Monday 31 December 2012

Happy 2013 and New Year Resolutions

With just a few hours away in Europe to conclude 2012, I'd like to wish my fellow world wargamers and bloggers a most fruitful and successful 2013... and for the rest of mortals, hopefully some enlightment to the gang of useless politicians governing our countries (not just talking about mine, but overall). As for my resolutions and projects, I aim this new year at a twofold objective: to consolidate some of the wargaming activity developed in 2012 and to start at least one specific project.

Probably not very ambitious, but surely there will be new temptations arising along the way: the dark side of señor Clarke from TooFatLardies makes him unpredictable, and he's already tempting me with a revised "Algeron", a WWI plane game rules, and the long awaited "Chain of Command", the platoon-sized WWII rules to replace the ageing Troops, Weapons and Tactics that should be ready "before Easter" ...hopefully of 2013, although he did not make a specific statement :-)

Sunday 30 December 2012

Gallipoli Campaign # 1 - Red Beach

In the heels of the very successful Stalingrad campaign, my wargaming group is now undertaken another major project around the campiagn in Gallipoli. The first game of the campaign was played on Friday night but quite unfortunately I could not attend due some family committment. For this hgame we are using the WWI rules "Through the Mud & the Blood" from the TooFatLardies factory with some adaptations to the historical context of the game.

This game started with the landing of a contingent of Australian troops aiming to secure a beachhead from where to launch the offensive into Turkish territory. Despite facing some low quality units, the news I got from the battle indicate that the first Australian waves were mowed down by the deadly fire of the Turkish HMGs, tainting the snad in red... although the following waves are starting to consolidate a foothold in the contested beach.
The next game is scheduled for Friday January 11th. I leave you now with a nice recollection of photos from the battle yesterday.

Saturday 29 December 2012

German Platoon Command Vehicle

I did not have anything specific planned for Christmas on the wargaming side, but the campaign of Vyazma or Bust has triggered my appetite to paint some more early war German vehicles and figures to reinforce my troops. These are the last additions, a Platoon command vehicle SdKfz 251/10...

... with a Pak 36 on top. This is an old Esci model that has been lying around since the early 80s. The kit is generally OK except for the tracks.

I aslo made some progress with a flamethrower stand, that will be attached to a combat pioneer unit in the near future, and tank-hunting team 

 I need now to work on the bases for the ATG team and the Hanomag. I also need to find a nice command figure to ride on the half track. Im the meantime I continue with the painful rebasing work (... the wargamer's curse)

Thursday 27 December 2012

Taking Stock of 2012

Following this post by Dux Homunculorum, and with the year about to close, it is a good momment to assess my performance as wargamer  in 2012 vs the initial plans. True that I wasn't too ambitious in my targets for this year, as my main and only objective was to start playing with IABSM... target accomplished  but I failed miserably in terms of both timing (I started with the rules only in November) and specially with the period  played (I was planning to concentrate my playing time around the Spanish Civil War period, and I finally ended focusing on the early WWII Eastern Front period).

However reviewing my blog, I can only express my satisfaction with my achievements over this period. The five most relevant personal aspects, hobby wise in 2012:

  1. Vietnam engagement: top in the list just by browsing in the blog and all thanks to Charlie Don't Surf, so far (at least for me) the best rules set released by the TooFatLardies factory. In this year I have consolidated a nicely devoted group of players at my club, and significantly expanded my armies (the last batch of reinforcements arrived on Christmas day!). I also built a nice library of Vietnam related reading that you can consult in my Shelfari link (at the blog's left column) or reding in this post
  2. I Ain't Being Shot Mum: a late start but gaining momentum, it has  revived my appetite for WWII and new reinforcements are coming well as forcing me to undertake some nasty rebasing work of my old BK Commander stands :-(
  3. Salute: meeting face to face many bloggers and  Richard Clarke, one of TFL's brains, was really good. Visiting some of the military museums with my club mates and friends... had no price.
  4. Maurice: another major discovery in 2012, for a period (XVIII century) that always attracted me but never found the right moment to play. I'm not planning to do any painting job as many of club mates have beautiful armies already, but I will keep playing in 2013.
  5. Dark Ages: the publication of both "Duxes" this year attracted a lot of my attention and I even invested some money in one British-Romano army; the project has lost steam but it is a clear candidate for a revival in 2013. The book published by TFL, Dux Britanniarum, in particular is a joy to read and the rules hooked me from the very first moment I started reading it,  similarly to what happened when I bought Charlie Don't Surf.

