Have a rummage...

Sunday, 27 May 2012

The Great Outdoors

There is a cycle to most things; that whole "Circle Of Life, Simba" malarkey for one thing.  The ever-changing selection of goodies in my veg box, reflecting the passing seasons for another.  Not to mention the change in wargaming activities also brought upon by the changing seasons.

Not for this wargamer the dubious delights of being stuck inside on a glorious day like today.  No, today has been about those healthy outdoor activities such as undercoating, cleaning up figures and making models, which can all be undertaken in the sunny outdoors.  Thus, a fine crop has been sown for the painting reaper come Autumn, Winter and less inclement weather (or some such poorly extended farming metaphor).

Note state-of-the-art recycling bin supports for undercoating board.
Armoured reinforcement for the Free World is on its way.
In prosaic terms, the final 25 CDs-worth of jungle have been completed for the foreseeable future; they'll get an outing in our Darkest Africa campaign.  Sticking with Darkest Africa, some Masai got undercoated, as did-for Charlie Don't Surf- some Peter Pig NVA and M113s picked up at Salute 2012.  The whole undercoating mix was finished off with some jerrycans, oil drums and crates picked up a while back (from Skytrex?) which are intended for use as scatter the next time we have a crack at an NVA assault on a US firebase.  Whatever one makes of S. L. A. Marshall, once can't deny his account of Bird has tremendous possibilities...   

Friday, 25 May 2012

In The Heart Of Darkest....Abingdon?

Tonight saw the last prepping game before we launch a summer campaign here at the club next week, based on the Heart Of Darkest Africa rules that originally saw print in Wargames Illustrated and using a variety of Warlord, Copplestone and of course Foundry African figures.

Since Salute 2012 came and went, we've played through an encounter, raid and an ambush, so tonight was the last of engagements covered by the rules, a planned attack by my Zanzibaris, led by the noble and most eloquent Shah Wadi-wadi, against a Ngoni village. 

I was pleasantly surprised by how well my chaps did in melee against the Ngoni, but to be fair, they were fighting spearman, rather than warriors, which would be a very different kettle of fish.  I also foolishly forgot that my opponent did not deploy in my half of the table, and so had my scout futilely scouting areas which were one hundred percent ambush free.  Oh well.  

At present, my main concern is how to deal with the fact that typically, I'm outnumbered, both in terms of enemy units and figures within those units.  It's all very well having some reasonable firepower, but that can only be brought to bear on one enemy unit at a time, and in the meanwhile, those other cunning Ngoni and Ruga-Ruga units are getting closer and closer.  

Oh well; perhaps I should have stayed in the Arabian peninsula...

No photos this time, as I was too busy playing; mind you, the jungle would have looked very familiar.

Next week:  the campaign proper begins!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Charlie Don't Surf: Home-brewed Hi-jinks

Today was AWC's Club Sunday and- for reasons best left at present- I found myself running Charlie Don't Surf (CDS) again.

However, the twist was that I wasn't running a scenario devised by someone else, nor had I resorted to using the handy scenario generator within the CDS rules.  Instead, we were going to playtest a scenario of my own devising, based on a historical action.  With regard to writing the scenario, the sole observation at this point is that it had not been as difficult as anticipated.  This was no doubt due to the flexibility of the CDS rules, as their mechanisms seemed to take a lot of the pain out of the process.  Of course, writing the scenario was one thing; could it stand the rigours of play?  Club Sunday seemed an ideal opportunity.

As ever, Mr. Smallridge took the role of the Communists, whilst two new AWC members shared command of the Free World forces.  This in itself was instructive, as one had never encountered CDS, or indeed Lard rules before, whilst the other had seen watched the games I'd run at the recent shows.  Both agreed that the rules were straightforward, realistic and deceptively simple to pick up.

...in Vietnam, the late afternoon sun begins to set...
I don't really want to give too many details of the scenario here, but equally there's no harm in a little narrative.  An advancing Free World company found itself coming under fire from its flank.  As such, its platoons came off the road they were travelling along and sought cover.  Quiet descended once more, until a trailing platoon seeking cover in jungle became a sniper's subject of attention.  A second platoon spent considerable time and effort trying to pinpoint the enemy's location, whilst both the third platoon and company headquarters went to ground amidst the hooches of a nearby hamlet.  This platoon began to sweep the hamlet, in search of a reported sniper, only to be subject to fire of such intensity that they withdrew a good 150 yards or so at speed.  Eventually the various Free World commanders managed to steady their troops, and the platoons began to establish the locations of enemy positions.  Despite appalling weather, smoke was laid in an effort to cover the Free World's coordinated advance across the expanses of paddy field present.  Now brimming with confidence, the first platoon sought to close with their sniper nemesis but in so doing presented a hitherto unnoticed enemy position with a fine target.  It was the platoon's good fortune that the enemy appeared to have kept their weapons in a state of poor maintenance.  As the rains continued to fall, however, the enemy managed to slip away, leaving the Free World free to report the engagement as a clear political coup.  

...the Ell-Tee must be mad if he thinks we're just going to dash across this open paddy...
...so we must be mad for carrying out his orders...

