Monday, 17 August 2020

Call this a wargaming blog?!

This blog is rapidly becoming a tribute act to Epictetus - Discourses on Wargaming. It's been a long time. 17 posts and not one about wargaming. Back to 11 July and a brief post about the re-fight of the imaginary Battle of Kluis with the estimable M. le Comte Maximilien de Foy via Zoom. 17 posts, mostly about what seems to be my new hobby. Walking. None of these have specifically been about wargaming.

I started going for walks during the early days of lockdown, when it was quiet on the roads (so quiet you could walk down the actual road rather than the pavement). That gradually increased from 20-30 minutes to an hour, and then to 2 in the evenings and sometimes 3 hours a time at weekends. I found a few things I hadn't noticed before, or had forgotten about. It was great when life had slowed down. But early on the walking didn't get in the way of wargaming activity. If anything, the new lease of energy helped me increase my activity in the Spring and early Summer. I got more ECW units painted, I played a few solo ECW games, painted and based enough figures for Continuation War games, and even dug out my 6mm Napoleonics and had a handful of FaceTime games with my son.

As the Summer progressed this activity ground to a halt and the walks grew longer. Then I finally got around to making a concerted effort to lose some fat around my waist (the kind of thing they warn men of a certain age about). No specific health issues (now at least) but it needed tackling. So I started a diet. So far it's been successful (5kg lost and another 4 to go), but over the last week the weight loss seems to have bottomed out.  About a month ago I started increasing the amount I exercised to earn extra calories for the odd beer or other treats. Once my favourite pool re-opened in mid-July I got back to swimming (and what a feeling that was after 4 months) and then recently I got my bike out so a typical session would be cycling to and from the pool (16 km round trip) and a swim (currently up to 1.6 km or a mile in old money). Depending on what time of day I swim, I might still go for a walk with my wife in the evening too. I'm feeling much better than I've felt for a while. Much more energy despite the reduced calorie 'budget'. I even added yoga to my repertoire at the weekend (I stretched muscles I never knew needed stretching, but boy did it feel good).

All well and good, but I'm not getting any wargaming related stuff done. All I've managed to do is read a few books but I'm only making slow progress with More Like Lions than Men. Through no fault of the book or the author. I still waste a lot of time in front of the telly and I look with admiration at Jonathan over at Palouse Wargaming Journal who seems to manage to rack up the miles on his bike, and churn out a wide variety of well crafted units with the cadence of a GC contender in a grand tour. (Incidentally, that's going to be another distraction with the Grand Départ on 29 August).

So here are a few things that have been swirling round my head.

Seven Years War

My home-brewed SYW rules need a re-think. I really need to find a way to speed things up, but I'm not ready to fully abandon some of the mechanisms, despite one of Bob Cordery's recent thought-provoking posts on the subject. I also mentioned a while back that I would look at producing a C&C inspired game having enjoyed Tony's Ramekin version of C&C Napoleonics, and his ECW version.

ECW

I think I mentioned before about another narrative, mini-campaign set in my current locale. This is where some of the walking has come in handy, especially with finding out a little more about the area. So expect something involving the rivers Hogsmill and Beverley Brook, gunpowder mills, freshwater springs, Richmond Park, Kingston Bridge, Ham House and maybe Hampton Court. Colonel Sydenham Hill will be on his home turf fighting for King and Parliament.

AWI

Despite getting a uniform guide a couple of months back, I've still done nothing. This has been on my to do list for a long time so I really should crack on with painting and basing what I've got. My intention is to  set things up for Loose Files and American Scramble. I've long admired those rules but never put them to the test.

Colonials

This has been a glint in my eye for a while. I have prevaricated over what specific scale, period and theatre. India is probably the front runner theatre-wise. Thoughts as to period include the Anglo-Sikh Wars, the Rebellion of 1857*, maybe the First Anglo-Afghan War and the Great Game. This might extend to later periods right up to armoured cars and biplanes, but that's getting way ahead of myself. Oh and the Russian Caucasian and Central Asian provinces might get dragged in. My intention is to have something fairly light in tone. My inspiration comes from Flashman, Peter Hopkirk's Great Game related books (not at all light-hearted), Carry on Up the Khyber (of course) and the old Whitbread Best Bitter adverts.**

I think I'll go for something small scale in terms of numbers of figures, figure ratios of say 5 or 10 to 1 but with 'hero' type figures. Harry Flashman and Count Ignatiev seem likely candidates in the background (both in disguise). In a break from my usual small scale figures, I'm eying Irregular's 20mm range. They seem to have what I'm looking for. Brits and Loyal Sikhs versus Mutineers and Badmashes or Afghans. At some stage the Cossacks might make an appearance, running guns to the Afghans (the Brits will no doubt get up to similar skulduggery in the Caucasus and Central Asia).

