31 December, 2012

Adiós 2012

Hopefully you'll forgive me my recent hiatus - work and home have been hectic and I've gotten in just a single game in the last two months. Overall though, it's been a good year, so as usual here are some highlights:

Gaming Highlights

The Package
My work was published in Battlegames as a command challenge - a small engagement for Force on Force graced those esteemed pages and I've gotten some nice feedback since

Pulp Escapades
I ran a three-part campaign at Gaelcon using Perilous Trail, previously only seen in use hunting dinosaurs, but this time to track the adventures in pursuit of the Lost Treasure of Annobon...

BattleGroup Kursk
Took part in the big game down in Kildare, where we were hosted ably by Piers et al and everyone had a great lark playing this massive game just before its official release

Blogs of the Year

Dougie's Wargaming Blog
In my humble opinion, everything Dougie touches turn into gold! Between his stand-out moderns and really useful tutorials (both miniatures and terrain) this is well worth a look

Small Scale Ops
This year, I'm particularly impressed by Chris' BattleTech stuff - his (1/144 Macross) Davion & Kurita collection is gob-smackingly good!

Lard Island News
Usually I would avoid nominating an 'official' blog like this, but the guys over at Two Fat Lardies are having too much fun with their games for me to ignore it. I also love the extra insights they give us into game design (specifically for their Dux Britanniarum game).

New Releases

Medieval Scots
Claymore Castings' new line of medieval Scots is well worth a look if you're ata all interested in wargaming the late 14th century. From the look of them they’ll be usable for the Hundred Years War and War of the Roses without too much heartache, and given they seem to measure up pretty well with the Perrys’ range.

BattleGroup Kursk
Plastic Soldier Company released this lovely book back in October and I'm incredibly impressed by the look-and-feel of it in reproducing a wargame that feels like Kursk. Normandy and Fall of the Reich to come out next year

I’m particularly impressed by the M-ATVs (the Humvee’s replacement) from S&S as there’s loads of different options along with oodles of stowage available.

Projects in the Pipeline

Istvaan V Dropzone
Planning to do this one-sided battle from the Horus Heresy with Steve - he'll be running it with Tomorrow's War, bringing his Chaos Marines out of cold-storage. I'll be (finally) painting my collection of Alternative Armies Firefight/Ion Age line

Attack on the Diomedes
I want to do a large scale game pitting fighters against a cruiser. I'm going to use some of Brigade's fighters to take on a scratch-built warship...
This is one for the slow-cooker. Aiming to get on the table for early 2014!

Having been unable to get around to this in November/December I'm going to take another run at the two solo campaigns previously touted here sometime next year...

Outstanding TV

Actually, season 1 was shown first over here earlier this year, so this is for both seasons. If the premise involved stretches credulity for you, then the acting by the two main leads (Claire Danes and Damian Lewis) makes this an outstanding show to watch

Although this new Aaron Sorkin vehicle may have painted itself into a corner in terms of how it can achieve its aims of changing the way the news is reported. I'd prefer less of the smaltzy romance, but otherwise it's definitely worth a look if you miss the West Wing.

This is DVD viewing, since no channel of note on this side of the Atlantic seems to have picked it up! Based on a single Elmore Leonard short story, old-school U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (played by Timothy Olyphant) kicks ass across Kentucky.

Books of the Year

Apocalypse World
This is a post-apocalyptic roleplaying game by D. Vincent Baker I picked up after playing a dungeon-crawling spin-off at Gaelcon. The mechanics and setup are so well put together, I'm tempted to use the word 'genius' when describing them. I intend to put my money where my mouth is (so to speak) and run this next time around in our roleplaying group.

Sniper One
This account of a tour in Iraq by British Army sniper Dan Mills is intense and delivered in a no-nonsense fashion.

The Heroes
For me, this defintely counts as Joe Abercrombie mixing it up in the same setting as The First Law. Excepting the Black Company, I can't think of as anti-war a fantasy novel as this (off the top of my head at least).

Hope you had a good 2012, here's to a great '13 on all fronts

16 November, 2012

Top (Film) Non-Firefights

When I was gathering my Top Ten Film Firefights I looked up quite a number of scenes which in the end didn't really count as firefights as all the gunfire was going one-way

I can't remember from first viewing if this outcome seemed inevitable, but the pure menace from ED209 is palpable

#4 Pulp Fiction (Pop Tart Surprise)

Surprised the hell out of that guy!

#3 The Fifth Element (Negotiation)

Anyone else want to negotiate?

I imagine there's some kind of Fantastic Four reference in there, but this one did catch me by surprise @2.48

#1 Road to Perdition (I'm glad it's you)

With the direction and sound, we it's hard not to be moved by this scene (though of course in context it's much more effective). Technically I guess the bodyguards are firing back, but not that anyone would notice.

In the new year I'll do a matching series from TV.

11 November, 2012


Behind Harvey's escapades are the Outfit basing themselves out of Malobo Port (and with deep connections to the Mafia back in the United States). Lt. Commander Newbolt’s mission is to capture or destroy the Outfit’s gunboat moored in the port.  A large demolition charge is available in the launch to be placed aboard the gunboat if it’s capture is not tenable.

Blain’s crew are drinking in the Hook Tavern. Dutch and his men are at a serious poker game in Marcel’s, though Hawkins is aboard the gunboat standing guard. 

