I had meant to post on this subject a couple of weeks back..but..well you get the point. Being me is not always a linear experience, sometimes I feel like I am suffering something I like to call ‘timeslip’ as time passes like lightening and a day becomes a fortnight with no effort at all on my comprehension!
The Campaign Map
My good friend Bob Minadeo with whom I have worked on Firefight 2.0 and HOF Fire-Team is a skilled wargames rules writer and a long time wargamer too. He is also a big fan of Flintloque, Slaughterloo and the whole World of Valon. To that end he has brewed up and is currently playing out a whole campaign set in that world under the title of ‘The 98 Campaign’. Above you can see the campaign map.
The campaign concerns the Ferach Elf forces of the Tyrant Emperor Mordred and their Bog Orc allies in the ‘BGORA’ and their attempt to ‘liberate’ Guinalea from the yolk of King Gorge III of Greate Britorcn and make the nation part of the Empire and not the Grand Alliance. I am enjoying reading the postings on Bob’s blog and on top of the tale the images showing his terrain set up and the love that he puts into his armed forces on the table top. The vast majority of the excellent and colourful miniatures on the gaming table are pro-painted from Alternative Armies itself and as I often deal with Bob directly (perks of the job eh!) I have watch him amass this collection with interest over the last year while his mighty mind was musing on the campaign now underway.
Albion Dragoons advance!
As to which side will win the conflict…I do not know…perhaps Bob does not know either at this moment and the dice will decide. He is using a concoction of his own for the wargame rules and the campaign system too. Me, well I want the Emperor Mordred to lose as always!
Get on over to the Monkey-Dew blog and follow the campaign if you are a wargamer it is proving to be a riveting ride indeed!
Aside from a liar of a politician finally being exposed today the big news is that historians have proved beyond reasonable doubt that a skeleton found under a car park in Leicester is indeed that of King Richard III who died in 1485. This is excellent news for me as I love the War of the Roses period of English history and this really brings it up to date and may mean some revision of books held up to this point to be correct. You can read the detail on the Guardian’s Blog but this does solve one of the big mysteries of English history and its also amazing that they found the body at all. Really long odds against it. Hunchback and Murderer or a victim of Elizabethan spin doctoring? You decide. Got to love Olivier!
Back before Christmas my good friend Bob McAlister and his family sent myself and my own family a package all the way from their home in America (see this previous post). I promised not to open it for a few days but what with work and family I kept it until the big day at Christmas and I stuck to this revised promise like a dog to a bone. Indeed I often passed the box and my hand reached out…but no! Waited. When opened there were many goodies in the box for my Good Lady and my wee three too but I will stick to the gift sent to me. I present to you a short review of Charge! or How to Play Wargames by Brig.P.Young & Lt.Col J.P.Lawford published by Athena Books in 1986.
Vintage wargaming books from before the ‘age of commercialism’ when it was a hobby for gentlemen and the idea of science fiction and fantasy on a table was truly outlandish are a pet love for me and I own quite a few including many of Fetherstone’s titles such as Complete Wargaming (which is better overall than this book but also far more in depth). I had wanted ‘Charge!’ for a while but copies were expensive so Bob had done me a real favour by getting me a copy far cheaper in its native North America. Charge! is written as a set of ‘horse and musket’ rules with attached scenario and introduction. Despite thirty years passing the rules look very solid and I threw some dice and used my Flintloque figures for pieces and they worked well. A lot like the kind of rules I like to write, flexible, fun, hobby based and no more complex than they need to be. The book is split into two parts as far as the rules go, the basic game and the advanced game. This is something lacking in British titles of this period and is something that has come over from the USA in my generation.
Charge! is not a book about Wargaming as such, it is a book of wargame rules that despite what the author says is best suited to wars of the high 18th century and not earlier or later periods. I enjoyed reading it and will revisit it in the future too. As far as I know this book is out of print but it can still be had for those who want to seek it out. If you can get it cheaply, or from a good friend (!) then I recommend you do. Thanks again Bob.
