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.
Jon, one of the organisers of
Wycombe Warband, lives locally, and I
had a couple of games against him. With images;
(Merry Christmas to all my readers.)
On a dreary November day I visited
a two-day show in Reading that's filling the gap left by Colours
having moved to Newbury. With images;
Another scenario from South Atlantic War, the Black Buck One raid on
the airfield at Port Stanley.
X-Wing at Wycombe Warband, after another
long gap. With images;
A new wargaming show in Peterborough, organised by a friend. With
images; cc-by-sa on
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.
The latest Harpoon PBEM game was a return to the old standard
scenario, to get a new player up to speed.
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.
The Naval Wargames Show was on last weekend in Gosport. With images;
There's a certain mentality in games (particularly wargames, but
others too) which seems to be associated with tournament play.
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.)
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.
More X-Wing at Wycombe Warband, first
time I'd made it for a while. With images;
Back to basics with this introductory scenario, which we completed in
a little over three weeks. This time things went very differently…
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;
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.
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.
Yesterday I took part in my first X-Wing tournament. With images;
More X-Wing at Wycombe Warband. With
images; cc-by-sa on
Yesterday I played some more X-Wing at
I haven't had time to go along to
Wycombe Warband since last month, but I
was there last night playing
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.
Yesterday was the weekly meeting of
Wycombe Warband, at the
in Beaconsfield; I went along to play some more X-Wing.
I'm still taking advantage of my employer's leave year ending in
January, so Ashley came over to
play some X-Wing.
"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
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.
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.
This third game went a lot faster than the last, taking about twelve
days of real time to run.
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.
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.
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.)
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?
After I'd written
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.
Sometimes my interests intersect. I've been working on a way to plot
markers and objects onto real-world charts.
So that's my fantasy Royal Navy. Who's it going to fight? Practically
People have all sorts of objections to wargaming with particular
periods, wars, or types of unit.
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
cc-by-sa applies to
Carriers and submarines are dealt with. What about the rest of the Navy?
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?
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.
I'll come back to what the British are up to, but the historical enemy
has to be considered.
Salute is the UK's biggest wargaming show
of the year. For me this one was frustrating in some ways, rewarding
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
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.
For convenience, wargamers tend to split history into periods with
broadly similar weapons and tactics.
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?
Last Sunday I visited
Overlord, a one-day
wargames show in Abingdon.
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.
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...)
I've been looking around for a WWII naval combat system that felt
right to me, and I think I've found it.
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.
At the Sharp
is the campaign supplement for the excellent Chain of Command
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.
I saw this at The Battletech
forwarded from a sarna.net blog
and thought I'd join in. "What are your five favourite 'Mechs from the
original 3025 Technical Readout?"
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.
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.