Archive for the ‘Tangled Web’ Category

A true Dutch treat

September 10, 2009

miniaturegamingWeb savvy tabletop gamers are used to regular and wonderful excess, usually it’s pretty predictable such as great paint jobs on miniatures, a stunning scenic or a massed combination of both in a great tabletop layout. However Dutch 6mm gamer Patrick Van Gompel has taken one enormous step beyond this, sure he’s got the well painted figures plus a collection of great scenics and yes they’re all combined into a layout – then he’s turned it into an animation which runs at over eight minutes – a truly stunning effort which can be seen here.

Angels on Parade

July 20, 2009

angelbarracksforumMike Angel, as he is known to me, is a 6mm version of Richard Branson. No he’s not incredibly short, with a beard and cheesy grin. More he’s an entrepreneur for all things 6mm, rather than things stamped with a corporate logo. Firstly he’s a painter – a very busy one and I’m still angling for a slot in his schedule so I might review his work, secondly he’s a scenic meister not only making scenics for otherwise busy gamers but also sharing the techniques for them quite freely. Finally he’s recently become a dad, so congratulations to him and his.

It’s this latter freedom in sharing ideas which creates a good sense of community for the 6mm clan, but not happy with that he’s also decided to strive to develop his forum, bolted on the side of his business site, into a uniquely 6mm forum. Now if some where to suggest this it would be some covert attempt at marketing his products, but that’s where Mike Angel is different, he means it.Of course he won’t complain if you do choose to buy something, but that’s a happy co-incidence, why else would he share so many top notch scenic secrets? His idea for wargame friendly trees is one of the best ideas I’ve ever seen, and it’s all there step-by-step for anyone to use.

It’s about time too, 6mm has it’s yahoo groups which are good but too old fashioned in form and function, and sure there’s forums like the GHQ one, but there’s a polite bar to mentioning anything non-GHQ there. Other forum do exist on sites like CinC or Baccus but they’re typically very slow. So here’s our chance for our own free and dedicated forum lets make use of it. See you there!

Rules Britannia

April 9, 2009

dscf0852Sets of rules for gaming are unusual beasts. In days past you typically took up whichever set your chums used, sometimes you might express your individuality by finding a different set, sometimes at a show or club or even having read about them in the limited wargaming press. Now with the web you can go to a gaming forum and have a decent conversation about them, then go and read thousands of words about them in reviews and more or less guarantee ending up with exactly what you are looking for. However there’s two side effects of the web which can actually make it a more drawn out affair, namely every gamer in ten seems to have written a rule set and often generously offers them up for free download, also the range of choice is positively massive in part due to one gamer in ten having written a set. Being spoilt for choice is a luxury though so don’t consider that a complaint, it’s mere observation.

When I decided to return to WWII gaming I used the new web way of doing things, and preferring to always think things through it did take a good couple of months to conclude by buying a copy of Blitzkrieg Commander by Peter Andrew Jones from Specialist Military Publishing Ltd. Aside from looking like the most suitable for me, the company is British and that’s agreeable to me for mild nationalistic reasons.

dscf0853When the rules were delivered I was a little shocked. Sure the book is a beautiful example of publishing, well bound, overall good production values, and lavishly illustrated, but it did strike me as too thick a volume. I was looking for speedy play, and did wonder if I hadn’t bought one of those over complex rivet-counting volumes. A quick scan removed my fears, the bare machinery of the game filled only a small part of the overall book, the rest was army lists for specific theatres by date, plus a talk-through of how it all worked on the table with illustrative photos.

dscf0857I’ve little to say about the rules, they’re simple, play well and most importantly great fun. They’re not limited to 6mm in any way so they’re suitable for heathen friends. A twelve year old can use them, as can be seen in the picture of the boy Slug above – and yes he does look a little too serious but then he is trying to work out how to beat the historical precedent set by the Third Reich after all. The army lists are vital of course, and it wasn’t long before I was spodding out making calculations for invincible armies like one does, only to see them turn to dust on the table. The most interesting feature though are the talk-through pages, most rules I’ve ever learned, and I imagine this is true of a lot of gamers, have been explained to me in a few minutes by a mate who knew the set. This would then be followed by a quick introductory game. It’s astute of a publisher to replicate this and so keenly too.

