Monday, 16 January 2017

Looking for info about The Pikeman's Lament?

My co-author, Michael Leck, has been busy adding plenty of information about our up-coming rules over on his Dalauppror blog. Rather than doubling up with the same details, I'm pointing people in his direction... Check out the excellent Dalauppror blog HERE.

As well as being far more of an expert in the period (Michael did the majority of period-specific amendments for the rules, I just twiddled my thumbs, contributed mechanisms, and generally got in everyone's way!), his blog is full of great photos of TPL games in progress and his superb collection of Companies (armies) for our rules.

Pop by and have a browse!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

British tanks at Bovington

Just a few more photos from my recent visit.

This time, it's a selection of British AFVs. Plus one imposter.

Watch out, it's armed with a, oh, erm, a smoke mortar.
The A10 is such a beautifully ungainly beast!

Especially when compared with the thoroughbred lines
of the A13! 
"Why Mr Churchill, you appear to be breathing fire
today. Rough night on the spirits?"


Front view of the Cromwell.

Sherman Firefly.

Okay, so this one's not a British tank. It's the tank from
the Brad Pitt movie Fury. It looks great with the
weathering and kit added.

Lovely Medium tank, fine gloss finish too!

The tank we didn't want... the Vickers Six Tonner.
I like the factory finish, but I do wonder what climate
it was intended for.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Tanks a lot

It's been too long since I posted some tank photos. Everyone likes tank photos, so I shall post these without further ado...

All from a recent Bovington trip.

"Aim here". Valentine side view.

Crusader III. One of the most pleasing AFVs to look at.

Perhaps the best camo scheme I've seen. Panther viewed
from the turret of a T34/85.

The Panzer III grows on me every time I see it. 

Side detail of the above.

The Stuart has got itself a funky new camo scheme.

Tiny, tiny Valentine.

Desert War friends and enemies.

Monday, 9 January 2017

The Pikeman's Lament on Dalauppror's blog...

Time is a rare commodity for me at the moment, but thankfully my co-author on The Pikeman's Lament has managed to share more information about our up-coming rules (due to publish later this month, but I hear the book may already available from some vendors such as North Star).

Check out this post by Michael for a bit more info. I hope you like what you read!

Sunday, 8 January 2017

And breathe out...

It's been a productive start to January. In this first week, I've returned the proofs for two more of my Pen & Sword Wargaming guides (due to publish later in 2017), and submitted the final files for my third boardgame to PSC Games. And now I will take some time off to catch up on my other hobbies!

And breathe out...

Friday, 30 December 2016

My new books publishing in 2017

My last post for the year... so it seems like a good idea to highlight a few of my projects coming to fruition in 2017.

First up, in January, we have The Pikeman's Lament. This is my final (at least for now) installment of the seemingly popular Lion Rampant rules system. As the title suggests, this is for pike and shot warfare, and is co-written with Michael Leck, who knows a lot more about the pike and shot period than I do. The core rules are very similar to Lion Rampant, but lots has changed regarding troop types, and there's more characterisation of your leader - something a lot of people have requested since Lion Rampant first published (I never knew how many of you were role-players in denial!). And some fun new scenarios round the book off.

In March, my first two books for Pen & Sword will publish:

  • A Wargamer's Guide to The Anglo-Zulu War
  • A Wargamer's Guide to 1066 and the Norman Conquest

These are wargamer's guides to specific periods or campaigns. They are NOT rulebooks, but instead present a short section of relevant history, and then move on to look at armies and organisation, weapons, key battles, ideas for wargaming those battles and the period in general, lists of suitable figures and rules, plus a handful of scenarios that reflect aspects of warfare in the given period. I've tried to write these as good introductory guides to gaming the period in question, but think experienced players should find something of interest in the books, also.

All of these titles are available for pre-order at the usual online retailers.

More news on other projects will be following in the new year - I've been hard at work on various projects over the past couple of years which are finally coming close to publishing!

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Lewis Chessmen in Edinburgh

In October I visited the superb National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, where I got to photograph the collection of Lewis Chessmen housed there (click on the 'Lewis Chessmen' label at the bottom of this page to see photos of the British Museum's gang in London).  I was delighted to see these little works of art, which I think I last acquainted myself with in the mid 1990s!

There's also a funerary slab showing the same sort of warrior, a couple of hundred years later.

Nieuport 17 at Duxford

I only took two photos on my last visit to Duxford... how jaded I must have become!

Even though it's only a replica, this Nieuport 17 was still wonderful to see.

Friday, 23 December 2016

TMWWBK extra rules

If you missed them in issue 349 of Wargames Illustrated, here's a little collection of ideas I've been holding back until after the publication of my colonial rules, and once players have had a chance to get to grips with the rules as written.

You'll find some new rules ideas here, to try out in your games. Consider them a little festive gift for TMWWBK players!

For various reasons, these ideas were all cut before the final playtesting took place - this means that they haven't been as developed or tested (and/or broken), as the rest of the rules but hopefully they're going to be of some use to someone, somewhere.

As a consequence, I recommend using them only in the friendliest of games, not against one of those ferocious fools we all dread meeting!

One leader – and one leader only  

Rather than every unit having a leader, you may decide just to field a commander-in-chief (possibly holding a lofty rank such as Lieutenant or Captain!). If so...

  • Select which unit has your C-in-C. That unit needs a Leader model, the other units just have ordinary soldiers.
  • Roll for your Leader's trait and leadership value as usual.
  • The Leader's own unit uses his leadership value and is affected by his trait. All other units use his leadership value, but are unaffected by his trait.
  • If your Leader is killed, all units count as leaderless.

