Thursday, December 6, 2012

Missions Accomplished?

Mrs Kinch: I'm terribly sorry darling, but if you were a horse Papa would have me shoot you. 

Cousin Basil (adjusting his moustache): Come along old girl, it doesn't do to watch 'em linger.

Feeling a bit more uppish today and went looking through old blog posts trying to find the post I wrote when I had swine flu, which I caught under similar circumstances two years ago. While I was at it, I came across an interesting post where I did one of those ill fated "Five Year Plan" efforts. I thought it was interesting to look back at it and as I won't be doing anything blog worthy for a while, it gives me something to write about without being too demanding.

 On the subject of Five Year Plans, I've always rather liked this song, much as I disagree with his politics, the man himself seems both decent and genuine. 

Looking over the plans that were mooted, it's interesting to see what has succeeded and what hasn't

The following projects were listed.

Command & Colours: Napoleonic - The Peninsular War

Command & Colours: Napoleonic - Spanish Expansion

Command & Colours: Napoleonic - The War of Ruritanian Succession

For Honour & Glory - The War of 1812

Command & Colours: Napoleonic - The Rajah of Kalaah-Akaata

Memoir '44 in 1/72

Memoir '36

Giant Space Crusade

Taking each in turn.

Look at my hat!

Command & Colours: Napoleonic - The Peninsular War - MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

This can only be described as a roaring success. I've played this game solidly for two years and it is still offering me new things to do and be interested in. When I wrote my original post, I was waiting for the box to arrive. Since then I have completed British and French armies for all the scenarios in the basic box. We've played every scenario in the box (barring Waterloo and Quatre Bras which are being saved for a special occasion) and several more besides.

Gentlemen, I present my Battle Reports page as evidence. I defy anyone to say that this particular project was not a roaring success.

Things left to do: Play Quatre Bras and Waterloo with General Creanor while drinking bottle of 1984 Port.

Oh, Goya, why you so serious all the time, huh?

Command & Colours: Napoleonic - The Spanish Expansion - MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

A few months ago I would probably said that this project was a qualified success - but I'm upgrading this to full aircraft carrier and "Mission Accomplished" banner status.

I've raised forces to cover all the scenarios and we've given several of them a whirl. There are still things to be done with this project (mainly due to jaw dropping generosity of a friend of mine who sent me a ton of figures), but the brute work is done and all that remains is to play the games and enjoy oneself.

Things to do: Nothing really, three units of Swiss infantry in Spanish service, who are already with Krisztian. Play more games.

The King seems to be taking the news rather well

Command & Colours: Napoleonic - The War of Ruritanian Succession - MISSION ABORTED

This was a nice idea, to set up a wargaming imagi-nation that I would use to play Charles Grant scenarios in. I bought figures for it and that's pretty much where it ended.  Those figures have either been sold, given away or inducted into other forces.

To be honest, I think the main reason this project floundered was that I was having too much fun playing historical games with historical forces.  I've also noticed that the really dedicated Imagination fellas tend not to play that many games and spend most of their time painting.

That said, I have had considerable success* with a series of LARPs set in the Grand Duchy of Little Siskington and the Bishopric of Gormanstein over the last few years, so this is obviously the outlet for my Imagi-nation needs.

Typical Canadian at play (in native costume)

For Honour & Glory - The War of 1812 - MISSION DISCRETIONARY

I quite liked this game when I first got my hands on it. However, the War of 1812 has never been a big period of mine, mainly I suspect because I get confused when I see Americans fighting the British. Also invading Canada also strikes me as the act of a cad - I've never been there, but the people are wonderful, just so incredibly lovely. How could you?

I think this project was on the list because at the time of writing the game was actually available and I already had all the British troops I would have ever needed.  I still have a horde of unpainted British troops ready to be transferred to Cousin Jonathan's service, there just seem to be other projects that keep crowding ahead of them.

Hyder Ali - achieving decisive 
moustache superiority over the accursed redcoats

Command & Colours: Napoleonic - The Rajah of Kalaah-Akaata - MISSION COMMENCED

Curiously enough, this project despite being no-where near where I want it to be has actually made considerable progress.

I have sufficient British troops and sepoys for my immediate needs, though sepoy cavalry is a little thin on the ground, though I hope that the estimable Uwe will soon put that to right.

The forces of Kaala-Akaata are formidable. They will probably require some more peon infantry, but for the most part things are taking shape.

The rules have been play tested by General Du Gourmand and I and they seem to be sturdy enough. The forces of the Rajah play sufficiently differently to the forces of the company for it to be interesting.

The terrain is done as I have a nice collection of Indian building, including a mosque, though I should presumably invest in a village well and some 'eathen idols. Funnily enough, I was having a look at the vegetation in the Carnatic and it's very European to my eyes.  Given that Kala-Akaata owes rather more to my childhood reading of The Jungle Book than my adult reading of Jac Weller, the vegetation will be more jungly then strictly necessary.

What I actually want to do is to run this game as a "group solo" effort in the style of Howard Whitehouses "Too Much for the Mahdi" - but with Command & Colours for the battles. I've had difficulty coming up with a logistics game that I'm really happy with though. There are other projects occupying my time at present, but this is something I will definitely come back to.

Things to do: Add a few troops here and there, write some proper rules for logistics.