Sunday 23 December 2012

German Late War Squad

I finally made up my mind and have decided to reorganise my 20mm minis, to play with I Ain't Been Shot Mum.  This has involved some planning as I had plenty of early and late war Germans based for Blitzkrieg Commander in 6 x 3 cm bases with 3 minis each. As IABSM uses a 1:1 scale ratio, each platoon has 3 x 8-men squads plus an officer (Big Man) and also you need to keep an accounting of casualties, I had first to resolve how to base them.

After much consideration I decided the following:

Friday 21 December 2012

Merry Christmas

Well, once that the end of the world seems to have been skipped, time to wish you out there a very merry Christmas together with your friends and beloved ones. Here at Anibal Invictus' home we are planning to have a muted celebration, as my in-law has gone through a serious surgery a few days ago and it's not clear that he will be back home before Monday.

Wargaming wise, I'll be playing a Mud & Blood game (my first since summer!) and watch The Hobbit on Sunday, and  expect Santa bringing me some nice US Vietnam reinforcements on Monday night :-) I also hope to play a few games during these holidays and to dedicate some quality time to reading and painting (today I'm still deciding my reading list and painting project).

I leave you now with one of my favourite songs (and singer) for this season. Enjoy it!

As said, have a good holidays, health, peace and fortune for you all.    

Sunday 16 December 2012

Vyazma or Bust Campaign # 5 - Yelna 2nd Day

The fifth game of the Vyazma or Bust campaign was played today. The  fourth game  (attack to Yelna) ended in a deadlock, but we finally arrived to a compromise  to play a second day in the city with the Germans starting now deployed in a narrow bridgehead in the west on the city. 

The OOBs were modified to take into consideration the casualties of the first day and the scarcity of reinforcements available to both sides. I also added a new feature: the inclusion of movement thorugh the sewage network... unfortunately the Russian unit assigned with the mission to make a surpirse attack in the German rearguard got lost in the undergorund maze.

Friday 14 December 2012

My first participation in a crowdfunding project

My first participation in a crowdfunding project has concluded succecesfully today, when the guys of Shenandoah Studio sent me my copy of the Battle of the Bulge game for iPad. I have just downloaded in my tablet, lurked around in the different options of the main menu and my first impressions are really positive.

The team at Shenadoah leveraged on the experience of die-hard wargamers and iPad users to build the first  intended wargmae for the tablet and, pending a more extensive use of the application but it looks terrific so far. One of the  next projects will be El Alamein.

Thursday 6 December 2012

X-Wing First Impressions

Constitution's day (and a holiday) in Spain, we decided to have a father-son afternoon, attending a X-Wing exhibiton game in my son's local games and cards shop. A good opportunity also to try distracting the little rascal from his Magic addiction... we'll see if the attempt succeed. 

Being a long time fan of the StarWars film saga (I still remember the thrill I felt watching the first film in 1977!!), I've been taking a close look to the game and the very positive reviews in different blogs I follow over the past few months. But today it was the first opportunity to actually "touch" and "feel" the game... and I have to admitt that it's a very nice and engaging product indeed.

Tuesday 4 December 2012

Vyazma or Bust Campaign: In Search of a Compromise

Following my request of help after theVyazma or Bust last game  draw, the majority of the opinions are inclined to give the victory to the Soviet side. However, the TFL Big Man himself (Richard Clarke) suggested in the Yahoo Group the possibility of a refight assuming as a strating point the maxium penetration line of the Germans in the previous.

