Wednesday, 4 August 2010

War at Sea with Napoleonic Turkish Delight.........

This evening at the club will be my last visit for a number of weeks due to the impending family holiday to Turkey. The game will be the postponed RN versus French Navy circa. 1940 using Axis and Allies: War at Sea. The game will be a ‘plain vanilla’ action i.e. we shall be using the rules as they are in the booklet with none of the suggested local amendments and house rules. We are fighting with fleets made up of 250 which will enable three or four capital ships a side with a suitable escort and perhaps some cruiser support. The RN fleet list is drafted and ready and is loosely based on the famous Force H operating out of Gibraltar during WW2. The French opposition will be a surprise although as I am familiar with all of the ships in the collection I may be able to make a couple of educated guesses! I will try to get some kind of an after action report drafted for the blog before I depart on Saturday.

I have decided to donate my blue gridded cloth to the club for use with War at Sea as it is far too large for me to use at home – when we use this at the club it is on three trestle tables with a plywood spacer so is around 9 foot by 6. As a number of gamers at the club now own fleets it makes more sense for the cloth to be there rather than at my home where I am unable to use it due to space limitations. Another advantage will of course be that gamers will be able to use it when I am not around due to work and holidays etc. I cannot claim the credit for this being solely my idea – my good friend Mr. Kightly suggested leaving it at the club – although I am more than happy to oblige as it is such a sensible idea.

One of things that I shall be considering for my War at Sea collection is a small number of repainting jobs. I have already mentioned about the repainting of the Canadian Tribal Class destroyers I undertook some time ago but this time I am looking at aircraft. I have 4 bases of Swordfish that are painted in overall green – the shade of green is OK – but with no Fleet Air Arm grey to be seen. I also have an American Catalina painted in overall navy blue that will need some attention. Add to that the Martlets (FAA Wildcats) that are currently in overall white and you can see what I mean. Even the Sea Hurricane is in 1940 RAF green and brown. I realise this could be seen as the thin end of the wedge (I really do not want to be painting everything – especially with the size the collection is now!) but the Swordfish model really needs some attention at the very least.

On a completely different subject at long last Worthington Games have released the first in their figures based board games covering the wars of Napoleon Bonaparte and the initial set covers that old favourite – the 100 Days. Their game rules are a variant of the Command and Colours card driven system designed by Richard Borg and featuring in Memoir 44, Battle Cry!, Battle Lore and C and C Ancients. The major difference is that they do not use cards; rather a d6 is rolled to determine command points – similar to any one of the myriad DBA and HOTT derived rules available. This is a great advantage in my opinion over the card system in that it is more suitable for solo play and also avoids the paralysing effect of having a hand full of duff cards – it seems easier (although probably no less painful!) to blame a poor dice roll than a bad draw! The rules for the game are available to download from the company website and they represent, for me in any event, a great opportunity to game Napoleonics cheaply and effectively. The game mechanics are very simple and capture all those facets beloved of Napoleonic enthusiasts – skirmishers, shock cavalry, squares, grand batteries and personalities. I shall be collecting my copy of this soon and will report further when I have played a couple of games with it.

I shall be working on a number of ideas whilst on my holiday e.g. the War at Sea campaign system – more specifically the map movement system – as well as the next instalment of The Sword in the Sand as these will be a welcome fill in during those occasional ‘chill out’ moments. Sometimes abroad it is too hot to read (at the moment our holiday destination is a minimum of 31 degrees Celsius for the next 5 days – bless the BBC World Service!) but that does not stop me from thinking and making the odd note about various ideas and projects – in fact last year I was able to prepare ship stats for all nationalities for my grid based, DBSA derived naval set so the time spent is usually profitable. I generally try to concentrate on ideas that are currently ‘on the go’ rather than completely new projects but the downside is that I shall probably be inspired (even more so) by all things Turkish and upon my return then head off on a completely different tack – Seljuk Turks anyone? I shall be visiting one of their castles after all!

The upshot of this is that in addition to a couple of books I will also be taking a couple of notebooks and writing kit so my ‘me’ time will be gainfully employed.

I should also add to the list the distractions of the pool, the Mediterranean, Efes beer, grilled lamb and the unadulterated luxury of a proper Turkish bath…………………..;-)

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