Paper soldiers galore!

With thoughts of playing a greater variety of wargames but with less investment in figures, time and storage space, I’ve come round to the notion of using paper miniatures. At the very least, they allow you to try out a game relatively quickly after reading it, to help you decide whether or not you want to pursue a project before it even begins.

I was rather delighted to see that an artist called Vyacheslav Batalov has released some magnificent paper miniatures for 19th century Central Asia on Wargame Vault. I have the two sets pictured above and they are beautifully illustrated. Vyacheslav has since released Afghan Tribesmen, Afghan Regulars and two sets of Indian Army figures – the first of which includes Gurkhas (set 1 and set 2).

Alternatively you can get hordes of paper miniatures for free from the Junior General website.

Franco-Prussian War resources update

Whilst trawling through old issues of Wargames Illustrated, I stumbled across a set of wargames rules for the Franco-Prussian and the Russo-Turkish wars. The memorably-named Schlachtenbummler (it translates as “away supporter / fan”), by Richard Brooks, clocks in at only 4 pages long, and can be found in Wargames Illustrated #5.

I’ve updated the earlier post on Franco-Prussian War resources, to include this omission. That post also includes details of how to get hold of WI back issues.

Crossfire: small scenarios

Yesterday I played the first of Dick Bryant’s small scenarios for Crossfire as published on his Maximus Gluteus blog with my old sparring partner doppelgangdave. We tried “The Farm” and it was a surprisingly long and rather bloody fight, even on such a small table. In the final moments, the last surviving German rifle squad frantically rushed the bullet-holed barn and stuck it to the two defending Soviet rifle squads and their platoon commander. Iron Crosses all round!

It’s the first time I’ve had a minefield and a sniper on the table and it was fun to see those traps sprung. Sadly they were largely unsuccessful. I’ll get you next time Gadget!


The scenarios are designed to be played on a 2’x2′ table with 15mm figures, but we were using 20mm figures so scaled up the layout to a 3’x3′ table and it worked out fine. We’ve been playing quite a few Ostfront games of late, but are still early in the war, so we decided to give the German attackers a medium rather than large mortar (in hindsight, this probably contributed to the length of the game). As we were both familiar with Crossfire, we made both sides Regulars (as suggested by Steven Thomas on the Steven’s Balagan blog).

In order to keep track of the hidden defenders, we used numbered maps courtesy of Steven’s blog, and a simple hidden unit sheet I knocked up, which you could use for any units you’d like to field. I’d recommend placing a numbered token on the tabletop next to each of the terrain features in sectors C+D to help streamline proceedings.

Crossfire Conundrum

As is not unusual when playing a relatively rules-light game like Crossfire, we came up against an unexpected situation… What happens when an HMG is close assaulted and there is a friendly 50mm mortar within 1 stand-width. Can the mortar assist the HMG in the close combat… and if so, how?

After a bit of humming and hawing we decided it could assist the HMG and made the following call on the close combat modifiers:

  • -2 as the HMG wasn’t assisted by a non-weapon squad
  • +1 because the 50mm mortar counts as an additional squad
  • Net result combat roll of D6-1

Double-checking the rules after the game, I think we made the right call.

8.3 HMGs / Crew Served Weapons
A Weapon that fights by itself or with a PC is -2 (plus any modifier for the PC). If it fights with another non-weapon Squad or a CC it fights normally (i.e. no -2) counting as an additional Squad.

These include Heavy weapons such as: Heavy Machineguns (HMGs), 81mm Mortars, and Infantry Guns (IG)… The term Squad will be used to describe game procedures that apply equally to both Squad and Heavy Weapons stands.

8.3 Close Combat Modifiers
Each Squad Larger: +1 for each additional Squad (PCs / FOs do not count)

I hope our deliberation helps you out of a jam, when you give these small scenarios a go. And you should. What’s stopping you? They’re right here!

Ian Taylor

East Neuk Irregulars: Targe 2017

It saddens me to let you know that Ian Taylor (2nd from right) passed away peacefully at his home this morning surrounded by his family. Ian was an integral member of the East Neuk Irregulars and together we put on public participation games at many a Scottish wargames show. You may have enjoyed his banter, his handiwork and if you’re a trader, his business over the years. He will be sorely missed. Rest in peace brother.

