Nugget 306

I collected the latest edition of THE NUGGET (N306) from the printer yesterday afternoon, and I will be posting it out to members of Wargame Developments as soon as I can … weather permitting! (We had a heavy snowfall last night, and very little foot or vehicle traffic seems to be able to move outside our house at present.)

I have already uploaded the PDF version of THE NUGGET to the Wargame Developments website so that it can be read online or downloaded and printed.

IMPORTANT: Please note that this is the sixth issue of THE NUGGET to be published for the 2017-2018 subscription year, and that members who have not already re-subscribed can do so by visiting the relevant page on the Wargame Developments website.


La Ultima Cruzada: Paperback and eBook editions

Since LA ULTIMA CRUZADA was published late last year, I’ve had several requests for both paperback and eBook editions.

Having given it some thought, I’ve decided to see how quickly and easily this could be done, and if it does not require too much work on my part, I hope to be able make them available in the near future.

Toy Soldier & Model Figure Magazine Issue 231

The most recent issue of TOY SOLDIER & MODEL FIGURE magazine contains an article by James Delson* about using his huge collection of 54mm figures to fight large-scale wargames.

He starts his article with the following statement:

Playing toy soldier wargames on a grand scale is one of the collecting hobby’s greatest pleasures. Each step in the gaming process has its own rewards, ranging from the creation of opposing armies to setting them up in realistic environments across an expanse of floor, table or lawn, and then maneuvering a wide array of troops through the final goal of fighting out the ensuing battles.

I suspect that this resonates with quite a few wargamers, regardless of the size of figure that they use.

The article then goes on to describe how he set up a particular battle that involved 2,000 Barbary Pirates, North African mercenaries and European freebooters in a fortress taking on 6,000 British, American, and Bombay Marines, Highland infantry regiments, British infantry regiments, and a thousand-strong force of ‘characters’ called ‘Harold’s Rangers’. (‘Harold’s Rangers’ include Cyrano de Bergerac, Harold Godwinson, Richard Sharpe, James Brooke, Zorro, Richard Francis Burton, and Horatio Hornblower to name but a few!)

The figures are mounted on wooden battens (a twelve-inch x one-inch batten can take twelve figures), four-inch square six-figure bases, or three-inch square two-figure bases which are moved around on twelve-inch square company bases. There are even larger twenty-four-inch square bases that can take four companies for use in very large wargames!

The article gives no indication as the rules that are used, but more information on that score can be found on The Toy Soldier Company website, where you can buy a copy of HAROLD’S RANGERS GAME RULES.

* James Delson is the owner of The Toy Soldier Company.

Nugget 306

The editor of THE NUGGET sent the latest issue of the magazine to me last night, and I plan to download it today, check it, and then take it to the printer by Wednesday morning. If everything goes according to plan and there are no delays, it should be printed and posted out to members of Wargame Developments by early next week.

IMPORTANT: Please note that this is the sixth issue of THE NUGGET to be published for the 2017-2018 subscription year, and that members who have not already re-subscribed can do so by visiting the relevant page on the Wargame Developments website.

Small Wars: New Perspectives on Wargaming Counter Insurgency on the Tabletop

It seems to be my week for acquiring new books. On Friday the latest addition to John Curry’s ‘History of Wargaming’ Project arrived … David Wayne Thomas’s SMALL WARS: NEW PERSPECTIVES ON WARGAMING COUNTER INSURGENCY ON THE TABLETOP.

I have known the author ever since he joined Wargame Developments many years ago, and he is a regular attendee (and session provider) at the annual Conference of Wargamers. As a result I have seen in operation (and taken part in) some the games featured in this book, and I can assure anyone who buys and uses the rules therein that they will enjoy some thought-provoking and well-designed games.

Besides a Foreword written by Brian Train (who is probably the foremost designer of counter insurgency board wargames), the books has six separate rules for COIN games:

  • Company Level Actions in the Early 21st Century: Boots on the Ground (by John Armatys)
  • An Isolated Outpost: Six Months in the Sahara
  • Soviet involvement in Afghanistan: Eight Years in a Distant Country
  • Counter-Insurgency in South West Africa
  • The Irish Troubles 1920-21: Flying Column
  • LBJ’s War 1965-68: Good Morning Vietnam!

The book also contains an extensive list of COIN games and rules as well as a five-page bibliography.

The book is published by the ‘History of Wargaming’ Project, and costs £12,95 plus postage and packing (ISBN 978 0 244 65183 1).

Miniature Wargames Issue 419

The latest issue of Miniature Wargames arrived a couple of days ago, and I have been reading it with interest..

