Friday, December 24, 2010

Confined to barracks

"I told you I was ill"
gasped Renee and then expired.

It turned out that my coughing and spluttering of the other night was a bit more serious than I had anticipated. Vomiting and coughing combined insured that I wasn't able to keep much water on board and resulted in a Cafard like state, the details of which I am distinctly hazy on. Fortunately Mrs. Kinch realised that the fact that I was spouting gibberish was a new symptom and not merely business as usual. She took me to hospital where I was placed in isolation, knocked out, rehydrated and tested for avian and swine flu*. It was soon established that I did not have any manner of posh flu, but merely a ringing case of the garden variety.

Since then I've been at home, confined to bed and being force fed fluids. On the plus side this means I won't be working Christmas Day, unfortunately I'm not up to much otherwise and I won't be making it to service or my parents on Christmas Day either.

In some good news, Command & Colours: Napoleonics arrived today, though Mrs. Kinch said that she knew I was ill when I didn't tear it open immediately.

That said I have had a look at it - the Corunna scenario appears to be the only one I can play immediately with the figures I have at my disposal.

Also, the French cavalry is subdivided rather more than I anticipated in that we have.

- Light Cavalry
- Heavy Cavalry
- Heavy Cavalry Cuirassiers
- Guard Heavy Cavalry

I have plenty of light cavalry and a regiment of cuirassiers. I am in two minds as to what to use for Guard Heavy Cavalry, I have boxes of beautiful Zvesda Polish Lancers, but they can't with the best will in the world be described as heavy cavalry.

I'm considering using Italeri Dragoons as Heavy Cavalry. They didn't wear armour, but they did used straight swords, which is good enough for me. I honestly can't remember that they were called officially. In a spirit of democracy that goes against every fibre of my authoritarian soul, I'll throw the question open to the floor.

Also welcome aboard to our latest two followers! Welcome to the mess. The rules are very simple, treat your messmates as you would wish to be treated and no discussion of the French infront of children.

Good Lord, I believe I'm done in already. Right, back to bed for another eleven hours sleep.

*I am still partly convinced that the latter was a joke that they only embarked upon after they found my badge.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Giant Space Crusade at Gaelcon 2002 -
the foreshortening in this photograph does no justice to the size of this board

I was once told that in life plans are useless, but planning indispensable. It's seems silly to write this on the eve on purchasing a house, which will undoubtedly be one of the largest projects I'll ever embark upon and which will devour my time and money in a manner I can probably not really understand at present.

However, it's four in the morning; I'm ghastly ill and it would be inconsiderate to return to bed while I'm still coughing and spluttering. Mrs. Kinch gets few enough nights uninterrupted sleep, frequently broken as it is by my comings and goings and the necessity of looking after her elderly grandparents.

I'll hope you'll forebear.

Project List

Command & Colours: Napoleonic - The Peninsular War

This is my main project and will be for quite some time. I'm still waiting for the actual game to arrive, but in the meantime I have my hex mat ready and I've been mustering forces. My goal for this project will be to be able to field the forces required to play all the Peninsular battles in the basic game.

I have pre-ordered a copy of the Spanish supplement, which will expand the projects goals, but that won't be arriving for quite some time.

Sub-project - The War of Ruritanian Succession

This is a whenever project, something that I may get around to or not. I have approximately 400 Hat Saxons waiting to be transformed into a Ruritanian force. The basic idea was to use these figures to create an army that could fight out the Grant & Olley Chiraz campaign. I'm still in two minds on whether to paint these up as actual Saxons* or to go the full 18th century Imagi-nation hog.

The other arms would be made up of Zvesda Swedes with Cossack light cavalry and Russian guns. Additional regiments could be supplied by "left-overs" from my Napoleonic armies.

Sub-project - The Rajah of Kaala-Akaata

This is a late 18th century project, based around a desire for some Eastern colour, reading too much Allan Mallinson and Kipling and that has been gaining ground slowly.

I also convinced myself that it would be simple, I could just use my Napoleonic British forces as opposition and all would be well. At present, the state of play is not too bad, I have a sufficiency (approximately 100 figures) of native cavalry, one battalion of European trained regulars and a mob of about 80 irregulars, all made up from several boxes of ESCI Muslim warriors I received in a trade.

I also have a battalion of John Cunningham's sepoys in preparation. These are merely based, but I hope to expand to a second battalion. There are also Mysore warriors in preparation.

On a related note, there are also Sikhs in the pipeline. I am very fond of Sikhs.

Sub-project - War of 1812

This is definately a whenever project and one mainly prompted by fact that I have a good hex game of the conflict and more Hat Peninsular British Infantry than I know what to do with.

Memoir '44 - 20mm

I'm a big fan of Memoir '44 and I've played a lot of it with Donogh in 6mm. My new large mats should mean that I can also use my 20mm forces to play games. I have large painted German (boo! hiss!) forces which were recruited between 2001-2006 as part of my Razvedchiki GURPS WWII roleplaying game**. I have American figures that could do with a lick of paint and some Russians, but I can't imagine doing a huge amount of recruitment for this project beyond mustering some Crown forces.

Sub-project - Memoir '36- 20mm

As a result of the previously mentioned GURPS game I have quite a few 20mm partisans and other early 20th century armed civilian types. I got a copy of Solways Crafts and Miniatures Very British Civil War sourcebook last year and Donogh very kindly gave me the second volume this morning as a Christmas gift. I think there is every possibility that any Crown forces I raise for my main Memoir '44 project will be early war BEF, who could very easily do service in a Very British Civil War.

Giant Space Crusade

Nine years ago, three gamers had a pint and fell to reminicing.

They discussed Heroquest and Space Crusade, two games which devoured many after school summer afternoons. They also fell to talking about large games at conventions.

Things were said, bets were made and two of the gamers were challenged by the third to run the biggest board game at an Irish convention. The result was Giant Space Crusade, which was lunacy. The game is normally played on a board two feet by two feet, we build one that was twelve feet by four for twice the number of players, two dedicated umpires and many many figures.

Heroic efforts were made to finish the game in time. This man turned up at the convention covered in blood to ensure that everything went according to plan.

It took nine hours to play, but it was fantastic fun.