Unconditional Surrender! on BGA

I’ve been frequenting the Board Game Arena website to play boardgames online for over a year now and would heartily recommend it. It’s free to create an account, there are no ads, and you can play a whole host of boardgames with your friends or other BGA users. Some games can only be kicked off by a premium member, but all games can be played with a standard free account.

ANYWAY… I was gobsmacked to see the news that they now have a hex & counter wargame available to play. I’ve not played Unconditional Surrender before, and I must admit the 50 page rules tome is a little daunting, BUT it’s a wargame nonetheless. I hope to have a crack at it before too long…

Click here to visit the Boardgame Arena website for more info!

Franco-Prussian War resources

The wargaming butterfly strikes again! I seem to have found myself exploring the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871) of all things. As luck would have it, I actually had the Wargames Illustrated FPW special (#313) secreted on the bookshelf waiting for this special day.

But WI being WI, they’ve covered this conflict many times over the years. A bit of digging later, and I unearthed a treasure trove of FPW articles. They too, can be yours. Simply get a WI Prime membership and search in The Vault on their website. Membership only costs £1 for the first month.

I’ve listed the issue numbers below with some explanatory blurb where the subject wasn’t clear from the article title.

Do let me know if I’ve missed any!

  • 002: 25mm Franco-Prussian Wargaming (Matthew Hawkins)
  • 004: Reflections on Firepower in the Franco-Prussian War (Peter Dennis)
  • 005: Schlachtenbummler (Richard Brooks)
  • 010: Rules for the Use of the Prussian Artillery 1870-71 (Martin Tomczak)
  • 014: Organisation and Equipment of the Prussian Artillery 1870-71 (Martin Tomczak)
  • 017: French Colonial Troops and the Franco-Prussian War (Stephen Shann)
  • 063: St Jerôme – A Franco-Prussian Battle by Phone
  • 063: Back To Basics V – Writing Scenarios (Richard Clarke)
  • 064: Back To Basics VI – Campaigns (Richard Clarke)
  • 065: They Died For Glory – A Review (Richard Clarke)
  • 075: Franco-Prussian War Scenarios (G.J. Kennerley)
  • 080: Franco-Prussian War Naval Lists (Andrew Barrow)
  • 080: “A Berlin!” – Rules for refighting actions from the Franco-German War 1870-1871 (Philip Robinson)
  • 083: The Mitrailleuse in the Franco-Prussian War (Steve Shann)
  • 083: 1866… and all that (Richard Clarke)
  • 084: Tactics in the Franco-Prussian War pt. 1 – French Tactical Doctrine (Mike Johnson)
  • 085: Tactics in the Franco-Prussian War pt. 2 – Prussian Tactical Doctrine (Mike Johnson)
  • 086: Tactics in the Franco-Prussian War pt. 3 – From Reality to Rules (Mike Johnson)
  • 106: Von Boltenstern & The Principles of War (Richard Clarke)
  • 169: Campaigns for Scenario Writers – The Franco-Prussian War (Jeff Fletcher)
  • 209: A Comedy of Errors – or How Not to Win a 19th Century Battle (Mark Jones)
  • 237: The Battle of Artenay, 1870 (Adrian Martins)
  • 276: Polishing That Old Gem – Adapting The Battle of Froschwiller Worth to Black Powder (John Desch)
  • 313: Ah, Les Braves Gens – Wargaming the Franco-Prussian War (Gerard Miller)
  • 313: Dashed Hopes – The Battle of Wörth (David Tuck)
  • 313: Big Battle, Big Game – The Battle of Gravelotte-St Privat (David Marks)
  • 313: Franco-Prussian War Figure Round Up (Wayne Bollands)
  • 361: 1871 – Bruce Weigle’s Designer Notes

Newline Designs summer sale

Newline Designs have launched their summer sale with 25% off to celebrate 25 years in the business!

I’m already the proud owner of miniatures from their 20mm American Civil War, Colonial, Napoleonic and their 1/72nd Sikh War ranges. Personally I don’t see all that much of a difference between the 20mm and 1/72nd figures that I’ve seen, and I’m sure I’ll be mixing and matching some more of their masterful handiwork before too long 🙂