Sunday 25 March 2012


Saturday morning. Six something. Curtains closed. Jetlag. Supping a freshly brewed tea. Watching The Professionals followed by The Sweeney on TV. Can't ask for a more fitting welcome back to the UK and home!

If you noticed that I've been off the grid for the past three weeks, well done! You win the Jack Regan "we've haven't had any dinner yet, so unless you want a kickin'..." detective prize.

The complete and utter break with everything I know, being immersed in an alien environment and culture with such different religions and customs, was just what the Dr. had ordered. I laughed with joy as the Indian Ocean waves broke around me making me feel human again, and just standing in a rainforest, in the middle of a tropical downpour became an incredible, soul cleansing experience.

Heraclitus opined that "No man can cross the same river twice, because neither the man nor the river are the same." And that I think, also applies here to the Indian Ocean, where I crossed as one man and came back as another.

There will be a short respite for Easter before we return, kicking in doors with Sterlings blazing, to the events of the Winter of 79.

In the meantime, I'm getting together a collection of 28mm Chartists and government forces from a variety of sources for Winter of 1839.

Thanks to that nice Dave Thomas bloke, I managed to pick up several packs of OOP Foundry 1839-42 Opium War infantry. Whilst this set of command figures on the right was just half what they would have cost from Foundry themselves and gives me all the command I need plus some extra standard bearers who can be converted into civilian Chartist banner bearers.

I'm also looking at getting a couple of sets of Brigade Games new Napoleonic RN Landing Party  packs which could easily be made proxy for armed Chartists with only a little conversion - giving them 'top hats' - but could even leave them as they are, as their R.Navy hat look similar to the popular 'John Bull' or coachman's hat. Nice looking figs regardless.


Friday 23 March 2012

Crimea river!

Sorry nothing at all to do with the 79 campaign. I am struggling to whip up enthusiasm at the local club. But hopefully there will be a cold war game in the next few weeks. Meanwhile I am starting a few other projects in 20mm.

A mate of mine called Disco Dave only collects 20mm plastics. In a fit of enthusiasm last year I offered to collaborate on a project with him. There was a few reasons for this. For One I thought that the plastic figures are nice and cheap. Two it fits in with my plan to move all my gaming into 20mm. I find them easier to paint than 15s and much cheaper and more realistically proportioned than 28s. Anyway after a couple of tester games of Blackpowder we decided on the Crimean war. He would do British while I would do French and we would both provide Russian Brigades. The only fly in the ointment is that the French plastics are horrendous. The only decent pack are the StreltsR line infantry. I struggled through a couple of battalions and started looking round for metals. I discovered the Jack Scruby figs in the states and placed an order. I haven't heard anything back yet so watch this space.

I did however notice the Tumbling Dice Crimean range. They only do Brits and Russians so I ordered a brigade of Russians from them. They are lovely clean cast figures. Just a smidgin of flash round the odd bayonet. They are now single piece castings apart from the command. Previously the heads were supplied seperately requiring some drilling and glueing. I finally got them undercoated yesterday so am hoping for some speedy painting over the weekend.

Along with the Crimea I am also starting a Freikorp skirmish project. I bought a load of plastics and one of the excellent Lancer miniatures discount pack. Just looking for some figures to represent the Red menace. I am thinking a quick paint job and then some fast and furious skirmishing.

Wednesday 21 March 2012


My apologies from the start; this is thoroughly off W79 topic, so far off message that not even Alastair Cambell or Malcolm Tucker could rein it in.

Here is my ultra simple RQ homage gamelet:

Ruinquest - An attempt at a fast and dirty set of rules for fighting monsters in Dragon Pass.

Are equipped WYSIWYG (unless one has a ring or similar not modelled item).
The only stat is RuneFight which is the figures original RQ best weapon skill divided by 10.
Each figure has 1-3 wounds.
Weapons and armour are classed bronze, lead (for Trolls) or iron (with none or leather armour).

