Friday, 14 April 2017

Games to try over the next few (many?) months

Have not had a chance to play to many games with the boy recently (what with taking him to cricket nets, and football and gymnastics for the girl etc etc). I have however plotted which games I am going to try on him on the coming months. These are, in not particular order but broken down by period.


Am going to try him very soon with the airfix WW2 game as it seems ideally suited to my purpose, simple game, easy to set up, quick to play. Then thought I would try Rapid Fire. This is the most developed of the 'old fashioned' WW2 games. No 3C complexity, the figures / models act as toy soldiers / model tanks rather than as a representation of a simulated unit with lots of abstractions, seems ideal for a child's thought processes. Then I thought I might try him on Blitzkrieg Commander - mainly as it is a game that I enjoy. Also, it introduces complexity in command - but not to much. Its throw dice below a certain number to get to do stuff, with the number getting smaller each time is fairly intuitive. The combat resolution is fairly straight forward as well.


Building on the success of the One Hour Wargames games DBA seems the obvious next step. Twice the amount of maneuver units, with simple command and control rules and some added complexity in combat resolution. A step forward from OHW and worth digging out my old V2 set. Who knows, may inspire me to by the V3 set. If he can deal with DBA I can then try Art de la Guerre rules. My  ancient rules of choice at the moment and very firmly a DB inspired set. These may be a step to far at the moment but lets see how he gets on with DBA and then have another look.

Dark Ages

Am going to give him a go at SAGA at some point. This could go either way, the battle board may just overwhelm him and leave him confused. Or he may get drawn into trying to figure it out in that slightly obsessive fashion that children can summon up for a topic and end up kicking my arse all around the 11th century - a suck it and see thing I think.

Air Combat

Wings of Glory just seems like it works for children so has to be tried. Am also going to try X wing as well. This is because, well, Star Wars and he is a child so that obviously works. Will also be interesting to compare it to WoG - which so obviously inspired it and see which set works better.

Horse and Musket 

Was going to try playing Charge! as the basic game seems like an excellent starting point for the era and I really do feel that I should play the Blasthof Bridge Scenario at least once in my lifetime as an homage to the giants whose shoulders we all stand on. If that works well, then there are the advanced rules to naturally advance onto. Am considering expanding this out into developing an Imaginations campaign together with the boy - might be a nice project for the years. I was thinking of using the HaT SYW figures as the basis for the armies but can't seem to find them for sale - can anyone confirm if they are out of production or not?

Naval Games

As I play em thought I might as well try em with the boy. For the ironclads will probably use the set written by a club member - these are a little more crunchy than may be advisable for an introductory set. Can anyone recommend a 'starter' set of rules for ironclads? Must cover more than just the ACW mind. For WW2 was thinking of giving GQ3 a go - as they are my set of choice. They can be a little complex but the game is designed well so for shooting all you have to do is look at one table, so it might be doable. Again, any recommendations for a good 'intro' set?


The boy is into Lord of the Rings so fantasy is probably in order. Have got a copy of the LoTR Strategy Tactical Skirmish FIghty Battle Game or whatever they call it. I do remember hearing very good things about it as a set of rules though - which is probably why I got a copy, never got around to playing them mind, now is my chance it seems. Have also acquired a Dungeon Saga from Mantic games - it seems a well thought out relativly simple dungeon crawl game so seems in order to play with the boy. If Warhammer was still Warhammer I might have tried him on that but what with the new Age of Sigmar, not sure I can be bothered to learn new names for Elves and Dwarves and such. Mind you, free rules are a good price pointto try out I suppose. Are there any other rules worth trying out?

Sci Fi

This is easy to sum up with 'Space Hulk'. I brought a set a few years ago when GW did their 'one off, never to be repeated, last chance to buy, limited edition, you will not see its like again' release. This was done on a whim powered by happy memories of playing Space Hulk for many an hour a long time ago. I was in no way disappointed, a well produced high quality game that retained the original simplicity. Have not played it that much mind - maybe time to crack it out. If the boy enjoys it I may then summon up the energy to give 40k a go, or I may not........


Do not own any figures, or know anything about rules, but well, Gladiators are cool and the boy has already read books about them. Any recommendations for rules and figures? Figure wise am looking more for cheap and sturdy rather than exquisite and expensive as well, young hands......


Again, do not own any rules or figures at the moment. However, seems like a fun period for a child. I did consider the fact that cowboys are just not a thing for children anymore - at least round my neck of the woods. However, this just means that I get to watch some cool cowboy films with my children and then play the games - whats not to love about that? I hear good things about Dead Mans Hand as a simple and fast set of rules - would they be suitable? Any other recommendations?


Still most definitely a thing for children (and adults come to that). Again, no idea on rules or figures - any recommendations?

The above list seems like enough to keep us going for a year (or two). But I am still open to recommendations. Am especially interested in recommendations for simple boardgames like the airfix one mentioned for WW2. Something simple, cheap(ish) and good to go right out of the box is what i am looking for at the moment. 

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Transporting Ironclad Models

First thing to say is if you are looking at this post expecting it to be about playing wargames with children my apologies - this post comes under the bit in my intro where I claimed I will be posting about 'wargames related blah' that pops into my head. It was called forth by a  discussion on a chat page about transporting ironclad model ships. Someone asked if  pictures could be posted to illustrate what was being talked about - which i have taken upon myself to do.

If you are here because of that, welcome. If you are not here because of that, well welcome as well, although I do warn you that the following might strike you as a bit boring and nerdy (in out hobby, who woulda thunk it?).

