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Friday, 26 August 2016

Visit to Coldstream Guards Museum

It's close to the end of our annual holiday; this year, Northumberland. Our base has been Coldstream which is literally just over the border into Scotland, across the river Tweed. Lots of day trips out, remembering an earlier stay when William was about 4 years old (including a visit, if you can see it, to Bamburgh Castle).

We spent the last day around Coldstream itself. William bought some bullets from the Somme and a modern military compass from an army surplus store, and we then visited a very small musuem dedicated to the Coldstream Guards.

I'm not one for studying in detail all of the exhibits, maybe it's a short attention span. Sometimes it all feels overwhelming taking in all of the detail in, and the narrative gets a little lost along the way. What did catch my eye was two displays; you can probably guess why...

The first was a display of the battle of Flodden (1513). Not particularly about the Guards, but the battlefield is only about two miles down the road at Braxton. A well known battle for the fact that it was the last time a monarch died in battle, James IV of Scotland. A nice little display in what looks like 6mm.

The second definetly had more relevance to the Coldstream Guards, the battle of Waterloo. More specifically, the regiment's involvement around the farm of Hougemont.

A nice little museum, particularly as it's free.

 

Friday, 19 August 2016

Another off the shelve - Britannia

Sometimes simple things affect how a game gets to the table. A lack of grip bags, a busy work life and lack of energy left this classic on the 'must try' relegation pile. Well, having read the rules at a glance, and played my first three, Roman dominated, turns, here are some initial thoughts.

I think the idea of a grand sweeping, epic story of the formative history of Great Britain is a clear pull. Well known characters, such as Arthur and Boudicca add to the glory of the tale. When it comes down to it though, it's still quite a head scratching, deep strategic process where knowledge of the map is crucial. Seeing who is leading the race to game dominance is difficult as victory points are not evenly distributed across each player and their player controlled factions. For instance Rome gains two points for taking over a territory, whilst different tribes gain different levels of points for killing units - 6 points for the Belgaie for instance.

This inconsistent approach to point scoring is then made even more complicated to follow by having different tribes entering the game in later turns, each with their own differing victory conditions. All of this isn't a problem if you are prepared to spend time learning the map and each of the differing faction's.success factors. For me personally, I could quite get into the sweeping story telling, reminiscent of the historic film epics of the forties and fifties; for the others that I game with (mum and dad for instance), I don't see the initial rewards outweighing the learning curve...although I would like to think that I am wrong.

Alternative thoughts on this is that if you are looking for a quicker, similar experience (even though it is a fantasy setting) 'Smallworld' would be a better option; it uses similar concepts of conquest and combat, but with a much simpler approach.

 

Thursday, 18 August 2016

All Things Zombie - Supply Run Part Two

A short post this one...

The Zombie meter was just to high for Tonya and Beck to deal with. It seemed each gunshot drew a fresh Zombie, and each house entered spewed out yet more deadly dead opponents.fight or flight? Better a fresh attempt another day...both characters barely escaping with their lives!

 

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

All Things Zombie - Supply Run

I've recently overhauled my boardgame collection and shelved them inside the house. The ready access to the games library has encouraged me to delve into some of them a little more...hence All Things Zombie!

It's been a while since looking at this game, so I decided to give the first scenario a go...a supply run into the suburbs. Here's a photo log of the first ten turns.

An interesting, unpredictable story of two lonely survivors fighting against the eternal odds. Pistols and bludgeons so far keep the desperate pair alive, with only a vest to show for their efforts. Will have a go at the next unfolding chapter tomorrow.

 

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Small rural village revisited

A longer time ago than I care to remember I bought a 15mm village in a box from Kerr and King. It's so long ago that I cannot find it on their website anymore. I think that it is a slightly obscure region of the trans Caucasus or Romania. The buildings are quite quirky; I particularly like the sharp, pointed roofs.

I originally painted them before I had discovered flat brushes and weathering powders. The first paint job was quite bland, with washes over some dull coloured browns. My paint scheme never really lit my fire so the buildings got relegated to a draw when I discovered the railway building scene. Having recently played some 15mm WWII on hexes I got the buildings out again as they fitted nicely on my hexes and suited an early war Russian front scenario.

Finding the buildings interesting again, I thought it was time to give them a little love again. To lift the detail I used a light grey to edge the roof tiles and edges of the buildings. I also patched areas on the roofs and walls. It was then time to get out the weathering powders; dry mud, track brown and black smoke. Finally a spray varnish to blend it all back together.

Now, what random thing shall I move onto next? Quick wins and quick gains at the moment...

 

Sunday, 7 August 2016

In the pursuit of (wargaming) happiness.

In an attempt to speed up finding the right balance of playing interesting, quick rules and a visually appealing table, I've been looking at some existing boardgames to use. I've owned for some years the boardgame 'Panzer Grenadier' by Avalanche Press. The system has been supported by many expansions, however the reviews of the system have been somewhat mixed; too light, with not enough detail or meat.

My hope is that the system is robust enough to bolt on the command system from the ACW miniatures rules, Altar of Freedom. Myself and Stew had a go with the actual boardgame on Wednesday which seemed to go okay. But would it convert to miniatures? Here's the initial set-ups:

I wanted a mix of unit types without the game being overly complicated. The Soviets had 12 platoons of infantry, a couple of supporting MG platoons, a towed 45mm AT gun and field gun, all supported by 2 T70s. The Germans were similar but on a smaller scale, with mortar support. I didn't include German tanks, but thought I could add them in as reinforcements.

I've only played two turns, but the game went along very quickly. The Soviet infantry attack in the centre quickly stalled as it was bombarded by mortars, and softened by close quarter shooting. The Russian right flank slowly entered the woods, with the T70s making a wide wheeling flanking manouvre ready to pounce.

So far, it seems to work well to what I had hoped. My new basing helped as I could use different coloured dice to represent their status (white for disrupted, red for demoralized). The playing surface looked clean without the normal levels of clutter that I have felt with games played with other systems. I have also recently modified some of my hexon blank, city boards into wood/brush areas which I am quite pleased with. I'll play a few more turns and see what happens.