Archive for the ‘Spanish Civil War’ Category

We Also Played 09(What a Tanker: a bullish T34 closes on its prey)

This blog is a picture set entitled ‘we also played’ …

It is getting towards the end of the year and I have blogged mostly about my own projects and about the big games and shows.

There’s a lot more to wargaming in Middle England than the big stuff – I wargame mid-week 3 times a month … a lot of that isn’t modern … and a lot of the modern stuff goes otherwise unreported: so here’s a look at what else we did.

We Also Played 01(Classic AK47: Peter Pig T55s … one already wrecked)

AK47 by RFCM/Peter Pig.  In addition to my ‘Minus 47’ arctic game, we played a ‘straight’ version because it is still immensely entertaining (and because one of our newcomers had never played it – needless to say he ‘got it’)

We Also Played 02(AK47 Classic: Panhards move in … figures and vehicles by Peter Pig from Trebian’s collection)

Richard’s Russian Ripping Yarns …

We also enjoyed another of Richard’s occasional series of ripping yarns set in Revolutionary Russia (with spies, Rolls Royces, damsels in distress and secret missions) … this time climaxing with heroes and villains leaping into moving cars …

We Also Played 03(Ripping Yarns)

We Also Played 04(… this one was notionally about a bridge)

Bayonets and Ideology

We Also Played 05(BAIT … RFCM’s Spanish Civil War variant of the PBI style game – more of Trebian’s toys)

Cod Wars … a first time at this odd post war North Atlantic sideshow.

We Also Played 06(Cod Wars … a group of trawlers peacefully going about their business)

We Also Played 07(HMS Leander to the rescue)

As a youngster I had an Airfix Leander but no game that it fitted into.  No wonder I liked this game.

NQM … a perennial favourite … I often only blog about the big games rather than the stocking fillers.  Inevitably, of course, a lot of the smaller games are test runs ahead of the grand Operational Games …

We Also Played 08(regular Monday Night NQM … a trial run at landing Fallshirmjaeger on Crete)

What a Tanker

It was good to have a go at this currently highly thought-of TFL game.  Individual tamk combat.  I likened it to ‘Saga for tanks’.  It has lots of nice things in it.  It has other things in it that I would have fixed if it was my game idea.

Good game but I had expected to be more impressed than I was.

We Also Played 10(What a Tanker by Two Fat Lardies: driving past the wreck of that bullish T34)

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A busy season has meant it seems a while since the last post … but I have been chipping away at a number of projects …

I have jiggled a few things around in order to take advantage of the recently issued Peter Pig Quad Maxim and Rocket Crew packs …

Quad Maxim Review 01


Rocket Troops 01

These packs a great and are a bonus addition for anyone using Zvezda‘s inexpensive Art of Tactic trucks.    See P.B.Eye-Candy/Reviews for my take on these figures and some more pictures …

Just in case you thought the Quad Maxim system was limited to the Red Army and Finland … here’s a picture of one in Spain …

Quad Maxim in Spain

I have also added a some pictures of the Gaz-A Staff Car build on the Modelling page

Gaz A 07

And I’ve been playing around with some terrain features for use in AK-47  scenarios … There is more to come when we get a few more games under our belt, but here’s a taster …

Storage vessel 02

I think I will need to rework the rust effect on the storage vessel, but the container (off the back of little lorry in a playset from Poundland) came out nicely …

Storage vessel 04

Storage vessel 01

This modern industrial terrain might make a little feature of its own in the fullness of time …

However it is COW next weekend so I need to get back to the work table …

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IYTT Road to Madrid

Since Christmas we have managed to brave the hostile weather and play a few games in Trebian’s new wargames facilities ‘the Shedquarters‘.  We have been revisiting Civil War Spain, and playing through some connected contact scenarios with Graham’s higher level rules, ‘If You Tolerate This …’

Although there are smoothings out that any game experience generates, the rules are basically those played at COW last year and published in issue 257 of ‘The Nugget’.

Before moving on, I hope you will permit a quick plug for WD … If you are the kind of wargamer that likes looking at new ideas, often picks up new rules to try out (maybe you spend a few pennies here and there on sets or download PDFs …), you get all that, plus associated feedback and commentary in the Nugget – 9 issues a year, incorporating several complete sets of rules, all for £20 (£10 if you just take the online version … easily worth it just for the games content it will open up).

Have a look at Wargame Developments.