As was said in the discussion, magna basing ironclad ship models is usually good enough to keep them safe in transport. The factors involved is the amount of model in contact with the metal surface, the weight of the model and the centre of gravity (the lower, the less likely the model is to topple). What follows is a few pictures of different size of ships, manufactures, and material that the model is made from. They are taken whilst the models are stuck on an metal sheet that is held at an angle to show them as they would be in transport rather than as lovely looking action shots.

First picture is of three ships from the (ex) Skytrex 'transitional' steam range, from left to right the Napoleon, Ville de Paris (converted from a sailing SOL) and Ardente (frigate). They are all long and wide enough to give enough contact between the magnabase on the bottom of the ship and the carrying surface to hold them securely. As the masts do not carry sail and the hulls are relativity solid, it gives them a low centre of gravity which means they are unlikely to topple over.

The Solferino and Gloire from the same range, same comments as above but even more so - wider, more hull to mast wight makes them even more secure. 

Moving on the the more 'funky' designs that make the period so interesting, we have the Tonnere, Rochambeau and Onodaga. Little top wieght and wide hulls make them very secure.

 Moving into the 1880s we have the Admiral Duperre and Formidable, the models get bigger and heavier but this is compensated by the wider hulls, so again very solid and safe for transport.

A few Russian ships to illustrate some different style of ship. The Novgorod is just about all surface and super secure. The Admiral Greig is another low freeboard ship and although fairly small it still has a low centre of gravity that keeps it secure. The Knaiz Pojarski and Perventetz are a bit different as they are made from resin (from Northstar?) which makes them very light so are very secure in trasit. The only problem with them is that they are so light that I have to be careful that I pick them up from the metal by the very bottom of the base as if I was careless I might cause damage as the magnabase bond is so strong.

Last couple of models - the Rurik is the heaviest ironclad model that I own (for a cruiser she was massive) and again no problems with a secure bond.

Lastly is an illustration of what 'AC London'  meant by a balk. For some smaller cruiser or gun boats, who do not have much surface in contact with the metal carrying case and / or has a high centre of gravity, it is handy to magnabase some firm foam and put a trip either side of the ship to hold it in place, like so.

So, whilst I am not saying bases are a bad thing (although I prefer the look of the game without) I can say they are not needed to keep the models safe.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

One Hour Wargames Ancients Final Review

     So, would I recommend playing these rules with a child? Are they child friendly? Easy to learn? Will they hold both adult and child's attention? Ok, to go back to my original criteria that I said I was going to judge these rules by. What were the criteria again?

1. Does the boy enjoy playing?
2.  Is enough thought required to make the game worth playing on a (semi) regular basis?
3.Does the game give an impression of being a representation of a battle of the period it is claiming to represent rather than just a generic game (however interesting that game might be)?
4.  Does the game meet my arbitrary, whimsical, undefined and changing ideas of what I want from a game at this moment if time?

     Well, the first question is easy to answer - as outlined in the boys review, he loved it. The second question is a longer answer. As previously discussed in my comments in the boys review, it seems that only after a few games he was picking up the tactics and how to play so I am not sure how long they would retain his attention. This may be that I need to try some more of the 'interesting' scenarios, as these may present ongoing challenges. When he was the attacker in the unbalanced defender scenario however he seemed to crack that one pretty quick.

     The question about does it gave an impression of a representation of a battle, I would still give this largely a thumbs up. OK, all wargames take alot of willing suspension of disbelief, as does this one. But it does deliver sweeping flanking attacks, grinding melees between heavy infantry, nip and tuck between lighter forces. The narrative in every game I played seemed to fit more or less into an idea of a battle. This started to break down when it was 'take a turn for a charge to sweep away an enemy unit' but overall it all seemed to hang together remarkably well for such a simple to learn game. 

     As for the final question about does it meet my demands from a game - which is about teaching a child to play and spending time with my children. The answer would be yes it has but would probably run into diminishing returns. 

    Which leads us into (after many posts and a surprising large amount of months) the big question

   Would I recommend this set of rules for playing with children?

     Yes, absolutely I would, with a few caveats.

     It is an excellent set of rules to start off playing with a child - as I say my boy is seven and he had no dificulties picking up the rules and they gave fun games. So, if you are looking for a first game to play with a child, I would recommend One Hour Wargames - Ancient Rules. Simple rules concepts and does not require much kit so easy to set up. The set up I used took almost no effort and the boy loved it. I could have played with 15mm figures on a one base equals one unit on a table less than half the size and he would have also enjoyed it. Me and the boy had alot of fun playing  the games - what more do you want?

     The caveat is this - you will probably want to look to move on fairly quickly to maintain interest. This could be in a few ways. One way to develop the game with your kid would be to start discussing adding additions rules to make the basic set your own. This has the advantage of requiring critical thought from your child - which if you are a concerned parent looking to develop your child's mental faculties would be great. You could also push this into developing  a campaign as well. As a set of rules they would work well for developing an imagination campaign - requiring imagination and reasoning from your child. This could form the basis of years of toy soldier playing with your child, an idea that I have considered. However, that would be a quite different blog - as this blog is about reviewing different rules for playing with children I will instead look to move on in a different manner. Namely, trying different rules and different periods. Will be posting soon what rules I will be looking at next. 

      Final recommendation - perfect first set of 'big battle' rules for children that have never played any wargames before. Can be used to introduce the hobby in general before moving onto other rulesets or as a basis to develop your own ideas or a campaign.