On Crisis 2019 I obtained a box of Corvus Belli Infinity Operation Icestorm. Or actually half the box, the Pan Oceania is missing, but the terrain is still in. (It was second hand, so price was also appropriate.) Also included was a starter set for Infinity Nomads, totaling in 13 Nomad miniatures.
I probably will end up to paint the starter set in blue, to proxy as Pan Oceania, to do some playing in the end. The Operation Icestorm ones, hope to finish in the Nomad red scheme, as on the box.
After assembly I have started with a black undercoat. Yesterday evening I tried some airbrushing, but it did clog up. So couldn’t get any progress. I hope to continue in the weekend. Hopefully some progress to show next week.
First to start with a disclaimer. I am quite new to wargaming, and have not played a lot of games. So probably I will overlook a lot of rules and concepts. But I will try to write some summary I could find right now.
In general wargames don’t bother to much with civilians. I have read a couple of recent wargames battle reports and most did not feature any civilians. When they do participate I could identify a couple of reasons:
Think about farmers defending their crops against raiding and stealing cattle. Most of the time not part of any team, but acting like some kind of military units with low capabilities. The actual live and living of these civilians is most of the time not considerd, and wont have impact on the story or campaign. This is mostly used in medieval or more ancient battles and sometimes in fantasy or sci-fi adventures.
( Negative or Positive) modifier
It is not good to have civilian casualties, but they are only some negative modifier to the end score. Often seen in ww2 air war games, were you try to recreate bombing of a city, were missed bombs (which have civilian causalities) generate negative points. But is might also be used in modern urban warfare. But it might also be used impacting morale, as the civilians are liking your side more or less.
Those refugee streams can clog up roads, or make moving around more difficult. It just act the same way as terrain feature, impacting your military forces. They might be moving around as a walking forest is which you only see in fantasy setting, so refugees make up a more believable story, in historical setting.
Unexpected military unit
This is mostly used in modern irregular wars, were mobs of civilians are either blocking your road, or suddenly turning back on you and showing itself as military unit.
Starting the research I had expected that there would be not much ways to involve civilians in wargames, but multiple different ways have been discovered. The only one missing, which would make sense from human rights perspective, is a direct head on head wargame, civilians against a militairy power, where the civilians do not use weapons, but score by avoiding casualties. I haven’t found a system what uses these kind of mechanics yet. Maybe I have to create my own.
Now looking back at the original question:
Can wargame rules include human rights violations, and still teach us a lesson, while telling the (his)story?
I don’t think the mechanisms above tells something about human rights violations. They do take civilians in account, and can create good (his)stories. But don’t teach us about human rights violations.
For this I have to search futher or create my own. From computer games I want to highlight two examples, which takes some civilian live into account. The first is “This war of mine”, which is a game where you play as civilian in a warzone, and try to survive in your house. You are searching for supplies and encounter thereby other people, were you can steal their supplies or fight them. The emotional aspect has some place here, as it feels not good to steal from an elderly couple. But if you don’t get the supply, one of your characters die. The second game is “Conflict Zone” were two parties battle, but the resources are civilians. For the “good” side, you try to save as many refugees as possible, for the “bad” side, you don’t care, but need to indoctrinate as many civilians as possible.
Maybe these games can be a good inspiration for finding a solution. Hope to expand this research in the future.
Last Saturday together with my father we went to Antwerp, attending Crisis 2019. This event is organized by The Tin Soldiers of Antwerp.
For me it was the first wargame show ever attended. And it was a nice experience. We did arrive early, with quite a lot of people already in the queue at 9:30u, even though it did not open before 10 o’clock.
After entering, it was busy, but not overly crowded. After a quick go around to check what there was to see, we ventured past all the different vendors, tables and stands, and accumulating “buit”
There were four things on my list to hunt for. The first was a pre-order at Magistar Militum, for some 3mm O8 miniatures, extending some missing planes (like the f-84f Thunderstreak and Allouette III) and adding some ground forces as targets and SAM (Sa-2). The next thing on the list was some Baccus 6mm figures. Unfortunately Baccus could not participate in the show, but luckicly for me I found some second hand figures (romans and axe warriors). I wanted to see these figures to compare this scale to the other scales, and have some better understanding for possibilities for future armies.
