Saturday, 27 June 2020

Flaming June

It's been a while since my last weblog entry, and the fanfare of the blog's birthday bash has long since faded.

However, these ARE strange times, and even though lock down  restrictions are now easing, it looks like it's still going to be months before I'll be able to get back to work on the live music scene.
Over the last few weeks though, I've lashed together a 'home studio' set up and recorded several shows for a couple of online radio stations - it's not been "paid work" (sadly), but it's 'kept my hand in' .

It's not all been singing and dancing though, and I've managed to dip my toes in the water (pun intended) with age of sail naval wargames as part of my Flintloque campaign,

and you can read how I got on HERE.

I've also tried out a few sets of rules for my Blade Runner campaign, and it looks like Cindy is back, and in the company of a "retired" Blade Runner and a Console Cowboy!

The campaign has re-started with the game the above pic was taken from, but I haven't posted it up yet. After chatting to Stevie over on The Game Cupboard blog, I'll be migrating this cyberpunk setting over there as of this post.

"....... and in other news", I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I was replacing the quarry section on the garden railway, and the Permanent Way gang have completed the works during the recent sunny spell.

Lots of  raw concrete in the photo, but we're in "the growing season" so I'm sure it will all mellow down before too long.

My humble apologies to everyone for my tardiness, both with this post and comments on yours.
Until next time,

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Blog Anniversary

I have no idea WHERE the time has gone!

I sat and had a good think about how to mark the occasion, and rejected the option of a "reflective musing" post - I reckon I've done enough 'blether' for a while with the last couple of offerings, and decided it should be a game report.
But what to play?    I've uploaded a D&D episode here:  On the Trail of The Stone  this week, and there's another ECW scrap to be posted here:  "For Parliament or For King"   in the next day or so.

What seemed most appropriate would be a return to the zombie apocalypse given the current pandemic situation and it was the first campaign I started!
Yes, just five posts in and the "introductions" out of the way, the ATZ: Final Fade Out campaign began way back here:  ATZ: "Day minus One" and we followed Brad and his group as they struggled for survival. As is the way of things with us gamers, this particular story has had to give way to other tales which needed to be told, as the wargame table witnessed conflicts involving 'other' genres of topical interest.
The last time I checked in on the survivors was with a short episode which formed one part of a larger post,  but we learned that they'd found themselves in hostile territory, and after a tip off from one of the opposing gang members Brad's group are moving on.

A quick consultation with "Mythic" (the GM emulator), and it turns out that since when they left the group didn't destroy the warehouse they'd temporarily stayed in, or set fire to the petrol station across the road (the kind of mean trick the hostile gang bosses would have done!), the guy who left the note decided that he and his partner were going to cut and run and try to join this group of 'lawful' survivors.

So it was, that on the outskirts of Lorenzo, Bobby Johnson and Madelyn Hopper found the road ahead blocked. They had to clear the road and fast, not just to keep up with the friendly group, but they were worried that they probably had gang members on their tail.
(They did, and they would arrive at the table edge on a successful die roll!)

With Maddie watching the rear, Bobby stepped up and dispatched the crawler by the wrecked pickup,
before calling Maddie over to help deal with the zeds approaching the junction.
(The PEF resolved as just a bad case of nerves)
They needed to get the bike out of the way, but for the moment it provided a handy barricade,
and allowed them to pick off the walkers without having to fire a shot.
With the nearest of the undead cleared, Bobby had just flipped the bike clear when something burst through the doors of the diner -
another pair of zombies!
The zeds lurched across the street towards Maddie, but Bobby managed to get alongside her just in time
and in the pair of them quickly saw off the attack.
Bobby ordered his compaion back to the delivery truck "The place looks like it might hot up - let's get while the goin's good"
The pair climbed back into the UPS wagon and fired it back up,
then headed North at the junction towards Cone.
A while later the gang members turned up.
(Pathetic dice rolling - they needed a 6 on turn two, 5, 6 next turn, 4,5,6 the turn after etc, but failed to arrive until it was too late)
Surveying the scene it was obvious that the fugitives had passed this way, but they had no idea which road they'd taken ("Mythic" was consulted to see if the UPS van had left any telltale signs), so they had to return to Lorenz empty handed..... and their boss would NOT be pleased!

So, there we go. Just a quickie because I'm off to pour myself a cupps and cut a (big) slice of anniversary cake!
Thanks to everyone in the blogging community for all of your help, support and inspiration, without which there's every possibility I'd never have got this far with my own humble offerings.

Remember, be like Bobby & Madelyn, and even if you can't carry a machete, katana or assault rifle, stay safe out there! (and you can always leave me a quick comment if you get the chance and feel inclined - it would be most welcome)

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Dark Clouds...

...... and Silver Linings, or, "Full Steam Ahead"!

