Saturday 31 December 2011

Happy 2012!!

Today it's the last day of 2011,  a good moment to do some balancing act of the year and think about what could lie ahead.  Of my last year´s projects, the one really successful was to start playing Vietnam with Charlie Don't Surf: we have a full array of minis, scenery and a happy gaming group fully engaged with the rules. Left in the corner were to write some WWI scenarios and find our mainstream rules-set to play Napoleonics: Lasalle has been close to get the prize, but not enough close.

2011 was also Stalingrad year, the most ambitious project undertaken by my gaming group and a personal feat of the game organisser and stiff-lip umpire Alfredo....well, to be really accurate, Stalingrad was the 2011 game and will have to be the 2012 too, as the campign has not been finished yet.

Monday 26 December 2011

Christmas Holidays (war- and other-) games

The first leg of the Christmas holidays is over, food, drinks and gifts... but NOT the gaming activities. On Sunday, I organised with my two kids and some of their friends a Zombie game.

Saturday 24 December 2011

Merry Xmas!

It's now over a year and a half since I started this blog. In this period I have developed many new relations with people around the world, from Asia to America and crossing Europe; I don't know them face to face but our common interest for wargaming and history have created a very strong bound, and I can already treat them as "friends".

So, let me wish all these friends and other readers of the blog a very-merry Xmas, and unlimited happiness, health and success to them and their families in 2012. I wish the world today to drench in the spirit that moved those poor guys in 1914 to leave the trenches and create an unforgettable Christmas in such terrible circumstances.

Sunday 18 December 2011

BIrd in the Trees - A CDS Battle Report

On Sunday morning we met at the club to play a new battle with Charlie Don't Surf, the TooFatLardies Vietnam-era wargaming rules. This was our fourth game and  most of my gaming mates seemed now quite familiar with the mechanisms and are progresively turning their attention to tactics. The other piece of news is that (at last!!!) I did not act as umpire and I could finally play a full game. Not that I dislike umpiring, but after three games I was eagerly looking to take a command.

The scenario this time was not a mainstream search and destroy operation: a US helicopter had crashed near the Cambodian player, next to a well identified supply trail of the Vietcong, and the the American player was in a race against the clock to locate the crash site, blown the remants and rescue the survivors or their bodies. 

Saturday 17 December 2011

Chatting around IABSM 3

The Meeples & Miniatures latest podcast focused around IABSM 3, with a long  interview to Richard Clarke, coauthor and the main brians behind TooFatLardies. Worth listening while painting, it provides a very good picture of the game mechanisms and the design philosophy and principles. Richard announces that 4 major handbooks with new materials to expand the game are coming over the next months. I'll be eagerly looking to them.

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Cuirassiers Feast

A nice little surprise when I arrived home tonight, this book I ordered at Amazon a couple of weeks ago just arrived. I had enough time tonight just to skip through it but I can already tell you that if  you want THE source for painting and collecting French Cuirasssiers this is it.

The 83 pages cover the 14 French Cuirassiers regiments, their history and organisation plus 4-5 lavishly illustrated colour plates per regiment, covering in detail troopers, trumpeters, officers, saddles, etc.   I already own 10 books of the Histoire & Collections series dealing mainly with the guard regiments and the Hussars among others, but this one is really superior to the previous volumes. A perfect Xmas present to suggest your relatives and in-laws ...avoiding the traditional wraped tie or underwear typical of this season :-))

Sunday 11 December 2011

Stalingrad Part VII - As the night falls...

I have just received the report from the last game of our Stalinngrad Campaign. The climax of the battle is now approaching with the German units surrounding the fortified  factory and ready to initiate the assault on the last Red Army positions. Only the early fall of the late September night in Southern Russia created a lull in the fierce battle, but unlikely to last for long.

The Germans continued tightening the nook around the Factory. Fresh reserves were thrown into the battle and the last remaining and wore down Red Army units had to fight to the last man to retard the relentless progress of the Nazi war machine.