A couple of months ago, the gauntlet was thrown down again by some gentlemen who'd heard of the original and wanted to give it a try. To be fair, I didn't take much cajoling to commit to the project especially after we sat down and worked out what mistakes we'd made with the first one. I cleared out most of my 40K figures in 2005, but I still have some lying around and we've managed to work out a way of doing this in a manner that doesn't cause us the same emotional distress or bloodloss.

I'm hoping we'll be able to accomplish this mostly with loaned figures, but it remains to be seen.

It's also going to be bigger, have coloured lights and possibly some sort of zero-g fighting section using magnets.

What could possibly go wrong?


Looking over this list, I'm filled with a sense of mixed hope and anxiety. There are a lot of projects here. On the other hand, I have made a great deal of progress in the ones I'm particularly concerned about. There's no urgency in the others with the exception of Giant Space Crusade, no one is going to break down my door and ask why I haven't refought the Niagra Campaign yet.

This year has been quite productive in terms of building regiments if not actually playing games. With the drop in available cash that is likely to occurr in 2011, I'm hoping that I will be able to play more games as it's a damn sight cheaper than mustering troops.

The other point that comes across very clearly is that Command & Colours in its various incarnatations is the game for me. This is probably no great surprise. I really enjoyed reading Black Powder and I don't regret buying it for a second, but it's unlikely that its going to see much play. I have a very similar attitude to the TooFatLardies products, they're fantastic read and I often steal ideas from them, but not games that I get to play very often or in fact, at all. I suspect a lot of their attraction is the no-nonsense writing, the low price point and the fact that I can read them on my phone. This is not to be sniffed at when one can be stuck places without a book for prolonged periods of time.

This isn't a bad thing, no less of a wargaming authority as The Brigadier has been using much the same rules for nigh on thirty years. I've played Command & Colours with children as young as seven and men in their eighties; veterans, college students, teachers, policemen, young offenders, computer scientists, artists, construction workers, writers and librarians have all taken part over the years and very few of them have not enjoyed the experience.

This is probably an idea I should develop further, but it's cold and I've stopped coughing and throwing up, so I think I best head back to bed.

And to all a good night.

*Odd continental chaps in whom I have no real interest. I couldn't honestly tell you where or what they were up to during the Napoleonic wars. Shameful I know.

**One of the occupational hazards of being a roleplaying GM is that you always end up with a large collection of baddies.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Toy Soldiers

Christmas Decorations from Hanover,
which manage to be both martial and festive.

Despite the snow outside, it's all rather jolly here at Chez Kinch. I'm heading out to brave the snows in order to do a few mortgage related errands while Mrs. Kinch and her parents busy themselves around the house putting up decorations, like those above and wrestling with Mrs. Kinch pere's enormous Christmas tree, known by familial tradition as Birnam Wood.

Apparently there will be cocoa upon my return...

There's good news and bad news...

70mm Crimean Era British Infantry Officer

...the bad news is that I now know what it's like to have four year old children on Christmas day...

...the good news is that I learned this vital lesson at ten am this morning, when Mrs. Kinch opened a letter from our mortgage people and discovered that we have finally gotten approval.

She celebrated this great occasion by running into the bedroom and jumping on my head. I think I took it rather well despite having finished work at 6 am.

So, it looks like this whole house business is actually going to happen. I'm as surprised as anyone.

I spent the rest of the day making phonecalls, watching old movies* and doing some work on Mrs. Kinch's great uncles gift (see above).

*Rambo III - A relic of a simpler, more civilized time back when the Afghans were noble savages.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Simon Scarrow

Working nights and the Christmas season have meant that little or no wargaming progress has been made this week. The arrival of the Wargamers Annual cheered what was turning out to be a grim few days, but more on that anon.

I've managed to finish putting together a gift for Mrs. Kinch's great uncle, a large scale resin figure of a British Officer from the Crimea. This was my first time working with resin or in this scale and it was considerably more fiddly than I anticipated, but I've managed to finish the preparatory work without endeavouring to glue my hands together or attach parts of his uniform to my face. All that remains is to paint him.

I would post pictures, but my phone is hors de combat at present, which is not helping matters.

What I have done in the mean time is a little reading, specifically the Revolution series by Simon Scarrow. I have the first two, Young Bloods and Generals. They are hefty volumes weighing in at over 400 pages each. Scarrow certainly writes books in which things happen, events come tripping off the page with pleasing rapidity - though it must be said that neither man lived a quiet life, so there was no shortage of material.

Scarrow certainly isn't a stylist and his characterisation is workmanlike at best, but as whole the books don't suffer for it. They're a well executed entertainment that takes the reader on a breakneck gallop through the lives of two exceptional men and should be enjoyed as such. Good fun, but I can't imagine Allan Mallinson looking over his shoulder with any trepidation.

Good, undemanding Christmas reading.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Wargaming in History - Volume 2 - First Impressions

I received a copy of Wargaming in History Volume 2 last week, though I have had very little chance to read it properly. It seems very much in the vein of the previous volume, a beautifully produced hard back studying three battles, in this case Dettingen, Fontenoy and Lauffeld, and discussing how they were refought as wargames. Despite having no previous interest in the War of Austrian Succession, beyond knowing of course that Doctor Livesy was a veteran of Fontenoy, I find this approach very useful. The Brigadier has written God knows how many wargames scenarios and a window into his thought processes is rewarding, particularly when you're such a duffer at the business as I am.

The book itself is not cheap. I got mind from Caliver for thirty pounds. It is a beautifully produced hardback with a good dust jacket that will give good service for many years to come. Illustrated throughout by well lit, sharp photographs of the Grant and Olley collections and illustrations by Bob Marrion all on crisp high quality paper stock, this is a piece of work that gives me pleasure on three levels. As a history buff, I enjoy the potted history of the War of Austrian Succession; as a Wargamer, it's a very forthright book on the hobby and as a book lover, it is a very satisfying artifact and one that makes the act of reading even more pleasureable than usual.

Each battle is preceded by a little history to give context to the material to follow. There follows a brief description of the physical mechanics of putting the wargame together with some interesting musings on the size of table required, troops, etc and this is finished off with maps and a refight.

The last two sections of the book discuss Irish and Scottish troops in French service and a wargames miscellany, covering the use of written orders in wargames, the effect of having a reigning monarch on the battlefield and some interesting (and I suspect controversial in some quarters) musing on the qualities of Guard units.