You may choose to consider including a rule that says units count as Leaderless is beyond a certain range from the Leader's unit (or more specifically, from his model). This could depend on how open the table's terrain is. Something for you to ponder!

Theoretical strength

You may wish to implement this rule if you want to field a large Tribal Field Force but don’t (yet) have enough models… or if you’re looking for a slightly different tactical challenge.

You can command a Field Force at Theoretical Strength as follows:
  • You must command an all-Tribal Field Force.
  • Work out the units you wish to include up to your agreed points value (24 points in the usual game). Ignore how many units you actually own.
  • Deploy as much of your Field Force as you have models for at the start of the scenario; deploy complete units only. The rest of your Field Force – at paper strength – lies in wait off table for the present moment.
  • When one of your on-table units has been destroyed or retreats off the table, recycle it at the start of the next turn from your paper strength resources.
  • Naturally, an Infantry unit may only replace an Infantry unit, and a Cavalry unit may only replace a Cavalry unit.
  • To make up for lost time – or if you prefer due to your amazing off-table generalship – during your next turn you may deploy the new unit along any table edge. It may not take any further action during this turn, and may not deploy with less than one of its Movement distances from any enemy units.
  • Remember to keep track of how many of your paper strength units you have deployed. We wouldn’t want you sneaking an extra impi onto the table, would we?

With flags flying and bugles blowing

If you choose to include flags and musicians of any kind in your units, you may utilize their morale effect on the tabletop:
  • A unit may replace one ordinary model with a flagbearer or musician model (+1 point).
  • A unit may contain both a flagbearer and a musician, but may only benefit from one model per turn (this only becomes useful is useful if the first model is killed).
  • When present in a unit, this model allows one failed Rally test to be rerolled, once per turn.
  • If the model is killed, the unit suffers a permanent –1 modifier to its Discipline.
  • A flagbearer/musician is killed in the same way as a Leader (both types being ‘special’ models): if both types are present in a unit, ‘special’ casualties occur on a roll or 3 or less (4 or less if both musician and flagbearer are present); roll one die to determine whether the Leader or musician/flag is killed (odds = Leader; evens = flagbearer/musician). Reduce the chances of another ‘special’ casualty to 2 or 3 (for one or two models remaining, respectively) when a ‘special’ model is killed.

Using other exciting models from your collection

In the core rules, there are only two roles for models: Leaders and cannon fodder. If you’re playing a fairly small skirmish, you may wish to introduce special characters depending on the models you have in your collection, building on the Flags & Musicians optional rules in the book:
  • Sergeants: If Leaderless, functions on a 7+ not an 8+. Adds 1 point to a unit’s cost and replaces an ordinary model. Is not tested as a special casualty – anyone who has seen Zulu knows that Sergeants are too tough to put down!
  • Reporters, witchdoctors, and holy men: Add as an extra model in the unit. For every enemy unit removed from play by this unit while this character is present, the player gains +1 victory point. If this special character is killed or the unit is removed from play, the player suffers -4 victory points. Does not count as a model in the unit for combat or morale purposes. Adds 2 points to a unit’s cost, and a player may only field one such model in a Field Force. 
  • Escorted archaeologist/lady/governor/pet chimp: Add as an extra model to the unit. More vulnerable in melee than soldiers: killed on a roll of 3–5 when testing for Leader casualties from melee (Leader is still a casualty on a roll of 2). If this special character is killed or the unit is removed from play, your opponent gains 1 victory point; if the character survives, you gain 1 victory point. Does not count as a model in the unit for combat or morale purposes. No additional cost, and a player may only field one such model in a Field Force. 
If any of these special characters are included in your unit, they stand a chance of being killed in the same way as a Leader/musician in the core rules. A special character is attached to a unit in the same way as a Leader.

Artillery limbers

For some Field Forces, it may be appropriate to allow their guns to be limbered up and moved more efficiently by horsepower. If you wish to do so:
  • Allow the crewed weapon to move as Regular Cavalry 
  • Introduce two new commands: limber up/unlimber
  • Before moving as cavalry, the unit must pass an action test to limber up
  • After moving as cavalry it must pass an action test to unlimber, ready to fire
  • Increase the cost of the unit by 1
You should ideally have a horse team available to place in front of the gun when limbered up.


It is perfectly acceptable to use the field gun rules if your Field Force wishes to use a rocket. However, during the rules’ development, I experimented with a more fanciful way of representing rockets, based on the accounts I’ve read of their variable performance in action.

Rockets act exactly as other Crewed Weapons, but may only fire at targets at long range, and instead of causing casualties they cause the target unit to take Pinned tests:
  • Choose a target unit at long Field Gun range: this unit must take one Pinned test for each crew model with the rocket.
  • The rocket may not target a unit at short Field Gun range.
I claim no historical accuracy here, just a different type of toy to play with on the tabletop.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Want to read (or listen to!) The Man Who Would Be King?

I plugged this a couple of months ago, but in case you missed it...

If you'd like to read Kipling's original short story, you can find it HERE, as part of Project Gutenberg.

And since my original post, I've also discovered this free audiobook version on YouTube. Perfect background material for an hour and half of painting.

If you'd like to play my game of colonial warfare, you can order The Men Who Would Be Kings right now from your bookstore or games shop of choice. Go on, treat yourself for the festive period!

Order direct from Osprey HERE.