Friday, 28 March 2014

Rules Archive

John Curry, he of the History of Wargaming site, discussed via the WD discussion group recently setting up an archive of published wargames rules to help rules writes and others doing research.

John's republished loads of stuff, and his personal wargames rules collection must be enormous. Certainly larger than mine. However, I was inspired to do an inventory of rules that I own.

This list is of rules that you have to buy (or had to buy) in hard copy. Downloads are just too easy to acquire and so don't imply any intention of ever using them. I've never had any feedback on the rules I post here, pretty much, so I assume no one ever plays them. Oh, and I haven't included Don Featherstone's books as they were never bought for the rules. If that makes sense. And RPGs aren't included either.

AD2222 Fighter
Much under-rated space fighters game. I quite like them, but we don't really do sci fi as a group, so not really played much.

Airfix ACW - Terry Wise
Tried to get into ACW. Hated it. Stopped playing.

Airfix Napoleonic - Bruce Quarrie
Really complicated, but thorough. Lent mine to someone and never got them back. 

AK47 Republic
Quite simply one of the best set of rules ever written. Witty, clever, inventive, original brilliant.

AK47 Republic Reloaded
Massive disappointment, although I understand those that persist with them say they give a good game.

Ancient & Medieval Wargaming
Regular readers will know how much I love these as a entry set of rules and just plain fun. Ridiculous they went out of print.

Armati / Advance Armati
Much impressed when first played, and lots of fun until we worked them out. Still good for renaissance warfare, with modifications.

Armati 2
Fixed some of the problems in the original, and left or created others. Still give a good game.

Battle
Classic Charles Grant rules. Well explained. We added to and modified these over years. Out WW2 bible when I was a secondary school.

Battle of Five Armies (GW)
Bought the GW boxed set out of curiosity and desire to paint the figures. Rules are as you might expect. 

Bayonet and Ideology
Based on PBI2 these are bit hectic and can give odd results. Still get used, however, as they fill a need in my wargaming aims.

Black Powder
Yeah. Well. Over produced and underwhelming as a set of rules. Poorly written and laid out. A triumph of production standards over common sense.

Charge! (Terry Wise reprint edition)
Much loved by many, but not my thing. Individual figures and casualties. By the time I got my own copy (as opposed to using the one in the school library) my wargaming had moved on.

Crossfire
Brilliantly original, if a bit difficult to play and get absolutely right.

DBA v1
Yes. I have an original copy. Don't recall where I got them from.

DBA v2.2
I have John Curry's reprint. What can you say about them. Not my favourite ever, but they work and the game's over quickly.

Doctor Who: Invasion Earth
Skirmish level game from Harlequin to support their figure range. Okay, but the figures are better.

Ed Smith Ancient Naval
Used to play these lots as they fitted into a biscuit tin and played on a small board. First wargame I took to my university club.

English Civil Wars and Thirty Years War rules by Terry Wise
Used a lot in my last year of uni as I looked for rules to handle the French Wars of Religion.

File Leader
Ground breaking set of rules from Pete Berry. His most original and successful work, defining a new level of game with appropriate mechanisms.

Flintlock and Ramrod
Napoleonic skirmish rules from the Old West team. In the end very unsatisfactory as it took so long to load a musket, then you usually missed at point blank range. I know I owned them, but I can't find my copy.

Forlorn Hope
I helped write these whilst at university. Lots of originality in design (unit strengths based on proportion of weapons) but look a bit dated now.

Gladiator rules form Paragon
The set I own is a second edition reprint. Derek & I bought a copy between us at the Military Modelling tent at the Aldershot show in the mid 70's. Both got "Biscuit Tin" arenas and took it everywhere with us.

Hammerin Iron II
Probably my second favourite RFCM set of rules. Clever and imaginative. Lots of fun. Everyone, pretty much, I introduced this too went off and bought it. Well, maybe I exaggerate, but lots did.