While I haven't had the leisure to spend as much time with this book as I would like, if first impressions are anything to go by, it shall be an enjoyable companion for many years to come.

Which begs the question - when are we going to see a volume on the Egyptian Campaign of 1798-1801?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Shock & Beggorah - Painted 1798 Rebels

Not the best picture in the world,
but I was in a hurry to get them photographed and off to the postman.

Finally finished up my Criskindl painting, which was interesting. On giving the figures a once over I came to the conclusion that there was rather more of Gilray about them than anything else. I added pikes, but didn't add pike heads as I wasn't sure if my pal wants to add pike heads or hammer the end of the wire flat and snip it accordingly.

In other news, I had my last assessment on Friday and passed with flying colours scoring maximum possible marks. I also received the results of my dissertation, which were 84%. This means I'll be returning to the Puzzle Palace in January to pass out with the rest of my class, at least once the other boys have stopped calling me "Specky" and hanging me by my underpants from lamp posts.

There is no news on the house front unfortunately, we're still jumping through hoops for the lender. Mrs. Kinch has finally become sick of that particular emotional roller coaster and has left the matter entirely in my hands. We shall see what comes of this.


Shock & Begorr-Awe

There's been a Criskindl going on The Guild for the last few weeks. The scheme is that each participant sends his partner one or more figures, which are painted and returned to the owner.

My Criskindle partner had some 1798 rebels lying about and thought that they would make an appropriate Criskindl. The figures are 28mm lads from Trent Miniatures and definately have a touch of Gilray about them. On the other hand, I haven't actually painted anything since I joined the service and thought this would make a nice change. The figures themselves were cleanly cast, with the exaggerated characteristics I've come to expect from 28mm figures.

They did present a bit of a challenge as they did not come with pikes and their hands needed to be drilled to take ones made of wire. I have never used a hand drill before and had to learn (mainly by watching a pal who did most of the drilling for me), but it's a lot simpler than it looks. I recommend the Games Workshop variety hand drill, which costs about fifteen euro, though it can be got for less.

I also had to buy several pots of paint as some staples (red, flesh tone and brown ink) were either empty or dried out. I'm quite looking forward to painting these chaps as I haven't painted in a dogs age - an interest I think I will resurrect, but for special figures only. Even as I come to the end of my studies, I doubt I'll ever have the time that I used to be able to devote to painting.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

RIP Garden Furniture - Obligatory post about snow

While I'm sure our transatlantic and continental chums are all used to a spot of snow, it doesn't happen very often in Ireland. As a result, there was something of a stir when about a quarter ton of snow came off the roof in one go.

There were somewhat dramatic results for the cast iron garden furniture that sat outside. I sallied out and poked the fallen snow to make sure that it hadn't landed on the cat, but all was well.

Rude Boy - Rihanna - Classical Version

Came across this the other day - cracking stuff.

I particularly like the chap at the back rocking the Glockenspiel.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Despatches from the front.

Willy Russell, War Correspondent
and not a bad chap really. For a media type.

- House purchase is still eluding us, though we are a little closer. The lender has asked a full structural survey be carried out, we've had this done and will be getting the results tomorrow.

- Command & Colours: Napoleonics is finally shipping. I am beside myself. I can't remember the last time I've looked forward to a game like this.

Actually, on mature reflection, I can and the game was Cthulhu Dark Ages. It was a crushing dissappointment. But I've relatively sure Richard Borg won't let me down. Probably.

For those of you who'd like a sneak peak, GMT games have very kindly put up a PDF of the rulebook.

- I've started my new project, which is trying to record a few pieces for, an online repository of free audiobooks. I haven't uploaded anything yet as reading aloud is harder than it looks. My first recording was of a favourite poem, but it sounds soulless and rather like I don't understand what I'm reading. Mrs. Kinch has promised to tutor me tomorrow so that I don't sound like a robot. It remains to be seen whether this will work.

- For those of you not clinging precariously to the edge of Europe, Ireland is experiencing some very cold weather at the moment. This is something we are neither equiped for or take with particularly good grace. Fortunately, I had the day off today - so I spent it profitably engaged in sparing Mrs. Kinch some packing. I selflessly put the finishing touches to two regiments of cavalry and a battalion of infantry and packed them up to send to Mark while watching Generation Kill. That's one box we won't have to move house with!

Napoleonic War Stories: Tales of Soldiers, Spies, Battles and Sieges from the Peninsular and Waterloo Campaigns by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch.

I've long held Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch in high regard, an affection based almost entirely on his collection of verse, which played such a large part in developing my taste and knowledge of poetry. Little did I know that he also wrote short stories about the Napoleonic Wars, something I only discovered while idly browsing Leonaur Publishing's catalogue. This is a dangerous pastime, but not without its rewards.

I haven't finished this book yet, it is a pleasure to be sipped rather than gulped. I was surprised by the tone and depth of the writing and characterisation. Quiller-Couch's descriptive prose is sparse, using a few carefully chosen images to evoke rather than explain. His plotting is taut and economical and unusually grim for stories written at the high tide of British power. The first two deal with the psychological, rather than the physical scars of war - a choice of subject I was not expecting. There is none of the heavy handed treatment of this theme that I've come to expect. The tales are laid out as tales, as stories to be told, without moral or lesson, the reader can make of them as he will. The later stories deal with the adventures of a Catholic Scottish-Spanish spy in the pay of the British and are more in the Brigadiers Gerard line than the former, though they too are not without their subtlety. I particularly liked Quiller-Couch's brief and uncomplimentary portrait of Wellington, who I've often seen portrayed as something approaching a military Christ figure in late 19th century texts.

Highly recommended.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A question of tables.

Overhead was the day nursery, with a wide extent of smooth cork carpet (the natural terrain of toy soldiers), a large box of bricks—such as I have described in Floor Games—and certain large inch-thick boards. It was an easy task for the head of the household to evict his offspring, annex these advantages, and set about planning a more realistic country. (I forget what became of the children.) - H.G. Wells, Little Wars.

The forced march that is our housebuying carries ever onwards, inch by struggling inch through the mud of official indecision, redtape and incompetance, heedless of the howling storm of national financial catastrophe.

In the meantime, I've had some of our very best men working on the problem of what sort of table to put in the wargames room. As you can see to your left, they are deep in discussion and are in no way wondering if this is not putting the cart somewhat before the horse.

