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Getting Ready for Sam Mustafa’s Rommel – Part 1

In a  recent Meeples and Miniatures episode, that I mentioned in the last blog update (here), the hosts interviewed Sam Mustafa about his upcoming Rommel rules (link to the podcast here).  Sam has done many interesting wargames rules and in particular I have enjoyed Maurice and Might and Reason (I discussed these with regards to GNW battles in the past in an earlier blog post, here).  Invariably his rules are well presented, original and solid – and as we find out from the podcast they are thoroughly tested as well!  Following this I also listened to some of the podcasts Sam has produced on his Honour website (link to the Honour Webpage, here) –  I got very tempted to give these a go and started to plan what I need in terms of miniatures (and bought a few, see below) and I am also thinking about basing etc.

A few hours ago I found out that the rules are out and I got myself the bundle (a physical book and a PDF), it seems like a few others did too as the website crashed.  I suggest you have a read around on the Honour webpage and listen to the podcasts, to see whether this ruleset is something for you – I am giving it a go!

Rommel is a tabletop game of great battles in the European and Mediterranean theatres of the Second World War. The player takes the role of a general commanding an entire division, or elements of several divisions, or an entire corps or even an army. Units represent companies and battalions. Tens of thousands of men and machines clash for control of miles of territory. Make decisions about the application of air power, engineering, the use of reconnaissance, the commitment of mobile reserves, and many other things.

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From the Honour webpage.

I have decided to do enough bases to play the two example scenarios (both in North Africa) from the book and available as downloads on Sam’s homepage (Introductory Scenario: “Operation Brevity” and A Sample Rommel Scenario, see here) using 3mm miniatures from Oddzial Osmy (O8), these are sold by Magister Militium in the UK (link here).

I could have done it in 6mm, or used some of my early war 15mm WW2 stuff, but I fancied a little bit of change for this project and the North African campaign is virgin territory with regards to miniatures .  Yes, I could have tried the rules out using flat cards but what is the fun in that ;).

In my browsing on the net of relevant stuff I have come across Doctorphalanx’s interesting postings on basing (see here) and will base my units in a similar way. Basically 3 tanks per base, two or three guns, and as may infantry I can reasonably fit with a vehicle or two indicating a motorized unit.  However the final basing approach is still open as I need to study the rules and see if there is some way I could incorporate some unit features/stats into the base itself (i.e. using tufts, or number of vehicles/figures, etc.).

Having got used to minimalistic table sizes, with my recent 6mm skirmishes (e.g. the Pikeman’s Lament stuff, see here for an example) I want to make sure that the bases can fit in a 11 cm square. The reason for this is that the Rommel typical game is played on an area divided into squares and the standard table size is 8 by 12 squares.  By using  11 cm it will fit the width of a normal dinner table (creating an 3 by 4 foot play area).

Below is the map for the Deir el Tarfa scenario, showing a typical set-up.

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The following pictures show a few options for basing (3 is the maximum number of bases in a square – I believe!) vs an 11 cm (110mm) square.  My favourite is the 40mm by 30mm or 30mm square as this allows key terrain features to be indicated efficiently and I hope it will look good too.  However, I want to get the miniatures and get a feel before I make up my mind.

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I need the following units/bases for these two available scenarios:

British

  • 6 No. Grant tank bases
  • 3 No. Cruiser tank bases (A13)
  • 2 No. Vickers tank bases (MK VIC)
  • 2 No. Matilda tank bases (II)
  • 2 No. 25pdr artillery bases towed by artillery tractors
  • 13 No. Motorised Rifle bases

German/Italian

  • 5 No. Pz III bases
  • 2 No. Pz II bases
  • 2 No. Pz IV bases
  • 3 No. Semonvante 75 bases
  • 3  No. Towed artillery 10.5cm bases
  • 6 No. Bergsaglieri Infantry bases with trucks
  • 6 No. Panzergrenandier bases with Sdkfz 251s
  • 3 No. Regular Italian infantry bases (walking, I will use bergaglieri model as there are no normal Italian infantry in the O8 range)

The shopping list, as always, got longer than I initially thought. But it resulted in the following order.  There will be a lot of left overs, but that is good for further growth!

