Some Classical Stuff

So the past three weeks have seen my re-appreciating some classic items.

Firstly, there’s the old classic boardgame of Alquerque, an ancient game that some say sets the foundation for Draughts/Checkers later. I’ve been looking at this as a possible product line for the future – source some aptly marked boards, and the glass/stone pieces, make up some drawstring bags for storage and print off the rules and associated information. It’s public domain after all.

BGG info here: Alquerque

It’s available online for practice too, at Jocly: Jocly’s Alquerque

Alq-Spain 1273 Alfonso X

Then, onto yet more classic stuff – well, classic in a game sense, I finally managed to re-acquire a copy of SPI‘s mammoth game, The Next War. I had this when I was a callow youth, who failed to keep it safe for the future. So I’ve been steadily offloading other items, and part of those funds helped me buy this when a copy came up.

It may have been surpassed by more modern designs, and certainly some of it’s assumptions for the military capabilities of that time may have been slightly off, but it’s still a classic monster game of the SPI era. It is mainly nostalgia for me, but I think we all have at least one game like that.

EricTheReds NxtWar

(Picture credit: Eric-The-Red on BGG)

And then there’s the music – not so much ‘classical music’ – although I do have some loaded up onto the Desktop PC for when I’m working. No, this again is nostalgia from my youth – Blondie and Siouxsie & The Banshees mainly. Along with some Cocteau Twins. Listening to these tracks brings memories of those days-back-then, and also prompts me to recall (or try to) on what I thought I’d be doing now – aged a half-century.

Did I ever think I’d be living on the Borders?

Or that I’d ended up in the jolly old Civil Circus, following the family traits (to a fashion)?

That I had indeed ended up working in an office after all?

Such reminiscences can be both a humorous and yet solemn exercise. But there’s no regrets. There’s no point wasting time like that, as I cannot change what I have done. And I am here as a result of all that has come to pass.

‘Atomic’ – ‘Spellbound’ – ‘Union City Blues’ – ‘Israel’ – ‘Hanging on the Telephone’ – ‘Arabian Knights’ – ‘11.59’ – ‘Dazzle’ – ‘Dreaming’ – ‘The Last Beat of My Heart’ …. and that’s without also immersing myself into Liz Fraser’s intoxicating vocals.

I save all the CT stuff for other deep-thinking moments.

Cocteau Twins 80s

And Reading. I’ve actually been reading – real books and all. Mainly I’ve been consuming Italian Wars, Renaissance Europe, Condottieres and fifteenth & sixteenth century history. All in aid of the planned wargaming projects of course. It is actually quite enthralling to delve into an amazingly complex period rich in new detail and information, and to overturn old assumptions. There’s incredible potential for a glorious campaign full of character. I can see why this is such an attractive era to some wargamers.

Still much to do, and much to co-ordinate. But I’m enjoying having the freedom to do all that.

 

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And there’s more!

More figures. A lot more. An old gaming friend who’s way more productive and better painter than I can ever hope to aspire too, decided to shift his 28mm Medieval/Renaissance stuff. Painted and unpainted. And I took them on, to provide them a new ‘forever’ home, as the pet people would say. So I have a lot more figures now. So many in fact that I had to spend most of this weekend sorting out the DoMA. It was a case of rationalising the storage cases – long overdue. With that done, it was then time for a re-stack. And at least now I have it all stashed in a far better arrangement to set-up and take down wargames. Method has tainted my madness. And Really Useful boxes have proven to be exactly that.

Rub1-75

Also had some success shifting yet more S&TO Countersheets to the other Ogre fans. And some chatter has inspired me to continue with the Mini-Campaign ideas I had. It’s always good when you have like-minded strangers bounce creativity between you. A good nudge to get me writing again as well, as part of the scenario design aims to include some mini-fiction inserts to help flavour and set the scenes.

Triple-hex Port Active

I also took delivery of yet more SoG ship models, and there’s a few more cheap offerings on their way. After they arrive, I’ll have something like 25+ ships! Actually, it may well be more than that now. So, I think I also now have enough of them to be going on with too.

Finally, Ook has done wonders and sent me my latest 28mm Victorian Sci-Fi batch. Some more Hinterlands ladies, this time the Naval Landing Party, complete with ‘Pompom’ gun. The Officer with her sword and fobwatch is just delicious. Should I say that? Ah well, I just did. Plus, at a wargame show last year I acquired a few packs of ACW Iron Brigade figures from Colonel Bill’s – he deals with selling on what he calls ‘pre-loved’ collections of unpainted stuff that he buys from other gamers.

