Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Sails and Powder: Cape Finisterre

The other set of print and play rules I'm going to try out over the holidays are the Sails and Powder Napoleonic naval rules, which are very simple indeed (no wind!) and so ideal for playing large battles with small children, or just small battles with large adults if that's more appealing. I have the basic Trafalgar core rules and the Cape Ortegal scenario but thought I'd splash out on the Cape Finistere scenario counter set as well, especially as it was only a couple of quid. In fact, I'm off to Finisterre in Brittany soon, so it's all very apt.

Table Air Combat: Battle of Britain

This summer I'm taking the Table Air Combat rules on holiday again but with the aim of playing a series of games focussed on the Battle of Britain. I've dabbled with the Pacific and NW Europe last year, in order to try put the various special rules for bombing, ground attack, anti-shipping and strafing, but this time I've decided to concentrate on the Luftwaffe vs. RAF in the Summer of 1940. I may even try to run a campaign style game of linked scenarios, using a variation of the Too Fat Lardies Bag the Hun supplement for the Battle of Britain, Finest Hour. Tally Ho!

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Table Air Combat 'How to' Youtube Video

A really neat introduction to the excellent Table Air Combat system for the beginner and also for me, as I haven't played a game for ages and have some holiday time coming up, so I'll be packing the T.A.C. stuff ready for some new scenarios and aircraft. Brilliant!

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Table Air Combat B-25H Mitchell

A new addition to the Table Air Combat system, which is also available in a Pacific War bundle if you want to get everything you need for the Pacific theatre all in one go. The Mitchell set has some really interesting and unusual scenarios including an airfield strafing mission over Rabaul by the looks of it and featuring some really impressive terrain tiles. There's also a Kagero class destroyer and a Japanese cargo ship to strafe, so lots of bang for your buck. I'm definitely going to grab this set as it looks like a cracker!

Thursday, 8 June 2017

EM-4 Space Fighters for Tacship

I found the box of plastic 'Universal Spacecraft' from EM-4 in the loft the other day and have been working out how I can use them for Tacship. These are the old Silent Death models but are very well sculpted and cleanly moulded, with some really funky designs. I've grouped them into pairs of fighters and fighter bombers, based on similarity of design, size and shape so that I can use formations of them together in strike, interception and escort scenarios, for example. I particularly like the models demarcated by the green and red rectangles (above), with the latter as very good alien style craft. I'll see if I can find the time to get some of them prepared and painted over the weekend.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Tacship Cover

One thing missing from my downloaded copy of Tacship is a front cover, so without further a-do (whatever an a-do is?), I've adapted a cover that I designed for a set of naval rules to a space fighter format. I can't remember where the picture came from but it's rather good and captures the spirit of the rules really well. Anyway, I've now printed out the rules and put them in a handy folder ready to try out a game, once I've sorted out the EM-4 plastic space craft that I have successfully located up in the loft.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Talking of Tacship

I've found a revised record sheet for Tacship on Boardgamegeek, which is a cleaner and neater version of the one featured in the online SSFFW version of the rules. I might have a go at twiddling around with this a bit further to add a bit more customisation and some colour. I've also been considering ways in which I could organise the EM-4 plastic fighters into different factions, which is quite easy as some of them share similar design features, and how I can add some more spacecraft to build further units.

I do like the look of the Brigade Models 6mm Folgore multi-role fighter, which would scale well with the old Silent Death models, even if the rest of the Squadron Commander range doesn't really appeal that much. Anyway, I have more than enough to play around with just using the EM-4 plastic ships, so it's all systems go for a Tacship project this summer. I'll see if I can dig out the boxes of plastic space fighters when I get home from the holidays in a couple of days time.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017


Cool old school artwork!

My trawl through the dusty, cobwebbed corners of my hard drive in search of simple, 'beer and pretzels' games continues! This time I unearthed a copy of Jon Tuffley's simple tactical level space fighter miniatures rules, Tacship, as published in Ragnarok Issue 3, now long out of print but available for free via the SSFFW website.

Here's a handy link:

How these ended up pasted into a WORD document on my hard drive is anyone's guess. I can't remember when I added them to my sci-fi collection but I must have done at some point. Anyway, they are what look to be a very straightforward but fun set of rules, with a definite emphasis on fast play and a lack of complicated book keeping, fancy turn sequences or complex mechanisms.