IYTT Road to Madrid 01

(looking down the table in the ‘Road to Madrid’ game)

In the game, 4 bases make up a battalion, and we have been playing with around, say, 3 brigades plus some vehicles and artillery on the march – against a few battalions plus variable surprises defending villages, sunked roads and ridge lines.   Allowing the leisurely style of social wargaming, we get 2 to 3 hours wargaming out of the scenarios ….

The games have been played in 15mm on a long table, but as everyone knows, wargame rules are not size specific, and the rules would work for any figures from micro to lawn games (just adjust the movement/ranges as appropriate).

The table is divided up into offset squares or hexagons (either will do) representing around 500 metres across.

if you ... 02

(armoured cars approach a village in part 2 of our second game … )

Turns sequence is driven by unit-to-unit activation … shooting and resolving assaults as and when they occur.   Units can make up to two activations (you can do both together, or do a bit then come back later in the turn – assuming the dice favour your second go) … and there is a die roll to switch from unit type to unit type.   If you fail, the other side gets a go (and you are back on as/when they fail an activation, assuming they have something to activate).    If an activation is failed and the other side has already activated everything, then the turn is over*.

It runs pretty smoothly, and activations seem easier to achieve than in some of the similar games.    However it is neatly pitched to disrupt co-ordinated actions (infantry/armour, anarchist/communist … that sort of thing): with me rolling the dice this usually means … the infantry move up expecting to be covered by the tanks … the dice give the enemy a go who dump all their available resources on the exposed infantry … then the tanks finally move up, wondering why everyone is lying in a ditch …

IYTT Road to Madrid 03

(a Renault FT detachment is blown apart by determined infantry on the road to Madrid)

Shooting takes the form of potential hit damage which builds up until the unit gets activated or engaged by the enemy … at that point resolution dice are rolled generating morale drops and bodycount.   This means you never quite know what state the enemy is in when you do the shooting – and sometimes heavy preparation followed by a bayonet charge can find the enemy surprising up for the fight.   Generally, however, troops in buildings are much better off than troops moving in the open, say … just you never really know whether enough is enough.

Assaults are resolved in one turn by rolling dice (1 to 3 depending on unit quality) and applying modifiers … the modifiers generally outweigh the basic scores … although by throwing 3 dice, elite/determined troops always seem to have a chance, while on 1 die, poor troops really do have to have everything stacked in their favour.  

if you ... 03

(Republicans successfully swamp a BUA in part 2 of the second game)

These games have been very successful, allowing us to get together and play through a game that reads well and flows well … Same time, the games have had a good deal of ‘exploring the history’ about them.    Having played a number of Treb’s rules, I think this one balances well the historical content he wants to include with the easy game play needed to get through a relatively rich narrative in a single evening.

The mechanisms are by no means derivative and have a rewardingly different feel to them.   The grid scheme allows quick and simple play without all that measuring and annoying in/out debate (and as offsets, will switch straight over for players using hexagon terrain components) …

I’d give these rules serious consideration if you are looking for a higher level SCW wargame.

You can follow these battles in more detailed AAR’s on Trebian’s Wargaming For Grown Ups blog ( try the Spanish Civil War label) …

*any activations left to the player who failed are lost.

Note: the photos show Treb’s collection .. Peter Pig figures, mostly on 30×30 bases, with Piggie/QRF /Zvezda armour …


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early morning recce?

Some further pictures from our recent game of Bayonet and Ideology from Peter Pig‘s RFCM stable.

Graham discusses the game on Wargaming for Grown Ups –  I’m happy to let him tell the story … all I’ll say is that the game works OK but uses the same basic engine as PBI (so I think we all had a few issues with those bits of PBI which don’t work entirely perfectly but which we have fixed in the way we play the World War Two version of the game) …

Here are the pictures:-

a general view of the basic layout of the table

(the bright number denotes the objective square – of three)

(all figures by Peter Pig from Graham’s collection)

few survived the bayonet assaults for the buildings around the courtyard

we kept the red flag flying there …

But in the end the anarchist flags continued to flutter while most of the murderous Moroccans had fled the fight.     We captured a few  … hmmm … decisions, decisions …

RFCM, Bayonet and Ideology

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There was no shortage of 20th century games at this year’s COWWD Display Team North provided me with late entertainment both evenings, and I enjoyed my regular COW opportunity to play the Fletcher Pratt Naval Game with John Curry.

Graham Evans put on his much-anticipated Spanish Civil War game (Send Not to Know) with which regulars will be familiar, and Jonathan Crowe presented a neat little session on Villers Bocage … an illustrated examination of the evidence and a micro scale 1:1 canter through the engagement.