To say it's been a horrible week and a bit would perhaps be stretching things, but it's certainly been far from 'fun'. First of all I had the problem with Blogger not uploading photo's (which would hamstring my activities here), which meant spending hours of frustrating effort trying to get it sorted - I HATE having to faff about on computers when they're not doing what they're supposed to, and the whole episode resulted in my hobby mojo taking a knock.
Then, while this was going on, I'd braved the great outdoors to do some shopping for my mum, and on the way home the van developed a rather unhealthy knocking from the passenger side rear wheel. It was late afternoon, so I delayed the job until the following morning - and thus spent a huge chunk of the next day stripping and re-assembling the brake caliper which was seizing up (probably through lack of use during the lock down)........ managing to sprain my wrist in the process, but hey ho, the job was done and surely things would improve from here on?

Well, yes and no! The lovely Tarot rode to the rescue and provided the solution to the Blogger issue (Yay!), but I've still got pain and stiffness in my right wrist and thumb / forefinger guiders (Boo!).
I needed to do something, rather than lay off and allow it to stiffen up but as I say, I didn't feel like doing any 'gamey stuff', so I decided to tackle a couple of jobs on my model railway that had been on the "to do" list for about 3 years!!
The Westwood & Loscoe Light Railway had taken delivery of an old workhorse in need of some TLC (a secondhand Accucraft "Caradoc") - here's her new driver and fireman having their first look at the latest addition to the stable...
The loco is still in 'factory finish' and looks quite plain at the moment, but I do like her chunky appearance and I'm looking forward to getting her repainted into WLLR black, and adding some detail to bring out the character of a hard working narrow gauge loco (lamp irons, handrails etc).
Back to the job in-hand though, I set to and replaced the factory fitted gas burner with a much more efficient one and like-wise removed the standard gas and steam regulators with "fine adjustment" versions - replacing the unrealistic looking control "knobs" with levers while I was at it.
These improvements meant disconnecting the gas and steam pipes, so before the work could be 'signed off' I had to check for leaks and she was duly fired up and brought up to pressure....
Buoyed by my success, I decided to make a start on another job on the railway which has long been awaiting the 'round tuit' stock replacement. This summer will see the "quarry section" of the line removed so that I can re-route the main running line away from the bottom corner of the garden. The quarry was only added to hide the hedgehog house from view, and since the rescue centre has sadly closed we'll no longer be releasing 'hogs, so the realignment has finally been granted approval by the higher household authorities.
Before getting down to the business of shifting rocks and lifting track I marked the occasion with a quick photo opportunity, recording the moment that Rusty and the Blue Meany (a pair of scratchbuilt battery operated diesels) were removed from Waingroves Quarry to enter service on the WLLR.
"Hang on, I thought this was a wargames blog" I hear you cry, and yes it is, but bear with me and I'll explain the relevance of the above......

The track realignment is underway, but will take some time (track laying in the garden railway scales bears more resemblance to the real thing than the indoor baseboard layouts), but having got the modelling juices flowing again I was keen to tackle another job, and appropriately a had yet another project that has been neglected for nigh on 3 years - and so my old "Mighty Fortress" from Games Workshop has finally got painted up and can at last be used on the table!
At this point, just as I was thinking that everything was back to running smoothly, we received advanced notification from HMRC that we would be able to make a claim for the self employed income support scheme this month (instead of having to wait until June as originally forecast - Yay!). BUT, anti fraud measures meant that we had to visit the GOV.UK website and create a "personal tax account" (we don't already have one since our annual returns are done through an accountant for peace of mind), because the whole claim / notification procedure will only be conducted via this secure account. Guess what........
....MORE hours wasted in front of the computer screen trying in vain to set up this account (Boo!).
In all fairness, it might well be down to sheer volume of traffic on the website, and this is a brand new scheme that HMRC have had to set up from scratch and teething troubles are to be expected, so I'm not knocking them and I'm sure they'll get it sorted in time - but did I mention that "I HATE having to faff about on computers when they're not doing what they're supposed to"?

Sorry about the "Off Topic" nature of this post, but hey, it's the blog's third anniversary in a few days time (another '3 year' tie-in!) so I'll celebrate by returning to normal service!
Until then, take care, please leave a comment if you so wish, and..........

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Oh Dear!

It seems like I've got a nasty case of Blogger Blight - I've read of fellow bloggers experiencing the same sort of problem, and not being able to add photo's (in any form, jpeg, giff etc) to their posts.
Every time I try to upload a photo, the error report "Server Rejected" appears.

The word from the wise (Blogger "help" team) is to clear the browser cache - which I have done
but it doesn't work!

