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.
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.
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.
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