In brief, I have (or hope to have) a room that is approximately twelve feet by forteen and wish to put as large a playing surface as I may into that space while still having space for books, toy soldiers, terrain, smoking & drinks cabinet and all the other necessities of a civilized existance. There is the other, entirely secondary concern, that the room may also on occasion have to be used for social events that do not involve toy soldiers so it would be best if whatever playing surface I adopt can be folded away to allow the passage of guests, wives and other harmless persons.

The Command & Colours series (Napoleonics, Memoir '44 and Battlecry) have made up the majority of my wargaming since 2005 and that is unlikely to change, so it worth bearing that in mind. I have two mats for that style of game which measure six feet by three feet and nine inches. My prefered method of play is a six to eight player game where two of these mats are placed side by side (known as "Overlord") making a playing surface nine hexes deep by twenty six wide, unfortunately this would require a table twelve feet long by four or ideally five feet. This is unlikely to fit and even if such were possible, is unlikely to leave room for much else. However, the game can also be played in "Breakthrough" format where two mats are placed one atop the other forming a field of battle thirteen hexes wide by eighteen deep. This would need a table six feet wide by seven feet deep and ideally a little bigger to allow for dice, casualties, gin, etc. This is probably achieveable and could certainly big enough for whatever other games I take it into my head to play.

I've been looking at folding ping pong tables as the basis for this putative battlefield. In their favour, they are sturdy, fold up and measure nine by five feet, a noble size for a wargames table in any man's language. Counting against there is cost, 200 euro for a solid model and the fact that even five feet by nine is a touch too small for my purposes, nine by six would be ideal.

I'm sure even a chap of even my limited skills could add a foot to the width of the table without too much trouble, but until Chateau Kinch is a reality this will have to remain an entirely theoretical exercise.

Still a very pleasent theoretical exercise and one that helps make the hard business of getting through the house buying forced march a little easier.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Of men and hexes...

An as yet unnamed battalion of
Frenchmen, deployed on my Hotz mat.

I had some good news on Thursday, GMT games finally charged my credit card for Command & Colours: Napoleonics, which most likely means that I'll have the finished game before Christmas - which is immensely satisfying. It did of course, throw into high gear my thoughts on howI was going to play the game with figures.

Assault on Hoth kicks off

The Battle of Hoth.
This picture does no justice to the lavish scale of the game.

I was offered a bespoke hex mat recently by the wife of a very dear friend of mine. He had run a spectacular game set around the battle of Hoth from the Starwars films using 28mm figures. This was an opulent affair with three massive AT-AT walking tanks attacking rebel alliance entrenchments defended by Luke, Chewie and chums. The game ran using a version of the Memoir '44 game system and was played on a standard Memoir 44 mat (9 hexes by 13) with massive ten inch hexes. I had entertained hopes of commissioning such a mat, but it would mean that it could only be useful when laying on the floor and most of my pals are less enthusiastic about floor games than I am.

So I think I shall have to make do with my two Hotz mats and let pipedreams of gigantic wargames tables go the way of all fancy.

lineAlign Center
A Charge! battalion of nameless frogs deployed in line,
representing in this instance three units for Command & Colours: Napoleonics.

My Napoleonic armies are based on card sabots three inches across with two sabots making up a unit. I had thought this was going to be a problem as it meant that the bases were an inch longer than the five inch hexes. This isn't really an issue for an isolated unit, but it makes deploying a Napoleonic line of any size problematical.

However, after removing the figures from the sabot and laying them out, they just - as you can see in the picture above - fit the five inches allowed. This has settled it - I may ask my friend to run me up a mat for the mediterranean, but I think it will have to use the smaller and more practical five inch hexes.

Which brings me next to the thorny issue of tables...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Oh you scoundrel!


The Colonel immediately raised his cane and,
shaking it at the soldier, called out, "Oh you scoundrel!"

The above illustration is taken from the article on Abercromby Expedition to Egypt in 1801 and describes an incident where a French skirmisher made so bold as to fire on a British officer shortly after alighting from his landing craft.

One of the other aspects of the article that really appeals to me is that the author makes every effort to sound like an objective and disinterested historian during the opening section, but as soon as bayonets cross he begins to lose the run of himself. No longer does he state that the French artillery opened fire on the British infantry as they reached the shingle or that the French cavalry attempted a charge before the Guards could form square, it's "...the French artillery began to fire on our line, " and "our lads began to fall and we strove forward through the fire and cleared the breastwork with the bayonet." I can see him getting excited and blotting his manuscript as the prose rushes on.

I'm utterly charmed.

Irish Army of the 1930s

Irish army blog pics

Troops of the Irish Free State on maneuvres in the 1930s.
Note the German inspired, British produced Vickers helmet.


My knowledge of the history of the Irish Army is slim and limited mainly to my own efforts defending the nation against the paramilitary wing of the Wicklow Ramblers Association in the late 1990s.

You'll find an article from the Defence Forces website here.

Eunan O'Halpin's "The Irish State and its Enemies since 1922" is generally considered to be the best foundation on the subject and it's well worth a read. His introduction to "MI5 and Ireland 1939-1945: The Official History" is worth the price of entry alone.

While the above books are extremely interesting, they probably lack the uniform detail that wargamers crave. Donal MacCarron's Osprey on the subject is by necessity impressionistic as it covers a great deal of ground, but is well worth a look. You'll find some information on our own home grown fascists, a pretty sorry lot I think you'll agree*, here.

I'm not aware of any manufacturer that makes Irish troops for the period in any scale. I would recommend using German troops from the last years of the Great War, possibly with headswops for the officers who had a rather more British cut to them. Vehicles would be a mix of British Great War and Interwar types.

*I had a teacher in school who put down the abscence of any credible right wing movement in Ireland in the 1930s to Irish peoples lack of interest or ability in political extremism. It was a statement that made me choke on my cornflakes even at the tender age of 11. I think a far more likely explanation for the poor showing of the Blue Shirts was that they came late to an already crowded market.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Portuguese Dragoons

Portuguese Heavy Dragoon

A French Carabiner, who will soon
be impersonating a Portuguese Heavy Dragoon.

There's been quite a to-do in the Kinch household of late - some family issues and yet more anxious waiting on the Mortgage people. All of which has very sadly impinged on my very limited gaming time.

