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Firestorm Games- the Saga continues….

The grizzled veteran of countless battles looked down, he sensed what was coming. Every nerve and sinew was ready. Olaf Kristoffenrage glared at the newcomer to the table.” Whaaaaaaat!? You expect me to pay to play here?” ‘Please leave, ‘the wiry shop assistant barked…. So ended the inaugaural Friday meeting of the Cardiff Toy Spartans Saga demonstration team.

Dan was new to Saga and brought his newly painted Welsh force. Javelins take some getting use to but they can proove deadly. We were defending a small farm and were intent on making Chris’ Normans pay as they charged. Chris wasn’t going to charge, the table was six inches too wide and so as Dan had not played before, Chris decided to advance his troops forward so the newbie would be pounced upon as soon as possible.  Three inches is not to be sniffed at when playing at this level of course. We put our archers in the manor  and the rough ground. Chris explained deployment to us and then remembered that he had not meant to deploy where he had deployed and then redeployed. Unfortunately , Chris had not measured the distance between the two forces and so sportingly he moved the whole wood forward as his Norman crossbowmen advanced over what would have been open ground.

Dan began our advance with our javelinmen in the centre. Chris promptly suggested a way in which we could use more dice to be less effective at shooting and become ” fatigued”. At this point the store manager arrived to eject our host for the       ” crime” of not paying for the table. Broken Britain I hear you say!  I was hooked, I went straight home and used the rest of Friday evening to paint my first warlord for SAGA. Please come and join us on a Friday evening. Oh God please join us…..I’m begging you….

Fired up and back into painting, I remembered some rather lovely Steelfist Miniatures I had bought a few months ago. The old saying is of course that there is nothing so dangerous as an officer with a map…Old copies of Vae Victis provided the debris on the floor. I thought these two might be very indecisive commanders or they may just have looted Rome? Hopefully L’art de la Guerre Renaissance will be out very soon and we shall find out. Hope you like them.

See you at Firestorm Games, Trade Street Cardiff😳

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Trojan Horses and Muslim Camel/Elephants

Three and a half thousand years old, and a little over an inch and a half in length, the Pylos Combat Agate has stunned historians. In an age without microscopes and precision tools, it shows a detailed understanding of the human body and movement that was thought to be far beyond the ability of Bronze Age artisans….

 I must admit to turning his back on the wargaming hobby a few years ago now. For me at least the hobby had lost its lustre and to be frank I felt unsure as to whether it was morally justifiable. It didn’t last long! It’s the artwork and histories that keep renewing my interest. The quality of modern sculpting is just so good, even with my painting skills, they are miniature works of art. 

One tip I have learnt over the years is, when one encounters a “painting block”, leave the larger projects for a while and work on something small scale and achievable in a few evenings or sessions. Devises L’art de la Guerre competition is on the horizon and I needed two units of proxy elephants. Those fanatical followers of the Prophet mocked up camels to look like elephants in 636 A.D.. My initial thoughts were something like the image below…

Hardly inspirational but then I thought “what if the Arab schemers were so successful in their deception, that the camels actually looked like elephants?” Two toy elephants from Fleabay and two Muslim standards as saddlecloths and voila….

An hour of pottering at the desk and they were done. I don’t think that they will win any modelling prizes but I like them and the dearth of painting has been bypassed.  So now it is onto a Goth chieftain in Russian colours, the World Cup has a lot to answer for.

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SAGA II- Bayeau Travesty

The historians debate whether Norman milites used an underhand or overhand grip. Did they strike with their lances or throw their spears. We may never be sure but Mr. James was sure, his “Normans ” had stopped off in Brittany and picked up javelins! Yes the new and revised SAGA would be javelin armed Normans versus those loveable reprobates, the Vikings led by yours truly….

After an initial burst of interest a few years ago, SAGA was pretty much ignored in Firestorm. The “armies” are small enough to tempt the dilletente and a wide range of periods are covered but the rules did allow the more “ambitious” player to royally cream an opponent unused to the boards. The Glamorgan campaign still holds fears of Agincourt style Welsh archers to participants in Martin’s campaign! However, the new version of the rules has been a great hit. Giac and I had a go at working through the rules and we were hooked.

The warlord is now central to your battle plan and can motivate those around him. Combat and shooting are clear and very bloody. In our initial clash almost every melee resulted in mutual destruction. Fatigue is even more deadly and has to be considered carefully. The real test would be a full six point army against Mr. James. 

I nestled my Viking raiders between two woods and intended to use two units of berserks and hearth guard to plug any gaps. My youthful archers set themselves up in the village allotments. Mr. James wasn’t falling for it though. His milites raced forward but only to use their javelins. He also brought his infamous “88 on a reverse slope” shooting position with cross men covering his feints.

