End of Month, Start Anew

Last week, I had the fun of my first consultancy moment. Just me and a client wanting to know a bit about likely trade issues in a non-EU domain. I considered it went well, but I’ll only know more if I get any feedback with the payment. But it was certainly a pleasant alternative to the way I used to do my old workstuff.

I also now have new IT in the homestead, and it’s great using new powerful kit properly set up to how I had it back in my old office. And there’s a new A3 printer/copier sitting alongside the desk, ready to use for all the gaming and mapping ideas I’ve had.

And so hopefully, with all that set-up sorted, plus some building work completed on the house, and other issues resolved, I now have the clear-path ahead to do more of what I want. The re-enactment season is closed too, after a great year with a handful of events we really enjoyed, so it will be great to pack all that stuff away until spring.

First up, I want to get back to the Martians I plan to complete for the Space 1889 project with TMWWBK rules. As I said before, there’s plenty of Elves of various designs awaiting some conversion work.  It will be good practice for getting back into figure-painting. I have a few other units I want completed, but those I intend to entrust to one of the best painters I know. And then there’s that table-cloth idea for a pseudo-Martian surface, and some various terrain items to go on it.

Once that project gets back underway, I need to finish reading some recent book acquisitions that are all about the Italian Wars, Renaissance military aspects, and other era-related material. Hopefully then I’d have re-discovered my own painting techniques and abilities in order to do a decent job on some of the Renaissance 28mm I have also amassed from various purchases.

Meantime, to satiate actual gaming fixes, I now have plenty of fantasy 28mm to be able to put on a variety of encounters using the Dragon Rampant rules. DR remains for my personal choice as the best and quickest ‘go-to‘ set in order to have a game laid out and underway with the minimum amount of fuss and time spent. It might all have a pseudo-LotR flavour to it, but that just saves me time from generating background content and context.

So a new phase to move towards. Looking forward to it too.


Lazy day with no particular plans

The last four days have been taken up with work and family stuff, and the requisite travel southwards and northwards to engage with all of that. Work was fine, a bout of ‘knowledge transfer‘ to three new candidates who aren’t necessarily guaranteed a final spot in the work area I am/was involved in. I know – makes no sense to me either. But I delivered what I could for a quick introduction of eight or nine years condensed into five hours. Went remarkably well, all things considering.

Family stuff principally revolved around the Matriarch and her new hip. From an immediate post-op slump of lethargy she has improved (almost) in leaps and bounds. After doing the right physio as instructed, she has impressed the quacks enough to not need any further out-patient trips for a few months at least. That success is also a good tonic to motivate recovery efforts further, and to see that it was all worthwhile after all.

And while down south, it was great to meet up with some of the chaps and get a quick Thursday evening game of ‘Dragon Rampant‘ in as well. It was a simple 24 point affair, but with some deviously placed terrain that prevented the more usual ‘line-up-&-grind’ encounter. I was using someone else’s army of Goblins – spears as heavy foot, odds & sods as heavy missiles, with a lumbering giant as an elite ranger type and a wizardling rider as the main man in charge. One interesting tweak was that both the heavy missile units were marked ‘Fearful‘, giving them a vulnerability. The game went well, remembered the right turn sequence, and the right stats and dice to use, and found that we ended up with a battle that see-sawed a lot, with both sides losing a lot of figures. As both Leaders were spellcasters, they actually dealt each other a lot of damage, to the point that I retreated mine to support the troops for a while, before putting him back into the fray as I lost units while I was taking ground. It was inevitable that the ‘Fearful‘ trait would see one unit flee the field, and then the other soon after, but I still liked that expectation. After all, it gave it the sort of flavour I would have anticipated for a Goblin army. It was good fun,and again, motivational to get more done back at home for ‘DR‘. Good job done on hosting the gaming by the ‘Box‘ too.

The journey home took a while longer than usual, possibly due to weather and traffic. But we both reached a point where we were glad to escape the highways of the south-east, and get back up north. Driving conditions and habits were appalling. And I even include a fast-pursuit police car in that. (Guys, if you slalom onto a roundabout at high speed without having your blue lights flashing, and you nearly get rammed by a lorry and various other vehicles, you really have no-one else to blame but yourselves, no matter how much finger-pointing you do out your window, and regardless of switching on your blue lights after you slid to a halt. That was epic stoopid.)

Time to relax and be lazy. And anyway, it’s tipping down with rain!


Dragon Rampant. Straightforward goodness. And fun.

Dabbling with DR gets better and better. Things have been speedier with a useful spreadsheet, that helps crash out some Warbands with various options. That spreadsheet needs refining and amending, but it’s quite handy just as it is.

