Wednesday 3 July 2024

Trevor Beevor - Russia: Revolution and Civil War 1917 - 1921

Again, an Audible listen, but on the follow up to get a paper copy too. So much in it just to be able to "remember" (see below, an appropriate picture as the cavalry [how can I not say Cossack (Red and White)] played such an important part): 


The book comes with a warning, it will change what you thought you knew about the RCW, well at least foe me ii did. A long listen (23 hours) - horrifically fascinating, absolutely cruel in detail and so pertinent for today’s understanding of where Russia came from .. as well as understanding the Allied politics of WW2 much better.

Highly recommended!

Thursday 27 June 2024

AI Researcher Fei-Fei Li - The Worlds I See: Curiosity, Exploration, and Discovery at the Dawn of AI

 A very interesting read, from the personal perspective of an immigrant Chinese family coming to America and also from the various AI related goals described, showing the backdrop of the US (salt mines of the) academic research environment (see below, what sold it for me is when she urged her researchers to "read the old stuff" again, not just the latest hot off the press stuff [other people's wins] - as good ideas often come well ahead of their time, with respect to be practical in the "at the time" technology available): 


I listened to this on Amazon's Audible after the recommendation from Geoffrey Hinton's on Twitter (or X if you prefer). 

I also like the way she described the benefit of having a North Star (your own personal one), something that is never attained but is always guiding you in the correct (or at least an interesting) direction (and yes you can switch it, but the obsessive ones who win Noble Prizes don't seem to).

Her Wikipedia page is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fei-Fei_Li

Thursday 13 June 2024

Sunday 2 June 2024

1:72 Pegasus Hobbies - Pz 38(t)

Two in a box is a very appealing selling point for the wargamer. Two Pz 38(t)'s would also nicely flesh out and complete my early WWII Panzer Battalion (as per Command Decision OrBat). Small little things with a few parts (so it is not an exercise in fiddly modelling, gets the thumbs up from me - especially teh all in one track. One small 'ouch' moment though, in fitting the track to body of the tank there is a sharp "snap" from the track, as it broke cleanly in two. Something had to give as the track was warped in a concave fashion and had to be bent back to fit correctly. Thankfully the resulting small gap was easily bridged with "a small slither of plastic-card" (see below, in its "gap state", construction was therefore a little more exciting than I wanted as this happened four times, once for each side of track):  


Despite that it was a very nice quick build but with a detailed model (see below, the first one finished - commanders cover chosen to be open): 


Two tanks completed, turret hatches open awaiting "commanders" - with a small fleck of white denoting the plastic-card track repair (see below, once the first tank was done, then the second one was much faster): 


Searching around in the spares box for some German Commanders and I found two Plastic Soldier Company (PSC) ones that looked early war(ish) and they were shaved/sculpted to fit into the turret, which meant "breaking arms - the reangling then", sounds much more complicated and brutal than it actually was. It amounted taking a small triangular wedge out of one part of the arm/shoulder and then adding it to another part): 


Undercoating and painting next (tbc when though). At least the "to be assembled pile" is one box smaller.

Wednesday 29 May 2024

Interesting Political Military (PolMil) Game Posting - Steven Balagan


I can highly recommend Steven Balagan's website for excellent content and stimulating ideas.

https://balagan.info/using-political-tokens-for-military-political-climate-in-an-insurgency-campaign

Things you never knew with fantastic modelling and scenario development, plus excellent historical research:

https://balagan.info/portuguese-colonial-war
https://balagan.info/simulating-politics-in-a-wargaming-campaign-with-political-tokens

Always an idea spinner.
Thank you!

Tuesday 28 May 2024

Never be bored as there is always basing to be done ..

My collection will never be finished, I know that, particularly the WWII one. However I do get a buzz from getting various bits to different stages .. basing is one of those stages (see below, Caesar miniatures are beautiful, but the more recent Italeri certainly give them a run for their money, as do Pegasus Hobbies, Plastic Soldier Company):


These dudes are some of my WWII Soviets and they are one stage along the production line. 

