Pescadrix Times Newsflash: Assassination Attempt!

4th April 1748

General E Pickled

General E Pickled

News has just reached us that an attempt has been made this afternoon on the life of General E Pickled of the Gateway Alliance. Early reports suggest that an individual fired a single shot from undergrowth beside the coast road near the village of Calamar (W25). The general, escorted by a substantial number of cavalry, whilst being wounded in the arm, appears to have escaped serious injury and was immediately surrounded by bodyguards who took him swiftly along the road to the east until out of sight of witnesses.

“He didn’t ‘alf yelp!” said Mrs Fems of Mont de Abono Street, 33, unmarried, wearing a blue bonnet and pale blue skirt. “I reckon that gave ‘im a right shock, an’ the feller wot done it got right away, too. Them blokes on ‘orses got in a right tizz lookin’ fer ‘im, but it’s the undergrowth an’ thorn bushes, see, it’s dead thick ‘ere, you could hide a cow an’ it’s field an’ never find it.”

Mrs Fems (widow) continued, “Mind you, it’s good for the village. Not much ‘appens ‘ere and now we can make souvenir mugs and tea towels wiv that fat general’s ‘ead on ‘em to flog to posh folk. The landlord of the Pelican’s Bum is already thinkin’ of changin’ its name to “The General’s Arm” an’ you should see the pile of manure they left behind, not all of it from ‘orses, neither. We’ll ‘ave a good crop of cabbages this winter.”

No further reports of the General’s whereabouts have yet come in but, judging by the activity in the east of our country towards the province now known as Kap Ludwig, it is likely that his destination lay thither.

Tension Grows in Granprix

The citizens of little Granprix are gathering in coffee shops, inns and hostelries, and the buzz of conversation flows out into the streets, around the squares in towns and villages, along the pews in churches, amongst the market stalls and along the docksides.

War is coming.

Who can have failed to notice the nervousness of the foreign nations stationed in Granprix following the debacle of Byzarbia? Men from far-flung places in the pay of the disgraced Kind Raoul of Grenouisse, barely able to speak their own language, let alone the clever dialect of Duke Zigor’s kinsmen, eye the townsfolk nervously and the hard country folk, tough as their beloved hills, more warily still.

Fisherfolk report great fleets of ships lurking offshore, merchantmen and men’o'war too, their huge masts o’ertopping the great castles of the coast. And travellers, freshly checked by the customs men of Prunkland who man the barriers separating Granprix from the lately-annexed Cap del Dit del Pen, now known as Kap Ludwig, share scuttlebutt of a province stuffed with men of many nations, of uniforms of white and blue and green and scarlet and gold, of tattoo-armed sailors filling the portside ale-houses.

From further afield, rumours of armed men speaking languages not recognised, of strange beasts and wild ceremonies carried out in the dead of night, of virgins taken from their pleading parents and dread sacrifices to terrible gods by savages from another planet.

Curiosity and terror, excitement and fear, hopes of liberation and secret apprehension.

Shadowy figures move stealthily in the shade of forest foliage. The sun breaks through the branches of an overhanging tree, and steel sparkles suddenly on high.

A young officer spots the glittering glade. A telescope is taken from its sheath and brought to eye. He watches for a moment; a minute; and then a minute more.

“Laddie,” he says softly to his sergeant, “those trees are hiding men, and men that are not ours.”

Paper and pencil are quickly put to use, and an anxious-looking rider gallops up. “To the Baron at Castell Sebastian,” says the officer, “and I want you there ‘ere noon.”

Grenouisse ascendant 1748 144dpi

A Campaign Newbie Question

One of the participants in this year’s Ayton imagi-nations campaign has asked a question that is so screamingly obvious that I kick myself for having made the assumption that he knew what was required. An old grognard such as myself, with a love of campaigns, needs to be aware that not everyone understands or can easily make the leap from controlling units of miniatures on a battlefield to commanding armies in a campaign that, for most of the time, are just dots on a map. So, here’s what I replied:

You need to read the campaign rules you were supplied with, look at the map you were also supplied with, and decide what you want to do in the campaign, i.e. either sit on your arse and wait for the war to come to you, or get off it and get stuck in!