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Playing the Beanball- A CDS Battle report

I'm really pleased how our gaming group is progressively mastering Charlie Don't Surf, the TooFatLardies company-sized Vietnam rules. On Tuesday afternoon we met to play scenario six of the companion book Surf's Up called "Playing the Beanball".

The scenario takes place in 1967, with the US forces supported by some local RVN police squads having the mission to evacuate the civilians of a hamlet and destroy the village, depriving the Vietcong forces from local assistance and infrastructure. The Vietcong must resist and cause maximum damage to the invading forces and his southern puppets ("3 strongs missions") and eventually retire in good order; the mission is considered successful after completing 3 ambushes.

The mission was a total disaster for the US forces, that had to call their helicopters to evacuate the area in a rush with heavy casualties. After arriving to the campbase, the Company commander, Captain F.A. Lure has been sent to Saigon to undertake a new assignment far from the front line.

Helping with your New Year's Resolution List

Those following this blog regularly will already know that one of my favourite blogs is "Roundwood's World".  Specially if you´re interested in WWI that is THE blog you need following; but also if you're looking for detailed tutorials on terrain making and (more recently) figure painting. I cannot recommend louder that you become a follower of Sidney's blog.

In a totally different angle, yesterday Sidney published this superb and cheerful piece titled 29 Ways to Stay Creative: A Wargamer's List that has a lot of (good-quality!) food for thougt for that New Year's resolution lists that all of us we usually write by this time of the year. Don't miss the piece, you'll not be indifferent to it... and will cheer you up if yuo're having a bad day. Hope you enjoy it.

Sunday 4 December 2011

Charlie Don't Surf - Second introductory battle

This morning we have played a second introductory game to the TooFatLardies company-sized Vietnam-era rules Charlie Don't Surf.  The game was based on the first scenario of the companion book Surf's Up, initially played a month ago (se here the battle report)  but with the addition of new sections of the book: the American forces had some artillery support available and the Congs could enjoy some tunnels and deployed a couple of nasty bobby traps.

Saturday 3 December 2011

Stalingrad Part VI: Enemy at the Gates

The sixth game of the Stalingrad Campaign was played a few weeks ago but unfortunately I was not able to attend. As a remainder to readers, we started in July a campaign around the dramatic last days of September 1942, when the German army attempted a final effort to gain full control of the city before the winter. We play with the TooFatLardies platoon-scale set  Troops, Weapons and Tactics. What follows is an illustrated brief summary made by the game organizer and umpire.

Saturday 19 November 2011

SALUTE 2012 - Spanish Armada heading to London

Some of you may think this is premature, but I wanted to share with you our project to attend the Salute 2012. The idea came up in the group within my local club that gathers regularly to play TooFatLardies games and the response has been enthusiastic so far, with nine members already signed-up. In fact the initial plan has become more ambitious, and the latest version is to fly Friday early in the morning, hire a car and straight to Bovington Tank Museum; Saturday morning will be invested in Salute and in the afternoon we will visitthe National Army Museum; on Sunday it will be the time to visit the Imperial War Museum and then back to Madrid.

Saturday 12 November 2011

Action at Bois-en-Hache

Probably spurred by all the noise around Armistice Day yesterday, we played last night a WWI game with the TooFatLardies battalion level rules If the Lord Spares Us. Although these were initially designed to play Middle East actions, a Western Front adaptation was published in the Summer 2011 Special called "Storm of Dice".

This has been my first experience with this set of rules. Released in 2005, they maintain a good quality level but I have to admitt that look a little bit outdated compared to the most recent products of th TFL factory like the WW II period I Ain't Been Shot Mum or the Vietnam era Charlie Don't Surf. Having said that, they make a very good and relatively short game, for example in a late Friday afternoon.

