Thursday, 29 May 2014

Conference of Wargamers 2014 sessions

COW2014 will be taking place from Friday11th July to Sunday 13th July 2014.  More on booking here.
According to the information I have so far received, the current session list is as below.  

If you are attending and have not yet submitted your session details, please do so no later then Friday 6 June.

Tim Gow et al
A Mighty Wind  -  The Plenary Game
1944.  The Home Islands are threatened by a huge enemy battle fleet and invasion force.  It is our sacred duty to die for the Emperor…..

WD Display Team North
Another fast-paced solo game.  Take to the skies over Kent to prevent those new unsporting V-1 flying bombs reaching London.  This only take 10 minutes to play so will run several times.  Who will be the top scorer in No. 607 ‘Knuston’ Wing? 

Will Whyler & Mike Elliott
Gladiolus (the old SOA Gladiator game)
Three or four boards probably in different scales.

Jim Wallman
Cabinet Office Briefing Room A
A committee game for up to 12. Crisis managment of an unprecedented and dangerous crisis. And explaining it on the Today Programme.

Jim Wallman
Saving Private Mouat
A 100% Totally Not Footfall mission to rescue one of HMGs most vital assets.

Jim Wallman
Warriors for the Working Day
Just another wargame involving toy tanks in WW2. But very suitable for those who can't tell their HVSS from their APDS.

Jim Wallman
Little Wars: The War of Firefly's Nose
If there's any enthusiasm for lounging around on the grass and projecting matchsticks at each other randomly.

John Bassett
404BC: Sparta has defeated Athens.  The birthplace of democracy groans beneath the Thirty Tyrants.  But a small group of rebels seek to change all that... A political/military role-play featuring Spartan warlords, philosophers, priests, democrats and oligarchs.

John Bassett
John Bassett on his favourite Roman poet: man about town, wit, master of seduction, intriguer at the imperial court and exile.  Will feature a re-enactment of the sad, sad story of Orpheus, with audience participation.

John Armatys
A simple set of wargames rules for company level actions in the early Twenty First Century using 15mm figures and die cast aeroplanes – an entertainment for up to four players.

Wayne Thomas & David Brock
Nimy Bridge in 15mm
A refight of the attack against the Mons salient by the German 18th Division of the IX Corps. The latest adaptation of "Far Away Wars" for 1914.

Ian Drury & Peter Grizzell
Muskets & Tomahawks ADG
French & Indian Wars using 25mm figures and the French skirmish rules Muskets & Tomahawks.

John Curry
British Army Counter Insurgency Model
This is a map based game about current British led multinational operations somewhere in a fantasy continent called Fafrica. Huge map, giant counters and at the simulation end of the game spectrum. The session will start with a 15 minute talk to set the scene, then play the game. The players will represent the planning staff and will attempt to run the operation in a country that is disintegrating around them. Strictly no photographs of the session.

John Curry
Donald Featherstone: His rise, his fall and his rise again.
Would the real Donald Featherstone stand up?  The first attempt to analyse the character of Donald Featherstone will include some controversial areas.

Mike Elliott
Rematch at Quebec
After the glorious victory and capture of Quebec in 1759, the British endured a Canadian winter. The French, determined to recapture the city and planned a new attack in April 1760…
A toy soldier  interpretation of the Battle of Ste Foy.

Mike Elliott
Enigma Variation
Being a puzzle game based on the vital deciphering work undertaken by a forerunner of the famous Enigma code-breakers of WW2
Note: this is a non timetabled activity. All COW attendees will be given a copy of an encrypted message at Dinner on the Friday evening and invited to decipher it. Clues will be published around Knuston at intervals during the weekend. There might even be a small prize for the first person to crack the code!

Graham Evans
To Ur is Human
Sumerian warfare with 20mm plastic armies, using a square table and quick and simple mechanisms. The rules feature a central "fear" mechanism modelling the fight/fright/flight condition of the various units as they encounter each other, rather than a traditional morale system. This was arrived at to try to model the effects of the Sumerian Battlecarts on their social inferiors.

Michael Young
Hapsburg Lip
(see Nugget 270) The now infamous game of politics, marriage and inbreeding in renaissance Europe. Now in it's next incarnation with some amendments to ensure that there is always someone in the marriage stakes.

Michael Young
The Byzantine General's problem
(see Nugget 268). Byzantine Generals have to organise and fight a battle. Some may be traitors. Can you defeat the enemy whilst at the same time work out who the traitors are in your midst? A few 15mm soldiers, lots of accusation and mistrust, no dice.

Ian Russell Lowell
The Incident at the the Zuliya River Crossing
A game-cum-rules session: Mountains crawling with warlike tribes, a Hittite Prince, a broken bridge, a goddess, fast-flowing water, someone behaving like a wild pig!  All under the mismanagement of Ian Russell Lowell.

