Sunday 26 December 2010

Winter Sports

TFL's Christmas Special 2010 was released a couple of weeks ago and included two real jewels for Mud & Blood players: a mini-game system simulating small trench raid actions ("Winter Sports") and a very good recreation of the British Tank Corps in 1917. I was specially attracted by the former and I quickly organised a game in our club a few days ago.

Sunday 12 December 2010

Jumping off into a new project for 2011

2010 has been a very good wargaming year for me. We have consolidated a very committed group of Lardie-dedicated fans in my club and I can agree that we master extremely well both Troops, Tactics & Weapons and Mud &Blood. We have painted a large pile of 28mm figures for both periods (just take a look in this blog to the previous entries) and we have also improved dramatically our gaming table environment with the acquisition of new terrain boards (just arrived) from En Cobertura.

Monday 6 December 2010

The Race to the Canal

This week-end we have played Scenario 8 of Mud & Blood's companion book Stout Hearts, amended to take place in 1918 and renamed as "The Race to the Canal". It is probably one of the most interesting in the book and depict two platoon-size German and British forces entering the game table in a random fashion and with the objective of controlling a key bridge overlooking a canal somewhere in Flanders.

Saturday 4 December 2010

The view from my window

I woke up early today to discover a beautiful winter morning in Madrid. I haven't really realized until today that I had such a magnificent view of Madrid from the window of my painting-cum-office-room at home. So there I was, took my Nikkon out of the bag and made some pictures.

You can see Madrid's skyline extending east (right) to west (left)..  and  those remarkable four Sauron-type towers erected in the last five years; they will stay forever as a monument to the real-estate bubble bust that have put the economy of this country in great jeopardy...  hopefully they will become a remainder post sign as well for future generations... on how NOT to manage a country's economy that has put 20% of the working population in the dole queue...

Friends in USA, UK and other far away places in the world, if you ever wondered how Madrid looks like, I invite you to enjoy the views from my window. 

Sunday 21 November 2010

Greenhouse in a Hailstorm

Sidney Roundwood's blog (a MUST for any I WW wargamer) recently got a post commenting a Mud & Blood scenario called "A Greenhouse in a Hailstorm" played in the latest Beer & Lard Day. The game simulated the first days of the Battle of Cambrai (November 1917) and the combats to control some of the foprtified villages in the area (/Bourlon Village, Flesquieres...). I thought it was an interesting scenario to play with my collegues at our local club, and here is the after action report.

Sunday 14 November 2010

British I WW Staff Car

I knew I could not resist the temptation as soon as  I saw the model in Sidney Roundwood's blog. So I retraced his steps and here I have today my British Army command car ready to go into action.

German Panzers I WW

A relatively recent post in Sidney Roundwood's excellent blog (a MUST for any IWW wargamer fan) about the British Tank Corps in I WW, prompted my curiosity about the development of the German Panzers during the Great War.

Saturday 6 November 2010

The Wargaming Table (2): Wire

In this second entry of the Wargaming Table I explain how to build barbed wire sections for First World War games. As in the previous entry I was looking for a simple, efective and cheap solution and here I show the results

Monday 1 November 2010

Battle for Crete (3): The Hornet's Nest

The third scenario of the Crete campaign was played today in our local club. Unfortunately a second defeat for the Greek forces, but again only after a fierce resistance that checked the Germans paratroopers for the most part of the game. An ill-planned counterattack of a Greek squad (and some very fortunate dice results of the Germans) broke the fighting capacity of the allied army that was bounded for a defeat in that same moment.

Saturday 30 October 2010

The Wargaming Table (1) : Bocage on a budget

At the end of November our local club will have another "longest night" event, and this time in Normandy 1944. Ahead of the incoming game, I thought of working some bocage scenery. I wanted it easy, cheap and effective so I started improvising with materials at hand in my garage. An the final result was (IMHO) more than very decent.

Here I show some photograhs

Saturday 16 October 2010

African Mud & Blood

Yesterday our local club held the second "longest night" event this year. This time our Lardies "gruppies" moved to the Dark Continent and played a I WW a game in Africa with "Mud and Blood". Unfortunately I did not participate (a family engament prevented me from playing) but I think the quality of the display is worth sharing the photos with you. I hope you like them. I will try to get detailes of the scenario and blog them in the near future.

Wednesday 13 October 2010

Book recommendation: Horse Soldiers

Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of Us Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan

A book recommendation is an unusual post in my blog, but I think this one is defintely worthwhile recommnending.

Tuesday 12 October 2010

Attack on an Entrenched Position

Taking advantage of a national holiday in Spain, we met this morning in our local club to play Scenario Six of  Stout Hearts,  the excellent companion book to Richard Clarke's Mud & Blood First World War rules set. Recently one of our club's mates have joined our little group of I WW aficionados and I thought this scenario was a good way of getting him introduced to the system.