Thursday 10 November 2011

At the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month... 93 years ago

Spain was a neutral country in WWI and for that reason there's almost no emotional attachment to this period of history in my country. And probably for that reason too, it is only very lightly covered in the Spanish school's official programs. The knowledge among the general public is low at best.

After 30 years wargaming and tasting almost all possible gaming periods, I never felt particularly attracted to play WWI... until 3 years ago when in my local club I got hooked by one of the best scenery displays put on a table by two of my club members, who were playing WWI in Africa.

Monday 31 October 2011

Vietnam First Blood

At last! After several months of delay, we gathered in our local club to play a first test game of the TooFatLardies Vietnam rules Charly Don't Surf. And what a fantastic game it was! As a test field, we chose the first scbeario of the companion book Surf's Up, in which a US infantry company must take and control a farm village, to deprive the Charlies from its daily rice supply.... but of course, the village is infested of Cong enemies.

Sunday 30 October 2011

Stalingrad Part V: The Workers Militia Courage

After missing the foruth game of our campaign, I could attend the fifth game, played on a Friday evening two weeks ago,  although I was totally exhausted after a full working week (and not just me, but the rest of the gang too). To remind readers and blog followers, we prepared this year a campaign around the last German effort to conquer Stalingrad in October 1942. Although it was supposed to be played through the summer, the fact is that it has extended well beyond our estimates and it's now clearly heading into winter...or as one member of the TooFatLardies Yahoo Group told me a few days ago "funny how history repeats itself"... and I cannot agree more!

Friday 28 October 2011

Wargames rules and the new technologies

Sorry for the lack of activity lately. Work, trips and family are sometimes a lethal combination to maintain the blog alive. I have a good pipeline of posts pending including a very impressive Zulu War AAR, a new game of our Stalingrad campaign and our first blood experience with the Vietnam era rules Charlie Don't Surf. I hopefully progress with this over the next days

But the great news are that the very much anticipated new version of I Ain't Been Shot Mum is out for sale since Monday this week. I have the opportunity to read them quietly on Monday, as I had a long-haul trip to the States, and I can only say the Señor Clarke has excelled himself this time. The lay-out is superb and the new game mechanisms included (some of them widely tested in previous rules sets like Charlie Don't Surf, TWT or Sharp Practice) do really look good. This is not a simple revamp of the previous version written 10 years ago, but a complete new set of rules.

The other great piece of news is that Señores Clarke and Skinner (IABSM co-writers) had decided to embrace the new technologies and  have launched the first (at least to my knowledge) Ipad-based wargame rules version. I was not sure what to expect from this, but our Italian(-American?) Lardie friend Victor Cina (also one of my favourite bloggers) came to the rescue, posting this interesting video in Youtube today.

Are we reaching a new an inflection point in the wargames rule world? And is TFLsetting a trend here: a high-quality, affordable, and friendly-user product? Only time will tell, but in the meantime I advise you to both watch Victor's video and give a try to IABSM: perfect wargames happines is only 12 British pounds away in Ipad or pdf... can't find a better price/risk product combination around. 

Sunday 16 October 2011

Chuikov at Stalingrad: heroe or villain?

As some of you may know, since July I'm  playing an spectacular IIWW Stalingrad skirmish campaign with a group of club mates. A key source of personal information for the battle has been  Beevor's well-known and popular Stalingrad book which recreates the Soviet commanders as almost sadistic, forcing troops to make frontal attacks at the German machine guns, sometimes with their bare hands, as not enough rifles were available all the time... and "backed" by detachments of the NKVD who shot in the spot those who refuse to committ these suicidal attack.

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Trench Raiders in the workbench

I decided to reduce my pile of lead figures and painted this week a group of British trench raiders that I bought from Renegade Miniatures last Spring. The minis are not as good as those produced by Great War Miniatures, but have some peronal character and I think they will look great when placed on the table.

