Have a rummage...

Saturday, 18 December 2010

It is the end but the moment has been prepared for...

Term has ended, so my US company for Charlie Don't Surf has been arrayed on the worktop and is ready for two week's worth of attention, barring Christmas festivities and so forth.  As ever, the good intentions are based around getting one stage of painting done per day, so ideally these should be done and dusted soonish in plenty of time for Overlord 2011.

In the meantime, it's Club Sunday tomorrow.  Checklist time:
  • Dr Who Miniature Game rules?  Check.
  • Various Daleks, Robomen and Human Resistance miniatures?  Check.
  • Dalek Invasion Of Earth 2150AD tournament scenario?  Check.
  • Prizes?  Check.
  • Inordinate quantity of snow?  Most definitely check...
 As for dinner, that ham hock in the larder definitely has possibilities.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Rocky Robins...

In which Sunday 12th December saw Abingdon Wargames Club uphold their fine tradition of coming last* in Oxford Wargames Society's annual Round Robin tournament.  Four very different and entertaining games, with exemplarary gentlemankly behaviour from the four clubs which entered teams.  Over the course of the day
  • Medieval peasants threw snowballs at each other as they tried to make off with the best pine trees from the forest.
  • Ambassadors and petitioners came into conflict as they attempted prevent each other from talking to the Czar at one of the Congress of Vienna's balls.
  • Various stags sought to pass on their genes by mating with as many hinds as possible whilst challenging each other.
  • Spanish Civil War Republicans quickly dealt with a Nationalist supply train before turning on each other to settle the finer points of Marxist theory.
Of particular note was the latter game, which used a very stripped-down version of TFL's Triumph Of The Will.  This very successfully showed how quickly the basic ideas behind TFL rules can be grasped by new players, with rules explained, understood and played to a satisfying conclusion in less than 90 minutes.  Jolly good stuff (even if I ended up as the whipping boy for the other three players...).

As ever a good day, and thanks to Messrs The Div, Neodynium and Bray for sallying forth on behalf of Abingdon!  Same time next year, chaps?

*Let us ignore the aberration that was the great victory of '08...

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

What The H**l Just Happened?

Sweet Mother of Invention, where does the time go?  In the case of the day job, that's easily answered by Y11 and Y10 controlled assessments, and the marking of said assessments.  So...I've been bad at updates.

News in brief therefore:  The VC company are all painted (and rebased where necessary) now, for Charlie Don't Surf and Men of Company B.  I've foolishly offered this as the club game at our show Overlord (10am onwards at FitzHarrys School, Abingdon, Oxon, Sunday March 6th, 2011).  To be perfectly honest, hopefully it'll serve as some reasonable eye-candy to draw in some punters who can be brainwashed persuaded into joining Abingdon Wargames Club.  Another bout of jungle terrain building has thus been embarked upon, thanks to a timely and generous resupply of plastic palm trees (Thanks to Overlord, nom d'email of a fellow AWC member who happens to organise our show; yes, he's Overlord, the Overlord overlord...).  Now to pick a suitable scenario from Surf's Up and get in some more practice games.

Popped to Warfare.  First time as a punter, having usually gone to the show with a participation game.  Stocked up on essentials (paints, brushes), a couple of Kaiser Rushforth storage cases and some Skytrex goodies.  My Google-Fu failed me in the search for a Vietnam-era combat 'dozer, so I've commited heresy and will substitute a British WWII era 'dozer whilst the search continues... 

Got in a playtest of 7TV, the latest wheeze from the suave criminal geniuses behind the Dr Who Miniatures Game.  Jolly good fun- it may have been unrealistic, but as a simulation of cult TV like the Avengers,  Adam Adamant and the Man from UNCLE, it was on the button.  Having Doktor Zermitz wave an ineffectual fist in the last turn as agent Bonaparte Singleton escaped via jet-pack gadget was the icing on the cake!

Obligatory pig-product references- a rather nice chilli using chunks of pig cheek, a chorizo and chestnut soup (just as it snows, too) and naturally pork scratchings at the recent committee meeting. 

Plus some Haggis on St. Andrews Day.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

The Curious Case Of Ms. Slocombe's Posse...

So, after a quick round of social bashes at work, I find myself giving over this weekend to gaming aplenty.