Hordes of the Things
Good fun. I have an army of garden gnomes.

Lance
Got them to do early renaissance games for my Henry VIIIth figures. Tried a couple of times then found they didn't do what I wanted and everyone else hated them.

Men of Company B
Like the look of them. Never got round to buying the Vietnam kit. Thought about it a lot.

Old Western Gunfight
Derek & I bought these based on write ups in "Wargamer's Newsletter". These are the Mike Blake et all set with the pink cover. Gosh we played these a lot in our teens, using Timpo 54mm figures.

Once Upon a Time in the West
Written by Ian Beck & friends from Halifax, the definitive cowboy rules. Comprehensive and incomprehensible, alas.

Once upon a Time in the West Country
Disappointed by these ECW skirmish rules from Pete Berry. Expected something original after File Leader, but nothing here to excite me.

Patrols in the Sudan
Clever, and fun. Bit confusing at times, but an interesting take on the subject.

PBI 2
Not perfect, but interesting. The more recent PBI filled in some holes and seem to be popular. I never needed them to change.

Pieces of Eight (original version)
Completely mad set from RFCM. 15mm scale pirate ships and crew. Never quite worked, but a great try. 

Polemous SPQR
Given a copy to review (see blog post). Original, but sometimes baffling. Can see why they have a big following, but don't do anything that makes we want to change from the other rules I use.

Pony Wars
Ian Beck's Plains indians v US Cavalry rules, intended for shows only. Brilliant game. Good to see it back at shows in 10mm. Mechanisms still worthy of interest today.

Retinue
Represent a typical type of skirmish game from the time they were written. Never found them that interesting or sufficiently enticing to try them again.

Rudis
The Chariot Rules! Awesome.

Science vs Pluck
Classic, classic rules. Brilliant approach to asymmetric warfare.

Sepoy
Written by me, based on File Leader. I'd change a few things now, but I reckon they still stand up okay.

Slim Mumford's Medieval rules
We used them for a campaign. I never liked them much.

Square Bashing
Quite liked them at first, but too much fiddling about in the end.

Square Bashing 2013
Jury is still out, but I'm warming to them.

Tercio
How confusing were these?

Under the Lily Banner
They looked nice, and I wanted some Marlborough period rules. The read through didn't convince me they were worth too much effort.

Warfare in the Age of Marlborough
Mid - late 70's set of rules. Completely incomprehensible and unplayable. 

Wizards and Warfare
Can't find these now, but I bought them when I was doing Lords of the Rings games with converted Airfix figures. Modified and improved over a few years. Abandoned at Uni when I discovered no one took fantasy wargames seriously no matter how much effort you put in.

That's 46 sets of rules. Bear in mind these are rules I have owned, - not borrowed and never given back.

There are some notable omissions from my collection. Very light on WRG & I don't own FoG either. That's not to say I haven't played them, - it's just I don't own them or have never owned them.

There's a lot there I've looked at and never really played. Perhaps it's time to remedy that.



Thursday, 27 March 2014

Umming and Urring

Second play test, after the generally well received first run out. The scenario is not so important this time, as I needed to test the obvious matchups in the armies without too much interference from objectives and scenery. Even so, I put out a couple of villages to provide some focus to the game. Phil had a strong army with shielded infantry, some Royal Guards and two units of Battle carts. I had three units of massed Archery in my set up.