Tuesday 5 March 2024

Dunkirk 1940 the German View - Audible Book

Although I have not been posting I have been listening to "wargaming stuff" throughout February. I can highly recommend this book to get a much needed German perspective on the fighting around Dunkirk (see below, a valuable item to my understanding of the early 1940 campaigns): 


Like a lot of the factual Audible books I listen to, as soon as I was getting into it, I could not resist getting a hard copy - there was too much detail I knew I would want to go back to, even though it was still at a hardback price! That in itself is a complement to the quality and standard of the careful research that went into the book. The RAF got a better press than usual, as the German infantry also did not like being attacked from the air (no "superhuman" soldiers there) and the almost comical German command and control problems were highlighted.

Well worth the read if you can get it!

Monday 4 March 2024

Sad News: The Passing of Dr Peter Perla - The Art of Wargaming

It is old news, but it is sad and still significant news. Others say it far better than me: 

PaxSims: 

https://paxsims.wordpress.com/2024/01/22/we-say-goodbye-to-peter-perla/

Wargaming Miscellany: 

https://wargamingmiscellany.blogspot.com/2024/01/peter-perla-doyen-of-professional.html

Brian Train:

https://brtrain.wordpress.com/2024/01/21/obit-peter-perla-1951-2024/

I had the pleasure of talking with Peter online at VCoW sessions and all I can say was that he gave freely of his time and was encouraging in the endeavours of all gamers, great and small.

He will be greatly missed, his words are worth reading and listening to, again and again.

https://www.professionalwargaming.co.uk/OnceAndFuture-Perla.pdf

https://www.professionalwargaming.co.uk/OnceAndFuture-Perla.MP3

https://www.professionalwargaming.co.uk/2016PeterPerla.pdf

https://www.professionalwargaming.co.uk/2016PeterPerla.mp3

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czIDMcJBaUM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxLQmPA1-4o&t=5s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aknHj_6a2RM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvZ1EZukoWY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QE7yKFuZwtA

He also published games, his last board game was: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twtWueB4tqs

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgamedesigner/2728/peter-perla

Oh and one last important thing, as Dr Perla said, it's spelled: "wargaming" and not "war gaming" despite what some spell checkers think. 

Accept no other!

;) 



Thursday 1 February 2024

Question to Fellow Bloggers: What to do About Bot Accounts sending Spam to the Comments Section of Posts?

This is bugging me. 

I moderate all comments so I see them coming in. An obvious Spam comments totally unrelated to the Post bit sneaking in a link to an "online gambling site". I click on the ID to see who the person is and it is obviously a Bot account. I click "Report Abuse" and say it is a Spam/Bot giving details. This all takes time. I get a "Thank You" (NoReply) email back from Google. No action seems to be taken though. They still dribble in and I am pretty sure I am seeing teh same accounts being used.

Anyone else suffering from the same scenario?

As I have "Moderation On" in my settings they don't make it through to the public page.

Slowly but surely it will fill blogs with Spam links. 

Is there a better way of reporting it to Google?  


Monday 29 January 2024

Audible Book: Victory at Sea - Paul Kennedy

A good general read of naval war in WWII, from the man who brought us Rise and Fall of the Great Powers. In fact how I came across this Audible version of this book (Victory at Sea), was because I was looking for an Audible version of "that" book (Rise and Fall). I was intrigued at his (Kennedy's) obvious obsession with WW2 naval power and the world wide implications of naval conflict. I listened to the sample and was hooked (see below, it gives a good all ocean coverage of WWII and I have to say "I learned a few new things" - although the editors should have picked up some silly errors [Hipper was not in the Channel Dash, but the Prince Eugen a Hipper class cruiser heavy, while accounting for RN CVs they had tallied the Furious sunk despite it surviving the war, getting confused with the loss of the Hermes I think], in the main it was wholesomely good and accurate [so I forgive the previous small errors], but I would double check specifics of ships to see if they are correct): 



As per what is now a recurring theme of my Audible purchases, if (as I usually do) I like the audio recording of the book I also end up getting a print copy too. It is a knowledge at your fingertips thing for me. Here, despite it being newly in print (so a relatively "expensive" treat) and despite it being in hardback, I really wanted it for the glorious watercolour artwork which beautifully accompanies it. If but only for that reason alone, the watercolour illustrations make it a beautiful book for the library shelf and thus I can whole heartedly recommend it. 

