Thursday 31 August 2023

Augmented Reality in Table Top Wargaming .. Whatever Comes Next?

Is this really the future of wargaming? (see the links below .. pause, gasp and then question .. there are fun elements to both approaches):

The Electronic App: 

The Electronic Table:

I have to say, the older I get, the more I go back to basics and the more traditional tactile ways of doing things! However if it could sort out "fractious wargaming dilemmas" (over rules) that occur from time to time on a table top, then I would be interested [instead of ringing up or emailing the rules writer]. Having said that, over the years I find I tend to stop wargaming with those types of people anymore, or move away from those sets of rules whose games develop in that way to bring about unnecessary ambiguity. However I would like to see it work for DBA, DBM, DBMM etc rule system that attracts "cunning, clever play" and "rule lawyers" going that extra mile (or "mm") to win. How well will it deal with table top clutter of my wargaming table I wonder? (see below, the helpful 'app in my hand' will tell me the answer - to questions of firing and morale):

An alternative approach is to be highly restrictive but precise in what the table top, what it displays and means. Smart figures and smart tables (with stupid players). No illegal moves and clear signalling to show valid, legal play (see below, is this the wargaming dream world of the future?): 

Perhaps, but only time will tell!

Tuesday 29 August 2023

Early Birthday Present to Me: XTR Command Magazine Games #1, #2, #3 and #4 from the 1980's!

The rationale behind this seemingly crazy purchase of (very, very) old and perhaps "superseded" games being .. that it completes a collection and when it is done, it is done and it is also a source of delight to me. I first discovered XTR Command Magazine in the early 1990's, after buying a few editions I then took the plunge and subscribed to it. This allowed me to bag a continuous run from Issue #15 (I Am Spartacus) through to its final edition (sniff) of Issue #54 (When Dragons Fight) as XTR as a company went "pop" (apparently they made a mistake by relocating their print  operation to a Canadian company and suffered from quality issues - that broke them).  Since that time be it through conventions or watching back issue magazine sites [such as Board Game Geek and Second Chance Games]. I managed to get back to Issue #5 (Hamburger Hill). Although I have not (yet) played them all, I have always enjoyed the production quality and replay value, certainly of the ones  I have played. So when the opportunity cane to get them all and 'close the gate' - I thought, "If not now then when?" (see below, the final four compatriots to complete the merry band of fifty two, three of which are magazine and game, one Issue #4 (Lion of Ethiopia) game only): 

Nostalgia: I think my all time favourite XTR Command game is Issue #14 (Victory at Midway), it still makes me sweat - closely followed by Issue #10 Alexandros ;) 

Most innovative - well I think Issue #20 (Cortes: Conquest of the Aztecs).

One of my brother's favourites being Issue #30 (Across the Potomac) when he crushed me in an old school PBM game.

Monday 28 August 2023

Charity Shop (II) Sci-Fi - 15mm Shuttle

Along side the 50p 10mm house there was a second bargain to be had (£8 .. well I am calling it a win). For fans of 15mm Sci-Fi Traveller, Star Grunt, Dirt Side I and II players .. your ever useful Universal Carrier of the stars - shuttle or scuttle bug (see below, this one looks very workmanlike and suitable more for your engineer and low class Traveller types - VIPs would complain of the cramp conditions and lack of facilities): 

This should go well with my ad-hoc collection of 15mm Traveller figures from Ground Zero Games!

Sunday 27 August 2023

Charity Shop (I) Bargain Terrain Piece

Charity Shop bargain (50 pence), I would call it 10mm terrain (see below, small and yet beautiful with a wargaming purpose in mind):

You don't always get something but it is very satisfying when you do!

Friday 25 August 2023

Know your Solar Noon no matter where in the wold you are!

The 12:00 on your digital device is not the same as the Solar Noon (as per a a sun dial), to calculate the digital time for your Solar Noon check out this web-site (see below, thank "gawd" for clever people who can do mathematics that I cannot):

Courtesy of the ESRL Global Monitoring Laboratory, a  big thank you to you!

