Monday, 14 December 2015

Donald Trumped again

Wed 10th December

           Tonight in true pantomime form we had a game involving pirates.Actually a pirate raid on a sleepy English town loosely based on the Salle Rover raids on England and Ireland in the early 1630's.It involved hordes of Barbary pirates accompanied by some 'standard' pirates attacking and attempting to gather some slaves for the North African markets.

   The two sides squared off with Dave o'Brien and Colin Jack taking command of the Barbary pirates with Bart taking charge of the pirate crew.
                                        Donald Adamson and Hugh Wilson took the part of the local militia and randomly controlled the local civilians.

                                         The rules were written by Hugh Wilson with some addenda added by myself.The idea of the game was for the pirates to capture the most slaves by attacking the individual houses in the village where a randomly amount of locals would be in residence with the possibility of one being armed with a pistol.Once the alarm was raised by villagers spotting the pirates the militia could be summoned also by a randomly rolled dice.
                      The pirates came ashore and headed for the houses.They were immediately spotted by a villager heading home from the local tavern and word was sent out to Squires' Adamson and Wilson.Squire Wilson answered the call straight away but Squire Adamson remained in his protected fortress awaiting the call to arms(he needed a 5 or 6 dice roll)which didn't appear for a long time.
Colin and Dave started their own competition to see who of the pirates were going to be top dog,their was a packet of chocolates to the winner on each side.Bart just proceeded to catch slaves with the added Bart bonus of burning the houses down.

                     Hugh moved his men from his starting point to engage the pirates with great haste whereas Donald couldn't even manage a total of six with three dice rolls.We eventually had to reduce the activation dice number to give Dave's forces some worthwhile opposition.

                     Bart had to leave early as Lady Bart demanded to be picked up.No sooner had he left than Mr Ray Neal appeared to take over from Bart.This after being fortified with some of Lady Suzanne's exquisite Mac Cheese.The thing is that mister Ray is a bit more cautious than Bart but still ended up losing most of his pirates and reinforcements by the end of the game.
Colin kept to his task and cleared the buildings in his part of the village whereas Dave and Donald discussed the merits of Orcadian sites of antiquity as rolling a successful activation dice was out of the question for Donald.

                       The duel between Hugh against Colin and Ray continued on with each side giving as much as they got and after being given the chance to activate his forces on anything bar a one,Donald finally activated his militia and proceeded to move his forces down the hill to engage Dave's pirates.He also successfuly rolled for a cannon with which he proceeded to take long range pot shots at the pirate ship.

                       As some of the skirmishes proved to be rather bloody we had to bring on some reinforcements to keep the game going.Colin ,Ray and Hugh gained extra forces but Dave was content to continue with what he had as he was successfully getting all his captives back to the main arab boat.What a man will do for chocolate.

                        The night drew to a close with Dave winning on the Arab side whilst Hugh was the clear winner on the English side.
                       A good time was had by one and all and this was a game that I had wanted to put on for a long time getting away from the usual Tri corne pirate games and introducing the gang to a not usually played period of history as it came before the English Civil war and English regular forces were few and far between.


                       Colin Jack-Barbary pirates
                       Dave o'Brien-Barbary pirates
                       Bart Zynda & Ray Neal-pirate crew.

                       Donald Adamson-Militia
                       Hugh Wilson-Militia
                       Scenario devisor-Tim Watson
                       Scenery & rule devisor-Hugh Wilson
                       Figures-Dave o'Brien,Colin Jack,Donald Adamson &Hugh Wilson

                        and the evening began with a festive meal of Mac cheese followed by mincemeat pies lovingly prepared by Lady Suzanne.
                        Another report can be found on Bart's Blog-both in English and Polish.
                        This will probably be my last blog of the year so a very merry christmas, a prosperous new year and a great big thank you to you all especially the ones from the far reaches of the globe who have perused my blog.I'll be back in the new year concentrating on my V.B.C.W and spy fi.Until then Hail to the Redskins.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

