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.

 

 

 

 

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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!

 

 

 

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.

More Martian Miniatures

So not only have I re-discovered nearly all the items I spent the last fifteen years squirreling away for the Space 1889 project, I’ve now obtained yet more stuff.

Last year, at one of the wargame shows in Northern England, I acquired 3 of Ainsty’s naval gun carriages. I decided then these would be perfect for Heavy Guns taken off some Canal Martian Screw Galley or War Kite for land service – just in mimicry of the Royal Naval practice to put naval ordnance on to field carriages for Bluejackets to contribute to the British land campaigns.

I’ve also picked up more Grenadier UK Wood Elves and High Elves thanks to Forlorn Hope Games. I’ve always thought these would make useful Hill Martians and Canal Martians. Next phase here is to get some practice in converting some to be armed with muskets. That’s some modelling and scratch-building work I’ve not done for a long time.

And I also took advantage of one of Black Tree Designs periodic sales and picked up some Anglo-Zulu War bits for the British but more elves from their fantasy range to also convert into armed Canal Martians.

Finally, the older stuff I had is now based up and awaits a decent coat of varnish. And I’ll brush it on – using some Winsor & Newton matt acrylic varnish. Still not quite ready to pray-and-spray just yet.

So the project gathers momentum. More info and pix soon.

 

Wargaming priorities

So decided my quickest and easiest ‘win’ to get something achieved and onto the tabletop will be my Elven-Martians for Space 1889. I have about 50 figures almost completed, just needing some basing detail and some protective varnish. Plus, there’s some odds here and there that shouldn’t be too hard to get painted up to augment those items.

And, the bonus here is that re-staring painting again, I can do so with something pseudo-historical so it’s not ultra important if my painting takes a while to get back up to a reasonable standard, and in itself will be good practice for painting techniques when I do get the historical projects back out.

 

Space 1889: Martian Forces

As I’ve been passing the last few days mainly on my laptop, as work on the house revolves around me, with the sorting out of household, pension and employment affairs, I’ve been browsing and re-visiting a few blogs that inspire me. Amongst those are fellow fans of GW’s Space 1889 – especially those who have taken that old genre into wargaming.

Many moons ago – well over a decade ago now – I hit upon the idea of using old Grenadier UK Elves (28mm) as proxies for Martians, as acquiring RAFM figures was expensive and time-consuming. I had also dabbled with another make – I forget the name now – but I always came back to the old Grenadier UK stuff. I purchased odd bits found at bring-&-buys at wargame shows, blister packs scoured from bargain boxes and buckets, and the occasional win on EBay. The intention was always to have enough to tabletop combat encounters within RPG sessions and end up with enough for battles using ‘Soldier’s Companion‘ rules.

It seems I wasn’t the only one to appreciate Grenadier UK’s work. Hence, I find myself now getting more and more inspired by others, who’ve sourced ‘alternates’ to provide additional forces for the Martians. Some orders have been placed, the existing stuff that’s been painted has been found and basing touch-ups are planned, and I even have some ideas on sorting out some conversion work – e.g., Dark Elf crossbowmen will be re-armed with muskets and muzzle-loading rifles.

The ambition is to ensure I have enough to start trialing some British/Human vs. Martian City States tabletop encounters using the ‘MWWBK‘ rules too. Don’t get me wrong, the ‘Soldier’s Companion‘ book is a great resource, but I find the rules are too slow and slightly cumbersome for what I want. The fact that I have so much finished or on the point of almost complete provides me the nudge to get this project rolled forward to a new milestone as well.

In addition to that, after the success in making a green base cloth from the fleece fabric I acquired in Carlisle Market, I intend to do the same with a brown lump of fleece I got for working up a Martian surface. This will involve spray painting with lighter ochre and yellow hues, and adding some scatter and flock, and I’m hoping I’ll create something suitable with the ideas I have. This should then be adequate to use for one-off games, simpler to set-up and easier to design a wide variety of terrain layouts.

And then there’s the attraction of adding aerial assets – gunboats and sky galleons and skiffs – something I’ve not been involved with before, but keen to explore further.

This might just get expensive.

 

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