Another packed issue will be hitting your doormats shortly, and this one seems like something of a landmark: in the space of six years, this is my thirtieth issue. Considering the trials and tribulations I’ve experienced during that time, reaching issue 30 seems like quite an achievement. Things are ticking along nicely with the support of the highly professional and experienced team at Atlantic, now including the media sales team at Media Shed, leaving me free to concentrate on the creative aspects of the magazine. My thanks to them, and my thanks to you, loyal readers, many of whom have been supporting Battlegames since issue 1, way back in 2006.
So, what’s in store for you this time?
• More fun with packaging
Diane Sutherland continues her Tales of a Wargames Widow with a rummage through those really useful bits and pieces that come with electrical goods and makes a sturdy redoubt for horse and musket games and a clutch of pottery kilns!
• Forward Observer
Neil Shuck continues his overview of the latest developments with commentary about Citadel’s major overhaul of their paint range and painting guide, the growth of the Plastic Soldier Company, the romance of medieval knights, his new diversion into the French & Indian War, thoughts about “Dropship Commander”, rationalising the games and models he collects (fat chance!), and the demise of Warhammer Historical.
• An epic adventure
Gary Pready thinks its time historical gamers opened their eyes to the good ideas found in GW’s micro-scale game “Epic: Armageddon” and waxes lyrical about the fun and challenges it offers.
• The Osprey swoops
Dark Ages supremo Dan Mersey explains how and why he wrote his forthcoming new rules, “Dux Bellorum”, giving an in-depth insight into the guidelines he uses to produce a set of rules. This piece is also accompanied by a couple of gorgeous photos of Steve Jones’ magnificent Dark Ages armies AND we have exclusive stats (not included in the Osprey book) for the man the age is named after, Arthur himself. Luvverly!
• Send three and fourpence: 1 – the pint principle
A new short column from Irish gamer and blogger Conrad Kinch. In his opening piece, Conrad discusses whether we should try to make friends from wargamers, or wargamers from friends, and gives some advice about how to keep those friends, however you’ve made them!
• Greasepaint confessions
New contributor Nigel Betts is an actor (with “Warhorse” one of his many battle honours). Given the odd hours he keeps and the fact that he often has to hang around the theatre for ages, he reveals how he manages to secretly keep painting those armies.
• Looking over the hedge
Belgian gamer Eddie Sterckx returns, this time to berate us for not pillaging more ideas from computer and board games, especially for hidden movement and solo gaming. So, I respond with a quickfire “5 ideas for solo play”!
• Command Challenge: The Package
Another new contributor, another Irishman in Donagh McCarthy to keep Conrad company (they’re chums in real life too) and another first for Battlegames – a very, very modern scenario, with shenanigans in the Near East (Azerbaijan in fact) as an arms dealer gets involved with rebel factions and mercenaries, while government troops attempt to put paid to their plans. Fast, furious fun, suitable for rules like “Force on Force” or similar, but obviously translatable, as always, to other theatres and eras. If anyone tries to tell you that Battlegames is only ‘old school’, shove this under their nose!
• A modest heretical proposal
Now here’s Arthur Harman with perhaps the most radical article I’ve had in a while. Given the current economic climate, and the fact that we’re all having to make tough domestic decisions, is it really sensible to carry on piling up that lead and plastic? And given how little precious time we now have, do we really need to subject ourselves to the tyranny of the close-up lens, labouring over the buttons of 28mm grenadiers? Arthur thinks not, and has some fascinating ideas covering a great many more sacred cows.
• Win more wargames:
1: A battle is often won before it begins
I thought it was time that the magazine carried some discussion of wargames tactics and strategy. Nobody, in all these years, had submitted such an article, so I thought I’d better write it myself! So, welcome to Prunkland’s world-famous Biebersfurt Staff College where, in the company of Brigadier Heinrich von Westfelsen, you will attend a series of lectures on salient military topics. The first lecture deals with the subject of deployment, offering a scenario that you can try at home or the club and — why not? — you could even do a write-up on your own blog or report back how you got on and the tactics you tried. Fans of The Wars of the Faltenian Succession and The Grenouissian Intermezzo, including the recent events in Byzarbia, will be pleased to know that reference will be made to these events in the course of the series. But bear in mind that however fictitious the settings and names, the topics and principles studied are very real indeed and, if mastered, should help revitalise your wargaming tactics and, at the very least, make you think about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
Space is constrained and the items sent for review have been many, so this issue I made the decision to print only reviews of books and rulesets. So, getting the in-depth scrutiny are Sam Mustafa’s “Maurice” rules; “Muskets & Tomahawks” from Studio Tomahawk; “Finland’s War of Choice” by Henrik Lunde, published by Casemate; “Empire of the Dead” rules from Westwind Productions; the “Kings of War” rules from Mantic; and “I Ain’t Been Shot Mum” 3rd Edition from TooFatLardies. However, in addition to this, I have decided to start a new “Recce” section on my blog, where I shall be adding reviews of all the other stuff that’s arrived, perhaps even in the vidcast format used by Neil at Meeples & Miniatures.
• Thoughts from the armchair
It’s Siggins again, like an old and comfortable pair of slippers, and he is indeed mellowing in many ways — except today, when he’s really quite cross indeed about folks who rip off other people’s hard work and Intellectual Property. He calms down eventually to tell us about what he’s been up to and some fascinating stuff about craquelure. Yes, really.
• The Battlegames Combat Stress Appeal
After a quiet period, I’m delighted to report that things are moving forward again, the total is creeping up towards the £20,000 target, new Combat Stress Commemorative Miniatures are on the way –– and, thank you, the volunteers to paint the showcase ones for eBay auctions — together with a brand new initiative I’m going to be launching on my Henry’s Wargaming blog.
• And finally…
Things are wrapped up with the Diary of events for August/September (with advance apologies for the number of “TBA”s, we just haven’t received specific dates from a number of shows, especially those overseas) and a competition where, thanks to our friends at Osprey, we have not one, not two, not three, not even four, but FIVE copies of “Field of Glory Napoleonics” to give away to the lucky winners. And, of course, we have messages from some lovely advertisers. (Please mention that you saw them in Battlegames when ordering from them.)
Publication date is 9th July.
Until next time, roll ‘em high!