The to-and-fro game-play works nicely as well. First time we played this, we did get it wrong. It’s useful to remember that unlike other games with an interruption with lost initiative, when you regain it again, you can start all over again – there’s no need to remember what was activated last turn. That provides some interesting options and some clever ‘forced’ play as well. A good unit progresses well across the battlefield going at the enemy? It is likely that you will keep favouring them to get activated and get stuck in, and meanwhile other less enthusiastic units just sit and watch and sulk. I like it, I like what that provides in a random unprofessional manner where an army full of ‘cheap’ units can easily stutter and stall with a lot of misbehaving.

I like these rules.

Standby – 4-day weekend ahead

Excellent. Plenty of time for getting back into various ideas. And no travel required to any campsites or castles.

Ogre – both the boardgame and the miniature version, the former first for sorting out storage and counter trays, setting up some trial combat games with the S&TO counters, taking some pix, writing up notes, etc., and then the latter to recover the stored WIP trays of unpainted and primed armoured hardware collected from years back, to increase the current collection of suitable Ogre Miniatures bits & bobs. It’s also why I’ve been visiting Kallistra to check out any new developments of the Hexon range. They are my hex-tiles of choice for playing the in-betweeny hybrid version of Ogre/Ogre Miniatures.

Therefore DR (Dragon Rampant) squidges nicely between these two. I have the figures set to one side for some attention, so that I can increase the available forces to make Warbands from. I also know I have a lot of stashed 28mm plastic sprues, from Mongols & Arabs to Fantasy stuff. In amongst all that are some Vikings – maybe it’s because I’ve been watching them on the tellybox, either ‘Vikings‘ or ‘Last Kingdom‘, but I find both suitably inspiring to look at them as a first make-&-paint project for ‘DR‘ too.

And besides which, the game table in the DoMA remains set-up for DR from the Brew-Up weekend and it seems a shame to waste all that effort. So my idea is to set up some contests to play thru some of the rules aspects, and included in that are the Spells too.

Reminder to self: take some pix, use them for write-ups.

Additional reminder to self: charge up the battery pack on the DMC-G10.

Finally, at some point I also need to configure my own medieval armour protection. That will involve donning the padded jacks/arming coats, fitting on the plate metal fancies, and configuring where the tie-points need to be made. It’s an interesting exercise actually: as it then allows you to appreciate how different the seventeenth century armour was. More mass-produced, but manufactured in such a way, that there’s a lot less time required for pre-combat preparation, and a lot less assistance required in donning it. Not so the medieval stuff. To have it work to best possible performance, you need to take that time setting it up ‘just-so’ – and you need another pair of hands to help you do it.

So here’s to a more productive weekend than the last one.


Not necessarily what was planned

A weekend with a lot of sleep. I don’t suffer from migraines, but I’ve had three days of on-and-off intense headaches and generally feeling like crap, so I hit the pit, tried to do some reading, and even failed at that. In summary, not a lot done but a decision made: time to seriously lose weight and get fitter. For the first time ever it’s going to be calorie counting, to see if that provides a suitable method to follow.

On a more positive note, several sales and trades have been concluded on items I’ve been keen to move on. I’ve caught up today on a lot of email traffic I had let lag behind the usual clearance schedule. And I’ve re-visited the ‘Ogre’ stuff as I said I would. Included within that is the dispatch of two ST&O sheets to an individual in the US, who I’ve been happy to send as reward for his excellent work. His creativity has been inspiring, and I like the way he approaches the game. I hope that in return for my gifts, we can perhaps work together to generate some specific bits, especially for the GEV-MCP counters.

The BGG entry was updated successfully with a web-link from another excellent contributor, for some well-deserved recognition hopefully. And all of that is steering me to get the stuff out of the trug and onto the tabletop. Sort out some trial runs of the counters, mix in some forces, and take some pictures. Then, reproduce with some themed narrative, to showcase what the counters can add to the game. Being honest, it’s long overdue, but even with the foggy mind, I’m in a better ‘place‘ to get on with this now.

As for DR, I’ve discovered a whole batch of  Gondor Warriors and Norman Foot that I can get on and work with, for some finishing touches, to expand the available forces. The benefit here is that there’s not a lot to do – just need to find a working tube of superglue!

So, today was a day spent at home, first in ages – and I’m thinking that I may well do the same tomorrow. Why rush back, there’s little there that can be said to be urgent, and it’s not like my performance appraisal will be affected. So a relaxed return before the long weekend, get the mind straight, use the time to sort out other more important matters, like family issues, and there’s always the last two days of this short working week.

There, I’ve convinced myself.


Post Brew-Up report

So, not the numbers first thought, but still a good gaming weekend.

