RogerBW's Blog

Vanquish 2016 in Bourne End 30 May 2016

Since this show was only a few miles from where I live, I thought I'd drop in. Wycombe Warband, the club where I usually play, weren't putting anything on, but there were many of the usual dealers and some interesting demo games with emphasis on participation.

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Saga and X-Wing in Loudwater, November 2015 30 January 2016

Jon, one of the organisers of Wycombe Warband, lives locally, and I had a couple of games against him. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

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Warfare 2015 in Reading 25 December 2015 - 2 comments

(Merry Christmas to all my readers.)

On a dreary November day I visited Warfare, a two-day show in Reading that's filling the gap left by Colours having moved to Newbury. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

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Fourteenth Harpoon PBEM AAR: Black Buck One 04 December 2015 - 5 comments

Another scenario from South Atlantic War, the Black Buck One raid on the airfield at Port Stanley.

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X-Wing at Wycombe Warband, November 2015 26 November 2015

X-Wing at Wycombe Warband, after another long gap. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

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Hereward Wargames 2015 14 November 2015

A new wargaming show in Peterborough, organised by a friend. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

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Thirteenth Harpoon PBEM AAR: Radar Contact! 17 October 2015 - 1 comment

I've started playing through the South Atlantic War scenario book for Harpoon (and for Combined Arms for land actions, which I'm ignoring). This is the first naval scenario in it: the Argentine submarine Santa Fe (formerly the Balao-class USS Catfish) tries to escape from South Georgia.

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Twelfth Harpoon PBEM AAR: Still Gulf Escort Deja Vu 25 September 2015 - 1 comment

The latest Harpoon PBEM game was a return to the old standard scenario, to get a new player up to speed.

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Eleventh Harpoon PBEM AAR: A Question of Sovereignty 10 August 2015 - 9 comments

The latest Harpoon PBEM game used a scenario from the Harpoon Naval Review 2009, written by Gorka L. Martínez Mezo: Moroccan fundamentalists attack the Spanish outposts at Ceuta and Melilla, and the Spanish try to get convoys across the western Mediterranean to evacuate civilians and bring in troops.

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Naval Wargames Show 2015 13 July 2015

The Naval Wargames Show was on last weekend in Gosport. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

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The Tournament Mentality in Gaming 25 June 2015 - 4 comments

There's a certain mentality in games (particularly wargames, but others too) which seems to be associated with tournament play.

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Dynamic Mongoose 2014-2015 18 June 2015

Dynamic Mongoose is an ongoing series of naval exercises in anti-submarine warfare, taking place off the coast of Norway. This year's exercise was rather more multinational than recent years' have been, perhaps inspired by recent reports of possibly-Russian submarines inside other nations' territorial waters. The most blatant sign that it is being taken seriously is that it happened in May rather than the usual February in the North Sea. (Still cold, but rather less horrible.)

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Tenth Harpoon PBEM AAR: Maybe the Last Gulf Escort Deja Vu 27 May 2015 - 1 comment

This one took a while, largely because I've been busy with a writing project that's stuck its tentacles into all my space time.

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X-Wing at Wycombe Warband, May 2015 22 May 2015 - 2 comments

More X-Wing at Wycombe Warband, first time I'd made it for a while. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

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Ninth Harpoon PBEM AAR: Again, Gulf Escort Deja Vu 04 May 2015 - 3 comments

Back to basics with this introductory scenario, which we completed in a little over three weeks. This time things went very differently…

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Salute 2015 27 April 2015 - 2 comments

Salute is the UK's biggest wargaming show of the year. I didn't buy anything this year, but still had a good time. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

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Eighth Harpoon PBEM AAR: Gulf Escort Deja Vu One More Time 06 April 2015 - 1 comment

This scenario took a while, because two Blue players in a row became unresponsive and had to be replaced. But we got there in the end.

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Seventh Harpoon PBEM AAR: Hurrying Home 30 March 2015 - 3 comments

This scenario is set in 1975; it deals with a British carrier group, heading home across the Atlantic at the outbreak of war, attacked by Soviet submarine and air forces. Total play time has been nearly two months, my goodness.

