Sunday, 22 January 2017

View From The WIndow

It is early and it is dark, it is also very cold but it is dry as far as I can see, and of course no one stirs apart from the odd car going by. The repair men have arrived at last to work on the chimney at Washington House, having said that they look a right bunch of pirates, I still can't see the place selling unless the price is dropped substantially. Only one hiccup at Casa Anderson, we needed a couple of our new kitchen appliances sorted, small details but we are insured and phoned up, no one turned up, we checked and found out making the appointment was up to us, not them. I duly phoned up only to be told the job number was now redundant(?) and I had to go back to the insurance for a new one, I was told this by an extremely rude and curt woman whose neck I would gladly have strangled had the technology to allow my hand down the phone existed. Everything is now almost fine, the cooker hood guy turned up without the part we had said was defective, and yes, it has to be ordered up, so we will see him again.

I have had a little fun at the expense of the call centres this week, I told one looking for the business owner that I had just killed them and buried them in the back garden and was just about to make my getaway, unphased he continued to ask to speak to the corpses. The second, from Scottish Power, I informed that I did not like Scotland and was happy with my English electricity, it amused me and I had time to kill obviously.

Well Mr. Trump is now president of the most powerful country in the world and the very dodgy woman isn't. He is going to make America 'great' again which usually means powerful and it is already powerful how he will tackle poverty, loss of jobs, bad education, crime, drugs and a hundred other things which actually mean something to real people more than aircraft carriers and missiles, I don't know but I suspect that things won't really change much for them in that department over the next four years. I have however taken immense pleasure in watching those who are against Trump and their tantrums over the past few days, "he is not my president" yes he is love. And how will breaking windows, overturning rubbish bins and lighting cars up cause Trump to take pause. Once again we have a huge number of people who now do not like their voting system because it turned up the 'wrong' result, I as an outsider find the whole American system unfathomable, I have read it was fine when the country was expanding and finding its feet but for a modern state it may not be the best way to elect your leader, but I really don't know.

Were you in Edinburgh on New Years Eve, did the 'quietists' get their way? A bunch of fun killers, well one or two, maybe a couple more, complained that the noise of the fireworks was too much. The council immediately told them to clear off, no, they didn't, they seriously debated having non-noise making fireworks, completely taking away one of the two reasons why fireworks are fun, take the noise away and the pretty explosions are pretty much naff. I didn't even know you could get non- noise fireworks, as I said what would be the point, its one night a year for heavens sake.

Here's a new one for the crime statute books, a 'non-crime hate incident', yes I know it doesn't make sense but PC Plod will investigate you for it. Amber Rudd Secretary of State for the Home Department said in a speech to keep the unwashed happy that it would be made harder for British firms to employ migrants, typical political rhetoric, but an Oxford professor decided to take umbrage on behalf of all those migrants who might find it harder to get a job and reported her to the police.

I see Boris has been upsetting the apple cart again, his off the cuff remarks about Francois Hollande and his 'punishment beatings' on the UK for having the temerity to leave the EU has caused a storm in a teacup. No one reported what Hollande had said to make Johnson take umbrage however, but a few days later we have the pipsqueak Prime Minister of Malta, that great European powerhouse, saying that the EU 'needs' yes 'needs' to ensure the UK does not get a decent leaving deal. He and others should at least have the decency after all we have contributed to instead give us a fair deal and wish us well.

And as for us helping those more unfortunate than ourselves, we continue to give Pakistan, a country with nuclear submarines and missiles (but no decent toilets) our hard earned cash. Not only that, we have modernised our largesse by giving out cash cards with which the poor of Pakistan can now withdraw British money from ATM's, you don't see Malta doing that now do you.

I always thought that one big mistake the NHS made was to ensure that nurses had a degree, out went the old style nurse who, if you are a certain age, you will remember was always smart, clean, crisp, professional and there when you needed her. Having a degree changed all that so no more dirty work, that was for the plebs, shove on the old overalls and lets hang about the consoles. Now I hear that to join the Police Force, oh dear, Police Service, force won't do any more of course, you also will need a degree. Mind you if you think about it the old Bobby disappeared a long time ago as did fighting real crime so this measure will simply squeeze out the very last vestiges of the idea of having to serve the public to policing them.

The loons are still out there, what do you make of this "It's about respecting people's right to define themselves as neither male nor female" so if you are not one or the other what exactly are you, we don't have a 'right' to be whatever we want or don't want and we certainly don't have a right to have others believe the same way we do and act accordingly and it certainly doesn't get you respect. This week Jeremy I am a tree.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Lords of Midnight

Apart from less than a handful of computer games I have generally been more than disappointed with most of them. It sounds perfect, letting the PC do all the hard work while you get on with conquering the planet, but I always find that the PC is a cheating so and so, it always seems to win no matter what you try. The answer of course is to get one you can play be email or in real time, but you still need that staple of wargamers, a dedicated opponent which even online is hard to find.

I have played some dreadful tactical games which purported to be proper wargames but in fact the only thing they had in common with their period was the box art, but non miniature gamers seem to get sucked in every time and sing their praises, while I look for the returns label.

I did enjoy Steel Panthers, along with an Eastern Front game which I can't remember any other details of, I leant it to a friend and never got it back and Dawn of War. Now I am going to have to admit I was pretty much addicted to DoW for a long time, the game was just perfect and exciting. I also dabbled with Company of Heroes and European Escalation which were good but didn't grab me the way DoW had.

