Sunday, 2 September 2018

Playing Surfaces and Boot Sales

Earlier today I managed to spend a little time in the man cave reviewing the various playing surfaces I own and what I shall be doing with them. My table is 5ft by 3ft and I have two 3ft by 2ft boards - one green and one sand coloured - which have been marked off in 3” squares meaning that they are 12 squares by 8. I also have a fold up 6ft by 4ft board which folded makes two 4ft by 3ft surfaces.

Taking all of that into consideration you can see that I have a pretty good selection of playing areas to use, albeit at the smaller end of the scale. The 6ft by 4ft has been used a couple of times but not recently and will only come out on special occasions for large actions. The two 3ft by 2ft boards came to my from Bob Cordery and all I did was to cover one with a piece of hardboard to represent a desert surface and then grid each one using a couple of Letraset permanent marker pens. I made some hills to go with both and already have a selection of buildings to use - roads and rivers were cut from strips of felt.

The rather nice chessboard that, since I acquired it, has never seen a chess piece (despite the fact I enjoy the game). Very suitable for use in a desert or arid setting.

The other playing surface I have - remember the Portable Wargame was originally tested on a chessboard (8 x 8 squares) - is a a wooden chessboard I picked up from a boot sale some time ago. This was a home made effort with 6cm squares and could be used for desert or arid battlefields more or less as is. I needed to reglue  the edges of a couple of the tiles but other than that it is fine - it even has the felt pads on the underside to stop it scratching anything. I have a number of ideas for things to use this for and the size of square is ideal. All will be revealed in due course.

Three books and 4 bases of palm trees (there are two on each base) which will be used with a particular project I have in mind. The top two titles are in pristine condition but the bottom one is slightly shelf worn. Everything you see above cost me a mere £2.60!

On the subject of boot sales Laurel and I, together with our daughter, Holly, paid a visit this morning to our local car boot and I managed to score some goodies. I must confess that my boot sale pickings for this year have been pretty thin thus far so I was really pleased to get back into scoring form once again.

The Great War at Sea by Lawrence Sondhaus is a relatively new history - published in 2014 by Cambridge University Press - and makes much use of newer sources so in a sense is quite a modern history. My interest in the period is well known so I shall enjoy this book for a fresh look at the naval dimension of the Great War.

More than Courage by Phil Nordyke is the story of the US 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment in World War 2. As part of the 82nd Airborne Division the 504th saw extensive action during WW2 from Sicily to Central Europe via Naples, Anzio, France, Holland, Belgium and on into Germany itself. This is a combat history and makes use of many first-hand accounts and interviews thereby giving the view from the frontline added relevance compared to a more general history. A quick skim through has already thrown up plenty of ideas and I reckon the Chain of Command/Bolt Action devotees would enjoy this.

King, Kaiser and Tsar by Cathrine Clay is not a military history per se, rather it is an account of the family ties between the three rulers during the run up to the Great War. I am a sucker for this type of thing and justify it on the grounds that this type of book helps to set the scene and place things into their historical context.

The trees will be used for a particular small scale project I have in mind - more of which in due course.

All in all then it was not a bad day out.


Robert (Bob) Cordery said...


I like the chessboard ... and it looks as if you've had a great day at the boot fair and acquired some wonderful bargains.

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Bob,

I must have had that chessboard kicking around for a couple of years but have never done anything with it. I like the fact that the squares are 6cm and the colours used for the squares.

The boot sale acquisitions were very welcome - especially as pickings have been very thin so far this year.

All the best,