A figure has to roll equal or less than it's RF on a D10. This is modified:
Target has no shield -2 drm
Backstabbing -2 drm
Per targets parry -1 drm
Figures with 10+ RF may make either one attack or two (at half RF each)
1 always misses
10 always hits

If hit roll for location:
12 legs
34 lower torso
56 upper torso
78 arms
9 10 head
This is modified
-3 duck or short creature attacking or foot vs mounted
+3 very tall creature attacking or mounted vs foot

If the location is armoured, then the damage roll is modified:

Wpn / armour none leather bronze lead iron
Bronze. +1. 0 0 1. -1
Lead. +1. +1. 0 0 -1
Iron. +2 +1. +1. 0 0

Damage roll 1d6

1 2 no damage
3 4 1 wound
5 6 2 wounds
-1 if target has dodge, as per weapon/armour above

Wounds, traits etc

Wounds are allocated:
Rabble 1
Warrior/soldier/Initiate 2
Runelord / Runepriest 3

Each cult has a different table to roll on; initiates roll once, Runepriests twice and Runelords three times but Priests have an additional free Rune. This may produce an initiate with a rune or a Runelord without one. The former is lucky and has been given a gift by the Cult, the latter will have a few skill bonuses to reflect a shedload of battlemagic - or he has just used the Rune and so there.

Humakt - Defenders against the Undead. Vowed Bodyguards. Cannot be resurrected.
Special rule - undead do not cause fear / morale test
1 extra wound or parry
2 +1 to damage roll
3 +1 to damage vs undead
4 Geas - 2 additional wound but ignore armour on one location.
5 iron sword or armour
6 Death Rune

Orlanth - heroic adventuring pseudo tribal freedom fighters
Special rule - hate lunars +1 on damage roll vs lunars (not lunar allies)
1 dodge
2 hurl spear
3 +1 damage
4 additional wound
5 Iron sword / armour
6 Thunder or wind Rune

Storm Bull - Chaos hating berserkers
Hate chaos +1 damage vs chaos
1 -1 DRM to hit chaos
2 +1 damage
3 +1 wound
4 dodge
5 iron weapon or armour
6 Storm Rune

Broos - goat headed chaos beasties

+1 if a Leader type figure
1 spit acid
2 +1 wound
3 cause fear
4 -1 on damage rolls vs this broo
5 cause disease
6 Parry
7 mark of chaos - treat as a rune

Kyger Litor - Troll Warriors
Special rule not affected by darkness
1 +1 wound
2 + 2 wound
3 +1 damage
4 parry
5 Lead armour or weapon
6 Darkness Rune

Zorak Zoran - Chaos hating Troll warriors
Special rules - hate chaos, not affected by darkness
1 +1 wound
2 +1 damage, +2 vs chaos
3 dodge
4 cause fear
5 lead armour or weapon
6 darkness rune or death rune

Trollkin - spearcarriers, arrow fodder, food
Special rules - afraid in sunlight +2 drm
1 +1 wound
2 dodge
3 dodge
4 not afraid of sunlight
5 very small
6 Hero Trollkin. Not afraid of sunlight, roll on either Troll table

Ducks - short arsed psychopaths
Roll as orlanthi or humakti. Small. 456 chance of fearless

Lunars - Graeco-Roman bad guys
special rule - Hail The Reaching Moon, count weapons and armour as iron if inside Glowline.
Special rule - Hail Moonson, leader may invoke the Red Moon once a game, all fig -1 drm to hit and +1 to wound that turn 1fearless
2 +1 wound
3 +1 damage
4 -1 drm attacking orlanthi / humakti
5 iron weapon / armour
6 Moon Rune

Dragonewts - Not quite Lizard men, not quite Dragons. Approach with caution.
Special rule - mystical, no fear, may move 6" instantly once per game
1 +1 wound
2 dodge
3 parry
4 two weapons ( one extra attack at half RF)
5 draconic weapon or armour - treat as iron
6 draconic magic - treat as Rune or mystic move

Runepriests have one rune automatically
A rune can be used to reroll any dice roll once per rune or the following effect:

Death - destroys an undead figure of lower RF or free roll on damage
Thunder- 12" range attack - auto damage roll Storm - cause fear on chaos or damage roll up to 6" range Darkness - causes darkness!
Light - causes sunlight or a attack on a darkness creature as per thunder Chaos - random rune from above Moon - ditto some believe the Red Moon is a chaos cult in disguise

Hurl spear / spit acid allows figure to attack at norm RF up to 6" away Figs armed with bow or sling attack at normal RF up to 12" away

Movement. I presume 4" or 4 squares move, a fast figure may move 6 Initiative. Roll d6 per side, highest wins and moves or attacks first. Allow a bonus to an advantaged side eg ducks in swamp or water, trolls in darkness

Non trolls in darkness attack at +2 drm

This is a rough idea - hope you like it.