Dragon Rampant‘ played a few times and quite welcomed, and may well lead to some dusting off of overlooked fantasy armies from a decade back. It helped that we had a good spreadsheet handy from the FB group, that sped up the tinkering necessary when designing the Warbands. And the game plays well, it is easy to pick-up and learn, and it was also quite refreshing to have some simplistic game mechanics. No movement or formation change complications, and we even saw the point of the 3″ adjacency rule too. I’m aware that if I want to solo more game sessions of DR, I really need to work on some opposition to my Border Reiver force.

Other games – keeping it simple and relaxing, there were two games of ‘Ticket To Ride‘, using the Europe game and then the Asia mapboard.

Then three games of the basic ‘Pandemic‘ game for some co-operative play too.

I also got ‘Ogre‘ to the tabletop, just playing a simple tournament style game using the first scenario – the MkIII attack on the CP – but it always serves as a great intro to the games format. It was well received and proved to be quite a test, with a hodge-podge of Light GEVs, Light Tanks, Heavy Tanks and Missile Tanks, with the 20 points of Infantry, trying to batter the Ogre as it trundled up the Central Zone. And I was left with the idea of doing more with it – again for solo play – especially as I can set-up and demo some sample games using the counters of our S&TO countersheet. That’s another ‘work-in-progress‘ idea to plan for the near future.

Last item to hit the table was the card game ‘Condottiere‘, with the latest version that introduces the Favour of the Pope, Courtesans and Spring cards. It does play distinctly differently from the earlier version of the game, but that just adds to the charm of such a simple fun game and the potential that could be had with it. And that includes my campaign game idea, incorporating it with the ‘Machiavelli‘ board.

Finally, the DoMA was at least suitably premiered with the DR wargaming sessions. There now exists the ability to set something up and take time playing it, leaving it there to return too. Plenty of Messing About potential for the future.


Proposed menu for Brew-Up

A mix of boardgames and wargames will be the fare for whoever braves the journey to the Wall.

Certainly for wargaming, I want to delve into two of Mr Mersey’s titles – ‘Dragon Rampant‘ and ‘The Men Who Would Be Kings‘.

DR can be used in whatever setting, even for something made up on the fly. It’s useful as you  can mix up forces from some company’s ‘codex’ with something completely historical as it’s opposition. And half the fun is the construction of the Warband and in providing it some sort of back-story. We’ve used Dark Elves against Border Reivers before – and my Reivers won (bless the gods for the wonder that is blackpowder!). Then again, I suspect that we may have been playing the Start-Turn and Activations slightly wrong (Ooops!)

TMWWBK is also another I’m keen to trial with the chaps, as this actually has great potential for the VSF stuff we do, especially any Space 1889 actions. Again, it’s a perfect toolkit of rules that allows you so much potential to adapt them to give the games you want, that can then fit into the campaign setting we already have established. I’ve been steadily collecting, adapting and painting (OK, that last one – others have been painting) allsorts of Elvish forces that I can then use for the Canal Martian forces of the Oenotrian Empire and others for the Hill Martians of the Steppes. I now have quite a few, but it’s a bit of a jumble, as I really need to sort them out into proper units – to set out some of the Bands and Companies of the native enemies of the Humans who’ve come to play out the Great Game on Mars.

As for the boardgaming – well, we are spoilt for choice admittedly, but the ones I think we’ll get onto the tabletop include Classic Warlord, Fury of Dracula (3rd Edition), perhaps one of the COIN games from GMT, and some of the old classics I have too. In fact, there’s so many that are good options, I can leave having to list them for now.

And it means the DoMA (Department of Messing About) gets it’s first proper playing session. While the room out back is not quite finished – two walls still need to be lined inside properly and then a good re-painting and some carpet – it’s been interesting to set up the tables and trugs to see the potential layout. It’s a good space, plenty of spare area around a central flat surface, and the daylight fluoro-tubes certainly improve the lighting too. I’ve even experimented on one of my gametable cloths, a very cheap lump of green fleece – hanging it in the garage while I spray adhesive mounting glue and then shake green flock of various shades all over. The shaker was simple improvisation – an empty Pringles tube with holes pierced in the lid. Load up with a few spoons of flock, spray glue and shake. And the reliable hairspray sprayed last to provide some way of fixing it all. We shall see how it works but it was a fun and cheap exercise to dabble with.

Just some last bits of printing, and then some rules reading tonight to crib up on what’s possible, and then all set to begin tomorrow evening. Been good to get back into the mood too.

Finally, below there’s an overhead snap of the Graustark/Axphain game I set up a few months back. Apologies it’s a bit fuzzy, it was a quick point-&-click on my mobile.

This was a dabble with the TMWWBK rules, showing some of the terrain I’ve made or acquired – and also shows what the greencloth used to look like. That should remind me to take plenty of pix for the games played over this weekend.

mwwbk-gothic graustark tabeltop 1