Sunday 21 February 2010

The trouble with Windows 7.

I have a bit of an annoying problem at the moment,I got a new pc last week,and when I came to add my camera software,windows 7 really didnt like it and crashed the system!!
I have now got the computer running,but have no photographs to add to the narrative.So please excuse the current lack of eye candy,I hope to resolve this soon.
I fought my first ever Russian Civil War game this week using the Two Fat Lardies rules.The game ran very well,albeit I lost,but nothing new there.
The figures were all Colins and were a fine array of Copplestone,Foundry and Old Glory.
Anyway Ia m away for a week with work,so this short note is to just prove I am still in business,happy gaming.....

Sunday 14 February 2010

Worst Wargames Rules

Moving on from the best rules list,I thought Id better balance this with a small list of rules that I found pretty poor.I would stress this is a personal opinion and I am not paid to promote one set over another [ I wish].
One set that always struck in my mind was Bruce Quarries Napoleonic rules,which I must admit I fought with for at least a year before I gave up on them. They were released originally in 1974 and then expanded on from there into quite a tome.The rules attempted to show that wargamers should be taken seriously and that we didnt just play with toys.Hence Bruce introduced the thorny subject of national characteristics,which caused endless arguments and on one occassion I can recall, nearly coming to blows over the abilities of British riflemen. Looking back it all seems very embarrasing but at the time it was important.The rules catered for every eventuality and while I still keep a copy,just to reminisce over I think they were pretty naff rules. A more modern set was the recent release, Minden Rose which I used only last year, I really disliked these rules, if only for the fact that they heavily penalised everyone but the prussians [syw]. I also disliked Kreigskunst again purely for the fact that they favoured the prussians, the only question I have got about the Prussians is,if Frederick was so great why did it take seven years to fight a war to a stalemate!!
The IWG was born out of a reaction to the then domination [in the 80's] of the Wargames Research Group who tended to dominate all wargames rules at one time. There is a pattern forming here I know,but I remember feeling lucky to escape injury when having been invited to a refight of Wagram using WRG napoleonic rules where a serious argument broke out about the use of Austrian 'masses' [ I would like to say it had nothing to do with me] the rules to be fair were well put together but were definately for the competition minded gamer, which I am definately not. John and I used for several years their renaissance rules by George Gush.
I have always liked Gush and his style of writing but the endless use of tables created long periods of inertia. My final naff rules have to include Peter Gilder's, In the Grand Manner.I have used these in three battles and each time have come away promising never to use them again. I hasten to add I only use them when I go to the Wargamers holiday centre in Scarborough,which I love,that is until I play with the rules. I think it is obvious that I like simple rules,with the emphasis on playability. Anyway just something to mull over...............

Sunday 7 February 2010

Vapnartak 2010

I try to attend as many wargames shows as possible,from my base in the North east of England.
This year 2010,is no exception, and the first of the year was Vapnartak,the York Wargames show.
Wargames shows in the United Kingdom usually follow a common trend,of trade show first,wargames second. I once attended the Napoleonic Fair in London,which technically was not totally a wargames show,but had a lot of nice figures on show,coupled with some good games. The best thing however was the series of guest speakers,led by Colonel Elting,[Swords around the Throne] These talks were both informative and entertaining,something that seems to be lacking at typical wargames shows. Now I am not decrying the ability to handle and then buy wargames figures,I just feel there is a need to do more at these gatherings.
I digress from my visit to York,but it would be nice [ a bad word] to say have an additional reason to attend a show,ie a guest speaker talking about their latest rules, a noted figure designer explaining how he designs the masters, an editor of a wargames magazine telling us about the business etc.
I know its easy to pontificate when I dont have to be part of the organisation of a show,but these are purely ideas.
Anyway on to York show......
I really enjoyed this years show,there was a definate excitement about the place,probably caused by the fact it was packed to the gunnels with gamers young and old.
The show has built upon its sucess and with a good location has created a big event,so well done to the York wargames club. I particulary liked the Battle of Pavia in 28mm, a 28mm battle based around Mesopatamia 1914,a 15mm battle of Antietam and a 28mm battle of Raphia.
There other really good quality games,but I didnt record their details. The trade was as prolific as ever,with a wide range of stalls selling everything a wargamer would want,except 28mm Seven years war collectors.
I felt sorry for people attempting to place figures in the bring and buy as it was mobbed all day.
I was really tempted by a box of 54mm Irregular Miniatures franco prussian toy soldiers,but I am determined to complete my syw project first.I was also able to see first hand the new Perry twins, Wars of the Roses personalities,and these are lovely figures,crying out for a decent paint job,[any chance for a Charles the Bold chaps!]
The food was good quality if a little pricey, and I understand parking became a problem due to numbers,but all in all a very good show.