The next victim was are the Sword and Spear rules published by Great Escape Games. I had done some research on possible rulesets for Medieval wargames, using larger scales, and not using grid maps (sorry DBA and To the strongest!) Which might not be to complicated, and can be used for scale 2mm, 3mm or 6mm. I think this ruleset will work out. Now to find a army for this.
The last item, was just a encounter at the second hand market place. I have been looking before to some 28mm sci-fi gaming, and passing both Warhammer 40k and Infinity, I didn’t want to jump into it jet. But at one of the tables, there was a nice starting box, for a good price. Including a second starter pack. I hope to paint these, and try some try out games.
Being the first wargame show, it was nice to see. I had hoped to have more possibilities to interact with some tables/participate with some of the games played. But for some reason this did not work out. Maybe spend some more time on the tables next time.
Om of the biggest drawbacks I saw, was that English located companies are quite expensive. Paying in Euros most of the companies would round the payments in their favor. With the general exchange rate of around ~1.16 euro to pound, most companies used 1.20 euro to the pound as exchange rate, sometimes rounding even more in favor of their own pockets. There was only one vendor which did have a very nice solution in this case. Just saying that labeled price was in euro, so giving an discount of a little over 10%. Hope next time some more companies will be a little more creative in handling those exchange rates. If Brexit wouldn’t change to much in participation rates..
Looking back overall, there is a change that I will visit again next year, but I don’t thing it will be a yearly go to show, but probably one in the two or three years. If you have never been there, and living reasonable close, go visit it, to check out yourself.
In my research on the Battle of Scherpenzeel and the Stichtse oorlog from 1481, I have recently digged into the topic of geography. If you want to wargame this war, you need terrain, and it would be nice to know how it would have looked. Because this already quite long ago more than 500 years, it is quite complex and difficult to determine. Therefore some basic research is needed, and probably some estimated guesses.
I have not written before on the battle of Scherpenzeel, but I hope this post (and the following with similar topic) will give a good bit of background information, to place the different events and actions on the map. My primary research will focus on the Battle of Scherpenzeel. Later on I will also dig into other area’s, but that will require new research.
Scherpenzeel is one of the villages in the Gelderse Vallei. Translated the valley of Gelre. Gelre the is the province or region. To start off, the modern day map of Scherpenzeel and surroundings. Also showing some other important places from this battle.
When looking to this map, and thinking of the Battle of Scherpenzeel, there are a couple of places which will become important for this battle
Wijk bij Duurstede, the place were the Burgundian troops departed
Area between Bunschoten and Hoevelaken, the place where they started raiding.
Amersfoort, the origin of the Amersfoort Army
Scherpenzeel, the place which did give the name to the battle.
Don’t forget that the Army did march between those points, so the routes become important to.
The next map will show why this area is called the Gelderse Vallei. This is the modern day height map of the area. In green the heigh, the darker the color the higher the area is. The red line is still showing the province border, and Scherpenzeel is laying in the middle. To the left you see the dark area which is called the Utrechtse Heuvelrug (Utrecht Hill ridge) On the right side the large higher plains are the Veluwe area.
In the northern end of the map you can see two different colors. The reddish color, which is Flecoland. This is reclaimed land, and is below sea level. This did not exist before the 1950’s. The pink areas are polders, next to the river Eem. These areas where the place which were raided before the battle of Scherpenzeel. Part of the research will be, when these polders were actually dried up, and what the impact was on the landscape.
In the next post on geography I hope to focus more on the history of the Dutch landscape in general, and the influence of humans on this. After that I will focus on what the landscape of the Gelderse Vallei consisted off. Laying the bases to make an estimated guess on the map of those days.
For aerial wargaming I have been using 1/600 scale models. For putting them on the table, I had used some homemade stands. Consisting of a hexagon shape base plate, with small vertical rod. On top of the rod was a colored bead, with a magnet glued on. On the base was a rectangle for a 7mm D6 dice. (see image below) I have used these for several games, and they work fine. But have the downside, that everything needed to be noted with dice. The speed, height and often an ID marker, to check which unit it was. (with flights of multiple identical planes). So a better way to do this had to be found.
After ordering the new planes, it was time to order some new magnets to base the planes. When looking on the magnet seller site, I noted some long thin magnets. And a new idea sprang into my head. I have seen people using Lego bricks to denote the different height levels. But it might be also possible to do this with magnets. And you can see the results below.
I am very happy with how the finished result looks like. I am still thinking to add a dice frame, for the speed. But will probably play a game first. I hope this helps others too. Now I can proceed on basing the planes, and painting more.
