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Sunday, 31 July 2022

The Army of Sahel ... and news of the next army in my Belle Époque project

It was as I was putting the Harabian Army into its storage draw that I realised that I had not posted any photographs of the Army of Sahel on my blog ... so here are some!

That error has now been rectified, and I can move on to finishing the next army of my Belle Époque project ... the army of the Rajah of Hyderapore.

Saturday, 30 July 2022

My latest Belle Époque army: The Army of Harabia

I have just completed my latest Belle Époque army … the army of the Sultanate of Harabia.

The figures began life as part of my 15mm Mahdist army. With the exception of the very large smooth bore cannon (which was originally a key ring fob bought from a museum!), the figures and cannons were manufactured by Essex Miniatures. I bought the figures ready painted, but over the years they have been touched up and partially repainted, and I am very pleased with the end result.

Thursday, 28 July 2022

A quick update

I am now just over a week into my course of Erleada, and although I am suffering a few side effects (including fatigue and joint paint), they are irksome rather than downright unpleasant. I just have to take things a bit slower than I am used to … which is why I missed writing a blog post yesterday.

This does not mean that I have been idle, and I have made some progress on several projects, including the renovation of some figures for my Belle Époque project, adding another set of rules to my Gallimaufry of Colonial Wargames, and making some notes for my Waddington’s CAMPAIGN-based Napoleonic campaign. I’m only making a little headway on each project, but they are at least moving forward.

Tuesday, 26 July 2022

Some simple Napoleonic campaign rules for use with my version of the Waddington's Campaign map

The following rules are based on my RED FLAGS & IRON CROSSES CAMPAIGN SYSTEM. I have adapted and simplified them somewhat as the original rules were intended for eastern Europe rather that central and western Europe.


CAMPAIGN TIME

  • During the summer (June, July, and August) each campaign move represents two days of game time.
  • During spring and autumn (March, April, May, September, October, and November) each campaign move represents four days of game time.
  • During the winter (December, January, and February) each campaign move represents six days of game time.

ACTIVATING FORMATIONS

  • Each side is allocated a playing card colour.
  • A standard pack of playing cards is shuffled and placed face down.
  • When the campaign starts, the top playing card is turned over, and the colour of the playing card determines which side activates its formations first and how many formations it may activate.
    • If the playing card is an Ace, that side may move all its formations one grid square.
    • If the playing card is a numbered playing card, that side may move one formation one grid square.
    • If the playing card is a Jack, that side may move its formations a total of two grid squares (i.e. it may move one formation two grid squares or two formations one grid square).
    • If the playing card is a Queen, that side may move its formations a total of three grid squares (i.e. it may move one formation three grid squares or one formation two grid squares and one formation one grid square or three formations one grid square).
    • If the playing card is a King, that side may move its formations a total five grid squares.
    • If the playing card is a Joker, that side throws a D6 die and reads the result from the list of Special Events.
    • Special Events
      1. That side may not move any of its formations for six turns of the cards. (This includes all turns of the cards, including those that favour the enemy as well as cards that may favour themselves)
      2. That side may not move any of its formations for four turns of the cards. (This includes all turns of the cards, including those that favour the enemy as well as cards that may favour themselves.)
      3. That side may not move any of its formations for three turns of the cards. (This includes all turns of the cards, including those that favour the enemy as well as cards that may favour themselves..)
      4. That side may not move any of its formations for two turns of the cards. (This includes all turns of the cards, including those that favour the enemy as well as cards that may favour themselves.)
      5. The Joker is treated as if it were a numbered card, and that side may move one formation one grid square.
      6. The Joker is treated as an Ace and that side may move all its formations one grid square.
  • After the playing card has been turned over and any actions have taken place, the playing card is discarded. The discarded playing cards are placed face up in a separate pile.
  • Once all the unused playing cards have been used, the pile of discarded playing cards is shuffled and placed face down where all the players can see it, ready to be dealt when required.