Phil looked to punch a hole in the middle of my line with one set of Battle Carts, and out flank my left with the other, whilst supporting to whole lot with a general infantry advance.
Phil's carts head for that gap in the line.
First charge of the game, first Fear Test happens on my left as two units of skirmishers face up to one another. Mine take fright and are a bit wobbly as Phil's charge home.
Lots of hits inflicted. My chaps will subsequently lose the fear test again, and take flight, pursued by the invaders.
In the middle Phil's Battle Carts take fright at charging my massed archers. This is mainly precipitated by the effects of a devastating volley of archery, that kill one of the bases. First rumblings that this might not be working as it should.
On the left flank the Battle Carts describe their stately arc around the village, threatening my retiring skirmishers, who have been driven off by some of Phil's. At least that's what I remember.
Phil's skirmishers on the right soften up my Auxiliaries in the village, enabling him to charge it with his shielded spearsmen. This melee becomes protracted, with the Fear test keeping it on a knife edge. Neither side gives anything and eventually my unit dies to the last man.
At last, the test I wanted to see. The Battle Carts pass a Fear test and charge home.The infantry are unaffected, and remain steady. This isn't good for the Carts. This melee swings backwards and forwards for the rest of the game as Phil gamely does not retire. It seems to easy for infantry to hold their ground, unperturbed by on rushing carts. In this case Phil might have benefited from inflicting a couple of missile hits before the charge.
Over on the other side one of Phil's heavy units is heavily damaged by skirmisher missiles. It's clear that unprotected heavy infantry really suffer if masses of skirmishers get round them. I lost a unit in that way at the end of the game. Phil is surrounding the village, and driving off my units supporting the defenders.
In the middle Phil's Battle Carts form up at last, and launch another charge.

My infantry drop a level in the Fear test and it looks a bit dodgy for them.

That's when we finished the game.

Outcome was a bit mixed. The central ideas are working for me, but I need to look at balance and run some more theoretical numbers through some scenarios. The Rallying process is rubbish, so that needs surgery. But things are encouraging.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Just enough kill

In the end there were three of us, not two, and as we ended up playing to midnight Shedquarters was the best place for us, rather than keeping Mrs T awake with our raucous fun.

The armies in play were Phil's Arab nomads & Auximites (army lists for pre-Islamic Arabs & Abbyssinians).The other participant was Chris K.

This blog is a bit rambling. We played three games between us, and although I took pictures I have no clear narrative. Phil wanted to try the armies prior to taking them as a pair to a DBA tournament. The question was whether they were interesting and balanced.


In the first game I took the Arabs & Chris K the Auximites, with their elephant. The Arabs have mostly camels. The Auximites have mostly warband. They are odd armies stuffed with troop types that aren't in my comfort zone at all.


I lost the first die roll and ended up as the defender (the Arabs defended all evening). Chris also got his favoured starting edge, so the terrain was of little help to me. I also had a PIP nightmare, rolling 1s & 2s for the first 6 or 7 moves.

This meant I never developed the middle of the board, and my blades just never moved. I then cocked up my left hand blocking force, which got defeated in detail, and cost me the game.

Second game I kept the same army and played Phil. Same story on starting edge as before.






A bit more luck with PIPs meant I was able to get across the board and line up more or less as I wanted. Alas I had to use my general to hold off Phil's light horse from giving me grief, which hamstrung my movement a bit as he was out on a limb, over 12 inches away from some of my troops..


Soon the battleline clashed, and I lost every match up, including three blades v warbands. My General even got killed on a 6:1 roll against Light Horse I had pinned up against the table edge.


So that's how it ended.

Last game Phil & I swapped sides. I attacked, but didn't get my favoured table edge.


We lined up opposite each other. Phil & I are both fairly gung-ho players, so we both gunged & hoed at each other.


Over on the left you can see light horse jousting round each other. In the middle I'm in good shape, lined up as I want except Phil's got his psiloi in front of my Elephant general. Phil, being Phil, was looking at doing something clever on the right hand end of my line with his light horse general.


As it turned out, the general was immediately killed, ending the game after about three turns. So we swapped him over for his other light horse and started again from the same position.


It availed Phil very little. When we got to grips I won all along the line and killed loads of stuff. Another warband triumph.

Three games, three Auximite wins. Doesn't look awfully balanced. Having said that Chris K & I are not good DBA players at all, dabbling very infrequently. This magnifies the effect of any luck in our games.