Normal service should now be resumed.



Tuesday 13 March 2012

Que Pasa, hombre?

No, not an Old West posting.......Mr Anon asked a very valid question regarding W79 and so.....the following statement has been cleared by the Army Council to be so news free that it may be published:

"To be honest, both mark and I hit the wall in the last quarter of 2011; I've not commented about my job and frankly dont want to but you can see from his postings that Mark's job has run him ragged.

We both found it easier to natter about W79, 15mm WW2, colonial skirmish even 15mm fantasy, than to actually get gaming. I bought my argies in late Jan and simply put them in the box marked "paint:sometime".

As to what is happening.......well, we suprised each other really, we are both in it for the fun and banter but I think our strategies and tactics surprised each other - my quite cold blooded approach hid a nigh psychotic Celtic fury while Mark's easy going nature slipped to reveal the bastard RSM he'd have been if he'd stayed in.

And we want to get W79 right, harnessing our gaming alter egos to the right games - that tell the story of W79 and not just a thinly veiled brits vs warpact game. As an example, think of Alan Tate's story arc - that's become a bit more to us than a simple shootout. By the end were were actually talking it through like a movie scene - call or email us, Guy! We burnt ourselves out a bit, work didn't help and thus - nothing got done.

That's what's happened and the current diversions are part of the process, clearing our minds and simply having a laugh with Zulus and Runequest or whatever.



Monday 12 March 2012

Dragons Pass

No, not a referance to rugby (I could regret that one next weekend) but instead a diversion into the world of Runequest. It wont last long, honest.

I just managed two brief playtests of my ultra light RQ homage rules. Pics follow:

Humakti Runelord and Orlanthi Initiate take on three Broo - the adventurers won but only after the Humakti used his Runepower to reroll his misses....

The Hukmakti doing what they do best - killing Lunars! No, taking on the Undead. In this game I found that as the Runelord had an iron sword, if he hit the skeletons, they were gone. It fits the image of the Humakti.

Its a D10 based distillation of RQ - I presume shields and so penalise those without one; a hit is rolled for location and the figures armour (WYSIWYG) taken into account. Iron weapons are better than bronze (I think the Troll lead stuff will be intermediate).

A figure has a Runegoon Rating (Goonquest is already in use, annoyingly) which is their chance to hit but is NOT like Bottle. Wounds? 1-3 per figure. Each figure can have a trait or several; as an example, the Runelord had an Iron sword, a one use Rune and was Fearless - ignoring all morale implications. Each cult has a slightly different trait table.

Its still in my moleskine, I may type it up - if you are interested let me know and I'll post it up.

And now, normal W79 service will be resumed.



Sunday 11 March 2012

"They pat some good boys on the head....

And put some to the rod,
but I never thought they'd put me in the.....GOON SQUAD!"

"Oliver's Army" and "Goon Squad" are my favourite tracks off "Armed Forces"; I'm not entirely sure as to what Mr McManus is saying in the former but have always suspected it's a touch critical. I read it as a paean to the working class backbone of the British Army and as a roll coll of the various hell holes they ended up in post 1945 and pre Falklands. "Goon Squad" strikes me as a "Full Metal Jacket" style immersion into the arts of war or worse.

And what has this to do with wargaming you are asking. Well..........I think I first encountered GOONS in Pat Reid's Colditz books - where the POWs called the guards goons. Then, reading Raymond Chandler, a goon was a dumb thug with a gun. Then PJ O'Rourke referred to the Phillipines as "guns, goons and gold". By the time Mark and I were working on our "Cross of Iron" campaign booklet an idea formed - the Goon Squad. Simply a bunch of guys with guns; the premise being that a handfull of charactised (ok, charactured) wehrmacht would have to fight a shedload of russians - divided into mobs of roughly squad size. A penal squad was a far less dangerous proposition than a elite Scout squad.