ACW I here you mutter, why? Truth is, when I saw them online, with their longcoats, tall hats, brim turned up plus other features, I instantly went to the Space:1889 ‘Soldiers Companion’ army lists and matched the pose with the description of Ruritanian infantry – Mounted Rifles to be precise. So I gambled, bought the figures, drew up the uniform guide, gave it to Ook and he delivered. Exceptionally well too. 24 figures easily provides me with two units under TMWWBK and that adds a new option to the slightly Gothic direction I want for the specific campaign format I’m planning.

So dear readers, you can say I interrupted my train journey on the Trans-Balkan Express with a brief sojourn at Strelsau, capital of the Kingdom of Ruritania. Marvellous – the patisseries are divine.

 

Too many miniatures? Never happen!

So I did get productive after all. I now have 120+ based and undercoated elves destined to end up as Canal Martians and Hill Martian troops. I will also soon have 50+ Prussian Landwehr based and undercoated too – and these are destined to end up as ‘generic’ Militia types for any of the pseudo-Balkan nations I’m working on.

TMWWBK front-cover

It’s to use TMWWBK rules with the information from the ‘Soldiers Companion’ to do the Ruritania/Graustark/Axphain games. I’m determined to get some of these painted up first, perhaps two-dozen, to then have them ready to be a few trial units. Turns out it’s a handy model – ragged trews, longcoat, field cap, and a weapon where you cannot see the lock to discern whether it’s a musket or a breechloader. So it suits perfectly for my use. And these were a very cheap acquisition in one of the periodic sales from Warlords.

And I need to stay on that focus too, as a whole horde of 28mm Late Medieval turned up in the post today, the last consignment of my recent acquisition from a friend of mine. I don’t think I’ll ever have to purchase any more for this project again. But I bet I will. I bet I’ll find some critical troop-type I need for re-fighting some historic battle, and I’ll find out I have nothing suitable. But for now, I have enough. And I suspect I’ll be re-basing some or all of it too. Typical.

 

At long last – we have – Ogre Miniatures

Today, the long-awaited box of Ogre Miniatures Set 1 was finally delivered to my door.

I will be honest – it’s a relief. Sadly I have come to the conclusion that with as much patience as I’ve given out, and with all the hopes I had that things would improve, it’s all kind of foundered. I don’t know the full story, not sure I want to delve too deep to be honest, but those guys in Texas are great with the gaming stuff for Ogre – they just can’t fathom ‘international trade’ at all. This hasn’t been a one-off – my original consignment from them (the BIG one) was also plagued with various errors and cock-ups, that cost me additional funds to sort out. I am still hooked in for Ogre Miniatures Set 2, but only as a pre-order with W23. And if there’s a Set 3? We shall see. It needs to be pretty special.

So keeping it in a generally positive vein (I did get the long awaited goodies after all), I’ve reconnected with the Cartography Guild. I first joined up back in April 2014. I even dropped them some funds back then as support for the site. And then, of course, a major life/job/house/location change ensued. I lost contact, only visited a few times, despite them sending me the rather nice automated birthday greeting, and lost my grasp on it. Well, no more – back in there tonight, gave them some more support money, even sorted out my profile properly and started a CG blog too. Somewhere to put down my notes and thoughts on map stuff. Aye – I know – I’ve been piss-poor and keeping this up-to-date, and I then go start another I’ll need to keep on top of? Mad? Quite probably.

Weekend plans then:

  • Get the Martians undercoated and ready to begin painting next week.
  • Sort out my 28mm Border Reivers for some photo snaps to send onwards to the new owners of the old Vendel Miniatures moulds.
  • Find all the packs of 10mm figures I purchased a while back so that I can pass the lot on to the decent chap who wants to buy them off me. Just need to recall where they were stashed!
  • And set-up the DOMA table for some TMWWBK-Gothic flights-of-fancy, as those naughty Axphainians look set to encroach upon Graustark territory once more!

So, if you’ll excuse me, the Trans-Balkan Express is set to leave from Platform 4 in a few minutes, heading south-east via Dresden and Strelsau, and I fear my man Carstairs may be having a little trouble with the German porters. Must amble.

German Empire

Again – most remiss of me to miss this again

In truth, there’s been lots to distract me. I won’t list all that now, indeed it’s hardly worth the time spent to recall all that has been going on. And it’s also retrospective. I need to get back into a frame of mind that moves me forward.

So – let’s look at plans and ambitions. Not the far-fetched stuff of wants and likes.

Let’s do a quick list on what I’m dabbling with or working actively on right now:

TMWWBK/Space 1889 – I have a horde of Elves of various makes and types set to become my Martians currently cleaned up and based, and destined for undercoating with primer this week. Contingents of Canal or City-State Martians and Hill/Steppe Martians, all destined to fight with or against the Red Men from Earth. Plus there’s artillery and even aerial stuff to sort out too.

And – in the meantime, while all that work is underway, TMWWBK is also lending itself very well to more ‘Gothic‘ ideas. Remember I posted before about Graustark, Axphain and Ruritania? Expect an imminent return by first-class ticket on the Trans-Balkan Express to that same theatre of dark intrigue sometime soon.