MOVEMENT RULES

  • Movement takes place orthogonally (i.e., through the faces of a grid squares) and not through the corners of grid squares).
  • No formation may enter or pass through a grid square that is already occupied by an enemy formation.
  • When a formation comes into contact with an enemy formation (i.e., it moves into an orthogonally adjacent grid square to one occupied by an enemy formation), it  must engage that enemy formation in battle.


BATTLES

  • Battles take place when opposing formations come into contact (i.e., they occupy orthogonally adjacent grid squares).
  • The formation moving into contact is deemed to be the attacker and must set up their formation on the battlefield before the enemy sets up theirs.
  • The formation that loses a battle must immediately retreat one grid towards its nation's capital by the most direct route possible. This movement does not require the formation to be activated.
  • The formation that wins a battle must remain where it is until it is activated again.


CASUALTY RECOVERY

  • 33% of all lost SPs lost by a formation during a battle are recovered immediately after the battle has ended.
  • 33% of all lost SPs lost by a formation during a battle are recovered six turns of the cards after the battle has ended. (This includes all turns of the cards including those that favour that side’s opponent as well as cards that may favour themselves.)
  • The remaining SPs lost by a formation during a battle are lost for the rest of the campaign.
  • Any commanders who are killed are replaced immediately after the battle.

Monday, 25 July 2022

Oops! Where’s Stettin?

After I had published my version of the CAMPAIGN map/game board, I realised that I had missed Stettin from the Prussian section of the map … so here are the correct versions:

Complete map/game board

Prussia

Now that I am fairly satisfied that I have got my version of the map/game board correct, my thoughts are turning to the campaign rules I want to use ... and looking back at the ones I used for my RED FLAGS & IRON CROSSES CAMPAIGN SYSTEM, which were based on the campaign rules featured in my PORTABLE COLONIAL WARGAME book, I think that they will be an ideal starting point for me to work from.

Sunday, 24 July 2022

Drawing my own version of Waddington’s Campaign map: Further progress

Over the past few days I have been working on my own version of Waddington’s CAMPAIGN map/game board, and it presently looks like this:

Most of the terrain fits quite easily into the squared grid, but the rivers and borders, which tend not to conform to the grid, presented me with problems. I tried drawing freehand, but however careful I was, they just didn’t look right.

In the end I decided to depict both the rivers and borders as straight lines that run along or at a right angle to the edges of the grid squares. I know that this is a compromise and will not appeal to everyone, but it is the best solution that I could come up with.

France

Prussia

Russia

Spain

Italy

Austria

You will also note that I have yet to add any place names, but I intend to once I am totally happy with my version of Waddington's original map/game board.


All the above maps can be enlarged by clicking on them. They are all in JPEG format, but I hope to make them available in other formats as and when I can. I give permission for blog readers to download and use these maps for their own personal use, but not for distribution for commercial purposes.

Friday, 22 July 2022

A Gallimaufry of Colonial Wargames

I like to have more than one project on the go at once, and over the past few months one of them has been to assemble all my previous sets of Colonial wargame rules into a single volume that can be published online. Its title is:

A Gallimaufry of Colonial Wargames

To date, I have included the following rules:

BUNDOK AND BAYONET COLONIAL WARGAMES RULES (Parts 1 and 2)

'ERES TO YOU FUZZY WUZZY: FIGHTING COLONIAL BATTLES IN THE SUDAN

HORDES OF DERVISHES

HEROES OF VICTORIA’S EMPIRE (HoVE)

I hope to add at least three further sets of rules to this list, including:

RESTLESS NATIVES

REDCOATS & DERVISHES

SCWARES

I am not sure when this will be finished but I hope to have it ready in about a month or so.


Gallimaufry is a wonderful word and is defined as being 'a confused jumble or medley of things' ... so it is a rather appropriate title for this collection of wargame rules!

Thursday, 21 July 2022

Not another copy of Waddington’s Campaign!

In 1974, Waddington issued a second edition of CAMPAIGN.

