Thursday, 27 April 2017

Miniature Wargames Issue 409

The April issue of MINIATURE WARGAMES magazine was delivered just before I went to SALUTE2017 and I have only just managed to have a long and serious look at it.


The articles included in this issue are:
  • Welcome (i.e. the editorial) by John Treadaway
  • Forward observer
  • Send three and fourpence: Bagging Boris: A 'Black Ops' scenario by Conrad Kinch
  • Hostage to Fortune: A short medieval skirmish scenario by Chris Jarvis
  • Pursuit after Kunersdorf: A Seven Years War skirmish game for two players ... and two figures by Arthur Harman
  • (Well) Behind the lines: Ideas for using support and supply vehicles and troops by Philip Andrews
  • Darker Horizons
    • Fantasy Facts
    • Cloudships of Mars: Small scale Victorian air-to-air combat in Martian skies by John Treadaway
  • The African Princesses: How to paint 19th century female African royalty by Kevin Dallimore
  • Wargaming my way by Robin Miles
  • Recce
  • Toupee Trees: The continuing tales of a wargames widow by Diane Sutherland
  • Club Directory
Although I did not find this issue as entertaining as the last, there were still some good articles that made my continued purchase of this magazine worthwhile. Of particular interest were Conrad Kinch's Send three and fourpence was as usual good value for money, and Arthur Harman's Pursuit after Kunersdorf shows just what can be achieved in the realm of small scale game design with a bit of thought and ingenuity. I even enjoyed the Cloudships of Mars article, having owned several of the SPACE 1889 books and products in the past. I do, however, still have concerns about whether or not I will renew my subscription the next time it is due. John Treadaway is quite unequivocal in his editorial about his vision for the future. He states that 'Whilst I've Kreigspieled (sic) and role-played as much as I ever wanted to (and still do) wargaming is, for me at least, primarily a feast for the eyes: the figures and scenery are, I think, far more important than even the period and I want this magazine to reflect the world of painted toy soldiers in all its splendour wherever possible.'

Whilst I agree that one of the major attractions that wargaming has for me is its aesthetic side, I'd always prefer to fight a well designed wargame with averagely painted figures on reasonable terrain than a poorly designed one where the figures have 'splendid brush work' and move across 'great terrain'. I am just concerned that if the latter is going to be the norm on the pages of Miniature Wargames, it and I will be parting company in the near future.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Nugget 299

The editor of THE NUGGET sent the latest issue of the journal to me a couple of days ago, and I am taking it to the printer this morning. With luck this will mean that it will be printed and posted out to members of Wargame Developments by the next weekend.

IMPORTANT: Please note that this is the eighth issue of THE NUGGET to be published for the 2016-2017 subscription year, and that members who have not already re-subscribed can still do so if they want to. This can be done by visiting the relevant page on the Wargame Developments website.

THE THREE HUNDREDTH ISSUE: The next issue will be the three hundredth issue, and I know that the editor would love to make it a bumper issue. If you are a member of Wargame Developments and feel so inclined, perhaps you could send him a few lines about why you joined and how much you think that your wargaming has benefited from your membership.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Travel Battle: A review of the latest offering from Perry Miniatures

One of the things that I was particularly interested in seeing at SALUTE2017 was TRAVEL BATTLE, the latest offering from Perry Miniatures. It is being sold as a complete wargame in a box that is suitable for wargamers who are on the move for work, on holiday, or who don't have a lot of space and/or time. As it uses a gridded tabletop, I was determined to at least have a look at a copy.

The stand was being staffed by both Alan and Michael Perry ...


... who seemed to be surrounded by loads of stock whilst being inundated by customers!

Luckily they had a painted example of the game on show ...


... and this gave me a flavour of what was inside the box. I eventually managed to get to speak to both of the Perry brothers, and they very kindly gave me a copy of the game to review ... only the second time that I have ever been given a review copy of anything related to wargaming.

THE BOX

The box the game comes in is made of corrugated card and measures approximately 38cms x 29cms x 6.6cms (15" x 11.5" x 2.5"). It has a plastic carrying handle fixed to the top side of the box.

The box top is decorated with a Napoleonic battle scene that features British and French cavalry and a couple of British Riflemen ...


... whilst the back is illustrated by photographs of the games's components and a breakdown of the contents.


On opening the box, the first thing that one sees is a layer of black foam packaging that is designed to ensure that the game is secure when it is packed away and – more importantly – being carried.


Once this is removed it becomes apparent that the whole game is designed to be stored in an inner foam box, which looks quite substantial and should ensure that the components do not get damaged in transit.


