Monday, 24 July 2017

Off the Painting Table (July 2017)

I have finally completed my 15mm France 1940 German forces.

The tanks and vehicles are fairly standard fair; just Panzer grey with no fancy camo or markings. The main point of interest are the Pz38(t) which are 3D-printed models. They painted up very well and mix nicely with the other metal Peter Pig models. I also have 3D-printed trucks and a kubelwagon, which are satisfactory but less detailed. For my French army I still need some S-35 tanks, and I now intend buying the 3D-printed versions to fill this hole in the army.

The German infantry are again fairly standard, but I did paint the German flag and arm insignia on the helmets which makes a nice (but small) change from mid or late war Germans. In addition, I have painted a few bases of civilian refugees (not shown) to add some period flavour.

My forces are now complete and nicely add up to 2,000 points a side using the Blitzkrieg Commander version 2 rules. Notice I have reverted back to version 2. Further reading of the new version 3 rules continues to throw up problems e.g. the lists as written show a Pz38(t) gun is the same as that found in a Tiger-I tank! Both have an AT rating of 5/100! Looking online it is clear that others have found similar issues, so until the problems are fully addressed by the publisher, my copy of version 3 will be consigned to the attic! I suspect the problem lies in the fact that Pendraken wanted to release at the Salute show and therefore rushed the final stages of proof-reading and publication to meet this deadline. Major mistakes were not picked up and a sub-standard set of rules was released. I think the number of errors cannot be solved by a simple pdf correction file, and the version 3 rules should be withdrawn from sale. A revised set of rules should be published at a future date, with a sizable discount for those customers who have already bought the existing version 3 publication. Rant over! I think the BKC debacle provides a valuable lesion to all rule writers/publishers i.e. get it right and don’t rush the printing.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Show Report - Attack 2017

This weekend, my local club (Devizes) held its annual show, ‘Attack’. I feel this is the quintessential ‘old school’ type of show; a good but limited range of traders, plus a decent number of demo/participation games that are not too flashy and, on the whole, are achievable by many gamers, both at home and at club meetings. In addition there were a range of friendly, well attended competition games and the overall attendance was not too crowded, so getting to see and speak to traders was not a chore.

On the purchasing front I managed to buy most of what I planned, plus a few impulse buys. I was surprised that there was not a dedicated Flames of War supplier considering the sizable competition being held. Luckily the early war models I wanted were available on a stand selling 3D-printed models (Vector Designer Maker) at a fraction of the Battlefront prices. They looked surprisingly detailed and the range was extensive. I have no previous experience of 3D-printed figures so was keen to try them out. The base model looks rather garish (red plastic), and needs some trimming and tidying up with a sharp modelling knife. I next washed with detergent, dried and under-coated with black primer, which covered OK. I look forward to painting them up and comparing them to other resin and metal models. My first impressions suggest that 3D-printing has a bright future in the hobby, and as technology improves and costs fall I can see gamers purchasing files and printing at home!

The B&B at Attack is always excellent, not too crowded with a good range of objects for sale. This year I managed to sell a few odds and ends, and the money raised covered all my purchases. In fact at the end of the show I was slightly in profit! I managed to chat and catch up with many friends, including Graham, who was over from Belgium and playing in the FoW competition (he came 6th, a bit disappointing for him). Most of my time was spend viewing the games on display. The games that stood out for me at the show included:

A large 28mm WW2 Sword beach assault using Rapid Fire rules (Exceterford Wargamers(?)). This not a set of rules I particularly like, but the landing craft and DD tanks etc. were a joy to see. There was a FIW skirmish game using 42mm ‘toy soldier’ style figures (DDWG, Clive). This was a truly ‘old school’ game and the extraneous vignettes (e.g. pumpkin field, fish eagle, moose etc.) really bought life to the game. In addition, the large WW1 Wings of War game that is a regular feature at the show was impressive, as was a 54mm NW Frontier game, which was also nicely modelled. The was a nice 28mm ECW game (Last Chance Wargamers) and a demo game for a set of ECW rules (Bicorne Miniatures).

At the end of the weekend I spent a couple of hours helping to clear up. I think attending gamers should more appreciate the amount of effort the organising clubs put into holding such a show; it is not simply a money raising endeavour but requires an enormous amount of planning and work by club volunteers. So, my thanks go to all fellow DDWG members and I look forward to next years show!

Monday, 10 July 2017

Boardgame session 9July2017

It has been a while since my last post. Our diary has been pretty packed for most of 2017 so far, and gaming (especially wargaming) has therefore taken a back seat. On Sunday, our friends Val and Chris came for a boardgame session, and I was keen to revive an old favourite ‘Glory to Rome’. Elaine and I played a practice game on the Saturday to re-familiarise ourselves with the rules, which seem simple but hide the complex underlying strategy of the multi-use card deck. Elaine won convincingly by getting off to a fast start in terms of buildings and good combinations of their special abilities, and I spent my time trying to catch up with her.

The 4 player game on Sunday flowed well, both Val and Chris picked up the rules quickly, and the result was a clear win for myself. I think the higher player count improves the game and certainly increases to use of the attacking ‘Legionary’ role. I also think the ‘Merchant’ role is under appreciated and I gained significant points by doing this role at key moments in the game. I have the early version of the game (with the 4 card decks in a plastic flip-box) and really like the cartoon style of the artwork. I know many prefer the ‘Black Box’ edition, but I think the more abstract, line drawing artwork lacks theme and is not appealing. In conclusion, ‘Glory to Rome’ remains one of my favourite games and deserves to be played more frequently.