The armies are probably closer than 3-0 on the night would indicate, and they are certainly a bit different from the usual fare. However, I think I may have seen enough of them.

As I said, just enough kill for the evening. Unless you are a nomadic arab.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Overkill

This evening Phil & I are playing DBA in Shedquarters.

The usual hordes I entertain are otherewise engaged, so there's two of us sitting across a 2 foot square board in a building 18' x 12'.

Might find out if Shedquarters has an echo.

Monday, 17 March 2014

This is Important

Some of you readers may know I live near Northampton, site (in 1460) of a major battle in the Wars of the Roses. I wrote about it a few years back Northampton Battlefield after I had the privilege of walking it with Richard Brooks.

The site is under threat. It's next to a golf course and is in prime position to do things like plough it up, build a sports pavilion and so on.

Northampton Borough Council have drawn up a Conservation Management Plan ("CMP") which you can see here. This describes the site and what needs to be done to protect it. If it is adopted and taken seriously then the site will be better protected, and the amenities to enable it to be visited will be improved sensitively.

Most importantly no one will be able to do anything to the site without a battlefield archaeologist looking at it first and doing the appropriate work.

This is doubly important at Northampton as there's probably a late medieval artillery field park somewhere under the site, and there's a history of not really caring very much about it.

The CMP is now under consultation. It is important that the Borough Council (not known for being all that interested in anything historical that isn't to do with shoes) understand that people care. The number of people responding to the consultation is something they will pay attention to.

The consultation is available here. It takes less than 10 minutes to do. The consultation period expires on 27th March. ie Really Soon. So:


  • DO IT NOW. 
  • DO IT TODAY.
That is all.

Post script: When you complete the survey, please  mention that this is still a registered battlefield and any archaeology done should not be used as an excuse to develop the site. There is still a real threat that it will be developed afterwards!!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

West Country Action: Looking at Langport

This was a look at  the Battle of Langport using Armati. As I said in my previous post Phil is developing (or rather going to develop) a refight for the Battlefield trust, following on from Naseby & Second Newbury. This was a first run out to see where the problems might lie.


The ground scale is probably a bit off. For this first game I put out what looked right. The picture above is the battlefield from the Royalist position, looking towards Fairfax's army. Phil took the NMA this time, and I got Goring's army. For this game I had to press gang all of my red coated figures to make the NMA, so no comments on any vaguely looking Royalist flags flying on the other side of the table, please.

They look quite impressive, as you can see below.


Phil started off by pushing his forlorn hope through the fields on his side of the brook,  whilst his artillery opened up. We had a bit of a discussion about restricting targets. Historically Fairfax suppressed Goring's guns at the head of the lane, and also roughed up the infantry in the dip, but seemed not to have targeted Goring's cavalry. We came to the conclusion that these should therefore be out of range.


Our Forlorn Hopes exchanged shots across the brook to no good effect.


I could see I was going to get overwhelmed in the dip if I didn't take action, so I moved my forlorn up from covering the road to cover the brook. Phil's artillery was getting in some sharp practice, and I took a permanent hit to my guns, represented by the white ring (Phil has posted amendments for Armati over on his ECW blog that include disruption before loss of hits from artillery fire).


Despite my best efforts, I quickly lost one of my forlorn units to musketry (despite cover from the hedge and bank). The Royalist Colonel Slaughter looks a bit exposed in that field.


Confident he had the upper hand in the infantry fight, Phil moved his first cavalry unit into the lane, taking some disruption in the process (the yellow marker).


This is the picture you all expect - Major Bethell's troop heading towards the ford, as the Royalist foot are driven off on the right.


As Phil emerged form the lane I won the initiative roll (despite being two down) and so charged. This lead to another talking point as to how "up for it" the Royalists were. Historically Bethell was allowed to get out of the lane and initiate the charge. Perhaps we need some mechanism to deal with this. Or perhaps the initiative difference is enough and I was just lucky.