I find this soultion to be a fair one, at least fairer than proclaiming the Russians straight winners when th truth is that the main objective was celarly disputed. A second chance for both sides to show their war(gaming) capabilities.  I'm planning to work this scenario as the second day in the battle, following a ceasefire after dusk. Now I'm working on the new OOBs to take into consideration the casualties of the previous game and also the possibility of reinforcements sent through the night by the German and Russian HQs respectively.

And I have another surprise in hand for the players, inspired by an article published in  recent TFL Special... but this is a secret that I will unveil after the next game, scheduled for Sunday December 9th  (ha, ha, ha!!).  

Saturday 1 December 2012

Vyazma or Bust Campaign # 4 - Yelna and Help Needed

Last Sunday we played the fourth scenario of the Vyzma or Bust campaign, the early WWII eastern theatre companion book to I Ain't Been Shot Mum. The game so far has seen different turns of fortune, with the Germans losing the initiative after failing in their first attack on  Izdeshkovo and being defeated again in their retreat from Belyj, but stopping the Red Army advance in the defensive battle around the river crossing near Pochinok.

On Sunday, a German counterattack took place aiming to control a key crossroad at the city of Yelna, that would open the gate to reconqueing Smolensk. The oucome of the battle was... well you can help to decide by casting your vote, leaving a comment at the end of this battle report.

The Yelna scenario was an urban combat battle and at least on paper promised to be as bloody as the epic Stalingrad struggle was, with armour shooting buildings at short range and the grenade and the spade being the favourite combat weapons of the rival enemies.

Russian Commanders looking concerned about the coming battle...

Wednesday 21 November 2012

An Award for my Blog

This has gone viral for sometime and I cannot trace the origin of it. The fact is that Joakim aka The Miniatures Man  and fellow Lardie fan, thinks my blog merits an award and appointed Gaming with TooFatLardies as a candiate to the Liebster Blog Award. Many thousand thanks for this unexpected and totally undeserved honour.

Now, how these awards work? Here are the rules
  •  Copy and paste the award on your blog linking it to the blogger who has given it to you.
  • Pass the award to your top 5 favourite blogs with less than 200 followers by leaving a comment on one of their posts to notify them that they have won the award and listing them on your own blog.
  • Sit back and bask in that warm fuzzy feeling that comes with knowing that you have just made someone's day!
  • There is no obligation to pass this on to anyone else but it is nice if you do.
Now the difficult part. Accoding to my latest check I follow now over 100 blogs, so choosing five is far from easy and I will be leaving several highly merited guys in the dark. Nonetheless iyt is still nice to name and support some of the guys that (like me) have not broken yet the 200 followers magic figure.

And the winners are, in no particular order

Monday 19 November 2012

Battle for Neuville - An IABSM Battle Report

The past weekend we took a rest from the eastern front and moved our forces to the beaches of Normany in June 1944. We played this time "Battle for Neuville" from the IABSM companion book Where the Hell Have You been Boys?, a collection of 21 scenarios of the battles around Omaha and Utah beaches in Normandy.  And those were not the only news this week end: the remarkable one was that I finally played a game, after several weeks acting as umpire... so last Sunday "I was happy as a dog with twin tails", as the say goes in Spain, commanding a German kampfguppe.

How did I fare? That's for the last part of this post... and then you can leave your thoughts and comments about my performance.

Friday 16 November 2012

The View from my Window

A beautiful autumn morning early this week and after a very rainy October and November. I thought it was time to update one of my "view from my window" ocasional series of photos. The first snows of the season fell in the mountains at the back, although the unexpected rise in temperature midweek have melted the white cover away.

It (almost) smells Christmas already...

Sunday 11 November 2012

Vietnam Battle Report: Fix and Destroy... and 90,000 visits!!!

Another excellent weekend full of wargaming fun fro me!!!. While on Friday (local holiday in Madrid) we played another  WWII scenario  of the "Vyazma or Bust" campaign,  today Sunday we returned to the rainforests of Vietnam, playing a new scenario of Surf's Up, the companion book to the TooFatLardies Viertnam-era rules Charlie Don't Surf.

This time we undertook scenario number 5 called "Fix and Destroy": an aggressive US drive on the village of Gok Wan, a firm and well-known stronghold of the Vietcong forces.

