6th Donald Featherstone weekend

I spent a very enjoyable weekend at the Wargames Holiday Centre near Basingstoke where Mark hosted the  6th annual Donald Featherstone tribute weekend.

This year we took a trip up the Nile in an effort to rescue Lady Kitchener (I believe) and to relieve a town at the far end of the 24ft (around 7.5m) long table.    We had a strong force of horse, foot and guns along with two paddle steamers and a small gunboat.

long view

Our camp at the other end of the table also had to be protected, as did the baggage waggons accompanying the main force.  I had the unenviable task of commanding the baggage train.  Twice during the game I had to issue the order “Convoy is to scatter”, or otherwise “Every man for himself”!

Baggage
The Baggage Train

Just to add to the fun a railway train passed across the table at one point, and that too had to be assured of a safe passage.

The objective was for each officer to gain the maximum recognition by destroying Mahdist warriors, and achieving personal objectives unknown to the other players.  The Mahdists were generated in random strength at 20 random points around the table edge, or at half a dozen ambush points.

The Nile was also swarming with crocodiles, but luckily their event card never turned up.

Croc.
“Keep a sharp look out, man. We’ve had enough surprises today.”

On Saturday evening we held at the dinner an auction of our unwanted wargaming items and books, raising over £600 for Combat Stress.  In addition Mark donates £25 each of our gaming fee, so the charity will be £1000 better off.  John won the “dandy” prize for best dressed gamer at dinner, resplendent in top hat and tails.

A huge thank you to Steve Thompson for creating the game, making the models, painting thousands of figures and writing the rules.  Thanks also to Mark for hosting, Henry for being, with Mark and Ron, instrumental in the whole Featherstone Weekend concept and to the other players Ben, David, Eddie, John, John, Melvyn, Sid, Steve, Steve, Tony and Tony for a superb weekend full of laughter. 

Here you can see two days of gaming condensed into one minute.  Thanks to Ben for this.

https://youtu.be/gXbRYGHqjoM

 

 

Confession time: February 2019

In the style of the Meeples and Miniatures podcast, here is my confession for February 2019.

So, what have I been squandering my pension on?
In February, I bought or paid for:
Deposit for 2 players at the Donald Featherstone tribute game: £200
Plastic soldiers for playtesting the Sudan game for above: £112.39
Plastic palm trees for playtesting the Sudan game for above: £16.17
Bases for 6mm model trees (100): £13.95
Model for my character at the Donald Featherstone tribute game: £4.70
Replacement models for above: £13.98
Plastic bases for 6mm wargames: £35.00
UHU Glue: £5.98
Game (Santorini) for 6mm model houses: £24.81
Model cargo ships for Axis & Allies naval: £7.27

Total February wargame spend: £434.25

This is more than my pension will support, but almost £350 (80%) is unusual spending related to the Featherstone Tribute weekend. This is not only a once a year event, but this year I am paying for two players, and I needed a playtest. Whether that was worth spending well over £100 on models in a scale that I do not normally play is something to review later.  They may well turn up in the Belgican Wars at a future date.

 

Middle Eastern buildings for 6mm

I cannot remember if it was Bob Cordery or Chris Kemp who recently alerted me via their blog to the board game Santorini.  Anyway, I ordered a copy forthwith.

Forget the game.  In the box there are component to make buildings:

  • 22 ground floor/level 1 square pieces;
  • 18 first floor/level 2 square pieces, which can also be stacked together to make higher structures or sit on the ground as houses in their own right;
  • 14 second floor/level 3 octagonal colonnades with a square base;
  • 18 hemispherical cupolas.

That’s enough for a decent sized town, and for less than 25 quid!

All the sections are hollow and the first two will take a 2cm x 2cm base of 6mm figures inside or on the roof.

In the photo’ below are the four components and one full building.  A 6mm Irregular Miniatures unpainted insurgent is added for scale.  Incidentally, each face of the first two levels is different, to add some variety to the street.