Thursday 24 August 2023

Vietnam War - US News Broadcast of the (Surprise) Tet Offensive (NBS News Saigon) - You Tube Footage

Sometimes history is thrust upon a sleep walking nation and they are rudely awakened to unpalpable truths (see below, incredible News footage from 1968):

Amazing that was shown as a "special broadcast" to the US people outside of direct political control!

Wednesday 23 August 2023

Audible Book Completed: The Art of War by Sun Tzu

Despite this being a quick Audible listen of just one hour and eight minutes, it is as powerful and revolutionary now as when it was first written with teh ink drying on its pages (see below, the old master - I took the opportunity to download it with my Audible subscription as a "Freebie"): 

Compare Sun Tzu's notes on war with the actual way we (modern man) conducts war and politics, even or especially in light of the World Wars of the twentieth century and the disturbing "current" of the twenty first century history, and I challenge you not to feel the cold tinge of fear at the bottom of your spine. Are we bound to repeat teh same mistakes throughout history? Study war to find a way to stop war - or at teh very least, not to lose one!

There definitely is a simple game in there just using his terms to describe the battlefield. 

Tuesday 22 August 2023

Audible Book Completed: The Creativity Code by Marcus du Sautoy

Full title - The Creativity Code: How AI Is Learning to Write, Paint and Think, by Marcus di Sautoy (see below, for the sexy artwork that hints at robot domination, without having to show a robot. I listened to it via Audible rather than reading it, but in the end I bought a copy of the book as well, as there were sections in it you really needed to read IMHO - yes, like the ones that mentioned sums I could not do in my head!): 

So, now I have finished listening to this .. it seems to be pointing out that we’ve done lots of quirky things, some of which look and feel impressive .. but we seem to be back in a loop, back to 1990 when Expert Systems (symbolic logic machines) were going to going to transform the world. Deep Learning is now the new flavour of the revolution (Artificial Neural Nets that are trained to be clever) .. but back in 1990 it was not Expert Systems that shaped the Commercial World for teh next twenty plus years. No that was the dirty old Database and Networks which transformed into a brand the new thing called the Internet .. the "What Net" are you going fishing somewhere strange? Yet it dictated the course of computing for the next 20+ years by reinventing the Network to be used by everybody and therefore everybody's concern . My personal opinion of course .. which like most things these days seems to be in the Cloud, running better on someone else's piece of tin. 

Monday 21 August 2023

Shiny Board Game Moment: VUCA Simulations

You can blame Whispering Al for this one, not me, if you succumb (see below, a very likable looking set of board games awaits the unwary traveller):

Hmm, Pacific and Bismarck games immediately catch my immediate eye, but to be frank, they all look good!

Not cheap, but the most expensive game is the one that is never played .. as it serves as a distraction!

Friday 18 August 2023

WWII Naval Book: Atlantic Escorts and HTML5 Browser Bismarck Game

I have a very soft, weak compulsive spot for WWII naval stuff, so when David Manly recommends a "good" book I am a sucker, albeit a happy one (see below, the checklist was easy to complete - naval, WWII, Battle of the Atlantic, RN, escorts .. what is not to like):  

And in addition I already had three of David K Brown's books on warship design through the World War eras (to complement my Conway and Janes). In short, as you would expect, when a naval maritime designer recommends a naval constructor's book and says "it is good" then, it is good. One thing to shout out is that it does concentrate on the technical bits. WATU (Western Approaches Tactical Unit) is not mentioned (well not in the index - as I have just started reading it I might come across it yet). The Raspberry, Pineapple, Beta Search, Step Aside tactics are not mentioned.

For more details on these see: 

Or see the BBC interactive game: 

It "was" a great game but you need Flash 7 (a now deprecated multi-media scripting language) that most modern browsers have moved away from (aka uninstalled and blocked). 

