Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Blood, Bilge and Iron Balls

Welcome to my newest follwers, Ash and Oliver. I hope you find something of interest here.

I am advised that my wargame rules, Blood, Bilge and Iron Balls, has been printed and copies are now at the Pen and Sword warehouse! This means that they will soon be available for sale through the Pen and Sword website ( ) , Amazon and so on. I doubt you will find a copy at Waterstones or anything...not that I wanted to stroll into such a store, pick up a copy and say in my outside voice, 'Oh my! Here is a copy of the book that I have written, wow it does look nice and shiny....' etc etc etc. Nope, not the sort of thing that I would do at all.

Here is a picture of it too, just so you know what you are looking or when you finally realise how desperately you want a copy. Perhaps you could forward this on to Santa, just so he knows you dont want socks or bath salts or an eighteenth copy of 101 things to do with a dead cat. It might be worth you printing a copy or seven of this blog off, you know....leave them lying about the place in strategic locations so anyone wondering what to buy you can be left in little doubt. And, given that it is generally available for under £ Fair enough.

The Pen and Sword site has a space for people to leave reviews, there are none for these rules yet of course but I wonder what will end up there? One other set of rules on that site has four reviews but the very first one is anything but positive, what will people make of my efforts????? A little worrying but my editor tells me I have nothing to worry about. He has a lot of confidence in my rules so I will just have to trust his judgment. Any proceeds of this book will help support the MHWC and its efforts to bring wargaming to new audiences.

I wrote the very first version of these rules way back in 1991 and the very first person to ever play them in anger was also the very first person to join my Blog, Robert (Bob) Cordery! He liked them back then, I wonder what he will make of them now? Given that Bob was also my head of year in 1977/78 and my teacher for many years he probably has an axe or three to grind.....oh my......

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Stupid Super Glue!!

The title says it all. This is not my usual story of me firmly fixing myself to the table or a base of four 28mm English Civil war pikemen (hospital visits twice within three weeks with figures from the same unit in 1990).

BTW - welcome to my second follower! Hi Clint!!

I get through a lot of super glue, not the posh stuff, the 'twelve tubes for a quid' gloop you can get from Poundland. Its not perfect of course but what is for a quid? I only use the stuff for sticking figures to coins for painting and bases. Works well on coins, holds the figure down well enough and breaks away nicely when strategically tapped with a pair of pliers when you want to remove the figure for basing elsewhere. All went well until I glued the figures down onto their game bases, 40mm x 40mm mounting board. several of the figures didnt want to stay on the bases so I had to be a little more liberal with the glue than normal. I have done this hundreds of times with dozens of different makes of super glue so this held few fears for me...although my wife voiced her usual concerns for the coffee table after last years...unpleasantness?

The figures took ages to stick but I was patient and left them for a good while; experienced you see. This time however, the glue oxidised onto the figures! Each one was pure white from the soles of their boots to the hem of their tunics!! I have had some very minor occurences of this previously, an odd spot or two, but nothing like this. Even the tops of the figures had been dulled, a slight dusting that would have been bad enough on its own but this looked an awful lot like disaster. The cure? More patients and a couple of dozen cotton buds dipped in water, each carefully used in a gentle circular motion to rub off the white stuff. It took hours of careful, painstaking effort to clean the legs of each figure. Even then they were far from perfect but at least they had black boots, white gaiters and red breeches again; all a little more dull than I would have liked.........

Be warned, look out for the yellow Extra Strong Super Glue tubs sold at '99p Stores'. At least be careful how you use them and how much you use.
Stupid super glue.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Bad Vibes in the A Shau, November, 1969 (or....I kill you long time!)

Club member Steve, he of the curious need to ram everything on a wargames table, put on his very first game for the club last night. He had worked out some rules based upon Rapid Fire for a Vietnam game, a period he is particularly attached to, organised the scenario, bought and painted a box-full of figures and liaised with some of the other members for extra figures and some terrain. Not bad for a first  try at something like this; he made a good job of it too.

He had organised the six players with commands, I ended up with some very enthusiastic peasants armed with a variety of weapons useful for close quarter fire-fights. Phil and Alex had better quality Vietnamese forces. Clive, Andy and Mark took on the roles of imperialist pigs; bit of typecasting there methinks. The game was based around the Americans attempt to rescue the crew of a downed helicopter, we nasties had the job of stopping them. This was a major rescue attempt, never seen so many Americans all moving in the same direction....not in this part of the jungle anyway! I had the joy of just reaching the river clearing, where the downed aircraft was, when a 'Loach' appeared over the trees....apparently, this is not a fish but a small scout type helicopter. Don't tend to see many of them during my eighteenth century games or ww1 skirmishes! I shot it down! Me! Me of the unfortunate dice! My guys missed the crew of the first downed helicopter, now being ushered away by a rescue team but that was OK, I had created my own downed crew.