F73D9033-E6EE-49F7-BBA6-63435A64F62B

A lick of paint and these will do nicely, thank you.

Market Garden: Campaign rules

I have been asked several times by gamers within and without this e-mail campaign game to publish my rules.  The truth is that, like so many games, the rules evolve as the game progresses.

But I think I have reached a point where the rules are fairly stable, and so I am now prepared to share them.  This is a draft, un-proofread document, and I am sure that my grammar school English teacher of 50 years ago, Mr. Tilney-Bassett, would pick many holes in my presentation.  However, here they are in PDF format

I reserve the right as umpire to change, alter, amend or otherwise muck about with the rules as I think fit.  They are in fact merely guidelines to aid me in conducting the campaign.

Make whatever use of them that you will, remembering always that my main inspiration was SPI publications “Arnhem” game for the map and order of battle, and that they should be credited in any commercial publication.

Rules for the conduct of the Market Garden Campaign

Any comments, suggestions or criticisms are welcomed as part of the development process.

Wargaming progress: March 2019

The story so far…

As usual I have too many wargaming balls in the air at one time.
I am working through my in-tray, but now have adopted the system that if a game is on the table then other projects will have to be recycled through the pile of paper, unless they are research, reading, rules development, etc. that can be done without disturbing the current game.

Each project gets an hour to progress before the next one is examined.  That way I do not get stale.  So, in the last two weeks I have:

1. Printed, painted and played with some WW2 naval models, to playtest my rules for use of submarines with my hex-based adaptation of Axis & Allies War at Sea. The trial game has already been reported here.

2. Received some new Kallistra half-hex tiles to square off the edges of my terrain. This makes a world of difference to the visual aspect. Unfortunately part of my order was incorrect, receiving unflocked rather than flocked tiles. Sally at Kallistra was very helpful and sent replacements, but this time with the wrong orientation (cut side to side rather than point to point).  Anyway, it’s all sorted out now and Kallistra refunded my return postage.  I am now in the process of creating roads on some of the half-hexes before my 1939 Poland game can progress.
Having discovered that the half-hexes are simply whole hex tiles cut in half I had a go at some half-slopes for where my hills run off the board.  Photographs will follow when the rain stops enough for me to comfortably get to the man-cave.

3. Designed and printed labels to create WW2 tokens for use with both my Memoir ’44 and Advanced Squad Leader boards*.  My idea is that if the terrain is viewed top-down, the troops should be too.  I have tried using various top-down images, but the definition on 13mm square tokens is too low to easily identify troop types for mechanised warfare.  Therefore I have adopted map symbols. As a basis for the images on the labels I am using the German system from 1939/40 for map symbols. I have not been able to find a comprehensive pre-NATO system for the Allies, so the German system is used for them too.

The labels are printed onto Avery A4 sticky label sheets, then stuck onto 13mm gaming tokens of different colours which I obtained from Plastics For Games. Unit labels German for blog

4. Played two engagements of the ongoing Play By E-mail campaign of Market Garden and started a third one, using the tokens described above and Memoir ’44 boards and rules.

5. Started research for a (probably) solo campaign for Operation Lion – the possible German invasion of Britain in July 1940 (before the “Battle of Britain”).  I am re-reading Kenneth Macksey’s book: “Invasion” and have ordered an old copy of the GMT game “Britain Stands Alone” from the USA, for orders of battle if nothing else.  I have yet to decide whether to use the board game as a basis for air, naval and land battles (solo or with an opponent), or whether to use the ASL boards for a rolling terrain campaign for maybe one German regiment to follow its fortunes – or both!!!

(I refer my honourable friends to the comment in the second line of this post.)

Oploo 4

* I was always too lazy and short of time to learn how to play Advanced Squad Leader properly, but have found a myriad of uses for the hex-boards, of which I now have several dozen and am always on the look out for more.

image

They are particularly useful for “rolling terrain” type games or campaigns involving exploration into unknown country. My latest idea is to create a template to place over ASL boards to create a board for Commands & Colors and its various derivatives, or for transfer to my Kallistra terrain for 6mm games.