Update I: Some Flash games can still be accessed (there are clever people in the world): 

Note: I have not (as yet tried this myself)

Update II: HTML5 WWII Games - Addictive ...

"Defenders of the Atlantic" is VERY ADDICTIVE

Thursday 17 August 2023

Note to Self: Listen to "Military History Plus" Podcast

Military History Plus Podcast, interesting content already after just eight episodes (see link below):

Wednesday 16 August 2023

Undaunted: Battle of Britain

I seem to be a serial collector of the Undaunted series of games (although I must confess getting them to the table top has been more of a challenge) as I cannot resist their production quality and 'Boys Own' appeal (see below, when I saw the cover of the box art, I knew they already "had me"): 

Perhaps something to be unwrapped (who am I kidding it is already unwrapped) but even perhaps "played" at the weekend sir?

Tuesday 15 August 2023

Pendrakon Blood Red Skies Day II: Battle of Britain Aldertag (13th August)

13th August 1940 Aldertag: Dowding's Home Station Defence Network is picking up something incoming off the Kent coast (see below, the "eyes and ears" of the RAF - I just gotta love the terrain models Renko printed for this game): 

Unwanted guests (two formations of German Heinkel 111s heading to Manston airfield): 

With a gaggle (well technically two schwarms of Luftwaffe Me 109's) of little friends in tow in close escort position (see below, going left to right the air is full of Nazi bombers and escorting fighters, fourteen planes in all):  

"Achtung Spitfire" - the RAF greeting party arrives (see below, tilted back indicated the aircraft is in an advantaged position [Blood Red Skies game term]):

The desperate attack of "The Few" are pressed home against the bombers (see below, but with the sheer numbers of German fighters in the air a Spitfire is caught as his compatriot riddles a Heinkel with 303 machine gun fire at insanely short range): 

After one frantic pass through the bomber formation the Spitfires spin round again displaying their tight turning capability, but the Me 109s are closing in): 

Then suddenly, the sky is clear. A classic RAF "hit and run" - the Germans have lost a Me 109 ("Where is Sigmund?") and a Heinkel is trailing smoke but is still intent on pressing on (see below, target is set for Manston airfield):  

Then all hell breaks loose as Spitfires and Hurricanes appear out of no where, charging straight into teh bombers (see below, the RAF concentrate on the left side of the the German formation, attaining local superiority. Twelve fighters to seven, but the remaining eight German Me 109s are placed ideally to swing into the rear of the Spitfire formation): 

Again a Spitfire pays the price, but fortunately the pilot jumps clear (see below, the RAF bravery means the German bomber formation is once again penetrated and riddled):  

A Heinkel from the leading formation goes down in flames and another one is severely damaged in the rear formation but Manston comes into sight as a flak barrage greets the unwanted guests (see below, the "tail end Charlie" Heinkel in not a happy bunny - or rather Nazi!):  

Manston Sector Airfield: sirens start wailing and AA firing at full effect (see below, the Spitfires and Hurricanes again disappear as the bombers conduct their attack run): 

The surviving bomber of the lead formation scores a telling hit on Manston, but the rear formation is less successful (a near miss) but loses its damaged aircraft to accurate flak (see below, RAF ground crew watch as German parachutes open from the doomed bomber as the crew bails out): 

Manston is damaged but still operational, it lives to fight another day. Holes are repaired in teh runway, as wearing RAF pilots land, refuel and get ready to "go again"!

All told an absolutely brilliant big day out, the Blood Red Skies event hosted at Pendrakon, a nice follow on from the Low Countries Game Day, where I spent my morning and afternoon fighting the Belgian Air Force. Huge thanks must go out to Renko for organising it, respect! Respect also goes to the RAF that took out 50% of the German bomber force, Hermann Goering certainly won't like that! As I was too slow in painting my BRS Starter Set Spitfires I played Luftwaffe again, so I will doubtless have to face a telling off by my commanding officer!

