Sunday 31 October 2021

Hobby Gatekeepers

Being a Gatekeeper often has negative connotations attached to it. But can we turn being a gatekeeper into a positive thing for the hobby? Surely if a gatekeeper can hold shut a door they could also hold it open? Here are my thoughts on why any gamer with a blog or youtube channel needs to be an advocate for the hobby as a whole, welcoming in new players, unafraid to let them decide what they want from their hobby.

I'd love to hear about your experience of joining the wargaming community. Did you encounter a gatekeeper that almost put you off entering the hobby, or have you seen it happen to others? 

Sunday 24 October 2021

Planning to Succeed

There is a fine line between setting yourself a challenge and setting unrealistic goals. Finding the line between them is a matter of careful planning.

I can't claim to have always succeeded in my plans, but I am convinced I would have failed more had I failed to pre-planned projects before splashing the cash. As always I'd love to hear what you think either here or over on my channel Miniature Adventures.

Tuesday 19 October 2021

SELWG 2021

Over the weekend the Rejects went to our first in-person game show in over a year and a year and a half. SELWG has moved to a new venue, and there were a few hiccups along the way, but we had a great day and bought a lot of gear.

We had a good day and all the Rejects said they enjoyed themselves. I did video them giving some feedback but the sound quality was so poor (too much background noise) I left these out in the end. Pity, because some of the responses were amusing! 

A fine body of Rejects! 

Inside the new Venue

'O'Group - The Scottish Corridor

'O'Group - The Scottish Corridor

Mark Backhouse's 2mm Romans using Strength and Honour

Cheshunt Wargames 6mm Battle for Hoe Binh, Indochina 1951

Milton Hundreds CoC Game featured two lovely Shermans. 

Deal Wargames Boworadet Rebellion, Siam 1933

Society of Ancients - Trebia

Spalding Wargames Club - A fist full of Lead

Gravesend Gamers Guild - 40k Titanicus

Postie chatting up one of the Traders. Does everyone really give him a discount??

Where's Walley? 

My modest Loot from the day. Not as much lead as I planned but there is always the next show!

Sunday 17 October 2021

The Lay of the Land

Warfare rarely takes place in nice rectangular shaped battlefields, so when wargamers try to recreate the map and place terrain on their games tables, compromises often happen. But if we move the terrain to fit our table, is it still a historical game?

This subject came about because I recently played a game that necessitated some creative squeezing and twisting to make the map fit my undersized table. I still think it produced a reasonable representation of the battle I was playing, even though the terrain was placed slightly differently from how it was at the battle. 

Saturday 16 October 2021

Posties Rejects are going to SELWG tomorrow

I will be going to SELWG tomorrow along with a few of my mates from Posties Rejects. This will be our first in-person game show in over 20 months and we can't wait. If you see me (I'm a big target, hard to miss) please come and say hello.

Thursday 14 October 2021

Nero: The man behind the Myth Exhibition

Yesterday I had an opportunity to visit the British Museum's latest special exhibition with my daughter. She is studying history at A level and had a chance to pick a subject of her own choosing as a special side project. She has chosen to look at the first emperors, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero, collectively known as the Julio-Claudian dynasty. This exhibition focuses on the last of these, Nero, but understandably there was a lot of information about the emperors that came before them, so my daughter was very happy and came away with a tome of photos and ideas for her project. I enjoyed it too but I also got the chance to spend an afternoon nerding out with my youngest daughter, so win-win. 

I took a lot of pictures as usual but thought a few were more military than others and therefore worth sharing here. 

Sword and Scabbard AD 14-16 - The scenes on this scabbard celebrate julio-Claudian military successes in Germany and stress harmony and order. Germanicus hands the enthroned Tiberius a figure of victory. In reality, the troops had mutinied at Tiberius' accession, preferring Germanicus as princeps.

Soldiers of the Pretorian Guard AD51-2 - Augustus established the Pretorians as his personal guard. They were an elite unit and the most powerful military force in Italy, where no regular troops were stationed. They enjoyed considerable privileges and their support was crucial for the emperor. The relief depicts six Praetorians in parade armour and was taken from a triumphal arch in Rome that commemorated Claudis' conquest of Britain in AD43.

Copper Alloy Helmet found in England, c AD50-100 - Following the conquest of Britain, Roman and local tastes influenced one another. This led to the emergence of a new distinctive artistic identity that is evident in decorated military objects. This helmet combines a Roman Shape with Celtic style decoration. Its owner was perhaps a local warrior fighting for Rome, or a Roman soldier who commissioned armour decorated in a local style. 