Messrs Neatherway and Watkins, the Div and Rich popped round on Saturday for this months' boardgame bash.  We began with Gibson Games' Britannia, cleared the palate with The Stars Are Right (kindly provided by Mr. Watkins) and unfortunately came a cropper with the dense, rich confection that is Arkham Horror with its various expansions.

Britannia was great fun, not least because of the petty turf fighting it encourages, and the fact that it really is unclear who is winning for most of the full game's sixteen turns.  However, the balance of the five player version was the subject of some discussion, as poor Mr. Neatherway never seemed to be in control of a tribe/faction that could acquire significant numbers of points.  There was much dark muttering about "house rules for next time..."

The Stars Are Right was a great example of a fiendishly simple game to pick up, but with plenty of potential subtlety.  Mr. Watkins and the Div commented that it was all the more better for having numerous players.  There followed a short intermission as food was sought, and Rich walked a dog.

Our ambition got the better of us, as we attempted to play Arkham Horror.  Unfortunately, I'd not filtered out the various expansions, and soon we were disappearing behind stacks of counters and cards.  Never say that FFG stint on their games' components.  As the sun dawned, and mental faculties dimmed, the assembled gamers fled, to reserve their powers for forthcoming events...

Specifically, AWC's themed Club Sunday.  For the Div and I, it was time to mosey on over and take part in our One Day Legends Of The Old West campaign, magnificently organised by Chris W.  The theme days really do seem to be encouraging participation from club members, which is fantastic. 

I can only give edited highlights, focussed around Ms. Slocombe's Lawmen posse, led by Sheriff Peacock (ex-US Army Captain) and his two deputies, the Grace Brothers.  Ms. Slocombe's violent pink hairdo attracted a good deal of fire during the day, whilst Miss Brahms (late of Miss Kipling's House Of French Fancies) always seemed to get the better of her male opponents in melee (everyone made the same observation regarding this ability of hers...).  After a severe drubbing at the hands of Juan Cornetto's Mexicans, the posse rallied magnificently against some pesky Indians.  Captain Peacock seemed to be working through some kind of trauma, as he did for 3 of them with some magnificent shooting.  The Slocombe posse had the misfortune to run into Juan Cornetto's boys again towards the end of the day, but managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.  Vigilante Mr. Humphreys was particularly pleased, having spent much of the game trapped by the Mexicans, and was heard to joyously announce "I'm free!" towards the scenario's end.  A great day with many other fantastic moments and games unnoticed here, sadly.   

With AWC's regular Club Friday on the horizon, I see it's time to swap the well-worn double entendres of "Are You Being Served?" for those of  "Carry On Up The Khyber", as once again we seek to establish whether the Mahdists do indeed like it up 'em...

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Charlie Don't Surf: Experience versus youth...

So, this week has seen me embark upon painting up a platoon of VC for Charlie Don't Surf, along with a couple of support weapons.  After an unscientific review of source material (in other words some DVDs were watched), I decided go for a more irregular look than the last time Charlie got painted.  Primarily this was to avoid masses of figures who look like they could "throw on some pearls and be ready for evening wear" (he misquoted in typing).  The plan is to finish them by the end of Sunday, with the incentive being that each stick of miniatures completed is a Peter Pig pack that can be bought at Warfare 2010. 

Well, that's the plan.

On the gaming front at Abingdon Wargames Club, Junior members Joe and Luke took on the role of the British at the second battle of el-Teb against the wily veteran Nick, and utter gaming newbie Andrew, for a game of They Don't Like It Up 'Em.  No-one left that night traumatised by the game, which is always a good sign. 

Joe clearly remembered from his previous game that charging cavalry up a rocky slope was a bad idea, and the British actually adopted a setup close to their historical counterparts.  However, their initial caution ("I know the card lets my brigade act, we're happy where we are!") allowed the main Mahdist body of troops to actually move up and join their brothers in arms on the central ridge dominating the battle field.  By this point the British finally had begun to advance, with Luke's cavalry spotting like men possessed.  Unfortunately, this merely prompted the Mahdists to rise as one, screaming "Allah Akhbar!" and hurl themselves at the Brits.  This was the most breathtaking use of that particular card I'd seen (certainly better than using it when the enemy are almost two feet away) with only one Mahdist Rub not involved!

