Saturday, 6 July 2019

Summer is Here


And it is hot. Well, yesterday was, but today will be cooler. Still not doing much model-making because I've been out shooting arrows at straw butts. I like to think of this as one-to-one scale wargaming or perhaps LARPing might be a better description. Sure is fun when one gets an arrow in the gold.

Been rewatching a bunch of TV shows. The sort that  make for good RPG scenarios. Fringe is all about a team investigating "The Pattern" caused... well that would be spoilers. But mad/crazy science that carries one along, and a rich source for games.

Equally crazy/mad science is the time traveling show 12 Monkeys. Inspired by the movie, this show is a wild ride through the various time travel tropes that is inspired by great SF stories of the past. Well worth watching, and again ripe for a referee looking for plot twists.

And now we've started a rewatch of Primeval. Dinosaurs and hyper dimensional time portals. What's not to like?

Friday, 14 June 2019

CASDA 5136

Still work in progress; Espera, Downey, and Nguyen's APE suits.

Combat Armor Suit Detachment Alpha 5136
Captain Anthony Downey, detachment commander
Master Sergeant Campbell, operations and team sergeant
Staff Sergeant Morales, combat engineer
Sergeant Mary Lewis, communications
Sergeant Schmidt, medical
Sergeant First Class Frank Radoslovich, weapons

Chief Warrant Officer 1 Andrew McAdams, assistant detachment commander
Sergeant First Class Thomas Nguyen, assistant operations and intelligence
Staff Sergeant Julia King, combat engineer
Sergeant Miguel Sanchez, communications
Sergeant Daniel Robinson, medical
Staff Sergeant Juan Espera, weapons.

CASDA 5136, Combat Armor Suit Detachment Alpha, is my Green Beret Special Forces unit that appears in my second novel Strike Dog. As I was writing this piece up, I realized when I described CASDA 5136 in the book, that I had created a force that was doctrinally different to the Marine Corps Dogs.

I was just writing a cool action sequence for a character in a combat armour suit. But on reflection, it's clear to see that by describing the weapon loadouts I created a force that was functionally different to the one I described in Bad Dog.

That is what I would call, creatively serendipitous.

NB: Espera is the heavy weapons specialist, hence he carries the big recoilless rifle. Though fat lot of good it does him, but to say more would be spoilers.


Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Sharpe Watching


Still not been doing a lot of model making, because it makes my hands play up after a session, and I need to be able to write, which is not helped when I'm in pain.

However, I have done a little. In this case, modifying the barrel of the over-the-shoulder mount for one of my combat armour suits. I just need to do some painting to get it presentable.

So you can see we've rewatched the Sharpe TV series. The stories rollick along, and are good inspiration for ideas for my writing. Besides, Sean Bean is easy on the eye.

Napoleonics is so not my period. But, I will readily admit to really enjoying playing the game of Sharpe Practice from Too Fat Lardies.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Professional Wargaming


As you can all tell by the paucity of posts here I've not been doing much wargaming or model making. Let's just say I've been going through a rough patch health wise and leave it at that.

However, I have maintained my interest in all things wargaming, and read around for idea etc. and I came across these two articles about professional wargaming that I thought I would share.

Both articles are by Dr. James Lacey who is the Professor of Strategic Studies at the Marine Corps War College. I am now a fan and shall be following his work.

The first article is an overview of Wargaming in the Classroom. Be advised that there's a formatting issue with the pictures, but right-clicking on them to view will reveal the picture in the correct aspect ratio. It makes for a fascinating read and I learnt new stuff about the Peloponnesian War (though I don't wargame anything much prior to WW1 – No Tanks, No Thanks – being my motto, my wargaming roots are in Greek Hoplite warfare).

The second article was firmly in my bailiwick, being a piece on wargaming WW3, called Lessons from a Wargame. This article is about the use of commercial wargames and the things that they bring to teaching that professional wargames used by the military don't. So it makes for a fascinating read.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading these two articles as much as I did. Catch you all on the bounce.

