Tuesday, 13 November 2018
Sunday, 11 November 2018
Watching anything hobby related on the television usually ends up as a toe curling spectacle with the presenters taking great pleasure in highlighting the eccentricity of the hobbyists and generally letting them talk themselves into confirming just how weird some people are who like unusual hobbies.Like nutters on the last bus home.
When I saw that there was to be a series called The Great Model Railway Challenge I suspected it would follow the pattern used for re-enacters, computer gamers and sadly wargamers.
The first episode tended to confirm my cynical suspicions as the producers wheeled out a group of serious geeks resplendent in the obligatory black and far away stares.
But I stuck at the series and as each leg of the challenge took place and I have become more impressed in the way the whole series has been conducted.
Yes there was the obligatory, 'lets take the piss out of these geeks' by introducing a superfluous craft something useful from this rubbish I've found leg.
To the credit of the railway modelers they took it in their stride with some clubs actually refusing to take part in the attempt to dumb down their hobby. It didnt help them, they still got knocked out.
Each week three teams of railway modelers are challenged to create a fully working display in three days using a theme set by the programmers.
I have been impressed by the ingenuity and abilities of the club members although I was distracted by other items on show when a 'Steam Punk??? modelling club brought along two women dressed in basques. The ploy didnt work and they didnt get through, mind there display was unfinished. Must have been the feathers they wore.
What really impressed me was the actual layouts they produced and the speed they were able to make great looking realistic terrain.Sadly as usual the actual figures were up to their usual standard of naff figures badly painted.
One team displayed the French Imperial Garde Grenadiers tramping over some beautiful fields [ don't ask] that looked like they had been painted by a drunken chimpanzee. How does that happen? These modelers make wonderful working models with great looking backdrops and models and then stick crap figures all over the place. A bit like the old Subutteo fan figures.
So how is this wargame related? Well these clubs were in the main very good and I now want a railway layout. It wont happen, but the clubs got me interested in their hobby which was a good thing. Give it a go, the terrain was inspiring.
Could there ever be a wargame programme using a similar challenge? I doubt it. But wargames clubs refighting battles from history in some sort of knockout competition could be entertaining. Imagine a Blackpowder challenge fighting the main battles of the Napoleonic Wars?
Somehow I know that certain wargamers would shoot the hobby in the foot by insisting on turning up decked out bizarrely or storming off after a hissy fit. Still it would make good television. Now if I can only find some scantily dressed basque wearing women to be on my team.
Thursday, 1 November 2018
The scene was set for a confused battle with opposing generals unaware of what they were facing.The actual scenario captures the union confusion really well,the three brigades that start on the table are commanded by three brigadiers who are classed as HESITANT for 7 moves. Unfortunately the Union cavalry commander Brodhead is also classed as TIMID as well. The hesitant rule makes all command rolls that would have allowed three moves to be re rolled. The timid rule gives a -1 to any charge order and a +1 to any retreat order. Just what you need in a cavalry commander.
Brodhead! Timid, hesitant and an abject failure.
The TINY rebel infantry regiments were to play havoc with my artillery throughout the game.
So all that was left holding the enemy back was Kimball who had two disordered regiments and two SHAKEN regiments. Luckily John was having to re organise his brigades which gave me a small breathing space. Surely Tyler would march to the sound of the guns on move nine? True to form he threw high and I called an immediate halt to proceedings giving John a great victory.
Man of the Match, Brigadier General Ashby, two great charges and some fine skirmishing!
So how did the game play out, apart from another defeat for me. I really enjoyed the battle. The scenario is a toughie especially for Jackson, IF the Union are able to react to the advance of the rebels. It is a smallish battle of 12 regiments a side and is meant to last 12 moves. The game felt bigger than that and we used all of the 10 feet table as we careered around the terrain.
The amendments add to the game although some of the rules are still scattered throughout the new book which causes you to thumb through the pages looking for the relevant section. John and I are not certain about the idea of an Aide de Camp, but as we play more games I will decide then. I do think the fact that a C in C cannot issue their own orders separate from the brigadiers is an improvement.I also like the support rules which are clearer and make for sensible planning
[ something I dont do]
As for the actual game. Yes I got a whupping, but it was an enjoyable experience and although frustrating I still enjoyed the game although I would have liked a sharpshooter to blow Ashby from his horse. Now if I can just get some people interested in refighting the Antietam scenario.