Malobo Port is quiet in the small hours of the morning
The docks are cluttered with supplies for the steam-powered vessel, though Hawkins is nowhere to be seen at the moment
The launch, with Newbolt at the prow chugs up river
The short party reaches its destination, a short pier near the vessel - they can see Hawkins walk the docks, though he hasn't heard the launch yet
The launch has glided a little further than planned and collides (gently) with the steamboat - they sailors leap aboard with Bo'sun Williams lugging the explosive charge across
Hawkins spots the sailors, and with a challenge on his lips and his shotgun aimed in their direction, Warner with his Lewis Gun takes no chances and guns him down. The rest of the Outfit certainly heard that, they spring into action
Dillon's gang race up the steps - they're too far away to make much out at night and hold their fire while taking cover 
The first patrol arrives on the scene - though they're across the river they head towards some spoil alongside the merchant dhow to see if they can fire on the raiders
The Marines have been quietly flat-footed by the sailors quick advance and they're still on the pier. Dillon's gang take advantage and rush up to spitting distance. Their fire is effective and they shoot down Newbolt and Warner
The Marines have crept around the firefight and have opened fire on Dutch's gang further back. Kennedy opens up with his trench-clearing tommy gun and he takes out Dillon and Blain (who's own sub-machine gun kills Petty Officer Grant)
Kennedy is knocked for six (though it turns out he's just concussed) and then the Marines unleash hell. Their fusilade seriously wounds Harrigan, and kills everyone backing up Dutchie's advance
Having finally set the charge, Williams jumps back aboard the launch. Kennedy has shaken himself back to his feet and follows him
A second patrol comes on, this time close to where the river widens to the sea - they might be able to cut off the launch's retreat
The first patrol takes up position and opens fire, but have no luck
Brave/Crazy Harrigan, limping from his wound jumps on board the steamboat and tries to disarm the explosives.  His technical expertise isn't up to it and rather than struggle with the device, he just legs it!
The second patrol lies in wait for the escaping shore party on the other side of the river
After having wiped out all resistance, the Marines jump back aboard the launch 
With engines at full reverse (with all need for stealth gone) the launch heads for the open sea - their exchange of fire with the local patrol is brutish and short - those Marines may not be quick starter, but the know their business
Finally, the charge goes off, sending the gunboat to the bottom
Gunnery Sergeant Bowie looks on with quiet satisfaction - he lights up his pipe. Newbolt may not have survived the mission, but he'd be happy with the outcome
 This scenario was based on ‘Night raid on Gravelines’ by Henry Hyde from issue #13 of Battlegames. A fantastic weekend of gaming all-round. The newly tweaked version of the rules went down well, quicker and more decisive I thought. Hope you enjoyed the proceedings. I'll be posting some pictures of Talavera soon.
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07 November, 2012


After the treasure was removed from the Moroccan coast, a storm blew the ship into the Gulf of Guinea. One particularly valuable bale of treasure was thrown overboard with ballast and was seen in the surf on the island of Annobón before the howling winds swept the ship towards the Congo.

Pirates got the story out of a drunken sailor in Malobo and meanwhile the archaeologists had charted a pilot to fly over the island. Both armed with various pointers to the location of the treasure they set off. Inevitably they will clash with each other and the primitive natives who call the island home.

The local Chief knows that these foreigners will come and take whatever they want and then destroy the settlement unless the warrior stand against them. He must destroy the intruders now! 
Archaeologists pulling ashore in Marshall Bay
Pirates anchor their ship off Ravello Point
Jumping to the beach as everything seems quiet - the leading group turn off to head off to the right to find the next clue
With an unnatural burst of speed a native Chieftain lunges at the second group as they prepare to jump down - Hamilton  takes a snapshot and missed, but Mitchell makes sure with his shotgun, blasting the chieftain to the beach
A lone pirate reaches the high pass and with it their next clue
Their first clue has led the adventurers to the pool, but still no sign of the enemy
The pirates form up on the shoreline, they don't spot the couple of natives in the undergrowth ahead of them, but have heard shots
Still, the fearsome attack catches them by surprise, killing one and knocking one down, though the pirates did account for one of the warriors
In the ancient ruins, the party find some refuge from the musket fire coming from the hilltop nearby
How the Hell! Just as the pirates look to deal with the lone warrior in front of them, another preciously unseen native emerges behind them and clubs Madje on the head
The other group of pirates is having better luck, moving through the jungle they spot the adventurers beyond and wait for their chance
Showing preternatural agility, the sneaky native clambers to the cliff top to engage in some archery
The natives show no mercy to the wounded pirates - and Bariki, concussed and armed only with a pistol now runs off
Either seized by uncommon valour or still feeling woozy, Bariki makes a last chance advance - but the trust native guide guns him down as he gets inside pistol range
The two parties of adventurers meet up again by the ruins
Hamilton is beset by a lone pirate, he runs for it and as the pirate follows the rest of the adventurers see him off
Their final clue sees them arrive at the rotting pier - no pirates remain on the island to spoil their exploration, and the few natives left have exercised caution
They find the treasure! 
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A quick note; these scenarios are based on the Tabletop Teasers from Battlegames. This game was based on 'Trouble on Treasure Island’ by CS Grant (found in issue #5). The previous entry 'The Game is Afoot' was inspired on ‘Getting away with it!’ by CS Grant (from issue #6).

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