Sunday, 27 January 2013

Crusade 2013

Regular readers and friends will know that I've been running and playing in various Wings of War / Wings of Glory participation games in the region. The latest of these was at the popular "Crusade" show at Penarth. And didn't we have a fun time? Despite the best efforts of my satnav we arrived nice and early to set up, so we were ready to go an hour before opening time. Of course that also meant we were exposed to the glacially icy blasts coming through the open side doors as everyone else set up, but tea and coffee provided gratis by the organisers helped that, and was most welcome. So, at 1000Z we kicked off the first of the three morning session games, each featuring the coastal airship (under umpire control) attempting to bomb a disabled u-boat. The airship being defended by a combined British and Italian flight (Macchi M5s and a Sopwith Baby), whilst the Kaiser's finest attempted to frustrate the plans of the evil Entente (Oeffag H, Hansa Brandenberg W18 and Hansa Brandenberg CC. The airship is a slow and vulnerable beast, and it took a lot to get it to survive to get anywhere near the U boat (bulked up its damage points, made it go fast (although still painfully slow) and finally fought across the table rather than along it). She went down quickly in game 1, got about half way in game 2 and was very nearly on top of the target in game 3. But despite this the games were great fun and the use of the seaplanes and the airship drew a lot of interest in the game. We spent ages chatting with the public about all aspects of the game, modelling, availability of the goodies, and directing them to the various traders on the floor who were stocking Ares products and KR multi cases.

After lunch we decided to go to the Western Front, with two dogfighting sessions. The first with eight players, the second with ten. We fought with the usual mix of camels, Spads, Albtari and Triplanes, bringing in some two-seaters for added fun in the final game. The 8 player session was a really close fought action that almost ended with the four surviving planes all colliding on what I was sure would be the last turn. However it was not to be and in the end there was but one survivor. The second game was carnage, with the Entente planes going down like ninepins until only a lone RNAS Camel was left and her intrepid pilot decided discretion was the better part of valour and legged it from the table. He was the youngest player (we had a good mix of ages throughout the day, but quite a few kids in the afternoon) and it was extremely gratifying when he came over to me and thanked me for the game which he really enjoyed, and for helping him. That made it all worth while. It was also nice to see several of the players wandering around the show later with various Ares products purchased from Stafford.

 And then it was time to pack up and go. We'd had a great time, we'd been visibly the most popular game there (I think its fair to say) and we introduced a good number of new and younger players to Wings of Glory. And in doing so we'd had a great time, made some new friends and met lots of old friends too.

On the shopping front, there was actually very little that caught my eye. 4Ground were there with some lovely laser-cut MDF buldings, and I suspect we'll be seeing some at the Berkeley Vale club shortly.  I picked up a copy of Admiral Porter's Naval History of the Civil War for a bargain price, and "Melody Lake" from Crooked Dice

Mayhem around the airship

This was as close as the airship got to the U Boat all day!

After lunch - back to the Western Front

The Blackhawk Down game running nearby

Mike Slack's South american 1900s game - excellent!

Sunday, 6 January 2013


Fresh off the painting table is the British Intervention Field Force, or "BIFF" as it is more commonly known. One of those shadowy units formed by the British Army in extremis during the 1930s, BIFF was tasked with protecting British interests in various small wars, insurrections and civil wars around the world. As its name suggests, BIFF would intervene for specific missions, frequently the extraction of UK and friendly nationals, or to secure assets of interest to the UK.

Actually I fancied raising a new force for my "not the Spanish Civil War" (NTSCW) collection, and I was inspired by the newly release Zvezda Matilda II and Matador truck. So, in keeping with my other NTSCW forces I've raised a couple of infantry companies with supporting artillery, field gun, HMG, mortar and anti tank rifle teams, and a nifty pair of early Carriers for the recce and spotter elements. The figures are a mix of Peter Pig WW1 and WW2 figures, vehicles from Skytrex, Zvezda, Peter Pig and QRF. I've always liked those nifty air recognition flags that the Germans draped over their vehicles in the early stages of WW2 so I thought something similar would be OK for BIFF - note also the CO's radio operator with a Union Flag flying from his aerial (I've been reading a  lot of Falklands material recently

I still have a few bits and pieces to do - some still in the post, but BIFF is now available and ready for tasking :)  And that is just about it for the NTSCW collection for a while, unless I decide to raise a similar but smaller German force (I was thinking paratroopers or a glider or 2), and the eagerly awaited T-35 from Zvezda.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

The Plan (2013)

2013 – The Plan

Yes, like the Cylons, I have a plan. Unfortunately I don’t have Lucy Lawless or Tricia Helfer to make it happen, but apart from that ‘m sure it will be a great success. This is what I’m planning to do this time around:

1)      More games – I didn’t do too badly as far as actual games were concerned last year, and moving to Berkeley Vale whilst also having the local Wings of War group running games won’t hurt prospects for this year too. I’d like to run some sort of Sudan, age-of-sail (thanks for the excellent material, Dave Schueler) and/or DBA campaign at home during the year, but these are “stretch” targets as far as the plan is concerned.

2)      Medieval Naval – yes, I will get the last of the cogs finished, and spruce up the rules.

3)      Wings of War – a “standing item” now. As well as playing at home and with the Avon group I’m hoping to get  afew demo/parti games at shows sorted this year too.

4)      X wing – get my collection of ships sorted out, make up all requisite play aides for the various Micro Machines and other proxies.

5)      The Sudan – yes, get back to the purpose of this blog and play some more Sudan games. Also finish off the Bashi Basouks, a few outstanding terrain pieces and build at least one new gunboat

6)      WW2 Coastal – one of my original wargaming loves, I need to sort out my WW2 collection, fix a load of models that were broken in the move and generally get back in to playing this.

I have a few ideas for other things that will, no doubt, displace some of the above. Oh, and Project X is still on the back burner but may come roaring into life (dependent on outside influences though).

Finally I’ll be organising and gaming at the Naval Wargames Show in Gosport on June 22/23rd. Hope to see some of you there. Its months away, but I suspect those months will fly by VERY quickly!!!