Pendrakon Small Games Day - Inviting you to Play Several Small Games

I am fortunate enough to have a local games company that is very proactive in promoting the hobby, in small and large events, Pendrakon Miniatures. One such event being their recent Small Games Day hosted at their HQ. Several gamers (local and not so local) were invited to put n a participation game. Which I think is a fantastic idea. Although stalled from getting over until late in the day by family duties I managed to catch up with a friend demonstrating a Science Fiction game called Möbius Mayhem (see below, the playing surface being a 2D representation of the 1D mobius strip and space critters "trap dooring" around the surface):

There was a furious exchange between lazer armed Space Teddies and Space Pirates - where the more elite Space Teddies tore the Space Pirates apart. I then had the pleasure of being the Hive Bug Mind of Space Spider, who had to close to "fang kill" in close combat, which they managed to do, overcoming a smaller band of Space Troopers. The second game was an interesting spin on the French Indian Wars, in the "feeding of an army department" - or rather feeding the Colonel, who wants to impress his friends with a wild turkey for the dinner table. A detachment of British and French scouts simultaneously despatched with the same mission (because officers are basically pompous officers no matter which army they come from in this period of history). Based on mechanisms from The One Hour Skirmish Wargame Book by John Lambshead, it was an extremely entertaining game to play (see below, to the "lucky" go the spoils - all manner of wildlife was waiting for us in the vegetation, not much of it friendly!): 

Summary: As a plucky canny Brit. I shot the turkey and avoided punishment from my senior officer as the Colonel was well fed at his table. I avoided meeting a bear (thank god), although the run in with a skunk was disturbing. In the distance I heard French screams and a cry of "wolf", followed by several musket shots which didn't seem to hit their mark!

Many points of kudos and thanks to Pendrakon for putting on this very entertaining "Small Game Day" - and even though I was only there for the last hour or so, it did exactly what it said it would do on the tin. If I had managed to come across a little bit earlier I could have caught a game of Blood Red Skies too. In total I think there were about six  or seven games, with a health stream of participants and shoppers browsing. Naturally, I came away with a few goodies purchased from the establishment, just to extend my ranges, it seemed rude not to!

Sunday 13 August 2023

It is a Connected World .. People who look at Geordie's Big Battles .. I spy with my little eye!

People who looked at me in the last seven days ..

Compared with all time ..

Fascinating ..

But that is not to say they have not fooled Google by a clever "jump box" in and out of a 'country' to five a false impression of who is looking.

Saturday 12 August 2023

My Perfect Holiday - 2023!

My perfect holiday. I shall first set the scene (see below, I gathered around me the vital ingredients of relaxation while the family go out to see Barbie, 'sadly' I could not go as I had to stay and watch the dog - as we could not leave him alone in the chalet, although he mostly watched me while curled up on the sofa):

The Last Hundred Yards is my summer tactical WWII infantry project. Next, when you look around you,  you find you are in the middle of a battle site, albeit a Medieval one you know almost nothing about, Tewkesbury - War of the Roses, classic Kingmaker [Avalon Hill original if you have it or the new revamped game, with excellent reviews] (see below, I had to buy a reference book - I do remember a reference from Simon Schama and the History of Britain): 

Trying not to look at the price as it is currently on a "special offer" - cheaper online than where I got it from, but it was a holiday treat! The banners that adorn Tewkesbury were a real treat! Inspiration strikes as I do have some 28mm Perry and 'other' figures in the loft, to paint up now! Or is this really befitting of a new 10mm project .. question left unanswered! Oh, and I did managed to catch the second day of teh Battle of Evesham (really medieval 1265, Second Baron's War - a Henry III and Simon de Montford). Hats off to the re-enactors who braved and endured the inclement weather. 