Friday 9 November 2012

Vyazma or Bust Campaign # 3 - Pochinok

The third game of the Vyazma or Bust WWII east front IABSM campaign was played today in our club. After two consecutive victories, a reversal of fortune for the Russians who lost in their attempt to control the road towards Pochinok, the gate to regain control of Smolensk. Should the Russians have won this game, the campaign would have concluded today... the battle continues!

Monday 5 November 2012

Are you a proper wargamer?

This brilliant post from Phil's The Wargaming Site is gone viral over the Internet and I cannot resist the temptation to take the test. The question is whether you're or not a proper wargamer. So there goes the answers to the  questions and judge for yourselves if I merit being called a wargamer.

* Spent at least £500 on figures / tanks - and you get extra kudos for every £500 you've spent
Hmmm... probably close to this sum this year but only because I'm really controlling my budget in these difficult economic times; previous years average probably closer to 700-800€... :-)
* Pricked your finger or thumb on a pike block - several times
Ha! Haven't played 30 Years War ever; but this reminds me the 15mm Republican Army I owned back in the 80s armed with needles to replace their weak lead pilum and hasta... ouch!

Sunday 4 November 2012

Vyazma or Bust Campaign # 2 - Belyj

This is the battle report of the second scenario of  Vyazma or Bust, an Eastern Front campaign played with I Ain't Been Shot Mum from TooFatLardies. The first scenario saw a defeat of the German forces in the attempt to break the lock in the Smolensk area which would have opened the door to a blitz into Moscow.

The reaction of the Red Army to this unexpected victory was a hasty counterattack with all the available infantry and armoured forces that have left isolated important pockets of German troops. This second game, around the small village of Belyj, is a classic encounter between a Russian column moving north to contact and destroy the enemy and a German kampfgruppe trying to break the encirclement and returning to its own lines.

Saturday 3 November 2012

Vietnam from the other side of the hill (UPDATED)

Following a request from one of my club mates, today I put a question in the TooFatLardies and the Society of the 20th Century Warfare Yahoo groups requesting recommendedreading materials on Vietna, but from the side of the VC/NVA ("the other side of the hill").

I got a good response to a difficult question, and I thought it may be worth sharing with my blog readers the findings so far. Please note that as it was just posted today,  this is an informative post and no recommendations are made. Hope you find this information interesting.

Thursday 1 November 2012

Vyazma or Bust Campaign # 1 - Izdeshkovo

1st November  (All Saints Day) is a holiday in Spain, the day I finally put the ball rolling of the Vyzma of Bust campaign in the club, played with the TooFatLardies IIWW company size rules I Ain't Been Shot Mum. This was my first live-fire test with IABSM (although I've been thoroughly reading the rules over the past months), acting as umpire to a group of 5 players also new to the rules.

The similaties of IABSM to Charlie Don't Surf had its pros and its cons, as I missed  some differences in detail innitially (for example killed and shock results). But generally speaking the game went smoother than my initial expectations, also helped by the support of the rest of players.

Sunday 28 October 2012

"Firebase" - Another Vietnam batrep

Today Sunday we played our third Vietnam game this month (....breaking records!!),  as usual with Charlie Don´t Surf, the era rules  from the TooFatLardies factory. The scenario selected was "Firebase" included in the companion book Surf's Up.


The US army has been surveying an area next to a road to build an artillery firebase, sending for several days in a row a helicopter with some engineer surveyors to find a suitable spot. The VC has been observing the US forces work with growing suspicion and has finally decided  to strike a blow, planning to ambush the surveyors party and hopefully to shooting down the helicopter too. However and unkown to them, the surveyors work ended a fortnight ago; and before sending the seabees with the bulldozers to prepare the site, a force consisiting of an infantry platoon supported by an armoured platoon in M 113 ACAVs has been detached to secure the area.


Friday 26 October 2012

Angry dice hit home!

A few weeks ago, mythical blogger Fran (a.k.a.The Angry Lurker), posted a give-away prize to celebrate the second anniversary of his blog, comprising a set of special dice of its informal wargamers association called the "Posties Rejects" (now also comprising several honorary overseas members). The only thing you needed to do was to participate in the draw was to leave a comment in its blog.

