A look at Miniature Wargames magazine No 352

I got my advertisers copy of this months new Miniature Wargames magazine in the mail on Monday so I have it fairly close to those who line up at WHSmith newsagents at the weekend.  Now that the carnage of the The Thinker’s tenth birthday is over I can do a wee look at this issue.  So without further ado….

Miniature Wargames No 352

Cupola: Andrew Hubback does his editorial commentary as normal and this time he announces or hints at a refreshed design for the layout of MW coming next issue.  I look forward to seeing the rests of his feedback from the readers.  Feedback is vital in all industries and I often feel as if I operate in silence because if the customers who buy my titles and miniatures do not tell me what they think of them or what they would like to see it is really tough to improve!

Letters Page:  Good letters in this month especially one from John Treadaway (ah..fond memories of Full Thrust!) concerning the lack of non-historical materials in the magazine (not just MW but focused on it).  While this can mean Fantasy and Science Fiction it also means ‘what if’ scenarios from history too.  This is an important point to take up.  MW own survey last issue showed how much non-historical gaming there was at Salute 2012 and I commented then about its importance to the future of the industry especially among younger wargamers.

Boxing Clever at Fisticuffs:  Nigel Pell and Gary Mitchell report from the Fisticuffs show in Weymouth (south coast of England).  A good read this and its always good to hear of the joy and suffering that wargamers go through getting to shows.  I have not been to Fisticuffs (it would be a thousand mile round trip from Girvan!) but it looked like a fine event with a lot going on including a large game of GrUnTz put on by the Wessex Wyverns local club plus of course Gary’s own excellent Space Vixens from Mars was there; love that range!

The Attack on Raedykes Camp:  The third article in the series by Peter Hall on re-fighting Mons Graupius with the Hail Caesar wargame rules.  This time a Roman Marching Camp hobby article and run through of two games centred around it.  I studied this campaign at university and Peter does an excellent job in turning it to wargaming.

Apocalypse Vow:  It is going to be the end of the world on December 21st this year if you believe the long vanished Mayans.  This article by Gary Mitchell looks the this prediction along with Mayan warfare and ways to use it on the tabletop.  As to the end of the world…no way…I still got rules to write!

The Osaka Campaign:  Part two, and sadly the final, of Kevin Jones look at the rise of the Tokugawa family and the Japanese feudal wars.  One of my favourite nations and a period I know a lot about and in fact I own almost of the books the author quotes as sources.  An excellent summary with some wargaming notes and ideas too.

Scuffle at Shevardino:  Napoleon’s 1812 campaign and the smaller battle that came just before Borodino written by Chris Hahn.  This is a fine article with a lot of history, maps and wargaming material in it but it did not grab me much.  Perhaps I am not in a mood for Napoleonics just now (I am busy with my preparations for a ‘Martian’  terrain set for 28mm scale but that is another matter) so I read it and passed on.

15mm.co.uk’s advert for Renaissance miniatures..gosh it almost looks like a professional did it!

Don’t Forget Your Tomahawk:  I always look forward to Steve Eardley’s pages in MW because he ranges wide and far for material and always delivers a good read.  This time its an approach to wargaming the French and Indian War (or the Seven Years War if you come from the civilised side of the pond!) followed by a delve into the miniatures that can be had for the conflict.  Four excellent pages!

Wargaming Gettyburg Part Two:  Jon Sutherland offers up the second part of his series on wargaming the biggest battle of the American Civil War.  It is a well delivered and sharp article which is just as well as I am fairly tired of ACW as a period and of that battle in particular.  Good for fans of the period.

France 1940:  World War Two booty for fans of the most recent worldwide conflict.   Mark Freeth presents a report on a battle that recently took place at his Wargames Holiday Centre.  It reads like a plug for the place but hey its a good plug and I for one would love a weekend of Mark’s hospitality!

A Spreading Insurgency:  Mike Haran presents a system for wargaming the action when the recent Arab Spring turns to a cold, cold Arab Winter of war and terrorism.  For me this near future article is the best one in this issue. Presenting a squared grid of the Middle East and surrounding regions along with outcomes allows for massive variety and unknowns in play.  Added to this is a system of unit deployment, spies, situations.  Excellent all around and could be adapted to a sci-fi setting with ease.

Darker Horizons: This time headed up ‘Redundancy’ Gary Mitchell begins my favourite part of the magazine by outlining his potential woes of facing the loss of his teaching post and having to do the ‘trolley shuffle’ so loved by the middle aged all across Britain’s thousands of supermarkets.  I wish him luck and while its not the purpose of this posting or this blog to get political it does make you wonder if teaching children is about experience or being cheap…ah but lets carry on.  Gary crams and I mean crams information into the pages listing all the current happenings of two dozen companies and fifty or more releases.  Black Cat Bases get a feature of their new ‘between scales’ Grey Aliens and Sheep while some other person gets a mention about his ‘amazing sci-fant empire.  I wonder where he finds the time?’…what can I say, not much sleep, fast typing, a strong work ethic and a loving wife.

MOTH and Me get a mention! 

Book Reviews: A collection of reviewers look at Twilight of the Hellanistic World (Pen & Sword), The Fall of English France (Osprey), Austrian Seven Years War Cavalry and Artillery (Ken Trotman Publishing), Napoleons Swiss Troops (Osprey), Forts of the War of 1812 (Osprey), The Eastern Front 1914-20 (Amber Books) and a biography of Georgy Zhukov (Osprey).  Good reviews but all I can say is thank heaven for Osprey eh, otherwise what would the review pages do!  I often think that a wargames magazine should review wargame rules as well as military history books in its pages; after all it is aimed at the wargaming hobby.

All in all a good read and recommended for those of you who can get it.   But then I would say that…I am in it!


Winter of ’79 Blog inspires USE ME Modern Warfare players

The Winter of ’79 blog run by my good mate Mark Hannam (the original creator and runner of Dropship Horizon blog) is a fasinating place to visit and makes you feel like you have stepped into an alternate reality.  His passion in creating a world where end of the 1970’s in Britain came out rather differenty is an inspiration and I greatly enjoyed trawling the posts and looking at the pictures (like the ‘mock’ Osprey campaign book cover above…brill!).  But why was I there?  I do not game modern period most of the time.

Well I went along because 15mm.co.uk had half a dozen emails and comments sent to it over the weekend referring to the Winter of 79′ blog along with purchases of our own UM004 USE ME Modern Warfare pocket sized rules system.  It seemed obvious enough to me that wargamers were looking at the blog and then buying USE ME rules for setting their games there in 20mm scale.

Well done Mark!  Great Blog and Great Imagination.  I hope your continued recovery from illness gets you back to full strength.