A long time ago before we had any real sophisticated games, when Manic Miner was top of the charts I played a little gem way ahead of its time called Lords of Midnight, originally made for the Sinclair Spectrum. The game was a fantasy type effort which you could play in a purely military way or complete a quest or try to win attempting both at once. Basically you were the good guys and had to defeat the bad guy, otherwise known as Doomdark before he could take over the land of Midnight, as I said you could meet him on the field of battle by recruiting lords to your armies and conquering his citadel or you could use a character to destroy the Ice Crown.

For some reason I looked this game up the other night and lo and behold it is still available for almost every computer platform you can think of and there are a couple of add ons, Doomdark's Revenge for one. I splashed out £2.99 and it is now on my iPad although I haven't been able to begin a campaign yet I will at some point.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Anglevari, Auxilium Palatinum

That's my third battle formation ready for the new Romans, I am getting on a lot faster than I thought, which means I am a fast painter or don't have much to do of an evening, or I am using my time constructively during the winter period, I'm going for the latter. This leaves me only sixteen skirmishers on the tray which I suspect will be complete by the end of tonight and ready for varnishing and basing. I do have an order sitting at Footsore for my Foederati infantry and last night I put a second order in to get some officers and my Noble cavalry, I am hoping the former turn up before the weekend.

The reason for the two quick orders is that I have realised I don't need to wait until I have amassed the full 3000+ points I would like before fielding them, you know I have wargamers OCD and won't use substitutes unless I have to, so I realised that I should paint up 2,000 to use at the club, then extend to 2,500 for the gaming weekends, then the rest so I can choose different troop types and also have the army cover two lists, Late and Patrician Roman. So in order to get on I needed some cavalry, hence the second order, I also happen to think that those two lists should be one, but I need to do a lot more research, if only for my own benefit to understand the armies better.

I have a big game coming up on Saturday against my sons Carolingians, having pulled a victory from the jaws of defeat the last time we met I want to do better, I also want to go back to a 'vanilla' Romano-British army as I have a couple of ideas up my sleeve I want to try out.

Its suddenly dawned on me that I did not show you my second battle formation, I posted it on a couple of FB groups and obviously it then slipped my mind, so here better late than never are the Lanciarii Gallicani Honoriani. Legio Comitatensis.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017


I don't know where the time goes, up by 08 double oh, showered, bases on the new Romans painted, emails and Facebook sorted, shops, double espresso chocolate digestive, bases drybrushed, metal bits painted and now the club report, not to mention the finishing touches later this afternoon, starting on a new map project and the pub at four. Who needs exercise, no wait, most of that is sitting down.

I was introducing Julian to War and Conquest last night, as he wasn't sure about how the armies were organised I put together two which were the same size, with the same number of units but allowing for slight differences. 'The Last of the Romans' vs Saxon Heptarchy, Julian chose the Saxons, despite me pushing him as a novice towards the Romano-British, although a fairly stand up fight I do think the Brits have a slight advantage as the Saxon player needs to use the terrain to his advantage and also manoeuvre when he can.

We also used the objective cards as they are in the rulebook and I though he might as well play the first game the way it is meant to be played, I had to take the middle of the table and he had to kill my two most expensive units. Throughout the game I would of course answer questions and give him options on tactics when the situation arose.

The game was pretty straightforward and I pushed my infantry line on the centre, Julian, as new players tend to do in games took things more slowly and formed shieldwall but sent his cavalry at speed against my thinly held left. I dodged the cavalry and sent my own to help, this little action was a non event as the Saxon cavalry never managed to catch me and I didn't, until near the end, manage to inflict a lot of missile casualties on them. However, in the centre I had stupidly pushed one infantry unit up further than the others and it took some horrendous casualties from shooting, Julian could do no wrong during this phase and it was worrying me.

My shooting dice!
 I had taken the centre but kept quiet as I wanted a good fight, perhaps I should have mentioned it as it would have forced Julian to move his men out of shieldwall and towards the centre to stop me claiming it, but I didn't. Despite the talking and demonstrations we managed to get to move five with about 45 minutes left, we had not had a combat so I charged one of my units in to give an example of melee, to my surprise I won, but Julian's morale held up so we went on to his turn, he threw caution to the wind and charged where he could. I won all the combats, I was obviously better at fighting than shooting, but to my chagrin he made three morale rolls of three or under on three dice! The melees would continue, I was winning but time was running out and the Saxons should have been gentlemen and fled. Right on the last turn I did burst the first unit and that was it, as we surveyed the battlefield it looked like three to me and one to Julian as eventually his bodyguard got into the fray.

The main point was that he enjoyed the game and perhaps I have made another convert at the club, that is four of us now who are willing to play and enjoy the game, two of those are building or going to build an army as well, result.

Elsewhere we had Bloodbowl and two boardgames, one a typical wargame and the other looked to be a modern fantasy type game. In the yellow corner we had a demo game of Swordpoint between Late Saxons and Normans, there were a lot of troops on the table, which looked to disadvantage the cavalry army, but these suffer on most 6x4 tables I find, in 28mm anyway. I listened to some of the comments as the game was cleared away and they seemed positive. War and Conquest does what it says on the tin for me, so I'm sorted in that department, am I an old duffer who doesn't like change, no I don't think so as I have embraced several new games over the past two years or so, but once I get something I like it would take a bomb to shift me.

Swordpoint game.
The photographs are not very good with a slight blur, my apologies.