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Having done this I realised that I forgot a few packs but a quick call to Magister Militium the following day sorted it all out (adding another pack of Valentines -WBR619, some Bedford Trucks, 2 packs of WBR631 and a pack of Universal carriers – WBR613).  I am a little nervous about the scale and how to get them to look good on the table – well time will tell!.

Further considerations will be the actual gaming table/mat (not sure how I want the squares – marked with line or a more discreet option?).  I will probably do a mat from scratch in line with previous projects (see more here and here). I will elaborate more on this in further posts – but check out Brigade Games Middle-Eastern village in 1/1000 scale (Obviously this is a different scale than the 3mm miniature that are in 1/600 scale, but I think it will work, see link to it here).

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Brigade Games 1/1000 Middle-Eastern Village

…and a desert fort (here)

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Brigade Games 1/1000 Desert Fort

The monies have been spent and the ambition is there – we will see when I take that next giant leap for one modelling mad man but a small step for mankind!, and get them painted and based. I do not think it will be a massive task to get this done!  I will start reading the rules this weekend.  I will do an update at some point in the future to let you know how I am getting on!

/ Sturm, Swung, Wucht!

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The Joy of Sixteen Degrees in the Shade – Getting back to normality

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I just finished one of the longest holidays I have had for a long time, however on the first day back it still feels like all the others – too short.

I have to admit that the idea of doing one of the Great Sieges with the Knight Hospitaliers and Ottomans in attendances (like Rhodes 1522 or Malta 1565) seemed to have planted itself in my mind.  We will see for how long!  Got myself a little prop just in case.

In addition I listened to the latest Meeples and Miniatures podcast about Sam Mustafa’s new ruleset Rommel (see link here) and I am currently in some wonderful la-la land with 3mm or 6mm miniatures on a desert board fighting out the North African campaign. I also listened to the latest podcast from the guys at Wargames Soliders and Strategy (WSS) and amongst other things learned about the Origin of Rommel’s legendary goggles (see a link to an newpaper article here and a link to the podcast itself here).

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I also caught up on some other podcasts including Wargames Recon (here) and the Veteran Wargamer (here). I really like the stuff Jay Arnold of the Veteran Wargamer is doing and he has now done more than 20 shows now – all good.

I did improve on my travel battleground following a visit to a shop that seemed to sell everything – even wargames mats!. They had been labelled door mats in error and they only had one in green left. I parted with 3 coins of that euro currency and it was mine!

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Worked a treat and we played a few more battles of Pikeman’s Lament with our 6mm French and British forces travel set-up.  Having used these as presented in the last post (see here)  we have really enjoyed our games. Veteran Commanded Shot (we used this category for the Indians) can be very annoying (for the opponent) if you have rough terrain/forest present, as they can move faster than other units and use their skirmish ability. Here are a few action shots from one of these games – including a typical damage roll from my perspective with two dice missing probably showing “ones”.

Regretfully the doorma… oops the battlemat had to stay behind.  I do hope the next guests will put it to some good use – it would be a shame if it was not shown proper respect and was actually treated as a door mat.

/ All the best! Keep toysoldiering on!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Joy of Thirty-Six degrees in the shade – FIW with Pikeman’s Lament

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Still on holiday in Rhodes and the Better One had arranged a little bit of a birthday party here on the island and, to my happy surprise, some friends from Sweden and France came along as well.  Great times! Thanks to all involved.

I learned about the legend about Anastasia of Rhodes that I found interesting, she was a heroine and died during the Siege in 1522.  She had taken her dead husband’s armour and sword, killed her children to prevent them from being taken by the Ottoman invaders, and fought like a lion until she was cut down.

However, I did bring some toys, so when my friend from Normandy showed up I took the opportunity to do a little French Indian War (FIW) action using the Pikeman’s Lament Rules. You may recall the picture from last time? (here).

