Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Richard Berg

It was sad to hear of the passing of the legendary board wargaming designer Richard Berg last week. His Pax Romana is one of the top three board wargames ever made* and he really had a giant influence on the hobby. He divides opinions like almost no one else, but when he was good he was very good indeed.

I don't have any stories of contact with the great man myself, but wargame buddy Pat did tell me how in pre-internet days he and a friend had once rung him from Canada at a tense moment to resolve a critical rules issue. Apparently Mr. Berg was very gracious about being woken up in the middle of the night. Whether he was able to provide a satisfactory answer to Pat's rules query is harder to say!

I tell you what though, being the guy who designed Pax Romana, Rise of the Roman Republic, Terrible Swift Sword, SuccessorsGreat Battles of Alexander and many more is a pretty decent legacy.

Cast a cold eye 
On life, on death. 
Horseman, pass by!





* IMHO, obviously.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

A Napoleonic Affair

Last weekend I was lucky enough to be invited out to attend a 28mm Napoleonic wargame put on by local wargamer Roundie and his mate Keith, using the General d'Armee rules.

As far as I can recall, it's only the second Napoleonic miniatures game I've ever played - the first being some 25 years ago! - and it was simply magnificent. Roundie's table, terrain and figures were marvellous to behold. Honestly, it was like stepping into a wargames glossy photo shoot. Having been used to a rather more modest approach to wargames terrain, I was blown away by the spectacle.

And the rules and scenario weren't bad either. As part of the Austrian command, our mission was to clear two hills situated either side of a prominent church. We had five brigades - two of line infantry, one of grenadiers, two of horse - with which to do it, and were up against six or seven French brigades.

Without boring people with all the details, we got our artillery into good positions which allowed us to take toll of the French first encountered, and thence to eventually get onto the hill on our right. But there were too many French for us to drive off completely, and we never quite had the command resources to get our cavalry into play early enough to make a difference.

The game itself was very good. The scenario was nicely (im)balanced, with the Austrians having initial deployment and weight-of-numbers advantages offset by French proximity to objectives and quantity of reserves.

I thought the rules were straightforward and play was driven by a pleasing mix of player decisions and dumb luck. The command and control mechanisms were playable and easy to understand, but still involved giving orders. There were obvious advantages to wearing down the enemy, but melee combat was risky, and even the best prepared attacks could go wrong.

It was a great day, and I really enjoyed getting the opportunity to command troops in such a magnificent setting.

To finish, I'll chuck on a few photos of the action.

Showing the Austrian advance and the two hills that were our objectives.

Showing the centre where a hasty attack launched by the Austrians in an effort to dislodge the French from the leftmost hill ended badly for the aggressors.

Matters proceed more advantageously on the Austrian right, where the guns wear down the enemy as the line infantry advance into position to assault the hill.

We get onto one hill...

...and the French charge down on us from the other.

Things look grim for the Austrian centre, but the deployment of the guns will throw back the  French attack.

On our right we get onto the hill in force, and will not be dislodged now. With neither side achieving their objectives, the game is an honourable draw.
(Gratuitous shot of the French cavalry...)

(Another gratuitous shot, this time of one of our brave battalions taking the hill)

As I say, a most enjoyable day of gaming with our host Roundie, Keith umpiring, and the fearsome French under Rob and Michael. I would certainly want to play these rules again.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Tore Down

Hello all, long time no post. Still in New Zealand, and while I've been lucky enough to meet up with a group of gamers locally, I've not had the time to really take advantage of the fact. But if there hasn't been much wargaming doing, there has at least been some occasional jamming down at one of the local bars.

So in that spirit - and while I wait for the wargaming side of things to pick up - here's a bit of the late great one and only Rory Gallagher.

Hope any readers who may see this are well and in good fighting fettle!


Monday, March 18, 2019

Recent goings on

Hello again all; have been off the radar for the last couple of months for various reasons, so I thought it was probably about time to drop in with an update.

Not much of wargaming note has taken place, though I did manage a Vassal game of Decision Games's Battle for Germany with boardgame mate Pat (late of Kobe, but now in Kyoto). It's a fun game, and it was neck and neck until Pat liberated Berlin with his Russians.

Funnily enough, I've managed a spot of painting, in this case for the old man's Settlers of Catan variant, which needed some 'desert raiders'. Twenty-four 1/72 figures from the HAT Almoravids box did the trick, and the painted figures do add something to the game. Settlers is a bit of a family favourite, and has taken over from Risk as the default when it's gaming time, so I expect they'll get plenty of use. The price of paints and painting supplies over here did make me gasp somewhat, however. I'm used to paying NZ$2-3 in Japan, so I just about blew a gasket in the store that passes for a hobby shop in Nelson.

I also had to do a quick return to Japan for family reasons in early March, and while there found Tsukuda Games's Battle for Hoth in a second hand store. The box is pretty beaten up, but everything else is in good nick (provided the treatment I'm adopting to straighten out the warped boards works!), so it was a nice little score, I think. The same shop had the other two in the series too - set on Endor and the Death Star - but those appealed to me less, and I only had so much room in the suitcase given the need to bring in some reasonably priced paints!

The game (photo nicked from user Matt Boehland at boardgamegeek)


To finish on a less happy note, as readers may be aware, New Zealand was hit by a terrorist attack last Friday. It was not the sort of thing you like to see anywhere. I won't go on about it, but felt it needed to be mentioned.