If anyone has found the cure to this problem I would LOVE to hear from you asap.
Thanks in advance,

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Dark Copse

Continuing the "Dark Conspiracy" campaign, here's another 'battle' (as opposed to skirmish)  this week, and if you missed last week's ECW bust up, you can check it out on The Emerald Musketeers blog here :-   Uffeton Fight  )

When Nicodemus left Shanaera and her group in Kislev (click on the "Dark Conspiracy" tab in the side bar if you want a refresher), he wasted no time making his way directly to Tancred Castle in Couronne. Here, he followed a hunch and sought out the works of  Bretonnian authoress Catherine d'Mann which he knew was kept in the castle library..
Within moments of studying the tome he sought, his heart and head raced as he fought a terrible sinking feeling in his soul. Dashing from the library, he called for the swiftest rider from the troop of Knights Errant garrisoned at the castle and despatched him post haste to the dwarf hold at Karak Kadrin with a simple message...
"March in strength immediately up the Peak Pass to the ruins of Dark Copse Tower and deny it to any who attempt to occupy it!"

So it was that Okaghord Branehelm led three companies down from the foothills of the Worlds Edge Mountains onto the plains of Drakenmoor, where the blasted remains of Maeldoraz's tower stood alongside "The Dark Copse", while a Liche advanced towards him with an army of undead intent taking the tower by force.
Okaghord placed his housecarls in the centre, with his veteran (first generation GW mono pose plastic!) shieldwall on their left by the copse, and the Kadrin militia covering the open ground on his right.
As the dwarven line prepared to defend the ruins, the skeletal cavalry maneuvered for the charge,
and the rest of the undead host advanced.
Suddenly battle was joined across the entire line,
the slower moving ghouls on the right wing had no time to deploy into line before crashing into the dwarf veterans.
In the centre, the housecarls repulsed the skeleton horde which had attempted to fight their way over the remains of the tower walls.
The mounted charge had failed to break the militia, but neither had the dwarves managed to force their mounted opponents to recoil and a standing melee had developed.  
The second unit of skeleton foot warriors charged the housecarls while the first unit re-ordered themselves,
and the ghouls were now also embroiled in a standing melee with the dwarf veterans, neither side achieving an all important 'push back'.
The skeletons were once again driven away from the ruins, and now the ghouls recoiled from the solid shieldwall. Things seemed to be going the dwarves way, however, the mounted warriors on the left flank still refused to give ground.
Within moments, the undead surged forward again! The militia STILL standing toe to toe with the tenacious cavalry.
Skeletal warriors were once again scrambling over the ruins,
and the ghouls began a renewed attempt to break to dwarf left flank.
The tide of battle now looked to have swung the other way,
even though the militia were clearly winning the 'war of attrition' against the mounted warriors, and the veterans had once again pushed back the ghouls,
both units of skeletal foot were now inside the perimeter of the tower ruins!
At this point the remaining ghouls failed to rally and shambled off,
but it was Okaghord Branehelm's last gallant stand at Dark Copse Tower. As he fell with the remaining housecarls, the rest of the dwarf retinue fled the field when the liche stood atop the blood drenched ruins and let out a spine chilling cry of victory (caused a "Fear" test which the already shaken dwarf units failed).
Over in the depths of the Dark Copse, a helpless Nicodemus could only look on in anguish.
He didn't recognise him from his human form, but there was no doubt that the liche was Maeldoraz!
The realisation that the necromancer's followers had succeeded in reanimating their master also meant that Beska and his party of adventurers had not only failed, but most likely perished.
As he slunk away and began his journey to Altdorf, he wondered why Maeldoraz had returned to the tower. Did he intend to rebuild his former stronghold? Or, as he now suspected, did he want the site for some dark secret that it might still hold buried in it's depths?

As events continue to unfold in the campaign I needed to resolve this battle before I could move on, so I set up the table and used it as an excuse to try out the latest version of "One Page Rules" Fantasy Battles. I knew from previous releases that it would give me a quick and enjoyable game with the bare minimum of effort 'admin-wise'. The A.I supplement worked extremely well and I'll definitely keep these rules to hand for future use.
I sincerely hope that everyone is doing OK, and that you are keeping your spirits up through these challenging times.
As always, I'd love to hear from you if you'd care to leave a comment, and especially if you have any observations or queries to post.

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

The Battle of Corona - Part 2

With the army of Albion on the retreat, Emperor Mordred returned to Mudrid with the bulk of his troops, leaving Marshal Sault to continue pressing the Orc's withdrawal. Lieutenant General Sir John Morr reached Corona with his troops in poor condition after their forced march across the Cantankerousse Mountains, and immediately embarked the dismounted cavalry and their mounts plus the majority of the artillery, retaining 8 Albion and 4 Catalucian guns ashore along with limbers, caissons and teams.

The sight of the Britorc navy ships and the thought of Morr getting away unscathed stimulated Sault to begin his attack, despite his Ferach troops being in arguably worse condition than the Orcs who had picked the Cantankerousse Mountains clean ahead of his own foraging parties.