The rules and playing pieces remained the same, but the map/game board was completely redrawn and looked like this:

This newer map seems to have been redesigned to make it look more like an early nineteenth century military map, but to my eyes it seems to have lost something in the process, and I prefer the first edition map, Counting up the number of squares in each country, the newer version of the map also appears to be slightly smaller by one vertical and one horizontal column.

When I saw a second-hand copy of the second edition on sale on eBay for just under £10.00, I could not resist buying it, just for the revised map/game board. There are three playing pieces missing (hence the reduced price) but this doesn’t worry me particularly.

So, in the space of just over a week I’ve gone from not owning a copy of Waddington’s CAMPAIGN to owning two copies.

I have a feeling that only a wargamer will understand this desire to own two copies of this game; my wife thinks I’m mad!


I understand that this game was marketed and sold in some European countries as WATERLOO ... which is interesting as there are no countries or playing pieces for the British or Dutch-Belgians!

Wednesday, 20 July 2022

A further health update

Yesterday, which was the hottest day in the UK since records began, saw me visiting my local GP surgery and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

My appointment at the GP surgery was at 9.10am, and I saw one of the practice nurses. She administered an injection of Zoladex LA into my stomach area. Zoladex (which is also known by the generic name Goserelin) is a palliative treatment of advanced carcinoma of the prostate, and the twelve-weekly 10.8mg dose is intended to reduce the amount of testosterone that I produce, slowing or stopping the growth of my cancer.

I had time to pop home for a cooling drink before I had to go to my 11.15am appointment in the hospital’s Oncology Department. This was a follow up to my previous appointment and was so that I could be given an eight-week course of Erleada. Erleada (which has the generic name Apalutamide) is a nonsteroidal antiandrogen (NSAA) medication which is used in the treatment of prostate cancer. Like Zoladex, Erleada repressesses the procution of testosterone, and this combination of drugs should stop my cancer growing prior to treatment to ‘kill’ it using radiotherapy.

I have been told that I am very likely to suffer from one or more side effects, including fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, high blood pressure, rash, falls, bone fractures if I do fall over, and an underactive thyroid. Any of these side effects will be unpleasant, but if this course of treatment helps me to win my battle with prostate cancer, it will have been worth it. After all, suffering is said to be good for the soul ... and my soul could probably benefit from some improvement!

Tuesday, 19 July 2022

My Belle Époque project: A short update

The hot weather has rather slowed progress on my Belle Époque project. My toy/wargame room is on the top storey of our house, faces west, and has a flat, black roof. As a result, it gets hot as the day progresses, (in fact, it starts to get hot from about 10.00 am onwards) and unless I get up very early in the morning, I am restricted as to how much time I can spend in there, even with a tower fan going full blast!

I have, however, made some progress. The non-Hadendowa figures from my 15mm Mahdist army have now all been repainted where necessary and most of them have been varnished. The next step will be to glue them to their MDF bases, paint the edges of the bases matt black, and then the natural-coloured ground cork that I use to cover my bases can be applied.

I am hoping that this will be completed within a week or so, at which point I will post photographs of the two new completed armies as well as their respective backstories.

Monday, 18 July 2022

Drawing my own version of the Waddington’s Campaign map

Yesterday I attempted to scan the French and Prussian sections of the Waddington’s CAMPAIGN board game, but as my scanner is only designed to scan documents up to A4 in size, this prove impossible. I gave the matter some thought ... and in the end I decided to create my own version of the map sections using MS Paint.

I started by drawing a suitably-sized 12 x 13 square grid and then transferred the terrain details from the French section of the CAMPAIGN map onto it. The resulting map looked like this:

It took me some two hours of trial and error to create this map, but once I had, I was able to use what I had learned to create a map of the Prussian section of the game's board in less than thirty minutes.

I then spliced the two together to create a campaign map.

I am rather pleased with the end result ... and I think that I could easily develop this map (or something very similar to it) for my Belle Époque project.


Just after I had written this blog post, I realised that I had made one or two errors on my maps. Rather than quickly ammending them, I have left them 'as is' to show the current state of play. However, I intend to correct my mistakes later today, and hope to publish the 'improved' (amd corrected!) maps later this week.