Ian Russell Lowell
A Forgotten Conflict?  The German Peasants War 1524-1526
Collecting snail shells, Landsknechts, shoes on poles, and a painter named Jörg Ratgeb — plus religion, politics, social change in the Holy Roman Empire.  A gently-paced introduction with an aim to work out a way to wargame this conflict by Ian Russell Lowell.  (And no chariots at all, but maybe a fortified cart or two!)

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Liebster Award 2014

I have (again) been nominated for a Liebster Award!  The first time was in November 2012. My thanks to Herman over at Wargames Obsession for the nomination.  

The idea is to spread the word about blogs which readers may not know of.  I will therefore avoid nominating again the blogs I mentioned in 2012  - though I urge you to give them a look.  I have also not nominated blogs which I know have recently received this award.  My nominated blogs this time are:

Atomic Annihilation - a cheery look back to looking forward to an irradiated future.
Brazos Evil Empire - odd AFVs and obscure film clips?  Look no further.
Wargaming for Grown-Ups - combining game reports with prodigious figure-painting output.
Kit Noob - 'Proper modelling!'  A useful antidote to the slapdash bodging on my own blog.
Collecting Toy Soldiers - You have to respect someone who describes himself as a 'boring old fart.'
I LIKE the things I LIKE! - you really can't argue with a title like that.
Turkish Toy Soldier - the name says it all - I particularly recommend the Lego post from March.
Bunker Talk - strangely compelling!

The questions and my answers are as follows:

Why did you start blogging?
I couldn't figure out how to set up a website so blogging seemed like an easier option.

If you could change one thing about the wargaming hobby, what would it be?
People taking it way too seriously.

What is best in life?
Friends and family.

Fame or fortune?
Given that you are reading this I am clearly already famous.  Bring on the fortune...

What miniatures are you most proud of having painted?
I think this changes as I paint new toys.  Especially things I had previously told myself I couldn't paint.  Currently I favour my 1970s West Germans.

How do you deal with burn out?
By doing something different.  Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that more then one project is always underway...

Why is a raven like a writing desk?
Search me.

Star Wars or Star Trek?
Frankly I'll pass on both.

If you could only buy from one miniatures company from now on, which one would it be?
I really don't know.  Given that this year so far I have built and painted figure/kits/toys made by at least a dozen companies I am struggling to choose just one.  If pressed I'd go with Airfix - which has been with me since the beginning - and be prepared to do more conversion work.

What is your favourite takeaway?

Monday, 26 May 2014

Wargame Developments at Triples 2014

Rather belatedly - here are a few photos of WD's participation game 'Doodlebuggers' as played at Triples last weekend.  All taken on my iphone before we had any players - this was around 0730 on the Saturday morning!  Over the two days we had about 45 players.
The rather nice map.  This was based on an original wartime map added 'atmosphere' to the game.  Thanks are due to Kayte, Jerry and Sara for their part in this.

 The trusty Spitfire XIV stalks a V-1 over Essex.
 The Tempest V in similar pose.
This chap needed our paper DFC to finish off his uniform!

Friday, 23 May 2014

Who dares wins?

More frivolity in 54mm now.  These chaps are from the Airfix SAS set.  Being clad from head to toes in black makes them pretty easy to paint - the only 'colour' being the coils of rope - remember this set was originally released in the aftermath of the Iranian embassy siege!  Just for the hell of it I painted the weapons and webbing in dark grey.
Sorry about the hastily posed photos, and for the brooding presence of my 'Sgt.Yuk' DIVAD in the background, but it's been a busy week.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Operation Deep Thust - The Battle of Kakstadt, 1979 - part 4

The final (for the moment...) stage of the Kakstadt battle saw us return to the lawn. Sadly the game was cut short by rain but we managed to try more of the mechanisms and take plenty of photos!
Above is a Mirage flying a CAP mission above the front line.
The beasts from the East assembling their forces.
As the owner of a MIG-17 in East German markings it would have been churlish not to lend it to the enemy for the game.
The DDR forces seemed to be expecting trouble from above - here is the SAM Regiment with missiles and radar and just visible at the top left - Paul's splendidly bodged ZSU-23/4 Shilka.
Tanks roll west - covered rather scantily by smoke.
The Shilka again - defending the Commissar.
The commies had a whole battalion of tanks, including these T-55s.
The French had rushed a scanty force to the area - assembled from Solido's finest.  In the distance is an AMX-10 with HOT AT missiles.  The lump under the camo net is an AMX-13 DCA AA tank.  Nearer the camera is 'Petit Claude' - a splendid Simca/Unic 'Sumb' truck rather like the one I had a ride in a couple of years ago.
A closer look at the AMX-10.  This was rather broken when bought - the missile tubes are now held on with a subtle blend of wire and superglue.
A squadron of AMX-30 tanks hull down behind the railway.
The Fresco inbound on a bombing run.
The Mirage failing to shoot it down.