A Trio of Goodies

Sunday 22nd November

                     Sorry for delay but the preceding weeks have just seemed pass in a blur but back to full form with three games this week all from different eras.
                      Wednesday's game was a rollicking journey back into the French Indian wars with a Musket and Tomahawk scenario devised by Bill Gilchrist involving both British and French trying to hold onto their own villages whilst attacking their enemies

  In true democratic fashion I was elected leader of the British whilst I was out of the room.I've always thought that democracy was a sham.My partners in crime were Donald Adamson and Dave Mitchell.Pitted against us were Colin Jack,Hugh Wilson and Martin Gibson with Bill Gilchrist umpiring.We were informed that we may have some reinforcements providing their owner,Ian Carter could get away from work.

                      Both sides had the same idea,leave some defenders in the village and attack the enemy village with the bulk of their forces.
                       My allocated musket armed militia headed for the nearest enemy village with the usual intention of burning it to the ground.This was also the intention of my allies.

                       No sooner had I left the village when I entered into a firefight with Colin's French Canadian marines who had similar intentions.

                        My allies met with similar fates as Dave's men had to head up a mountain pass only to be met by French Indians halfway up whilst Donald although starting out well began to suffer a few casualties.

                           Battle continued all over the table with Martin charging down his mountain and getting to grips with Dave's militia taking a few casualties in the process but eventually forcing them back into the woods.
                             Donald's newco Rangers were sparring with Hugh's indians in another corner and my militia were going head to head with Colin's marines and his Coureurs des Bois(French toughguys).

                  Colin had to leave just in time for Ian Carter to arrive with his British reinforcements to help kick the indians' and marines ass.This appearance brought Bill into the game with some skulking indians who had developed an ability to climb cliffs much to the consternation of Donald as he is usually the one doing the skulking.
                                                     The evening drew to a close with no one looking like being a clear victor therefore the game is continuing next week.Watch this space.

                        Tim Watson-Militia
                        Donald Adamson-Newco rangers
                        Dave Mitchell-Militia

                        Colin Jack-Marines & Coureurs des Bois
                        Hugh Wilson-Indians
                        Martin Gibson-Indians

                        Scenery-Hugh Wilson
                        Figures & Umpiring- Bill Gilchrist

                        And not forgetting Lady Suzanne for providing yet another excellent pre-match meal.

                       My second game occurred within 24 hours with a Rapid Fire game which had been postponed from the previous week due to work commitments.This was a late war sparring match taking place in Poland just before the end of the war.
                       I lined up my own German Tigers and Pz 1vs against Bart's humongous amount of Russian tanks and infantry.My main object was liberate some looted treasure from a village in Poland back to the safety of the Fatherland.I managed to get three lorry loads off the map and also destroy nearly all of Bart's armour but in true sneeky Polish fashion that was his plan using the destruction of his armour as a distraction for his true dastardly deed.Ah what the heck,it felt better to destroy all his tanks as the treasure was bound for the Fuhrers pockets.For a detailed account both in English and Polish see Bart's Blog page.
                        I finished my busy week by heading for Kirriemuir and my last games day of 2015,Targe,provided by the local club.Apart from my own club's show(which I have to shift an awfully lot of tables at)I like Kirriemuir the best as a nice small,well organised showw set in the idyllic Angus countryside.We had a nice trip up on a nice fresh morning without any problem.My passengers were Colin Jack and Hugh Wilson who was pedaling his wares yet again(he always makes money but always seems to go away with as much stuff as he came with).When we arrived we all took care of our priorities.Colin was judging,Hugh setting up his stall and of course I headed for the coffee and bacon rolls.
                            There were plenty of traders and games to keep everyone happy even although a couple of clubs couldn't make it due to the first snows of winter.
                             We had games featuring the 1715 battle of Preston,Thirty years war,WW2 in the Pacific and North Africa,Indian mutiny,our own galley participation game from a previous blog,another participation game featuring Jurassic park but my favourite was the Angus wargames club of Ronin,a samurai skirmish game which I had been invited to take part in and I thoroughly enjoyed it so much so that I ended up buying a lot of Japanese buildings and scenery.I think the Angus boys should be claiming some commission.

