Sunday 31 December 2017

2017 in Review

As has become customary on the last day of the year, here's a review of how I did against "the plan". Astute readers will have seen that I forgot to do a mid year review, so tgis could all be a nice - or nasty - surprise!

Renaissance Galleys

I said - I will continue to revise my squadron level rules, then work on the fleet action set to bring them to the same standard, and finally a campaign system catering for both fleet and squadron level games. No specific terrain or other bits and pieces needed except maybe an ornate fortification or two, and no need for any new models (any odds and sods I find to be finished off though). As a “stretch” target I may sort out some of my Valiant Armada era models as suitable Mediterranean roundships or visiting English and Dutch raiders.

I did - pretty well. The squadron level rules were completed and published and seem to be quite popular. I managed to repaint just about my entire collection of 1/1200 galleys and for the first time I  decades came up with paint jobs tht I was happy with. I sorted out several shore batteries, fortifications and other scenic bits, and got quite  a few games in during the Summer. The fleet level rules didn't get progressed, and he campaign system was put on hold when Simon Stokes released his "Stato da Mar" system. My own system is something I may come back to in 2018.

Summary - pretty good.

Fast Play 19th Century

I said - Continue to develop the rules for pre-dreads and WW1. Possibly develop a set of ship stats and a campaign system for the pacific War between Chile and Peru (probably sits best with” Broadside and Ram”. Look to push the B&R system back to cover the 1850s, possibly earlier.

I did - the main developments here were in my Russo Japanese and Spanish American War collections, both of which were overhauled and, in the case of the latter, significantly expanded. On the rules front I developed the quick play set from "Broadside and Ram" into a more pre-dread focussed set and then published campaign packs for RJW and Span Am. Both doing well at the moment. The Pacific War project was put on hold and is likely to be one of the first to kick off in 2018/

Summary - good

WW2 Eastern Front Skirmish

I said - Now “Winter Skirmish” as I have a US Army to finish, so the objective here is to sort out the Americans, knock up the requisite play aids for Operation Warboard and then get some games in. Also, sort out a few more terrain bits and pieces (slushy tracks, icy rivers and a European farmhouse based on the old Airfix La Haye Sainte, one of which I have kicking about somewhere.

I did - lots of modelling on this, both I terms of forces (plenty or new Russian, US and German vehicles, artillery and figures painted) and terrain 9a new terrain cloth, winter roads, woods, buildings etc.) The one thing I never got around to was actually playing a game, so the "Op Warboard" play aids are still outstanding.

Summary - pretty good

Form Line of Battle

I said - Yes, I WILL get some 1/450 xebecs and galleys sorted out

I did - not! Whilst I had plenty of ideas on what to do here I never actually got started. Hopefully yht interest at the BV club in doing some more FLoB games will prompt some action in 2018.

Summary - poor

Iron and Fire

I said - I have uncovered some more 1/1200 models (plus there’s some new ones from Pithead to do) so aiming to get these all finished. Then to embark on a programme to pre-generate ship cards in I&F format for all my models

I did - I managed to get all of the ships painted up, plus some renovations on my 1/1200 collection. I also managed to paint up several fortification sets that I'd had lying around, and at the time of writing I'm part way through modelling Fort St Philip and Fort St Philip. No work on the I&F cards however

Summary - fair

Coastal Forces

I said - As last year, I intend to spruce up my existing 1/600 collection and get a few games in. A stretch target will be to revise my fast play 1/1200 rules.

I did - some sprucing up, but precious little else

Summary - Poor

Other Bits and Pieces

As usual, other stiff cropped up and took away time from the planned projects. These included:

The 75th anniversary Battle of Midway game at the Tudor Arms

"Mad Wet Max” - went from a silly idea to an award-winning participation game in the space of a few months. It had its first outing at the naval Wargames Weekend, and then went on to win the "Best Participation Game" award at the Thornbury IPMS show (the 5th year in a row that I've won!)

Burma Skirmish - a big push on this with just about all my Australian/British and Japanese forces painted up, some scenery done and most of my USMC vehicles painted as well. Only the USMC troops to do now,

Liz and I started making a 15mm old English inn about 25 years ago. The roof remained unfinished for 23 of those 25 years.  I decided enough was enough and this was completed in January. I was very pleased with the results.

Ancient Naval - having sorted out my Renaissance galleys I applied the same techniques to my ancient collection. The result was a revised set of fast play rules and a collection of ships that I was very pleased with.

So, all in all a busy and productive year. As always some aspect s of he plan just didn't happen but generally because time was diverted into other things that went well. Overall, a pretty good wargaming year.

And I’d quite like to get some DBA, Fire and Fury and Napoleonic Fire and Fury games in too (oh, and my Sudan game too – been in the box for far too long!). 

Wednesday 20 December 2017

Op Corporate for Air War C21

I've had a number of requests for the Falklands Conflict supplement that I wrote for Air War C21 many years ago. Its long out of print so I have spruced up the booklet and put it up on Wargame Vault. It is for the FIRST EDITION of C21, although it will, I hope, be of some use and interest to users of the current edition. The plan is to thoroughly update it next year to reflect the current edition of the rules, so for now its "pay what you want".

You can find a PDF copy of the booklet here:

Friday 8 December 2017

Splendid Little War

My latest Wargame Vault production has finally hit the streets after a busy few weeks getting the finishing touches in place. "Splendid Little War" covers the Spanish American War of 1898, and features a short history of the war, a campaign system covering both the Caribbean and the Philippines, and my "Broadside and Salvo" pre-dreadnought rules. The set comprises a 60 page book, A3 copies of the campaign area maps, ship counters for US, Spanish and other nations vessels, and a set of patrol/blockade counters for use on the campaign maps. The approach is based on my earlier "White Bear Red Sun" campaign pack for the Russo Japanese War, but builds on that system in a  number of areas.

Astute readers will be aware that the war at sea ended up being something of a one sided affair due to the poor material state of much of the Spanish fleet, so the campaign allows players to work with the Spaniards as they should have been with well maintained ships and operational weapons, as well as the historical state of poorly maintained ships with inoperable weapons (and in some cases, main armament not even fitted). For added fun there are options to allow British, German and other European national interventions, so plenty of scope for some unusual actions in a historical setting.

I'm rather pleased at how this one has turned out. And it gave me the ideal excuse to spruce up my US pre-dreads and splurge on some of the lovely WTJ 3D printed models!

Splendid Little War can be found here:

Sunday 3 December 2017


Astute readers may be aware of Hysterical Games' "Panzerfauste" fantasy WW2 setting ans skirmish figures in 28mm. Hysterical are now extending into the air with "Spitfyre", a game of air combat and air beasts. Spitfyre was the subject of an extremely successful Kickstarter project in hOctober/November this year with the target met in just a few days and a number of stretch goals achieved. The rules themselves use my "Air War C21" system as their basis and we are going trough last minute tweaking to give them an "air beast" feel to them as opposed to a more traditional air combat game between aircraft.

The game features Orc Spitfyres (small dragons) versus Dwarf war eagles, KampfGeier 87 vulture dive bombers, Condor transports, war bats, pigeon bombers and more. Clearly a lot of (warped) imagination has gone into this game.

I'd seen the 3D renders on th Kickstater page ans was impressed, but then I saw the prototype models at Warfare and then again at Reveille - by now painted in splendid schemes. They are truly lovely!

Initial deliveries of the starter set are due for early 2018, with stretches and the "eagles over Branz-um" expansion arriving in the middle of the year. Should be a good fun game to take to club night, and an opportunity to use those old FFG dragons from their D&D dragon air combat game that never really got off the ground :)