I often skim through the offerings on eBay but a true bargain is sadly a rarity. That's not to say there aren't some wonderful things to find on this auction site, but it's rare when you feel like you've really bagged a proper bargain. Last week must have just been my lucky day because I came across a listing selling an unopened 4ground North-West European Farm Complex.
Wednesday, 30 September 2020
4Ground North-West European Farm Complex
Sunday, 27 September 2020
Wednesday, 23 September 2020
Covering Fire Markers (and other things)
Last weeks Chain of Command game (Sgt O'Reillys Charge) made me realise that I needed to get some covering fire markers to show when an area of cover is being targeted. I did find some commercial markers (by Likto) but they were already expensive before applying international postage so I decided to make my own instead. In all likelihood, there may only be one or two areas being targeted in this way in the average game but I made enough to allow for covering fire from three whole squads (each covering 9" of terrain). That should be ample, but to be honest, they were so easy to make I could knock up more quite quickly if needed.
My base material was the humble lolly stick, cut into roughly 2" lengths. I then sanded the ends and corners to make them smooth. Using a Dremmel I drilled a series of shallow bullet holes in each piece and then base coated in Flat Earth (983). The ground was then dry brushed with Reflective Green (890) and Olive Green (967). I then went back and dabbed in some black to emphasise the bullet sholes using a fine nibbed art pen. The last step was a little flat earth around the bullet holes. When all of this was dry the usual Gloss then Matt varnishes were applied. The whole thing took about half an hour to make and paint and another hour for the varnishing.
The next big job following the game was to work on expanding the existing Index from the rulebook. The rules are brilliant and necessarily detailed but the index for finding them isn't as good. I had a mare of a time trying to find the rules on covering fire for instance. I knew I'd read them but couldn't locate them in the book when I needed to check the wording. Thankfully I never had to do the index because Dick Bryant (of Kingston Irregulars) came to my rescue, offering to share an index he had. It's saved me several hours of work and has made navigating the rulebook a whole lot easier!
The next project is already underway, with the arrival of some vehicles from Skytrex. I haven't bought stuff from this company in years and I'd forgotten how nice their models are. I'm currently prepping a Panzer III M and an Sdkfz 222 Armoured Car for the Germans, and an M20 Utility Vehicle and an M5 Light Tank for the Americans. I'm taking my time with these so expect to see them 'revealed' over the next few weeks.
Sunday, 20 September 2020
Is Historical Wargaming in Decline? - A Response
As I say in the video I'm not an industry insider, so this is entirely my own opinion based on the evidence of my eyes (back when trade shows were still happening!) and from conversations, I have read or been part of over the last few weeks.
As always please join the conversation here, or on my YouTube Channel, I'd love to know what you think.
Wednesday, 16 September 2020
Sgt O'Reillys Charge - A Chain of Command BatRep
Turn one, Phase One
Turn 1, Phase 4
The game is over in the Americans have won decisively.
Wednesday, 9 September 2020
This week my painting has taken a brief turn away from WW2 and chain of command. Earlier in the year my mate Stuart (aka Postie) gave me a figure of a bear. It's a bit of an in-joke so I had better explain. Postie has often run some very large French Indian Wars games in the shed-o-war and in one notable game my leader figure woke up a very angry bear. The movement wild creatures in his rules are entirely random but I was unlucky and the bear ended up close enough to my troops to charge. The ensuing melee with my leader and his lieutenant was brief, bloody and decisively in the bear's favour. In short, my leader and two other characters were eviscerated. The incident has gone down in Rejects lore and is often referred to!
Talking of bears, I highly recommend watching The Revenant. This 2015 American epic Western action-adventure starred Leonardo DiCaprio and although it was set in the 1820's - some 60 years after the French Indian Wars - I felt it was very evocative of that whole frontier period. In the film, DiCaprio's character is attacked by a bear and whenever I see that scene, I always think of that fateful game in Posties shed. It makes me wince just thinking about it!
Sunday, 6 September 2020
Encourage not Criticise
Wednesday, 2 September 2020
First Playtest with Chain of Command
Last week I published a video on my YouTube Channel about learning new rules and I guess that means I have to put my money where my mouth is and learn a new set of rules! Actually, I can't really call Chain of Command a 'new' set of rules because they first hit the hobby scene in 2013, and I bought my copy over four months ago. Since then I have been converting some of my 15mm Flames of War figures for use with this ruleset while trying to learn the rules. As I explained in my video, I find it very hard to just sit down and read a rulebook, so I have been watching a lot of how-to videos, playtesting and otherwise 'dabbling' with the rules on my own. Now its time to play a proper game, bringing together the various elements I have been working on over the last few months.
I started by setting up the table, making use of my recently completed ploughed fields and wheatfields, along with my collection of homemade Bocage hedgerows and gates. My table is a bit small for this game (just 4' by 2'6") although I have plans to make this a little bigger in the future. Despite this, it is still just about big enough to play a solo tester game on and start reviewing my understanding of the rules, figuring out what I don't know or don't understand.
Because this isn't a proper game - it's more a training exercise for myself - I didn't take as many pictures as I would normally, and didn't fully finish the game. I did get a chance to play out my first Melee, with the Germans overextending themselves in an attempt to capture the farmhouse and then getting counter charged by overwhelming numbers of Americans and basically having their backsides handed to them.
After that encounter, the Panzergrenadiers were in a dreadful position, bleeding troops and now overlooked by American MG's firing from the upper floors of the Farmhouse. Eventually, I reached a point where I decided I had learned enough from this test game and brought it to an end. However, I have decided to keep the layout largely the same and immediately play another test game with the sides swapped around. I'll start from the beginning again, carrying out the Patrol Phase and seeing if I can play with fewer mistakes next time.
So what have I learned from this solo test game? First, no matter how much I try to read and absorb the rules, I really learn from playing with them. Second, I need to keep a list of rules or topics I am vague about, so I can focus my attention on those bits of the rulebook. Thirdly I have found navigating the rulebook a little confusing at times so I think I'll add some 'tabs' to key pages in the rulebook so I can jump to them quickly. The fourth thing I already alluded to, highlighting the leaders a bit more so I can see them easier on the games table.
I expect I'll have to play quite a few more games like this to 'master' the rules. Certainly, I need a better grasp on them before I try to run a game of CoC for the Rejects. Looks like I have my work cut out for me over the next few weeks!