Well, to my surprise I was one of the lucky chosen despite the fact that I entered my comment on the very LAST day to do it (thanks Big Lee for the remainder... I had a peak of work the previous two weeks and totally missed the original post at Fran's blog!!)

This week the dice arrive by post, and from now I'm a proud owner of this rare and limited dice collection; so many thanks again to Fran for the prize. I'm now expecting to "blood" for the first time theses six-sided guys  over weekend in the jungles of Vietnam. Keep an eye on this blog to watch their performace after Sunday.


Tuesday 16 October 2012

Another Ooooh Shiny! Moment

A few days ago, fellow Spanish blogger Juan Mancheño (a blog really worth visiting, and written in both English and Spanish)  and aficionado (like me) to the Vietnam period sent me an email announcing that Force of Arms was going out of business*. This was really bad news, as I was expecting to order some additional Vietnam models for Christmas, specifically the M 113 Command and Mortar versions. Luckily, he also mentioned that The Wargames Command Post  distributes FOA models too, so I decided to strecht my budget a little bit more this year and quickly ordered a Ford Mutt I was looking to buy for my command group and a Command Post set.

Less than a week after, it hit my (snail)mailbox this afternoon

The CP group has 6 figures, an officer (pointing) a couple of NCOs aremed with M16 rifles, two radiomen and a strange model of a bareheaded man kneeling (an officer observing? a FAO or a FAC?). All my US Army figures until now are from The Assault Group. These are smaller and less "chunky" but I think that once on the table the difference will probably go unnoticed

Monday 15 October 2012

Bleneville or Bust - IABSM Normandy Scenario Book

New announcement in the TooFatLardies Yahoo Group this midday: a new scenario book called "Blenneville or Bust" by fellow Lardie developer Robert Avery  (a nice chap who I happened to meet in April at Salute). I bought my copy tonight and got a monster 300 pages electronic book (pdf) with 31 individual scenarios for IABSM, interlinked in a campaign format, involving US, British and German forces just after the D-Day landings at Normandy. Fromthe introduction:

The campaign described is fictional, both in terms of setting and the units involved, as what I have attempted to create is a generic Normandy campaign that allows either a series of linked games to be played, or provides a collection of one-off battles for players who do not have time to create their own scenarios (....) There are thirty-one individual scenarios in this booklet laid out in pyramid format to five levels: scenario 1 leads to either 2A or 2B, which lead to 3A/3B and 3C/3D respectively, and so on until 5A through to 5P.

Friday 12 October 2012

More Vietnam games: "Combat Engineer"

October 12th is a national holiday in Spain and what best to celebrate than playing another game in Vietnam. As usual, we used Charlie Don`t Surf from the TooFatLardies factory and its companion scenarios book Surf's Up.

The scenario chosen was  "Combat Engineer" and involved an engineer squad supplied with mine detectors with the mission  to clear a major road traversing the table west to east. The squad was escorted by two light US infantry platoons (only the rifle sections but not  the weapon support section)  under command of a relatively newly arrived in-country Captain ("hesitant commander" class).

 A rutine mission in principle, unkown to the US  there was a major VC force lurking in the area, traveling to a major concentration of troops for a surprise offensive on the Free World Forces camped nearby. Their orders were to cross the table in a north-east to south-west direction and whether possible, to mine the metallic road.

Monday 8 October 2012

Back to Vietnam - "The Great Rice Hunt" Battle Report

Last Sunday we  started our eagerly anticipated Vietnam autumn-winter game season at the club. As frequent readers of this blog know, we play with Charlie Don't Surf  rules from the TooFatLardies factory.

Most of the players gathering yesterday were already familiar with the rules; but as it's been a long time since our last game, I decided to go for a "warm up" exercise before moving into a more complex level of simulation.  For that reason I decided to use the first scenario of CDS' companion book Surf's Up, which makes a truly nice introductory game.

