Monday, 15 May 2017


Recently, Arthur and I spent a most enjoyable weekend on a grognard road trip. We travelled to Dublin to attend Chimera Con. Chimera con is a day long board war-game convention, with a focus on the larger, longer and more complex war games. This event is designed to create the critical mass of players, time and table space, to make these games happen. The convention included experienced game facilitators, tutorials for new players and a free play area for pickup or shorter games.

The trip started on the Friday when we hooked up with gaming buddy Al, who happened to be in Dublin for the weekend, for a game of Triumph and Tragedy. This game went the full term, with a Western Allied hegemony victory eked out in a very tight affair. The Allies (played by moi) remained at peace while the Russians (played by Arthur) and Germans (played by Al) got involved in a costly war in the Balkans, triggered by the ever aggressive "Reds", who got over zealous following early military success’s. Will he never learn? .The night was finished off with a few beers and the excellent card game "Battle Line" as the perfect filler, a new version has been developed with a medieval theme.
On the Saturday we started early and made the short trip to the Teachers Club in Parnell Square where Chimera con was being held. We joined thirty eight fellow grognards for a day’s gaming, attendees were mostly Irish with a few brothers in attendance from Poland and Italy. A range of war games were played on the day including …..

 The Longest Day.

 The Longest Day.

Here I Stand

 Here I Stand.

 It Never Snows.

 It Never Snows.

Triumph and Tragedy.

Struggle of Empires.
The day was closed out with a few well needed pints in the clubs bar with organiser Rob and fellow attendees. This was a chance to do a little post game analysis and talk all things wargaming.  A BIG thank you to Rob, who organised the event and was the driving force behind the whole endeavour. All in all it was a wonderful opportunity to network with fellow hobbyists from across the island of Ireland. Hopefully this is the first of what will become an annual event in the Irish wargame calendar.
On the way home on Sunday we visited Glasnevin cemetery. The cemetery contains historically notable monuments and the graves of many of Ireland's most prominent national figures. These include Michael Collins, Daniel O’Connell, Parnell, De Valera, O’Donovan Rossa, Kevin Barry and Roger Casement, to name but a few. Arthur remarked how ironic it was that some of those who were bitter rivals and enemies in life now lay a few feet apart united, neighbours in death.

Tower, Glasnevin Cemetery.

Tree lined avenue Glasnevin Cemetery.
The final event on the trip was a visit to the Irish Military Museum outside Ardee in County Meath. The site covers 5000 square feet of floor space and recreates examples of trenches from the First World War. The Museum also houses a large collection of WW2 Allied and Axis vehicles and deactivated weapons. By good fortune we happened to visit the museum on its annual open day weekend so found a large number of military vehicle enthusiast’s and reenactors in attendance.
 Comrades pass the vodka.

Pak 40. 

Weapons and uniforms.

 Armoured Car-Desert Rats, last seen service in First Gulf War.

WWII reenactors.
 Wild Geese - Vietnam reenactors.

Bray opens up with the Vickers.

A most enjoyable excursion. Now it's time for a good sleep, a welcome return to some proper food and planning how to inform the wife that the Qcon road trip takes place next month. Ear plugs any one!

Monday, 20 February 2017


Out of the box.

Ohhh yes indeed. At long last the deluxe version of  "Triumph and Tragedy" has become available and Mr Postman left it with me this weekend. Triumph and Tragedy now sits at number five in board game geeks wargame list, having had a rapid rise through the ranks. I sold my first edition copy a while ago because I wanted the upgraded version. The upgrade includes a mounted map, improved chits, a larger box and updated rules with minor changes and errata update. All I need to do now is round up the usual suspects and roll a few dice.

Mounted map.

 Chits, old above new below.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017


Whats on the gaming table for February. 

I am playing around with some of the functionality within YouTube, trying to edit video etc. Coppola, Tarantino watch your back.

Saturday, 17 December 2016


The aftermath of Sekigahara.

Al and I broke out Sekigahara for a couple of games this afternoon. Its been in hiatus for a while now and its return has been long over due. Our last play went right to the wire, to the very last card in fact. I just about managed to hold of Als "Tokugawa" resurgence. 

This GMT gem is now in its third printing and one of those games that I will always have in my collection. Its a classic that is engaging for those non wargamers who like to play card games, while having enough tension and tactic's to hold the interest of the grognard.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

KURSK "43".

