Monday, 23 October 2017

Back from SELWG

So, as usual  I made my way into the wilds of Crystal Palace yesterday to SELWG. This is only about 10 miles from home so easily the closest show to me.  It's a pretty big event with a fair number of traders and games on show.  I found there were a few traders I would normally have expected were not there this year.  This seems to happen more and more...I think the costs of transport and time vs sales isn't always a great option for some traders.  Most seemed pretty busy although every time I passed the large Foundry stand (in the top centre of the photo above) they always seemed really empty.

Anyway, onto the photos.  As usual I forgot to note details of half the games so I've filled in the details where I could from other people's blogs or FB posts but there are a few that escaped me...apologies to the organisers of those games.  As always most games were excellent with people keen to engage the passing punters and explain what was happening.  As always too, there were a couple that seemed to resemble a club night game with no contact with passers by.   I've never understood this...if you've gone to all the trouble of planning the game, making the terrain, painting the figures and lugging it all the way to the show, why not talk to people about what you've done??!

Shepway Wargames - Brittania 417AD

Something ACW...sorry...

South London Warlords Dalek game

Deal Wargames Club...Poland '39

Excellent Chain of Command game by Gravesend Wargames Club (I think)...fantastic detail

Demo of  the forthcoming Fallout game

The ACW game again...still can't remember who it was...

Peter Pig demo of their revised SCW rules Bayonet and Ideology

Newbury & Reading - Battle of Stoke Field

Sharp Practice game...Mexican/Texan??

And what did I buy....?

Well, a couple go posts ago I mentioned that I had a kind of plan and I pretty much stuck to it (...I know...not my usual result!).

I picked up a few packs of WW2 French troops from Peter Pig for a forthcoming Chain of Command a friend and I are planning...they're going to masquerade as Belgians.  I also picked up one of the new Peter Pig SCW armoured cars just because.   The rest of my plan has been to need up some existing projects that are at the 'just enough' stage so I picked up Napoleonic cavalry from Perry for Sharp Practice and some Samurai figures and a building for Ronin.  The  figures are actually from the Warlord Test of Honour game and I debated getting the starter set instead as it's pretty good value, but in the end I decided I don't really need to buy into yet another game system.  Finally I bought a Wild West building from 4Ground.  I don't have anything else for this period but it's a slow-burning idea so I figured a building might be a start (probably the start of a slippery slope!)...

Friday, 20 October 2017

Battle of Britain Update

A quick update on the issues around the planes that came with the Battle of Britain game the other week.  After a fair bit of grumbling on the Kickstarter forum and various online sites, Will from PSC responded...

"Ok chaps, I have to bite the bullet - whereas the main paper and card components are great, I have got the plastic wrong for the miniatures.
I cannot sticking plaster it.
I made the wrong decision with the too pliable plastic and the wrong decision with the manufacturer.
I apologise to everyone for these wrong decisions I made.
It does not sit right with me that the game is not as good as it should be and the quality is not 100%.
It is a fantastic game and deserves the best possible plastic miniature planes.
My plan is this:-
I am going to rework and upgrade all the plastic planes with a different, reliable manufacturer (they do work for CMON, Games Workshop, Asmodee, Cryptozoic and Flying Frog Productions) in a robust but quality plastic.
We will continue to ship everyone a game now with "wonky" plastic plus all stretch goals (except the bonus kit - another story involving customs! If you do not get one now you will with the new plastic planes). At least you can get a few hours on your logbooks!
We will then ship you all a free set of new, improved plastic planes at no extra to you when they have been tooled and moulded - to be confirmed but March 2018 seems likely. Basically it will be as soon as possible - we had not planned on this so will take time to re-tool and mould. We will also send add-on plane packs at the same time.
The retail release will be delayed until we have the new plastic minis to retrofit the rest of the print run.
Rest assured, everyone must know that if we get it wrong, we will rectify things.
Best wishes,


Fair play to Will and the chaps at PSC who have listened and decided to take a hit on the new planes...not an easy decision but one that will go down very well I think.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Battle of Britain arrives

So back in the summer of 2016 I was tempted by a Kickstarter being run by the Plastic Soldier Company for a "remastered and upgraded version of the old, much loved TSR classic Battle of Britain".  This looked pretty good and, as well as the fun of masterminding the air defence of Britain (or the Luftwaffe's finest hour) it promised " fantastic little 1/300th scale plastic airplane models".

The Kickstarter went as smoothly as these things do with some stretch goals offering alternative aircraft including a Blenheim, Defiant, Gladiator and Ju87.  As usually happens the estimated delivery date February 17 came and went.  I tend not to worry too much about these things...I figure that's how Kickstarters work.  If you're looking for something to be delivered exactly on deadline then you've never worked for a local authority!  The overrun did cause a lot of angst on the Kickstarter forum with people vowing to never sign up for another KS or to never darken PSCs doors etc.  This wasn't helped by a distinct lack of communication from the company: a few messages and updates might have helped the general mood but this doesn't seem to be something PSC are very good at.  They did offer a 25% discount voucher on PSC products (which didn't appease the people who'd said they were never going to shop there again) and free model kit.  Unfortunately they offered a model aeroplane kit unconnected with the game and in a different scale!  Again, this wasn't well received...

Anyway... the parcel arrived today...