Friday 11 August 2023

Thoughts on Urban Operations - Board Game

Is this "the one" for Urban Operations - could be, as the pedigree of  Sebastion de Peyret is first class (see below, does it not look good and sexy, but how do you play it?): 

Nuts - Game Publisher Web-Site (currently waiting for a Version 2 printing in 2024, I have the original version 1): 

Board Game Geek reference (what do the other folks say about it?):

The box is a collection of magic tricks to me. Excellent reference material, historical and hypothetical (Cold War gone Hot Style), innovative game play, fog of war and realistic decision based (without the benefit of being a 10,000 foot tall general). The pain is sitting down and learning the mechanisms well enough for quick play.

Learning Videos: 

Links to other resources, would be much appreciated!

Additional Link (27/08/2023):

Thursday 10 August 2023

Good Blogger to follow: Shaun's Wargaming with Miniatures

Now this is an interesting recommendation from a friend (Game We Play). Something for the Ancient and WWII enthusiast:

WWII  3x4 Advancing Companies Rule Set:

Some time shall be spent investigating here!

Wednesday 9 August 2023

Simple Rules but Complex Game Play: Gangster Mob Game

One of the interesting themes I like seeing in wargames (and in particularly games with the crazy bunch of people from Wargames Developments) is when the concept of a game is pitched back to its most basic form - but still plays well. The basis of a few rules that devolve "great simplicity" or as John Gribbins would say Deep Simplicity (see below, a book on chaos that I liked reading): 

One such game Quadwrangles was a mobster themed gang war in old Chicago Town (see below, the godfathers of the mafia muster their forces in a showdown):

Random resource placement, variable [mob] weapon values and a chaotic sequence of play makes it interesting (see below, blood on the streets and one family finally dominates):

Stripped back without teh chrome to its basic form (see below, more network math than mob): 

It plays well with friends. This themes and many other themes are bundled together and available at:

Tuesday 8 August 2023

"Lost Mines of Phandelver" Finish - 2023 D&D Reboot - New Adventure "Dungeon of the Mad Mage" Awaits

And so .. surrounded by the "boss" monster of Phandelver (The Spider) the adventurers "rocked it" courtesy of the Party Leader Magic-User making his experience points up to 5th Level [big time adventures await] - and this figuring out how to use the dreaded Fireball Spell. Kaboom! The room of baddies (giant spiders, bugbears and The Spider himself) was consumed in magical fire [but the party leader was careful to protect his fellow PCs]. This also weakened the stability of dungeon foundations by destroying the dungeon protector - the magical Dwarf God idol [crumble, crumble .. RPG PC vandalism .. so magic is no longer holding the structure together]. With the dungeon collapsing around them in Indiana Jones fashion the party race to a new opening which seems to be "stable" (see below, the ending of The Spider NPC and his dreams of utilising "Fell Magic"):      

A bizarre sight awaits them, a chair on a chain harness, a bucket with a sign, "One at a time. A gold coin for the bucket man" and a long dark vertical chimney with a distance white pinprick of a light, with faint sounds of raucous revelry carrying down the chimney. One by one the adventurers ascend and teh party find themselves in the surreal surrounding of the Tavern of the Yawning Portal, an entrance point to the "Dungeon of the Mad Mage" and "Waterdeep"!

In 2023 the dungeon and dragons adventures restarts with a reboot from The Lost Mines of Phandelver. The PCs also carry the secret of the demonic presence they have released onto the unsuspecting denizens - who (thought they) have troubles enough of their own.

Dungeons and Dragons .. Spoiler alerts: 

Although in typical Dungeon Master fashion I reserve the right to add bespoke elements and levels in to suit my whim and figure collection (present and future)! In typical strange fashion I have also gone and ordered the prequel! Dragon Heist, describing the setting of the town of Waterdeep!