Monday, 18 March 2019

First Epic Star Wars X-Wing Game

Imperial Raider in all its glory.
We were away for the weekend, visiting Brighton to see friends and the Godchildren. The trip down was windy, but we managed to get there without being blown off the road. On Sunday we got to play a game of X-Wing.

Second turn: everyone has moved into range And Dylan's chose his mum's Falcon as his target.

This was the first time  the huge ship rules any of us have played with a large ship. Fortunately, Dylan is a sharp cookie and did all the hard work of explaining how his Imperial Raider flew and fired.

We played one of the scenarios from the Imperial Raider mission book where the Imperial force had to destroy some debris that the Rebel Alliance were trying to salvage.

Chloe's TIE Interceptor is about to be hammered by the two T65 X-wings flown by her dad.

We divided into two teams. Our two Godchildren commanding the Imperial forces. Dylan took the Imperial Raider; and Chloe flew Darth Vader in an Imperial Advanced TIE fighter, and took a TIE Interceptor as her second ship. A total of 159 points.

Myself, Susan, Alix and Ian were playing the rebels. I flew Poe Dameron in a T70 X-wing; Susan chose a B-wing piloted by Ten Numb; Ian took two T65 X-wings, one Red squadron pilot, the other Wedge Antilles who rocks; and Alix flew Han in the Falcon. No upgrades for a total of 160 points.

There was a lot of dodging as the Imperial Raider swung towards the X-wings.

Turn one and the Imperial Raider moved forward, and we rebels advance cautiously as we had didn't want to feel the full might of the huge ship when it fired on us.

Dylan swiped the two X-wings off the board, and now all the rebel players were trying not to be in its path.

The game got very deadly real quick when the full implication of being rammed meant instant obliteration of the small rebel fighters. Things were starting to look pretty grim for the four adults, with Alix's Falcon losing all of its shields and taking hull damage.

It's big and manoeuvres like a barge.

At one point, Dylan looked like he would accidentally fly the Imperial Raider off the table, but he adroitly managed to swing around after batting the two X-wings. However, it did mean that the surviving rebels were able to get into his rear arc.

The swarming begins, the little ships like remora around a shark.

The big ship swung around to then start targeting the debris, but the accumulative damage had started to tell.

The Falcon is flying with half its hull points gone, but so is the Imperial Raider.

Then in a last round of manoeuvring saw the Imperial Raider go down as it turned towards its next goal. This was a very close game as all the rebel ships were hanging in by a thread and if any had been unlucky when rolling the evade dice then the Imperial forces would've have won.

The fall of the Imperial Raider as the remaining rebels avoiding Darth Vader and deliver the coup de grace.

Showing the  cards that are reversed when each half of the big ship is rendered ineffective and when both halves are gone, only then is the ship destroyed.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Longbow Making Course

Pip Bickerstaffe master bowyer.

We went away at the weekend to sunny Birkenhead, well the sun came out in the daytime, but mostly it was wet and windy. Not that this mattered much as we were indoors learning how to make a longbow.

Demonstration of how to shape the stave.

One might consider this course to be one-to-one scale wargaming, if making historical weapons of war to shoot arrows with is your thing.

There were three other people on the bow making course course with me and Susan. It wasn't all work, we had lunch too.

Ben Lamb, Susan, and Karen.

To be clear, when I say make, I mean Pip Bickerstaffe prepared staves for us to shape. He was helped by Ben Lamb who will be taking over the business when Pip retires. They both worked hard to help us make the best bow we could.

Pip demonstrating how to apply the leather grip; Rob, Karen, and Susan watch closely.

On the Sunday, after we'd finished making our bows, there was some coaching on how to draw them and loose arrows at targets. Pip is very much of the school that shooting a longbow is learning a martial art.

We both came away with lovely longbows, which due to the preparation by Pip and Ben look as good as anything one might buy. Now all we have to do is go shooting.