Sunday, 17 July 2022

Waddington’s Campaign

Years ago I owned a copy of the first edition of Waddington’s CAMPAIGN board game. I’m not sure what happened to it, but I recently bought a second-hand copy from eBay both for sentimental reasons and because I thought that the map/game board could provide the basis of a Napoleonic campaign.

The Campaign game's map/game board.
A section of the Campaign game's map/game board, in this instance, showing France.

The map lends itself to being used with a variation of the simple campaign rules laid down in THE PORTABLE COLONIAL WARGAME:

  • Before the campaign begins each side is allocated a playing card colour (Red or Black).
  • A standard pack of playing cards is shuffled and placed face down where all the players can see it.
  • When the campaign starts, the top playing card is turned over, and the colour of the playing card determines which side activates its units first and how many formations it may activate.
    • If the playing card is an Ace, that side may move all its formations one grid area.
    • If the playing card is a numbered playing card, that side may move one formation one grid area.
    • If the playing card is a Jack, that side may move its formations a total of two grid areas (i.e. it may move one formation two grid areas or two formations one grid area).
    • If the playing card is a Queen, that side may move its formations a total of three grid areas (i.e. it may move one formation three grid areas or one formation two grid areas and one formation one grid area or three formations one grid area).
    • If the playing card is a King, that side may move its formations a total five grid areas.
    • If the playing card is a Joker, that side throws a D6 die and reads the result from the following list of Special Events:
      • 1: That side may not move any of its formations for four turns of the cards.
      • 2: That side may not move any of its formations for three turns of the cards.
      • 3: That side may not move any of its formations for two turns of the cards.
      • 4: That side may not move any of its formations this turn.
      • 5: The Joker is treated as if it were a numbered playing card, and that side may move one formation one grid area.
      • 6: The Joker is treated as if it were an Ace, and that side may move all its formations one grid area.
  • After the playing card has been turned over and any actions have taken place, the playing card is discarded. The discarded playing cards are placed face up in a separate pile.
  • Once all the unused playing cards have been used, the pile of discarded playing cards is shuffled and placed face down where all the players can see it, ready to be dealt when required.
  • Movement rules
    • All movement is made through the face a grid area unless the grid areas only touch at a corner, in which case the movement is made through the corner of the grid area.
    • No unit may enter or pass through a grid area that is already occupied by an enemy formation.
    • It must stop in an adjacent grid area, throw a D6 die, and read the result from the following list:
      • 1: You do not bother with reconnaissance and will advance into the enemy-occupied grid area next turn.
      • 2: Your reconnaissance is very poor, and your formation must remain where it is until the enemy formation moves, or your reconnaissance improves.
      • 3: Your reconnaissance is poor, and the enemy must only disclose how many units they have in the adjacent grid area.
      • 4 or 5: Your reconnaissance is average, and the enemy must disclose the total SPs of the troops they have in the adjacent grid area.
      • 6: Your reconnaissance is good, and the enemy must disclose what troops they have in the adjacent grid area.

I think that the above rules could easily be adapted for use with the game's map/game board ... and I'd like to see if it works sometime soon.

Saturday, 16 July 2022

My Belle Époque project: Where next?

I am still working on renovating the non-Hadendowa part of my 15mm Mahdist army. They are definitely going to be used to create the armies of two imagi-nations, Harabia (which is an Arab-like imagi-nation) and Hyderapore (which is based on the sort of Indian state ruled by a native prince).

I still have quite a few figures awaiting the renovation process, and looking at what remains in storage, I have sufficient figures to create the following:

  • More units for the Army of Khakistan
  • An army for Zubia, which will be based on the Egyptian Army of the 1880s and 1890s

I will also have sufficient British figures to create an army for a further imagi-nation … so it looks as if I’ll have plenty to occupy me for some time to come.