But then my love affair began……..archery started to empty the Norman saddles. Bow shots are deadly and I was more than pleased with the exchange of missile fire. Mr. James was wise to the situation however and sent two conrois of warriors through the hamlet to flank my bowmen.

It would be left to my berserks to hold them off, inspired by Olaf Beerbelly the warlord ( no relation). The Normans ventured to charge and were beaten off. The berserks went back into the rough ground in case they fancied their luck again but the horsemen were content to lick their wounds and throw the odd dart from a distance.

 Let’s not go there!

And so the taunting began, Mr. James was running out of time and javelins no doubt. By skillfully questioning his manliness and insulting the parentage of his Normans, we faced their charges……

The combat in SAGA is so exciting for the dice fanatic. The Viking on foot acquitted themselves well and by the end of the sixth turn , honours were equal. It had been one of the most exciting games I had played for a long time and my financial restraint is sorely tempted. I kept my purchases limited to the Aetius supplement and upgrade for version two ( plus two sets of dice………and another set of rules for Giac😳). Friday afternoon at Firestorm was my next game against Chis X. Again, great fun and only twenty minis left standing at the end of a battle that started with over a hundred…..

This time my Anglo- Saxons had to face the wrath of the Norsemen and again we fought to a standstill. No losses in three games, this is definately the system for me. Join us on Friday afternoons if you are interested! More next on converting Muslim camel/ elephants and a Risk ancients variant. Now there is an offer.

Thanks for reading

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L’art de la Guerre- Learning Curve

Life isn’t a single win at all costs game. Rather, it is a whole series of linked games where it really does matter how one played the game. The trick of winning is therefore to learn from your mistakes. You need to want to win and a will to win does not mean you should cheat or throw a tantrum. Who am I kidding, Don McHugh’s Bristol Bash was awful……

Game number one was Fry! Hidden in at least fifteen boxes was a whole wagenburgs of Hussite wargwagons. No one brings warwagons……..Fry brings warwagons……Fry brings warwagons, flail armed heavy Hussites and a bloody ambush…

My regular reader will remember this mans affection for ambushes and I fell for it again. My Spaniards went to investigate and sure enough, the Bohemian knightly host…

Please notice the causaulties , first blood to my Aragonese lights. However, the Hussites weren’t going to stay in the village and my knights weren’t coming forward to attack the moveable fortress.

Surely my Aragonese swordsmen could hold? Unfortunately, not. Even my levies ( wolves) couldn’t stem the onslaught. Fry  was triumphant on the wing with minimal heretic losses.

Not a complete disaster but maybe I should I have dismounted. A wall of warwagons with heavy foot behind was a daunting prospect for my Aragonese mercenary Knights. And then, every players dream, it was announced that round two would be against McGlynn and his Hungarians, deep joy!

I wonder where he got the inspiration for the Cardinal of Mainz warwagon?

The evil genius had scoured every games workshop store for this lot. Elite Knights (elite, impact), Light horse ( elite), handgunner said ( you guessed it, elite) It was time to find a valley and let the Hungarians do the attacking…..

Both my flanks held under the Wurzel’s attack but the real clash would be in the centre. A suspiciously large number of Hungarian Knights drove my mercenaries back. My fatal error was committing my general staff and the loss of my commanders was fatal.

The demise of Juan the Bad left me defeated. Day two and I would be facing the poor man’s Santa, Dave Allen. 

I didn’t want to attack his Irish hedgehog formation and again I underestimated the aggression of my opponent. His Knights and archers fancied trying to shoot my static almughavars on the left. Dave fancied using his two handed weapons against my mercenary horsemen. It was carnage…

Mutual destruction and both of us were glad of the rest! Nearly sixty dead units between us! A early samurai army was last up and it was led by Mulan. I think the weekend was cursed!

We sent a large number of Japanese to their demise and even reached the baggage but we crumpled in the very last turn. A great weekend, my thanks to Don and Colin for a great two days but I will never field Spanish, ever again! A well deserved last place( ouch)

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L’art de la Guerre- Brief Encounters

Now that corderoy trousers and tank tops have peaked, the latest trend in the Berk-ley Vale fens is L’art de la Guerre 120 points. Slimbridge was the venue and a motley crew of veterans had assembled. The rules are a free download from the official forum and the biggest attraction for competitions is the ability to finish a game in an hour and a half ( or sooner😖)

It was another run out for my Patrician Romans. In order to get a victory I went for solid heavy infantry and bow armed heavy horse. To deal with the terrain I planned a second smaller corps of rough terrain troops.