It's perhaps best to draw a modest curtain over what then occurred, particularly given the fact that only two units of British had fixed bayonets.  Suffice to say, Big Men of the calibre of Fred Burnaby were low on the ground once the dust settled....

Work commitments (or should that be socials?  Oh, the curse of being in multiple departments!) mean I won't return to a Friday meeting until the 22nd of October.  However, there is the prospect of a one-day Legends Of The Old West Campaign on the 17th.  Already, the Grace Brothers' posse of lawmen are dusting off their six-shooters...

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Rockets and rillons...

Today was Club Sunday, with Mr. Neatherway having bravely volunteered to coordinate three linked games set in GW's WH40k universe.  The important word here is bravely, as this was Mr. Neatherway's first attempt at such an undertaking.

By the end of the day, all agreed that he'd made a fair fist of it all.  Having never played any of these games, I opted for the space combat game, and my opposite number Matt and I had an enjoyable time, firstly trying to intercept my dropships, and then trying to knock out my orbital artillery.  Nothing ground-breaking, but Matt and I quite liked the way that both of our games swung back and forth, rather than being foregone conclusions.  In terms of the linked nature of the games, the Div managed to keep the Ground-to-Space lasers mostly occupied on the skirmish table, but they did cause havoc to my shields when they did get through.  On the other hand, despite Matt's best efforts, I was able to furnish Nick on the "Apocalypse" table with half of his possible reinforcements.  My orbital strikes were less successful, not so much destroying enemy units as merely indulging in gentrification of the general area.  As stated, a good turnout, an enjoyable day for all concerned and a promising debut for Mr. Neatherway.

So, before the horrors of the forthcoming week make themselves known, I find myself enjoying a civilised supper of home-made rillons, washed down with a slightly fizzy Portuguese white.  Jolly nice, but I would say that, wouldn't I?

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Betwixt wadi and jungle with rod and gun...

With a now semi-complete utility room, I've been able to transfer the sordid business of miniature painting and terrain creation out of the study.  Subsequently (and with the aid of the customary splurge at Colours), there is now a production line of sorts taking shape, of CD-based jungle terrain* and rows of miniatures awaiting undercoating before the inevitable painting procrastination. 

The magpie flitting from project to project seems typical of many wargamers, and I'm acutely aware of it at present.  On the one hand, the introduction of They Don't Like It Up 'Em with my Peter Pig Sudan collection to other club members has them keen on a second encounter.  Opinion is divided as to whether it'll be a different one or simply the last one but playing as a different side.

On the other hand, I'm also personally keen to crack on with upgrading my Vietnam kit (also predominantly Peter Pig).  Reading rules is no substitute for playing them, but repeated reading of Too Fat Lardies' Charlie Don't Surf (CDS) prompted me to undertake the insane step of rebasing miniatures for the first time, even though it isn't strictly necessary.  With the onset of the recent school holidays, this was undertaken with a vengeance, with both Mr. Neatherway and the Div kindly acting as the player guinea pigs to my refereeing.  With Asian take-out and beer consumed, plus an appropriate soundtrack on the iPod, havoc could commence...

Player work commitments meant the game unfortunately had to be curtailed earlier.  This was annoyingly at the point where US Lieutenants Monterey Jack, Bayley Hazen and "Blue" Vaquero had received a harsh drubbing, but would now be unable to take advantage of the fact that the VC (Lieutenants Banh Cahn and Cao Lau) had shot their bolt.  This was exacerbated by players and referee cocking up things as they played new rules, and the fact the action was squeezed on to a very small playing area.  Nonetheless, both Mr. Neatherway and the Div said they'd be willing to give it another try, now that they had a better idea of how CDS plays.  This is encouraging stuff, from players who are at the game end of the game-simulation spectrum.  

Torn therefore between wadi and jungle, it looks like the wadi wins out this weekend, as I attempt to get some Highlanders and Royal Marines ready to take on the Mahdists for September 24th's planned game at the club...

*No prizes for guessing the inspiration of this.

To begin at the beginning...

"Tao" or Dao in Pinyin:
The path, way, doctrine or principle.

In this instance, primarily (but not exclusively) anything derived from Too Fat Lardies, Peter Pig and (naturally) pigs.

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