As far as ever is the case, Send Not to Know is finished now.  Graham had a full complement of players so I dropped by occasionally to watch the game but was mostly absorbed in the Franco Prussian sessions in the nearby Beech Room.

A Full House for 'Send Not to Know'

Here are some more shots from the game …

SCW: Republican Artillery

I caught this artillery battering the Fascists: a coloured marker is used to tie up the batteries with the barrages they are delivering.  Blast markers are liberally smothered over the target (according to how many guns, how many turns etc.) but the effect of these are only determined at the end of the barrage …

Moroccans under fire ..

These plucky Republicans also tried some experimental ‘combined arms’ operations, going into the attack with the direct support of a T26 … against the odds, it worked and got them some local advantage.

Unitat per la Victoria!: a brave assault charges home ...

The Fletcher Pratt naval game.

I have played in John Curry’s Fletcher Pratt games on a couple of previous occasions, but only with surface ships.  This year John introduced the air power aspect so important by WW2.  The mechanism is pretty much the same – though, due to having to guess a triangulated distance (with the bandits deliberately altering their height to confuse the gunners), the AA can be very random.

the convoy with air missions over head

The underlying mechanism is that players must place a targeting triangle beside their ship indicating the direction of fire, gunnery involved and the estimated distance …

gunnery markers: in this case, sending up flak at air missions (high up over those plinths)

… ship-to-ship, golf tees are placed to mark the splash … (here is a picture from an earlier game showing it working) …

blue tees are water splashes, red tees are hits

So something like this is not good …  (this is what Tim Gow did to one of my brave little cruisers!)

some damage just can't be fixed!

The air missions were printed strips of aircraft pegged (as deceptively as the player can manage) on those big sticks.   The relative illusions worked probably better than shows up in the pictures …

incoming air missions (I have left in the background of the Practical Room so as not to falsify the impression)

As a participation exercise amongst friends, the system worked rather well and felt quite realistic.  Bombers were lethal to ships (lighter planes less so) and heavy flak was almost always lethal to fly into … but in-game play, hitting ships was quite hard, estimating the distances for the AA very random.   You had that feeling that defenceless ships would have been sitting ducks.

In truth, I’m not convinced this game is anything but a bit of fun … it will always go to the best guesser (the best estimator of the distances involved of course, and I’m not saying that’s always guesswork ...), not the best tactician.  And, of course, by the period modelled, genuine guesswork had been taken out of naval gunnery.

However, as a quick start ‘semi rational’ game mechanism it seems to give the right amount of variability without too much rules intrusion.  So, a good game, and a good way to get people thinking.

Villers Bocage

I enjoyed this little game by Jonathan Crowe … 6mm tanks, but 1:1 and personalised …

Villers Bocage: overview

This session started with a short description of how the designer pieced the game (table, positions and orbats) together … including illustrating what the bombers did (making ‘piecing together’ exactly that …) and how he constructed a table effect from google ‘satellite’ images.

Villers Bocage: the miniature layout

(looks good, doesn’t it?  Printed sheets and little toys – smoke and mirrors, almost …)

Then we got turns to take some rolls in the engagement.  Clearly, it starts with Wittmann and co on the rampage, and with the British mixture of tanks and softskins set up like a coconut shy.  However, there are chances that they will make a mistake and places to hide in the side streets (if your tank survives the opening sweeps).

So the game presented a challenge to both sides: to Wittmann, how much can you take out and how long will you stay in the game?; to the Brits … how plucky will you be with what you have left?  Can you find that elusive ‘rear shot’?

In both run throughs, the Germans probably hung around too long, and the Brits were  possibly a little to quick into the ‘cat and mouse’ (that said, there was bravery as well as incompetence on the day) …

a nice side shot!

I got to throw for the last shot of the session, and took out Wittmann’s Tiger at point-blank (still needed a 10, I think, on 2 D6) … it might not have been the last shot had I failed of course) … Still, I had also managed to sneak a Cromwell round the back to snipe on what I thought might be an obvious line of withdrawal …

I wouldn’t say this has changed my decisions about scales … nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised by this intelligent and informative session, enjoyed the quick game and liked the little toys.

These are, of course, the first tiny tanks I have featured on P.B.Eye-Candy and the pictures have come out better than I expected …

For more about COW, there is a general report here, on Ancients on the Move

… and a feature on the Naseby visit and game that I put on over the weekend (here, on ECW BATTLES)

See also

Tim Gow’s Megablitz and More (here), (here), (here) and (here)

Bob Cordery’s Wargaming Miscellany (here)

Trebian’s Wargaming for Grown Ups (here), (here) and (here)

Tom’s photopage (here)


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More Updates

Either side of the busy weekend trip to Phalanx, we had an interesting game of PBI in which the Russians saw off a tooled-up German platoon, and Graham got out the latest version of Send Not To Know, and some new toys.  I have managed to get some catching up done round here, too.