In terms of playtesting, the players felt it was pretty much a sorted scenario; they certainly didn't feel that the outcome was inevitable, and liked the ebb and flow of the encounter.  Nevertheless, changes have been made to the Free World deployment, based on Mr. Smallridge's commenst, and something still needs to be done to model a particular factor that affected the support available to the Free World.  It was also decided there'll need to be a note or two about changing some aspects of the scenario, depending on whether players have access to a 6' x 4' or 8' x 6' playing area.     

Friday, 18 May 2012

Work, work, work....

No gaming shenanigans this Friday; it's the AWC AGM, and I've got to do my George Osborne bit as Treasurer...

Monday, 14 May 2012

Umm...hello again/Wotta Lotta Lard

Hm.  Quite.  Let's cut to the chase.

Life got jolly busy all round, and I naturally invoked the annual "forget/not get around to updating the blog" clause."

However, let's look at what I have been up to gamingwise over the last eighteen or so week:  The 7TV campaign came to a successful conclusion, with the S.P.A.C.E. Man emerging as the victorious TV series, and the whole affair being wrapped up in a six-player game set around an expanded version of club member Overlord's superb volcano-rocketbase lair that you may well have see in action at the 7TV/Crooked Dice stand at Salute 2011 (let's not dwell on the fact that my entire cast- admittedly four figures- were wiped out by the end of turn two).

It was then all hands to the pumps for our (Abingdon Wargames Club) own show, Overlord 2012 (the coordinator of which is naturally club member Overlord).  We enjoyed a well-deserv'd curry after setting up on the Saturday, enjoyed our highest footfall for over a decade on the Sunday itself, which was fantastic, and we managed to raise about £265 for this year's chosen charity.  I put on a participation game of Charlie Don't Surf on behalf of the club and that seemed to get a good reception; or, at least, the author of the rules commented favourably on the kit being used...

Many more games of Charlie were to be had, as we were also due to run it at Salute 2012; the first time we've actually run a participation game at Salute (although no doubt a club member is emailing a correction to me even as I type).  Other than dashing off to pick up some scenery/figures for 7TV from our chums at Crooked Dice and Ainsty (as well as some M113s for Charlie from Peter Pig), I saw nothing of the show, but the rest of the club seemed to have suffered no pain in piling into a minibus and having a gander around.  I can also use this forum to publicly acknowledge the sterling support of my fellow-conspirators Doc Neodynium and Mr. Smallridge in running the game and fielding public interest.  Thanks again, chaps, and not least for the Leninade and wooly Cthulhu.  It was also rather jolly to have an all-too brief few words with various members of the Too Fat Lardies Yahoo group who swung by.

With Salute out of the way, it might be thought my copy of the Charlie Don't Surf rules could get a rest (they're on the verge of collapsing through ungentle over-use).  However Overlord had cunningly booked us a table at Campaign 2012, hosted by the wargaming chaps of Milton Keynes this Saturday past.  Out came Charlie again, and again it seemed to be enjoyed by the wargamers AND non-wargamers who had a crack at it.  Lovely stuff.

In case you believe none of the above, I shall attempt to put a photos up to prove otherwise, if I get a moment.

Now, as my Rabbi- Mr. Burns- oft says, "the best-laid plans of mice and men aft gae googly" or some such.  Nevertheless, what are the gaming intentions for the immediate future?  

Well, various Darkest Africa games are taking place in preparation for a club campaign based around the same.  I've gone for Zanzibaris, on the grounds they're the only non-colonial force I actually can field in strength.  They are looking somewhat Persil in their white robes at present, but a good dose of Magic Wash should sort 'em out.  Counting chickens before they've hatched, there's a subsequent plan to bring A Very British Civil War to Oxfordshire- or North Berkshire, as it would have been back in '38.    This will possibly involve me recycling my Darkest Africa Brits as part of JOSHUA Force...

In both cases, the rules proposed are distinctly Lard-light.  In fact, I found it very difficult to get my head around the rules after my Lard-rich gaming.  However, I'm looking on this as a chance to focus on the painting/building side of things, so hopefully later in the year I can Lardify another element of my gaming.  At the very least, I might have a crack at some river terrain and Brown water units for Charlie, or have do a bit more work on my Bag The Hun Battle of Britain forces, or sort out some mounted assets for They Don't Like It Up 'Em, or...let's be honest, I've about as much focus as a monkey with the keys to three different banananana plantations.

Ah, almost forgot.  I've discovered a British-made chorizo.  Patriotic porky perfection.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Campaign 2012: Roundabout City

It's a veritable deluge of digital imagery, as we present some more piccies, this time from Campaign 2012 in sunny Milton Keynes.  Yes, it is the same game as at Salute 2012, only with more (relatively) action-packed shots!

Gosh, Ell-tee, advancing in the open don't seem such a great idea now...
You decide: a platoon bravely advancing, or a target-rich environment for a sniper?
A US blind manages to make its way beyond the hamlet's creek without being spotted.  Surprised, the referee points this out to anyone paying him any attention.
A handful of rice?  A few cents.  An eastern bloc HMG?  Quite a few rubles.  Successfully ambushing a US squad?  Priceless.
The long-awaited US air support arrives.  Charlie withdraws with some speed.
Anxious to avoid coming under fire, a local accidentally pulls a wheelie with his wagon, much to the surprise of his bullock.  A Buddhist monk waves his hand in a futile attempt to get him to slow down.

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