Sunday 26 September 2010

Battle for Crete (2) - "Galatas Village"

On Sunday 26th September we played the second scenario of the Crete campaign called Galatas Village. I have changed the previous post and now this includes the full battle report.

Wednesday 15 September 2010

Battle for Crete (1) - "Cementery Hill"

Exciting start of the autumn-winter season at our club: a Crete skirmish campaign. We played last Sunday the first scenario "Cementery Hill" and I will post today a battle report. I played on the Greek and Commonwealth side and therefore my comments are from this side of the hill.

Some reference information first: we play with "Troops, Weapons and Tactics" (TWT), one of the Lardies'  sets that we have extensively used and trained since mid-2009. The campaign is based on the excellent Skirmish Campaigns series booklet "Crete-Stalemate in the East".   As backgound reading (for those interested) I recommend Anthony's Beevor "Crete: The Battle and the Resistance".

Sunday 5 September 2010

My summer endeavours

Back from holidays and slowly getting used to the same new routine. As said in my previous entry, I took my painting materials to my holiday place and have some very fruitful three weeks preparing my II WW armies. I have loaded some photos in the following album:

Sunday 27 June 2010

Cambrai Scenario # 1: The Beast's Last Sting (Battle report and scenario changes)

Today I had the opportunity to play  the scenario published as sketch in my previous entry. A first game ended in less than 15 minutes, with Lieutenant Bion and his crew lyind dead next to thier tank.

After a short brainstorming, the group of testers decided to refight but changing  a few things.

Thursday 24 June 2010

Cambrai Scenario Sketches # 1: "The Beast's Last Sting"

Following a detailed reading of Bryn Hammond's excellent "Cambrai 1917" (a must for anyone interested in this battle), my plan now is to publish some blueprints  for scenarios in the context of this famous battle. These won't be final ready-to-play scenarios but rather "sketches" of ideas that will evolve and reshape over time and hopefully will be enriched with contributions from other gamers. So please, join the effort and leave your ideas and comments.

The battle around Cambrai in 1917 is best known for being the first in which a significant tank force was employed while developing an active effort to coordinate the armoured, infantry and air British forces. The initial attack achieved a total surprise and the formidable Hindenburg line was easily pierced all along the front.

If you're looking for a good scenario covering this first and classical leg of the battle (tanks breaching the wire lines and crossing the first line trenches followed by infantry) , I recommend to play  Scenario Four of the Lardies' "Stout Hearts and Iron Troopers" M&B supplement. My interest is in other phases of the battle.

Thursday 17 June 2010

A ridge not too far

The final version of the Arras 1917 Scenario that I have called "A Ridge not too Far" has been uploaded as a pdf document. Access also in the "Resources" section. Thanks to my friends of Club Dragón for investing their time in the test phase. Please feel free to leave any comments.

Now on to Cambrai!

Tuesday 18 May 2010

Arras game - Battle report (second test)

Blog's not dead!... but to maintain a fresh stream of entries it's much harder that I anticipated: family life, work, painting and a lot of reading (about the Battle of Cambrai)... difficult to strike a right balance among so many interests and obligations.
On Sunday and after a long abscence from our club, I finally arranged  a game to test the Arras scenario with the modifications of my previous entry

Sunday 18 April 2010

Trench Raid Scenario - Battle Report

We finally played the scenario described in the previous post, with a marginal victory for the Germans (they captured a full British section as prisioners but were not able to find any relevant documents).

The British deployed its sections in the dug-outs as marked in the map, deciding to cover its right flank (closer to the entry point of the Germans) with the off-table HMG in sustained fire role.

Friday 16 April 2010

Trench Raid Scenario

Well, I have been offline longer than anticipated due to a combination of some nice holidays and a bumpy landing at my workplace. From my holiday reading, I highly recommend the Osprey Campaign 187 "Cambrai 1917", lots of useful stuff for skirmish scenarios (some ideas already in my head).

On Sunday I will play a trench raid scenario written by "Fat Lardie" Richard  Clarke for the SOTCW Journal 68 a few months ago.

The scenario simulates a night trench raid, where the Germans aim to capture some prisioners and documents from the British. A small 4" x 4" table, the British sections are resting in their dugouts and have deployed a couple of sentries on watch role in what apparently looks like another quiet night in the Western Front.

Wednesday 31 March 2010

Arras game - Preparing the next test

I'm about to leave for a few days of holidays and will be off-line until mid next week, but will be taking with me reading materials and a handy copy of Stouts Hearts ( Before leaving, some thoughts on the Arras scenario and potential lines of improvement.