No.87 Patrician Rome

One Brilliant Commander@3 points

Three Heavy cavalry (bow) @33 points

One light cavalry unit with javelins

Four Foederati impetuous heavy swordsmen @32 points

One light infantry bow @4 points
Corps two

Another Brilliant general @3 points

One Isaurian javelin light infantry@ 4 points

One elite Light infantry @5 points

One light cavalry bow @6 points

Three medium infantry impact swordsmen@24 points

The first game was against the Elfin Unwin’s Lydians. Andy poured a whole corps worth of javelin units into the forest whilst his companions swept round on my left. As his spears moved forward in the centre, I attempted to slow him with my light infantry.

But it was all to no avail, my heavy cavalry would not stand and my impetuous Foederati showed a marked lack of enthusiasm. It was draw but hardly an auspicious start!

Next up the boy wonder, Mark Clarke and the new must have troop type, camels! Not just some camels, a huge number of camels! Wall to wall camels were lined up with my heavy foot and they meant business.

This was one of those moments that I wished I was a more “switched on” competitive gamer. We used the wrong stats for my heavies against the camel onslaught and then I forgot my impact auxilia discount Marks javelins. I did have the pleasure of knocking Marks dice over to a one in a simultaneous dice off! Even Constantine couldn’t halt the bad luck. I would come to mourn the loss of many commanders over the next few games. Victory to the Beja Liberation Front!

The dimunative Colin next with his diminutive plastic Greco- Bactrians. I didn’t fancy taking on elephants so I stayed at the top of the central ridge. Colin was content to wait for my command roll to fail and an impetuous charge to be initiated.

The Roman command dice held and our respective cavalry wings made a feeble demonstration against each other. A draw with the Patrician losing fewer than the  Greeks. But then, Fry……….

The evil genius was up to his old tricks. A village full of Viking axemen and two Brest implants on each flank of two handed Islesmen. I wasn’t going into the valley of death but his Vikings weren’t staying in the village. It were orrible……

Mark does have some georgious miniatures in his collection. He quickly overwhelmed my left wing and he was on my baggage. My horse mounted a counter attack and surrounded Macbeth but it was all over. A great game and a most successful format. The Thornbury Show in August will see us all reconvene. Thanks for reading.

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L’art de la Guerre- Canal Rat 2018, Slimbridge 

When West Country Wargames Royalty calls, you can only concede. Nevermind “work” commitments, or your sick granny, Sunday 13th May was Canalrat 2018, hosted by the Trout and Garbage Public House and Caravan Park. Always the boys to spot a trend, the West Country’s new latest thing is L’art de la Guerre played with a measly a hundred and twenty points of miniatures. Is this the slow slide to D.B.A. Short sightedness? Will the figure manufacturers cease trading? We let the camera show what these sensation seekers can achieve with just fifteen units ( inside of them?)

The elegantly poised and manicured Monsieur Fry leads his Northerners across Naples?

Mr Shepperd’s Elephantine Panzer Division attempts to shoe horn Mr Hacker’s Patrician Romans from the vineyards.

Nice to see that Ironman Speed has lost none of his painting skill. Spartacus has never been less revolting!

Mackie’s Warring States Circus Troop about to assail Colin’s  eight pound forty fives worth of plastics! 

The table to watch in Round One- His Donness of Clevedon out camels the smiling assassin Clarkey!

The evil genius himself, Keith shows that Care in the Community can have some unpleasant and quite unexpected results. Indeed MrX in the foreground believed he was in Bristol for the whole of the Slimbridge Competition

It was a superb weekend of play. Great armies and a very good atmosphere. 120 points allowed us to play four games comfortably in a day and as you can hopefully see, glorious 28mm models look great. Please keep your comments clean when reading the results below. The usual full and frank discussion of where my opponents went wrong will hopefully be along tomorrow. And Saturday is Don’s Bristol Bash at Bristol Independent Gaming!

Results for Slimbridge 120 points.
 1.Don McHugh. Nubian 318

 2.Steve Hacker Patrician 296

 3.Ian Speed Spartacus. 294

 4.Mark Clarke Beja 247

 5Mark Fry. Highlands. 241 

 6 Andy Whitby. Warring states. 200

 7 Chris Jackson Viking 179

 8. Mike Shepperd classical Indian 166

 9.Keith McGlynn. Andalusian. 161

 10. Andy Unwin Lydian. 110 

 11. M Baldwin Patrician. 72

 12. Colin Evans. Graecobactrian 75.

“I feel like a winner!”

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Make May 6th National Free Speech Day

As the great and the good march on London today, this classic from Rod Liddle…….