Sergeant 01

DR – Still a strong interest in keeping up the fantasy gaming, especially after using Dragon Rampant in a ‘Lord of the Rings‘ setting back in January. What an excellent toolkit those rules are. Well done that man Mr Mersey.

28mm Condotta/Italian Wars – Well, that grew into quite a trove very fast. I acquired some painted stuff, a whole load of unpainted lead and plastic (and yet more on it’s way) along with the ever-so-tempting discount deals from certain manufacturers for even more unpainted lead. So much so that I’ve sent some out to be painted up.

Bayard_Battle-of-Garigliano-1503-Philippoteaux

Ogre – I continue to push the S&TO Countersheet to old and new fans alike. And it’s getting a good reception from all those who start using those counters in their games. The new plastic miniatures – oh dear – well, apparently there in the distro-chain somewhere in Europe. Cannot really explain it, as it’s not my error and I’ve had no hand in trying to resolve it. Despite me offering several times to assist somehow with my past expertise. Never ever had a reply back to my offers either. Maddening and saddening. So this soon gets parked up to free time for other projects if there’s going to be no reasonable delivery date in sight. And that means no articles sent in to them either, until it’s all fixed. I will just maintain the effort for my own trading purposes.

15mm Great Northern War/Marlburian – just can’t keep away from it, it keeps drawing me back in. Probably fond nostalgic reminders of my old Featherstone-like D100 rules, or the urge to link it properly to a new untried set of rules to then play on my Hexon tiles perhaps? Either way, there’s some work to be done on Eastern Europe/Russian terrain, suitable flags and banners, Cossack forces and those lovely Dixon Miniatures I have.

northwar1721en

Age-of-Sail – I’ll admit, a generic title, as it involves the ship-models from ‘Sails of Glory’ with any useful rules that can cope with squadron and fleet actions. And while I like and enjoy SoG. they don’t work well for multiple ships per player. Sorry, I just find them too slow for what I want. So it’s either another Osprey ‘blue-book’ – ‘Fighting Sail: Fleet Actions’, or it’s the Pen & Sword Books title ‘Blood, Bilge and (Iron) Balls‘ to try out. And the interest over wooden walls and canvas and ropes has also served as a good prompter to get more Sea Mats made up too by the local printer. Here’s hoping he can deliver.

Take a note on that list above – not much boardgaming.

“Looks like wargaming’s back on the menu, boys.” 

 

And that one too? Where did it go?

I need to get a grip on ensuring I update this. Several times I almost clicked the tab to enter text here, but I’ve been all too easily distracted. By a lot of things.

Firstly, had another successful games weekend hosted up here on the Wall. Most importantly I got Dragon Rampant back to the table, in a Lord of the Rings setting.

The Angmar War – Ravaging of Nenuial

And with a simple map campaign too. Three games played, some new players introduced to it, and all-in-all, a good success. And the campaign remains sound, still plenty more to play for and a few lessons learnt to enhance it further, so ready to be added too again at another time.

Nenuial-Workmap04

Boardgame-wise, it was good to break out Pandemic – Reign of Cthulhu. I’m tempted to say I actually prefer it to the straight basic Pandemic. If it gets some expansions (there are rumours) then it will become supreme favourite version. But it’s a good variant, and with the different characters, there’s some considerable re-playing potential there.

And alas, Fury of Dracula (3rd edition) was not so successful, but we started it too late, it took too long to set-up, and at least one player present finds vampires a bit of a ‘yawn’ subject. So that didn’t end up as popular as I thought it could be. However, I still rate it superior over the earlier GW version.

Myself and one other started up with examining the WW2 miniatures rules Chain of Command from Lard Island itself. Again, there was a degree of fatigue creeping in at that point, so we examined the (rather good) pre-game Patrol Phase and discussed the Lists that provide you options for force-creation. There are some clever aspects in these rules, and there’s a deliberate attempt to reflect different national army doctrine. I will trial a few elements of the rules in solo play, to get a better grasp. Not yet convinced that these are ‘THE’ rules I/we want for our WW2 yet.

Cover-Final-3

Secondly, I have continued to offload my latest purges from my collections, either by trade or sales. But I’ve not turned a ‘profit’ yet – far from it, much of that has then been used to acquire items I’ve happened upon by chance. Still a lot cheaper and quicker than buying new however. I’m still left with the Supremacy stuff, and I’m beginning to wonder, is there anyone out there who still has a hankering for this? It seems not so far.

Thirdly, I am signed up for another year with the medieval household, and there’s a nifty little event at the end of March, back in Leominster. I’m looking forward to that, as I enjoyed it a lot last year, and this time it’s combined with a long weekend in the great little Town of Books. It will be good to see our friends, browse bookshops, spend money and to generally relax. With the odd sword or spear fighting thrown in for good measure.