Less haste, more speed

Memoir '44 in 1/72 - MISSION COMMENCED

I only really started into this project a few months ago, but we've made considerable inroads into it already. We've played about half a dozen games as well as one very odd solo effort. The main difficulty has been fielding a suitable force against the Germans as I have rather a lot of them, more than I have of anyone else. Once I'm finished my Russian guns, the Russians will have tanks, infantry and artillery enough for several games.  The US and the British will not be far behind, but I intend to take this one at a fairly sedate pace as there are hundreds of Memoir '44 scenarios out there, most of which can be played with twelve units of infantry, six units of tanks and three units of artillery. I think what I'll probably do is pick one of the two player campaigns from Campaign Books 1 & 2 and pick my forces accordingly.

Things to do: Simply hundreds, but I'll take them as and when I like.

Mr. Thomas is not happy with my progress


This was to be my effort at a Very British Civil War game. I actually did a bit of work on this and then forgot about it. I was mainly an excuse to play some "What if" Memoir '44 games without having to think to hard about actual practice during the Second World War. I have a few of the Solway Arts pamphlets and they didn't impress, which killed my enthusiasm for the project rather.

That said, I wouldn't have to add much to my arsenal to play some games and the "What if" element remains. Though I should clarify what I mean by "What if", I'm not particularly interested in the exploits of the Borsetshire Workers Flying Column or the Ambridge Black Shirts, but I am interested in is "How would I go about taking a fortified town with a mixture of horsed cavalry and tanks." VBCW offers the chance to do that without getting yelled at. Don't ask me why I don't play the Spanish Civil War, the God awful slaughter depresses me deeply, and I can't give you a good reason why the Eastern Front doesn't have the same effect.

Things to do: Not much really. I have the majority of the figures I'll need. This is a - wouldn't it be nice to try - sort of effort. I might push on with it a little, but it will only be if other projects aren't engaging my interest.

Needless to say, my games of 40K were not going according to plan

Giant Space Crusade - MISSION ABORTED

This was a game that Capability Savage and I ran nearly ten years ago. Two years ago, we were rather tired and emotional and got to talking over old times and setting the world to rights. We were unfortunately in the company of that unscrupulous bounder Donogh McCarthy, who challenged us to do a second and improved version of the game.

It was a nice idea and we were initially enthusiastic. but in the end we weren't sure that the effort required would be worth the payoff.  Though of late, I've had fond memories of game of Rogue Trader - I don't think I'll be returning to the 41st millenium any time soon.

The Score

Mission Accomplished - Two
Mission Commenced - Two
Mission Discretionary - Two
Mission Aborted - Two

In conclusion, I think I've acquitted myself reasonably well. The aborted missions are no tragedy and I didn't put much time or effort into them. What money I put into the Ruritania project, I've made back by trading or swopping the figures and the material I wrote for it was folded into the Little Siskington LARPs without any trouble.

The discretionary missions are nice ideas and I may do some work on them, if the mood takes me. But unless something comes along to give me a kick in the backside, I'm unlikely to finish them - not when there are exciting new Napoleonics to be had and other projects that have come up since then (a subject for a second blog entry I think ).

The missions commenced are a mixed bag - I'm coming very near the end of the time when I'll be buying new stuff for India, bar a war elephant or two. I want a suitably dusty hex matt, though I am led to believe that Mrs Kinch took my relatively unsubtle hint**, and that this may be appearing in the near future. Unfortunately for India, the game I want to play there strikes me as one that requires a lot of time and a solid logistics game and I'm not sure I'll have to time to arrange that for a while.  As for Memoir '44, I could spend the next five years trying to build collections to play it and still not be finished. But I can, if I (quite literally) choose my battles carefully, add a few pieces to my collection and get plenty of games out of them. I'm in no rush.

Missions accomplished - there's not a lot to say about them other then the fact that I'm tremendously happy with C&C Napoleonics as my game of choice at present. When I think about the sheer number of games I've managed to play in the last two years, I consider myself very lucky. Our two Grande Bataille outings have been very successful, though I look forward to Richard Borg's final word on the matter. There is also the happy prospect of getting stuck into Waterloo and the Spanish. I think I may have to begin a new battle reports page.

*Where success is defined as having fifteen or twenty people turn up play the game and wish to repeat the experience afterwards.

**"Darling, I want this for Christmas. This is the link you need to click on and this is the thing you are to order, exactly this thing, accept nothing else." Women are such subtle creatures and often pick up tiny and often quite unconscious clues.


  1. Conrad, Conrad, Conrad

    You've got to get things straight on these 5 year plans.
    1. It's only two years in to the plan, you can't announce results until at least 7 years into the 5 year plan.
    2. Every 5 year plan is a success - because you rewrite either the plan to fit the results, or the results to fit the plan.

    All in all I'd say that you've done way better than many war gamers with meeting your objectives. I don't post such lists (likely because I haven't been delirious with fever recently).

    I appreciate the Billy Bragg post - he's high on my list of musicians I've love to have tea or drinks with!

    And not all Canadians dress like the one pictured - although my daughter does set off for school in red mukluks made from deer skin trimmed with grey rabbit fur.

    Cheers (and take care of your self)


  2. A grossplan!! This sounds like old fashioned communist crap to me!!
    BTW I agree 100% with Peter: nothing like a 5-year plan revised on annual basis to accomplish your goals... and it's not a joke, I worked for several years in the Corporate Strategy Department of a major Spanish company and tha's what we usually did (.. or to be more specific, were asked to do)