My latest project is a play by email game with Donogh. We're playing his "Black Mamba Down"* a science fiction game using Ambush Alley's Games Tomorrows War system. I was given the choice of sides and had to pick between Communist Chinese and plucky (but apparently no-less Communist) rebels. Maintaining the tradition of the service of always picking the lesser of two weevils, I naturally picked rebels. This will be something of a departure for me and I suspect one that does not bode well for the chaps under my command...

The big news of course, is that we've been given "approval in principle" for our mortgage - which given the current circumstances is a minor miracle. And to think it took only eight to nine weeks of relentless bullying to get a straight answer out of the lender.

This is very exciting news, not least because it means that we will be returning to the heart of Dublin which will make having a social existence that doesn't have to be planned with military precision. I understand that putting an establishment in order is a big job (I forsee making shelves, lots of shelves) it will also mean that I will be able to do a little more gaming.

This will of course, severely circumscribe the war chest for a few years and has certainly knocked any new projects on the head for a while. Napoleonics will be the priority for the next while, ensuring that I have the full complement of chaps for Command & Colours: Napoleonics should keep me busy for the next six months. Eagle eyed readers will no doubt have spotted the gallant Latin chap bestride a horse at the top of this post, he is a French Carabinier from Newline Designs. I'm happy that he's a close enough match for a Portuguese Heavy Dragoon. Once Mark has got the current crop out of the way, it'll be time to send this fellow and the 5th Dragoon Guards off to wreck havoc on the French hordes.

In a moment of madness, I was toying with some ideas for a new period - one of which was a small Falklands War collection. This was mainly inspired by some articles in a TwoFatLardies special and this rather magnificent blog. I've always been interested in the Falklands as one of my officers in the Army reserve had served there and I once took part in a campaign game set there**. I was planning to use a modified version of Memoir '44 to game the conflict, which would have allowed me to collect from Cold War era British, who could shoot Donogh's Soviets when they weren't off putting small islands in the South Atlantic to rights.

Realistically however, I don't think it'll be an option.

*Note to gentlewomen of a sensitive disposition, do not type this as a search term into google. You will not find Donogh's scenario.

**Readers of the Classic Wargamers Journal will find the full story in the next issue.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


God of our fathers, known of old--
Lord of our far-flung battle line
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine--
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The captains and the kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe--
Such boasting as the Gentiles use
Or lesser breeds without the law--
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard--
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding, calls not Thee to guard--
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy mercy on Thy people, Lord!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fluster'd with flowing cups.


The Fifth Dragoon Guards -
doing their celebrated impression of Conrad Kinch earlier today

Today was a fine lazy day and much needed. Mrs. Kinch's birthday festivities were celebrated last night and a good time was had by all - though this did mean that I was in a somewhat delicate state this morning and this afternoon.

And also if I'm honest this evening.

While perhaps, I gave Bacchus rather more than his due last night, I wasn't helped by having to work late into the afternoon and then head straight into the festivities. The result was twenty three hours awake on three hours sleep and not one calculated to leave young Master Kinch in the most sparkling of forms. I spent most of the day hiding under a duvet while Mrs. Kinch watched the magnificent David Jason as D.I. Jack Frost. I emerged pale and quaking, a wrecked half shadow of a man, the merest spectre of my former self to be restored by a cracking chicken dinner.

I did do some productive work though in amongst slobbing about.


The Hindenburg and associated decals - notably lacking in swastikas

I had promised Donogh that I would make him a zeppelin for his Great War dog fighting games and he provided me with a copy of Revell's Hindenburg set, which I started work on today. The basic structure is sound, though I shall have to look at some pictures of earlier zeppelins to work out what sort of gondolas, etc I shall have to bodge together.

Donogh wants to use it as the centre piece of a sort of Great War version of the Death Star scene from Star Wars, so I may have to gild the lilly somewhat and make it a little more fearsome than in reality.

I think it could certainly benefit from the addition of a war elephant, don't you?

I also sprayed some 20mm British Heavy Dragoons that I got from Newline recently, you can see them above. Mark is booked up with work at present, so I won't be sending these over to him any time soon, but they will form the main body of my British heavy cavalry. I hope to have them done up as the Fifth Dragoon Guards of Salamanca fame.


I also resubmitted a copyright clearance request to Project Gutenberg in relation to a super secret project that bears no relation to the above picture.

None whatsoever.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Buccaneers Cake


The results of Mrs. Kinchs gift

Mrs. Kinch has returned from London victorious and rhapsodising about the shows she saw in the West End.

She also brought me Buccaneers cake from Fortnum & Masons, which is delicious and so dense you could shoot it through the sides of Russian tanks.

Or at least you could if I hadn't eaten it all...

No news on the house beyond poking the Mortgage lenders.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Yes, Grand Duke

Some LARPers can take things a little overboard...

The Rules of the Game

The object of Yes Grand Duke is to gain as many points as possible with the player with the most points being declared the winner at the end. The players are members of the Grand Dukes council of advisors an informal group of nobles who advise the Grand Duke on policy. The Grand Duke invariably follows the majority decision of the council.

Interest Cards

Each player begins the game with a number of Interest Cards. Each card represents an interest or agenda the player wishes to pursue and can be positive or negative. The various interests a player can have are listed below and are described in full on the Interest Sheet.

Ducal Power





A well ordered Treasury


Foreign Prestige


Tax Revenue

Game Play

Yes Grand Duke is made up of rounds of table discussion, free discussion and voting. In table discussion the Grand Duke will describe the problems besetting the Duchy to the players, who will then discuss, bicker and connive with each other and then present their views to the Grand Duke in a round of voting. The Grand Duke will follow the majority view and every so often the Ducal Chamberlain will give the results of the councils deliberations.

Example: After discussion, the Grand Duke authorises limited conscription. This is a move that benefits Military and Foreign Prestige as it gives him a large standing army and convinces foreign powers that Little Siskington is not to be messed with. It hurts A well order Treasury as you have to pay for all those uniforms, muskets and such and is doubly unpopular with the Peasantry, who rather liked being civilians.

The result of the decision would be Military, Foreign Prestige +1, A well ordered Treasury -1 and Peasantry -2.