THE COMPONENTS

The game's components consist of:
  • Two preformed green plastic terrain boards, marked with a squared grid of 1-inch squares

  • A grey plastic sprue of houses
  • A green plastic sprue of canopies for the woods and figure bases
  • Two identical red plastic sprues of figures
  • Two identical blue plastic sprues of figures
  • An eight-page Rules and Guide book

The figures are plastic and the foot figures are approximately 8mm high. The detail on them is acceptable, but no doubt will not meet the exacting standards of some wargamers.

THE RULES AND GUIDE BOOK

The first two pages of the book explain:
  • The six troop types used in the rules
  • How to organise the troops into brigades
  • How to assemble fix the figures to their bases
  • The Sequence of Play

The centre pages cover:
  • How to set up the game
  • Movement
  • Artillery Fire

The next two pages explain:
  • The rules for Fighting
  • How to Rally troops
  • How to show that your troops are in Square
  • The victory conditions
  • How to paint your armies

The back cover explains how to paint the terrain ...


... and the origins of the game. (It was conceived and designed by Michael Perry back in the early 1990s.)

PROS AND CONS

I really do like the concept behind this game. It is exactly the sort of game that I would have liked to have designed. The components seem to be robust, and the whole thing should provide many hours of fun to anyone who owns a copy BUT I do have several reservations about the game. These are:
  1. I think that an American Civil War version would have had greater sales potential (I understand that this might be a possibility if this game sells well).
  2. I think that the figures should have been larger. 10mm is any already widely used figure size, and if the figures in this game had been just 2mm taller it would have enabled them to be used in other games and/or players could have expanded their armies with different figures.
  3. I am not that keen on the fact that the terrain is fixed and that I am not able to move the woods, buildings, and hills. This may sound very picky but it is something that I think might have made the game even more saleable.
  4. The rules allow diagonal movement on a squared grid ... which is something that I have come to dislike over recent years. Likewise artillery can fire on diagonals at no cost to their range.
That all might sound very negative, but I think that with a little extra thought this could have been an exceptionally good game that a lot of people would have bought and used ... and that had the potential for considerable expansion.

There - however - lots of pluses as well as these minuses, and to my mind they are:
  1. It is a very simple set of rules to use and learn. As I know from designing and using my own PORTABLE WARGAME rules, there is a lot of subtlety to be found in wargames that have simple rules.
  2. The rules are very playable and easy to understand. I showed them to my wife (who is no wargamer and not a great lover of boardgames other than MONOPOLY), and she understood them without any problem.
  3. I can see myself using the terrain boards for all sorts of mini-campaign battles, but probably using 6mm or 10mm figures instead of the ones that come with the game.
  4. The terrain items (e.g. the houses) can be used with other wargames fought using small-scale figures. (I placed some 6mm figures next to the buildings and they did not look out of place alongside them.)
  5. The design of the woods provides a neat and simple to the age-old problem of how to conceal units in wooded areas. Simply, you make the wood hollow, with a removeable canopy.
  6. The whole package (including the foam lining) will ensure that the game components will survive the rigours of travel ... just as long as my wife doesn't see me sneaking the box into the luggage on our next cruise!
  7. Just looking at the game as I laid the pieces out to photograph them made me want to assemble the figures and bases and to start playing ... but probably an imagi-nation campaign rather than a proper historical one.
So I am I happy with this game?

The answer is a resounding 'YES' ... but I will probably use my own rules rather than the ones that come with the game.

One last thing; cost. I have heard and read several comments about the cost of this game. True, it is £50.00 ... but this is not much more than the cost of four packs of Foundry Napoleonic figures, so it it not that ridiculously expensive for what you get. As someone who has many hundreds of pounds-worth of unpainted metal figures, £50.00 for a game that I can and will use sounds not only very reasonable, but might actually turned out to be a sensible and economical choice.

Monday, 24 April 2017

SALUTE2017: A photo report

On Saturday I made my first visit to SALUTE for five years. I had no great expectations as to what I would find when I got there, having been somewhat disappointed on my last two visits. In fact it turned out to be much better than I had hoped it would be, as I think the following photo report will show.

The closure of the Custom House station on the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) did not cause any problems for those of us attending SALUTE. In fact the alternative station we had to use (Prince Regent) was actually more convenient as it was less far to walk from the station to the venue inside the ExCel Centre. The only downside to the journey was the fact that it was raining as we arrived at Prince Regent.


The entrance to SALUTE was easy to find and marshals from the South London Warlords were on hand to check you in ...


... and direct you to the queue to go in.


This looks far more horrendous than it actually was, and the queue moved forward at a slow but steady pace. Considering how long it was when I joined it at 9.55am, the fact that it only took thirty minutes for me to get in seemed not too unreasonable.