Analysing the outcome of the first test, I conclude that there are two major flaws in the design that unbalance the scenario on the British side: they have overwhelming firepower and no time constraints.

On the basis of these two factors, they can take whatever time is necessary to deploy their troops and make use of that fire power almost at leisure on the German forces. In order to rebalance the scenario I’m planning to introduce two changes to the scenario conditions.

Saturday 27 March 2010

Arras game - Battle report (first test)

A few days ago we made a first test of the scenario. Some can argue that the result was accurately historical, with the Germans literally wiped-out from the table.

Being myself on the German side, the following comments may look biased, but the reality is that (independently of some serious mistakes in the way we deployed), I found the game generally unbalanced against the Germans (more later on this).

Let's start by describing the deployment of both sides and the battle development.

German deployment
Facing overwhelming artillery superiority, we decided to put three squads (including the granatenwerfer section) in the second line, while the remaining squad (bombers) in the reserve area, scheduling to enter after the 5th “time for snifter” (the squad will activate on the German blind card of the sixth turn).

Our hope was that the British player would concentrate most of its artillery fire in the first line; thus starting slightly to the rear of the position would result in lighter casualties than trying to hold the first line.

Friday 19 March 2010

Outlining an Arras game

We are currently working a scenario based on the fighting south of Arras, as described in the previous entry. Key aspects follow.

British objectives and forces
The British player's objective is twofold:
  • To control the German trench line,
  • and to exit behind the German lines with at least a platoon.
The British player has two full platoons each of four sections + HQ, organised as follows:

A. Platoon 1 (big men status in brackets) - Assault force (Veteran/Good/Aggressive)
  • HQ section: Lt (IV), Sgt (II), 2 scouts/runners
  • Bombers: 6 bombers, 2 rifles, 1 corporal (I)
  • Rifle: 6 rifles, 2 bombers, 1 corporal (I)
  • Rifle grenadiers: 4 teams @ 2 crew each, 1 corporal (I)
  • LMG section: 1 LMG, 1 loader, 6 rifles, 1 corporal (I)
B. Platoon 2 (big men status in brackets) - Mop up force (Regular/Good/Aggressive)
  • HQ Section: Lt (III), Sgt (II), 2 scouts/runners
  • Bombers: 6 bombers, 2 trench cleaners, 1 corporal (I)
  • Rifle: 5 rifles, 2 bombers, 1 trench cleaner, 1 corporal (I)
  • Rifle grenadiers: 4 teams @ 2 crew each, 1 corporal (I)
  • LMG section: 1 LMG, 1 loader, 6 rifles, 1 corporal (I)
C. Support HMG: (Regular/good)
  • HMG @ 5 crew

Tuesday 16 March 2010

Arras 1917

I find the campaign around Arras in April 1917 as a very attractive and challenging period of I WW for gamers.

Historical background
By the end of 1916, the Allied armies had taken the strategic initiative in the Western Front, thanks to a gradual build up of new divisions, an increasing number of mid & heavy artillery pieces and well replenished ammunition stocks.

Also very significant, the hard lessons learned by the British Army during the Somme campaign in 1916 brought significant changes to the tactical performance and organisation of its forces, with a shift of emphasis on the platoon as the main infantry fighting sub-unit. The British platoon of 1917 was organised around four sections or teams (riflemen, bombers, rifle-grenadiers and a light machine-gun section) with an HQ section including the senior leader (usually a lieutenant), a sergeant and two scouts/runners.

Different arms coordination was also improved, and more specifically infantry-artillery combined operations. Arras saw the introduction of the “creeping barrage” concept, a moving curtain of sustained artillery fire preceding the advancing lines of British infantry when approaching the enemy’s positions.

Sunday 14 March 2010


Here we go... I plan to maintain this blog to share ideas, scenarios and battle reports of my games with the Twofatlardies rule sets ( We'll see if this works and I'm up to the challenge, taking into consideration my family and profesional obligations...on top of struggling to reduce my "lead & plastic" figures painting pile, etc.

A bit of background: I become a follower of the Lardies in late 2008, when someone in my local club persuaded a group of us to test the skirmish-oriented I World War set called "Through the Mud and Blood" (TMB); I think we inmediately fell in love with these rules and from there it took very little effort to jump into "Troops Weapons and Tactics" (TWT), the Lardies' II World War rule set, that have been extensively tried over the last year.

What I most like from the Lardies' rule sets is the combination of playability (... not suited to the Squad Leader fans...), real historical flavour and the very original game-engine design based on cards versus the traditional "I go-you go" turn sequence, which brings a strong "fog of war" sense into the game table.

I can only conclude recommending to give a try to these two sets or to any of the remaining rule sets dealing with modern (Vietnam about to be published) and napoleonic conflicts, or the recently released II WW aerial combat set "Bag the Hun".