Anyway, until next time!


Friday, January 11, 2019

All flocked

Have finally managed to get all the 15mm figures painted during the big push last year flocked and ready to go.



It's a bit of an eclectic mix, but especially pleasing were figures that came from fellow bloggers. One set, from Aaron Hunt, was kindly sent to add to my Dux Bellorum project. They are a mix of Old Glory Saxons and Germans, and they were very nice to paint, even though they were done quickly. For my purposes they will be mercenaries or local roustabouts. Many thanks, Aaron!



The other set of models comes from Jonathan Freitag. These four Carthaginian chariots will add weight and heft to my existing (but previously puny) chariot arm and turn them into a force to be reckoned with. Many thanks! Sorry that the photography is a bit off, and the painting is not quite up to Jonathan's own high standards.



The other big talking point is the infantry for my long suffering nascent Achaemenid Persian force. Mystified readers may wonder why they are flocked in green: the answer is that in my wargaming world, everyone is flocked in green.




So there we are. Nice to have them done, and very pleasing to now have more contingents from greatly esteemed bloggers to point out to anyone who happens to show any interest in my poor collection!




Sunday, December 30, 2018

December game day

We had a very successful session of gaming at house Prufrock today, thanks to the fellows who turned up in spite of the congested social calendar at this time of year. At least one intrepid attendee spent a good part of the day dodging the after effects of an office bonenkai party, yet still dealt with the vicissitudes of on-table fortune with something close to aplomb. It was also - for the first time - a multi-generational affair: our young lad and some of the other offspring were able to get into some video gaming in one room while 'the adults' were messing about on the floor with plastic models in the other.

And thanks are also due to our wives or partners, without whose support and indulgence (to a greater or lesser degree!) of our penchant for play this kind of thing cannot go smoothly. I suppose, from my own dearly beloved's perspective, ordering early Saturday afternoon pizza for a bunch of wargamers is an order of magnitude less trying than getting a call at 3am asking her to come and peel a 'tired and emotional' husband off the footpath somewhere, but you can't be sure.*

But to the games: the first event was the game of What a Tanker that I've been going on about here on the blog interminably for quite some time. It went pretty well, and people picked up the rules fast. There is a jovial quality to the game, and no one took success too well or its opposite too badly.

The Allies got a bit beaten up, losing three tanks and almost a fourth, but they did put up a brave fight. Ironically, it was not the Panther G and Jagdpanzer IV who did most of the damage, but the lowly Panzer IV G, probably because everyone was so anxious to knock out the big cat that they ignored the hamster!

I didn't have much time to take photos, but here are a few shots:

Late game carnage.

The brave Crusader III, out of time, but not lacking in fight! He actually survived the battle, miraculously.
(Photo courtesy of Pat H)


The Hamster IV G's handiwork... (Photo again courtesy Pat H).

The German high command, including a rare photo of the author, the bald dwarf to the left.
(Photo once more courtesy of Pat H).

But more fun than this was the after lunch entertainment, Luke's game of Zombicide. Now, I'm not a zombie guy - I've never seen the attraction in the genre - but this was a lot of fun. The six of us had to cooperate to achieve missions while evading or massacring the zombie hordes which were rising up to bar our way. We started out with nothing but fry pans and a pistol, but through assiduous ransacking of the town found what we needed to win. I enjoyed it far more than I ever thought I would, and I think I'll be looking for a copy. Thanks Luke!

Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos of this, but the other fellows did, so hopefully I can nab some of theirs and add them in later.

And there we have it: a really enjoyable day. Thanks to all who came along, and to all who made it possible.

*AHEM, any similarity here to real life persons or events is purely coincidental, and would have happened so long ago as to be almost not worth mentioning anymore anyway. 


Friday, December 28, 2018

2018 painting review

Surprisingly, 2018 has been by far the best year of painting I've yet had.

Somehow, towards the end of the year, and in place of my usual shiftlessness, a sort of  'just paint it' mentality developed. I think in part it was a reaction to the fact that I knew I was probably going to be moving country at some point, and so clearing out all those boxes of primed but unpainted figures became a necessity.

But it wasn't only that: the painting drive was also assisted by purchases of some mainly painted figure lots, which gave impetus to a couple of projects and made quickly putting together playable forces possible. Being able to imagine a game after a month's work is far preferable to being able to envisage several months of work and several months more work yet, so thanks and appreciation is due to the suppliers of those lots.

15mm painting motivation was also provided by a review owed, by some figures won in a competition on Jonathan's blog, and by general feelings of desperation and guilt.

The thing I'm most pleased about though is getting the 1/72 What a Tanker project off the ground and ready for a game. That one required starting from scratch in a new scale, learning new skills and techniques, and experimenting until things were at an acceptable level of quality. At first I was very unsure how to approach it all. I'd even planned to do it in 6mm, but while waiting for my Heroics and Ros purchases to arrive, I wandered into a newly opened toy store and seeing the models there I just thought 'man, you're in the best country in the world for 1/72 kit. Just do it!' And so I bought a stack of them and the decision was made.

There are some disappointments, however. I didn't get the Union figures finished to partner the 1/72 Confederates that were done, and I made no progress with 1/3000 naval.

Still, there's always 2019!

On that note, I'd like to wish everyone all the best for the coming year, and hope that you all live well, that you keep your loved ones constantly apprised of your regard for them, and that you prosper greatly!

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