Saturday, 24 September 2016

Miniature Wargames with Battlegames Issue 402

My copy of the October issue of MINIATURE WARGAMES WITH BATTLEGAMES magazine was delivered on Friday afternoon, and despite having been ill with a gastric flu bug for some days, I have now managed to read it.


The articles included in this issue are:
  • Briefing (i.e. the editorial) by Henry Hyde
  • World Wide Wargaming by Henry Hyde
  • Forward observer by Henry Hyde
  • Spanish Walls: The continuing tales of a wargames widow by Diane Sutherland
  • Fantasy Facts by John Treadaway
  • Prelude to Kursk: Fighting the Great Patriotic War one battle at a time: Part Six by Andrew Rolph
  • Memoir 1643: A regiment-level game for small ECW battles by Arthur Harman
  • Grenouisse at bay part 4: The Wars of the Faltenian Succession climax by Henry Hyde
  • Hex encounter by Brad Harmer-Barnes
  • Wargaming my way by Norman Smith
  • Little Wars: The First Miniature Wargames by Benjamin Bourn
  • The Battlegames Combat Stress Appeal report by Henry Hyde
  • The Other Partizan 2016 by Neil Shuck
  • It's the little things: The joys of small scale gaming by Craig Armstrong
  • Send three and fourpence by Conrad Kinch
  • Recce
This was a real bumper issue from my point of view. Arthur Harman's Memoir 1643 rules (which were based on my MEMOIR OF BATTLE rules) was excellent, and I really enjoyed the last of Andrew Rolph's Fighting the Great Patriotic War one battle at a time articles. Likewise the final part of Grenouisse at bay brought Henry Hyde's wonderful campaign report to an interesting end, and as I follow Norman Smith's blog, his article Wargaming my way was a 'must read'. In addition to all that, Conrad Kinch's thoughts about running/organising good multi-player wargames were very well presented. Finally, although I would take issue with the description that Little Wars were 'The First Miniature Wargames' (I can think of several wargames that used toy soldiers that pre-date it!), I never tire of looking at pictures of H G Wells's battles.

This is the last issue of MINIATURE WARGAMES WITH BATTLEGAMES magazine to be edited by Henry Hyde. In my opinion he took a rather jaded and poorly produced magazine and turned it into something that was vibrant and well laid-out. I hope that the new editor – John Treadaway – will be able to build on the solid foundations that Henry has created, and that I will continue to look forward to receiving my copy of what will now just be called MINIATURE WARGAMES magazine.

20 comments:

  1. Bob,
    Sorry to here you have not been all that well and your usual dapper self- speedy recovery friend. Yes, Little Wars wasn't the first type of gaming to use little metal figures- though I feel we can overlook this slightly as indeed H.G.Wells really brought the whole approach to battling it out with Toy Soldiers into a clearer and certainly sensible and delightful approach...what do you think Bob? Regards. KEV.

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    1. Kev,

      The gastric flu bug laid me low for several days, and I am still just getting over the final effects. Whereas being confined to the house would normally have given me time to do things like paint and write, I felt so unwell that neither was possible, although I did manage to answer emails and comments on my blog.

      H G Wells's book is certainly a major step towards the development of the hobby of wargaming as we now understand it, but even he admitted that he was following in the footsteps of others. Robert Louis Stevenson fought wargames that were certainly recreational, and the original POLEMOS wargame (which used one-inch squares) pre-dated LITTLE WARS by nearly twenty years.

      The big difference is that H G Wells brought a sense of FUN, and that is something that I am eternally grateful for. Having taken part in several battles using both the original LITTLE WARS and the more recent FUNNY LITTLE WARS rules, I must admit that I have seldom enjoyed wargaming as much as I did during those battles. He also showed that you can learn serious lessons from a what at first appears to be a childish game ... and anyone who has fought a lawn game will tell you that they soon develop an eye for the ground! Even the smallest hummock or dip in the lawn can make the difference between being in the open - and in danger from your opponent's gunfire - and being in cover and relative safety.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. Bob,

      Yes- certainly agree with your suggestion about "Fun"...all to often wargames seem altogether way to serious...Little Wars encourages enjoyment and a childlike delight that IS fun. To actually partake in Little Wars / Funny Little Wars- as you have experienced- is to know what it is all about. Regards. KEV.

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    3. Kev,

      Although I have done 'serious' wargaming, as I get older fun has become more important. After all, why take part in a hobby and not get some fun out of it?

      All the best,

      Bob

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    4. Bob,

      I am sensing that with 54mm Toy Soldier Armies that they will represent a greater sense of 'presence' which smaller scale figures do not in the slightest offer- I'm looking forward to the Outdoor spectacle of it all and true as you say having a lot of fun. It is early days yet for me - though this coming week I should be busy at building a British MkV WW1 Tank in 1/32nd...been a bit lethargic to-day- tomorrow will be better. Regards. KEV.

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    5. Kev,

      The larger figures have something that the small ones just don't seem to have. Even if not particularly well painted, they have that toy-like quality that makes them fun to use.

      I hope that you feel better tomorrow, and that your tank building is a success.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    6. I have to concur about the larger models. And they are so much easier to see to paint. I used to paint up to that finicky standard you see in the glossies, but when I discovered the pleasure of the 'toy soldier', I don't think I can go back.

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    7. Stephen Briddon,

      I remember your excellent figure painting; it was second to none!

