Five months on … and some progress has been made!

It is typical of my ‘luck’ that the day I chose to start sorting out the books in my toy/wargames room is the first day in nearly a fortnight that it has not been cold and damp. In fact it was quite hot in the loft extension (which is where my toy/wargames room is located) and I had to have the fan on for most of the day.

So far I have identified and removed over fifty books, and this has freed up enough space in one of the bookcases/store cupboards for me to be able to store all my Hexon II hexed terrain (but not the hills, rivers, roads etc.) on the empty shelves. This means that the terrain is now far more accessible than it was. (My Hexon II hexed terrain was hitherto stored in wooden storage crates. This provided very strong and durable storage but was a real pain when you wanted to use the terrain because you had to unstack and restack the storage crates … and the one you wanted always seemed to be at the bottom of the pile.)

I have now begun to catalogue the books I am getting rid of and I have begun negotiations with a bookseller who might be interested in buying them. I had thought of selling the books on eBay, but recent changes to UK postal rates could have made it very uneconomical for both me and any potential purchasers. The postage and packing for a book would probably have been more than the actual price that the book sold for, and that does not make sense to me. (I know that P&P charges are paid by the customer, but who wants to pay more for that than they do for the book they have bought?)

With luck I should be able to finish the process of identifying, removing, and cataloguing the books that I am going to dispose of by tomorrow afternoon. When that is done – and I have found somewhere to store the books for the foreseeable future – I can then complete the task of tidying up my toy/wargames room. Once that is done I intend to fight a wargame to celebrate!

Five months on … and some progress needs to be made

Last year I began the process of sorting out my toy/wargames room, and by the end of November I had pretty well got my wargames figures (both painted and unpainted), model vehicles (again, completed and incomplete), and terrain into some sort of order (and storage system) that made sense to me. I then decided that the next stage would involve sorting out my books … but somehow I never got around to it.

I realised this today when I went to look for a book … and could not find it. I also realised that I have books on my shelves that I have not read for years, that I am not likely to read again, and which duplicate information that I have in other reference and history books. So tomorrow – assuming that I am feeling a bit better – I intend to begin the great book sort. I expect that it is going to take me quite some time, and that during the process my toy/wargames room will be even more of a mess than it is now … but in the end I will have a slimmed-down library of books that I want, need, and will use.

Anyway, that is the intention … and if I don’t do it now, someone will have to do it at some time in the future, and I would rather that that person was me.

Its official … cats like buttered toast: The Hero/Villain

By popular request, here is a photograph of the Hero/Villain of the story.

‘The Butter Bandit’ (AKA ‘Big Boy’) is an old cat. He used to live in one of the nearby flats with an elderly man, but when the latter left (we are not sure if he died or went into a care home), the cat began to live in our garden and come in to the house to eat every couple of days. Eventually he started coming in every day until he became a permanent resident … and after being called ‘You don’t live here’ for some time, he was eventually named ‘Big Boy’.

He is normally a very even tempered cat (he occasionally gets annoyed with our younger female cat and hisses at her) and it appears that he was neutered when he was young. He likes to sit or lay on his favourite cushion near the cat flap or – if the weather is fine – in the sun on the patio.

A slight change of direction

My cold has meant that I have just not felt like doing anything practical for the last couple of days. As a result I have made no progress with my plans to build the Zvezda model kits that are supplied with ART OF TACTIC: OPERATION BARBAROSSA. I have, however, had time to think … and I have done quite a lot.

One of the things I have been thinking about is my large collection of 20mm-scale World War II figures and vehicles. The collection has been languishing unused in its storage boxes for quite some time, and I really ought to use it. It also struck me that rather than make the Zvezda models I could use my existing figures and vehicles.

My thoughts in this direction were further influenced by a request I recently received for a copy of my OPERATIONAL ART rules and hex-based variant of Tim Gow‘s MEGABLITZ rules.

Either set of rules could easily be used to refight the first scenario in the ART OF TACTIC: OPERATION BARBAROSSA scenario book, something that I had planned to do in the very near future. I originally intended to use my MEMOIR OF MODERN BATTLE (MOMBAT) rules for this wargame, but I now have a choice of three sets of rules that I could use.

I am not quite sure which of the rules I will use … but thinking about this project has helped to keep my spirits up over recent days.

Its official … cats like buttered toast!

As my wife and I were still not feeling much better this morning, we tried to have a bit of a lie-in … but it was not to be. At 7.30am our female cat decided that it was time for breakfast, so she came and woke us up. Having fed her and our old male cat, I made tea for my wife and had a shower. I then made my wife some more tea, got dressed, and sat down at my computer and answered my emails.

