Getting Ready for Sam Mustafa’s Rommel – Part 2


Any follower confused from an earlier update this week of the blog?, I am too. It seems like a series of unfortunate clicks made me publish some kind of blog entry – I deleted it quickly but I suppose you still got the notification – Sorry! 

I did the Great Wargames Survey this summer and I recall it asked about what aspect of the hobby I enjoy the most.  I do like most of the elements of the hobby but the planning/research and the consequential buying stage has a special place in my miniature wargaming heart – it is those stages that invariably has lead to huge piles, or mountains, of obscure books and  unpainted lead.  The trawling through books and surfing the net looking at Orders of Battles and army lists, trying to interpret this to work with whatever rule system you are planning to use is a very rewarding way to pass your time.  In addition the very satisfactory activity of searching for options with regards to models to be used, basing options, terrain and building considerations, etc.  This is then followed by the ordering process, the anticipation, the arrival, the checking and sorting into boxes & bags, ….and then followed by the great betrayal when the boxes are put away in a dark corner with at best a coat of primer added to the miniatures.  Perhaps not a betrayal in the order of that which lead to the fall of Constantinople in 1204, but nevertheless still a betrayal.

Fall of Constantinople in 1204

After careful deliberation, I respect but I do not envy my friends who buy new stuff only when they have painted the old.  I even know of someone who only buys new stuff when he has finished painted and playing with the old and then sold it. I do understand that there are budgetary constraints and not just a matter of organisation and efficiency that limits the accumulation of lead mountains.  Luckily I can afford a little bit of a buffer (that phrasing makes it sound like something prudent, or even efficient, to do) and occasionally have even offloaded some old stuff and sold it on eBay. However, you guessed it, I end up spending what I make on things I had no idea I wanted, or more unlikely, needed.

Overall this whole thing for me is a mess far removed from any rhyme or reason but I really enjoy it and it takes me to that la la land away from it all – I think that is what a hobby is, or at least should be all about.


I suppose I am digressing again, and we will shortly be moving swiftly on to some Rommel stuff, …. there is an interesting two-parter on Game Dilution theory (GDT) that you may find interesting, and perhaps linked to the above, on the Meeples and Miniatures webpage, see here and here.

In Sweden we say that it is “..best to forge the iron whilst it is hot!”, so I have been pressing on with the Rommel project (see part 1 here) covering:

  • Decision on base size
  • Basing and Marker Convention
  • Getting on with doing some of the bases for the Deir er Tarfa scenario (that can be found in the Rommel rules or downloaded from here – click on the A SAMPLE ROMMEL SCENARIO link)

I made a few decisions on basing and based on the rules set some ground rules for how I would do the bases and markers, etc.  However with some overdue housework and the season of Rugby starting for the Little One we had limited overall progress on the practical side of things. Anyhow, here we go.

Base Size

To enable standard play on a kitchen table (3 feet wide) you can get away with 110mm squares (this will give a 88cm by 132cm table (Call it about 3 by 4 feet), I decided to go with 50mm by 40mm bases.  This would also work well on larger 15mm squares for a 4 by 6 feet table.  The base size works well for 3mm miniatures.

I have decided to go for 4 tanks on each armoured base.  I got some 2mm MDF laser cut bases from ebay (don’t they smell nice when they arrive?).

Basing and Marker Conventions

I actually do not mind playing with labels and markers, but I do try to minimize this as much as possible, for Rommel the following things are important for the game itself (based on a first pass of the rules).  By the way I really like the format of the rulebook and the overall feel of it – it was a delight to read through.

Combat Strength & Unit ID – this is normally three values (sometime two) that changes as the unit takes “damage”.  I will use the following approach and have a magnetic label under the base that I can move around.  I will also combine this with the unit ID information.


There is a powerpoint file (link here: rommel) that contains labels for all units for the Deir er Tarfa scenario, that may be of some use (do what you wish with it, you may want to change the texture to fit whatever basing you are doing).

Here are a few shots on how I did my test base.

I will use my hobby drill for the mass produced ones, here and just made the holes with the knife and put the magnets in the base with stickers on both sides.
Like this on both sides
I printed out the file above on a sticky label (sheet with 1 label) and stuck on top of a magnet sheet I had. Make sure the sheet is thin.
Cut it out neatly, I left a little black around.  You can use a black permanent marker and do some touch up afterward around the label.
They snap together nicely
The other side, I put a little bit of the magnetic sheet on the front to make the base “Stable”.

The base below show a base of Semovente 75 Tanks, of the Littorio Division, at full strength (4).  …but what about the armor value(s)?, wait for it!

A finalised base of Semovente Tanks. The models are the Oddział Ósmy 3mm models (WIT 615 Semovente 75/18 Assault Gun x15), I bought them from Magister Militium in the UK.  I suppose that the added value is that in another level of game where I would like this represent a platoon, I could do so and if needed print out another label with some totally different information and even shape.

Armor value (Armoured units) – this range (based on the lists available) from 1 to 6 – and I will show this with the number of Tufts on each base (where the armor value is different from attack and defense there will be two types of tufts, the darker for attack!).  If you look at the Semovente tank base above you can see this in “action”  (this unit has an armor 2-3, where the two dark bases are for the attack and the 3 lighter bases are for defense).

Barrage (Artillery only) – this range from 2 to 5 and as this only applies to Artillery, that has attack value at 0, I will use Tufts in a dark colour to indicate barrage value and light colour to indicate Armor Value.

Range (Artillery only) – Apart from rocket artillery there are three ranges 8, 12 or 16. Call them short, medium, long and indicate this by the number of towing vehicles on the base, 1 for short range, 2 for medium and 3 for long.  For rockets range will be the number of models (e.g. 3 for heavy rockets and 4 for light rockets) on the base

Legs – some infantry units are not motorized – this will simply be any infantry unit without a vehicle on the base. Other motorised infantry will have a truck on the base to indicate status.

Armored unit – a halftrack on the infantry base indicating status instead of the truck (default for all infantry).

Rare – I will just put three tank models, instead of 4, on each base (as they are rare!)

Self-Propelled Artillery – again based on the model used, towed artillery will have separate towing vehicle(s) on the base.

Infantry Support Capability – these tank models will have a few infantry models on the base.

Rockets defined by model used.

Recon unit – 5 models in a square formation with a leader in the front (instead of the normal 4 – this is normally small vehicles anyway).

Cavalry again will be defined by models used.

Pioneer I do not want to make this into a permanent feature so any infantry unit that will have the ability will be allocated a marker at the beginning of the game. Still to be developed.

Unreliable – one of the tanks will be placed going in a different direction on the base (as it is unreliable).

Other Game Markers

I will make some markers as follows for Supply Points (using some HQ models, lorries and some boxes), Low Supply Markers,  Isolated Marker, Boat, Prepared Positions, Objective Markers, Construction, Fortification and Demolition markers.  More on those later..


/ Hope that was of some use, I will be riding off towards the sunset on my current hobby horse.



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.


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.


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.

bases 2.jpg

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


  • 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


  • 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!


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).

Brigade Games 1/1000 Middle-Eastern Village

…and a desert fort (here)

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!