Monday 3 October 2011

I Ain't Been Shot Mum 3.0 about to land

It's not a secret that I'm a loyal fan of Rich Clarke's TooFatLardies rules sets ( only have to check the name of this blog...). But I'm specially excited with the news of the incoming arrival of IABSM 3.0, the new version of its company-sized WWII rules. A recent post in the TFL Blog and Sidney Roundwood's personal blog gives a good picture about the philosophy behind these rules and also (for the initiated) the changes coming in this updated release.

There's going to be a special edition in hardback, but as traditionally in the TFL factory you'll have the possibility of acquiring a not at all expensive copy in pdf. I can only say for those unfamiliar with TFL rules, try this one there's very little (economic) downside and a huge game experience upside.

Cross fingers, but next week we likely see the new baby finally born

Saturday 1 October 2011

The End - Hitler's Germany 1944-45

Last night I finished reading Ian Kershaw's last work, "The End: Hitler's Germany 1944-45" and I can say that this will be an essential piece in my history library. A couple of warnings here: first, "The End"  is NOT a military history book, but a HISTORY book; and second, it is also a QUEST of the author to understand how and why Hitler's Germany still fought for over a year since D-Day landings and the victorious Soviet battles in the East in mid-1944, despite an overwhelming evidence that the war was lost.

With over 200 pages of back notes and bibliography, Ian Kershaw shows that he has digged deep in the question, having not merely copied-and-pasted previous published works of other authors but have started from scratch using the hard evidence and facts available in the existing contemporary documents.

Monday 26 September 2011

Stalingrad Part IV: Desperate Measures

On Sunday (myself absent, for family reasons) the fourth game of our Stalingrad campaign was played. As a remainder, the last game ended with the end of the night shift, where the Germans at a high cost in blood made some gains in the central row of buildings, to be used as the springboard for the final assault on the factory. If you want to read the detailed account of the campaign click for the first, second and third parts, as well as this extra post with "photoshoped" photos and other contemporary recorded materials.

Sunday 18 September 2011

Viet Cong forces ready to move into action

The final batch of Viet Cong figures painting was concluded last week end and I hope to enroll soon some of my gaming mates to start testing Charlie Don't Surf, the company-sized Vietnam rules of the TooFatLardies factory. I reckon to be a slow painter (very slow indeed) and the 52 minis that I present in this post have taken me almost a year to finish; not that I dedicated full time to this as in between, several WW I, WWII and Napoleonic models were also painted. But at least I have the critical mass to start playing.

Tuesday 13 September 2011

Stalingrad Part III - More photos and other interesting stuff

I have received some new photos of the game last Friday. After receiving a beauty treatment with photoshop, I want to share with you. I also got some interesting links to contemporary German news reels, placed at the end of this post. Hope you enjoy the materials.

Sunday 11 September 2011

Stalingrad Part III: Stalemate...almost!

What best way of investing a bank holiday afternoon than wargaming?  And this is what we did on Friday September 9th (a local holiday in Madrid); a few email exchanges during the week and presto, we met again to play the third leg of our club's summer Stalingrad campaign. If you want to follow the complete narrative, click the links for Part I and Part II.

Wednesday 7 September 2011

Richard the Great

The latest recording of Meeples & Minatures Podcast  features a long chat with the GREAT MAN himself, Richard Clarke, founder, owner and soul-guide of the TooFatLardies factory. Two hours to discuss his views about wargaming design, the trends in the hobby and a sneak-peek of the incoming new version of II WW company-level rules set I Ain't Been Shot Mum; click here to read the latest battle report of a test scenario using these new rules. Hope you enjoy the conversation

Tuesday 6 September 2011

Stalingrad Part II: The Facist Beast Clawed his Teeth

After a lull of a couple of weeks, we met again on Sunday August 290th  to continue our summer Stalingrad campaign. We were able to complete the first 8 daylight turns and stopped just athe beginning of the games's night segment.

You may remember that in the previous post we left the Red Army in not a very confortable situation, with 2 out of the 3 first line ruined buildings that made our advanced defensive line about to be overrun, following a much stronger than anticipated storm of lead.