Players score one point for every bonus to one of their interests and lose one for every penalty. If a player has a negative interest in something, he gains a point for every penalty to that interest and loses one for every positive development.

Example: A player who had three Interest Cards reading; Military, Church and Peasantry (negative) would do very well out of the example above, gaining a point for Military, none of Church and two points for a negative interest in Peasantry.

A player may attempt to insure against disaster if he thinks a decision will go against him by making an assertion. An assertion is a publically announced statement which begins, “Grand Duke, I assert that X will happen if Y decision is taken.” The Ducal Chamberlain will indicate if the assertion and if so will make a note of it. If he is proved right, he gains a point and if he is proven wrong by developments, he loses a point.

Players may not show their Interest Cards to each other under any circumstances, but are free to discuss them with others. There are special situations where a player can compel another to disclose a card, but this will be written on a special card.

The Grand Duke must always be addressed as “Your Grace” or “Grand Duke”. He should be referred to as “His Grace”.

Lordly players should be addressed as “My Lord” and should be referred to as “Lord”.

Lady players should be addressed as “My Lady” or “Madam” and should be referred to as “Lady.”

Bishops should be addressed as “My Lord” or “Bishop” and should be referred to as “The Right Reverend”.

No-one may sit while the Grand Duke stands.

No Lord or Bishop may sit while in conversation with a Lady who is standing.

Any Lord, excepting the Bishops, who is unmarried at games end will lose three points.

A Bishop gains one point for every marriage he solemnizes.

Ladies may bring their wit and amiability to the deliberations of the council, but they may not vote.

Lords may challenge each other to a duel, losing a duel gains the loser a point and he forfeits the right to vote in the next round. The winner gains two points. Duelling is not for the faint hearted.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Well now that's all over...

The Pursuit

A scene from an affair of light cavalry over the weekend.
Courtesy of Donogh.

Gaelcon, Ireland's largest and oldest gaming convention was over the weekend - my involvement was pretty low key this year compared to previous years, but any doubts I might of hand as to the future of the convention were most assuredly put to rest - it was fantastic, well organised and very well attended.

I ran two games over the con, a LARP called "Yes, Grand Duke" which was set in the comic opera state of The Grand Duchy of Little Siskington in the late 18th century. It was a great success, with 24 players taking on the roles of advisors to the Grand Duke. I'll include some more about this game in a later blog post, but in brief, each player plays the role of an advisor to the head of state who they try to sway by reasoned argument, flattery and shouting.

The Grand Duke outlines a number of a problems facing the Duchy and asks for advice, while the players try to sway him to make decisions that serve their interests. An example problem from the game on Saturday was...

"Voltaire has been kicked out by Frederick the Great and is looking for somewhere to hang his hat, we have received word that he is likely to attempt to lodge in the Duchy, what do you suppose we should do?"

The Grand Duke allows the players to discuss the problem like gentlemen, calls for a show of hands and then makes an impartial and entirely independant decision based on the majority. There's also a lot of faff about duelling and arranging marriages and the like, but the bones of the game is the politics, which is great fun.

And lest you think I did something clever in putting this game together, a fiercely keen American by the name of Greg Stolze did, though his game was about American politics and was called Executive Decision.

And speaking of stealing other peoples work, I ran six games of Jim Wallman's En Avant diceless Napoleonic wargame over the weekend. I ran a variant of the latest cavalry teaser from Battlegames four times and two other homebrewed scenarios as well.

A few more games would have been played, if I had not foolishly attempted to keep with Donogh and others at the bar and ended up drinking well, but not wisely. I turned up somewhat the worse for wear on Sunday afternoon.

Scenario number one, had a British battalion sent out to cover some returning foragers running into a much larger French force and relying on front and bluff to buy enough time for the foragers to get away. This did not end well, the British player made some very imaginative moves, marching troops in a circle in a gap between two buildings, making extensive use of skirmishers and the regimental band, unfortunately the French player thinking that the marching men and distant drums signalled the approach of British reinforcements, resolved to attacked immediately. It was still a close run thing.

The second game was a holding action, where a small force of British riflemen backed up by one gun of the Royal Horse Artillery had to delay a French force for a short time and withdraw with their force intact. This did not end well for the British, not that any game that weekend did, and while they did manage to hold up the French, a considered but daring French player took both riflemen and gun and still managed to make it off the board in time.

I, of course, forgot to bring my camera and didn't have the wit use my iPhone, so the above is one of two pictures that Donogh shot over the weekend. It shows a moment during one of the Cavalry scenarios, where British and French squadrons having "threaded" each other turn to charge again.

On the whole, a very rewarding weekend, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, caught up with a lot of old friends, umpired some really enjoyable games, my feet still ache from dancing and I've sworn off the sauce for at least a month.

Capital. I can't wait until next year.

Thursday, October 21, 2010



The layout of one box containing two
French infantry battalions, the 22ieme Ligne and the Swiss Legion.

Storing figures has always been a problem, particularly en masse. It's probably one of the most important question any gamer is going to have to ask himself as it dictates where and when and how he can play with his figures. My choice of steel paper lined box files was made for several reasons, they are relatively cheap, magnetic sheeting keeps the chaps in line, they are relatively portable and infinitely expandable.

This allows me to play games at home without having to trawl through the whole collection looking for such and such a battalion and only bring those troops that I actually need for a game elsewhere.

My 6mm figures are all stored in video boxes filled with foam and steel paper. These are admirable as they protect the figures and are extremely portable. The only issue is finding the damn boxes, as they are not really the thing anymore.

Detractors, by which I mean Mrs. Kinch, have pointed out that there is a deal of unused space in the box, which could be used to hold more figures. Unfortunately, packing the figures closely means that it's rather hard to get them out again and also difficult to tell who is with what unit. Leaving extra space makes the whole process of transfering troops from box to battle

Other news

Weather - freezing. Definately bringing gloves to work tonight.

House - no movement.

Mrs. Kinch - crankiness abating due to upcoming London trip.

Gaming - this is where I'll be spending the weekend. You'll also find Donogh there, shooting Afghans for fun and profit.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Look upon the organisation skills of Kinch ye Mighty and despair!
(click to enlarge)

In an uncharacteristic burst of organisational activity brought on by the arrival of some steel paper from Trevor at Magnetic Displays, I settled down to finish (-ahem- continue) organising my troops.

