10 Jun 2016

Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy, 85, June 2016

Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy, 85, June 2016

Monsters of myth and legend

Column: Rick Priestley, "This Gaming Life - Reflections upon a podcast"

On the whole, I’ve decided not to bother much with the twenty-first century. There’s the collapse of the global economy, the banking system up the spout, and everywhere you look, rationality on the retreat. Admittedly, we have got as far as 2016 without a world war; in that respect at least, things are a definite improvement on the twentieth century. (Maybe it’s a bit too soon to count that particular chicken.)

Feature: Eoghan Kelly, "Taking the Goch-Kalkar Highway, Westfalen - The Swan House"

On 8 February 1945, Operation Veritable was the first push into the German Reich proper. It was intended to be a massive pincer movement, with the northern arm made up of the Canadian 2nd Corps and British XXX Corps and the southern arm consisting of the US Ninth Army.

Feature: David Imrie, "Recreating the First Carlist Wars in Sharp Practice - Fuerte el Diablo"

Ever since Perry Miniatures released their wonderful Carlist Wars range a number of years back, I’ve been meaning to paint some of the figures for a game. However, there are so many fantastic ranges available that my attention span and ability to keep on a project to the end is almost non-existent. When my fellow club members (South East Scotland Wargames Club) were asked to playtest the new version of the Sharp Practice rules by TooFatLardies, I was able to sit in on a couple of the games.

Feature: Simon Miller, "A 'nove' approach to ancient warfare - Circesium, AD 257"

The Battle of Circesium is a fictitious engagement between a Roman army led by Marcus Clodius Ballista, hero of Harry Sidebottom’s Warrior of Rome novels, and the Sassanids. The battle is carefully described in the second book of the series, King of Kings, and perhaps represents the high water mark of Ballista’s military career.

The rebel rear-guard falls back before the British and Hessian grenadiers.Feature: Steve Jones, "A forgotten skirmish in the New Jersey wilderness - The Battle of Short Hills"

It’s a rare and wonderful thing to stumble across a previously undiscovered battle within a period that you feel you know well. Delight is compounded when the battle presents an interesting mix of troops engaged in a situation that presents challenges, both to the original participants and to the wargamer. Such is the Battle of Short Hills, a sharp action fought in the hinterland of New Jersey, of which I was completely unaware until a few months ago.

Theme: Eoghan Kelly, "Creatures of our imagination, past and present - Monster? monster? where monster?"

Humanity seems to be fascinated by the concept of monsters. And not just recently, but throughout the ages. We’ve used them to explain the world around us, to act as a juxtaposition to our spiritual or divine beliefs, to scare children into obedience, and to somehow distance ourselves from the unsavoury or the unpleasant.

Theme: Jordan Bowers, "A wolf in the fold of Frostgrave - Monster hunter"

Adventurers are a rare breed. They go seeking treasure or knowledge in dark dungeons and forgotten places, where all sorts of dangers lurk. A place like Felstad, or Frostgrave as many now call it, are one of many unsettled areas beyond the borders of man and safety. These outlands are where the barbarians, creatures, and monsters lie.

Theme: Jamie Gordon, "If it bleeds, we can kill it - Surviving the horror"

“Top Secret. Science Officer’s Eyes Only. Bring back life form. Priority One. All other considerations secondary. Crew expendable.”

When these immortal words were discovered on the on-board computer of the spaceship Nostromo in 1979’s immortal classic movie Alien, it set the precedent for the genre of sci-fi survival horror that it would spawn. Essentially, like their parent, most of the successors would also feature small groups of outclassed individuals trying to survive against the onslaught of unstoppable, unfeeling killers. Alien was but the first and was followed in short order by the likes of The Terminator (1984) and Predator (1987), which took a slightly different spin on a similar concept.

The leader of the Draugar has terrifying magical powers.Theme: Michael Leck, "The Viking again-walkers are coming - Draugar"

Zombies are nothing new to us here in Sweden and the Nordic countries. They have been bothering us for more than 1000 years, all the way back to the Viking era and beyond. We call them Draugar, which means ‘Again-walkers’, as this is what they really are. Some of you might also want to name them revenants, but as this article is focused on the Viking mythology, we will stick with the Norse name of Draugar. And they are plentiful, at least in the following scenarios.