The Leuchars club were continuing their WW1 campaign game which I covered in the Claymore blog and I was still alive-amazing-only to be potted in the last half hour of the year long campaign-rats!See Bill Gilchrist's blog for more Targe photos'
                              A good day was had by one and all and we all left very contentedly after the show with another no problem drive south.Hugh was rich,Colin happy not to have driven as he had driven the same trip the previous week and I was happy with my purchases and looking forward to my own samurai game.
                               As I said next weeks game is a continuation of last weeks Musket and Tomahawks game.Time to get some injun scalps.I'd call them Redskins but I've been told that name is rascist-aye right.Hail to the Redskins.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

A castle too far!

         Wed 28th October

                     Once again on a train,this time heading for Bangor in order to catch a bus to Caernarvon in order to see Teddy the First's masterpiece and they weren't far from the truth but you would have thought he would have built a railway station beside it as well.Some people are not forward thinking.

                     Caernarvon castle is situated right at the harbour in the town square.It reminds me of Edinburgh castle but on a smaller scale especially with all the gift shops and cafes surrounding it.

   Before we ventured into the castle we saw a sign for a boat cruise around the Menai Strait so as we had plenty of time we got our seeboots on and climbed aboard.It was a pleasant little cruise and the captain explained about the appearing sandbanks and amongst other things told us about the local wildlife.Also shown were the beaches were Maurice Wilks tested his new creation the Land Rover at Newborough away back in 1947.He then informed us about Fort Belan which was built by Thomas Wynn,local constable, as a defence against privateers during the American War of Independence and also used during the Napoleonic Wars.
                           He then informed us how one of Wynn's descendants would fire blanks from the cannons on special occasions but decided one day in honour of his mother-in -laws's birthday to fire a real cannon ball which dismasted a schooner in the Strait.He was fined £25 for that escapade.

                             Back on land we ventured into the castle expecting to be there for about an hour-wrong!There is a lot to see and there are many intertwining passages all around the castle to get lost in.
                 There were exhibitions about the Welsh princes preceding Edward and also a display about Queen Eleanor and the reasons for her young teenage marriage to Edward.
                  There was also an exhibition about Roman emperor Macsen Wledig(Magnus Maximus) who had a dream about a beautiful woman and sent out messengers throughout the empire to find this woman.She was eventually found to be a British princess in North West Wales.He proceeded to marry her and their descendants allegedly included the Welsh princes and King Arthur.This appealed to King Edward's naivety and he stated that they were his ancestors.I wonder if he wants to buy the Forth Bridge from me?
                                       Opinion time-I do believe Arthur existed but not in the way Geoffrey of Monmouth or Sir Thomas Mallory made him out to be.I believe he was a Romano-British commander around the time of the first Anglo-Saxon invasions but why let the truth get in the way of a good story.
                        The Royal Welch budgie feathers(sorry Fusiliers)have their museum in Caernarvon castle and it is a brilliant exhibition showing and depicting the history of the regiment from its origins in 1689 right up to its modern deployments.
Just a coincidence that the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers have their museum in Alnwick castle.


All in all a good two hours were needed to go around the castle in order to see all the nooks and crannies as well as all the exhibits.

We are supposed to be heading for Beuamaris castle tomorrow but there is mutiny in the ranks(mainly me).To misquote Boy Browning we may have gone a castle too far.


Wednesday, 28 October 2015

A Welsh busman's holiday.