Parliamentary Etiquette

One thing that I do enjoy when listening to British parliamentary debates is the formalised speech.  Sometimes the best insults may be concealed behind the eloquence of the most fluent in this form of English.

It is archaic, but it has its own charm.  For example, in the House of Commons, one never refers to the House of Lords (the regulatory, or “upper” chamber of parliament), but to “Another Place”.

The Speaker of the House will call members to speak by name, but in all other circumstances, and by other members they are referred to as: e.g.”The Minister” or “The (Honourable) Member for Little Podlington and Sparrowbridge”, or if they happen to be on the same side, one can get away with: “My Honourable Friend”.

Apart from anything else, it’s a great test of memory when there are 650 people to remember together with their official titles if appropriate and the constituency they represent.

A classic example of the pedantry is a frequent declamation from the Speaker:
“Order! The Honourable Gentleman must not shout from a sedentary position.”, which can be interpreted as “Oy, you – shut your mouth and wait your turn.”

A wonderful example today of a minor rebuke by Mr. Speaker Bercow:
“We welcome the honourable member for X to the chamber, and we hope that she has sufficiently recovered her breath to ask her scheduled question”.
Or in other words: “You’re late, and you missed your turn.”

And you thought Chaucer and Shakespeare were difficult to understand?


By the way, I think that Mr. Speaker Bercow is looking very fatigued after the last two days of chairing parliamentary debates about “Brexit” that remind me of the old computer game “Lemmings”.   Instead of building bridges, our MPs have started digging holes in different directions and neither side now has enough bridge builders to get anyone out of the hole.


 

Beware – Brexit Politics: delete post if not interested.

All opinions expressed below are my own, and if any offence is taken, I’m sorry, but that is your issue.  Offence is never given, only taken.

I must congratulate the Attorney General, the Shadow Solicitor General, and any other parliamentary speaker in this afternoon’s London House of Commons debate on the expected leaving of the United Kingdom from the European Union for having created, ready for presentation, their speeches and propositions between midnight and 12:30 today, and still being capable of making public speeches.

One wonders how many of our elected representatives in the House of Commons today will have spent as much time studying the political and legal material that was released after midnight today before making their own statements this afternoon and eventually voting this evening, or whether many of them simply got a good night’s sleep before returning to spout their previously entrenched opinions?

I keep hearimg our MPs stating that nobody voted for a “no deal” exit from the EU.  Well, I’m sorry to disappoint them but I believe that Nigel Farage of UKIP and I were both of the opinion that that was exactly what we were voting for.  I know that was my expectation at the time.

Almost three years on and nobody can yet agree on what we actually voted for in 2016 – and some of our representatives want us to vote again with now too much, rather than too little, dis-information.

Much of the problem seems to revolve around the “Northern Ireland Border” (in fact the UK  border across Ireland.).  As I understand it, the current “no (hard) border” agreement was the idea of Anthony Blair, MP; a politician for whom I personally have never held any respect.  Does that make it sacrosanct?  If The Irish Republic is a member of the EU and the UK is not, surely The RoI  should be treated as any other EU member and EU borders should be respected?

l have even less respect for David Cameron, the Prime Minister who introduced the EU exit referendum and then walked away into oblivion when he was delivered the wrong result.

The UK must be either in or out of the union.  Mucking about with one treaty to honour a previous treaty is nonsense.  Treaties are made, treaties are broken, treaties are renegotiated.  They always have been, they always will be.

The Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox, has just reinforced the above paragraph.  We can make a new treaty with the Republic of Ireland if necessary.

And the last thing I want is another referendum.  In that way madness lies.  Should we have “best of three”, “best of five”?

In conclusion, although she would never get my vote, I feel very sorry for Prime Minister Theresa May,  who is desperately trying to juggle the balls left in the air by two untrustworthy predecessors.

I will be happy to read any comments to this post, but I have said my piece and will not respond.