Theme: Colin Phillips, "Boarding the Blue Noah - Unknown ship on my bearing"

“Unidentified ship on my bearing, one – niner – zero. Please state you name and destination, over. You are currently a danger to this shipping lane, which must be kept clear. I repeat, identify yourself and change your course immediately. You appear to be drifting into the main Gulf of Aden shipping lane. Do you need help? Please respond, over.”

Theme: Guy Bowers, "Out from the darkness - Monstres and their kynde"

The fictitious book Monstres and their Kynde will be familiar to readers of the Cthulhu mythos. Dating from the dissolution of the monasteries in the sixteenth century, a lone copy is said to survive in the British museum. Those who have glimpsed its fragile pages have said it contains descriptions of every kind of demon and monster yet known. It must rival Nick Burkhardt’s collection of Grimm books, from the television series of the same name.

Theme: Roy Duffy, "A monster of a front cover - I have harnessed the shadows that stride from world to world to sow death and darkness"

First, an apology. Perhaps even a warning for you, poor foolish reader. When I was approached by The Stranger with this peculiar proposition, I was recklessly confident in my abilities. I assumed my years of experience would shield me from the dangers ahead. Let my foolish arrogance be an example to you of the folly of all human endeavor.

Column: Daniel Bamford, "The irregular - Reality check: defending history"

The ‘modern warfare’ theme a few issues ago did not shy away from the moral reservations that some wargamers have about depicting contemporary conflicts. Colin Phillips advised due respect and a desire for insight into real-life problems. A regular dose of reality is essential for all wargamers, no matter what their chosen theatre, to keep a healthy sense of perspective on their hobby.

Hobby: Stephen Tunmore, "A bit of vegetation for your wargames table - Seeing the wood from the trees"

The aesthetic appeal of some detailed flora and fauna lends much to the spectacle of a well-presented wargame. Many also appreciate the visual appeal of a realistic wargames table. Trees, in one form or another, are present in nearly all of our scenarios. In some battles, they form a very important part – the Battle of the Wilderness during the American Civil War, and Normandy during World War Two, to mention a couple.

The completed mausoleumHobby: Tony Harwood, "A decorative mausoleum - Building your own tomb"

Dracula and Frankenstein’s abodes are perhaps a bit ambitious, but the denizens of monster games surely have interesting homes. How about a mausoleum? Google will provide loads of examples, particularly from the Montmartre cemetary in Paris. One in particular caught my eye, but these techniques would work for any model, of course.

Hobby: Peter van Dop, "Making your own floors - Hey, there's an article in that!"

One of the perks of living in the eastern part of the Netherlands (besides the good food, friendly people, and Grolsch beer) is that it’s close to the HQ of Karwansaray Publishers. However, there is a small downside – that it’s easy for a certain Jasper O. to come round to my place for a game of Chain of Command.

Let's play: David Davies, "A fast and Fury-ous tank duel game - Let's play Tanks"

Tanks are cool, no doubt about it. The popularity of online games like World of Tanks and numerous tank sims down through the (computer) ages testifies to that fact. Arguably the tanks were the stars in the recent Brad Pitt film Fury, with the epic tank duel between War Daddy’s Sherman and the Tiger 1. Now, if only we could play out tank duels on the tabletop… Well, now we can.

Let's play: Guy Bowers, "Gaming with the walking dead - Let's play Project Z"

Zombies are all the rage at the moment (pun intended), both in popular culture and in gaming. With dozens and dozens of movies and several television series on the undead, it was inevitable that they would be headed to a tabletop near you soon.

Reviews: Ian Woolfenden, Eoghan Kelly and Chris Payne, "Game reviews"

In this edition of Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy game reviews, we take a look at Flames of War - War in the Pacific, Blood Eagle, Combat Patrol: WWII and SAGA: Age of the Wolf.

Column: Richard Clarke, "Up front - Inspiration"

My day job of writing rules, or more accurately, developing sets of wargames rules, is a mixture of inspiration and perspiration in varying degrees, but selecting a new period to game or a new force to game with is almost entirely inspiration. The perspiration then comes with the painting and the paying the credit card bill without the wife noticing the spike in lead-related expenditure.

Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy

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