Sunday 21 January 2024

Random Sci-Fi Stuff: From the Photo Archive Bucket .. Dust Bucket World

The usefulness of some of the Revell Star Wars spin-off range 15mm(ish) miniatures is shown with this beautiful "Combat Shuttle". A pretty much snip and click piece. It is the focal point of a 'planet drop' scenario and an ideal centre piece for a skirmish around a local spaceport or emergency wilderness dust-off . Ramp down, the "Away Team" is covered by heavy cannons as they disembark (see below, sitting on a nice little diorama made from the local wargames club terrain and friends bric-a-brac science fiction extras): 


This reminds me of the 2000AD Cursed Earth style shanty town with "Muties" hiding in the shadows(see below, careful searching is required, kicking doors in and covering your arcs - notice, there is a platoon of Ground Zero Games [GZG] Star Grunt forces approaching in the background): 


Good stuff, I liked the feel of Star Grunt and the "Western in Space" feel to barren desert planets! 


Friday 19 January 2024

Late Review of some Xmas Presents - Family Games

The Reign of the Cthulhu board game is now fixed as a family favourite, however the family was gifted two additional games "Taskmaster: The Board Game" and a story card game called Odyssey (see below, a trio of charmers):  


Taskmaster is a hoot, but like the series of the name, you would not want it played in your house - too much danger of collateral damage (and lateral thinking wins in spades). 

Odyssey looks the more intriguing game, despite being the simplest. You have to weave a Greek Tragedy through twenty "flipped" story cards (a few variations on how to draw the cards and use them) - perfect to be mixed with alcohol in a suitably inspiring setting. I think it needs careful cast selection and people to be in a certain storytelling frame of mind, the creative juices flowing, less of the analytical to the forefront and more emotion.

Tuesday 16 January 2024

Trying to learn "Root"

Darn if the US Marine Corp use it in their training, then I have "got to" take a look at it. Now from what I thought was going to be a straightforward A4 booklet of rules to read say in 45-60 mins, I was a little taken aback with the wealth of rule related material. It was all beautifully produced, engaging and rich in "pleasant" detail - but I have to "get my head round it" so I can explain it to others. It is a competitive faction (players v players) game, most play is not collaborative (although there can be moments of alliance [that also could lead to betrayal]) so it is important to get the "rules right" (see below, three instruction manuals - a light introduction, example of play booklet [a run through of a few turns], then the "Lore of Root" which is the definitive guide which looks "medium to heavy"):


It is beautiful and I am keen to play.

Monday 15 January 2024

Note to self: KCL Wargaming Network Videos, Journals and Books

Some old links to Professional KCL Wargamining Videos and Articles:

Video: 

Perla, Peter. “The Art and Science of Wargaming to Innovate and Educate.” King’s College London, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxLQmPA1-4o

 

Wong, Yuna. “Developing an Academic Discipline of Wargaming.” King’s College London, 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwa02IMRZ_k


Journals and Books: 

Barzashka, Ivanka. “Wargaming: How to Turn Vogue into Science.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, March 15, 2019. https://thebulletin.org/2019/03/wargaming-how-to-turn-vogue-into-science/

 

Hirst, Aggie. “States of Play: Evaluating the Renaissance in US Military Wargaming.” Critical Military Studies (January 9, 2020): 1–21. https://doi.org/10.1080/23337486.2019.1707497

 

Hirst, Aggie. “Play in(g) International Theory.” Review of International Studies 45, no. 5 (December 2019): 891–914. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0260210519000160

 

Sabin, Philip. “Wargames as an Academic Instrument.” In Zones of Control: Perspectives on Wargaming, edited by Pat Harrigan and Matthew Kirschenbaum. MIT Press. 2016. https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/zones-control

 

Sabin, Philip. “Wargaming in Higher Education: Contributions and Challenges.” Arts and Humanities in Higher Education 14, no. 4 (October 1, 2015): 329–48. https://doi.org/10.1177/1474022215577216

