Saturday, 24 May 2014

Oh Nigel, what a C.N.T !!......Or how not to play Chain of Command

It seemed like such a good idea, go to the club, with a shiny new set of rules, and have a go at playing them.
So, duly armed with a copy of these

Off I trot, over to New Buckenham, with a car full of Spain, in the shape of my buildings, trees, and assorted Spanish Civil War figures
Now what follows, is not a review, more of a post mortem, on how not to put on a play test.
Ok, I admit it, mistakes were made, the first of which, was thinking I could blag my way through the game, without an in-depth read of the rules themselves, I had watched some very fine videos, made by the Lardies, that went some way to explaining the rules, so I had a limited knowledge of how the rules worked, a very very very limited knowledge as it turned out!!! Learning point No1, there is no substitute  for actually playing a few turns on your own, and actually reading the rulebook.
I had took the time to print out all the required gaming aids, generously supplied by the TooFatLardies Forum, and had given them a cursory glance, not realising that I had not printed out a full QRS, just the supplement for the SCW version, oh look yet another mistake.

Time for a distracting photo, oh look a table with some stuff on it

So, here is the table layout, game was played from end to end, using the "Assault the Objective" scenario, with the objective being the road exit nearest the camera, deemed the road to Madrid. The village was defended by the F.A.I/C.N.T militia, and the attackers were the Spanish Foreign Legion.
Support options, oh dear....I had no idea how to work these out, and I fudged my way through the list, and this went  a long way to spoiling the game :-(
I gave the Militia too much support, then ended up with a platoon of hardened militia, a support Tiznao, off board artillery, and a sniper team!! The Legionarios got a Panzer 1A, and a unit of Moroccan scouts, fortunately the Pz1 was a godsend, as its 12 dice for the twin MGs, at least gave them some much needed firepower.

The Foreign Legion with their terror weapon, the dreaded Panzer 1

We start the game, by playing through the patrol phase, now this takes a bit of working out, and for gamers used to bunging a load of figures onto the table, and getting on with it, it did seem a bit mad to be shuffling little round markers about. I think we managed to do this bit ok, and we managed, after some judicious circle shuffling, to get the jump off points sorted.
The rules are quite easy, once you get your head around them, and they would play really well, if you had an umpire who knew what they were doing, sadly we did not!!
I muffed it up completely, the two sides were badly worked out, I had not got the commands worked out properly, so there was just a platoon sergeant, and whatever junior NCOs the sections had, including the Militia, who should not have had any junior leaders!! Not that it mattered, because I failed to use any of them properly anyway. If Mr Dickhead had read the rules, and had played around with them a bit, he would have realised that Junior leaders can undertake TWO ACTIONS, which includes removing shock markers.
We managed to work our way through the basics, and we played a game, of sorts, it was not a game of Chain of Command, more of a hastily assembled balls up, with a set of rules sort of played in bits. 

Overall, Chain of Command are going to be a very good set of rules, for The Spanish Civil War, they play well, add the right amount of friction, and take away that godlike control, that players have over their forces. The added nuances for the period specific lists bring that extra flavour I wanted. 
Next time, it will be a lot better, so its thanks to Andy, Steve,Stuart and Alan for helping me blunder my way through the game, and I hope my pathetic efforts ahve not put them off having another crack at the rules in a month or so.

Here's a few jolly pictures to end this sorry tale.

Until next time folks

Friday, 16 May 2014

Oooooooooooh, An Osprey, on the Spanish Civil War.......How Exciting

Saw it, ordered it...and its now arrived at Higgins Towers, so lets give it a little review.
Now, I need to warn folks in advance, I am not a massive fan of the Osprey series, yes they are useful, in their own little way, but I have had "facts" gleaned from these books, shoved down my throat as being "accurate" when they clearly are not. The imagery being a case in point, there is a large amount of artistic licence, and supposition used to construct the colour plates, and the number of arguments I have had over some of these plates......sheesh!
So look at the pretty pics, and don't read the words, because I will not pull any punches :-)
So, we have a nice shiny cover, and the alarm bells ring immediately, the centre figure, oh great, a Moroccan cavalry guard, from Franco's personal bodyguard, thats one wasted image straight away. So we have a quick shuftie, because lets be honest here, the first thing we all look at in an Osprey, are the colour plates, so here are some teeny images of the plates

I've made them teeny, because its a bit naughty to add all the colour plates, for people to pinch :-)
First plate, oh look, its Franco!!! Ho hum kinda guessed he would be in here somewhere, as the book covers the Nationalist side, the other plates are Ok, nicely drawn? Well yes they are, good gritty images, some of them based on period photos, which is a nice touch.
Now the problems, you know its not going to be great, when the author tells you its "just a taster" so if you were expecting an indepth look at the Nationalist army, prepare to be disappointed, as the book is little more than a cursory glance, a case in point being the last colour plate, you get a Blueshirt from O'Duffy's legion, O'Duffy himself, a Portuguese Viriato, and one, yes folks just the one image of an Italian from the CTV. Yes I know that there is another Osprey on the Italian blackshirts, but why waste space on two images from a unit that did absolutely F**k all in the war, and whilst we are on the theme of wasted images, we have Franco, why? We also get a plate dedicated to the Navy and Air Force, nope, don't need them either,and of course there is the aforementioned Moroccan mounted guardsman.
Missed opportunities, yes indeed, but I suppose as a "taster" we were not going to get much else really.