A couple of weeks ago my father and I placed a substantial order at TumblingDice. Within less than a week, the package was send and delivered. A was astonished by how quickly this went. This was a very good service. He even included a sample of some 16th century ships, as we are curious how these are, for Anglo-Dutch wars.
Directly after arrival I checked al my planes, and now have over 200 planes to clean and paint. Which I already have started. I think I have not even halfway. But the results are looking interestingly.
These are only the planes I have cleaned up. And I think it is only around half of the pile. As I have still the Ethiopian, Eritrean and Somalian planes. Plus all the Spanish Civil war bi-planes and some additional soviet planes.
I have already ordered some new magnets, so I can base all the planes. Hope these will be delivered this week. Hope to have more detailed pictures when I start painting the different air forces. I have already started searching for color schemes. I have not decided yet on which air force to start. Maybe the Dutch or American Cold war forces, as I know best the colors for these, or maybe the ww2 forces. Up to the next update.
A while ago this book was part of an discount of ebooks bij Pen and Sword. I bought and downloaded it, hoping to have some 15th century warfare stories inside. So I would have a better period feel for the 15th century projects. I am not really interested in the Italian wars, but it is part of Europe, and even in that period soldiers (and mercenaries) could already travel for long distances. So these soldiers could also fight in the other wars closer to the Netherlands.
The book itself does tell the story of Italian warfare, diving into the political aspects. Also the intrigues and conflicting city states. Naming a lot of companies and there commanders. It does occasionally describe some battles but only in general matters, focusing on the outcome and impact on the development of the mercenaries systems, and rise and fall of the different companies.
The book did focus on a different subject than I was interested in, and did not include the detailed descriptions on tactics and fights with mercenary groups I hoped for. If interested in the Renaissance Italian wars, this book is probably better suited, but cannot tell how well this is compared to other books. Probably not a very helpful review for others.
Last couple of weeks have been holidays for me. We had decided to visit Ypres and Normandy. Both places I have been before and new some camping sites.
Off course when visiting Ypres you cannot ignore the battlefield and memorial at the Menin gate. We did only visit one museum as we only had a couple of days here. We went to the Paschendale museum.
After the first couple of days we went to Normandy. Were we visited multiple battlefield sites.
Next to the well known we visited also some less well known battlefields. Long before D-day there were already enough battles in the area. Most well known is the Bayeux Tapistery, which we didn’t visit this time as we have seen it before.
The first was a visit to Tatihou. A defensive island for the coast. On the island is a maritime museum, which describes the battle of Hogue. And the destruction of the French fleet by an Anglo Dutch force in 1690 just off the coast of this island. Next to this story you can see some old fortess works. And some German ww2 bunkers which are build within this old fortress.
The next visit was to Formigny battlefield. Here an English force which landed in Cherbourgh was defeated by the French in 1450. This battle was the start of getting rid of the English in Normandy. There is not much to see, except from some farmland, and two monuments. But it is located slightly more land inwards at the height of Omaha beach.
The last was just a lucky stumble. I found a sign telling the story of this old castle. It was of the landlord of the area at the start at fifteen century. This was one of the most important stronghold for the surrounding country, as he had counsel rights. It got destroyed around 1412 by one of the English raids into Normandy, and has been in ruins since then. On the horizon of the photo the sea is visible. On the coastline you can nicely walk, and find lot of German bunkers and Atlantik wall positions.
– “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, we can’t help wondering what an empty desk indicates.” – Unkown
One of the first priorities I had at the start of this blog, was the development of my desk. I used to work on an old garden table. But wanted to have a more stable solution. Also including my computer and monitor in the desk, to have just a single workspace was part of the plan.
In my daily job I am working as an engineer, giving me access to some 3D CAD software and the knowledge to work with them. Therefore I started with measuring the available space. Here I did make only a small error, so the table is less wide as possible. But this will be solved in the future.
The above image shows the final design. The blue box is a standin model for my desktop computer. So I know exactly what space I had available. The Black model barely visible is the same, but for my airbrush compressor. Under the airbrush compressor I have space reserved for an air tank, which might be required in the future, but will be used for storage for now.
Because I have all parts in 3D it is quite easy to create a parts layout/list of all the parts needed. The building material would be wood, and multiplex panels.
