Friday, 30 November 2012

Not not-gaming

I'm on a roll of gaming, thereby somewhat undermining the raison d'etre of the blog. However, being a stoic (A stoic? Who am I kidding? I am the stoic's stoic) I shall just have to man up and persevere.

I have acquired a copy of 'A Blood-Red Banner: The Alamo' by Victory Point Games (available in the UK from and damn fine it is too. Yeehaw etc.

It's a solitaire game and basically one plays the Texians and has to try - and fail - to defend the Alamo from Santa Anna and the Mexicans. The best I have managed so far is a Texian moral victory using the Jim Bowie optional rule. Without that rule it is a series of crushing Mexican wins. However, as what must be a sign of it being a good game, that doesn't make it any less enjoyable. It's quick to set up, different every time and only takes about 20 minutes. What's not to like?

I own a copy of 'Field Commander: Napoleon', but have struggled to get into it. I've no doubt that it's excellent, but it's just so big and takes so much time to set up and play. Until my wargaming mojo fully returns I shall be trying out some more Victory Point titles. 'Zulus on the Ramparts' looks tempting.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Old School

During my absence from these pages I actually took part in a couple of games courtesy of Mark 'Ilkley Old School' Dudley. During my wanderings trying to keep one step ahead of the forces of Babylon I found myself temporarily living just round the corner from him and indeed from Tim and Euan as well; a veritable denseness of wargamers - which I believe to be the appropriate collective noun. Anyway he kindly invited me round. Game 1 was either Charge or the War Game. I know that they are different and I also know from experience that one is quite a bit better than the other, but I'm buggered if I can tell them apart. Or perhaps I'm buggered if I can be bothered to tell them apart.

Game 2 was a run through Lasalle. I think that Mark was keen to try these because he had played and enjoyed Maurice (of which I have a copy, currently languishing along with everything else in the marital home). My memories of the game are a bit vague except that I strongly suspected that we weren't playing properly as it seemed impossible to cause any damage with artillery. Also Mark had a suspiciously pokey unit of Hussars who saw off Tim and I's heavy cavalry remarkably easily.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Why am I back?

Well, the blog had its first reader, the esteemed Conrad Kinch no less, and so I thought 'Why not?'.

I have taken up residence pro tem in Clarence Dock and can see the entrance to the Royal Armouries from where I sit typing this. I haven't set foot inside there since I've been here except to have the odd double espresso in their coffee bar. I have however been into their conference centre, which when I moved in was known as Savile's and now isn't, as part of the abrupt disappearance of the apparently flawed disc-jockey. This is because that's where the Fiasco wargames show is held. My visit there was disappointingly short because I had badly hurt my back a couple of days before, sneezing violently. Sadly this is a true story.

Anyway, I didn't get to see much at the show except to chew the fat with James Roach and Peter Jackson around their ancient galley warfare game. I did get a chance to admire Brian's marvellous scratchbuilt Bismark made from, among other things, cornflake packets. I then spent the afternoon laying on my floor to ease my back pain.

The other notable event held there recently (I discount the European Conference on Bio-Solids which appeared to be about exactly what you imagine when you first see the word Bio-Solids) was a comic book convention at which it seems to have been compulsory to attend in costume. Being old and not down with the kids I didn't recognise most of the characters, but there was a splendid Batman, Joker and Penguin. My early favourite was a very good David Tennant era Doctor Who complete with a Dalek and an Amy Pond stylee assistant. However, they were overshadowed by the arrival of Wonder Woman, who was, how can I put this, a very healthy girl. I was obliged to inspect the details of her costume rather closely. [Note to self - this type of behaviour is how you got into trouble in the first place.]

Tuesday, 27 November 2012


'There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.' - Nelson Mandela