dscf0861I wouldn’t be surpised if they were suitable for younger players like Stinky who is five, in fact if he can explain surpression by the end of the week I won’t put him on a charge for his sloppy use of a beret. Specialist Military Publishing also produce Cold War Commander and Future War Commander, both of which I’ve heard good reports of, they also have a very handy website packed with further information, links and a forum, the latter being really handy as there’s nothing like being able to run any misinterpretations or problems past the man who wrote the rules. I highly recommend these rules, and as is so common I now support them with the fervour usually associated with sports teams. We are the army, the barmy army, etc…

Justice for Intimidated Scale Modellers

April 8, 2009

dscf07951This is Terry. He’s a scale modeller. Every night he tries to model, but he gets intimidated and ends up crying himself to sleep. His intimidator says if he tells anyone she’ll come back and do nasty things to him which he doesn’t understand. Stop the suffering. Join the Justice for Intimidated Scale Modellers campaign on Facebook.

Okay it’s a joke group, but if you’re like my mate Terry and suffer whinging from the missus or girlfriend over our harmless hobby why not sign yourself up? Post a picture, state your case and then show it to the whinger. It might just work.

History Forums a go-go

April 7, 2009


Internet forums don’t have much of a reputation amongst people with brains – ranking as they do in the common conscience just below blogs for hubs of the nonsensical, the irrational and the dull cynical provocations invented by clock-watching office workers. Those which attract an audience tend to become cliques where backslapping each other for sharing opinions is the primary activity.

For those with a genuine interest in history this is a problem, many history forums are filled with “What am best…?” threads, typically involving folk without enough knowledge nor experience attempting to define which tank, airplane, gun, etc is the best ever. Similarly theres wild “What if…” threads where twisted improbabilities are invented fuelled more by alcohol or drugs than imagination. Lastly there’s the most sordid type of post; the “Duh! Actually the real reason…” the naked revision of history for political milage and both left and right wings are dreadfully happy to devolve themselves to this.

Thankfully it’s not all bad as there are some crackingly brilliant forums around, obviously they suffer slightly from the malady expressed above but it’s not their core activity – not by a long chalk. For all things World War 2 there’s three which have become solid faves for me.

ww2talkFirstly there’s WW2Talk a generally British and Commonwealth fuelled site where the membership verges on the academic historian. This is helped in no small part by actually having some real-life historians on board as well as having some of the owners of many of the best history sites and several veterans as members too. Sure there’s some buggering about but that’s usually contained in the Barracks, an area specifically for jokes, leg-pulling and rants. Generally it has the comfortable atmosphere of a gent’s club with the smell of leather upholstery and just a hint of gin.

ww2forumsSecondly there’s WWIIForums a seppo version of WW2Talk, the two are actually related but I don’t like to pry as to how as it’s very likely to involve a G.I. with nylon stockings and someone’s tipsy Grandmother. Obviously the content is more U.S. related but it’s established regular members are of the same ilk as WW2Talk and that’s what important. Instead of a Barracks they have a Freefire Zone, and bearing such a name does express how heated things can get. It’s interesting to see how a relatively young nation such as the U.S.A. responds to events – typically a youthful indignation to our British weary resignation.  It’s a stunning resource none the less, so God Bless America.

axishistoryforumFinally there’s the Axis History Forum which specialises in all things Third Reich and often with the most incredible detail. This trait can be off-putting to the newcomer but I suggest you don’t let it worry you. All three of these forums offer more than any single person might ever know of course, but AHF goes a little further in not only knowing all the details, but knowing them in English, German and several other languages as well. Rather unfortunately AHF does suffer the usual foolishness of the non-history reader, so it has to stress it’s apolitical stance. One of the folk behind it is Marcus Wendel who also runs the quite excellent Axis History Factbook where he declares on the home page it is not a nazi site and neither is he a nazi. Probably too many visits from members of one of those piss-poor forums I berated at the beginning, shame.