Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Gaming in the Age of Anti-Political Correctness*

"Rolled another 1? You're FIRED!!!!"

In this age of Trump, UKIP, AfD, Front National, and closer to home One Nation and Andrew Bolt, it behooves all middle aged white men to tell it like it is, no matter who gets offended (dammit, you're just not telling it like it is if someone isn't offended!). Wargaming, being the preserve of middle aged white men, is the perfect forum for expressing this trend.

This last Saturday saw the club's Mitcham premises given over to the Pirates in September Mega-Game! Yaarrr, cringe-me-nurgles and a yo-ho-ho! While the setting gives a nod to the Golden Age of Piracy, it reflected maybe more closely the Golden Age of Hollywood; Errol Flynn would probably have fitted in more than the real Blackbeard or Anne Bonney. However, the inclusion of vessels crewed by Goblins, Kriegsmarine and even Dad's Army added extra evidence that historical accuracy was not really a priority (added to that, random events like The Kraken, The Ghostship and The Maelstrom all added a Hollywood special FX feel to the game!). The brain-child of club stalwart Fly, who not only organises but co-umpires, this annual event is fast becoming a highlight of the club calendar.

How does the Age of Anti-Political Correctness feature? Well, I'm pretty sure that our individual missions wouldn't pass the Guardian-reading, Greens voting, Fair-Trade coffee sipping, pinko-leftie, liberal test of all things PC! Viz. my initial objective was to collect a native idol to bring back to the English port for historical/cultural research and be-damned what the natives think of the pillage of their religious and cultural artifacts! After successfully carrying out my first mission without being caught by the natives, I was given the task of collecting fruit from Horseshoe Island and transporting it to the Dutch port for medical research, again natives be-damned at having their food-crops raided. My 3rd and final task was to abduct a 'lady' and deliver her to the pirate port of Flytuga into the tender clutches of the pirates in order to show her a good time! Luckily I hadn't secured a map or navigator to find the pirates' base and the wind was against me before I could reach the Spanish port to 'recruit' a likely candidate. 

I shudder to think what the other missions could have been; Trade muskets to one side of a native civil war in exchange for slaves? Transport those slaves to the New World plantations? Deliver TB infected blankets to unsuspecting native villages? Demand opium trading rights at gunpoint? Proselytising? I know at least one other task was to deliver a missionary to the native island. Whether his mission to convert the savages was a success or if he ended up paying the price for my cultural vandalism I never found out.... Anyway, I shouldn't go on; it might give them ideas for next year!

What have I said?! 

I was playing the part of a British privateer crew, so I started in the British port along with the other  privateer and RN crews. This year my vessel was christened the HMS Hiddleswift (geddit? My SHIP name? RelationSHIP? Tom Hiddleston and Taylor Swift? Anyone....anyone? Am I the only one with teenage daughters?.... Sigh!... I'll get my coat...) Naming it after a relationSHIP which had already foundered seemed like a smart thing to do. Last time I named my boat the Brangelina and it sank not once but 3 times; a portent of things to come? I wonder....

The British port, my home base.

The Spanish port. 

The Spanish treasure ship!
No one took them on despite the booty; they were over-crewed and over-gunned!

The Ghost Ship and spooky island!


Wakanda Island.

Home to fierce natives and target of cultural pillage!

Flytuga, the pirate homebase.

Adventure Island.
Both Flytuga and Adventure Island were accessible only to players who had either assembled the map from clues bought or stolen, or who had access to natives to navigate them there.

The mermaid. Looks like she's got a bikini tan!
She was the object of one task: Take her to the French port for medical experimentation!

A militant Jesuit missionary and some pirate treasure.

Local denizens of the Spanish port

The strumpet who doesn't know how lucky she was that I ran out of time!

The Spanish governor and lackeys

Das Boot!

The Opium Ship! This special ship had a cargo of opium worth a king's ransom. Also adds bonuses to crew if taken before combat, at the expense of turning them into addicts and requiring a crew replacement at your home port !

Dad's Army!

The Dutch port.

AWI troops masquerading as Dutch infantry?

My lads on their way to a successful bit of cultural pillaging!

Capt. Bertie Bugler mans the Hiddleswift  while the away party completes the mission

Success! The idol is on its way back to the British port.

Meanwhile, all the pirates have struck on a guaranteed method of success; Co-operation!
The pirates attack the French port en masse

The Spanish galleon leads the treasure ship across the high seas.

Yarrrrr! (or should that be ¡El Yarrrro!)

The treasure ship remains unmolested.

WooooOOOOoooH! SpoooOOoooKy!

The giant octopus was another objective for players to capture....

....while the Kraken was a randomised event to make things interesting for players!

The pirate attack continues on the French port!

The name of Capt. Paul's ship.
He's a funny lad!

Flush with dubloons, the Hiddleswift heads off on its next mission, sailing between the Kraken off the port side...

...and the Ghost Ship on the starboard bow!

Dubloons safely stowed, the Hiddleswift dodges danger to approach Horseshoe island to find a pair of scurvy dogs have already stripped the fruit from the trees after dealing with the hostile natives! Curses!

Time for a broadside or two! 

After some desultory fire which only resulted in a waste of powder and shot, I decided that trade negotiations were called for: Spices were duly swapped for fruit trees.
 See kids? Violence isn't always the answer!

The umpires decided that the rampaging pirates were having it too easy: Send in the Kraken!

Meanwhile, back at the Spanish port, the galleon has docked alongside the Girl Power pirate ship which had just launched an underhanded, if unsuccessful, raid on the Opium Ship which has since beat a hasty retreat.

A close up detail of the rigging on on the galleon. Masterfully scratchbuilt vessel with, John B., the shipwright himself, in the background.

*This is a satirical post written with tongue planted firmly in cheek. No minorities were offended in the playing of this game. This blog-post, however, is another thing completely....

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Bits 'n' Bobs

I didn't manage to post these before the big game, but the eagle-eyed among you may already have spotted these from the previous post. 

Up to now, I haven't had a British army command stand, only a divisional one, so I needed to make one before the display game. The general comes from the Revell British infantry set, with a head swap using the HaT infantry command head, the colonel is from the HaT command set with a shako head instead of the bicorne, and the staff galloper is a hussar from the Italeri light dragoon set. The horses from the light dragoons have no shabraques, so I made a sheepskin shabraque using Milliput. I also added cotton thread reins glued to the hand from which the pistol had been cut.


The object of the game was a baggage train and the only cart I had was a civilian one, so I snapped up the Italeri baggage cart when I saw it in the shops. The road on the base is the same as that I made for my terrain collection.

Also, I recently painted up another 9-figure battalion of infanterie légère using HaT light infantry figures, including a head conversion of the officer using a Franznap metal conversion head. The plume is slightly shorter, but I'm not fussed.

I only have 3 light infantry battalions, so with divisions of 4 brigades, I'm short one légère battalion. Just for the sake of balance I've created this bunch, but too late to feature in the big game.

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