Battleshed Diaries

Friday, 26 June 2015

Wings Over Cambrai

With two shiny new aeroplanes finding a home in my Wings of Glory hanger, my second game of WWI aerial action took place yesterday using the 'sky boards' mentioned in my earlier post. This time I controlled the Alabtros D.Va and the Fokker DR.1, whilst my opponent controlled the Spad XIII and the formidable, two-seater Bristol F.28b Fighter.

This time we started out using the Standard Rules and consoles. As this was only our second game and we were having to multi-task with two new planes, we decided to forgo the optional rules such as Tailing and Aim and also left the Altitude Advanced rules for another time. This was all about familiarisation with the Standard rules and getting to grips with the aircraft.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Painting the sky

With my second game of Wings of Glory due to be played this week, I decided to whip up a suitable playing surface. As most of my games are ground based, I really don't have anything that could be distinctively 'aerial', so with time being short before the next game I've used my trusty (and relatively cheap) method of creating a gaming surface.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Hornet Leader: Carrier Air Operations

Another day, another purchase.  Still keeping with the aeronautical theme of late, I've ordered up the solitaire / team play game that that spans US naval aviation service life of the F/A-18 Hornet in the form of Hornet Leader: Carrier Air Operations, published by DVG
I've read a number of reviews for this game, which I understand is the progenitor of the X Leader series. As with Wings of Glory, I'm a late newcomer to these systems so I'll at least have a myriad of web sites and forums to refer to.

I'd  mentally bookmarked Hornet Leader upon reading reviews in various forums thinking that a relatively complex solitaire game is something I could get my teeth into where gaming opponents aren't readily available. After all, if I can play Civilisation on my laptop for a few hours, then why not try some old-school gaming?

Flicking through the July edition of Miniature Wargames, I found Brad Harmer's positive review of Hornet leader all the incentive I needed to dive in and finally pick up a decent solitaire game. With a bit of interweb searching and forum surfing, Board Game Extras now have my order.  

Saturday, 20 June 2015

I fly close to my man, aim well and then of course he falls down

After a week or so of work and family commitments having the audacity to interrupt my tabletop gaming time I have at last assuaged my withdrawal symptoms with my first game of Wings of Glory. 

Of course, my fellow gaming mates will no doubt will take great delight in reminding me that I have so easily bought into 'yet another system'. To be fair, it's the first new system of the year so I'm not doing too bad!

Monday, 8 June 2015

The Martian

One of my occasional off topic asides - the forthcoming film The Martian , directed by Ridley Scott. This is 'based upon' the highly recommended book of the same title by Andy Weir.

I've read a lot of SF over the years, and for me The Martian was one of the best I have read recently for its adherence to science and the professionalism of the protagonist ,dealing with difficult problems in a reasoned and logical way. What impressed me is that the book didn't fall into the mainstream vogue of breaking any crisis is down into soap-style emotional dramatics. Instead, here we have a character that is trained to deal with extreme situations and demonstrates how to do it.

Its primarily told from the protagonist's point of view - astronaut Mark Watney - through his daily journal entries. Some reviewers have criticised the way the character apparently uses nerdy humour and puns, which detracts from the harrowing situation. I disagree. I think this is missing the point. These are log entries - what is the character supposed to say? Close journal with an Eastenders-style dush dush dush!? Regardless, the book is gripping and definitely one on the 'hard to put down list'.

So it's with nervous anticipation that news of the imminent release of the film, with the usual failsafe tag line attached 'based on the book' is announced. It's directed by Ridley Scott, a director who in my opinion can be brilliant (Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator) or not so good (Prometheus, Exodus -Gods and Kings). Matt Damon is the lead. I suspect the science of the book will be dumbed down and much replaced with over-emotional dramatisation to reach a wider audience. Let's just hope Ridley cane restrain it enough to protect the scientific intelligence of the book.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Weekend roundup: A Feast For Crows and World War 1 aerial aces

Weekend roundup time, as I sit her with a nice glass of red and chilling after a good few hours hillwalking with my wife in the sunny, but windy, local Pentland hills . Which inevitably means that my long list of modelling and painting projects did not progress any further again this weekend. 

I expect I'm like most in our hobby, experiencing  fluctuating periods of enthusiasm and productivity when it comes to the more creative aspects of wargaming. With limited time, the opportunity to actually game always comes first with me. Which is why the Dompfaff seems to taking an ages to paint. I'm in the painting doldrums. I can understand why pre-painted gaming systems such as X-Wing are popular!  It will surely pass though, and I usually bounce back with a surge of painting and modelling. Which is just as well, as I've got lots to do for the In Her Majesty's Name campaign!

Friday, 5 June 2015

My movie experiment

My reader may have noticed that I've added a couple of wee videos onto my most recent posts. These are very simple movies made up from the photos I used in the posts, with a few sound effects added into the mix. All very simple stuff, but why I bet you're asking?!

Well, it's just a wee experiment really. I usually take a whole bunch of photos during a battle if I'm planning on writing up a report. As my posts tend to be more narrative (you may have noticed!) I have to be extremely ruthless when selecting photos, usually just four or five, to illustrate my battle reports. Which is a shame really, as there are often some great photos that are doomed to the pc's recycle bin.

Initially I tried a simple slide show with all the useful photos from a battle, with the idea to add in a link to the show at the bottom of the report as a kind of optional bonus archive.  But that was a bit dry. So firing up the MS Movie Maker on my ancient laptop, I quickly edited a photo movie using a few free sound effects. 

And that is where I'm up to now. I plan to trial it with our recently started In Her Majesty's Name campaign, adding in the movies as an extra after each battle, made up of all those rescued photos and hopefully helping to visualise the story of the battle.  I'll probably have to upgrade my movie making software though!

So, what do you think?

Monday, 1 June 2015

We all got pieces of crazy in us, some bigger pieces than others


A flurry of cards, hilarity and poorly executed wild west accents was in full swing at the weekend. Yes, it was a return to Dead Man's Hand! Having arranged a two-player game I used the opportunity to bring boards 1 and 2 from my Wild West town, Obsession, to my local club. I'm going to have to get a van if ever all four boards are going to be transported regularly!