Saturday 1 July 2023

Never Mind the Boathooks and the Mediterranean

Something else to inspire the imagination

That well known writer of rules, Andy Callan, has written a naval version of his hugely successful late Medieval rules Never Mind the Billhooks that were available as a freebie in the June edition of Wargames Illustrated. As a rule I seldom buy wargames magazines these days and so a swift shout out on the SEEMS WhatsApp group for anyone having a spare copy meant that I was able to secure a set from my old friend Mr Fox.

The rules appeal for a number of reasons. To begin with ANYTHING produced by Mr Callan is worthy of attention and the fact that they are grid based is even better! They are quite an ‘old school’ set - large model ships with individual figures - and whilst the war at sea during the Middle Ages is a little bit of a niche interest the rules are very much pitched at the ‘up close and personal’ level - boarding and close range combat.

The ships for the period - cogs, caravelles and the odd galley - are very straightforward to build and indeed, there are a number of them available commercially but I would look to build my own (no surprise there then!). Not sure about the figures although rather than 28mm I would probably look at 20mm - mainly because I have a whole pile of Risk: Europe medieval figures that could be used - so cobbling up some ships should not be too much trouble. 

Is this a new project? No, not exactly. I am not looking to paint up a whole pile of medieval figures anytime soon but I will look at the rules with a view to tackling them in one form or another. At some point. After the next twenty six projects are taken care of first….

The book you see came as something of a surprise - Mr Fox sprung this on me - and I am delighted to add this to the collection. Essentially it is a history of the British involvement in the Mediterranean since around 1800 up to the present day. It is not a military history per se, but it is a great overview of the theatre. Besides, what a great cover picture!

So my old friend Mr Fox came up trumps - he really is a wonderful chap!


Archduke Piccolo said...

Which reminds me... I have a Byzantine dromon and 3 European cogs that I built about 25-30-odd years ago... For DBM, though, so it would require a different scale of action. When I started my 'Byzantiad' project at the beginning of last year, I rather thought it might extend to naval action between the Empire and Fatimid Egypt, with possibly a side order of Venetian as allies of the Lombards/ Normans...

Haven't made up my mind about that, but I'm thinking of 're-doing' the Byzantiad thing with some changes to the 'hostilities' activation to slow down the pace a little.

David Crook said...

Hello there Ion,

I am rather taken with the idea of this as a good way of using up some stock bits and pieces - I am sure many a wargames project has been based on less that that! I had not thought about the Byzantine end of things but certainly that would appeal. The RiskMedieval figures would cover it just about if you were not to particular - and no, I am not!

All the best,