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X-Wing Tournament in Aldershot, March 2015 15 March 2015 - 2 comments

Yesterday I took part in my first X-Wing tournament. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

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X-Wing at Wycombe Warband, March 2015 13 March 2015

More X-Wing at Wycombe Warband. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

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X-Wing at Wycombe Warband, February 2015 20 February 2015 - 5 comments

Yesterday I played some more X-Wing at Wycombe Warband.

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Zombicide at Wycombe Warband, February 2015 13 February 2015

I haven't had time to go along to Wycombe Warband since last month, but I was there last night playing Zombicide.

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Sixth Harpoon PBEM AAR: Gulf Escort Deja Vu III 21 January 2015 - 1 comment

As an introduction for new players, I ran this variant scenario: it's Gulf Escort Deja Vu, but with a British Type 23 (Somerset) and Lynx rather than the Canadian Halifax and CH-124A attempting to get the tanker past the Iranian missile boats. Total real time was two weeks.

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X-Wing at Wycombe Warband, January 2015 16 January 2015 - 1 comment

Yesterday was the weekly meeting of Wycombe Warband, at the NFTS in Beaconsfield; I went along to play some more X-Wing.

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X-Wing at Home, January 2015 15 January 2015 - 3 comments

I'm still taking advantage of my employer's leave year ending in January, so Ashley came over to play some X-Wing.

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Shipwreck! First Look 13 January 2015

"Modern" (i.e. post-WWII) naval warfare is surprisingly underserved by the wargaming community. There's Harpoon, of course, which I know and love, but it's a bit heavy on detail for many people. Shipwreck!, written by Martin Bourne and published in 1999 by Vandering Publications, is the "other" game, and it takes a much lighter approach.

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Fifth Harpoon PBEM AAR: Northern Aggression 26 December 2014

Since some of the players had requested a game with submarines in it, I used this scenario out of the book. In 1997, three Russian surface ships violate Polish coastal waters in a show of force; a German Type 206 submarine tries to sink them. Total playing time was six days.

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Fourth Harpoon PBEM AAR: Gulf Escort Deja Vu Again 10 December 2014 - 2 comments

Having had some interest after I posted the second AAR, I thought I'd run a game for new players to get the hang of the way I do things before I set up another complex scenario. But the new players didn't apply, so I ran this one with two old hands instead. Total real time was two weeks, including a break over Thanksgiving as one of the players is American.

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Third Harpoon PBEM AAR: The Russians Are Coming 21 November 2014 - 2 comments

This third game went a lot faster than the last, taking about twelve days of real time to run.

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Second Harpoon PBEM AAR: Non-Nuclear Nuclear Exchange 30 October 2014 - 1 comment

I managed to get some players together for another Harpoon game, again played by email; it took nearly two months all told, though we did have several breaks of a day or two along the way. Here's the after-action report, as before plotted onto Tactical Pilotage Charts.

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Twilight for Harpoon 28 October 2014 - 2 comments

Sighting conditions in Harpoon are typically set by the scenario author. This means there's little guidance to the designer. Particularly if the scenario spans a large area, it might take several game hours to resolve, and it would be good to know how conditions change over time.

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Star Wars X-Wing collection 09 September 2014 - 2 comments

It was a warm night… the moon was full (actually it was just past new)… one of the Reading Boardgames Social guys was selling off his X-Wing collection… (With images.)

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Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures 31 July 2014

Star Wars X-Wing is clearly designed to be a gateway game, encouraging players to buy lots of expansions. As I'm probably going to do. But before then, how well does it do at being playable out of the box?

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First Harpoon PBEM AAR: Gulf Escort Deja Vu 24 June 2014

After I'd written the software, I had to try it out; I had one experienced player and one newcomer to Harpoon (though he knows the real-world technologies and tactics), and we played by email over about a week. Here's the after-action report.

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Plotting onto Tactical Pilotage Charts 10 June 2014

Sometimes my interests intersect. I've been working on a way to plot markers and objects onto real-world charts.

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One for the Brow part 6: scenarios and Harpoon stats 31 May 2014 - 4 comments

So that's my fantasy Royal Navy. Who's it going to fight? Practically anybody.

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Wargaming ethics 20 May 2014 - 5 comments

People have all sorts of objections to wargaming with particular periods, wars, or types of unit.

