Review of ‘Rebel’ book

Derek Clark reviews “Rebel,” the first in a fictional trilogy about William Wallace, and finds it not so useful for solo gaming.

It’s on the Reviews page.

Posted in Periods - Medieval | Leave a comment

No. 202 is in the works

Lone Warrior Editor Rich Barbuto reports that issue No. 202 of the magazine for solo wargamers is in the final stages of production and will be electronically distributed within a few days. Here’s a preview of the contents:

  • “Blockade Runner Part II,” by Jeffrey G. Chorney: Skullduggery in the American Civil War — spies, intrigue and even Captain Nemo.
  • “A Star Wars Battle,” by Mike Crane: A game with counters and make-them-yourself X-wings, Tie fighters and bombers engaged in a space battle, with a game report too.
  • “F4UF-Corsair ‘Whistling Death’ 1944,” by Preston Shah: Ideas for air operations in the South Pacific.
  • “The Siege of Lyme Regis 1644, a Solo Campaign,” by Paul Le Long. Campaigning the English Civil War, with rules for recreating an historical battle.
  • “‘Sophie is Going to the Seaside’ BBC 9 O’Clock News,” by Rob Morgan: Ideas for gaming World War II German armor vs. French resistance, British commandos and Allied air.
  • “Terrain 101 — Back to the Drawing Board,” by George Arnold. Ideas for constructing micro-terrain for smaller scale figures.
  • “Battlegroup: Modern Warfare,” by Kevin White. Easy rules for modern combat, with tanks, recon and helicopters.

All this in a packed 57 pages, with color photos, illustrations, charts, game counters and even some advertising by gamers for gamers. Coming soon!

Posted in Latest issue of LW | 1 Comment

Market-Garden board games review

David H. Allen takes a look at three board games in a series about World War II’s Operation Market-Garden and finds them well suited for solo play.

His review is on the Reviews page.

Posted in Board games, Periods - World War II, Solo wargaming | 2 Comments

Risk Europe

By Rob Morgan

I was looking through one of the sites linked to the Solo Wargamers Association, “Wargaming Miscellany” and found a mention of this, described as a ‘board game of medieval conquest,’ made by Hasbro. Now, most of us are well aware of the existence of ‘Star Wars’, and ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ versions of  Risk, all rather overpriced, but this is a new one on me.

Risk is not a game I’ve played often since I was a youngster. We’ve still got one of the Napoleonic period sets somewhere in the house, but this version seems well worth examination. I asked in the local games emporium, but no one had heard of it, nor in Toys r’ Us, though that didn’t surprise me. The photos accompanying the note on the web site do seem to show a large range of useful small figures and accessories, siege engines, foot, bowmen, knights and horsemen, etc. A quick turn round e-bay found a couple of boxed sets on offer at £20+ each. Has anyone bought and played this version of the game? What are the components like?

Posted in Board games | Leave a comment

A new sample article

Jonathan Aird describes some ways to randomize the appearance and deployment of two armies for a solo game using the DBA rules.

It’s on the Sample Articles page.

Posted in Battle reports, Periods - Ancient, Solo wargaming | Leave a comment

Review of Star Wars AT-AT and snowspeeder models

Jonathan Aird reviews more Hot Wheels offerings from the new Star Wars movies and finds these to be out of scale.

It’s on the Reviews page.

Posted in Periods - Science fiction | Leave a comment

Pirate ship card naval wargames by Wizkids

By Rob Morgan

Another odd purchase, at a pound a pack in a local shop — from the seriously discounted bin, known as ‘The Lost Hope.’ Something I honestly don’t remember featuring in any of the model or games (or toy) shops 10 or 12 years ago. Which is exactly when a company called Wizkids produced a substantial series of small packets of game components, described as ‘a game in every pack’ under the title ‘Pirates of …’ The end of the title could be ‘… of the Spanish Main,’ ‘… of the Frozen North,’ ‘… of the South China Seas,’ ‘… of the Ocean’s Edge’, etc, etc. There must have been a score of alternative scenarios.

I may of course be talking to lots of members and readers who know the games who invested a few pounds or dollars in collecting them. Each pack contains, or contained, two ship models, made from press out hard polystyrene, like a credit card, and easily assembled without any form of adhesive. They just pressed together. Along with them was a piece of scenery — an island, a volcano, a fog-bank, an iceberg, that sort of thing. Then there were some press-out gold coin tokens, a character from the crew, and a scenario or two. Interesting enough, had I encountered them back then!

Some of the more unusually named scenarios included press-out monsters, a giant crab for instance, or a really good looking squid. Sea serpents, dragons, etc. Great value for the science fiction or fantasy gamer, though the assembled monsters do look like old-fashioned ‘flats’.

The scenery is useful, and could be used in a standard wargame as it is, or ‘built-up’ a bit. It would be interesting to know, just for academic purposes, if there were any scenery items for towns, harbours, or forts? The coins and tokens, if you weren’t going to use them to play the intended game in the pack, could serve as bases for figures.