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In this little set-up I had some Punic War cards for Battleground – I have been using these in the past to learn some ancient rules – this time Sword and Spear and Basic Impetus 2 (but more about that some other time).

The main ingredient for any FIW game is a forest!, so luckily I brought some trees and some miniatures too.

The only thing I did not think through properly was my ground cover as all I had that was even remotely passable as ground cover was some kind of camouflage net thing – but it had to do.

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Basic Set-up – Farm in the upper middle being held by two units of British Veteran Shots (Regulars, 12 models per unit, in cover behind the snake rail fences), flanked by two units of Forlorn Hope (Rangers) one on each side (one being on the top of the hill to the upper right and the other between the field and the forest on the upper left).  The French are advancing from the south (Bottom) and consist of (from left to right) a unit of Indians (these were in fact veteran commanded shot), a unit of French marines ( veteran shot), another indian unit, a unit of Canadian Militia (Fornlorn Hope) and a final third unit of Indians.  Both sides at 24 points.

I included a file with the forces, note that for the British we did not use the militia and only 3 of the native Indians for the French (file can be found here FIW PL).

Here is a short summary on what happened – well the key moments from my perspective.  Basically I wanted to draw my French opponents two Indians out of the forest and then withdraw with my Rangers and use their ability to attack Ferociously (and overall superiority in terms of attack and stamina) in the rough terrain and then hopefully have enough punch left to at least do some damage to the Canadian militia unit.

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Note I turned the table around 360 degrees – the Rangers are awaiting the Native Indian attack.

Well after a lot of “not-so-successful-rolling” it did not really work out that well for the Rangers in the end and the unit was decimated and on the picture below a very short-lived last man standing moment! – perhaps last man wobbling would be more like it?

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So what about the fighting in front of the farm?  Well I had two units of veteran shot with their first Salvo ready to fire at the French as they breached the forest. However on activating the first unit to shoot I rolled, not just a, one but two.  This leads to a random event and a further roll showed this to be attack, so the redcoats jumped the fence and charged forward straight into range and the waiting French firing line.  The Rangers had done some fighting with the Indians but with their evade and skirmish abilities they can be very annoying, especially in the forest.

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This was then followed by the other regular unit being attacked on the other flank and the rest is history.

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I enjoyed the game and the fighting in rough ground (forest and hill) made it interesting and it felt ok, although this is not strictly the pike and shot period.

I take my tricorne hat off for Sous-Lieutnant Dupont who yet again outfoxed me on the Battle Field.   He gave it a thumbs up!  The rules are easy to pick up and they gave the right feeling to the little skirmish.

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/ Take care

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

The Joy of Thirty-six degrees Celsius in the Shade

A little delayed update this time, but for the right kind of reason. Occasionally we get an opportunity to get away from it all and this time we headed to Rhodes. A familiar place I have visited a fair few times and I love the Old Town of Rhodes and the history of the hospitaliers – who ruled this Island during the 13th and 14th century and caused the Ottoman Turks all kind of trouble before they were kicked out (Siege of Rhodes 1522) and set up shop on Malta and continued causing trouble.  It is too hot to write any essay but if you are interested there is a good summary about them here.

I have a little potential idea of doing a project about the Siege in Rhodes 1522 or the more epic one in Malta 1565.  The book – the Great Siege Malta 1565 by Ernle Bradford is one of my all-time favourite history books and I really recommend giving it a go.

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When in Rhodes go and see the Grand Masters Palace and walk the old Moat. Very nice and whilst at it you may go for a swim as well, there are a few beaches here and there.  The museum of archaeology, the Butterfly Valley, Lindos with the wonderful Akropolis are also places not to miss.

I always get reminded on how rare square shaped fields are when flying.

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Another idea I have had brewing in my head for some time, using Baccus and Rapier miniatures, is to the do the Battle of Kadesh (see here).  Browsing around on Netflix I found a documentary that I really enjoyed watching whilst flying, about the Egyptian chariot.  The programme follows a team who recreates a (well actually two) chariot and tries it out (you can also find it on YouTube if you search for Building Pharaoh’s Chariot).  Mike Loades, who was part of the recent time commander series, is giving the chariot some trial runs to better understand how they may have been used on the battlefield.  I find this kind of experimental archaeology/history very interesting and I really wish more similar programmes were available.  Let me know if you know any good ones.