Friday, 15 July 2022

Backstories for my Belle Époque imagi-nations: The Principality of Stalbania

As i explained back in January, I was looking through the pile of REALLY USEFUL BOXES that I store many of my wargame figures in when I came across a number of painted 15mm Minifig American World War I figures. These figures had been given to me some years ago by a fellow member of Wargame Developments and player of my PORTABLE WARGAME, Nick Huband, and I soon realised that I had enough figures to create a small Belle Epoque army ... and thus the Army of Stalbania was born!


The Principality of Stalbania

Stalbania was invaded by the Sofaman Empire during the sixteenth century and incorporated into the empire as a province. It proved to be a troublesome possession, and although Stalbanians proved to be some of the empire's best troops, they were always regarded as being far too independently-minded.

As the power of the empire began to wane during the middle of the nineteenth century, Stalbanians began to press for some sort of home rule, but when this was not forthcoming, a revolt against Sofaman rule took place. The fighting did not last long and ended with a total withdrawal of Sofaman troops and officials and the declaration of Stalbanian independence.

The thorny problem of who was to become the prince of the newly-independent country almost led to a war between Burgundy and Schwarzenberg as both countries supported rival claimants. In the end, a member of one of the leading Stalbanian families was elected prince by plebicite. He was former general in the Sofaman Army, and one of his first tasks as ruler was to organise and recruit a small army capable of protecting the country from potential invaders. In addition, every able bodied Stalbanian under the age of suxty-five was expected to serve in the National Militia, whose role was to reinforce the regular army in time of war.

The flag of the Principality of Stalbania.

Stalbania is a small mountainous country that is famous for it vinoculture. Most of the population live in small towns and villages and are involved in agriculture, either as farmers or as artisan craftsmen making farm implements etc. They are hardy and make ideal soldiers.

Thursday, 14 July 2022

COW2022

FRIDAY 8th JULY

After my somewhat protracted journey to the UK Defence Academy, I passed through the security checkpoint – where I was given a temporary visitor's pass and a pass for my car – and made my way the the Churchill Reception, where I was given the key to my room in the Mountbatten Block. Having parked my car, I then unloaded my luggage and went off to find my room ...

... which turned out to be basic and functional, and which had its own en suite bathroom. It reminded me very much of the sort of accommodation offered by budget hotels or student Halls of Residence ... which is not surprising as that is what is is!

At 6.00pm I made my way over to Kitchener Hall, which is where we were all meeting up before dinner. The food was good, with a range of dishes on offer to meet most people's dietary requirements. I had the opportunity to have a chat with quite a few people before and over the meal, and it was great to be able to put faces and voices to people who I had previous only known online.

After dinner we all made our way to the lecture theatre in the Tech Block (which is otherwise known by the acronym DCMCI) where the Conference Organiser, Tim Gow, welcomed everybody and we were given the normal safety briefing. Once that was over, we were split into teams and made our way into the main room in the Tech Block, where we took part if the Plenary Game, which was entitled 'What If?'.

What If?

Each team had been given a list of situations from which they were to extrapolate what would have happened next. We chose one about the us of atomic bombs to stop the Chinese Communists along the Yalu River (as suggested by General Douglas MacArthur). We came to the conclusions that if this had happened:

  • MacArthur would have been elected as the next President of the United States instead of Dwight D Eisenhower
  • That the Chinese Communists would have been given more defensive weaponry by the USSR (i.e., jet fighters, anti-aircraft guns) but nothing that would enable them to continue the fight to conquer the whole of Korea
  • Korea would be united under a US-sponsored (and supported) government
  • The USSR would have reassessed its reliance on large ground forces, and shifted resources over to the development and production of both fission and fusion nuclear weapons ... and the means to deliver them (i.e., initially a long-range bomber force based on the Tupolev TU-4 and its jet-powered successors which is subsequently replaced by short, medium, and long-range land and sea-based missile systems).
  • Both the USSR and US/NATO would have had few compunctions about deploying tactical (and some strategic) nuclear weapons in client states, and for non-aligned nations to develop their own nuclear weapons programmes. This proliferation would have made the World a far more unstable place, and once the genie was out of the bottle, nations would be less reluctant to threaten to use – and to use – nuclear weapons in local conflicts. For example, we envisaged the USSR occupying Berlin and threatening to drop a 'curtain' on nuclear bombs along the border between the FGR and DDR if the US/NATO tried to intervene

