Friday 27 September 2013

How The Picnic War started

"Sir, I think you should look at this?"
"What is it, Svensson?"
"Sir, it appears to be Miss van Frufru."
"Egad, what's she doing here? Hand me my telescope."
All figures by Baccus 6mm
"By gad, Svensson, that's not just my Fifi. That's Count Ivan Bigunov too. And they appear to be having a picnic. Oh the poor girl. With what horrors has the threatened her that she sits there so quietly and makes no attempt to ride away? He must have lain in wait for her to be so prepared that he can lay on a picnic so replete with food. See, Svensson, how she takes a bite of his sausage, so unwillingly, and yet she chokes it down, for she is helpless in his clutches. See how Madame Cunegonde, Miss van Frufru's maid, must serve both the vile Count and my Fifi. See how Fifi must drink his vile wine and sample all the viands he has placed in front of her. She does well to give him no cause to strike her or worse. Oh, my Fifi, how brave you are to sit there so stoically. How courageously you fend off his detestable advances ... but wait ... what is this? Oh dear God, no! It cannot be! But I see with my own eyes that it is true. He ... has ... bagpipes! Will he now play the bagpipes with my Fifi? Alas, it must be so."

"Svensson, inform the army that we are no longer on exercise. We must to war for the honour of my poor Fifi, before the despicable Count can force her to learn to play the bagpipes."

My enthusiasm for eighteenth-century wargames, and indeed my painting mojo, which has languished for most of this year, has been rekindled by a game of Polemos the other day. We also plan to play Maurice, which requires me to have an objective marker. I looked online to see what others had done, and checked my ULP for suitable figures. In the end I resolved to do a picnic scene with the poor Miss Fifi van Frufru being serenaded by the foul, warty Count Ivan Bigunov. This is the result. It uses an early eighteenth century horseholder from a dragoons pack and some figures from one of the camp packs.

Monday 23 September 2013

Today in the Man Cave

Over on my Talomir Tales blog, I featured a photo of the Tereken secret weapon in action:
Photobomb level: Cat
One of my cats, Victor, has a tendency to want to be involved in everything, so he photobombed the above shot. Now Javier of Javier at War wants a photo of him. Who am I to deny him this pleasure? Here are a couple of shots:
Victor likes to help me when I am trying to work and when I am taking a Facebook break. This is basically how my office looks today.

Victor also manages to curl up really small in one of his beds (yes he has multiple beds around the house)

Sunday 8 September 2013

The Beer Standard

Sometimes I feel the need to justify my gaming purchases in terms other than their utility for planned games. Most recently I have applied this to board games, because figure games are justified by my endless arms race with Steve. Board games do not require one of us to buy an opposing force, so their purchase must be justified in terms of how much play they should get. To do this, I apply the beer standard.
The premise is quite simple and is based on the price of a pint of beer. I look at the playing time of the game and think how quickly I would normally drink a pint of beer. The rest is maths. Of course, this justification does not really hold now that I rarely get to the pub, but I still consider its application to be valid. Perhaps I should update it based on the price of a bottle of wine drunk at home instead ...

Anyway, changes in my lifestyle aside, it is a standard that has stood me in good stead for justifying buying games. One example of my need to justify games buying is in the area of Advanced Squad Leader modules. I really like ASL and bought into too many Third Party Publisher modules once I had the core modules. These days I only buy the new core modules and historical sets to keep up to date. I have literally thousands of scenarios kicking around and could probably play ASL every day for the rest of my life without repeating a scenario. With the core modules, I have 122 scenarios. Each will take on average about three hours to complete. Some are longer, while some are shorter, but three hours is probably a good average. That means that I have 366 hours of playing time. I used to drink a pint in the pub at a rate of about one per 20-30 minutes. That means that my expenditure on ASL core modules should have been between 732 pints and 1098 pints. At current local prices of £2.30 per pint, that equals an expenditure of between £1683.60 and £2525.40. That seems like ASL is good value to me.

What? You mean I should calculate it on the basis of actual playing time, not projected playing time? That does not sound useful to me. Oh well. Let's have a look at that. According to ROAR, the site where I have logged some of my games, I have played 47 games of ASL since 1999. I know that figure to be wrong, because there are gaps where I know I was at Intensive Fire, the big ASL tournament in Bournemouth. At one of those tournaments, I even played 13 games over one weekend. I did not get much sleep that time. So, I can safely double the 47 games played. I could probably triple it, but won't. Let's look at the recorded games. 47 games with an average playing time of three hours equals 141 hours or between 282 and 423 pints. At current beer prices, that means that my ASL habit is only justifiable if I have spent less than £650 on supplements. That's a bit close for comfort to what I have really spent. Let's double the number of games, because I think I can justify that. Less than £1300 on ASL modules? Yes, that sounds much better. My ASL habit is fully justified in terms of the beer standard, and is becoming even more justified because I have not spent much on it in recent years, while I am now getting more games played thanks to a new ASL friend moving into the area. So, the next time my wife asks if I really need a new module, I need only point out that I could be spending that much down the pub instead.

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Heroic Sir Hugo defeats Sir Guy Le Batard - Warheads Battle Report

Over on the I've seen the light blog, Steve has recorded our latest game in doggerel verse. We played the first two scenarios from Warheads, which involved a duel at a bridge to get to grips with the combat system, followed by a raid on a grain store. Here is a taster photo to encourage you to visit Steve's blog.
Sir Hugo and Sir Guy meet at a bridge
Steve had made some terrain that perfectly suited the style of the Warheads figures. Top job. The Warheads rules were simple enough although there were a couple of questions about how the stats had been calculated for the minions. Based on our reading of the rules, they did not add up right. We plan to check that later. Even though there were some questions, the whole game was great fun and I totally got into character as Sir Hugo. For the record, I also totally diced Steve. It seemed that getting into character as the hero set the stage for a heroic victory.