You are in command of your own contingent, so you don’t have to obey anybody, but you (in your case) are in the pay of His Majesty King Raoul of Grenouisse, and his Chief of Staff General E Pickled of the Gateway Alliance is issuing orders on his behalf.

So, when a message arrives, respond to it, either by moving yourself and/or your troops or by sending a message back. All this goes via me, so if I judge there to be any delay or cock-up due to Fate, you will become aware of that – but not necessarily immediately. It might not become apparent that a message hasn’t got through until you realise that several hours/days/weeks have passed and you’ve had no reply or nothing has happened. Just like in real life, in other words! (Just think of the famous “the cheque’s in the post…”)

If you feel completely lost, lean on others who have campaign experience or, in effect, hand over command of your contingent to Iain or Peeler to do with as they will and you can just sit back and then shove the pieces around the battlefield and roll dice when it comes to the weekend.

Much campaign stuff consists of messages to and from me, asking questions like “Can I send out a reconnaissance to X and find out if Y is up to Z” or “I want to question the locals about X, what do they tell me?” and “Please dispatch the following message via courier to General X asking him to this, that or the other”.

What I’m doing is co-ordinating the whole thing, keeping track of who is doing what, to whom, with whom and where, and at what time, including calculating journey times, the difference a change in the wind and weather can make, judging loyalties and subterfuge and manipulating forces about which the players know very little indeed for most of the time. Which is why, by the time the weekend comes along, I am completely knackered.

But the bottom line is this: if you and your troops are nowhere near the fighting by the time the weekend arrives, and aren’t even within marching distance to provide reinforcements at a critical moment, you’re going to have a very dull weekend, perhaps just helping someone else to fight with their troops.

OK?

Grenouisse Ascendant: the Ayton Campaign 2014

I have just sent out the first Umpire’s Email to the participants of the forthcoming “Grenouisse Ascendant” imagi-nations campaign and weekend. The big get-together is scheduled for the Bank Holiday weekend of 2nd-4th May, to be held, as usual, in East Ayton in Yorkshire.

Once again, I had completely forgotten how much work is required just to set the thing up, decide who is on which side, prepare the campaign background and so on. I must be mad!

I shall be revealing who is on the side of King Raoul of Grenouisse and Duke Zigor of Granprix in due course. Can Raoul hang on to his ill-gotten gains in the face of a vengeful Duke Zigor and the notorious Granprixian partizans? Can Zigor and his allies, including the mighty Prunkland, wrestle the tiny duchy back from the usurper and his cronies? All will be revealed.

You will be able to follow progress here in the coming weeks.

MWBG 372 and Salute Show Guide Coming This Week

Miniature Wargames with Battlegames issue 372 front coverThis month, it’s a monster issue as it contains the 48-page Salute show guide, so we’ve upped the total pages to 96, the biggest MW ever! It also happens to be the first birthday of Miniature Wargames with Battlegames: the first combined issue was published exactly a year ago.

Forward observer
Neil Shuck discusses the kick-off of the show season with Hammerhead and WMMS, wonders aloud at the sudden appearance of so many MDF Pegasus Bridges and Dark Age buildings, examines the Raiders supplement for Dux Britanniarum, the Wild West Chronicles cowboy game from the writers of Operation Squad, begins skirmishing in the Age of Lace with Donnybrook and anticipates the forthcoming Jugula gladiator rules from Studio Tomahawk and Gripping Beast.

Graf von Sutherland
Diane Sutherland, our wargames widow, has been busy collecting Easter eggs and cardboard flowerpots. From this strange combination, she miraculously conjures up hot air balloons and dirigibles suitable for Steampunk and fin de siècle fun.

Fantasy facts
John Treadaway finds some quirky stuff to review this month, with the cast of Oliver! in miniature from North Star for Victoriana/Steampunk games, lumbering Mountain Orcs from Shieldwolf Miniatures, hover tanks from iron Wind Studios, 15mm S-F stuff from Brigade models, teeny-weeny 6mm S-F offerings from Angel Barracks, a bizarre selection of Oriental Legends minis from C P Models, including deadly household objects known as Tsukumogami, and a variety of sporting nutters. There are also 15mm vehicles and Colonial Defence Force soldiers from Ground Zero Games and a selection of Hammer’s Slammers stuff from Ainsty.