Each deed box has been lined with steel paper and the troops have magnetic sheeting stuck to their bases. I'll take a shot of an infantry box when I have the chance to shoot one in daylight rather than the muddy specimen up above. Each box holds two Charge! style infantry battalions or two regiments of cavalry, with transport, camp followers and wounded.

Some regiments are waiting to be housed, but the back of the job is broken. There are a few that remain to be kitted out with wounded and transport, but there are plenty of battalions to be going on with. New arrivals will necessitate new boxes and more steel paper, I shall have to order some more in order to accomodate the British heavies and French chasseurs.

It also struck me that I could use some of my spare Peninsular British figures are late war Portuguese or Spanish troops, as it is highly unlikely that I will require 300 odd Americans. I'm leaning more towards Portuguese at present as the bicorne clad Spanish infantry were certainly striking and it would be a shame not to field some.

Food for thought.

Current affairs.

House - a comedy of foot dragging, evasion and delay on the part of the broker emeliorated only by constant nagging on the part of the customer.

Mrs. Kinch - breezy, continuing irritable with reference to the above, crankiness emeliorated by looming trip to see Passion in the West End.

I have often comforted myself that should Mrs. Kinch after decide to run away it'll most likely be with an elderly homosexual Jew.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Battle of Spurlash Abajo

As the sun rises over Spurlash Abajo, the 4th Foot and the Connaught Rangers await the French onslaught.

I took the opportunity to enjoy a few days off before I return to the night shift. I took Mrs. Kinch to dinner on Friday and then to a movie, the formulaic, but thoroughly enjoyable "Despicable Me". I also had the chance to catch up with some friends, most notably Uber, Savage and Young Master Von Gorman, all of whom I had not seen in some time and whose company I hope to enjoy at Gaelcon.

No news regarding the house unfortunately, though the lender was pestering me on Friday for more documentation, which was duly supplied. A studied and entirely pretended indifferance to the whole process is beginning to appear to be the best course of action at present.

A copy of the Classic Wargamer's Journal greeted me on the mat on Friday morning and I took great pleasure in reading it, particularly Stuart Asquiths contributions. My own piece seemed quite paltry by comparison, I shall have to do better.

Having gently, but firmly booted Mrs. Kinch out of the house into the cold, cruel world there to earn a crust and get the means of keeping me in the style to which I hope to grow accustomed, I settled down to christen my new hex mats.

I choose Spurlash Down from CWJ as an engagement that was manageable, without being too small. Peninsular French and British troops took the place of the Electoral and Imperial forces and I used my own slightly tweaked version of Worthington Games, "Clash for a Continent" American War rules, which are broadly similar to their "For Honour & Glory" War of 1812 set.

I don't really care for solo games, as I get too wrapped up in one side or the other. With that in mind, I gave the French a two point command bonus, which is quite substantial. I used the battle described in CWJ as a basis for the orders of each side and then executed those orders as best I could, command rolls allowing.

The ball opened with the French forming a large column and advancing led by their leader, General Du Fitz Badger straight towards the bridge, while their guns rushed forward and unlimbered covering the British side. The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders under Colonel McFarlane got caught up in the woods on the British left supported by the Royal Americans under Colonel Stefan Von Kriegspieler. The British centre was hampered by a series of lousy command rolls to a frantic traffic jam in the centre, as the Fourth Foot and the Connaught Rangers tried to sort themselves.

The British Commander sent the 18th Light Dragoons splashing across the river in order to take the French guns in the flank, probably reckoning that it would be best if the Drogheda Cossacks
be kept well away from Spurlash proper while there was booze undrunk, womenfolk unmolested and a battle still to fight.

The French cannonade was ineffectual, but the column rolled forward, charging across the bridge and wiping out the Royal Artillery gun crew that frantically tried to stop their advance with grapeshot. The British line tried to shake itself into some sort of shape, while the 18th came under fire from the French guns. Their leader, David O'H-, a European soldier of fortune of mysterious antecedents charged with the lightest of cavalry straight at the French guns.

Meanwhile, the second Royal Artillery battery managed bloody the noses of the French column. The British line was much troubled by the advance across the river of the treacherous renegades, the Legion Irlandaise, under Jeffry Le Bear Bleu, who led them in skirmishing with the Fourth, while the woods behind were filled with lost and cursing MacFarlanes. The French heavy cavalry took the 18th in the flank and sent them streaming back across the river, utterly broken, but not without loss to themselves.

However, the crisis had been reached in the centre, where the French column now masking the British line from its own guns, tried to close and lost its nerve. That slight delay bought enough time for a single crushing volley from the Rangers, the Fourth and a double charge of grapeshot from the frantic Royal Artillery. This swept the lead company away and this treatment continued while the French tried to form line. The French leader, the well known Stollenian mercenary General Schwartz, was trapped beneath his horse when the beast was hit and was unable to influence the battle at this vital moment.

The Royal Americans managed to draw the attentions of the Legion Irlandaise, so the the Rangers and the Fourth could concentrate on killing the Frenchmen infront of them. A rallied remnant of the 18th gallantly drew the fire of the French guns, but were captured when they tried to recross the river.

However, the loss of Schwartz at the vital moment insensible under his horse, where he was later captured by skirmishers from the Rangers cost the French dear and they began to melt away under the British volleys. The arrival of fresh troops in the shape of the furious and bepine needled Scotsmen sealed the French troops fate. Their centre broken, the French army began to retreat under the cover of their guns. The British army held their side of the bridge and licked their wounds, while Brigade majors galloped in all directions trying to gather the survivors of the broken cavalry and the infantry counted their dead.

A cartel will have to be organised to see to the exchange of Colonel O'H-, the captured French aide de camp Capitan McCarthy and General

Not a bad game by any stretch and one marked by curious runs of luck, I believed the French had it wrapped up until they failed to charge home.

I learned a few things.

*The mats look splendid, though I think I shall have to make some hills to measure.

*I do not really care for solo-wargaming. I am too much of a social creature to really enjoy it. Also I can't drink while solo-wargaming, this is a serious problem.

*My bases are a touch too wide for several battalions to be deployed in a line. I may have to do something about this.

*An iPhone really is a very acceptable substitute for when you cannot find your dice. I must remember this.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The War of 1812

A still from a documentary about the burning of the White House (courtesy of the History Channel - not just about Nazis and Sharks you know...)