Tues 27th October

                          Lady Watson suggested that since we hadn't seen many trains in the last few weeks(what!)that we should visit and travel on the Blaenau-Ffestiniog narrow gauge railway.I agreed(anything for a quiet life)and we toddled off(by train) to take a trip to Porthmadoc on the narrow gauge.
                    Actually it was not bad.It is a well run setup with plenty of volunteers.We even had a ticket collector who smiled(have to get him medscreened) and we enjoyed some coffee and fruit cake whilst the narrow gauge train slowly meandered its way down to Porthmadoc.

 We arrived into Porthmadoc after about an hour to find the usual British sea side town albeit with some nice shops(and the ubiquitous Edinburgh Woolen mill).Also for the first time in our trip it rained.
 This is usually a good time to peruse the shops.I found an excellent model shop which also sold figures.The shop had an impressive American Civil War diorama set up involving hundreds of figures.I left after a while with my carrier bag full of goodies only to find that the model I had bought was the wrong size,wouldn't be like me.
                                        After a walk around the town we headed to a nice cafe for some sustenance,mainly chicken soup(which tasted an awfully lot like Heinz) and some delicious egg custard flan.Just the job for the trip up the mountain which now due to the rain resembled a Terry Pratchett novel.
                        We arrived back at  Blaenau-Ffestinog  and headed for yet another train.
                         Tomorrow's trip is back  on the castle trail with hopefully a visit to Caernarfon castle.
                           See you when I see you.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

The Spectre of Welsh Rarebit

          Mon 26th October

                         The second day of our bronze anniversary tour of North Wales found us venturing out to Rhuddlan castle near the town of Rhyl.This was another castle built by Teddy the first to keep the locals in check.It is not as big and intricate as Conwy castle.
Just four walls with towers in each corner and a massive gatehouse.
One of the novel points of this castle is that it had its own dock on the river Clwyd where it could be resupplied if the natives were congregating at the front gate.

              One the way to the castle we stopped off in the village of Rhuddlan at a nice place called Esther's tearooms for the best Welsh Rarebit I've ever tasted.This wasn't just cheese on toast it was made properly with the cheese sauce simply overflowing.This sumptuous meal was finished off with a slab of nicely moist fruit cake.Sustenance for the trip ahead to the castle
                         After spending some time at the castle we headed back into the town of Rhyl to sample one of the hostelries o our favourite solicitors Messrs Weather & Spoons for some light refreshments before heading off to see the first local showing of Spectre which I thought was amazing.Well recommended.
                         All in all a fine way to finish off my eighth anniversary.A good ending to the day preceded by another castle visited and in the excellent company of Lady Watson.
                           Seemingly tomorrow we're heading to the narrow gauge railway at Blaenau Ffestiniog.Watch this space.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Food fight in Conwy

                Sunday 25th October

               Lady Watson planned our annual anniversary disappearance from civilization and this years jaunt was to North Wales,Conwy to be precise.Hoping for a nice quiet getaway from the hustle and bustle we found ourselves in the middle of the local food festival which is the largest in North Wales so we had no problem looking for the weekly rations.Every food under the sun was on offer from fresh mussels to bratwurst with a lot of mulled wine thrown in.

               After checking our accommadation which was out of this world, especially for someone like myself who likes toy soldiers,as there were cabinets with figures of all shapes and sizes as well as other displays of other ornaments and collectibles mainly nautical which again was right up my street.


Our first venture today was to Conwy castle.This was one of the castles built by Teddy the First to keep the locals in check and I must admit it is remarkably well preserved for its age.A nice walk around the castle walls with plenty of pictures taken by myself and Lady Watson.
 After an hour going round the castle walls and interacting with some lads and lassies dressed up in medieval garb complete with hawks,we decided we needed to locate to a local hostelry to try the local ale again.Trouble was that Hobgoblin was on the menu-enough said.
                               After a couple of flagons of ale we headed or home to rest before Monday's trials and tribulations.
                                 Until then I'll see you when I see you.