The teams then returned to the lecture theatre and a spokesperson from each team gave a three-minute presentation about their team's conclusions. Our teem was alone in choosing to look at what might have happened in Korea. Others had looked at what might have happened if the Confederacy had won the Battle of Gettysburg, the consequences of the death of Henry V and the defeat of the English army at Agincourt, the defeat of the Greeks at the Battle of Marathon, and the successful landing of a Spanish army in England after the victory of the Spanish Armada in 1588 amongst others.

After Dinner Games

By this time I was beginning to feel rather tired, but before going back to the Mountbatten Bloc to sleep, I made a quick circuit around the various After Dinner Games that were taking place. These included SPI's Dallas, ...

... The Road to Moscow, ...

... and the Blood of San Gennaro.

SATURDAY 9th JULY

After a somewhat disturbed night's sleep (mainly due to me not setting the controls of room's air conditioner correctly), I went over to the Victory Dining Room for breakfast. As I had expected, one could have everything from a simple bowl of cornflakes to a cooked. traditional English breakfast ... and it was interesting to note how many people opted for the latter!

After breakfast we made our wat back to the Tech Block for the conference's morning sessions. In my case I had opted to take part in a Matrix Game about the current war in Ukraine entitled Bandera II. I was given the role of Vladimir Putin ... and had to set my own objectives. Mine were:

  • To remain in power
  • To destroy Zelinsky
  • To ensure that Ukraine re-joined the Russian Federation using whatever means were necessary
  • To ensure the disunity of the Western powers, particularly the EU

The game lasted six rounds, and by the end it was obvious that the situation was fast developing into a stalemate, with the EU trying to broker some sort of resolution that was obviously not going to be acceptable to either side.

After lunch in the Victory Dining Room, we all returned to the Tech Block for the afternoon sessions. I had originally booked to take part in a game entitled If a single shot is fired, but as the designer felt that the game needed more development, this had been replaced by Armageddon at Waco.

This was a command decision game about the Waco Siege, and the players represented local law enforcement, the US military (actually the Texas National Guard), various Federal agencies (the FBI, ATF, and DEA), the leader of the Branch Dravidians (David Koresh), his supporters, and the press.

At the beginning, events unfolded in a not dissimilar way to what happened in real life. The ATF tried to serve a search and arrest warrant and were met with gunfire from the people inside the Mount Carmel Center ranch. The FBI were then tasked with resolving the situation ... and failed miserably. Finally, the National Guard moved in with pretty well every sort of weapon (e.g. tanks, APCs, armoured engineer vehicles) at their disposal (except for artillery!), and 'captured' the ranch. In the course of this lifting of the siege, Koresh was shot by one of his main supporters (me), who was then shot by the National Guard ... along with a large number of armed and unarmed civilians!

In the subsequent Congressional Inquiry (which was the last section of the game), the ATF, the FBI, and the National Guard were all censured. Only the DEA (who made strenuous efforts not to be given the lead in lifting the siege!) and the local Sherriff came out of it with unblemished reputations.

Whilst this game was going on, several other games were taking place, including one about the Battle of Shiloh, ...

... and the Battle of Maharajpur.

During the break between sessions, I had the opportunity to walk around and to see several other wargames that were either still taking place (The Battle Ortona), ...

... or that had finished including, The Wars of the Roses, ...

... and a figure version of the Waterloo Solitaire game.

I was struck by how impressive (and board game-like) the Warlord Epic Waterloo figures looked when based and spray-painted in gloss blue (French), red (Anglo-Dutch), and black (Prussians). They looked much better than plain wooden blocks even if they were not as 'pretty' as fully-painted figures might have been.

I had intended to sign up for Ukraine 2022, ...

... but was too late to get myself on the signing up sheet. As a result I had the opportunity to chat to several other attendees and to look at some of the other games that were taking place. These included Coyle's Best, which was based around the events featured in Harold Coyle's book, Team Yankee.