The articles included in this issue are:

  • Welcome (i.e. the editorial) by John Treadaway
  • Forward observer
  • Send three and fourpence: Wargames by email – A tale of three games by Conrad Kinch
  • Hell by daylight: 20th Century skirmish rules: Part 2 by Jim Webster
  • The first action in Zululand: A scenario for use with Victorian Steel or Black Powder by Dave Tuck, with photographs by Malcolm Johnston
  • Portable Kriegsspiel: Turning the Portable Wargame into a whole different thing by Arthur Harman, with photographs by Bob Cordery(!)
  • Forks of the Ohio 1758: A conundrum to contemplate by Jon Sutherland, with photographs by Diane Sutherland
    • Zombski: Planning a game for Hammerhead 2018 by Dave Tuck, with photographs by Malcolm Johnston
    • Fantasy Facts
  • The Victorio Campaign: 1870-1886: Part One: Apaches and Buffalo Soldiers by Robert Watt, with photographs by the author and Kevin Dallimore
  • Recce
  • Redoubt Regrets: The continuing tales of a wargames widow by Diane Sutherland
  • Lakeside property: Scratch-building lakes by John Treadaway
  • Club Directory

So what did I particularly enjoy in this issue?

Well other than the obvious (i.e. Arthur Harman’s Portable Kriegsspiel article, for which I supplied the photographs!), I enjoyed the second part of Jim Webster’s Hell by daylight and Dave Tuck’s The first action in Zululand. As usual Send three and fourpence by Conrad Kinch was well worth reading, as was Diane Sutherland’s Redoubt Regrets.

In my opinion the last two issues have been particularly good, and it seems as if the editor has prevailed upon the publishers to allow him to produce a first-class wargame magazine.

I was amazed at how good my photographs looked when I saw them in this issue. I wish that I could claim that it was all down to my skill, but in truth John Treadaway must have done a lot of photo-manipulation to remove the shadows etc., caused by sunlight coming through the window blinds, and turn my humble efforts into something much, much better.

Never read your reviews

I was once told by an actor of my acquaintance never to read reviews of any work that I had done as they would either over-inflate my ego … or do it irreparable harm. How right they are!

Looking at the reviews of my PORTABLE WARGAME and DEVELOPING THE PORTABLE WARGAME books on Amazon, I discovered that almost all the reviews gave my books three stars or better. No bad, I thought … and then I saw that one reviewer had given them a one-star rating … so I read their review. This is what it said:

I bought the pair of books at the same time after they had good reviews. Upon reading them I found the rules to be overly simplified and too generic to be of interest. The book goes into great detail as to why he chose the rules and is really just extra padding to the book that should really have been a couple of sheets of A4 given out free in a magazine.

At first I was very disappointed … and then I thought about what the reviewer had written.

The rules were criticised for being ‘overly simple and too generic‘ and yet the blurb about the rules on Amazon states that ‘The Portable Wargame has been developed over the past ten years to meet the needs of wargamers who want a fast, easy to learn, simple to use set of wargames rules.’ Is it me, or are the rules being criticised for doing what they were designed to do?

Now I know that not everyone wants to understand the thinking that the rule writer has gone through when writing a set of rules, but I know that some do, which is why I included it. It isn’t ‘extra padding‘; it serves a purpose … and from the feedback I have had, a lot of users have found that it has helped them to a better understanding of the rules and enabled them to develop their own versions.

When I first read this review, my heart sank. I am a realist and didn’t expect everyone to rate my books as five-star, (that would have been nice, but …) but to rate it as only worth one-star really felt like a kick in the guts. Then I re-read the review, and thought about what had been written … and realised that at no point did the review state anything along the lines of ‘I’ve fought several tabletop battles with these rules and …‘. I came to the conclusion that the reviewer had looked through the books, decided that the rules were not for him, and had chosen to write a review that reflected that. An honest opinion, written in these circumstances, is perfectly valid, even if it seems a bit harsh.

My actor friend was right; I should never read any reviews of work I have done … but it is very difficult not to!

Interestingly, the same reviewer wrote the following about Neil Thomas’s ONE-HOUR WARGAMES (which they gave four-stars!):

I was a little disappointed with this book. The rules for the different areas are basically the same, and come down to roll a single dice and do that much damage to the enemy unit with each unit taking 15 damage before leaving the battle. The best part of the book that saves it are the 30 scenarios that are included.

After spending more time with this book you begin to see that the differences between the different rules make the required feel for the era but keep the same core mechanics. It is possible to play several battles in different eras during an evening.