Sunday 30 September 2012

Reenacting Poland 1939

I attended this morning a reenacting event in Madrid gathering several IIWW groups operating in our city. The main theme this morning was a recreation of the invasion of Poland in September 1939, although this afternoon it was planned a Normandy battle and the Varsovia uprising. A beautiful and sunny day after almost a week of heavy rians,  my young song Alex was me again (his second military-related event in a week) and had a great time.

A few photos of the battle between Polish and German troops...

Saturday 29 September 2012

Ediciones Platea Presentation at Club Dragón

Ediciones Platea made a presentation of their recent editorial production at the Club Dragón premises this morning. The three cofounders together with the secretary of the club can be seen in the photo heading this post. The people behind this new venture are a group of long-standing military historian aficionados (very active in other forums and associations) who saw the opportunity to cover a a market gap in Spain: good high quality military history works not available in Spanish.

Their emphasis was  in the quality of the translation, a careful editing and a reasonable price/quality offer as key to success. As mentioned in a recent post here,  the three initial selected titles are now classical II World War titles, and two of them (It Never Snows in September and Tank Men) by Robert Kershaw, a British author never translated in Spanish until now.

Sunday 23 September 2012

Charlie Don't Surf Gaming Materials

As will TooFatLardies sets, to play Charlie Don't Surf you will need to main gaming means: a set of blinds and card deck. I present here our home made materials that you can download as a free pdf just clicking on the right hand column of this blog in the "RESOUCES SECTION" are. True you will need to invest sometime in printing, cutting and working out the cards but at least I will have provided you with 50% of the task done for free.

Saturday 22 September 2012

I Visited "MILITARIA" Exhibition

A nice last Saturday summer today and what best than visiting MILITARIA, one of the few military fairs and exhibition in Madrid. I went with my youngest son Alex (pictured above with a "Sreaming Eagle") . The last time I attended MILITARIA was in 2003 (if I'm not wrong) and the exhibitors hall was then the main lobby area of a hotel in Madrid. Today it was at the Palacio de Congresos, a  quite large exhibition center in central Madrid. So I was expecting a signficant larger show than in the past. 

Thursday 20 September 2012

New Military History Spanish Publisher

This post is aimed mainly intended for Spanish readers, but it can be of general interest. In the midst of this long economic crisis and with the headwinds affecting the publishing industry, it is really great news that a new publisher takes the challenge to hit the market. I'd really like to welcome Ediciones Platea that will fill a substantial gap in the field of military history literature in Spanish.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Farewell Santiago Carrillo

Warning: totally offtopic (and politically biassed for some)

Coming back home from the office, I listen in my radio car the news that Santiago Carrillo has passed away this afternoon. Aged 97, a piece of  living history of modern Spain dies with him. And many of you probably wonder, who was this man? Well, he was  General Secretary of the Spanish Communist Party and one of its key leaders through a long exile following the defeat of the Spanish Republic in the Civil War 1936-1939.

Now, don't misunderstand me, I'm not or haven't been communist or voted communist since the Party was legalised again in 1977, not even a supporter.  Being  pursued for many years by the Spanish dictator and living in a forced exile, he returned to Spain after Franco's death, refounded the Party, broke with the dependance on Moscow well before the Perestroika  era and helped to provide the necessary stability for Spain to walk from a 40-years dictatorship regime to a full democracy, a period in Spain we know as the "Transición" (the Transition).

Tuesday 18 September 2012

Battle Chronicler - Useful tool for Bloggers? #UPDATED#

I just saw in Hinoken's blog a free software program specially interesting for bloggers. The name is "Battle Chronicler" and at least on paper looks like a very helpful tool for wargamer bloggers like me. From its website:

Sunday 16 September 2012

Dux Britanniarium: Household Guards

Slowly but surely, my Romano British army is progressing. Since the end of the holidays my painting time has diminished dramatically, with only some short spots available over the weekends. Yesterday I spent most of the day at home, recovering from a bad late-summer cold (which left plenty of time for painting, as none in my family dare to get to close to me...) and today I concluded the Household Guard section,  the elite team of the army. Miniatures from Gripping Beast and shiled transfers from LBM.