, and was threatening to surround him; but the casualties were mounting up. It was hard to decide upon a winner, the Brits were being pushed but were now in a more solid position from which to mount a defence...that said, they were also now at a real risk of being surrounded and if this was a real fight the oncoming German forces would have found a nicely concentrated target. The Brits may have been better to fall back whilst still in good order and continued to inflict casualties in a running fight.

The rules are great and provide a good game with historically accurate results. I think that the Germans need to keep moving and try to get to melee with the Brits to minimise their shooting bonuses but, melee is bloody in these rules so.... A good game was had by all but, more importantly, how did we get on with regard to promotion?

Not too well as it turns out. We were in a hall, which was good, but nothing much else we were a bit isolated to say the least. We did get a few visitors, all of which were given one of our nice bookmarks and an invite to the Open Day. A few youngsters came to chat and we helped with ideas for setting up their own club at school, we even offered to help where possible and work with the school. I did speak to several of the other groups involved and offered our services and it seems that we may have made a few friends for the future here. It was our first go, of course, but I have high hopes that we can integrate ourselves as a club withing the wider community....a good way of advertising ourselves and attracting new members too of course!!