Well, actually it arrived yesterday but I was out and it was delivered to the local UPS access point (a nearby newsagents) who managed to lose it!  It eventually turned up on my 3rd visit and after a call to UPS.  It seems that the newsagent had been very tidy and put it away in a cupboard while they'd left all the other parcels lying around the shop!

By this point I'd spotted the comments from other people on the Kickstarter forum...all very disappointed with the model aircraft, packaging etc.  Mine wasn't too badly packaged although the extra aircraft were loose (in a plastic bag) in the outer box and the freebie model aircraft was pretty bashed about although the kit itself is ok.  This is how it arrived...

This is the Freebie, compensatory Zvesda, not PSC!!

The actual main box was fine and undamaged.  The game board, tokens and rule book are all excellent (the rule book has a nice, large font!) and the map and counters etc look impressive...

The decals for thr planes arent so impressive...

The planes themselves are made of a soft plastic and clearly have some bending issues which you can see in these photos.  I'm hoping these will be straightened out using hot and cold water.  The debate  has continued on the KS forum and on Boardgamegeek with people vowing to sell their set or demand a refund. 

Major wing bendiness!

I have mixed views.  These clearly aren't " fantastic little 1/300th scale plastic airplane models".  In fact they're pretty poor bendy plastic aircraft that are just about identifiable.  They might paint up well and look better but I wasn't planning to do this anyway.  It does seem a very odd thing for a company whose whole pitch is about quality models to have dropped the ball quite badly on this.  On the other hand, Battle of Britain isn't a tabletop's a boardgame.  If I look at the models in a game like Memoir 44 for example, I'm not expecting to see  fine quality sculpted tanks with a different model for each type of AFV.  For me this is a strategic boardgame with models representing squadrons being pushed around an operations room by some frightfully posh WRAFs (at one point one of the stretch goals for the game was going to be a croupier style stick to push the models around with!  Fun but pointless...)

I'll confess to being
a bit disappointed...PSC had the opportunity (and certainly had the time) to produce nice models to match the rest of the components but the planes feel a bit like an afterthought.  I could use my 1:300 WW2 metal models to replace them but the key thing is going to be whether the game itself is any good.  It's by Richard Borg who is usually very reliable so I'm confident that I'll still have a fun game to play with, even if the aircraft are a bit poor.  I think the whole episode isn't going to win PSC any fans though...

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Forward Planning

So there haven't been any posts for the last few particular reason, just life, work and tiredness getting in the way of blogging again.

What have I been up to?  Well... I played an excellent Chain of Command game down at Guildford against Keith which proved great fun as always.  I've also had the chance to try out Eric the Shed's new (and huge!) Napoleonic collection in a great Black Powder game last week.  There's a good write up here on Eric's Shed Wars blog... LINK

As you'll see I didn't exactly cover myself in glory!  My French cavalry brigades broke themselves against their British counterparts...I suppose there was a little pleasure as we also broke the enemy brigade and they were heavier cavalry than my Chasseurs.  I often find in BP games that the cavalry tend to wipe each other out and prove pretty ineffectual: maybe I'm missing something but they always seem very fragile and unable to stand up to much.  My infantry command was overrun by a rampaging bunch of Highlanders... a combination of good playing by my opponent Rolf and some rubbish morale dice throwing on my part.   Great fun though and it was great to see the result of all the work that Eric has put in over the year in getting a massive amount of figures organised, painted and based.

I failed to get to Colours last month as I was up in Glasgow, but I'm hoping to make it to SELWG in a couple of's the show that's closest to home and is usually good fun.  Although there's really nothing I should be buying, I've been giving some thoughts to my existing armies.  I really don't want to start a new project (I say that...I am still mulling over a couple of ideas...) but I have quite a few armies that need a bit of beefing up. I've noticed that I seem to work hard to get a project to the point where I can get it onto the table and play a game and then stop adding more variety to it.  For example I have enough 28mm Napoleonics to put on a decent Sharp Practice game but only just.  It does mean that every time I dig them out I have little choice of what to field and games end up feeling too similar.

So my plan for SELWG and beyond is to concentrate on expanding some of the armies I already have and I've started working through a list.  It's a bit like the kind of planning that everyone seems to blog about in January...I've just started early!  So what's on the list... described above I'm a bit limited in what I can field so I really could do with adding a bit more infantry but definitely some cavalry.

Spanish Civil War... my SCW armies have languished for some time and I'm thinking of getting them back out for Chain of Command but they could do with a few additions.  They don't need a huge amount added but some extra artillery and armoured cars would be useful.

Modern...I have 2 Modern projects.  My 15mm Afghanistan stuff could do with more vehicles and extra insurgents and my long-neglected 1:300 80s armies could definitely do with some attention

Ronin:  I have a couple of warbands for the excellent Ronin skirmish rules but again just need to add a bit more depth.  I also need to add more buildings for this.  A lot of my buildings get used in a variety of theatres but you cant really get away with that in Japan where the terrain gives so much of the flavour

Congo: again I have enough for a reasonable game but could do with more varied troop types and terrain

Hopefully by adding little to each of these I'll have much more flexibility and will be tempted to actually get some of the neglected armies out of the their boxes.  Of course that still leaves the very neglected projects that haven't really been started and the new shiny ones that are tempting me despite the big list of stuff that I should be doing!  Lets face it, I'm bound to come back from SELWG with something that didn't figure on the list at all!!!