My Wargaming Projects

Mapping your wargame campaign using Excel

Earlier on this blog I posted a tutorial for using Microsoft Excel as a tool to map wargame campaigns.
I now offer a design and set up service for this.  If interested please contact me at paul.wisken@btinternet.com

I will need for the basic setup:
A campaign map in bitmap or jpeg format, with the desired scale (miles or kilometres per square).
Order of battle, preferably in an Excel sheet.
This service is offered free of charge.

Additional services – negotiable.
Embedded program for calculating movement and/or contacts, depending on terrain and visibility parameters set by you.
Embedded program for logistics management, also with parameters set by you.
Embedded program for messengers and couriers.
It can get as complex as you wish, but complexity takes time and effort, and will be charged accordingly.  I will not rip-off fellow wargamers.

All programs developed will bear my copyright.
The base map used in the example image is copyright Hasbro Inc. from the digital game of “RISK”

Using Excel for game mapping

Over the years I have developed a method of using Microsoft Excel for mapping my wargames.  Originally I started it for use with Risk, and then moved on to an on-screen version of Axis & Allies.  This is a tutorial, using the example for my forthcoming play-by-email game of Operation Market Garden.

How to use Excel for mapping wargames

Feel free to copy, enhance and play with, but please credit generalwhiskers.com when passing it on.

An ACW Excursion

Feeling the need to get away from painting and preparation for a day or so and to actually play a game with stuff that I already have prepared, and coincidentally next in my project list, I have played a solo game from “Battle Cry”, the American Civil War board game, transferred to a 4ft x 3ft table with 4″ Kallistra hexagons and 6mm figures from Irregular Miniatures.

Here is the battle report in Word and PDF formats.

Battle Cry Bull Run (Word)

Battle Cry Bull Run (PDF)

This was a fun game – with “game” being the overriding objective for some light relief.

A new project

As if I needed anything else in my wargaming life I have decided to create a game for the younger members of my ECWS cavalry regiment.

We have a couple of 8 year old potential troopers, currently very able at fetching and carrying, horse “poo-picking” and firewood cutting.

I am trying to make a table-top game that will involve them and keep them from their other nefarious activities.  At our last event I was able to pick up 4 boxes of Revell Thirty Years War plastic soldiers (2 infantry, 1 cavalry, 1 artillery) for £5 (originally £4 but the stall owner had no change).

More to follow as it progresses in time for the August Bank Hoiday.

 

A busy man

Winston Churchill once said: “If you want something done, ask a busy man.”  Clearly this did not involve blogging. (A noticeable exception to the blogging rule is Neil Shuck of Meeples and Miniatures fame. He manages to keep up a daily blog, a weekly podcast and who knows what else in addition to a full time job, a family, a hobby and recently a broken wrist)

Anyway, back to me.  I have not posted for 6 weeks.  I have had plenty to do, but little time at the “real” computer, having spent a lot of time on the iPad and iPhone simply catching up.

So what have I been up to?

I will try to cover these activities in detail later with photographs, but meanwhile, here is the boring stuff.

I have been vainly trying to progress my “Operation Sealion” PBEM campaign, which is stagnating mainly due to the fact that I want to get all my models looking as good as possible on the table (shades of Peter Stringfellow?).

The next battle is the German assault on Brighton, which calls for a lot of railway track.  My blog followers will know that I normally use Hexon tiles for my gaming area, but extensively remodelled by me.  Well, this time I tried to mount the railway track by Irregular Miniatures and Leven Miniatures onto the raised rubber-ish roads produced by Total Battle Miniatures.  This was not successful because everything delaminated, and I am now remodelling all the railway hexagons, and, having spotted it while ordering more track I have a new railway station from Leven to paint.  I should mention that Leven have taken the trouble when asked to cast in resin a new 4-piece set of double rail track that will make a 60 degree curve specifically to fit a 10cm hexagon tile (2 inner curves, 2 outer curves).  I hope to see it on the website for general order soon.

In addition, this battle – without giving away too much to my German commander – needs a lot of British transport.  I have loads of 6mm trucks and lorries for 1944, but I want to get it right, so several packs of GHQ vehicles were ordered from Magister Militum, my UK supplier.

All of this stuff needs painting.

A failure to paint in time resulted in me not taking my semi-portable in-period wargame to the (bizarrely) 217th anniversary of the Battle of Marengo.  For wargamers, I am building armies from the Commission Figurines MDF range, but my figures are glued together in blocks for small people’s fingers to handle.  The project to create, initially French and Austrian,  armies for the French Revolutionary Wars is ongoing.

The trip to Marengo occupied much of my time, including all the necessary requirements of taking my dog camping in Europe and bringing him home again without quarantine. Superb driving over the Alps, including the St. Bernard Pass, last visited in 1989 in full Napoleonic kit for a reconstructed crossing by Napoleon in 1800.

Additional problems are having my car fixed after a sunroof motor failure (luckily it was a heatwave with the roof jammed open) and some kind individual ramming the rear end of my car in the Marengo car park.

We took our new caravan (collected the day after my return from Italy) to Wales for an English Civil War re-enactment weekend, and I am still resolving, and paying for, the failures of the vehicle.