Thursday 4 February 2010

Best Wargames Rules

Like the anorak I truely am I got to thinking about the best wargames rules I have used,following the complaints about Black Powder at the Mollwitz re fight.
I have never been a lover of complex detailed rules ,but when I started gaming the emphasis seemed to be,if it was complex then we couldn't
be ridiculed for playing with toy soldiers,ergo complex meant it was a realistic re enactment of military history.
With age comes enlightement,and this is tosh.
Grant and Young realised it wasnt the rules that made the game an accurate portrayal of history,but the actual player who having read the history,used the actual tactics of that period in play. As a consequence I think the best rules are those that concentrate on a specific period in history,are not generic and encourage the gamer to fight as the army would in the period portrayed.
So my favourite rules in ascending order are;
5] A 'Nostalgic Whim' [ I know they were written for me, plagarising Grant and co,but they are good]
4] Folorn Hope. [ great ECW rules]
3] Armati. [Very unforgiving if you use non historical tactics]
2] Volley and Bayonet [ The original rules,perfect for BIG Napoleonic games]
1]The Lily Banners. [ An excellent effort, and perfect for the Williamite period]
Anyway,its purely a personal choice,but they all have one thing in common, subtlety coupled with simplicity.I hope to discuss my least favourite rules later,that is if I can remember the titles correctly.

Monday 1 February 2010

The battle around Mollwitz

There were mixed views from the players of Mollwitz. One view was that the Black powder rules failed to reflect the nuances of the Seven Years War and therefore were poor rules. My view [ granted I was the winner] was that on the whole the rules were perfectly fine, especially the command rules, and that the fault lay with the faulty deployment of the Prussian high command.
It is a poor tradesman who blames his tools. Anyway enough of the crowing, the day was meant to be a fun day and hopefully that was achieved. All in all not a bad way to start the week.

The Austrians face the might of Prussia.

Having survived the first Prussian brigades fire,the Austrian around Mollwitz,backed up by the only artillery battery in the army poured fire into a batallion of Prusian garde causing it to rout.
At the same time a second unit of prussian infantry was forced to retire to the battles edge.Things were not going to plan. Using a special rule to re create Frederick's well known cowardice at the actual battle,[Colin] was forced to dice for him.Frederick survived the throw,but it did not bode well for the future.
Properly stung by the Prussian setback,the Prussian commanders attempted to re assert their superiority.The black hussars charged again at another unit of Austrian hussars,whilst on the right flank the Prussian second and third brigades attempted to move forward and drive off the Austrian cavalry. This was not to be, as one batallion of prussians received a 'blunder' result and a second regiment refused to move.
Still out of position and unable to support the first brigades attack,the Austrian cavalry charged again,and surviving the fire were able to rout a second unit,whilst in the battle for Mollwitz,a further Prussian batallion was heavily shot up and forced to rout. The coup de grace was delivered when the Black hussars routed from the field of battle,quickly followed by Frederick.
By the end of the move,four Prussian units were retiring from the field, attempting to catch up to the four routing Prussian units,who in turn were attempting to catch up to their king.
It was only left to the victors to re write history.........................

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.
Austria 1809.

Austrian Hussars

Austrian Hussars
Hinchliffe figures

Austrian Grenzer

Austrian Grenzer
Austrian Grenzer

Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2013
Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2012

Smoggycon 2012
Smoggycon 2012

Smoogycon 2009

Smoogycon 2009
My French getting another beating