In fact they appear to be the perfect 'tea and a wad', space dogfighting rules with plenty of scope for designing and arming your own fighter space craft including all the whistles and bells, from pulse lasers to missiles and mines. There would be nothing to stop you adding additional type of ordnance if you wanted to or even tweaking your space fighter with extra technological add-ons, as the rules are simple enough to be adapted and extended should you wish to do so.

Groovy 70's retro typeface!

I really like the look of these rules, which have a neat thrust and velocity based movement system and can be played with hexes or without, adding another layer of flexibility. I'm thinking of using them with the old Silent Death plastic space fighters that you can now buy from EM-4 for peanuts, so this could be a very cheap and cheerful project indeed.

I'm pretty sure that I've already got a couple of boxes of these in the loft somewhere...just have to find out exactly where???

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Sails and Powder

I spotted this print and play Napoleonic naval game on Wargame Vault this afternoon and thought it was worth a closer look. It's a simple set of rules for the Battle of Trafalgar and includes print and cut out counters for the three fleets, together with a free printable sea mat.

I downloaded the core rules and an expansion for the Battle of Cape Ortegal, which was a follow on engagement after the Battle of Trafalgar itself. I'm on holiday at the moment, so don't have access to a printer, but will print out the components and try out the rules when I get home in a few days time.

I think this looks like a really neat little beer and pretzels level game, so I'm looking forward to giving it a play test as soon as I can find the time. When I was a kid, I played the old TTG Micro Fleet Napoleonic Naval counter game to death, so if this is in the same vein I'll be very happy. 

Not bad for $8.00 or just over £6.00 in proper money.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Half Term Holidays

It's the half term break so we're off on holiday! I'll be packing some games to play, in case the weather socks in and to occupy the evenings, including X Wing which I haven't played for ages and which the kids really enjoy. I'm also planning to bring along Zombies! which I got back in November last year but haven't had time to play yet. As usual I'm going to pack a couple of 'print and play' games, as well as my copy of Trapdoor, so I can set up some old fashioned, dungeon crawl roleplaying with the kids. I'm sure I'll only scratch the surface of this lot but it will be good to get a few games in for a change!

Friday, 26 May 2017

Ad Mare Bellum

These are a new set of fast play ancient naval rules by David Manley, which I've just found on Wargame Vault and which I'm going to use with the Tiny Tin Troops card ship counters that I originally acquired for use with Osprey Publishing's Poseidon's Warriors. They are based on David's medieval and renaissance naval rules, the first of which I already have but haven't tried out yet, so I'm sure they will be very good. It's half term so I'm planning to get some fast play card counter, classical galley gaming underway over the next few days.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Cavern Crawl

Thanks to Randy, I've got the link to a download of the original free version of Trapdoor which is aptly titled as Cavern Crawl. The rules are virtually identical to the later Trapdoor edition but without some of the extra bits like examples of play, a scenario and aspects of character advancement. Still, it's a pretty tidy set of miniature role playing rules with all the things you need for a bit of a dungeon adventure. And it's free!

Tuesday, 23 May 2017


I have unearthed my digital copy of this cracking little set of dungeon crawl rules and have been reading it through again. It really is a very simple beer and pretzels level system with all the classic features you'd expect in a set of basic dungeoneering RPG-light rules. I particularly like the fact that it's all squeezed into only 36 pages, some of which are illustrated examples of play, tables and charts. The rules themselves probably only occupy about half of that page count again, so very streamlined but not lacking in detail at all. They're not available any more as far as I can tell, having looked in all the usual places, but if you can locate a copy they are well worth grabbing.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Dungeon Crawl

My sprogs love dungeon crawl games, so I've been thinking of doing a little project based around the re-released Pendraken Miniatures 10mm dungeon set, complete with adventurers, monsters, treasure and traps. I toyed with the idea of this a few years ago, when I saw the dungeon terrain starter set on sale at Warfare, but decided to spend my pocket money on something else.

Now, I think it would be a very good way to encourage the sprogs into miniatures gaming and to have a set up that is compact enough to pack away for holidays. There's a set of Beer and Pretzels rules called Trapdoor! that I already have on the hard drive which would be ideal for just this sort of thing. All I need to do is save up my hard earned pocket money again (!) to buy enough corridors, rooms and figures for a decent dungeon adventure.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Ludus Gladiatorius

For various reasons my thoughts have been turning to gladiatorial combat games of late and, as a result, I've dug out a battered old copy of the EM-4 Ludus Gladiatorius 'beer and pretzels' style game, complete with pre-painted gladiator figures. I say figures but a couple are missing from my set, having been converted into dead gladiators for a long abandoned Warhammer Gladiator project that bit the dust a few years ago, after I realised too late that the rules were wonky.