It’s the ships which are most interesting though. Well, they would be wouldn’t they? The ships tend toward the theme of the pack. So, for example in the ‘Pirates of the South China Seas’ pack, you’d find Junks as the ship model. In the frozen north, there are some Viking longships. Off the Barbary Coast, galleys. I should say that ships in the packs came as small, medium and large vessels. Though I found a hint that there were some giant craft around, and of course since the packs were sealed, you had no way of knowing which ships you would get! Hence there were those which were common, Like the French two-masted Le Dijon. Others were less common — the small single-masted oared junk, ‘Floating Stone’ for instance. Some models were described as ‘rare.’ others as ‘Super Rare.’ One or two appear to have been ‘Special Edition’ models. It seemed to become one of those ‘flash-in-the-pan’ collectors games, a sort of naval Pokemon. I have no idea how many ships were actually manufactured. A dip into YouTube suggests that some of the games players owned a hundred or so; others described a collection of 50 or 70 models as small (hm?).

Before I ramble onwards, the models are flat, pressed out from the credit card shape hard plastic, and slot together, both sides of a hull, decks, masts. Some models have four or five masts, bowsprits in some cases, or banks of oars. The card is beautifully coloured in every case. Each mast has pennants, where appropriate, and a stern-mounted jack with a flag. These are interchangeable by the way, to alter fleet composition presumably. I’ve seen pirate flags, naturally, as well as Royal Naval white ensigns, US flags, French and Spanish. There may well be others. As a scale, I’d go for about 1/600th or thereabouts, vague but roughly vague. They look good in a small flotilla or fleet on a table top.

Like so many of the games targeted at youngsters, this was a five-minute wonder. Certainly, if the reviewers on the internet are to be believed, in a year or two the game had died away, and others had replaced it.

A pity, this is another outstanding example of just what the serious wargamer can use on the table top!

Hopefully, reading this, and I apologize for the dreadful quality of my photography, there will be someone with a far better knowledge of these games, their ship models and accessories. Another loss to the world of wargaming.

Anyone know more?

Posted in Naval gaming | 2 Comments

Review of The Miniature Parade magazine (1968)

Rich Barbuto reviews an old publication from wargaming pioneer Jack Scruby, the December 1968 edition of The Miniature Parade magazine.

It’s on the Reviews page.

Posted in Wargaming | Leave a comment

A solar system for wargamers?

By Rob Morgan

The scientific name for this is an Orrery, but as this is largely plastic and less than mechanical, I won’t be pedantic. I still operate on the principle founded by the late Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, one of the greatest Welshmen of the 20th century. He said, ‘Buy it when you see it. Not when you need it!’ Here’s an example.

I bought it for £3 in the Danish chain of stores called Tyger, which has spread across Europe in recent years. It is a ‘DIY Solar System’ as the box states, but it provides something useful for the wargamer, given a little thought.

I lay aside the base and arms of the device, and concentrated on the ‘planets.’ All bar Pluto are present, and there’s a Sun for the centre of the structure. Nine in all. You’ll see them in the photographs.

The diameters are, from the largest, the sun (yes, I know it’s not a planet!) 38mm diameter; then Jupiter, 30mm diameter; Saturn, 26mm diameter. The smaller planets are 18mm, 14mm, 12mm in diameter. The surface of the sun is plain, but the others have either a ‘pitted’ or ‘swirly’ (cloudy?) surface to them. Each has a hole at the base to be mounted on a metal spike provided. Assembly of each is by use of a little polystyrene cement — you don’t actually need much — and they fit together perfectly. Saturn, by the way, has a card insert for its rings which is 46mm diameter. You can use it, or not.

Cemented together, you have nine orbs, and they do have some potential. A solar system for a galactic wargame? Or they can become space stations, a sort of ‘Babylon 5’ if two are attached by a single length of sprue, or several strung in a row. The hole in the base gives potential way beyond that. I am working on my Sun orb as a Death Star, well, a  smallish Death Star, but all I need is to add some small mechanical surface detail — death ray, etc., and spray paint the model. All of them will take a standard Games Workshop plastic flying mount as a base, by the way.

The other planets can be used in all sorts of ways, as asteroids, as small space stations or defences. There are five which have non-standard cloud strewn surfaces, which offers another possibility, as living moons or space objects. The Saturn ring makes a very different planet of course, but it is only card, though it could have features, buildings or weapons built on to the ring itself.

A few have more mundane uses, as terrestrial balloons for instance, and I’m playing with an idea for near-future wargames. Remember the TV series ‘The Prisoner?’ It featured an opaque large balloon which was used as a security device to prevent escape from ‘the village.’ It has potential for perimeter defence, for pursuit or for observation among others. I’ve not attempted to exhaust the ideas for this unusual set, but just give a few.

There’s a pile of other components I should mention — a set of enamel paints in small pots (vivid colours, one luminous) and a large base, rotation pillar and arms, see the box lid photo. I haven’t worked out uses for them yet, but they will come in useful at some stage!

Worth consideration, eh?

Posted in Periods - Science fiction | Leave a comment

Uboot kickstarter

By Kevin Duke

Are you following the UBOOT: The Boardgame kickstarter?

It looks like a real a “deep dive” into the tactics and operations of the U-boats in early World War 2. This cooperative game puts 1-4 players in key crew positions of “das Boot” as they try to complete a series of missions. They assume the roles of the Captain, the First Officer, the Navigator, and the Chief Engineer, each manning a “team” of workers and handling distinct responsibilities.

The game integrates with a companion App, providing real-time, realistic gameplay experience, sound effects, and managing the world that the U-boat lives in and fights against.  Lots of great free stretch goals make this a terrific deal!

Combining board game and app, this is truly an “immersion experience,’ with streamlined rules, video tutorials, and variable degrees of difficulty.

Posted in Computer games, Naval gaming, Periods - World War II | 2 Comments