Morr’s main position lay along the Monte Maca ridge, from the village of Elvira to the Burger Estuary, while Marshal Sault deployed on the Palava and Pennysquido ridges. The Ferach heavy guns took post on the Heights of Pennysquido, ready to bombard the village of Elvira.
Bentorc’s Brigade held the ground around Elvira, with Waaagh’s Guards Brigade and Orccingham’s Brigade on its left. Flashorc’s brigade held the high ground above the Corona Road, with Major Black Bob Crowfoot’s Brigade on the heights above Lingalonga.
The Ferach army was drawn up with L'Escargot’s Dragoon Division on the extreme left, Gui de Carcharoth’s Infantry Division supported by the heavy guns facing Elvira, de Payen’s Infantry Division in the centre and Alabec’s Infantry Division forming on the right with St Bane's light cavalry.

Sault was forced to wait impatiently for stragglers to rejoin their units, but the heavy guns finally signaled the start of the battle at around 2pm.
The Coldscream Guards occupied Elvira while the 62nd Foot remained pinned behind the town by the enemy artillery fire, and at this time Morr has sent a re-call message to General Sir Edward Pungent, who he'd dispatched to Corona for embarkation with the reserve artillery.
The one-sided artillery contest continued, while the "pas de charge" reverberated along the valley. Pungent's battalion and the gun battery can be seen on the road passing the village of Ooza, while the Ferach advance has been slowed to avoid being disordered as they cross the river. (a house rule)
Artillery fire from the ridge reeked havoc with the lead battalion of de Payen’s division. The line infantry, who were already heavily fatigued and demoralised after "leading the chase" over the Cantankerousse, became pinned on the river bank and subsequently routed.
The rest of the Ferach left flank continued their advance, and assaulted the Coldscream Guards in Elvira, which had just been reinforced by the Black Joccs.
Elvira became the scene of some intense fighting,
and contact was made along the entire line,
while the rearguard division of Sault's forces arrives and advances to reinforce the Ferach left.
The light cavalry on the right flank advanced to 'threaten' Crowfoot's brigade, eager to be within striking distance if the Albion line collapses.
The Dragoons on the left flank also prepared to exploit the position if Elvira fell, hoping to "roll up" the Albion line. The Orcs up on the ridge stoically responded to the cavalry threat by forming square,
while the rifle armed elements within Crowfoots brigade demonstrated their superior accurate range!
As the afternoon wore on, General Morr understood that he had the better of Sault, IF he could hold Elvira. It was imperative that the Guards battalions held in what had become a battle of attrition, and he moved into the town to bolster the beleaguered troops morale.
As he joined Black Joccs, Morr was struck by a roundshot fired by the Ferach guns on the Heights of Pennysquiddo and thrown from his horse, his left arm nearly severed and his chest and lungs severely damaged.
Darkness was falling and both sides in the area of Elvira, now exhausted, withdrew from the village.
The Britorcs carried out an orderly withdrawal towards Corona, and the Ferach, in no shape to pursue, were content to take the Pennysquiddo Heights.

Lieutenant General Sir John Morr was carried back to Corona, but died of his wounds before the army evacuated from Catalucia.
Marshal Sault rested his forces around Elvira prior to their long march back over the Cantankerousse Mountains, though he did deploy his artillery to the west of the Corona road and had them fire on the Britorc Navy ships as they left the harbour - no doubt to endorse his report to the Emperor that he had despatched the Orcs of Albion "with a bloody nose"!

This was a fun little project, I knocked up the battlefield to represent the original "Battle of Corunna" from an offcut of plywood and some left over Jarvis grass sheet, glued over card shapes to represent the "Monte Moro" and "Penasquedo / Palavea Heights".
The rules I was taking for a test drive were "2 by 2 Napoleonic's" by Rod Humble, which are available for free download, and I can heartily recommend if you fancy playing 2mm Napoleonics on a 2ft square table!

As mentioned previously, I'm highly delighted and honoured to be posting over on "The Game Cupboard" and "The Emerald Musketeers" blogs. I will be starting a couple of 'new' projects over there, but I'll also be migrating some of the content from here.
All future posts for my Napoleonique, England Upturned and Sengoku Jidai campaigns will appear on THIS blog :- The Emerald Musketeers
All the stuff currently posted here will remain (ie I won't be cutting and pasting stuff across the blogs), but if you just happen to be 'following' any of these campaigns, you'll find the updates appearing on TEM from now on.
My Dark Conspiracy and Zombie Apocalypse will continue here (and who knows, maybe some new stuff will appear too!), and I apologies profusely if this causes any confusion or consternation for anyone.

Many thanks for dropping by, and of course your comments, queries, observations or points of order are most welcome - especially during this time of isolation.

Stay safe, Stay home and Stay sane!