While I slog away happy at my Command & Colours: Napoleonics lists, I have had time to spare a thought for my much neglected copy of For Honour&Glory: War of 1812.

This is a game similar to Command & Colours: Napoleonics produced by Worthington Games. It's not exactly to my tastes, but its not a bad game by any stretch of the imagination. Now as it happens I have a deplorable tendency to buy Ospreys by the dozen if they can be got cheaply. They are then unceremoniously turfed onto a shelf until I find time for them. I bought the Osprey "The United States Army 1812-1815" by James Kochan as part of a job lot when Mrs. Kinch and I were on honeymoon. At two pounds sterling per book it would have been a shame to leave them.

So I have a conflict about which I know very little, but which would allow me to use my British figures with the addition of some Royal Marines and Militia. The Osprey would suggest that the American forces were clothed very much in the British style, which would allow me to use some more of the 600 odd HAT Pensinular British Infantry I bought last year.

Further reading is required as at present I know the following...

- there was a war between Britain and the United States of America between 1812-1815.
- the ostensible cause of the war was the impressment of American sailors by the Royal Navy.
- the war imperiled the supply of grain to the army in Spain.
- the Americans attempted to invade Canada several times and failed.
- the Royal Navy took a pounding at the hands of large American frigates until the action between the HMS Shannon and the USS Chesapeake.
- the Americans won the battle of New Orleans after peace had been signed.
- at some point during the proceedings someone, presumably a chap in a redcoat, burned down the White House (see above).

Unfortunately, I seem to have lost the scenario booklet from For Honour & Glory, so I've very little idea of how many troops I'll need to play the scenarios provided. Counting the blocks in the game suggests that I'll need a simply impractical number of militia.

I imagine I might use Imex's "Alamo Defenders" as militia, but six boxes of chaps is rather a lot, unless of course the militia wore uniforms and I can use some of my British infantry. Another research job, I think.

Any suggestions, gentlemen?

Friday, October 8, 2010


Strelets Chasseurs of the Guard in Winter Dress.
Also pictured a Grenadier Officer and NCO from
Strelets French General Staff box, who will be shortly transfering
to the Chasseurs.

What fine fellows they are!

The Dissertation beast is slain, it's biting jaws and clutching claws are still. I handed it in on Tuesday and await my mark.

In other news, I am now working my way through the paper work that I have assiduously ignoring for the last few weeks. Of course, all work and no play makes Kinch a dull boy, so we took the evening off last night and watched a few episodes of House M.D. Mrs. Kinch attended to her needlework while I went through my list of figures for Command & Colour: Napoleonics.

Going through my box of figures I've managed to scrape together 48 other ranks from the Strelets Guard Chasseurs box, a chef de battalion, one officer and a mounted colonel. A quick study of SHQs website revealed a Guard Chasseurs Command pack that should fill those few gaps that remain. A email was sent and I hope to hear from them shortly.

Once I have that battalion despatched, I shall move onto the next project; the British heavies.

My British heavies arrived on Tuesday from Newline, which cheered me greatly. They are very handsome fellows and will do well. All that remains is to decide which regiment they should join.

I hope to knock off one item of each list, French, British and Portuguese, in turn until I've filled my roster for Command & Colours Ancients.

No news on the house at present, but we shall hopefully have word this week.

In the mean time I have been reading Bernard Cornwells latest, The Fort. This is about an incident during the American War about which I know nothing. A young John Moore makes an appearance. It's not bad stuff in a blood and thunder sort of way and for those of us that like that sort if thing, this is exactly the sort of thing we like.

I'm also taking a certain glee in my near complete ignorance of the period. I know nothing of the incident the story is based on, which is a new experience for me in historical fiction. I rarely stray from familiar ground. I'm really looking forward to seeing how it all turns out.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Kinch after a hard day at the office

The good news -

My dissertation is finished and ready to go. It has to be bound on Monday and delivered on Tuesday. It's just a relief to get it off my back and return to some real work.

Contracts have arrived for Chateau Kinch, which suggests that all is well with the title and other legal mummery.

The bad news -

Still no word on whether we shall be able to get a sufficient mortgage to secure Chateau Kinch. Irish banking being what it is, I'm not holding my breath.

Between work, dissertation and the perils of house purchase, I have done nothing in the wargaming line - my apologies. I'm just completely exhausted at present, which brings me to another thought.

While I'm sure professional military wargamers have considered the problem, commercial wargames never deal with the issue of sleep deprivation, despite the very real impact it has on capacity and morale.

I can only think of one commercially produced set that has ever dealt with it.

And a shiny sixpence to the smart boy who can name me another!

Fortunately, dear reader, you do not have to rely on me for entertainment.

Over at Donogh's you'll find pictures of his shiny new communists.

Someone is going to have to chase Bob Cordery away from Command&Colours with a broom as he never seems to play a game with the same rules twice.

Clive over at Vintage Wargaming has some great articles on terrain building and simple wargames released by Usbourne in the 1970s.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

At them with the Bayonet

At them with the Bayonet The First Anglo-Sikh War 1845-1846
by Donald Featherstone

At them with the Bayonet is a popular history by Donald Featherstone written about that most fascinating of conflicts - the First Sikh War. I received the book in the post as a thank you from Peeler for some 1/32 chaps I had cluttering up the place. I'd read the companion volume, a strange sort of creature, half history book, half novel - called "All for a Shilling a day" which is about the 16th Lancers in the first Sikh War.

I haven't had time to read much of it yet, but I've found it interesting. I was surprised to find Featherstone giving credence to the Martial Races theory - but apparently the Pakistani military are still inclined to it. I've always been of the opinion that "one man is much like another and best is he raised in a hard school." Xenophon, I think, but I'm quoting from memory.

Both of these books are available from Leonaur Books, which has a truly astonishing array of title available. I'm become quite addicted to their reprints as they are cheap at just under a tenner and cover a wide variety of subjects, particularly memoirs, where else are you going to find the reminiscences of officers of the Bengal Artillery? I've picked up a few titles on the Mutiny and the Sikh Wars, though I've also noticed that they also reprint old crime, historical and science fiction.

Also, order them from Book Depository and postage is free.

No news on the house as of yet, but it will have a dedicated wargames room.

The "Dissertation Death March" continues on - slow, but steady.