Copper Alloy Cavalry Helmet AD 1-100 - The Roman governor Gaius Suetonius Paulinus was campaigning in Wales when local discontent erupted into rebellion. Boudica attacked Camulodunum (Colchester), defeating the Ninth Legion when it attempted to rescue the town. This decorated cavalry helmet was possibly war booty ritually deposited in a marsh by a Briton. Alternatively, it may represent a votive offering made by a Roman soldier adopting practices similar to those of the native population. 

Roman Horse Trapping c AD50 - Rome's frontiers along the Danube and Rhine were under constant pressure from neighboring tribes. The author Pliny the Elder served as an officer in Germania during the reigns of Claudius and Nero. While stationed here he write on military topics, followed later by his famous Natural History. These horse trappings are marked 'Pliny prefect of cavalry'. They may have belonged to Pliny, or a soldier under his command. 

Limestone carving of a Parthian Horseman - The Parthians established a vast empire across modern-day Iran, Iraq and Armenia. It endured for almost 500 years and was recognised by Rome as its equal in wealth, culture, and military strength. Its military might came primarily from its superior cavalry. Mounted on light horses and carrying bows, these legendary fighters feigned panicked retreat at full gallop, only to turn in the saddle and shoot back at the pursuing enemy. The archer depicted here wears the characteristic Parthian dress and carries a composite bow. 

Nero was a great supporter of public sports and entertainment. He, like many of his predecessors, was a populist and drew political power from the support of the masses. Military spectacle, including chariot racing, in the arena, was common. Chariot racing was managed by teams called factiones. Each faction had numerous charioteers and hundreds of supporting staff. Nero was a supporter of the popular Greens and when he raced chariots himself he would mix expensive ground chrysocolla with the sand turning it green in their honor. 

Marble of Nero AD 66-68 - This marble statue was displayed to stress Nero's martial qualities and in particular to Celebrate his success over the Parthians. The breastplate of this statue depicts the emperor as the Sun riding in his chariot. Below two mythical figures symbolise the Parthian submission to Rome. 

It was a great day out and a very interesting exhibition to share with the Young Padawan. 

I would certainly recommend seeing this exhibition if you are interested in the period. There is far more to see than the handful of items I have highlighted here. As with all of these special exhibitions, the British Museum is very good at selecting artifacts that tell the story they want to tell. Most are from their own collections but they can also bring in rare and special artifacts from other museums so often this will be the only chance to see some items together. 

My only gripe is with the museum's presentation of the information panels. The information they contain is excellent...but would it kill them to use a bigger font! All the info panels are at waist height and if you want to read them you have to stand in front of the display, blocking the view of anyone else. And some of the artifacts are very small (coins and small items of jewelry) inside huge cases so it's really hard to get up-close-and-personal with some of the artifacts...and if you do you block the view of the information panels for other visitors! Don't get me wrong, I love the British Museum, but they really need to break with stuffy tradition and work on their presentation skills! 

Sunday 10 October 2021

Hobbying Safely

Humans are uniquely gifted with intelligence and foresight to enable them to avoid hazards, but so often we ignore the risks until it's too late. Model makers and miniatures painters are just the same and many of the common hazards (and accidents) associated with our hobby have remained the same for as long as there have been gamers painting miniatures to play with. The first step in avoiding accidents is identifying the risks and this video discusses some of the common ones and how to avoid them.

Tuesday 5 October 2021

Operation Caravan Quick Strike AAR

The LRDG raid on the Italian Airfield at Barce in September 1942 is a classic adventure story of endurance, bravery and brazen daring. This night attack followed a drive of 1850km across vast tracts of inhospitable desert.  The LRDG showed that targets hundreds of miles behind the front lines were vulnerable and nowhere was safe from attack by their "Ghost Patrols".

I first ran this game as a Demo at Broadside in 2017, but of course, running the game meant I didn't get to play it! So I decided I would recreate the scenario and play it as a solo game in my Operations Room. Having made the decision I promptly realised that the rules I used for the demo game were no longer suitable, so I wrote a quick set of simple rules for solo play. They still need a bit of polishing but they worked well, gave me an enjoyable game that replicated the difficulty of this scenario for both sides. 

The original version of this game was a Demo at the Broadside show in 2017.

To fit it on my smaller tale for this solo version I had to twist and squeeze the map a bit to ensure that all the essential elements were present.

As the game progresses smoke rises from more and more targets.

Ultimately the LRDG were there to destroy aircraft and infrastructure on the Italian Airfield, and in this, they succeeded spectacularly. 

Please watch the video and if you enjoyed it please 'like' and of course subscribe to my YouTube Channel Miniature Adventures

Sunday 3 October 2021

The Golden Age of Geekdom

Today's video is inspired by a blog post I wrote twelve years ago. It was itself inspired by an earlier article I read in a gaming magazine which asked when was the Golden Age of gaming and if it is different for everyone. I have had several Golden Ages across several genres of geekdom, and I argue, I'm living in one right now.