Flagstone fleets
Phil Dutré likes nothing better than to get together with his chums in Belgium and lie around on the patio. At the same time, expect to see him equipped with a telescope and charts as he commands squadrons of men’o’war as they do battle outside his back door. Yes, not content with simply sitting around with their Trappist beer, the Schild & Vriend Gentlemen’s Wargaming Society like nothing better than to scuff their knees and toes over a watery tussle in the garden. Hard a’starboard and watch for sails on that concrete horizon!

A trader among us
Helena Nash is… Well… How can I put this diplomatically? A woman. And she plays wargames. More than that, she sells wargaming stuff, reads military history books and kicks back her heels to watch The Longest Day with the rest of us. And she’s got something to say, so pay attention!

SALUTE 2014 SHOW GUIDE
CENTRE SECTION NUMBERED 1-XLVIII

Salute 2014 Show Guide Front Cover

Welcome to Salute 2014
Club Chairman and President Phil Portway welcomes you to the annual extravaganza to be held in the ExCel centre in London’s Docklands on 12th April.

Sculpting Commander Maud
Michael Perry explains how he approached the task of sculpting this year’s exclusive and highly distinctive miniature for the show, a figure paying tribute to a famous film as much as the man (and his dog!) himself.

Commander Colin Douglas Maud, DSO, DSC, sculpted by Michael Perry and painted by Kevin Dallimore

Painting Commander Maud
Kevin Dallimore describes with step-by-step photos how he went about painting Commander Colin Douglas Maud, DSO, DSC, principal Beach Master of Juno Beach as
portrayed by Kenneth More.

Commando forward!
David Barnes of the South London Warlords describes the events behind the advance of the Royal Marine Commandos to relieve the troops that had taken this famous landmark during the early hours of 6th June 1944 – complete with bagpipes!

Lest we forget
Alan Patrick outlines the exciting gaming potential of WWI, especially if you’re prepared to look beyond the cliché of ‘the mud and the blood’ of the Western Front.

Salute 2014 Games
Three pages listing the hundreds of games taking place at this year’s event alphabetically to help you find them easily.

Salute 2014 Floor Plan
A double-page map showing you exactly what is going on where in the vast hall.

Salute 2014 Traders
All this year’s traders at the event, listed alphabetically.

Pelennor Fields forever
Peter Merrit & John Treadaway describe the major fantasy game being staged by the South London Warlords. this promises to be a visual feast, using large-scale miniatures!

Barbastro 1837
Chris Thompson describes this colourful clash during the Carlist War in Spain where the French Foreign Legion serving the Christinos met its nemesis in the
Carlist lines…

Salute 2013 painting competition winners
Three sumptuous pages of beautifully painted and photographed miniatures showcasing the achievements of last year’s competitors.

END OF SALUTE 2014 SHOW GUIDE

Send three and fourpence
Back in the regular part of the magazine, Conrad Kinch wonders just how closely we really want our wargames to resemble reality. Some things, perhaps, we are just too civilised for…

Salamanca’s siren call part 6
In a piece lavishly illustrated with wonderful watercolour illustrations by Bob Marrion, I conclude my series on my favourite Napoleonic battle for the time being, introducing rules for hand to hand fighting and morale. Together with part 5 in the previous issue, you now have a complete set of horse and musket era rules!

Competition
Casemate UK are giving away a copy of their monster “Encyclopedia of Warfare” worth nearly £50! You’ll want to win a copy of this tremendous reference work.

Recce
Our review team peruse a clutch of new Osprey books, a lavish uniform book from Histoire et Collections, Jeff Knudsen’s “Napoleonic Command” rules and the landmark “The Book of the Ninja” (which we will examine in more detail in due course).

The Battlegames Combat Stress Appeal
Not only have we reached an impressive running total (which also leapt by several hundred pounds more just after this issue went to press), but we now also have a new and simple way for UK residents to donate: simply text MWBG99 £5 (or any other amount you like) to 70070.

That’s it for now: I hope to see many of you at Salute!