I have also been instructed by my GP to have certain areas of my body checked for issues that affect gentlemen of my age, culminating – I hope – in an hour of MRI scanning this morning.

And so I am returned to the “real world” of painting, modelling, and hopefully actually playing some wargames, with a resolve to post more frequently in future.

 

 

Always something new to do.

While my main project is to keep my somewhat slow-running campaign of Operation Sealion running, I also have many personal wargaming projects on the go.

The latest to appear in my in-tray is Market Garden, which awaits the first contact between the 1st Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron and reconnaissance elements of 10th SS Panzer Division in this area.

17 Sep first contact

I have two possibilities to work on:

  1. To use the orders of battle from the “Rapid Fire” campaign book
  2. To use my own adaptation of troops, based largely on units from the SPI game “Arnhem” with a simplistic conversion to the wargame table. (Note that 1 A/B Recce Sqn is not included in the SPI version)

Option 1 gives me the following order of battle:

1st Airborne

Recce Jeep squadron
CO + 12 men
4 Jeeps with MG
1 Motorcycle
1 20mm Polsten Cannon (towed)

10th SS

Recce Armoured Car battalion
CO + 19
2 Panzerfaust
1 SdKfz250 half-track
1 Opel Blitz
2 SdKfz232 Armoured car (30mm)
2 SdKfz 250/9 half track (20mm)
1 SdKfz 251/9 half track (75mm)

Option 2 gives me:

1st Airborne

4 x 4 rifles + 4 jeeps
1 x MG + 3 crew  + 1 jeep

10th SS

2 armoured cars, SdKfz 232, 6 wheel version.

If I opt for the first version it will probably be a more interesting battle, but on the other hand, future engagements should follow the same principle on a larger scale, and I try to aim for simplicity in my gaming.

I am tempted to play the second, simpler version.

Comments?

Always something else to prepare…

I want to know why it is that, with a former “walk-in” wardrobe and half a loft full of wargaming impedimenta, every time I want to play a game I have to prepare some new models?

For my next game I have already painted up some GHQ A13 and Mark VIb tanks for the British, not to mention several Adler Vickers MG teams marching and firing and about a dozen new trucks and lorries.  The Germans needed cyclists and new MG34 teams, as well as more infantry and a captured truck with hastily applied white crosses.

As for the terrain (I use Kallistra hexagons, pre-flocked and then customised) I have to make some more embanked railway lines and three level crossings which must involve ramped roadways.  Alternatively I may make road bridges across the railway, but that will be even more work!

To help this game along I have just received the first consignment of double curved railway track from Leven Miniatures, designed to my specifications so that four pieces  – two inner curve and two outer curve – will exactly fit a 10cm hexagon with a 60 degree curve.  I urge all gamers of late C19th onwards to buy some of these if only to repay Mick for his development time!

In addition, and very oddly, I needed to model an ancient British hill fort that would meet the requirements of the ground scale (10cm hexagon = 250 metres side-to-side) and also accommodate bases of at least 15mm x 20mm.   Pictures will no doubt be forthcoming in the battle report when I finally get around to playing the game.

Wargame updates

What have I been up to since my last blog posting?

1. The Battle of Brighton in my “Operation Sealion” PBEM game is coming together.  I have painted and based most of the British force.  Today some more  6mm cyclists arrived in the post which must be painted and based.

2.  I have been working on preparing game counters for a medieval campaign based on the TV series “Game of Thrones”.  I am using army lists from DBA, with 13mm square  game counters bought from “Plastics for Games” covered with printed 1/2 scale top-down soldiers copied from the “Junior General” website.  The game will be played on Avalon Hill “Squad Leader” boards using a scale of one hexagon = 20 yards (half the scale of their WW2 game).  Here are the counters for the yellow household.

Yellow

3. I have been reading about the D-Day landings from the German perspective.  I downloaded a book to my Kindle which consists of five interviews with German soldiers who were there on the day, one from each of the allied landing areas (Gold, Juno, Sword, Omaha, Utah) – although these areas were not known from the German perspective.  The interviews were conducted in the 1950s, and where possible with the same soldiers who had been interviewed in 1944 for “Signal” magazine.  These stories are the best reference work I have ever read with detail about actual combat.  My wargames of the period will be tailored accordingly.

A bit of a mish-mash

I am aware that I have not been bloggishly active recently.

So, what have I been doing?  Sadly, because this is all work in progress, no pictures are available as yet.

Firstly, I have been preparing troops and equipment for the forthcoming Battle of Brighton on 18th September 1940 in my “Sealion” PBEM campaign.  This has involved some painting of new GHQ model tanks and Adler infantry and support weapons.  I have several terrain hexagons to create for this battle, and have just received the British reinforcement schedule which may well involve more buying, painting and basing.  Incidentally. I have decided to sell off lots of my old 6mm stuff.  Watch e-bay for this.

Secondly, I have reached the 4th day, and the 4th battle, of my “The whole war WW2” game (after only 18 months from starting!).  It is a slow process, and hampered by the above “Sealion” project.  I have the troops and the terrain.  I need the time.

Thirdly. I am assembling six counter-based top-down representations of armies from the early medieval era for a campaign based on the TV series “Game of Thrones”. Yesterday I had a revelation about how to make the game tokens, of which more in a future post.