Monday 7 August 2023

Painting the Australian Matilda Tank Variants - Reference Point

This had been on my "to do" list for a long, long time. In a way it will be the end of my Matilda project (odyssey), which encompasses BEF 1940 (Arras, also including the\ Matilda I), the 1941-42 "Queen of the Desert" Western Desert 8th Army, Red Russia (snow camouflaged) and finally the Digger Australian Hedgehog, Flamethrower and gun tanks (see below, for current Australian reference points):  

Inspirational work (see below, Mini AFV blog): 

I found this You Tube video very informative (see below, nice combat and motion pictures, plus CGI reconstruction):  

The majority of my Matilda fleet come from the Airfix stables, but I have one ESCI/Italeri and one resin (Britannia Miniatures - I think) addition. There are two Matilda I's metal from the old 20mm Skytrex range (where ever they are now). If I was feeling brave enough I might have a go at the Matilda Scorpion mine clearing AVRE tank.

[Footnote: Sad fact of the Internet and "links" - they can and do change. This post has been so long in the pending state that one of the two original links I had - "expired" by teh time I came to post. So I guess, pictures and words last better than links over time.]

Saturday 5 August 2023

Australian SAS in Vietnam - Painting Information: Notes To Self

As part of the gaming material needed for my "Follow the Bush Tucker Trail" at CoW 2023 I decided that I really had to paint some genuine Platoon 20 Australians in (as opposed to using some LRRP US types play their part). Perhaps there would be nothing to notice, but I would "know". 

Web Links: Inspiration was gained and sought from:

Painting Description - basically a Hodge-podge of Vallejo Model Colour greens with a Sand and Brown thrown in (read, listen and look at the above links) with copious amounts of black, brown and green washes and inks chucked in for good measure and satisfaction (see below, the jungle is dirty, sweaty and dangerous):

I hope this does the Diggers credit! Additional link and reference suggestions welcomed. 

Friday 4 August 2023

Nice Blogger Site showing WWIII - Modern US/Soviet/Russian 6mm - Armour, Infantry, Engineering Units and Aviation Units

This is really nice work (see below, a WIII extravaganza of 6mm moderns - lots of US and Soviet kit on show, where he goes I hope to follow):

Way down to the bottom of the link there are some beautiful examples of Pontoon and GSF Ferry units, something I will try and duplicate for my modern 6mm Russian/Soviet engineering units. This has helped me in my attempts at finishing off the Cold War (WWIII) Spearhead OoB Soviet Motor Rifle Division (still currently a WIP)

Thursday 3 August 2023

Learning Project: The Last Hundred Yards Boardgame - GMT

The Last Hundred Yards (LHY) - WWII Tactical Wargame Rules.

This (LHY) is my 2023 "Board Game" summer project. I missed the first printing of LHY back in 2019 but I immediately seemed to hear so many good things about it I just had to put my name down on the GMT's P500 queue and wait in stoic silence (as the world seemed to come to a grinding Covid halt). I sat "queue watching" as it slowly ticked up to the GMT P500 reprint threshold leader board (literally waiting through the Pandemic years) and as the then post-pandemic logistical shipping and manufacturing nightmare cleared, saw it finally drop into my lap earlier this year. I also noted that the Airborne Over Europe, LHY Volume II "completed" the system so I bought into LHY system "big time" (as in, when available and at a relatively sensible price - don't hesitate buy or regret at your leisure). I this have all the core rules required. My hope is that it is the Squad Leader (SL) [golden game of my youth] replacement that Advanced Squad Leader (ASL) never was to me. My big hopes rest on its tiny shoulders!

It is highly rated by Board Game Geek: 

Learning all teh new tricks from the youth of today I totally buy into the video jump start, tips and tricks from YouTube (as listed below): 

GMT Games LHY Links:
Useful Videos: 

Harsh Rules Channel (LHY):
Solo Board Gaming (AOE)

Wednesday 2 August 2023

Phil Sabin's - Air Games (Update)

It is good to hear that Prof Phil Sabin, from Connections UK, Lost Battles and Simulating War fame, is having a busy and creative retirement. More games and variants flowing from his pen, particularly in the field of air warfare (see below, pictures and links):

More information at at Bob Cordery's Blog: