This Week


This is one of a pair of General figures that come with the Perry plastic 28mm ACW Battle in a Box set.

This officer has been painted up as the union commander and looks rather nice to the Mk I eyeball, if a little stiffly posed, but as usual, flash lit digital photography has been a little unforgiving in this instance.

There are two poses available. I have chosen the ‘sword in hand’ option and will reserve the ‘binoculars in hand’ option for the Confederate commander.

The figure is MDF based and the large grass tuft was bought from Great Escape Games.


A Battle of Bosworth (1485) project.

A long time ago I put together some text and rules specific to the Bosworth Battle. Recently coming across this work, I find myself encouraged to start a new and ‘pretty’ project that hopefully would be playable in a small space.

I have done a bit of a write up about the history of this project over on my blog and hope to see it develop into something worthwhile.



Fields of Despair - WW1 France 1914-18 by GMT.

Played face to face last night. This is a beautiful production, but one that I wished was more tradionally wargame orientated than it is.

It is more than a heavily themed Euro, but I felt that there were too many Euro type mechanics in the game, for my tastes, with some things working more as ‘interesting’ mechanics, rather than working as a traditional simulation. 

The German side managed to amass a collection of armies (something like 65 points worth of combat value) to strike at Verdun, break the fort and the front, laying open the way ahead to Paris, this should have created a panic scenario for the French. The system seemed to handle this quite well, but in the background, the French army were moving into German hexes, deploying 1 point armies, pretty much like spoiling attacks and by doing that, collected enough VP’s to cause an early sudden death win! So the gamey met the serious and the result was a cartooney experience that per the rules was a French win, but by any other measure, it was the German army that had the strategic advantage that ‘looked’ right as a model for the campaign. 

My dislike this sort of thing was reinforced by wooden cubes going into bags, which were randomly drawn to generate ‘developments’ depnding on what colours were drawn and resource tracks, which I dislike. It is of course just me, not the game at fault, I am the wrong audience, those that comment at BGG score it highly and seem to love it. It is just the wrong game for me and by the end I felt a certain empathy with the title of the game!


Battle of the Bulge

After re-setting the board, I decided to go for the full camapaign game that runs from 16th December 1944 through to 26th December inclusive.

Each day is represented by two turns, so this is a 22 turn scenario and played across two standard sized boardgame maps and was played over four days in real time, so for me, this counts as one of those ‘game fests’ that I have promised myself to have a couple of times a year.

Bulge, like Gettysburg, is just one of those games that seems to find its way to market every year in one form or another and we have all played enough Bulge games to have an idea of how they typically play out, so to buy or play another system, they really need to be offering somethinng new.

For me, I got that from this game. The German offensive capability seemed to last longer into the game than usual and the allies, due to very heavy early losses, never really seemed to amass that jugernaut of reinforcements that typically attacks mid game.

This translated into an action that really gave the allies a lot of genuine cause for concern over a longer period of the game and I thought that emmotional connection with play was good, though overall, the Germans felt like they had more capacity mid and late game than I expected. I’m not sure whether that is justified or even typical, perhaps another game, in which the allies are more careful about getting cut off and then removed from play, might help in giving the allied forces greater presence in the second half of the game.

Still, an enjoyable game and one to come out again at some point.


Bitter Woods by Compass Games

Last night, we went through the tournament scenario, which uses just the first 6 turns (3 days) of the game. There are quite a lot of turn one and turn two rules to remember, so I made a reference sheet for them and did two readings of the rules before play.

Everything was straight forward and we were soon in our stride. There are some things that need to become second nature like advance after combat, which is calculated by hexes, but movement costs also have to be counted to ensure a unit does not move further after combat than it would normally be allowed in the movement phase.

We only got as far as part way through turn 4 (the German part) and the furthest elements of the German advance is shown in the graphic (click to enlarge). Bastogne is still holding and there is armour coming up from the south in the next turn, that should strengthen their position. At the top of the picture, you can see 7th CCA, CCB and CCR tank units with artillery support making for the fuel dump at Samrée - the rough location (hidden) of the fuel being shown by the red counter. The fuel dump is an important German objective in the campaign game. The yellow counters are German objectives in this scenario and the two red square counters show where the German force has already captured the yellow markers.

Manteuffel with Lehr /130 is leading the advance after breaking through via Noville and is now on the road to La Roche. This is the last turn that the German are automatically classed as being in supply, so the Allies will no doubt be looking for opportunities to cut road supply to curtail such advances.

I have re-set the table for another go over the weekend.


Tank duel at Prokhorovka,

A Tigers at Minsk Scenario. 

This is a new scenario that has tank only forces on the table. The terrain is randomly set and after deployment, there is some scope for individual tanks to be moved into different positions based upon a die roll.

The idea is that the scenario can have a useful life as the terrain will be slightly differently located in each game. With all of those gun tubes on the table, there is the prospect of a quick end, but in my reply, a combination of reasons, not least some bad shooting rolls and too many stun results instead of ‘knock-outs’, meant that the game went the full distance.

The scenario and some AAR notes have been put up over on the blog.



Oh No! Am I about to disappear down the ASL rabbit hole again :-)

Hatten in Flames by MMP is the latest historical module for the ASL system. It is January 1945. The December battles of the Bulge have ended, but the Germans note that the Alsace sector (northeastern France) has been weakened when U.S. troops shifted upwards to deal with the Bulge crisis and so they launch operation Northwind. 

From that campaign, we get the attack on Hatten. The game has a large single map with a snow filled landscape, generating 8 scenarios and 2 campaign games.

In some ways, I have had my hand turned to buy back into ASL at this particular point in time, because of that basic problem with ASL, that modules go out of print and can stay out of print for years, so the wisdom seems to be, get it while you can. 

In this regard I wanted this playable historical module. It needs the Yanks and Beyond Valor base games to play and I know i need to get Yanks before it disappears off the shelves. That together with the fact that Beyond Valor, the essential base module that contains the German Order-of-Battle has just come back into print, made the investment now a sensible decision.

One of the things I would like to get back into is having a regular mid-week game of ASL using single board scenarios, an act that itslef helps embed the rules to become more second nature.


Untold Stories by Lock ‘n Load

An expansion module for the Heroes of Normandy base game. This is a new idea from L’nL. There is a book of short stories recently published by them and this is the scenario pack that supports the story book.

It seems a good idea to have a very much narrative based game drawing scenario design inspiration from a story book.

I put out scenario 1 last night and am presently busy putting together a detailed blog post that takes a close look at the scenario package. This should be up on the blog in the next day or so and once done, I will add a link here.


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