The UN’s sent an envoy to examine Brexit racism. And a warm welcome to herAnother new word, this time from the deranged far-right: incel. This means a chap who is involuntarily celibate because women won’t sleep with him. Instead, these besoms prefer to have sex with attractive men. There are links with the Toronto murderer Alek Minassian, who drove a van into a bunch of pedestrians because he couldn’t get a shag. Incels applauded his actions online, demanding death to the ‘Stacys’ and the ‘Chads’. And also the ‘Beckys’.

Ah, yes, three more new words. Stacys are attractive ‘unattainable’ women. Chads are the good-looking young men who get to shag them. Beckys are ‘average’ women who you wouldn’t want to have sex with because they’re not fit enough — they all have ‘flat tits’, according to an incel commentator. Right. I do not understand why incels want women dead while simultaneously wishing to have sex with them, unless they are of a necrophiliac tendency. It seems to me a counter-productive approach. Buying some flowers, washing, and setting your sights a little lower than Megan Fox would seem to me a more profitable modus operandi. But these are very angry people so I shall not suggest it to them.

Usually when people deliberately drive cars into pedestrians, rank misogyny is only a small part of their political make-up and comes somewhere behind anti-Semitism and a loathing of (nominal) Christians, the West and democracy. But whatever. The more one reads about some of the other people who share our planet, the more amenable Novichok seems as an answer to our problems. We have learned about the incel community via the internet. But the internet did not create it. That adolescent loathing and bitterness has always been there.

Meanwhile, we have an important guest to welcome to our shores. A ‘Special Rapporteur’ from the world’s most stupid, costly and deluded organisation, the United Nations. E. Tendayi Achiume is here to sniff out racism wherever she can find it. ‘My mission across the country, including stops in London and Belfast, will focus on explicit incidents of racism and related intolerance, as well as attention to structural forms of discrimination and exclusion that may have been exacerbated by Brexit,’ this pompous, jumped-up panjandrum announced. ‘Xenophobic discrimination and intolerance aimed at refugees, migrants and even British racial, religious and ethnic minorities will also be an important focus.’


Will it, indeed, poppet? It sounds to me awfully like Achiume has made her mind up already. Here’s a bet. Her report, when it is filed to the various other thick-as-mince third-worlders on the make at the UN, will denounce the British people for their colonialist and imperialist past and castigate them still further for being beastly to dark-skinned folk, thinking they have been given carte blanche to do so by the vote to leave that other stupid, costly and deluded supranational organisation, the European Union. And her report will appear on the front page of the Guardian and as third story on the BBC World At One and nobody else will give a monkey’s, believing it to be tendentious drivel.

Achiume lectures in Los Angeles, but she hails from Zambia and has indeed done a lot of work on racism in southern Africa. For example, she has considered the plainly racist expropriation of land from white farmers in Zimbabwe (and indeed their murder) at the hands of Robert Mugabe’s thugs in a lengthy abstract. Achiume came to the predictable conclusion that Big Bob was perfectly within his rights to kick whitey out of Africa and steal all his land and that the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which adjudicated against Mugabe, was mistaken in its analysis and did not take account of the local feeling which was in favour of shooting white people and then stealing from them.

Another academic summed up her views: ‘The SADC Tribunal might have misinterpreted human rights norms — in particular a provision of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination that allows race-conscious policies to remedy past discrimination, such as the legacy of concentrated white land ownership.’ So, racism and indeed genocide is OK if it’s directed against white people, because white people are unspeakably ghastly and stole the land in the first place (despite the fact that, of course, they didn’t). And so the question which immediately arises is this: why has this halfwit been allowed into the country and why are the usual anti-racist protest kids not more exercised about her arrival?

The answer may be as simple as this. United Nations Special Rapporteurs, whoever they might be, add to the general gaiety of life, enormously so. They are almost always thick academics from the third world far-left. My particular favourite — you may have your own, of course — was the mental Brazilian former Marxist Raquel Rolnik who came here from the filthy and violent favelas of her own benighted country to tick off our government about its proposed bedroom tax. The bedroom tax would exacerbate social division and leave hundreds of thousands of ‘vulnerable’ people much worse off, she concluded, before jetting back to the hell of São Paulo. Even by the standards of our current Labour party leadership, Rolnik was further to the left than a salad fork.

Among other things, she was a practitioner of the somewhat primitive Candomblé religion and once, when she was living in Paris, sacrificed a chicken to her hero, Karl Marx. I do not know the name of the chicken, nor the means by which Rolnik dispatched it. Her sister’s testimony does not stretch that far. All we know is the chicken died, somehow. And that beyond the grave, the most damaging philosopher in the history of the world was grateful for the succour and was rubbing his beard in gratitude.

So we should be grateful that the UN bungs us these third-world commie women every so often, to march around the country, do a bit of shopping and conclude that, by and large, we’re vile.

Extract from the Spectator magazine