Last 15 posts from Musings on Wargaming and Life

"A Bruce, A Bruce!"

Posted on July 20th, 2017 under . Posted by

Back in the mid 70’s I went to one of my first wargaming shows, probably Claymore, at that time I was an SNP supporter when it was all a bit of fun and pie in the sky, unlike the fanatics in charge today. Nigel Tranter’s Bruce trilogy was still a vivid memory and I had completed my first ever, proper army, Scots naturally. At this show I came upon a game by Fusilier games of Aberdeen and it cost £5, a princely sum back then for a game, but as it was called ‘Robert the Bruce’ and covered the Wars of Independence (although we were in fact independent) I dug deep and became a proud owner.

I enjoyed many games and like a proper wargamer I wanted to spruce it up, I always wanted to use 25mm knights rather than the counters but never got around to it, I did however make some nice coloured cards and laminated them. My one bugbear with the game was the map, many of the hexes could be argued over whether they were highland or lowland so I designed my own map, but never got around to actually printing it off, looking back it was a pretty amateur job which was best left alone.

I became aware years later of the game ‘Hammer of the Scots’ a nod to Eddie One and always fancied getting it but never did, every now and again the idea came up and again it disappeared as whatever I was doing at the time took priority. Due to technology the next time I looked I could actually see the game and watch how it was played, niggling away at me was the idea that this was simply ‘Robert the Bruce’ updated, I even checked up the designers and they are indeed different, but believe me the similarities are too many for it not to be a clone.

So the other day I bought it, the price had come down and I was tipped off that it was now £43, so I jumped at it. I had hoped to take it to the club this week but the one day I am expecting a parcel Parclefarce don’t turn up until late afternoon so way too late to sort the rules out, and guess what, the next day 0910 bright and early!

I like the look of the game and the mechanics are better and more streamlined than RtB, it is a block game and will be the first I have ever played. But, yes there is always a but, there is a touch of Braveheart in it, RtB was completely historical with HotS there are French knights, nope, don’t remember them during the Wars, they don’t turn up until the Stewart’s are on the throne so why they should be Scottish allies niggles me. In the original the Lord of the Isles was a Bruce supporter and MacDougall a Comyn supporter, both had fleets and were a great way to move forces around, the English had a fleet as well, in this version for some reason the only fleet in the area is Norse, seeing as the game starts around 1297 and the Norse had not been seen on the Scottish mainland since 1263 and signed a treaty in 1266 I do wonder who came up with this. I have one other small, but important to me complaint, James Douglas is represented by a generic saltire and not his coat of arms, that will be the first change and I have the technology and skills to do it, a saltire indeed for the Black Douglas. (When looking for 100 famous black Britons a few years back the Good Sir James (he was only the Black to his enemies) was mentioned, I wonder if they thought the Red Douglas’s were native Americans?)

So already I am thinking of introducing the Isles, Macdougall and an English fleet without even having played the game, so I shall have to rein in my enthusiasm until I play a few rounds.

Oh, and you can keep your Balliol supporting William Wallace, “A Bruce, a Bruce!”

HMS Tartar 4th Commission 1970 11

Posted on July 20th, 2017 under Posted by

 As the days passed on leaving Mombasa the effects of our short stay began to show themselves, the Sickbay was right across the passage from the Radio Room and it became a struggle each morning for the Forenoon Watch to get to the door as the queu…

Summer Ost Front

Posted on July 19th, 2017 under , , . Posted by

Hottest day of the year so far yesterday, or so I was told, I was also told to look out for rain today but nothing so far, just a nice cool breeze. Anyway I turned up at the club to find Matt hard at work packing up all the wargame bits and pieces, and…

View From The WIndow

Posted on July 16th, 2017 under , . Posted by

The Gods are playing with us, the School Sports was a miserable, wet disaster yesterday, it rained almost continually all day, there was one lorry in the walk through the village, it could hardly be called a parade, today it is a beautiful morning with lovely azure skies, puffy white clouds and I can see all the way to the horrible windmills halfway to Yorkshire. We passed the celebrations stuffed into the pub car park and around the swing park, it looked like a hastily thrown together refugee camp rather than a sporting event for the kids, all sodden by the incessant rain. Apathy of course is the big killer for events like this, there are hundreds of kids at the local school but many of the people who make the effort to organise the ‘School’ sports are not parents. The wash out this year will not help things for next year, a real shame.

While I am on the subject of rain I am reminded once again, as if I need reminding, that in general I hate people, don’t worry, if the end comes there will be some room on the Ark for those who make the grade, let’s just say it won’t need to be as big as Noah’s. We visited my son last Sunday at his new home, he had been there for two days, it looked nice, had a lovely garden, was in a well looked after neighbourhood and everyone was excited and making plans. We had a few beers and a glass of wine and life was good. The next evening he phoned and told me there was water pouring down the dining room wall as once again the rain had come, there was no way to simply put a bucket under it so a relay of towels had to be used. The culprit was the small extension roof, a roof he had specifically asked the previous owners if it leaked, no he was confidently told.

Desirable residence, open plan.

Now we find out that of course the solicitors have washed their hands of the matter with the less than helpful advice that it wouldn’t be worth seeking justice or money back as it was his word against theirs. Of course his main thought after moving in was to poke a hole in the roof and seek redress before fixing on the colour of the new carpets. Then you have the money thrown at the surveyor, the person supposed to find out what’s wrong, remember the bit they all get you to sign saying it is not their fault or clause I detest giving these bloodsucking leeches money for putting a picture on a website, or checking the whole house in five minutes or doing a search which has been done countless times before for the same information. All these so called professionals bring to the house buying experience is abject misery and mountains of stress.