Monday 5 September 2011

Kadesh battle refought

Some of my mates at Club Dragon in Madrid refought last weekend the classical Battle of Kadesh using WAB 2.0 and 20mm figures. Around 50 chariots per side, 8,000 points worth of armies and 10 hours game (I think longer that the actual battle!!) The illustrated AAR by clicking here, Worth taking a look!

Thursday 1 September 2011

Back to the front

Sorry for the lack of activity lately. Not that I was on holidays... actually a recent change of job (a real miracle considering the current economic woes)  meant that I didi not have a summer break thus year. But the family moved outside Madrid to a house in the mountains nearby and I've been commuting all summer. Unfortuantely the house did not have Internet connection and I could neither take  proper care of my blog, nor I had easy access to my favourite bloggers   (the iPhone is terrific in many dimensions, but not very coinfortable to read blogs or enjoy the photos in them).

But this is not to mean that I have been completely inactive; I have enjoyed some good painting weekends and made a reasonable progress in my reading pile... and I also had the opportunity to watch Captain America and Super 8 in the cinema!

Monday 22 August 2011

Over 60...

No, not my age but the number of people (actually 61) that has already enrolled to my blog. Welcome the out two latest friends: straight from Australia, Beccas with an extensive interest in many historical and not historical periods; and Ironcolumn a fanatic ancient-plastic-and-WAB personal friend of mine. It's almost a year and a half since I launched this blog and then I wasn't sure if I was going to have the time or even the moral to keep it alive. Thanks to all the 61's for  taking the time to leave your comments and share your ideas; and to the many others casual lurkers for reading my posts. Over 21,000 visits through this period is really encouraging.

Tuesday 2 August 2011

Stalingrad Part I

At last!!! After many months waiting, we played the first game of our summer Stalingrad campaign last weekend with our favourite rules Troops, Weapons and Tactics of the TooFatLardies company. And just from the first few turns I can foresee that a very bloody affair will develop, and not too different from what really happened in the autumn of 1942.

The setup of our game is the urban area surrounding the famous Red Barricade tractor factory. The dates 14-17th October, when the German assault scalated in ferociousness and intensity, finally breaking the Soviert army line and reaching the Volga river bank.

Monday 25 July 2011

Six Weeks - A promising start

A few months ago, this book was recommended an commented by Sidney Roundwood in his blog. Having followed Sidney's posts in the blog and the TFL Yahoo Group for over a year now, I tend to rely on his balanced opinion and critical judgement. Being a quiet summer national holiday today here, I decided to start this afternoon with the book... and whow! ...the prologue was really spine-chilling, describing the few minutes before  jumping over the top and run into the German line.

You can read these first pages in the Amazon website thanks to the "look inside" facility and make your own opinion, but it looks really promising, as a way of digging deeper in the psychology and tribulations the real men (flesh and bones) behind your little tin soldiers.

Sunday 24 July 2011

Night of the Hunter

Sidney Roundwood is another of my favourite bloggers and a key member of the TooFatLardies community. His blog, mainly dedicated to the WWI rules set Through the Mud and the Blood  is a source of inspiration for wargamers and aficionados of this period. Sidney has published several add-ons to the main rule body dealing in detail with tanks, snipers or trench raiding actions. More recently he's be working on night fighting and  today we we have played one of his latest scenarios, "The Night of the Hunter" which can be downloaded  here.

Wednesday 13 July 2011


No, not a comment about this (very) great  film, but a quick AAR illustrated with pictures of my last game at  the club last Sunday (and some photos too). To be honest, this a wargaming period that have never attracted my attention; but my mates wanted to try a new Zulu war scenarios book with the idea of playing a campaign likely in autumn... so I decided to give a try.