As the cavalry melee developed I brought up my reserve horse and tried to bottle Phil up in the lane to stop him using his superior quality (all veterans with an extra +1 in combat over my horse).


Phil was able to get one unit round the right rear of his leading squadrons and engage my left hand unit.


Phil won the combat and using his impetus broke my unit.


I was able to get my right hand unit into combat with Bethell's command to give myself a 2 on 1 situation. Phil brought up another unit to provide rear support, and I threw in Goring to inspire his men.

He immediately became a casualty, and disappeared from the field.


This tussle in the middle was becoming epic. Bethell's men were under massive pressure, and Bethell was likewise injured and retired.


At this point I started to march the Royalist infantry off. Bear in mind this is a rearguard action, and I probably should have done it earlier on.


Another cavalry melee, another dead or fleeing officer....


Bethell's troop finally broke, and was removed. Their support passed the "routed into" test. Bethell had done a lot of damage to his opponents, which were roughed up and fatigued. The next Parliamentarian charge was going to give them some grief.


Having lost their officer, another Royalist cavalry unit broke.....


......followed by another one.....


....and the last one, broken by musketry from the enclosures. Game over.

We learnt a lot about the battle and how the narrative might need to go. The importance of the NMA winning the infantry fight and so then holding the enclosures was missed by both of us in our earlier discussions. We knew they had to win to enable Bethell's charge, but they then became a threat in their own right.

An enjoyable evening's game, with a lot of discussion as we went along. Sort of the wargame as a learning tool in this case as we tried to work out how the battle hung together.

Phil's now got to go off and do some work. That's enough for me for now.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Langport Pre game Considerations

We dip in and out of the ECW, we do. I have some fairly large Piggie armies, and a set of rules I like (available top right, - they're called "Victory Without Squares") and the intention to refight all of the battles starting from the Bishop's War through to the end of the Commonwealth, although not necessarily in sequence and I've got Convenanters but no Highlanders so not sure on Montrose's battles.

Phil, in the mean time, has a good selection of figures from a range of manufacturers and does refights for the Battlefields Trust. He uses a version of Advanced Armati and creates the battlefields on slightly re-jigged pasting tables. So far he has done Naseby and Second Newbury (although not in order either). The next one he has been approached to do is Langport, where Goring finally gets a good pasting and it becomes abundantly clear who has the best army across all disciplines, and it's Parliament.

We've talked about this on and off for a few months. Phil has been working on other projects as have I, so it has been all talk and no action on both sides. I've got a number of books that cover the subject, but basically there's one proper historical account. Of the secondary accounts there's a good one in Brooks and in the Battlefield Guide to Battles of the South West. Wanklyn touches on it in his "Military History of the ECW" that he co-authored, but he doesn't provide an account, partly, I think, because he can't verify anything in the Parliamentary main account except the outcome.

Brooks is good as he makes a proper stab at saying why the New Model Army won, other than just generally being better and more up for it. His view is that it also shows proper infantry/artillery co-operation (I think the NMA has better staff work anyway from the beginning, a factor that is overlooked in its victories).

What everyone who knows anything about the battle remembers is that Fairfax gets Cromwell to send three cavalry troops in column four abreast up a narrow lane and across a deep ford to charge Goring's cavalry. Major Bethell duly does this, and effectively breaks all of Goring's army (2,500 horse, c5,000 foot) with about 400 troopers.

The prequel to this is slightly less well known. Goring had covered the ford with musketeers in the enclosures on either side of the road, lining the hedges. Clearly to have forced this with cavalry whilst they were in situ would have been most likely disastrous.

Fairfax therefore sends a strong forlorn hope of musketeers under Colonel Rainsborough (one of the finest men ever to serve his country) to clear the hedges. This attack is supported by his massed guns, who's first fire mission is to suppress and drive off the artillery placed at the end of the lane by Goring to cover the ford.

