Sunday, 23 August 2015


Its just over  a month until "Stingray" gets its next outing, this time at Blast-Tastic in Bristol. The Thornbury game went well but an annoying (and, on reflection, rather obvious) "feature" of the games was how they all ended up with a furball in one part of the table as the Terror Fish tried to catch the escaping civilian submarine. To try and get around that I've knocked up some Terranean seabed structures, aka "targets"

As with many things that I construct these days handy household items and bits of rubbish have been pressed into service. I won't say what these structures are made up of just yet, see if you can work it out for yourselves :)

The plan with the Blast Tastic games is to use these as objectives, key Terranean structures to be defended or destroyed, and distributed around the table so as to make it more of a game of manoeuvre. Fingers crossed we'll end up with more fluid games :)

Sunday, 16 August 2015

The Plan - Mid(ish) Year Review

As the half way point of 2015 has come and gone I thought it would be good to review "The Plan".

Everything seemed pretty straightforward in January, little was I to know that life would be thrown upside down only a few weeks later, and the turmoil has continued pretty much constantly since then. That said wargaming has proven to be a good occasional therapy, so lets see how we are doing.....
1) Project X - I will get phase 2 sorted out by the Summer.
"Phase 2" was to get my medieval naval rules done, dusted and published. This happened at the beginning of August so that's a "yes". Now thinking actively about Phase 3 :)
2) Engage! - I'll renovate my FASA Star Trek fleets, sort out the various unpainted ships that I have to hand and will put together stat sheets for all the models.
I had a big push on this in January so I have stat sheets done for most of the ships in the FASA fleet books. Model renovation hasn't started yet and I still have to do stat sheets for the non-FASA ships in my Star Trek collection. So this is a work in progress, but there has been considerable progress so far.
3) FLoB - Yes, get those fleets renovated like I was supposed to do last year, and expand the 1/450 fleets for the Adriatic campaign (which means a few galleys needed)
Nothing on this yet. galleys are the big problem.
4) Burma Skirmish - I've been picking up odd bits and pieces for this for some time. 20mm "retro" gaming, going back to my wargaming roots in the 1970s and 80s. I'll put together at least a platoon's worth of troops for each side (and possibly some US as well, especially if I can track down a 20mm LVT(A) somewhere)and get some games in. "Operation Warboard" likely to be the rules in use to complete the whole retro thing :)
Getting there - my Japanese troops are painted and need basing, my Aussies and Gurkhas stalled but hopefully kicking off again now that I've found some older models where the pastic used was much more pleasing to the eye - and not requiring so much in the way of paint. I found some LVT(A)1s at a show in February for a very reasonable price. Overall - fair progress made, but still can't actually play a game with these yet.
5) Mad Max - Inspired by the new film coming out later this year I've always had a hankering to do some sort of "road warrior" gaming. I have an idea about some rules, and there are so many handy Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars that I think will be ideal for kitbashing.
I now have a box full of cars, trucks and other vehicles, some bikes to paint up and some useful figures for foot-sloggers. Rules still need thinking about. But doing well here.
6) BASF - Bolt Action Sci Fi. We've tried this a few times at BV. I have a pile of stuff to sort out for this. Fun to do.
Mostly done, I still have a small pile of figures to paint up. so again, decent progress.

So, despite the upheaval of the last 8 months I've actually achieved quite a bit, Things are in the doldrums at the moment at least as painting is concerned as my new wargames HQ is without power and lighting, or a decent painting table all of which are planned but taking an age to sort out) but with luck they'll be sorted in a month or two and then its full steam ahead :)

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Stingray Wins at IPMS Avon

Just back from the IPMS Avon Show at the Thornbury Leisure Centre where "Stingray" won the award for Best Participation Game. I'm particularly chuffed as this is the third time in the three years of the show that I've won this award (the previous two games were both Wings of Glory). First off I must say a very big "thank you" to Stuart and Gareth for helping out with running the game. Your efforts and enthusiasm were greatly appreciated.

The whole thing nearly fell apart at 0815 this morning when I discovered that the sound effects for the game weren't going to be available (tablet with movie file left at home, file successfully downloaded to phone but then bluetooth speakers died). And then to cap it all the box containing the models fell from the table to the floor, scattering models all over the place and smashing a few.  So a very hurried half hour sticking things back together again and improvising where necessary. And so by 0930 as the show opened we were up and running.

The calm before the storm.....