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Before setting out I did progress on a few fronts with my Sci-fi models from Brigade Games (I have done two more orders since Joy of Six!) and I also did some of Baccus late 19th Century Bavarians.  Great little models overall and a Joy to paint!

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Bavarian Infantry

 

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Bavarian Chevauleger

We did not leave home empty handed and I hope to have an AAR available at some point after this weekend, describing some French Indian War skirmish action.  We brought a little bit of stuff allowing us to roll some dice and move figures around – but more of that next time if we have had time to have a game.

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/ All the very best

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Towards Moscow Trilogy (TMT) – The Joy of Six 2017

It seems like ages ago that we went to Sheffield for the Joy of Six 2017 and I have had my head down into work and some neglected duties like 1800mm terrain modelling (gardening) and real life painting (some feature walls instead of shield walls) with a limited amount of any useful hobby time.  However, there is always some progress on some front in the Roll a One world (but more on that next week).

This is my take on the fantastic spectacle that is the Joy of Six – it is very biased as I frankly spent most of the day around the two tables I had brought.  I had a few round trips but failed to take more than a few pictures of the other offerings – mainly because I ended up having a chat and then feeling bad that I had left the tables and rushed back.  However, this was a little bit of an unnecessary mitigation as the games were running pretty well without my interference. The Wyre Foresters running the Lesnaya Table and the Little One the Lechnaga bash.  So as far as a proper show report goes it is a limited one.  For a better overview check out the report on Baccus page (link here and here).

A tale of two tables

It was a nice and sunny day in Sheffield and we woke up early as we actually managed to get to bed relatively early.   The mat for the Lesnaya Battle was rolled out and it was so refreshing compared to the usual 2 by 2 feet boards I have been using in the past – that invariably have warped a little bit and/or the underlying tables being uneven leading to some interesting and unintended elevations.

I had some fears about the varnish and the rivers but it all seemed to work very well – I think I have convinced myself that I will do mats from now (more on this adventure here).

When we had put on all the trees, the houses, the wagons and the starting units I took a step back and I have to admit we were pleased. “It is GEFAG!”, the Little One said – Good Enough For A Game!

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View with Lesnaya at the far end.  There was a nice shine in the river and the simple bridges (made from thin Spaghetti) worked really well!  In the middle Freijbourgs rear-guard awaiting the onslaught of the Russian war machine.
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Side table for the Russians as they were coming onto the table during the Battle from the directions – Golitsyn’d Division with Tsar Peter, Menshikov’s Divison and Bauer’s Division. There were also few Swedish enforcements (on the top left hand corner).
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Bauer’s eventual entry point in the left corner.
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Shot showing the defensive lines of Wagons, Lesnaya and Stackelberg’s Infantry (Swedish) as well as some of the Cavalry.
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Another Angle
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With the Cavalry commanded by General Lewenhaupt himself.
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The density of the forest really worked

 

The Wyre Forrester, under the guidance of Nick Dorrell, got on with the job.  Most of the time was spent talking about the table, the war, the mat and the Twilight of the SunKing Rules that was used on the day (the basing I use is the Polemos “standard” but this works equally well for the TotSK rules – one base is a small unit, two bases a normal unit and three bases a large unit).

At the latter part of the day the game started moving in earnest but did not reach a climax before we packed up.

Here are a few pictures from the action.

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For the Lechnaga battle (see background here and here) we used one of the mats I did for the Saga stuff last year and the canopy forests (see more here on this terrain). The actual gaming area was the middle half of the 3 by 4 foot mat.

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We decided to run the game (using Dragon Rampant Rules) with a war band/force sheet for each player and did a bespoke measuring stick based (we used centimeters instead of inches) on the units in the war band. We also did cards that to use to agree the order in which a player had a go – this created another layer of friction to the game. All, of course, colour coordinated!  I have provided the files if you are interested in doing something similar.