The logical conclusion is 4 SAS troopers, bottled up to the max who have their bottle tracked to the Nth degree, while the bunch of crazed hegemonist mercenaries treat bottle as a group thing - instant saving in paperkeeping. An alternative is for the goons each to have a nominal bottle of say 8 (even numbers are best. Why? Wait for it, wait for it...) but on taking a single hit are taken out. If they are subject to a near miss or a pin result, you just use half (evens are best) the nominal bottle until they recover; though being pinned is usually a recipe for the stack up, flash-bang, game over bit of the game.

This has applications everywhere. Brit Paras lurking in gardens at Arnhem - individuals, Pz Grenadiers - goons. Heroic Sappers heroically infiltrating FB Betty Lou - individuals; western lackey running dogs of the USA - goons. Barry John and Gareth Edwards - heroes, the entire 1970s English XV - well, you get the picture.....

Its not such a far step to say that you can't control your goons. So, you put them out, with a leader or two in the right place to keep them moving and roll.....

12 do nothing
3 move half
4 move half or fire
5 move full or fire
6 move full and fire
+/- for a leader in command "bubble"/ men down from squad

I tried this with 3 fire teams of far future Royal Marines, a fire support team and two leaders. I gave them +1 anyway and made the FST imobile. Some dashed up, some hunkered down firing, one sped forward firing and got hit (a 6 scored a hit) and still they kept going. The leaders dashed about a bit keeping it together - one had to be attached to the FST who seemed oddly reluctant to actually fire.

I'm thinking of tweaking the chart so you have one for combat rifle teams, FSTs, short range sidearms, gunslingers and close combat nutters. So, lets go outside the box......think The Wire....Omar Little (bottled up character) rips off some Stansfield Corner Boys (gunslinger goons); Slim Charles and Cutty (short range sidearms) go after the Stansfield Crew (gunslingers again): the Task Force swoop on the Barksdales - SWAT (combat riflemen), detectives (short range sidearms) while Barksdale himself is a leader but his "soldiers" are gunslingers.

And finally, some visual aid. Cigar Chomping Ernesto is a leader with his own bottle; he has two fireteams - one of cuban goons and another of balaclava clad narcotraficantes of dubious value (gunslingers). Equally the four balaclava chaps could be FMLN cadre (bottled up characters or elite combat rifle goons) in which case Ernesto has a much more promising force.

So, I hope that made sense. Conrad's comment on the previous post had me thinking; it is tedious tracking bottle but bottle is a handy catch all, just lose some of the paperwork.



Saturday 10 March 2012

Rules? We don't need no steenkin' rules

Well, not quite. As Mark has mentioned, there is one big problem out there - the Leadmountain and the Rules Merrygoround. Ok that's two big problems...amongst our many problems are......and Monty Python fans know where that's I'll move on rapidly.

Anyway. I am very concious that I am, bluntly, a sucker for buying rulesets. But, in a moment of clarity, I think I may have narrowed down the pack. This is not going to be a terribly pictorial post because, well, pictures of rulebooks are fairly boring.

So, what have we got? In skirmish terms.....

18-19th Century Skirmish; I really like the WRG rules "Fire & Steel". I picked them up on ebay and ran a brief Retreat from Kabul game with pathans sniping a small british patrol. In seconds one brit was down and the sgt wounded, a pair of ghazis charged from a gulley and a nasty melee raged, a brit was wounded as was the Lt but a sharp bit of bayonet work (and a backstab) finished off the ghazis. The action ended with the injured staggering off with the body, covered by the unhurt squaddie, who, armed with two loaded muskets, pinned down the jezailchis. He was the lad who'd done most of the bayonet work too. Well Done That Man.

Skirmish WW2; I like Flying Lead but.....see below re Song of etc.....I think this is going to get played with a mod'd version of....

