Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The tottering giant


Ever since I've been a proper wargamer, the miniatures page forum (TMP) has bestrode the virtual wargaming world like a colossus. It's been the place to go to for news, general info, chat, and good advice; the spot to meet like-minded enthusiasts, to share a recent thrill, post a link to a latest game report, or hear the things in wargameville that are exciting people.

Being myself physically distant from any other miniatures gamers, TMP and TMPers taught me most of what I needed to know about collecting, prepping, painting, researching and so on when I first got into the hobby. Of course, there were other good places too (and good people - thanks Luke and Pat), but if you needed to know something right now, or if you were facing a conundrum and wanted to see how others with more experience had handled that same issue in the past, or if you wanted interesting discussions, TMP was indispensable. In fact, I would not be a wargamer without TMP, and I owe it and its denizens a huge debt (in more ways than one, says my wife. Ha!).

So the fact that things have not been right there for quite some time, that periods of calm followed by bitter and seemingly unnecessary blow ups over peripheral things that have nothing really to do with the primary aspects of our hobby contrive to drive more and more people away, is a great shame.

I finished up my membership there in January or February of this year, for reasons which I won't go into, but I still drop by as a casual viewer.

All things go in cycles, and as I've said here before, there seems to be a trend in the hobby towards fracturing, but it's a shame to see such a formerly (and, for me, formatively) influential place in such a bad way. Maybe the editor at TMP has just been doing it too long and has had enough. It's hard to maintain enthusiasm and keep perspective on one thing for as long as he has; perhaps he's just worn out and hasn't quite seen it yet.

I think there was a tremendous amount of goodwill around TMP for a long time, but it seems to be running on empty at the moment. Some people with a bone to pick are glad about that, but I am not glad about it at all. It was a huge help to me and I don't enjoy iconoclasm for its own sake.

In the end though, it's only wargaming; it's no great matter. Still, for a time, it was about as good as a wargaming warren gets, and, being the place that nurtured me as a fledgling gamer, worth remembering with fondness and gratitude.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Alexander: a great diversion

To keep myself sane between bouts of work and assignments due I've decided to run through a little Alexander campaign using the boardgame version of Lost Battles. Oddly enough, in all my years of playing Lost Battles, I haven't actually played through the Alexander scenarios. I did a couple of turns of the Granicus for a video tutorial, but as far as I can recall, that's all.

I had been waiting to finish painting up my Persians to do the Alexander battles, but as the big guy in the sky alone knows when that project may ever be completed, what's wrong with cheating a little and using the boardgame for its intended purpose?

Anyway, I played through the Granicus scenario last night, so here's an account of the affair.

Deployment turn, with the Persians in the foreground. They have a line of horse defending behind the river with mercenary hoplites off table ready to march into prominence. Alexander commands his right, with the Macedonian cavalry and the hypaspists as his main strike force. The phalanx is in the centre, and Parmenion holds the left.



Here it is transposed to our representation. Blue represents the Persians, red the Macedonians.


On turn two the Persians engage the Macedonian right and the hoplites come onto the field. Alexander attacks; Companion cavalry advances to engage the Persian left; Parmenion advances.


Turn three has the Persians outflanking Parmenion and reinforcing the centre with the Greek mercenaries. A lack of commands limits the effectiveness of the Persian attacks, but the phalanx is under pressure crossing the river.

Alexander is forced to pull back the Agrianians and the Prodromoi after heavy fighting. The hypaspists advance to bear the brunt of the Persian resistance while Alexander himself probes for a weak point.


On turn four a powerful Persian attack supported by the Greek hoplites sees the central phalanx waver, but it holds due to a timely intervention of the Gods (the 'Favour of the Gods' counter was played by Alexander to force a re-roll of a spectacularly successful Persian attack; an attack which could not be repeated so effectively the second time).

The Companions are victorious on the far right of the Macedonian line.


On turn five the Persian line continues to crumble. The left gives way as Alexander commits himself to the forefront of the fight.


On turn six the Persians rout entirely.


After victory points are tallied, the Macedonians and their young king have won a clear - bordering on major - victory, and Darius III has a fight on his hands.


So, a good start for Alexander. He was fortunate indeed to have the Gods on his side!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

All's quiet

There is little to report here of late. My internet buddy Andrea and I have an age of fighting sail game going on over VASSAL at a (thankfully!) leisurely pace, but apart from that and the odd bit of online chess, there is not much going on as far as gaming as concerned.

Normandy '44 has been removed from the hobby table to make way for coursework which is, boringly enough, going to take up my hobby time until the end of July; all primed or partly-painted figures are in boxes awaiting time and motivation; rulebooks are in their accustomed places on shelves; and the only thing that I'm doing of any real interest is reading at nights and on trains the decidedly unwargamerly but nevertheless very fine Anna Karenina.

There are a few plans afoot however, and the coursework taking up time now is hopefully going to prove useful later in keeping the wolf from the door.

Until next time...
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