Starting in the corner to the left of the entrance, I made my way around each of the games that was on show. (Please note that not all of the games shown in following photographs were easy to identify from their description in the Show Guide, and therefore may not have a club, society, group, or company attribution or a caption. These are indicated by a '?', and if I do manage to identify them at a later date, I will add an attribution.)

Simple Miniature Games: Maulifaux


?


Simple Miniature Games: Batman


Gentlemens Wargames Parlour: Left hand down a bit (or Sink HMS Eagle)
This game (set during the Very British Civil War period) featured some interesting conversions of model battleships ...


... and a rather neat model of an aircraft carrier.


Warlord Wargamers: English Civil War


Dalauppror: Fort Mosquito 1654
This was a battle between Swedish and Dutch colonial troops in mid-17th century Delaware ...


... and featured as its centrepiece a very nice model fort.


Wargames Illustrated: Celebrity Deathmatch!
Individual combat between historical and fictional characters.


Society of Ancients: The Battle of Kadesh



Gatehouse Wargames: Pearson's Farm
An American Civil War battle.


Legion Wargames Club: Mythos Demonstration Game
A skirmish/horror themed game set in a small townscape.


Modiphius Entertainment: Achtung! Cthulhu
An attack on the Nazi Black Sun base.


Modiphius Entertainment: Airfix Battles
A 54mm/1:35th-scale version of this popular game.


?


?


Hornchurch Wargames Club: Wars of the Roses
A demonstration game using 10cm hexes and home-grown rules.


Kampfgruppe Kegworth: The Curse of Deadman's Hand
An Old West game set in what appears to be a ghost town.


Little Wars of Australia: Tribal Primeval
A prehistoric skirmish game.


Essex Warriors: The Battle of Prague, 1757
A re-fight of one of Frederick the Great's victories.


The Old Guard: Command and Colours: Napoleonic
Napoleonic warfare using a tried and trusted game system.


Runewars


Dark Sphere Gaming Club: X-Wing
Empire vs. Rebel fighters dogfight above the planet Scarif.


Too Fat Lardies: Sharp Practice


Micro Art Studio: Wolsung Steampunk Skirmish Game
Extraordinary groups of men and women fighting shadowy organisations and foreign powers that are hell-bent on world power.


Weymouth Levellers: Search and Destroy! Vietnam, 1966
Buckle up and dust off ... and look out Charlie!


White Dragon Miniatures: Shattered Void: Hunting Bigger Prey
A deadly space dogfights between capital ships.


Crooked Dice Games Design Studio: 7TV: Wargaming in the World of Cult TV
A cinematic 7TV quick-play game set in a ruined version of London.


Crooked Dice Games Design Studio: 7TV: Wargaming in the World of Cult TV
A cinematic 7TV quick-play game set on an oil rig somewhere in the North Sea.


Crooked Dice Games Design Studio: 7TV: Wargaming in the World of Cult TV
A cinematic 7TV quick-play game set in a complex of old warehouses and workshops.


Maidstone Wargames Society: Fenris Descending
Human defenders vs. hundreds of deadly robots! Can they survive the onslaught?


The Naval Wargames Society: Gunboats of the Dvina
British and Soviet forces vie for control of this vital waterway during the summer of 1919.


G3 Wargamers: Devil's Run, Route 666
A post-apocalyptic free-for-all, no-holds-barred combat race game.


Pike and Shot Society: King Phillip's War
Can the local Indian tribes drive off the unwanted settlers?


The Ministry of Gentlemanly Warfare: Werewolves vs. Vampires
A fight between werewolves and vampires in a gaveyard.


The Ministry of Gentlemanly Warfare: Van Helsing vs. von Frankenstein
The arch vampire hunter vs. the creator of a monster. Who can possibly win this titanic struggle?


Herts Volunteers: Sword Beach, 1944
A re-fight of the British landings on Sword Beach on 6th June. 1944.


The game featured some very nice model landing craft and vehicles ...


... as well as some excellent terrain, which included ...


... a heavily-fortified urban area.


Tanks!


Flames of War demonstration game


Scarab Pals: Great War: Zero Hour: Italy, 1917
A monumental battle in Italy between the Allies and the Great Powers.


K-Kraft Miniatures: Relay 26
Opposing forces attempt to knock out a major communications link.


Crewe and Nantwich Wargaming Society: The Japanese Invasion of the Philippines.
This game featured some wonderful models ...


... and terrain.


Gaslands: Vehicle Mayhem!
A post-apocalypse vehicle combat game.