This will be a big departure for me because I'll have to start with completely new buildings and different coloured battle cloth and other scenery. More thought needed on how to do this without a big investment in time and money.

So there you have it. Still no actual wargaming done. Just the intention to.


* Lights touch paper and stands back.

** In case Napoleonic fans are feeling left out there is one for you: 1812


20 comments:

  1. You are making great strides in fitness, my friend. With all of the spectacular crashes of many of the GC favorites of late, it will be interesting to see which ones will remain to mount a bike in two weeks. I have really been enjoying watching a return to World Tour racing. So many great races compressed into a shortened season.

    As for no wargaming, planning and thinking about Wargaming is a big job, itself!

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    1. I had no idea tours had restarted until Sunday when I caught the highlights of the last stage of the Dauphiné.

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  2. It must have seemed weird having Kingston, Surbiton et al so quiet that you could walk on the road. When I lived there it was always busy, even back in the '80's. I think we are all in that limbo situation where there is no real structure to our lives and each day seems to be the same. Until my wife goes back to school and daughter to Uni, this will continue. at least you are getting out and about and keeping fit, which is the main thing, but some wargaming for all of us would be nice, even if it is solo.

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    1. At times it was like 28 Days Later or stepping back to the 1920s when cars were a rarity. To be honest I never walked on the main roads, just the side streets because driving speeds picked up with less cars on the road.

      It’s pretty much back to normal now in terms of cars but buses are still quiet.

      Stay safe and stay well.

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    2. PS I bet the town has changed a lot since the 80s. Quite a lot has changed since I moved to Kingston in 1994 and I had a sense then that it had lost some of its character already.

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  3. I am sure I speak for many in saying that your walking and swimming has been a pleasure to hear about. As for the wargaming stuff I await it with interest as and when it comes about.

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    1. Thanks for your support Alan. I might even get something on the table this weekend.

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  4. I find walking very therapeutic and great exercise , having been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes I've cut sugar out and had to loose weight , I find my blog strays a bit from the wargaming now and again but I also use it as a sort of diary of what's happening in my life in general .

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    1. I totally agree. It’s great for mental and physical health. Diabetes is one of the things I’m trying to avoid. My late mother had it amongst a catalogue of other ailments.

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  5. I have always been convinced that there are a large number of wargamers out there who would prefer to see an eclectic mix of subjects covered. Having said that, not very many of them have never bothered to read my blog; perhaps you'll have more luck.

    Personally I like the posts about the walks. I lived in Isleworth for many years so I know the general area; it's good to be both reminded and to learn details that I didn't know before.

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    1. It’s about quality (of reader) not quantity. At least that’s what I tell myself.

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    2. I enjoy seeing a mix of topics too. A mix shows we are not all one-dimensional!

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  6. Please don't change the editorial policy. In these difficult times, it is great to read about Outdoors. You can do my walking and swimming for me - good man - thank you.

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    1. It’s nothing as well thought out as a policy. It’s just a reflection of what is happening in my spare time. Happily do the walking and swimming for you, just don’t ask me to play a round of golf.

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    2. PS I did a brisk 4 mile walk for you this evening. The itinerary took in the private roads on Kingston Hill where the multi-million £ houses are (as opposed to the cheap £1-3m pound houses). Hope you enjoyed it.

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  7. Didn't Paddy Griffith combine walking with gaming in one of the chapters of 'Napoleonic Wargaming for Fun'? His idea being to get gamers to look at the landscape with a soldier's eye. Going with your ECW example, I think Waller was esteemed as an excellent judge of ground to fight on - 'Walking with Waller', anyone?
    The non-gaming posts are interesting, no need to apologise for them. Good writing is good writing!

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    1. Walking with Walker. I’ll buy it. 😄

      Good point about the Griffith book. I’ve not read it but I think I’ve seen the point made somewhere else. Maybe in a Griffith article in one of the Wargames magazines. Walking across open terrain noticing how even ‘flat’ spaces undulate and how many obstacles there are does give you pause for thought when thinking about rules. How difficult would that wood be to move through? Can I get through that hedge? The sort of stuff I touched on in my Cheriton walk through other work.

      Wouldn’t mind trying it out on the back of a horse.

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    2. Bloody spellchecker. They should be Waller not Walker.

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  8. Love your ECW idea, it could be based around a handful of personalities that start with some recruiting in the area, then a series of skirmishes that might set a boundary or a dominant faction.

    Certainly loads of storytelling potential!

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    1. Thanks. The skirmish phase isn’t something that I’d thought of. Food for thought.

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