Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Monday, February 10, 2020

And the damage?

A preliminary inspection of the most vulnerable of the 15mm figure lots seems to indicate that they've made it to the southern hemisphere relatively unscathed. I was packing my pants a little when I saw that one of the A4 sized file drawers had collapsed in on itself; miraculously, however, there appears not to have been any crushing damage to speak of, and those layers of protective clear varnish did their bit for the cause.

There may yet be some tears to come, but so far so good!

One of my first acts must be to put on a game for some of the Nelson wargamers who've welcomed me so kindly.

So now there's just the small matter of deciding what that game should be...

As a postscript, I was quite amused to see that Pat, one of my board wargame mates in Japan, was so taken with last year's What a Tanker! game that he's possessed himself of a very fine collection of Dragon and Hobby Master 1/72 AFVs, and looks as if he's going to start converting the neighbours!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Personal effects

Good news: boxes from Japan containing (amongst other things) wargaming articles have arrived in Christchurch, and once these have satisfied the eagle eye of the Customs master, they will wend their way up through the Lewis Pass to Richmond, thence into storage until we move into our new address at the end of the month.

In the meantime I've been amusing myself by taking the family to the beach, reading books, and watching films.

1917, episodic and mythic in its telling, was one film I found slightly too long in the theatre, but that I have since had a lot of fun correlating to remembered scraps of Arthurian Romance, Herculean labour, and Medieval allegory.

The King I also enjoyed, as a re-imagining of another type of myth.

Moving to books, I can hardly believe I had never come across V.M Yeates's Winged Victory before. I saw it in two separate charity shops in the same week, and deciding that this must be a sign, bought it in the second. It certainly was a sign: it is brilliant. I haven't dreaded the end of a book as much as I dread the end of this one for a long time. There are some thirty pages to go, and I fear to read them. I had to write this post now just so that I could come back in the future and remember the feeling of not-having-quite-finished it.

The descriptions of flight are astoundingly good, the metaphors are fresh and striking, and the way he captures character is masterly. When you think of literary depictions of drinking, you think of Hemingway and Fitzgerald, but the ones here are something else. A book to come back to again and again, I think.

Finally the beach: the young 'uns are absolutely loving having waves to play about in, sand that you can build castles out of, and a seaside not crowded with people and plastic rubbish. Their timidity around bugs and critters has also reduced remarkably. They're picking up sea creatures and sand dwellers with the best of them, swatting flies, and mentally preparing to crush white-tailed spiders. These may not seem like such big things, but it was only two months ago that they would yell if they encountered a moth!

Anyway, happy New Year all, and I hope that 2020 will be as good a year for readers as it possibly can be.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Bits and pieces, and a wargame.

As must be fairly obvious from the lack of postings on this blog, there hasn't been a lot of recent action on the wargaming front for the relocated Prufrock. But there has been plenty going on in other areas of life.

On the not-so-good side, we lost our much loved patriarch at the end of September after he finally succumbed to that insidious disease which picks people off from families everywhere. He was brave to the last and it was a privilege and a blessing to have had him in our lives.

Similarly, it was a mournful evening last week when the mighty English blasted our noble All Blacks to smithereens in Yokohama.

More positively, South Africa then crushed the English in turn to win a well-deserved third World Cup title. To be honest, I would have been almost as happy had England won - so good was their performance the previous week - but for the South Africans to triumph after having looked a shadow of their former selves not so long ago is great for rugby and for their country. It also gives nice bragging rights to the host country - the only game they lost was to the eventual champions!

The job is going well, house hunting is about to begin, and my wife and kids are moving over at the end of November, so this drawn-out process is now starting to look like it is producing results. It's been a long few months since February, but video phones are a wonderful thing!

Despite everything else that's been going on, there has been some gaming: I introduced a friend to Commands & Colors: Ancients not so long ago; while an epic night of rum and chess at an old school mate's place in Rarangi will live in the memory.

To close, here are a few pics of the last miniatures game I participated in, this one being a huge ACW battle in 28mm at Roundie's. It was a fine contest with plenty of blood and thunder, and even a crossroads.

The battlefield looking from the Union left.

The Union right centre catches a Confederate force in their tents.

The Union centre.

"Here they come, boys!"

And here we come on the left...

The fighting on the Union right was grim right from the beginning.

We race to defeat the Confederate left.

"Push on, gentlement!"

"Come and get us!"

We deployed quite craftily as defenders and I thought we'd done enough to beat those damnable Secessionists, but it was not to be. They held on their left, but we (mostly...) controlled the centre and pushed them on their right to take the advantage in victory dice scored. Unlike with victory points, however, victory dice still have to be rolled - and we rolled miserably, giving the staunch men in grey and butternut a famous victory.

As you can see, Roundie's table and figures are really something.

So there we are. Hope all readers are well and in fine fettle.

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!

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