Tunbridge Wells Wargaming Society: Russian counter-attack near Rogochev
A re-fight of the 1942 Russian attack on a German defensive position.


Oxford Wargames Society: The Battle of Ashdown, 871
A re-fight of the battle to save Wessex from the invading Danes.


Wyre Forest Wargames Club: Battle of Kalisz, 1706


?


Games in Thanet Society: Papers Please!
Can the escaping British POWs make it?


The Drowned Earth


The Drowned Earth


Battle for Neustadt
The Cold War goes hot in 1984.


Ilford Wargames Group: Star Wars X-Wing Mega Battle


Continental Wars Society: Meet me at the Trocadero


A re-fight of the 1823 Siege of Cadiz ...


... when the French captured the fort on the island of Trocadero ...


... in support of the Spanish Bourbon monarchy.


Whitehall Warlords: Russian Civil War


Wigmore Warriors: Spaghetti Western
A game that used real spaghetti in one of its game mechanisms!


Simon Miller and the Wargames Holiday Centre: The Battle of Raphia, 217 BCE
The armies of Ptolemy IV and Antiochus the Great face each other in a re-fight of this epic battle.


Skirmish Wargames: Save the Tsar!
A 54mm-scale battle to rescue the Tsar.


?


Southbourne Tabletop and Boardgamers: The Red Navy in the Second Great Patriotic War of 1984
Naval warfare between a NATO task force and Soviet naval forces.


Lance and Longbow Society: Wars of the Roses
A skirmish game using a simplified version of the Lion Rampant rules.


Pedion Modular Battlefields


Freebooter Miniatures: Freebooter's Fate
A fantasy pirate game.


Real Time Wargames: The Art of War: Battles and Campaigns in 15th century Italy
Warfare in the age of the Condottieri.


Bexley Reapers Wargaming Club: Cretaceous Camp
Can you survive in a dinosaur-rich environment ... where you might be dinner?


Scimitar Games Club: Muskets and Tomahawks
A French and Indian Wars skirmish.


4TK Gaming: Science Fiction Battles


4TK Gaming: Science Fiction Battles


4Ground Limited: Fabled Realms battles


4Ground Limited: Fabled Realms battles


4Ground Limited: Fabled Realms battles


The Walking Dead


?


Jersey Privateers Gaming Club: The raid on Fanning Head, San Carlos, 21st May, 1982
Falklands War skirmish action.


Wild West Exodus


?


?


?


?


?


?


Royal Air Force Wargaming Association: Short Bill's Treasure Quest
Pirates competing again each other in a hunt for hidden for treasure.


Loughton Strike Force: Battle of Dresden, 1813


Red Knights Wargames: Infinity


Ancient and Modern/Donnington Miniatures: The Battle of Hastings


Warploque Miniatures: Arcworlds Fantasy skirmish


Mierce Models: Darklands demonstration game


Gripping Beast Limited: SAGA demonstration game


Gripping Beast Limited: SAGA participation session


Gripping Beast Limited: Swordpoint Demonstration game


Spartan Games: Game demonstration


Planetfall


Chesterfield Open Gaming Society: Frostgrave


GCT Studios Limited: Bushido demonstration


City of Henfield Squadron, RAF Fight Command: The Battle of Britain


Ironfist Publishing: Battlegroup Tobruk
The game featured some excellent terrain and models ...


... that my photographs do not do justice to.


Ard Hamma: The Sino-Japanese War
Sino-Japanese action.


Wings of Glory Aerodrome UK: Wings of Glory demonstration game


Wings of Glory Aerodrome UK: Wings of Glory demonstration game


Second Thunder: Open Combat Battlepit


Gravesend Gamers Guild: Star Wars Epic game


Ad Hoc Games Group: Nick the Tsar II
A fun free-for-all attempt attempt to rescue the Tsar and his family from the clutches of the darstadly Soviets!


?


?


The Sons of Simon de Montford: Animal Farm
Four Legs Good! Two Legs Bad!


Oshiro Modelterrain: Shiro O Kogeki (Attack the Castle)


School of History, University of Edinburgh: Crusades against Fellow Christians:
The Battle of Lodi Vecchio, 1239


Tin Soldiers of Antwerp: A Not So Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
Beautiful models and figures, as well as a gamesmaster in a toga!


South London Warlords: Vietnam


Wyvern Wargamers: Battle of Cambrai, 1917


?


Grantham Strategy and Gaming Club: Discworld Witch Racing
This featured a complete model of the Unknown University ...


... of Ankh-Morpork.


As you may gather, there were a LOT of games on at SALUTE this year ... and if the number of attendees was anything to go by, the hobby seems to be in a reasonably healthy state!