Monday, November 03, 2008


..where did that week go?!

It's been half term school holidays in Steve-the-Wargamer's house so last week was pretty busy all round keeping the little heirs occupied... a trip to a local fun park to ride the roller coasters, and a trip to the zoo to see the animals (we like animals!) resulted in a significant lightening of the wallet, aches and pains (I'm too old for roller coasters!) and not a lot of constructive output on the wargaming front... but hey, there is more to life, and I did enjoy the time off...

Painting totals:

A good month (for me!) - feel free to click on any of the pictures/tables for a bigger view:, 77 points...!

Blog Totals:

I eventually spotted my error last month - no wonder I'd had such a load of visitors - I counted two months worth as one..!

The best news for me is the increase in hits on the Teaser page... the recent mention on the OSW group obviously had a positive effect (thanks Jeff!) but more importantly it's good to see that other people have the same view of the value of Charles Grant's work as I do...

Other stuff..

I've just finished reading the second in the (unofficial) series of books on the British Army by Richard Holmes (click here). "Sahib" is placed (in time order) just after "Redcoat" and just before "Tommy"... not surprisingly (the the title gives it away) this book is about the British army's presence in India from the Seven Years war to just before WWI.

I picked the book up ages and ages ago but had never got round to reading it as it is an absolute monster of a book (almost 600 pages) but was enthused to read it as a result of Bill Protz's photo montage on the adventures of Colonel Pettygree (click here) which is set on the Indian frontier...

I'm glad I did pick it up though, what a good read it turned out to be...!

India was seen by many as the training ground of the British Army due to the sheer number of expeditions, wars, incidents, skirmishes, relief columns etc etc that seemed to be going on almost permanently. The book covers off every aspect of what the British Army experience in India was like what it was like to serve there, how the troops got there, wives, families, the effect of the Mutiny, the relationship between the army and the East India Company both of whom fielded armed forces during the period, sieges, campaigns, cavalry, artillery, and so on and so forth...

An absolutely brilliant read - recommended to anyone with an interest in military history... Steve-the-Wargamer gives this a very good four out of five..

I've also just finished (this morning!) "The Wargame Companion" by Charles S. Grant, which has just been released..

I think this is probably bound for the "classic" wargame book lists as it is an absolute mine of information on the background to wargaming in the Grant household.. he starts off with the wargaming pre-cursor to "The Wargame" which was Amercian Civil War gaming, with some background & some game reports. The best bits are the previously unpublished thoughts of his father on rules design, and his overall approach to the game...

He then launches into the second larger part which is the background on the "The Wargame" - he describes the armies (Lorraine, the Vereingite Frei Stadte or VFS, and Peter Young's country whose name escapes me as it was very long and Germanic!!), the regimental histories, and also a number of the battles and campaign details. He describes in more detail a number of rules where confusion has existed in the past, but also gives additional rules that were never documented at the time for space reasons (sieges, fortress artillery, naval engagements etc.)... my favourite part of this section were the stories about the shenanigans Peter Young got up to (nocturnal visits to the wargame table, and introducing a young Charles Grant to King Edwards and whiskey!)

The last part, deals with "gubbins" or the minutiae of their gaming - terrain, houses, boats, how to write "Teasers", and best of all an entire Teaser to play at your convenience... with the latter there is definitely the germ of a scenario idea for me...!

Unashamedly recommended; Steve-the-Wargamer gives this a (queue fanfare) five out of five..

I have the day off tomorrow - work is due to start on the Sudan British cavalry, and for reading material I just picked up a copy of "Biggles in France" from the library... can't remember the last time I read Biggles!


  1. Ah Biggles...I was fortunate to be given several volumes as a boy - wish I'd kept them.
    Think I shall have to get a copy of the Wargames Companion. It sounds as if I would re-read as much as I do the Wargame and VFS battle descriptions/campaigns. I got my copy of the Wargame sold off by the local library for 20p a few years ago. Sorry...had to mention that :-). Where did you get the Wargames Companion - I am having trouble tracking it down.

  2. The War Game Companion is on my Xmas list, and I hope it's going to be a good Xmas


  3. More power to your elbow on the Biggles front, where did you get your copy of "The Wargame"?

  4. All - I got my copy of "War Game Companion" from Caliver Books (it was post free as I pre-ordered)... I noticed it's also available post free from Amazon....

  5. In North America I know that "On Military Matters" carries it (mine should arrive any day now if Canada Post doesn't put it in storage for a while).

    -- Jeff

  6. I have it on my wish list for Christmas.

  7. Steve - I thought Biggles would have been silently removed from the shelves as being a bit un-PC (remember "Biggles flies undone"?). Excellent to hear he is still available. Wonder if Jennings is still about...


  8. Despite the temptations of Johnny come lately rules like General de BI am going to fielding my Perry Plastics using Charles Grant's Napoleonic wargaming rules!

  9. All - I've finished Biggles and a more rip roaring, thigh slapping, "hale fellow, well met", collection of shoolboy yarns it would be difficult to find... Johns is best when he has Biggles in the air - on the ground I found him slightly grating (21st C. ear I'm afraid). I also suspect that Biggles may be a borderline psychopath given his ability to descend into a towering rage at the very slightest provocation! :o)) Good fun, no requirement to go back for more......

    Stryker - I always preferred Buckeridges 'Rex Milligan' character to Jennings (though I think I probably read all of the Jennings books as well) - remember him??

    Legatus - you definitely need a new blog - and it'll go on my list of places to visit as that sounds an interesting little project...

  10. Hi Steve,

    Any pointers on using the point motivator software? How easy was it to set up for your use? Thinking of downloading it and trying but not sure I have the motivation to set it all up!


  11. Hi Andy - being a geek I didn't mind having a play with it but it wasn't what I'd call "intuitive".. :o))

    I originally heard about it from Mike Cannon on his website ( and he had an excellent little tutorial to show you how to set it up - unfortunately it doesn't seem to be there anymore...

    You can get the application from:

    ..the download button is on the left at the top. It comes with a default set of definitions which with a bit of mucking about with you can get to look like mine - give me a shout if your interested, though and I'll upload my definitions files so you can save a bit of time...

    ..because I am a geek at heart I didn't see this as "wasting time" - you could probably do it just as quicker and easier with a spreadsheet!! :o))

  12. I'd appreciate the file if you can. I don't mind tinkering around from a starting point but I just don't have the time at the moment to do it from scratch so any help would be much appreciated. I think the geek in me is fading with age and responsibility (i.e. kids!)