Sunday 14 January 2024

Games Workshop (GW Demon) - WIP

Confession: This one was pulled from the archives (a year ago). Backstory ..I had a moment of weakness, I think I was in need to cheer myself up with a tonic and "it" took advantage of me!  Daemons are like that, they attack you when your defences are down and this one appeared unexpectedly in an aisle in local non-wargaming shop (Boyes) during a boring shopping trip (see below, yes I totally blame the Games Workshop Daemon for taking advantage of me, I am weak and it promised me riches [but it took my wargaming soul]. I have primed, washed and base-coated it [and washed it again for good measure] to gain the following effect): 



Despite being a bit over the top, it is very, very good fun to paint and it is one of the "classic Warhammer miniatures" - just sought after just to paint (see below, I like the way fantasy holds no bars so you are free to experiment - although you could say I went for a typical "Demon Red" painting scheme, three layers of paint [shade, base, highlight] and a wash on the metals! Presentable but not yet totally finished): 


Vallejo Game Colour paint range did the trick, along with their washes. The next stage is spot highlighting and some extra "detailing" on the base! Watch this space ...

Saturday 13 January 2024

Call of the Cthulhu - Pandemic Style (Collaborative Game)

I can highly recommend this game that was a Xmas present purchase that went down a storm with friends and family (see below, a Pandemic style collaborative game, where the investigators try and stop the sprawling tentacles of doom engulfing humanity): 
 

So far it has been played twice, not with a great success rate for the investigators to date, but they were up against the A-Team of Elder Gods. The board game comes with some lovely miniatures that obviously will need painting in the due course of time. 


I actually enjoyed it much more than a 7.4 rating, my rating would be a 9.0!

Friday 12 January 2024

The "Look" that is in for 2024 - Sci-Fi Bounty Hunter Dude!

If I could pick a look for 2024, in a world filled with uncertainly .. I think this might be a the one - "Don't Mess" with this dude (see below, a 28mm Sci-Fi figure I picked up at Conference of Wargamers (CoW) 2023 [manufacturer TBC]): 


Quite pleased with the Space Bounty Hunter "look". He is  obviously displeased to be stranded on a far distant planet probably in the middle of a Laz-Gun fight! 

Tuesday 9 January 2024

A retro-project approaching its completion: Games Workshop Warhammer Starter Set circa 2003 - The Orks!

Before Xmas this was the state of play of my Warhammer Starter Set - bought for me as a birthday present circa 2003. The Empire troops are long painted but the Ork (careful not to drop into the LOTR spelling convention here) are still wanting a  bit of attention (see below, the Ork Boar Chariot and Ork Archers are just primed, Ork Chopper Boyz looking ok): 


The Ork Chopper Boyz are pretty much done - an extra bit of work on the blades won't go amiss (see below, these Ork Boyz don't seem to be the 1HD wonders of Second Edition D&D I remember so fondly of in my youth , more like 3-5HD "bad ass" things you try and avoid if at all possible):  


So during the Xmas break I went to it with gusto [it was a bucket list item]! The Ork Archers get their final painting session (see below, basing and flocking of course still to follow): 


The Ork Crew and Wild Boar Chariot was the most challenging. In short, a lot of work .. albeit mostly brown and metal (see below, it did however become a mix between a "labour of love" and "point of honour to finish without rushing". Note:  the Spear Ork is really working hard to find something "to hit"):


A close-up of a typical Greenskin - showing off with a whip, prodding a Wild Boar and bigging himself up (see below, where is a juicy, defenceless Elf when you need one?): 


Nearly there, just the last bit of basing to do! Not that bad after twenty years - I was just waiting until I learned to paint?

Tuesday 2 January 2024

Wishing you all a (belated) Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a Happy New Year!

My Blogging "New Year's Resolution" seems to be reporting Spammers trying to leave betting website links in the comments sections of one my historical posts to Google.

Frustrating that!

None of them (yet) have got through to be  shown on the Blog as I have set approval before publication wrt comments.