My copy of ‘Napoleons Army’ by H.C.B Rogers published in the early 1970′s but still in print and available widely.
I had another book review planned on a science fiction paperback I just finished but I got passed a note yesterday that one of Alternative Armies customers who is also a member of the Notables Yahoo Group had asked if I knew of a good book about the French Army in the Napoleonic Wars. Know of one I said…I own a load of them! Sure I could help. But which one to choose? The notable in question had said it must be in English which narrowed the field and that it should have formations and structure of all arms of the army so that narrowed it again. Lastly that uniforms were to be included in the book. This took me back to one of my favourites namely ‘Napoleons Army’ by Colonel H.C.B Rogers.
This book has all that is needed. Divided into sections including a history of the battles of the period the French fought in followed by Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery, Engineers & Signals, Administration, Medical Services, Imperial Headquarters. Then two accounts of the Third Corps at Auerstadt and in Poland ending with an Epilogue. Each section has full information on structure, uniforms, weapons, ranks and more. Importantly each section ends with a list of sources allowing further reading and proving the knowledge of the author. I doubt anyone except a half mad games writer would need more information (though I own many of the books quoted as sources!) as this book is packed. My own edition is nearly two hundred pages of easily read text with line drawings. I have used it many times when creating material for Flintloque.
While my own edition can be had second hand or on ebay etc if you look, there is a current edition which is easily had for less than ten pounds. Here is the Amazon UK link for it.
If you want a solid title on the French Army under Napoleon then this is the one.
This is a rather special post as it is not about me! It is a short account of the trip my eldest son, ‘The Thinker’, took to the south of England two weeks ago (yes, it has taken me this long to get to it!). This trip took him on nearly one thousand miles of road and not only to the Uk’s biggest military modelling show but also to a famous garden centre and the site of one of Europe’s most pivotal battlefields too. While I have written most of the text here anything that appears in italics is by his fair hand and straight from the horses mouth as it were. So without further ado..the Thinker’s English Adventure!
After leaving Scotland with his grand parents on Friday morning the Thinker headed for Folkstone. I had to get up very early and then I sat in the car and watch all of the films I had on my DVD player. It was a really long ride in the back seat but I had fun and I got to eat in the service station for lunch and then a ‘beefeaters’ for my dinner. It was warm and sunny on the Saturday morning and you can see me above sitting on a bench.
Smile though your glue is drying…
Saturday 22nd September was Euromilitaire day (well one of two!) in Folkstone and the Thinker got to go along with the throng! This is the largest military modelling show in Europe and he was under instruction to bring me his loving father some scenics and bits and bobs back from the show. We got there early and I was excited (but you would not know that from my tired and stern face above!). It was very, very busy and I took a photo of the hall which you can see below. We spent hours looking at everything. My favourite things were a scale model handmade of the Millennium Falcon from Starwars and a special unique figure (150mm) of a space man in his armour. The spaceman is in the second picture below. I had a good time and want to go again!
The Hall all Athrong!
Spaceman in Armour
The Thinker had a big day and as you can see below he likes nothing more than planning out his grub for the next morning. I was tired after the show but my Papa insisted that I go to bed early but not before choosing my breakfast from the menu. We stayed at the Premier Inn and it was really nice and comfortable. My Gran said that now we had been to the show it was time for us to do some things she wanted to do. So I got a big sleep and was ready for more!
On the Sunday the happy trio headed along the English coast and visited a few places including Battle Abbey at Hastings where he learned a bit about Saxons and Normans. It was raining all day and I got wet a few times, but I enjoyed the Abbey and now I know about Harold and his eye! There was no Battle but then I was told I had missed it by a thousand years! Once we left Hastings I had lunch and then we went to Gran’s favourite place the nursery at Great Dixter. I don’t know much about plants and flowers and neither does daddy! Gran enjoyed this a lot and we saw lots of insects like Bees. That is me below at Battle Abbey and Great Dixter.