 Decisions, decisions.

I just spend a wonderful days gaming with fellow grognard Arthur. We got stuck into a learning game of the Kursk scenario from Columbia games "Eastfront II". The rules are tight with no ambiguity and run to twenty four pages . We covered everything except paratroops, sea movement and breakthroughs in our game. Sadly we didn't get to explore the joys of pocketing or the terrors of blitz exploitation, so very little experience yet of the supply rules. Its early days but the timing of blitz's would appear to be very important as would the ability to maintain any breakouts with sufficient HQ support.

Marshal Bray ponders his options.

Can't wait to get this one to the table again and try new stratagems. The ultimate goal is to play the full campaign from Barbarossa to the fall of Berlin. A welcome break from some of the lighter fair I have been playing recently. 

Friday, 9 December 2016


Cover art Eastfront II.

I have been after a copy of Eastfront II for sometime, it has been my grail game. I had been watching ebay and the geek for quite a while to try and acquire a used copy, all to no avail. Finally I decided to purchase the game new but it was unavailable in most UK stockists and it required a little searching to eventually locate a copy. 

I played the first edition a few years ago at Qcon and enjoyed the experience, even if I had my rear handed to me by David my opponent, who kindly taught me the game. I have printed player aids, additional copies of the rules and even made additional chits for blitz, river crossings etc. 

Eastfront map in all its glory.

After reading the rules a couple of times I have set up and played the Edelweiss scenario solo, which is recommended for the newbie. Tonight I set up the Kursk scenario and Arthur is coming over on Monday for a learning game. All is now ready, start up those Panzer engines, prepare those katyusha rockets, the biggest tank battle in history is just about to begin.

Edelweiss scenario from the Russian perspective.

Sunday, 6 November 2016


The wonderful box art of Caesar's Gallic War.

I have managed to play a game of "Caesar's Gallic War", a block wargame by Worthington games. The game is themed around the Gallic Wars a series of military campaigns waged by the Roman proconsul Julius Caesar against several Gallic tribes. Rome's war against the Gallic tribes lasted from 58 BC to 50 BC and culminated in the decisive Battle of Alesia in 52 BC. Rome's victory resulted in the expansion of the Roman Republic over the whole of Gaul, present-day France and Belgium.

The game feels quite fluid, with cards available to change the allegiance of tribes. It is difficult for the Romans to build a platform to drive the Germanic tribes back across the Rhine without them looking over there shoulder at the ever resentful and potentially vengeful Gallic barbarians who have been subjugated or are allied. We played with the full optional rules, as ever once you have played a game to get a handle on the rules you can focus on strategy in subsequent plays. One slight issue I have with the game is the graphics. My old man eyes struggle to make out what tribe each block belonged to. The tribal names could have been increased in size or used clearer font. It's a bit early to tell if this is a keeper or if it should go on the trade list. The initial signs are good however. A couple of plays should reveal all. 

Monday, 17 October 2016


Twilight Struggle.

I have been spending a little time with the classic above and it has been goooood. During the last game with Al, I managed to trigger a thermonuclear war, having drawn a number of war cards and been unable to dump them to the space race. Plenty more meat on the bone of this one.

 Caesar's Gallic War.

I acquired Caesar's Gallic War on ebay recently, it's a block war game by Worthington games set during Caesar's campaign to pacify Gaul. Looks interesting and has been described as "Hammer of the Gauls", taking as it does many influences and mechanisms  from Columbia Games "Hammer of The Scots". I hope to do an unboxing in the near future. The wife has been known to raise her eyes to the gods and shake her head at my viewing of unboxing video's. She doesn't understand this is vital research, vital knowledge etc etc. It in no way means that I am a sad and obsessed grognard game addict, who needs to get out of the house more or at least undertake counselling for Peter Pan syndrome, the boy who never grew up. 

Screw that, I will do the video when she is out shopping, I'm not mad and I don't have a problem.

Space Hulk.

Finally my son and I followed Rodney Smith's "Watched it Played" youtube videos for "Space Hulk". We both enjoyed them so much that I bought a copy. Three games later and he is not hooked. My daughter has expressed an interest in playing a game so I will hold on it for a little longer, but it may be be shown the door soon if it fails to gain some traction. Not sure if an introduction to "Aliens" will improve the games up take or hinder it. 