Cold War 83; a cracking set of rules and Mark and I are both now at home with this fine little product. I am tending to presume that most "grunts" are taken out by one hit and that it's heroic types that have the full Bottle rules applied. Any modern stuff is played with this.

Sci Fi. Mutant & Death Ray Guns or Imperial Commander are my choices but I know Mark isnt a fan of IC. I do need to investigate Tomorrows War in more detail. OK the jury is still out here.

Fantasy; I dont want to play Song of Blades for everything - its a great set as is Song of Pretty Much Anything but......I just dont want to use the same engine too much (see SF above). and i do like a bit of granularity in Fantasy games. So, I think I have a 1 Brain Cell homage to Runequest. Its D10 based, with 1D6 generated traits so a Humakti may not be allowed a shield but may have an extra wound. Its scribbled into my moleskine and if that works, it frees SOBH up for dungeon crawls.

An honourable mention for the Dave Millward booklet "Heroes", its an old beast which I bagged on ebay, but its chock full of Dark Ages mayhem and ideas.

Finally, 15mm company level WW2 looks like some kind of A&A application; it does work and looks fun.

As for bigger games, theres talk of Black Powder, Hail Caesar but right now, I have a bit of skirmish clarity and thats good.



Thursday 8 March 2012

The wrong side of the tracks

Its penguin-fart AM and a file of Argies creep towards Moody Brook using the Camber Light Railway sidings as cover.

Meanwhile, the Moody Brook Garrison - aka Marines Dave and Ron - have taken cover by a historic piece of rolling stock.

And, just to their North, Marine Pete and Cpl Baz are adding their own Para insulting graffiti to the seagull guano on the old coalshed.

The Big Picture, the Argie Rupertino is out of shot to the left; barely encouraged, the SF creep forward slowly......but are rumbled by the Booties. Dave drops the lead gaucho and Ron lets fly with his sterling; argie return fire is innefective and Pete takes out an argie on the far side of the tanker - Baz legs it to the tanker and drops another.

The seagull's eye view; with three men down the Argies decide that they don't need the scrap metal that much and call it a day for now. The Booties find a new ambush position and wonder how the lads at the Govt House are doing......

Freshly painted ex Hotspur argies from Stonewall and veteran Pltn20 Bootnecks. I like most of the argie SF / Marines but some of the figs are a bit tired in places; faces seem a bit craggy. I didnt like the GMPG guy then and I dont now - that said the guy with the SMG is ace as are the crouching figures - though the mags on the other SMGs are negligible. Platoon 20s? Good old figs, love 'em, solid castings that do the job.



It's not just fibusters....

It's not just filibusters; scalphunters and cherokee Indians also feature. It's been quite entertaining seeing what can be dredged up on eBay; though I did have to bite the bullet and buy some packs direct from Foundry. Next stop is indeed some Mexicans, I'm torn between Boothills and Artizan. some of you may recall, I did a bit of buying at Crusade. I've now got around to painting my Argie SF and Marines. I just did a caradon granite basecoat, a good dry brush of olive green, dark grey assault vests, berets and wool hats, lighter olive kit and a badab wash. Fast and dirty paintjob really.

Here they are in the paintstation:

I also bought on eBay a disused siding diorama and so a quick game was born as an elite squad of Argie SF try to capture the vital coal supplies of the Falklands Light Railway. Oddly, subsequent googling revealed that there WAS such a railway; google Falklands Camber Line - it even ran to Moody Brook. Until the 1920s.

And so back to 1982 as some Royal Marines spot some shadowy figures creeping up through the rust covered sidings........




You know, trying to collect 20mm Moderns is a bit like being stuck in a late 70's/early 80's timewarp. All reminiscent of Life on Mars but without the nostalgia or WPCs.

So, once again we have been turning our time and creativity elsewhere and in this case to a bit of Filibusterin' in 28mm. And we've been amazingly productive as a result. Above you see some of the first Filibusters - what we would call 'Contractors' today. Yup, guns and morals were equally for hire in the 1840/50s. And, below is my rough mind map of how to get the max out of my burgeoning Winter of 1839 'Chartist' collection.

And most importantly, we are having fun.