At this point the toys were getting wet and both sides retreated indoors.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Operation Full Frontal - The Battle of Kakstadt, 1979 - part 3b

As we return to Neu Kakstadt we find the PT-76 company probing round the flank (very nasty).  We last saw these chaps being hit by a mortar stonk but each toy can take 2 hits!
By now the French mortars were giving some thought to moving and had the engine of their AMX-VCI running...
The DDR dismounted assault proceeded in textbook fashion - we had after all, read the textbook!
A messy fight followed for the ruins at the top of the photo - and there goes another Entac at a BMP.
On their right flank, the tanks firing in support of the infantry had reduced considerably weakened the French mortar battery.
Infantry and BMPs trundle towards the French second line...
...where several gaps on stands can be seen.
Oh I say - that's rather unsporting!
This assaulting business works rather well.
Even the mighty AMX-13 came under sustained RPG fire...
...and eventually perished.
A further Sagger hit on an APC was the last straw for the French.  They shouldn't have left the doors open. Cue Michael Caine....
The survivors saddled up and departed, ending a most enjoyable game which saw several of the game mechanisms in use and more or less working.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Shopping from Triples

That's the first day of Triples done.  Our 'Doodlebuggers' game went well with around 35 players over the course of the day.  And much chatting with other SWS members and friends old and new - John, Martin, Nick, Tim, Bruce, Pete, Chris, Phil, Ben and Mark to name but a few.
But enough of that.  What - I hear you ask - did I buy?

Well not all that much really.  In fact so far I have spent £8.30 - or about the same as it will cost me in diesel to drive to the venue twice.
 First up - the Bring & Buy yielded this Tamiya kit for £3.50.
 On a trader's stall I spotted some Froggie frogmen - just the thing for LCW.  OK, so no boat, but...
 On the same stall was this for £2.  I took this as a sign from above.
And this is what £1.80 worth of rummage box figures looks like.  A Starlux French bandsman*, an unknown US-equipped officer, a useful looking civilian and a trio of Crescent(?) postwar Brits.  I already have a couple of these so hopefully I'll eventually find enough for a LCW company (12 figures).

* see also my previous purchase of Starlux bandsmen in this earlier post.

Friday, 16 May 2014

ENTAC Platoon

When, a few weeks ago I found myself in need of an AT missile platoon for my 1970s 'French' mechanised infantry regiment (despite the name this is a battalion sized formation) it was obvious that some fast bodging was required.  Some basic research revealed that prior to adoption of Milan the standard light AT missile was ENTAC - some jeep mounted (now there's a bodge for another day...) and some on portable ground mounts.
A quick rummage in the spares box yielded a couple of 1/72 Sparrow air to air missiles which were soon chopped down to around the right size. The other bits of Sparrow will produce other AT missiles in the fullness of time.  The mounts are 1/72 ammo boxes with parts of the rails won on which the Sparrows were originally hung.  So they should feel at home.
The crew figures are from the same batch of nasty plastic army men as the rest of the regiment only with their rifles carved away.  However numerous it's flaws this is clearly an infantry AT unit - and that's good enough for me.  And very much in keeping with the principles - such as they are - of the Little Cold Wars project.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Operation Full Frontal - The Battle of Kakstadt, 1979 - part 3a

Phase three of what the Soviet Official History refers to as the Kakstadt Operation saw yet another DDR Motor Rifle Battalion (though it looks a lot like the last one we met) supported by recce and AT elements (again very familiar looking) launching an assault on Neu Kakstadt.  This town - adjacent to Alte Kakstadt - had taken a real pasting from the regimental artillery group overnight before being sneakily reoccupied by a French battalion at first light.
The defending force was made up of elements of a French Mechanised Battalion under the commend of transatlantic visitor Peter Douglas - aka The Single Handed Admiral.
The Kommie Krauts - led by Funny Little Wars stalwart Mr AM opted to dismount their infantry about 500m (18 inches) from the forward defences.
Swarms of DDR infantry surging forward.
The air was soon thick with smoke and AT missiles.
Can anyone spot the camouflaged AMX-13?  Rather entertainingly our host failed so to do...
East German infantry advance while the BMPs give supporting fire.
A splendidly accurate (or lucky?) French mortar stonk accounted for some PT-76s.
A French AT missile hits a BMP.

We will return to this action soon....

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Triples Tuesday

In case you've forgotten, the Sheffield Triples wargames show is this coming weekend.
Among the many attractions is this year's Wargame Developments game 'Doodlebuggers', a very short solo participation game in which players take to the skies over Kent in 1944 to deal* with the Germans' latest Vonder Veapon - the flying bomb!
You could be flying this actual aeroplane** - and you could win an actual medal!***

If you're at Triples come and see us - we'll be the first game you come to in the main hall.

* pun intended
**assuming the varnish dries in time
***made of genuine paper