Especially below drawing was very helpful. I did print this out, and go to the local wood supplier. They did saw all the multiplex panels to the correct size. All the beams I have cut to length myself. It is very easy, it shows already all the length. I did just cut everything according the drawing, and ended up with a pile of parts.
After that, the actual construction could begin. I pre-drilled all the holes for the screws, and started just assembling. I didn’t take any pictures of that. But below you can see the end results. With an already cluttered desk. Still need to organize everything 😉
Next step is to add some wooden edging to make all the edges nice and smooth and also preventing that some models will roll from the table. Also I want to put some extension on the rear side, to gain an extra 10cm space. Add a monitor bracket, so the monitor is lifted from the table, and is not taking up any valuable space. And do all the cabling and wiring underneat, to install the desktop. Hope to have this finished in the next couple of weeks.
Last week we played the Battle of the three roads I posted earlier on. I did not have time to do more preparation. So we just decided to play the scenario, with the rules from the 2-by-2 rule set. I try to describe the changes we made below.
We used the map as shown on top. We copied it to the gaming cloth I made. Unfortunatly I did not have enough forest to cover all the forest, so those had to be drawn in. We didn’t include a lot of terrain rules from the scenario. Skipped the weather section. We used the following rules:
The passing trough the water at the top left is fordable, on a 5+ for infantery, and on a 4+ for horses. The French did have a pontoon brigade, which could construct a bridge, allowing easy passage. On a 1-3 it would take 1 turn to construct the bridge, on a 4-6 it would take two turns. Optionally it could be tried to build a bridge on a different spot, but only on a 6+ they would find a suitable spot.
For the high ground in the middle, we decided that people below could see and fire at people up to the road (which runs in the middle of the high ground) If you were on the other side of the road you would be safe.
For deployment, the British would deploy most forces as wished for in the op third of the map. And act as defending forces, only a small portion would act as reinforcements. For the French would start with a small force on the table, and would have to wait for reinforcement every turn. The total French force was larger than the British, but due to the slow reinforcements the British could defeat them small batches.
The goal for the French was to leave the map with an as large as possible force, at the two exits at the top, behind the river. The British should prevent this. The French did have two corps, every corp would rout if 3 or more units were destroyed. (acting independently from each other). The British side would route if 6 or more units were destroyed.
The British were divided in three main forces:
1st Netherlands Division: Stedmann
3 regiments of line Infantry
1 battery of foot artillery
4th British Division: Colville
1 regiment of guards
1 regiments of line Infantry
1 piece of foot artillery
Hanoverian Reserve: von der Decken
2 regiment of guards
2 regiments of line Infantry
1 piece of foot artillery
1 squadron of heavy cavalry
1 squadron of light cavalry
The French had two Corpses
I Corps: d’Erlon
8 regiments of line Infantry
1 battery of foot artillery
1 squadron of light cavalry
II Corps: Reille
8 regiments of line Infantry
1 battery of foot artillery
1 squadron of light cavalry
1 company of Engineer/pontoniers
As you can see in the forces list, the French are numerical superior, but the British do have slightly better infantry units. Combined with their deployment advantage, we hoped this would match them up evenly.
The Battle started with the advance of the two different French corpses towards the top corner (A and B) The British decided to defend near the town and the bridge (C and D)
This resulted in a firefight and artillery bombardment at both sides of the bridge. (See F on the map)
On the other side the corps did get confused with the heavy cavelry moving close by, and was in the end locked in at the forest at E. After a couple of turn this force started to break, and even some cavalry reinforcements, did prevent the collapse of this front.
On the other side things started to look better, when the first regiment formed a bridgehead at the other side. But reinforcment and relieve couldn’t bring in quick enough. Resulting in a stalled fight. The British which defeated the forces at E now diverted to the bridge, making the situation very risky for the French. A quick break through didn’t happen, and a major retreat had to be called by the French.
The British came out very victorious, by only loosing two regiments of infantry, but slaying 4 French regiments of infantry, a squadron of light cavalry, the HQ of one of the corpses, and capturing the engineering/Pontoon brigade.
This was a real fun game. I had quite a busy week, and did not have a lot of time in preparation. And we had to decide the rules of the scenario at the beginning. But the rules flowed very well, felt quite even matched and did give a nice gaming night. In hindsight I should have focused on one attacking location, and combined the two corpses on the left side (D), hoping to tumble the fronts one, by one. I think we will play more of these games in the future.