I was then on the receiving end of bad news when two gun ships turned up to support the evacuation and made a bit of a mess but...long story short (too late) I managed to shoot one of those down too! It was the luckiest of lucky shots of course, poor Clive was more than a little disappointed to say the least. So far my guys, the sorriest bunch ever to hold an AK47, were having a great time.

My fellow non-Americans were holding their own too. Phil manged to hold off the worst of a Grunt ground assault (see? I am even getting the hang of the lingo!) with a few casualties....up until a swarm of helicopters turned up with reinforcements quickly followed by a plane (don't ask me what it was). The plane made the previous mess even worse with a bombing run and more casualties for us but, we held our own. Alex was now getting involved as his posh troops turned up to help off-set the American advance although we were still out-numbered. That said, the Americans had left more aircrew behind than they had originally come to rescue! Steve declared that the Glorious Forces of the Peoples Vietnam had gained a partial victory. I was just happy that Steve's game and hard work had paid off....and that I had been the cause of casualties rather than a net importer as usually happens.

The rules and scenario were not perfect (only minor tweaks needed) but everyone had a good evening and the game was well thought out, all very enjoyable; the definition of a good game. Hopefully, Steve will build on this and has already offered to run a follow on game next year. I for one look forward to it, although I think I used up all my Vietnam luck during this game! 

For me, this is an important aspect of any club, giving people the chance, confidence and support to run games of their own. We do get a good mix of games at the MHWC and when the least experienced members can feel comfortable enough to get so involved it can only bode well for us as a club.

Nice one Steve, well done.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

WW2 at the weekend....

Wow, I have my first (and only) member! Thanks Bob, I really appreciate your support.

This weekend club secretary, Mark, and I had arranged to meet up and try out the ww2 rules 'Operation Squad'. Mark stoped by the hall to picked up some terrain pieces and arrived at my house with the obligatory biscuits; sorted.

Operation Squad only uses  ten or so figures a side and can be played on quite small tables, my large coffee table was perfect if not a little narrow, so we were able to have a decent game in relative comfort...with biscuits don't forget! I used my new Fallschrimjager and mark his fantastically painted 'Screaming Eagles', and with even some basic terrain the game looked great. We decided to only use basic weapons whilst we both got the hang of the rules, although we forgot that Mark's figures had M1's! These get two shots and were quite powerful against my KAR98 rifles, not that I am bitter or anything. We had a very nice afternoon, even if I did lose. In fairness it doesn't matter what you are armed with when you roll a three with two six sidded dice, the outcome will never be good. I lost three of my Fallschirmjager in quick succession, each rolling that same damned number! The writting was on the wall then and it was just a matter of time.

Win or lose I had a good time in good company. We had to debate certain rules of course but both agreed that Operation Squad was a success, a very worthy afternoon filler that will work well at the club within a multi game framework. Each player could take a squad from within the same platoon and so some very interesting scenarios could be played out. We even think that we could work the rules with our larger collections of WW1 figures. In fact, I am sure with a few tweeks these could be made to work for many periods and the efforts would be very well spent because the rules are actually very good and deceptively simple.

I played a second, solo game, after Mark went home for his tea. My Fallschirmjager lost again!! How is that fair?? This time to a unit of British Para's that were dug in behind a wall. Bloody Bren guns. I used far less terrain, a few bomb craters for the approach and a static Brit defence and still got a highly enjoyable game with another realistic result.

On top of all this, Arsenal won away too!

Friday, 18 November 2011 does this thing work?

This is my first attempt at probably shows.

I thought this might be a useful thing, a good way of communicating with members of the MHWC, our friends and supporters, the clubs and traders that work with us to make Broadside such a success and, possibly, other wargmers out there that may find this of interest. Sometimes the blog will highlight club happenings, other times it might just be a platform for me to ramble or excorcise wargame frustrations. We all get them, I will try and keep them relevant of course.

My inspiration to set up this blog stems from my old school teacher and now good friend, Bob Cordery, and his blog, Wargaming Miscellany. I have picked up a few good ideas from that blog and thought, given how dynamic the Milton Hundred Wargames Club can be, that others may find something of use. That said, I will have to spend sometime working out how this damn thing actually works, so allow me a little latitude until I get my bearings. Feel free to comment on any post too, it will be great to hear from you.

My plan is to add a post every couple of days or so, especially as we are now working hard on organising Broadside 2012. I have been searching for and emailing old and new companies, raising our profile and sending invites. The success of Broadside 2011 has attracted interest and some big names are coming our way, Warlord Games have already booked their space and I am confident others will soon follow. The list of confirmed traders and clubs can be found on the Broadside 2012 pages of the club website.

As an aside, the postie has just delivered my copy of the Hail Ceasar army list book! This is the first of several to be published by Warlord Games and covers the biblical and classical periods. I shall have a read through and post a review here soon.