Overall verdict, plates are nice, text is adequate for an intro to the Nationalist side in the conflict, would I feel inspired to delve deeper into the conflict, after reading this book? Hard for me to say, I shall have to lend my copy to a mate, who has little interest in the period, to see what they think. Its a crying shame that the Spanish Civil War gets such limited exposure from Osprey, with a decent author, and some more inspiring plates, you could easily break the Nationalist forces down into three, or four very good books, as it stands I suppose we should be grateful for this "taster"
The Republican version will be with us next year, yes folks next year, as Osprey undoubtedly have lots more WW2 German, or Napoleonic bit part players to release first. Cynical Moi?

So SCW fans, another tome to add to your collections, as we will all buy a copy, because lets be honest, any book is bette than no book at all :-(

Saturday, 10 May 2014

A Slow Advance..........No Rushing Forwards Here!!!

Not a lot done on the figure fondling front this week, have been busy penning an article for Wargames Soldiers and Strategy Magazine, all about the dark art of scratch building :-)

So just a teeny weeny update, and some idiot musings for your perusal this time.
More old pony, and motorcycling madness on the desk, lets have a dekko at the pony rider first
I've done a small amount of work, mostly on the horse, just need to highlight the mane and tail, then its onto the horse furniture. The Militia man has had the base colour of his jacket/shirt put on, and the black base of his gorillo hat painted on, I've started to lay on the dark pre shade on his ammunition bandolier, will crack a bit more tomorrow, as I have a few painting hours planned.
The biker? Well he's coming on a treat, and I'm a bit chuffed with how he's looking. The head swap is done, and I removed the bugle, and rifle. Scratchbuilt him a canteen, and he's taking a well earned drink after blasting his way to the HQ, with a despatch. The bike is an ongoing thing at the moment. I've added the saddlebags, and filed away a big square lump on the tank, in an effort to make the model less "German" looking Next step, scratch build some handlebars, and a good clean up of all the mould lines.

A bit of ebay jiggery poker, and I am now the proud owner of this
A good old Schnieder CA1, more rubbish armour to frustrate the lads in a game or two. I think its a Company B model, its pretty good too.

Finally, I made the trip back over to New Buckenham, and had my first game in a very long time. You need to keep playing, just to keep your enthusiasm going. Its always a bit of a danger going over there, as you can easily be led astray, and before you know it, you are tip tapping away, and ordering more dead lead to add to the stockpile!!!
This time round however, I came the the realisation, that I have far too much stuff, in different periods that I will never be able to get round to painting, so, some of it will have to go.
I am concentrating my efforts now, on my SCW stuff, and the last leg of the Pyhrric army that has haunted my painting desk for too many months to mention. In between burst of frenetic painty type activity, I will be making various models too.

Until next time painting comrades.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Giddy Up and Brrrrmmmmmm

Back to the heat of Spain, and the pile of Spanish Civil War stuff laying about the desk of doom.
Easing myself gently back into the figure molesting malarkey, after a few months of hacking plasticard, and sniffing MekPak.
So we are starting with a couple of forms of one man transportation.

The Horseman is an obvious one, he will end up as a mounted Miliciano, keeping his eye on the road to Madrid. A simple head swap, on one of the Musketeer Miniatures BUF cavalry, and he gets a horse I happen to have laying about.
The motorcyclist however, will require some "surgery", as will his mode of transport. The bike is German WW2, from Foundry, I'm guessing its a BMW, lots of flash, and missing a fair bit of detail, that is of course until I have finished farting about with it!!
The figure, well, he will have a head swap, his Bugle removed ( ooooohhh Matron, that sounds painful) and he will lose the rifle, have that hand twisted round to grip the bike handlebars,the other hand will hold a suitable receptacle for the transportation of fluids ( bottle ,or water bottle)

The fun has already begun, and this is the progress so far :-)

So, the Spanish Civil War project lurches back into view, and takes its place on the desk, I shall be alternating between this, and some more plasticard butchery, and for those interested parties, here's how the nearly completed Fenris Games 4x4 ended up looking like

The old git, still has it, he just need to do a lot more of it.
until next time kids.
Be careful with those scalpels, and keep sniffing the glue.