The Reviews page looks at some Jeeps

an adapted Peter Pig Jeep

(beware the NKVD when they have a Maksim in the back of their jeep!)

The Modelling page has a Truck built out of bits from the junk box …

Panzer Division Logistics

And Graham let me try out his latest toy in the Spanish Civil War development game

Zvezda BT5: Combat Debut in Spain


In the PBI game the Germans were given the task of hanging on to a square with that new supply truck in it (the objective), long enough for support to rescue them.   One step ahead, a, usually quite fragile, Soviet Cavalry detachment had decided to cut them off and destroy them.   The balance heavily favoured the Russians, but normally a few enhanced bursts from the MG42s can put paid to that.

The Red Cavalry used the blocking terrain very well, and quickly got into good positions to shoot into the German squares.   Light Mortars were used to pin the enemy down, and their usually clumsy PTRD Anti-Tank Rifles proved adequate to take out the German half-tracks.   The first German platoon was nearly wiped out, the second platoon could achieve little more than a valiant rescue attempt (and it was all the Company Command could do to try to co-ordinate this and them help the survivors limp off table) ..

In this operation, the Russians lost scarcely a man, and, rather demonstratively delivered the coup de grace by charging a mounted cavalry section into the objective square, then held by the last surviving NCO defending an immobilsed half-track!It may look like cavalry charging armour, but it worked, and was the culmination of a smooth tactical exercise that had gone entirely the way of the Russians.


In the Spanish Civil War game, my main objective was to hang on to a couple of villages and take out the Nationalists’ Panzer Is.

Send Not To Know

My first shot at the tanks was out of AP range, and the gun’s HE proved useless (the tanks just drove out from under it the following turn): they drove in to the AP range and that proved better.  Two shots from the anti tank gun were enough to take out one of the tanks … and by now, the BT was up at the crossroads … with just one enemy Panzer, the crew were brave enough to drive up to close range, and on their second shot, got that one too …

A '10' required at longer ranges; a '8' will do up close ..

Meanwhile, the Asaltos were making the best of the new Mortar rules, and when the much higher initiative Nationalists decided to take a chance crossing the open ground (finishing a turn in the open, and so needing to win the initiative to keep going) I think we all know what would happen next.   The Republicans won the initiative and the machine guns opened up.

To complete what turned out to be a fairly brief game, the Nationalist air support turned up, just too late to save the Panzers … but with a chance of retribution on the BT5  … failed to spot it and flew on by, strafing a nearby empty field – it clearly being the nearest thing to a Republican tank they could find….


A ‘Target Acquisition’ roll it wasn’t …

Actually, the abortive attack seemed a good demonstration of how the mechanisms of the game can disrupt the best planned of attacks.   With the odds pretty reasonable, each Nationalist thrust seemed to follow its own unique path to disappointment, yet at no point did the Republican position really feel that strong.

Given that the author intends catastrophe to be integral to the game, I think he has done a good job.

Send Not To Know is virtually done, and will get its first public outing at COW in a couple of weeks.   I’m sure Graham will then publish it on the net, and I will post a link to where you can get it.

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Just adding a bit more eye candy.

These pictures come from the first try-out of some Spanish Civil War rules.

The Nationalists came out of their trenches and attacked en masse.  Which gave us a good opportunity to see Chris and Graham’s kit set up.  The mechanisms were a bit too labour intensive to play the battle through, but may serve as a starting point for a future game.

The Republican position had some International Brigade with a dug in A/T gun holding the ridge line.

Nearer to us …
Some Peninsula Army in the cluster of buildings …

And some Assault guards in the olive grove nearest the camera.

The Nationalists were a mix including Foreign Legion, Requetes, Moroccans and Civil Guards(Spanish Foreign Legion)



They also had some Panzer Is which didn’t contribute much (some wild machine-gun fire into the olive grove) … and some devastating artillery (hitting on 7 or less on a D8 with 4x the firepower of an infantry stand) …

The attack never reached the ridge … the Assaultos held the olive grove with some determination, but the village and everything in it was easily destroyed by the artillery fire.

Tenacious Assaultos

The Republican Commander was last seen jumping into a FAI armoured car that was heading out of town …

Clearly some more planning back at Headquarters is required …

There will be more of this.  It already looks good, but the best is yet to come.

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