After dinner in the Victory Dining Room, the conference session restarted. I observed Petrograd Nights (a game about the political infighting and street fighting that took place in St Petersburg in the run up to the Bolshevik takeover) ...

... before taking on the role of the pilot of an Ilyushin Il-18 Naval Reconnaissance Aircraft in a command decision/role-play game about the mutiny aboard the Russian frigate, Storozhevoy (English: Sentry or Guardian) in November 1975.

The game saw some wonderful exchanges between the Head of the KGB (Yuri Andropov) and the commander of the local KGB Patrol Ship Brigade, with the intervention of the former seriously hampering the efforts of the latter to recapture the errant warship!

By the time this game finished, I was feeling tired, but before I made my way back to Mountbatten Block for what I hoped would be a better night's sleep I had a quick look at some of the other After Dinner Games that were taking place. These included Scout Base 947 (a Sci-Fi game) ...

... and Pieces of Eight, a pirate game.

SUNDAY 10th JULY

Despite the heat I slept somewhat better, and after a refreshing shower, I packed my bags, put them in my car, and returned my room key to Churchill Reception. I then made my way to the Victory Dining Room for breakfast, where I was able to have a chat with one of the Gurkhas who work at the Academy.

I had signed up for a game entitled Duck Hunting, which was about a semi-trained group of Ukrainian Militia trying to stall a possible Russian attack. It was a role-play game that used Google Maps to give the players a sense of the terrain in which they were to set up an ambush. I was assigned the role of squad commander (a sergeant) and had to collect my men from the car park of a local restaurant/truck stop.

Having made sure that everyone had enough equipment for our mission, I ordered a roadblock to be set up across a local motorway using two large truck that we 'requisitioned' from the truck stop. I then placed the squad in their ambush position in a row of houses that gave a good view of the roadblock and a long stretch of motorway that crosses a river and then marshland.

We did come under attack, first by a couple of armoured recce vehicles that stopped to investigate the roadblock from a distance. When they came off the motorway to move across country, we used some of our anti-tank weapons (and our very good sniper!) to destroy them and kill most of the vehicles' crew.

This initial attack was followed up by an attack by a tank and two armoured personnel carriers. We destroyed the tank, and then came under fire from the 30mm cannons on the APCs ... at which point we bugged out to a secondary ambush position that I had identified earlier in the game. This was just as well, as almost as soon as we had left, the houses we had been occupying were destroyed by artillery fire.

(It is worth noting that this game was designed by WD's youngest member, who is currently a student on the War Studies course at King's College London.)

This game finished somewhat earlier than expected, and it gave me time to observe The Battle for Villa Encogida Jamon ...

... which looked like it was a very entertaining game for all those who participated.

I also had the opportunity to observe the first few moves of Logistics, Logistics, Logistics, which proved to have some simple but effective rules for running opposing American Civil War railway lines that were bringing up men and supplies to the frontline. Getting the balance between the two right in circumstances that were never predictable presented the players with constantly changing supply problems that they had to solve. This game has all sorts of potential and could easily be developed to cover almost any historical period.

After lunch in the Victory Dining Room, it was time for the Wargame Developments Annual General Meeting.

This was attended by almost everyone who had been at the conference, and besides the usual reports and election of officers for the forthcoming year, it decided that if Knuston Hall was unlikely to be available as a venue for COW2023, the organising committee should look for an alternative venue. It was hoped that the Academy might be included on the list of potential venues, but this was very dependent upon it being available again.

Once the business of the AGM was completed, we all made our separate ways home ... and most of us were already planning what we might do at COW2023!


THE TANK HALL

One of the big attractions of the Tech Block at the Academy is the presence of what we all referred to as the Tank Hall. It houses the Academy's collection of modern (and not so modern) tanks, armoured personnel carriers, artillery, and aircraft ... and a visit to the Tank Hall is probably in itself worth the cost of going to the conference. The following photographs give some idea of the goodies that are on show.