Space Hulk, scenario one ready to go. Sensors on 
click ... click ... click.  
We're all gonna die, man.

Sunday, 2 October 2016


Al and I have being indulging in "Hammer of the Scots" recently, a fun intro wargame, It is light and frothy but now its time for a change of pace, time for a more meaty dish. That dish is best served cold, a Cold War - Twilight Struggle. In talking to Al he informed me that he was at school and remembered the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. Similarly I remember many of the late war event cards from this classic card driven game. We plan to commit to a number of games of  "Twilight Struggle" as repeated plays leads to familiarity of the card deck which in turn will lead to greater enjoyment.


Friday, 23 September 2016


Last month I had the opportunity to attend an evening preview of the new galleries at Enniskillen Museum. Four new galleries have been created the Fermanagh Lakelands Gallery 1 and 2; the Our Town Gallery; and the Full Circle Art Gallery. What had once been an old health centre has been transformed into an impressive Visitor Centre. The centre includes a cafe and shop on the ground floor; a genealogy centre; a castle viewing area; and a history hub, providing access to the museum’s photographic, oral and digital film archives. I have included a few photographs taken while on the tour. The highlights for me were a digital display of my grandfathers homestead, a building I played in as a young child, and a number of items from the collection of Johnny McKeagney a local folklorist and historian, now sadly deceased. The museum is a must visit for locals and visitors to the county. 

The sloped wall of the ammunition magazine, slopped inwards to contain any accidental explosion.


Door of Enniskillen goal.

 Stone sculpture.

 A view from the castle walls over looking Lough Erne.

My grandfathers homestead.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016


A short snapshot of what I plan to get to the wargaming table for September 2016.

Sunday, 21 August 2016


Crusader Rex 2nd Edition. 

Recently I have been playing a few games of Hammer of the Scots. Hammer has been a regular visitor to my table over recent years. So when I had the opportunity to make a trade for its close relative Crusader Rex , pictured above,  I jumped at the opportunity. Crusader Rex is a block wargame set in the 3rd Crusade. The objective is to control victory cities including Acre, Jerusalem and Antioch.This game shares many of the mechanics applied in Hammer of the Scots with subtle differences such as sieges, harrying, mustering and the hit and run ability of the Saracens and the Knights charge of the Franks.

Blocks and stickers.

I was delighted to find that the game was new and in shrink when I opened my parcel, so I settled down to a beer and a couple of hours of sticker on block action.

Event cards.

Followed by the sleeving of the cards. I did notice that the game will require a perspex sheet as the board is light card and doesn't lay flat. 

So with all this done its time to play cards, shift some blocks, roll dice and curse or cry as events unfold.

Monday, 11 July 2016

QCON 2016.

Qcon 2016 has been and gone. This year, I travelled to Belfast with fellow geeks Arthur and David S. We stayed in Queens accommodation, a short 10 minute walk from where Qcon was taking place. It proved to be an ideal location, as we could line our stomachs with a full breakfast before heading to the con itself for some quality gaming. I snapped a few photos using my phone during the event, be warned some of them aren't great. I have used the best below. 

As normal we attended the comedy event in the Mandela Hall on the Friday evening to watch the award winning Adam Bloom, supported by Donal Vaughan  with the usual compère Colin Murphy. One of the better comedy events was the general consensus on the night

Q comedy.

One of the highlights of this year's Qcon was getting to play Condottiere a game which I have been looking to acquire for some time now, but which sadly is out of print. Happily fantasy flight are due to release a reprint later this year.


On the Saturday we went old school wargaming with Soldier King. While fun, it is not something I would rush to play again as it has dated and shows its age and there are just to many more interesting modern wargames, with better mechanics.

Soldier King.

Arthur and Dave strategise.

On Sunday we played the excellent Triumph and Tragedy with Darragh, to the right in the photo below, jumping in for myself mid game. Arthur (Germans) made an early stab against the Western Allies played by Dave. He managed to take Paris but failed to launch operation Sealion against England, as Darraghs Soviets piled in on his eastern front. As always with "Triumph and Tragedy"  a great game with the participants discussing the what if's and if onlys post game and making plans for how they would approach the game if playing again .

Triumph and Tragedy.

A big thanks to Dave, who introduced us to a number of fun games over the weekend and as always it was great to meet new grognards like Darragh, who like ourselves, have the wargame fever.