I do have plenty of painted 28mm Foundry and Crusader Miniatures gladiator figures, as you can see, so it will be easy to set up a game or two of Ludus Gladiatorius with substitutes. The EM-4 figures are a bit two dimensional anyway and I'm not keen on the painting style, even if it's a great way to get a game on the table. I've played the game a few times before with my kids and it is easy to pick up, fast and pretty deadly. I'll see if I can get a game or two underway over the weekend.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Tank on Tank: Westfront - Night Action

I played a scenario from the Tank on Tank: Westfront rules booklet yesterday, with my nine year old daughter once again taking command of the Wehrmacht and myself the Yanks. The scenario was a night action with limited range due to low visibility, so it was a bit of a challenge for both sides. In the end I managed to win by stopping the Germans from blocking the North-South roads which ran across the map. It was a good game and the night rules made it really interesting, especially as it neutralised some of the advantages of the Tigers and made it easier for the Shermans to get in some crucial flanking shots.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Tank on Tank: Eastfront - The Hammer

This was another game against my nine year old daughter, who once again took on the role of the German Kampfgruppe commander against my Soviet armoured forces. The scenario involved a massed attack by the Soviets to capture three town hexes, with the dug-in German defenders trying to stop them by the end of turn nine. If either side knocked out all of the enemies forces they would also win but it was really all about taking the towns and having more units in occupation at the end to the game.

Needless to say, it was a close run thing but the girl beat her dad again (!) even though we both held a town each at the end of the game. One thing I did do was to use plastic counters to mark knocked out units, rather than just removing the counters from play, which meant that line of sight and movement was a bit more challenging. This worked well but could make the game less fluid, so I'll only use it as and when the scenario would benefit in the future or just count the destroyed units as not actually being an obstacle.

Atlantic Fleet Battle of the Atlantic Campaign

Over the last couple of months I've been chipping away at the Atlantic Fleet Battle of the Atlantic campaign, playing the Kriegsmarine rather than the Royal Navy. I had tried the latter but came to a sticky end after about twenty turns, so switched sides in an attempt to work out what I  had done wrong. At the moment, I'm about half way through 1941 and things are going well for the U Boats, with an impressive tonnage of merchant ships sunk and the allies reduced to a fleet of destroyers. I'm very wary of the occasional capital ship that pops up out of nowhere and of the odd setback due to allied air power, having lost a light cruiser only a couple of turns ago to a Liberator with depth charges.

It's a good campaign mode, although by it's very nature there are repetitive bits with U Boat attacks on convoys or destroyers being pretty frequent. I've found that organising the submarines into Wolf Packs really works well, especially when combined with surface battle groups of battleships, battlecruisers and light cruisers. My biggest headache is that I've run out of these and can't build any more, so have to rely on destroyers and submarines to replace any losses, even though the German destroyers are pretty powerful as they are. It's a great little game and has an element of historical accuracy that is missing from most other naval themed titles, so well worth playing and definitely good value for money. I just wish there was a WW1 version!

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Tank on Tank: Eastfront - Soviet Smash

I played a follow on Meeting Engagement of Tank on Tank: Eastfront against my daughter this morning, with a German Kampfruppe of Panthers, a Tiger and armoured infantry with artillery support, against a Soviet armoured force of KV85's and a single Katyusha battery. The end result was a total defeat for the Soviets and a virtual walkover for the Germans, who lost a couple of Panthers late in the game but wiped out the Soviets in short order, using a combination of artillery fire and Panthers hidden in the woods and town hexes. I was completely out manoeuvred by a nine year old but will get my own back in the next encounter!

Tank on Tank: Eastfront - Meeting Engagement

I played a game of Tank on Tank: Eastfront against the sprog this morning, with a German Kampfgruppe against an equal points value of Soviet T34 and T34/85's. The scenario was the generic meeting engagement in which the first side to knock out half the enemies points wins, with a game length of ten turns as a cut off point. The Soviets gained an early advantage by destroying several Panzer IV's with some high dice rolls but the Germans counter attacked by the end of turn six by knocked out half the Soviet points value in tanks. This was a draw if the end of Turn Six was the cut off point, although the Soviets did actually win it by achieving the objective first. A good game and one which my daughter, who was chief dice roller for the Soviets, enjoyed a lot especially when her brother's Panzer IV's brewed up!