In all we got through five games during the 6 hours of the show, thus meeting the "game in an hour" criterion (we had a long lunch break!). Each game featured a civilian submarine carrying secret documents, equipment or personnel that had to escape from the table, the WASP players escorting it, the Aquahibians seeking to destroy it. Honours were just about even with Titan's Terrors (the Aquaphibians) and the Accursed Terraneans (WASP) winning two games clear. The fifth and final game went down to the wire with the civilian sub crippled but just making it off whilst in the middle of the table Stingray was blown out of the water (this was the only game where this happened - the whereabouts of Troy Tempest and Phones is currently unknown!). We called this a marginal WASP victory, but the Aquaphibians claimed the moral victory having despatched the Accursed Tempest to a watery grave!

We had a great time running the game and with just one exception** everyone who played it enjoyed it too. We had one youngster play it three times and he was most upset that we couldn't run a 6th game after the show closed. having his dad thank us for giving his son such a  good time was icing on the cake of a good day.

Even though all went well there's still some room for improvement. The rules are, I think, just about there now. Some variation in scenarios is needed and I'm now looking at making some undersea mining installations and bases for the next outing, which will be Blast-Tastic in early October.

Just to finish off, it was also a lovely opportunity to meet some old friends and make new ones. It really was a lovely day out and away from the stresses of everyday life.

Friday, 7 August 2015

One Hour Wargames - Pike and Shot Additions

A few people have asked me here through comments or via email what additions I've made to the Pike and Shot rules in "One Hour Wargames". Here's a summary:

Added Artillery, Shock Cavalry and Dragoon troop types

Artillery - move 4" (or optionally, position at start of game and they remain immobile). Range 18", unit rolls 2 dice for casualties, roll for out of ammo as normal. May not enter any terrain features, may not move into contact with enemy, only causes half number of casualties in hand to hand (round down)

Dragoons - move 10" , may shoot at end of move, may only charge into combat if out of ammo, shooting range 10", half casualties when engaging Cavalry, Reiters or Lobsters (round in favour of attacker)

Shock Cavalry (inspired by Haselrigg's Lobsters) - move 10", may not end move in a town, roll 2d6 for casualties on first turn of hand to hand combat. Swordsmen only inflict half casualties on Shock cavalry in hand to hand

Withdraw from Melee -Cavalry, Reiters, Dragoons  or Shock Cavalry can withdraw up to 12" but end their movement  facing away from the enemy when doing so. Enemy Reiters, Dragoons and Infantry who are not out of ammunition may also get a free shot as they withdraw.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Stingray Heads to IPMS Thornbury

In a sudden change of plan last night I'm now running my Stingray parti game at the IPMS show at Thornbury Leisure Centre this coming Sunday. As its a late breaking booking I'm short of players so if anyone reading this would like to come along and help run the game please let me know. This will be the first run out for the new control sheets which replace the damage cards that I tried at Gosport.

Hope to see some of you there :)

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

One Hour Wargames

Like a few others in the wargaming blogosphere I've got a copy of Neil Thomas' "One Hour Wargames". At first glance there's not much here for the established wargamer. That first glance would be wrong. Some delightfully simple yet effective sets of rules covering ancients to WW2 which deliver enjoyable games of an hour or less that are actually very satisfying. As a wargamer of long standing I have inevitably tinkered with them and added a few bells and whistles to some of the sets presented here, but they all play just fine "out of the box". And of course this book makes the perfect introduction to ab initio wargamers. In true Bruce Quarrie or Donald Featherstone style a copy of the book, a few boxes of Airfix soldiers and you are away!

Anyway, I have been mostly trying these out with my 15mm English Civil War collection, all based up in a semi-WRG sense (as I got into 15mm ECW via one of Peter Colbeck's campaign weekends where we were using a DBA variant). A few fun games led to some "enhancements" so I now have some additional troop types in shock cavalry (Lobsters) and artillery, allowances for fortifications and options to withdraw from melee (which is a risky thing to try), minimal changes written in the style and level of complexity of the standard rules so they add (IMHO) to the experience without slowing the game down or making it too complex. Alas no piccies as yet since I can't find my green cloth and so the battles are being fought out over a dramatic sea scape adorned with terrain features (looks a bit like Somerset during the floods!) 

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Lord of the Sea

After four years of development and a year of bashing through the last stages of playtesting and formatting I am happy to announce the publication of "Lord of the Sea", my second set of self-published naval rules which has just become available through Wargame Vault.

As those who have followed the development of these rules through occasional insights in this blog, "Lord of the Sea" is a collection of fast play rules covering individual ship actions, major battles and featuring an extended campaign system , and is centred primarily on naval actions in Northern European waters in the 13th to 15th centuries.

The rules have been written with 1/1200 scale models in mind, their inspiration originally being the models designed by Outpost Wargaming Services, but growing with the availability of other models from Ral Partha and Navwar.

On sale now and a snip at what I hope is a very reasonable $5 a copy :)