At about 9.00am I decided that I fancied some toasted Hovis wholemeal bread for breakfast. I had just buttered my toast and taken it into the living room to eat when the doorbell rang. I put my toast onto the coffee table and answered the front door. It was my next door neighbour, who had come to thank me for sorting out a computer problem he had had. We talked for a couple of minutes, and then I went back to the living room to eat my toast … to find my wife laughing her socks off and our old male cat just finishing licking all the butter off my toast!

I was not a happy chappy … and I must admit that I might have used a few expletives that referred to the cat. The cat just sat there … and to add insult to injury, it licked its mouth! By way of placating me, my wife made me some more toast … but from now on I am not going to leave my toast anywhere where the cat can get at it.

An irresistible headline

I decided to try to find out what had been happening in the World whilst I had been feeling unwell by visiting the BBC News webpage. Amongst all the other stories, one particular headline caught my eye. It read:Cardboard boats aid Nato war games off ScotlandI found this irresistible, and just had to read the story … which turned out to be very interesting indeed.

Of equal interest to me was the photograph used to illustrate this news item as it showed a cloth terrain map (including cardboard model ships) of part of the Joint Warrior exercise area. The photograph was also featured on the Ministry of Defence website as its IMAGE OF THE DAY.

[Picture: PO(Phot) Ray Jones, Crown Copyright/MOD 2012]

The best laid plans …

I had all sorts of things that I planned to do today … but so far my plans have come to nought.

When my wife and I woke up this morning we both felt somewhat under the weather. Overnight we had both begun develop heavy colds … and it was one of those colds that are sometimes referred to a ‘man ‘flu’. You know the sort of cold I am describing. Your body feels leaden, your nose (and sinuses) feel bunged up, your eyes feel full of grit and itchy, and your head feels as if it is full of cottonwood. Trying to read is difficult because you cannot focus, and anything that requires concentration is almost impossible.

When you feel like this the best course of action is to keep warm, take Paracetamol (or Aspirin), get lots of rest, and drink lots of fluids. Unfortunately we needed to do some essential shopping, so we girded our loins and went … and both of us feel exhausted as a result. We intend to send the rest of the day doing as little as possible in the hope that we will be feeling better tomorrow.

Perhaps I will see my plans come to fruition tomorrow … but if I don’t, there is always Sunday … or Monday … or Tuesday …

The Portable Wargame terrain board

Ian Dury has made a comment in reply to my recent blog entry about the wonderful terrain board that he created to use with my PORTABLE WARGAME rules. The comment contains contact details that some regular blog readers might find useful.

Memoir of Modern Battle (MOMBAT) and Art of Tactic: Operation Barbarossa

Whilst I remain in the doldrums regarding whether or not to construct my own version of Ian Dury’s beautiful PORTABLE WARGAME terrain board, I have been doing some more thinking about the recently announced link-up between Richard Borg and Zvezda. As I own a lot of Zvezda‘s ART OF TACTIC: OPERATION BARBAROSSA terrain and playing pieces/model kits, and i have developed my own hybrid of Richard Borg‘s MEMOIR ’44/Joseph Morschauser’s ‘Modern’ wargames rules, I am thinking about putting the two together myself and seeing whether or not the combination works.

I intend to use the first scenario in the ART OF TACTIC: OPERATION BARBAROSSA scenario book for my play-test. It may take me a day or so to build the various models I will need, but with luck I should be able to run the play-test sometime over the weekend or early next week.

I must not do it … I must not do it … I must not do it …

I need another terrain system like a need another hole in my head … but looking at Ian Dury’s wonderful rendition of what a PORTABLE WARGAME setup could look like is very tempting. Every time I look at it, I keep repeating ‘I must not do it … I must not do it … I must not do it …‘ to myself … but the self-hypnosis is just not working!

I already have a large number of boxes of Hexon II hexed terrain, a huge amount of Heroscape™ hexed terrain, two 3′ x 2′ fully flocked and gridded terrain boards (the grid is made up of 2″ squares), several vinyl chessboards, a green felt cloth marked with a grid made up of 3″ squares, a folding wooden chessboard, a small wooded chessboard (the original board I used for my PORTABLE WARGAME), and all the hexed boards that come with MEMOIR ’44, BATTLE CRY!, and ART OF TACTIC: OPERATION BARBAROSSA.

So why have I just had to stop myself cutting up some cardboard squares to see how many plain, wooded, road, river, and hill squares I might need if I am going to copy Ian Dury’s example?

I must not do it … I must not do it … I must not do it …

[Exit stage left, pursued by an attractive idea]