It looks like the game breaks down into three phases. Firstly there's an artillery duel. Parliament should win that because they've got more guns (Goring sent off lots of his guns before the battle as he didn't think he was going to be attacked. Either that or drunk again).

Secondly there's an infantry scrap as musketeers fight hedgerow to hedgerow, and Parliament force their way across the stream.This is more in the balance. Parliament have about 8,000 infantry and probably deploy about 2,500 musketeers to the fight. Goring uses about 2,000. (These numbers are open to dispute). Concerns before the battle were over Parliament's foot, who had a bit of a rough deal at Naseby. At least that's what everyone always says. I reckon they did okay as a new force in their first battle against the Oxford army foot who were widely seen as the best, most experienced infantry around. By Langport they've had another month's drill under their belts and they've won a major battle. A much tougher prospect. Goring moans a bit about his welsh foot in this battle as not having the stomach for it. For the game I'll deploy the infantry as Skirmish Infantry, but with their parent regiments deployed on the hill behind on both sides. Tempted to give the New Model an extra break point to make them a bit tougher.

Thirdly there's the cavalry assault.; This looks awfully like what Fairfax tries at Marston Moor, - pushing cavalry up a narrow lane and expecting to win. At Marston Moor it goes a bit awry. At Langport it looks like genius. In wargaming terms it's a bit of a conundrum. Firstly we will have to amend Armati as the basic game does not allow for units to change formation,  - eg from line to column for the cavalry. Next we'll have to think about the factors for each side. In the base game the Royalists will have an advantage as they're fighting on a wider front versus a narrow opponent, and the base factors for Royalist Cavalry are good, being the same as the NMA.

It's clear by this point in the war however that Goring's cavalry are losing their edge a bit. Their discipline has broken down as they straggle away from Parliament's army, and they're living off the land a bit more than usual (that's a euphemism for plundering and looting). That might suggest reducing their factors and maybe taking away their right to impetus in a frontal charge. Trouble is you don't want the stack the deck too much, but nor do you want to leave it so open you end up with a refight of the Battle of Langport that shares the name and little else.

Any how, I've set the table out, and sorted the figures. Looking forwards to an epic clash on Wednesday evening.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Squarely Bashed

So we had another game of Square Bashing on Wednesday evening.We had two players (Phil & Richard) and a bit of a rushed start due to me being delayed for an hour on the M6.

The game wasn't a rip-roaring success. This was a disappointment as I had high hopes following the initial scenario based game. Why? Well.....my conclusions are at the end of the report.

We played the trench based game using the quick start system in mid 1916. That meant mixed quality Brits and no tanks. The quick start game also means that neither side gets to use off table assets and there are no reinforcements.


This is the table set up, with Phil's attacking Brits to the left, and Richard with the Germans defending to the right. For a trench line attack the rules require the trench to be a single line with "rough ground" in front of it and all the terrain off to the side. You have a bunker just in front of the line as well.

The Brits set up first, then the Germans. You then run the "depletions" on the defenders to simulate the effect of the preparatory barrage. Then the attackers try to set off the mine.



In this game I forgot the mine until the end of turn one. Whilst it went off with spectacular effect, it took away an objective. If Phil had known about it before his set up he might have deployed differently as well.


Anyhow, as said above the mine was spectacular and took out a German battalion and MG company. Alas it renders the square impassable as well (why? - fighting for craters was one of the things you did after mining). Phil launched assaults along the line where ever he could. Near the camera two professional units, supported by MGs threw themselves across the wire and then collapsed in an orgy of rubbish dice rolling. Defenders win draws, and the consequence of not winning the assault for the attacker is even more dead bodies.


Further up the line the first of many attacks went in on the bunker, defended by a lone MG company. The units at the top of the picture were reservists and in traditional RFCM fashion as the lowest quality units refused to do anything most of the time.