Tuesday 12 July 2011

On to Stalingrad (V)

This is an update about our summer wargame project at our club, a street fighting in Stalingrad using Troops, Weapons and Tactics, the skirmish platoon level rules of the TFL factory. I have already posted some updates on the progres of this project which is now ready to roll. I include today a couple of photos of the game table, already finished,

Sunday 10 July 2011

Tank Men

Big Lee  is one of my favourite bloggers and from time to time he shares comments about his latest readings. A couple of months ago he posted this entry about a book called Tank Men written by Robert Kershaw. This guy in one of those rare breed of soldier, historian and writer that (frankly speaking) you only find in the anglo-saxon world and whom I met some years ago when I read his other excellent work "It Never Snows ins September" (Arnhem  through th eyes of the German soldiers).

Friday 1 July 2011

Force Publique - Gallant Belgians "liberating" Congo

My buddies at Club Dragón organise one of our fortnights long games this time set in the Dark Continent. It is not a period of special interest to me, but I have received a full AAR of the battle and a pile of photographs, both worth reading and watching. Hope you enjoy them.
Anibal Invictus

----- xx ----- xx -----

On Friday last week we had a fine evening in our local Club at Madrid, playing a big African adventure all night long, and enjoying every minute of it.

This game was included in our series “The Longest Night”, a cycle of gaming nights that we have been playing for several months now, having a lot of fun while trying several scenarios “bigger than life”, from the East African campaigns of First World War to the Normandy Bocage.

Saturday 25 June 2011

Virus Infection!

There's a virus spreading across the Napoleonic wargamers world, the "Perry's virus". I have noticed that in many of the blogs I frequently follow, many gamers out there are focusing a lot of painting effort  to the minis of the famous twin brothers, and probably with reason as their 28mm plastic range offers unparalelled price-quality relation in the market.

I have not been inmune the virus, and after playing a few battles with Lasalle (see the posts here and here) and being highly inspired by my visit to the Army Museum in Paris) I decided that it was time to jump on this wagon too.

Tuesday 21 June 2011

More Posters

In a previous post  at the end of May, I commented about a nice little shop in Madrid specialised in old prints and  comics posters. At my last birthday (early May) I really couldn't think about birthday presents suggestions to anyone in my family (they rejected  to reinforce any of my little armies: "no más soldaditos, por favor" you could hear them saying). 

Friday 10 June 2011

WWI Archaeology News

I thought this piece of news released in the BBC website could be of interest for WWI aficionados:

Archaeologists are beginning the most detailed ever study of a Western Front battlefield, an untouched site where 28 British tunnellers lie entombed after dying during brutal underground warfare. For WWI historians, it's the "holy grail".

Thursday 9 June 2011

On to Stalingrad (IV)

A quick update of the Stalingrad project. Head architect tovarich José Carlos just sent me a photo to demonstrate that he works day and night to have the buildings ready (he better does or else will be deported to Siberia). The buildings and figures are 28mm scale for those who want to know, and before you ask me. Really looking forward to this summer's campaign!!!!

Monday 6 June 2011

Spring blues

A few months ago I showed you a beautiful Madrid winter view from my window. Just to dispel any myths about "sunny Spain" all year-round, I show you now how nasty the weather can be in Spring in my city. The Sauronesque towers look even more evil than before.

Tuesday 31 May 2011

Nostalgia Posters

Even after all these years living in Madrid, from time to time you find yourself surprised after finding that little nice shop hidden in a corner or in a lower-ground below the street level.

Sunday 29 May 2011

Never suspected I was so stylish...

Señor Blakemore (a.k.a Sidney Roundwood) has kindly nominated my blog for the latest topic trend in the blogger's world, called the Stylish Award. If I'm not wrong, now I need to take three steps:

On to Stalingrad (III)

Our club mate José Carlos, who will very kindly lend his home to play our Stalingrad campaign next summer, has just sent a couple of photos of the type of buildings that will be sitting in our game table. A very impressive work indeed.

Sunday 22 May 2011