And I now have two longbows – the new one is a secondhand acquisition with a lot more pull – about 50% more required from my original longbow. I also have a straw boss and targets, and a hefty load of points (arrows). Hoping the weather changes a bit and I can convince one of the land-owning neighbours I need space to twang, then I can assess whether either or both bows need further attention – and how much practice I need too.

So to return to the wargaming, I still have some projects to get on with as well. And I’m savouring that, as I need some quiet weeks and weekends after sorting a lot of things out over the last two months. It will be good to get back into a painting and crafting regime, to end up with some productivity. Something to add to the collections for future gaming. I still favour the Space 1889 Martian forces and human contingents first, as the need for historical accuracy there is not so important. It also permits me to re-discover my preferred painting techniques, maybe try a few new ideas. Using that as a practice run, I can then divert myself to other themes too. Anyway, getting the Martians sorted into some sort of army force provides me the opportunity to finally explore TMWWBK (The Men Who Would Be Kings) rules.

Finally, as if getting my pension on a monthly basis wasn’t a sure fire sign of ancientness, I’ve just been summoned for the ‘old-git‘ medical. Guess it would be rude not too – while the NHS still exists? But it would make sense, despite knowing what most of the answers and commandments will be.

More input soon, I promise. There’s the prospects of a new RPG session coming up with the crew, where a good friend has volunteered to take over GM duties so that I can relax and play. That’s very welcomed, as I need a re-balance to regain some creativity for my own ideas.

And not forgetting the Writing. Dear Reader, you may see more of that sometime soon.

 

 

 

 

Where did that month go?

I had intended to add more content. Then December happened. It was certainly a busy month, with a lot going on. Makes me wonder how did I ever fit in hobbies and interests, stuff to do at home and keeping in touch with various people, and contend with the work life too.

In truth, there’s been a few things achieved to set us up so we’re better prepared for 2018. And I’ve put down some foundations for future plans for private work interests too. Still got some more on that to do, and some decisions to make on where to direct all that effort, but it should now come together. Hopefully.

And I’ve been making more notes for my writing projects as well. Considering I’m a bit out of practice in that, it’s actually been refreshing to get back into the right frame of mind to structure all of that. There’s a few new ideas I want to trial, that may provide me a better regime to coordinate what I create. Again, I need to consider whether I put any of that up here. We shall see on that.

Glad to say that those cheapskates in the government finally started to pay up the missing redundancy I was owed. And it’s been interesting to see my pension arrive in my account too. Aye, I’m a pensioner. No matter how often I say that, I still chuckle.

The one thing I do need to sort out however is the gaming priorities. I’ve become a gaming butterfly, flitting from one aspect to another, unable to settle and concentrate on just one item to get it finished. I really need to get a grip and prioritise – and especially as another Brew-Up On The Wall is imminent, in three weeks time.

Here’s the current list of varied wargaming interests:

  • 28mm Elves as my Canal Martian force for TMWWBK for Space 1889
  • Plus some of the other unpainted 28mm I have for Gothic-TMWWBK too
  • Gaslands‘ – the new Osprey rules for near-future battling in cars and vehicles
  • DR is still a major interest, especially as I’ve increased my fantasy collection
  • 28mm WW2 has returned again, more so now I have ‘Chain Of Command‘ in PDF
  • 15mm Great Northern War, with the ‘Twilight of the Sun King’ 2nd edition rules
  • Ogre Miniatures, seeing that I’ve acquired a whole load more stuff for it
  • Full Thrust spaceships that I seem to have obtained at some point
  • 28mm sci-fi figures and terrain for improving what I have for playing FUBAR
  • And the 28mm Renaissance stuff I have that I still need to sort out

And then there’s just as much boardgaming stuff to contend with, especially after the BGG Secret Santa and Wargame Secret Santa have both delivered excellent gifts for me. The Ogre boardgame has also been taking up some more time too – there’s a sort of double-overlap, after having a few more sales of our S&TO Countersheet, along with the Ogre plastic miniatures finally getting sent out to the KS backers. Yet again, it seems US creators just cannot contend with International support and shipment. They have some quite peculiar ideas on how to go about importation, distribution and trans-shipment. Even fulfilling orders to Canada causes headaches. Imagine that, if we here in the UK couldn’t get goods into Ireland? It does baffle me at times.

Anyway, I have new boardgames sitting on the table, still in shrinkwrap, still to be opened and explored. Hence why I then decided upon another purge of the existing collection and have put unused and no longer wanted stuff up for trade or sale.

So I need to focus. And I need to sort out figure-painting – both with those I know who can paint stuff up for me, and to get back to doing some of the basic stuff myself.

Must get something finished and ready for three weeks time. That’s the new deadline!