After some hard slogging Phil finally got across the wire and took the bunker from the side, whilst surrounding squares gave support. It was tough and go, and only won because the defenders were wiped out. He was still taking more casualties than he inflicted. Richard opted, as he did throughout the game, not to counter attack to recover squares he lost. I was ambivalent about this. He should probably have done so, but the consequences of losing would have been dire for him.


At the other end of the table the British finally broke the line and sent the defenders scurrying back towards their base line. Again flanking the trench and using other squares to support proved a winning combination.


We ended with the British holding two objectives, the Germans one, with one destroyed. Casualties were fairly even but with the dice rolling involved in the victory conditions the Germans came out marginal winners.

So, my thoughts. It was a mistake to run the Quick Game with the Trench game. The trench game is a grinding match and without the assets or any tanks to help the attacks there's very little decision making and little to do other than just run forwards and hope for the best.

The rules have issues. The mechanism for moving out of difficult terrain is similar to other PPig rules and it doesn't ring true. There's a lot of dice rolled to little effect, and the saving rolls do not seem to even the luck out. Why do field guns have a range on the table of 1400 yards compared to normal ranges well in excess of that. Why are they on the table at all?

I don't think the game is broken, nor do I think the rules are awful. They are, as ever, poorly written and confusing. Some key rules are mentioned once, buried in paragraphs of text. Others are repeated many times with variations of wording and apparent contradictions.

I think I would like to use them again. I think scenario based games are a better option and army assets will add much flavour. As constructed the rules will work okay for later period armies with decent kit and troops. The earlier and mid war armies might not make for an exciting night's entertainment. Phil is not convinced and is not a fan. Richard didn't really offer an opinion.

Hum.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Squaring Up Again

A few months ago (September last year, I think) Monday Night irregular, Harvey, gave us a demo of RFCM's "Square Bashing" 2012 re-write. We played the Amiens Scenario and it gave me a chance to get out my Great War armies that had been languishing in unopened boxes for far too long,

The game went pretty well and was enjoyed by all present. I had previously had a soft spot for the original SB but was unable to convince my fellow players of its merits, so I went out and bought this version with high hopes we'd find more use for it. That was last October, I think, and it has remained unread ever since.

Harvey, meanwhile, has found other pursuits to occupy him on a Wednesday, so this weekend I pulled the book out resolved to set up a game for our next weekly get together.

Martin has done a lot with his rules over the years. Production standards have risen, and he now incorporates Contents and an Index and helpful photographs. I applaud him for this. Martin is a lovely bloke and his ideas are always interesting and thought provoking. They seem to tumble out from him like an undammed stream, hastening to be captured on paper and shared with us. It's a shame he doesn't work with a competent editor.

For the game this week I'm going to use the "quick game" option, that does away with all of the pre-game jiggery-pokery and off table assets and just gets to the core of the rules. I'm combining it with the "Trench Game" for that 1916 feel.


Trench warfare is where some of the concepts in the rules break down. Players are supposed to turn up with their favourite terrain pieces and slap them down on the table. That doesn't work for a trench system that needs to spread across the table from side to side, so there's a sort of scenario game ready provided where both players agree to "do" a trench game and it just gets put on the table, with an added bunker.

I think that'll do us just fine. Once I get a grip of the core mechanisms I can add in the "Assets" and start to think about doing a "Monday Night" job on the rule systems. Martin's quite clear on the ground and figure scale for this game, so it shouldn't be a problem to translate actual divisional actions to the table top. Martin has designed the game for two table sizes - 4' x 3' and 6' x 3' - but I see no reason not to adjust this.

It is also clear to me that my collection has some holes in it. I'm missing a German Divisional HQ for reasons that completely defeat me.I have British Divsional and Brigade HQs, but no German command bases at all. Most odd. I don't recall not buying them (if that makes sense) and they're not in my lead pile.

In any event I think I need some casualty markers and some flamethrowers as well, and once I work through the army lists properly I may find I have some other missing bits and pieces as well. So I may take a short break from my Assyrians and do a quick, one off order from Minifigs .

Then perhaps order some French.