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Chain of Command: The Battle of Grange Farm 18 May 2014 - 5 comments

Yesterday I played my third game of Chain of Command, and while I was still beaten I did a bit better than last time. Still fun. Be warned, this is a very image-heavy post; each image links to the original high-resolution version. cc-by-sa applies to all images.

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One for the Brow part 5: other combatants 14 May 2014 - 6 comments

Carriers and submarines are dealt with. What about the rest of the Navy?

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One for the Brow part 4: carriers and submarines 01 May 2014 - 3 comments

So Queen Elizabeth, Duke of Edinburgh and let's say Eagle are built during the early 1970s. That's the easy bit. What aircraft do they carry?

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One for the Brow part 3: weapons 25 April 2014

Many designers of fantasy fleets like to come up with all sorts of plausible-sounding technological developments. I'm mostly going to borrow ideas which historically worked for the Americans, and transfer them to the British with appropriate modifications.

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One for the Brow part 2: France 18 April 2014

I'll come back to what the British are up to, but the historical enemy has to be considered.

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Salute 2014 13 April 2014

Salute is the UK's biggest wargaming show of the year. For me this one was frustrating in some ways, rewarding in others.

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One for the Brow part 1: history 12 April 2014 - 4 comments

I often come up with alternate histories. The usual way of doing this is to change some historical detail and then speculate about what might have gone differently. In this case, I have a specific goal in mind, so I'm trying various divergences to try to get to the state I want.

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Painfully Realistic Vector Movement 04 April 2014

Lots of wargames, particularly those simulating space combat, have some sort of acceleration value for their units: you were going at speed 5, you accelerate by 5, you're now going at speed 10, so you move 10 units this turn.

This is wrong.

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Time to declare a new wargaming period 25 March 2014 - 8 comments

For convenience, wargamers tend to split history into periods with broadly similar weapons and tactics.

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Morale and command in wargaming 20 March 2014 - 4 comments

There seem to be two basic approaches to command in wargames: do you get to move every unit as you'd like to, or are you restricted in what you can do?

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Overlord 2014 at Abingdon 04 March 2014

Last Sunday I visited Overlord, a one-day wargames show in Abingdon.

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The Force Z Scenario 27 February 2014

This is the scenario I mentioned when reviewing Fire on the Waters: Force Z plus Hood vs the Japanese invasion fleet. I played it with Mongoose's Victory at Sea, but this version is generic; it should work with any WWII naval/air game.

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Too Fat Lardies' Christmas Special 2013 13 February 2014

I'm a recent convert to Too Fat Lardies (in spite of one of their regular contributors being a chap I knew at school), so the only game of theirs I've played so far is Chain of Command. I am hugely impressed with it; at a glance it seems very random, but as I played it I came to realise that I was having to make the same hard decisions as a commander on the scene.

Anyway, since that is the only Lard system I play (doubtless this will change), most of the Christmas Special isn't directly useful to me. So what is? (Ignoring "it might be useful later" or "ooh, that's interesting", at least for now...)

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Fire on the Waters 10 February 2014

I've been looking around for a WWII naval combat system that felt right to me, and I think I've found it.

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On Campaign Systems 07 February 2014 - 4 comments

I've been interested for some time in campaign systems, by which I mean ways of linking together individual tactical games to create some sort of larger narrative.

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Chain of Command: At the Sharp End 06 February 2014

At the Sharp End is the campaign supplement for the excellent Chain of Command platoon-level wargame.

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Introducing Tin Soldier 01 February 2014

Tin Soldier is my answer to the problems I see in BattleTech.

Why didn't I just write house rules? Well, I started to, but the game is such a blunt instrument that it's hard to have subtle effects.

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Five Favourite 'Mechs from Technical Readout 3025 24 January 2014

I saw this at The Battletech State forwarded from a sarna.net blog post, and thought I'd join in. "What are your five favourite 'Mechs from the original 3025 Technical Readout?"

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What's Wrong with BattleTech? 22 January 2014

I've written a set of rules that replace BattleTech. Why would I do such a foolhardy thing? Here I'm planning to write a bit about what's wrong with BattleTech.

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Chain of Command, Game 2 20 January 2014

Yesterday I played my second game of Chain of Command, and got reasonably thoroughly thrashed. But it was still a very enjoyable experience. (Always a sign of a good wargame, that.) Be warned, this is a fairly image-heavy post.

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