I have a mate who was organising with great enthusiasm a wargame weekend for people to enjoy a social occasion and play games, he went to great lengths to recruit people to make an effort to come along kicking and screaming to have some fun. In the end despite the small numbers he didn’t want to let them down and was just about, at great expense to himself, to sign on the dotted line when within a few hours the other day four cancelled on him. Why bother to put your name down if you have no intention of going, pulling out at the last minute is easy but leaves someone either hopping mad, out of pocket or both. People.

The wife tried to clean our new oven last week, it is a ‘smart’ oven, you cannot simply pick up a bottle of Cif and a cloth and set too with elbow grease, oh no, this oven needs to be programmed, locked down and left to heat up to something akin to Vesuvius on a good day as it incinerates every piece of dirt inside and after two hours when it returns to normal you can eventually open the door and marvel. Well, you could if it worked, after two hours you could have kept ice cream inside it. We bought Neff because we swallowed the blurb, so far we have had two visits to sort the touch screen on Oven 2 and now we find that Oven 1 needs a software upgrade before it will clean itself, it’s an oven for heavens sake not a computer, well it is I suppose, so we await Oven 2.0. Progress.

And while we are on technology it seems that cyclists looking for that all important big win for sponsorship and fame do not need to rely on drugs alone, they can put engines in their bikes, yes engines. Someone has invented an engine so small it can fit in a bike frame and enhance the performance of an athlete, and the astonishing thing is that the authorities know and have known about this for a long time. I read that coming on top of the Lance Armstrong and other scandals in the world of top class racing they do not want another scandal so quietly ignore the engines, perhaps they can do this as they reputedly cost upwards of £2 million. In sport of all kinds these days it seems you cannot get to the top without cheating in some way.

£2 version

Volvo have said, if I read it right, that they will not build petrol driven cars in two years time, so if you have shares in Volvo my tip is to get rid of them now.

And here is a another quick one, you may have read in the media and watched on the news the item that a British man has just given birth, no, that didn’t happen. And neither did the other 26 ‘men’ around the world.

I’ll leave you with another jab at sport, it caught my eye last week that the boxer Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather have a fight coming up and last week we got the now deriguer performance where they both try to unsettle each other in front of the cameras. This pantomime is like filming two kids trying to outscore each other with insults in the playground and it just looks stupid when two grown men do it (watch them shake hands at the end of the fight). Mayweather looked more like a rap star than a boxer while the disgusting McGregor wore a striped suit where, if you looked close enough, the stripes were made of the words ‘F*%k You’. Classy.

Clothes don’t maketh the man.

As you can tell, my karma is slightly out of kilter this week.


Posted on July 13th, 2017 under , , . Posted by

I have been painting since 0845 this morning, sadly not another army but the shop front, this I hope will keep it from falling apart until the PO shut me down, but it is not a bet I would rush to take.Anyway I am finished and sitting giving the door an…

Training Day

Posted on July 12th, 2017 under , , . Posted by

The club was very quiet last night, only Simon and I playing X-Wing, Clive and Dave with their boardgame and four others trying out Sword and Spear Fantasy. Fantasy on the wargame table is just not my thing, I read some as a rite of passage of course y…

HMS Tartar 4th Commission 1970 10

Posted on July 10th, 2017 under , . Posted by

We left Mombasa this morning bound for our new station in the Persian Gulf, we would be based at Bahrain and patrol the Gulf from there as we still had quite a large presence in the area in 1970. Mombasa had been an eye opener and a great run ashore, b…

View From The WIndow

Posted on July 9th, 2017 under , . Posted by

I hope the rest of you are enjoying summer, we are getting the odd few hours here and there, as I look out this morning it is grey, misty and promising rain, by noon the heat could be driving people into the shade and then by tea time you will be looki…

Show Me Yours (Again)

Posted on July 7th, 2017 under , , . Posted by

I took the full Legio XII out of their boxes last week when challenged by Dave Toone to ‘Show me yours’ on his FB page, I thought it was a good idea because it is not often you get to see your whole force on the table at one go and spectacle is part of…

If You Go Down To The Woods

Posted on July 5th, 2017 under , , , . Posted by

Miserable night, a bit like Winter to be honest, cold and damp, it was Muskets and Tomahawks at the club with a scenario put together by Rob.The scenario was historically based and the background story was very interesting, I don’t remember the little …

Roads still leading to Rome

Posted on July 4th, 2017 under , . Posted by

I got a book token for Father’s Day from No. 2 son and it was burning a hole in my pocket, although I have not been reading as much as I used to but I always have one on the go, so while I waited for the little sweet shop to open I had some time to kil…

Roads still leading to Rome

Posted on July 4th, 2017 under , . Posted by

I got a book token for Father’s Day from No. 2 son and it was burning a hole in my pocket, although I have not been reading as much as I used to but I always have one on the go, so while I waited for the little sweet shop to open I had some time to kil…

View From The WIndow

Posted on July 2nd, 2017 under , . Posted by

It is cold and outside the grey clouds are gathering to make the day fairly miserable yet again, you wouldn’t be inspired to write “hazy, lazy, crazy days of summer” these days as you think about turning the heating on or flashing up the wood burner. T…

View From The WIndow

Posted on July 2nd, 2017 under , . Posted by

It is cold and outside the grey clouds are gathering to make the day fairly miserable yet again, you wouldn’t be inspired to write “hazy, lazy, crazy days of summer” these days as you think about turning the heating on or flashing up the wood burner. T…

The Magic Well

Posted on June 28th, 2017 under , , . Posted by

We were going to do Bolt Action last night but perhaps I am jinxed, I got a shout from Julian who wanted to run a Dead man’s Hand game so Simon and I changed plans, a little later we were also invited to a game of Dracula’s America but it was too late …