Wednesday 25 January 2012

Danger ahead....

... for my gaming plans and of course my pocket. Our friends at the TooFatLardies HQ are cunningly planning to hook me into a new period... all the information here ... Damn Lardies!!

Monday 16 January 2012

What it is like to go to war

Karl Marlantes was 23 years-old  when he served his first tour in Vietnam as a Lt. in the Marine Corps. As many other veterans, after his return Marlantes has been fighting another more personal and darker war with the ghosts of the past, now for 40 years. His first book "Matterhorn", half novel/half memoir, tells the story of a recently arrived in-country, young Second-Lt leading the First Platoon, Bravo Company, First Battalion, Twenty-Fourth Regiment, Fifth Marine Division, and has been acclaimed as one of the best books about the conflict. 

Due to my recent interest in the Vietnam war, this weekend it did not go unnoticed a short review of his second book in the Financial Times, this time not a novel but an essay about the paradox of a society increasingly improving the technical skills of its armed forces to kill the enemy  but providing almost no support to help these men to confront the deep emotional scares left by their actions: 

"Part memoir, part primer for the modern warrior and part exorcism of past ghosts, What It Is Like To Go To War is brutally honest, clear-eyed and necessary. “The Marine Corps taught me how to kill but it didn’t teach me how to deal with killing,” writes Marlantes. It is the spiritual toll that killing took on him that he has struggled with and believes modern soldiers are woefully unprepared for – resulting in post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse and often suicide."

Downloaded into my Kindle and now having read half of the work, I can assure that it provokes real discomfort. A clearly superior work to the Keegan's or Holmes' covering the effect of combat on individuals, now from someone with first hand experience.

Saturday 14 January 2012

Playing favourites

A challenge from Mike at Trouble At T'Mill, a wargamer's confession of your favourite period, manufacturer, etc. I'll keep the challenge chain rolling and  will take the test myself. Eyes closed, deep breath, mind empty... GO!

Monday 9 January 2012

Taking the bull by the horns

The title of this post probably will mean nothing to English readers as it is a remarkable Spanish expression (coger el toro por los cuernos) used when you take the a firm decision on any matter. A few posts back, I talked about my intention this year to play IABSM but with a twist: focused in the Spanish Civil War.

Friday 6 January 2012

Epiphany Day presents

Despite the increasing penetration of American cultural items and icons in our country (as illustrated, for example,  by the rising popularity of the Halloween celebration over the past years or Justin Biever's madness among teenagers), Santa in Christmas Day (December 25th) is still at a disadvantage versus the Three Wise Men (a.k.a. the Magi)  in Epiphany Day (January 6) as the key date to exchange our Christmas presents. True, in my family we have diversified the celebration as my in-laws (who lived overseas more than 30 years) still favour the former and my mother the latter... so a double whammy for the grandchildren who get presents in both dates ...yes I know, lucky bastards :-)

In my case, I go for the traditional date in January and this morning I got a lovely selection of Vietnam war related books, a period which I have recently started playing with Charlie Don't Surf.  As in the other TooFatLardies rules-sets, it is quite important to learn about the tactics and the features of the different armies in confrontation (remember that you "play the period, not the rules") if you really want to enjoy the experience. So this is what I got:

Monday 2 January 2012

The Madrid Lardie Section wishes you all a wargaming-full 2012

Some photos from our Christmas game-day, when we played two different scenarios: the WWI Mud & Blood battle reported in a previous post today and a Zulu war game (The River Inyezane Battle) with The Flame and the Sword. I include now some nice photos from this last game.

Villers Fauçon - A WW I Battle Report

My gaming mates and me usually met just before year-end to play a long game and them go out for dinner. This year the turnout was surprisingly large and I had to arrange not one, but two games in order to accomodate everybody (a total of 14 players). Luckily, our Stalingrad campaign organiser Alfredo volunteered to undertake and umpire this second game, giving me enough time to plan a WWI battle with Mud & Blood.

One of our club members have been recently painting some nice British cavalry minis and was eagerly looking to put them on the table.

Great War early war British cavalry

While looking for materials, I remembered that Sidney Roundwood (see his most excellent blog here) had published in one of the bi-annual TooFatLardies Specials a couple of scenarios involving cavalry actions, with the added attraction that some light armour was also involved.