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I bought some cheap 20cm rulers for 50 pence each and printed out the file (download files here in PDF and Powerpoint – Dragon Rampant Rulers and Dragon Rampant Rulers) on some sticker paper (normal paper and glue may do as well!) and put them on the rulers where appropriate.

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The turn order cards are here Turn order Cards and here turnorder cards.

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A then the file with the factions used on the day here Factions and here Factions  .

We had a few good games – the Little One was in charge.  Here are some pictures – a big thank you to the few who dared to sit down and roll a few dice with the kids. The future of the gaming community and industry salutes you! The Little One would like to give a special thanks to Oliver and Chris!

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Other tales

It was a very good day, but it always seems to end too quickly,  here are a few of the things that I managed to capture.

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Arguably the warmest smile for miles!, but this is how we most commonly see Dr Mike in action. His posts on the Baccus forum in the old days got me inspired enough to get on with painting my first set of 6mm units. Grey primer, black wash, block and Nut-brown ink and base it nicely and consistently.
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My first contact with Waterloo was through that famous Abba Song and my mother moving like a Dancing Queen in front of me.  Dan Hodgson’s (on the front left) Waterloo was equally brilliant and was an absolute treat.  Chris Grice, on the right who wrote the Polemos Napoleonic rules, looked like a true General pondering on his next move of the day.  Here is the blur from the Baccus page.   I am a fan of Dan!
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Mr Peter Berry himself doing the Raffle and the many thanks session!   Never in the field of human table top conflict have so many had so small toy soldiers to thank for so much!

 

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Cold War Commanders – Landjut 1989 (Always having a good time and game, link to their blog here).  As a Swede I love when the Danes get a little harmless kicking on the table top.

 

 

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Mailed Fist – Last Train to Berlin (always very nice games and detailed terrain).  I should have taken a picture of the town but got star struck and just stared!

 

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South London Warlords – Neustadt Crossing 1985 (Excellent!). More about it here.  Iain we should meet up for a game at some point!
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MADgamers – Eastern Front 1700 (Trevor, thanks for the little chat).  Always happy to see you Gents at Joy of Six!

 

 

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WW1 Grand Style (I think the sign had a slight error – I let you go and figure).  Very nice!

 

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Salford 1642 – Excellent and so many houses! Link to some more blur here.

There were more tables that deserved to be shown of, but my lack of focus resulted in a limited set of pictures.  However, again here is the link to the Baccus official report part 1 and Part 2.

Of particular interest to me was the Battle of Issus using Command and Colours (or is it Colors!) by the Wyre Forest gang.  This really got me inspired to do something similar for the Punic Wars (but I save this discussion to another time – when I have not clue what to write about!).  There is a picture of it on the Baccus link above.

Yet again a very good event indeed. Thanks to Baccus, Wargames Emporium and all the other people that makes it all happen.  I have to extend the thank you to my two Little Ones – one doing her second year in the Yellow Joy of Six Jersey, selling entrance and raffle tickets, and the other for running one of the games.  Also a big thanks to Nick and the other merry men from the Wyre Forest!

Finally and big thank you to all of you who came around and said hello and told me you were reading this blog and liked it.  I really appreciate it and all you others who seem to come by every now and then!

We will back next year!, did I say thank you?

/  Have a good week!

Postscript (15/10/17):  I have had a few queries on the sources of the trees I used for this project, I got these from various sources on eBay. Here are a few screenshots done on the date indicated above of what I used.  None of these are based  (apart form the Orbicular ones have a little of a root section) and I did it by using washers with a bit of Milliput and make a hole in, let it dry, glue on some sand and paint it up, flock it and stick in the tree with some glue.  Some boring hours of work but I do think it is well worth it. 

The fir trees were from Busch and I think I got 3 or 4 packs of these – shop around as I recall I got mine somewhat cheaper.

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The other main tree was of this variety.

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I also got a few packs of the following:

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All the best!