The sprout among the plants!
With the trip nearly over the Thinker spent most of the Monday travelling back to Girvan with a brief stop in Nottingham to visit his most favourite Uncle James. I did not see him until I picked him up on the Tuesday from school since his Gran refused to give him back!
I had a lot of fun and I learned a lot on this adventure and I would do it again. It was great to see the models and the battlefield and Uncle James too. Thanks Dad for letting me type on your blog!
Mighty Albion needs all the ships she can muster to hold the French tyrant at bay. This task for the Royal Navy has now become easier thanks to the laying of keel at Beightons Shipyard blog run by model maker Mark Burgess. Mark has come to my attention this last week with his impressive skill in assembling wargaming scale Napoleonic ships of the line. He has but one vessel at the moment but do go and read the postings as they are very interesting and his approach is to use paper, wood and more to make these unique models. Keep up the great work Mark!
Following up on last months look at the result of 15mm.co.uk advertising in Miniature Wargames Issue 351 it’s time for a round up on the advert placed in Miniature Wargames Issue 352. You can follow the link backs to previous posts to see those results and the advert in question but it was an advert for the Altuos 15mm Renaissance range of white metal historical miniatures.
Last month’s look at the results of magazine advertising were positive in fact 15mm.co.uk has continued to receive orders citing the USE ME advert right up to this week. So quite happy there. However the response to the Altous advert have been quite frankly a disaster. Enquiries and orders citing the advert were virtually non existent and the level of sales for the Altuos range actually fell 25% overall during the calendar month of the advert. How the advert actually reduced sales is beyond my ability to understand but I expect (and hope) they were not connected. Web views on those pages relevant ran about 10% down on the month before but total visits remained the same. Based on the results of last months questionnaire on the Notables Yahoo Group it seemed that outside of the UK few read MW magazine and many prefer to get content online too. But there was a solid core of players who read it each month.
The 15mm Renaissance range is fairly popular for 15mm.co.uk. Not on the same level as HOF 15mm Science Fiction and Laserburn but it more than holds its own for players of FOG and DBM and so on in the historical gaming clubs and societies across the world.
Frankly this has left me rather glum and puzzled. Comments and thoughts welcome on this by reply or by email.
So what is the link between advertising and figure / rules choice for wargamers?
Stained fingers and a sense of satisfaction this week with the end to a two week project to get the Altous range of 15mm Renaissance Historicals complete and up on to the page of 15mm.co.uk. The whole range is now online and while marketing and so on will be a wee while off it is a weight off my mind to have it done.
I do not know how many of you who read this blog work in the wargame industry (it will not be most of you) but many of you are wargamers who regularly paint their miniatures and add to their collections. You know the effort this takes in the planning and preparation…well let me tell you its nothing compared to this. Over one hundred codes from master molds with no existing images to be sorted, identified, washed with ink, dried, labelled, photographed, edited, coded, added to catalogues and then to 15mm.co.uk itself. I took this whole thing on myself and triple checked everything to avoid errors. But now that it is done it means these pictures and the code list will exist for evermore.
Enjoy the images below and if you wish to see them all then pop along to the Altuos range pages.
MR57 Scottish Mercenary Pike
MR58 Scottish Mercenary Musket
MRC31 Cavalry with Lobster Helm
MRX4 17th Century Light Gun
I did enjoy this experience over all and I think I will tackle the next one later this year (the much larger Napoleonic 15mm range!). Just makes you appreciate it when you visit a website and there are pictures of the products…this takes a lot of time and effort…I know!
I am the Creative Manager of Alternative Armies and its sister brand 15mm.co.uk. While my role involves many tasks its primary one is the creation of new titles in the Wargame hobby market and the development of existing titles. Having been doing this for ten years I like to think that I have managed this rather well....
Read all about what I have been doing recently from my postings.