      Larger figures seem to be easier and quicker to paint, and the odd mistake doesn't seem to notice anywhere near as much.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. Bob
    Glad you enjoyed the Great Patriotic War scenario. Unfortunately there was a glitch in this one and an incorrect German OOB was printed (it's their OOB from one or two episodes ago). I've let John know and there may be some remedial action to correct it.

    Pity about Henry going. I subscribed to BG from issue one and enjoyed it and, although I felt it went downhill, still thought it better than MW at the point of merger/takeover. Since then the merged title has improved the quality of MW and continued the decline compared to BG. Nevertheless it remains the best of the main magazines in my view - despite only being about 70% 'there' from my perspective.

    And is it my imagination or is the paper quality distinctly iffy in the main body?

    Cheers

    Andrew

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    1. Rumblestrip (Andrew),

      I am looking at ways of trying to re-fight the Barbarossa Campaign and your scenarios have helped me to formulate my ideas as to how I am going to go about it. I must admit that I hadn't noticed the OOB error, but then I was concentrating more on the scenario than on the OOB.

      I came to BATTLEGAMES very late indeed, so I cannot comment about how the early issues compare with what was being published just before the amalgamation took place. What I can say is that MWBG is the only glossy wargaming magazine that I buy nowadays, and I have yet to read a copy that does not have something of interest for me. I do hope that the new editor will not make too many drastic changes, and can keep the quality going. I certainly don't want to see the magazine go too far down the route of being just like its main rivals.

      I know what you mean about the paper quality of this particular issue. As I was turning over the pages I noticed that some middle pages were thinner than the outer ones, and wondered why. In the end I assumed that it was down to the printers making a mistake rather than anything deliberate.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. Re Barbarossa - obviously I am not sure what you're looking for but I think it worth mentioning Martin Rapier's Race to Leningrad Campaign with which I presume you are familiar. It is designed for Spearhead but could be modified easily enough.

      I mention it only because I did a derivative campaign Drive on Smolensk using the same engine (and I feel the need to pay particular tribute to Martin's simple attrition and replacement rules, which seemed to me to be a near perfect governor within the game engine).

      So it wouldn't take a genius to write a third installment covering AGS and the whole campaign (or rather Barbarossa's first critical six weeks) is thereby illustrated by the representative actions of three Pz Divisions.

      If you've not seen it, it is definitely worth a look (just search online or indeed a basic version can be found on Martin's webpage) and if you want my version let me know and I'll email it to you.

      Cheers

      Andrew

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    3. Rumblestrip (Andrew),

      Thanks very much for the suggestions. I must admit that I had forgotten about Martin Rapier's Leningrad Campaign, and I will certainly have a look at it for ideas.

      What I am thinking about is a triple track campaign, with both sides being able to switch resources (reserves and replacements as well as units) from one track to another if required. It is all in the 'writing ideas down in a notebook' stage, and will not be coming to fruition in anything like the near future. In fact I have penciled in the preparation work I will need to do for about this time next year as I want to get my current Napoleonic project completed and some use made of all the figures I have been renovating, varnishing, and basing.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. I have bought the last couple of issues at my local bookstore. At $12.00 an issue I have held up buying them in the past. I am looking forward to this issue, especially the Memoir 1643 rules. Perhaps I can finally make more use of my Peter Laing ECW figures.

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    1. Jhnptrqn,

      I had not realised how expensive the magazine was in the US! That is more than twice what a copy costs in the UK. All I can assume is that it is the cost of the overseas postage that makes it so expensive.

      I think that Arthur Harman's ECW rules will appeal to you.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. Hope you continue to feel better Bob.
      Alan

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    3. Tradgardmastare,

      Thanks for your best wishes. I am feeling much better now, but I will be taking things easy for the next day or so just in case.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  4. Bob as someone who has been only slightly under the weather I wish you as speedy a recovery as possible.
    I've been trying to read the new electronic version of MW without success but luckily seem to also have access to a copy using the older version. The paper copy is even more expensive here than in the US. Generally anything from the UK ends up at least 3x the price here due to shipping + exchange. Somehow bank exchange rate doesn't equate to equivalent value in goods!

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    1. Ross Mac,

      Coming as it did so soon after my visit from The Black Dog, the virus sort of knocked me sideways a bit. As a result I seem to be spending my time running to catch up! I'm much better now, and have finally re-started work on some figures that have been sitting on my work table for nearly two weeks awaiting renovation, varnishing, and basing.

      I knew that the cost of things like books and magazines printed in the UK and sent to North America was higher ... but not that much higher. (My own experience is buying a book for $25 that cost me £25 plus postage plus a small import charge plus a £10 charge for collecting the import charge!)

      All the best,

      Bob

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  5. I also meant to add that I find it odd how little attention people seem to play to the several mentions in Little Wars of the interest,approval and feedback given by serving soldiers, including I think veterans of the Boer War.

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    1. Ross Mac,

      Quite a few of H G Wells's friends and acquaintances were military men, and he used every opportunity to pick their brains whilst making them fight a battle on the lawn.

      The most important of these men was Sir Mark Sykes, who gets a particular mention in LITTLE WARS. Sir Mark was partially responsible for the boundary line between British and French influence in the Middle East that was drawn up under the Sykes-Picot Agreement.

      All the best,

      Bob

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