Summer of 77 show game coming to Salute 51

The Maidstone Wargames Society is pleased to announce our show game for 2024.

The Luftwaffe approach the south coast of Britain and their first set of targets, the radar stations.

We present the Summer of 77, a world war two Battle of Britain participation game. Why 1977? I hear you cry. Our show game is based on a simple game that appeared in the 1977 summer edition of Warlord magazine and is the brainchild of society member Phil who has turned it into a full scale 3D landscape.

Fully detailed landscape of the English countryside, towns and villages. Not to mention those all important airfields and radar stations!

The game has already made a successful appearance at this years Cavalier show in Tonbridge and will make its next appearance at Salute 51 on the 13th April, we are table GJ05 on the show plan. If you’re at the show come and try your hand at thwarting the Luftwaffe. You can also find out all about the game including how it was constructed on our show game page Summer of 77.

Spitfires prepare to scramble to meet the incoming German fighters and bombers.


A busy weekend, Society meeting 24th February and Cavalier 25th February

Andy rounds up a busy weekend for the Society. Photos by Andy unless stated otherwise, header photo by Stephen.

Last weekend saw both a Society meeting and our annual trip to the Cavalier Wargames show run by Tunbridge Wells Wargames Society.

Only three games at the meeting on Saturday, perhaps due to some members only being able to get out on one of the days.

First up, David ran a Napoleonic Corps game using General d’Armee rules and figures from his collection. This was a popular game with half a dozen members partaking.

Eric ran a Judge Dredd RPG, only a couple of photos of this one I’m afraid.

Judge Dredd RPG
Judge Dredd Bar room Brawl

Finally on Saturday Andy and Stephen finished off their Lion Rampant Five Battles campaign, joined this time by Treasurer Mark and new member Charlotte.

Game one.

This was a Convoy mission, the Christians had to escort three “baggage” markers diagonally across the table, a cart, some monks and some civilians. The Muslim forces had to stop them.

Much reduced cavalry face off (Charlotte)
Andy’s convoy and escorts (Charlotte)
Egyptian Light Cavalry (Charlotte)

Game 2. This was to be our “Big Battle”, with two commands on each side. Here the objective was simply to defeat the opposition.

Andy’s warband
Andy’s Warband (Charlotte)
Charlotte’s and Stephen’s warbands
Stephen’s view point (Stephen)

We will post a write up of the final games in the campaign in the near future.


On Sunday half a dozen or so members travelled to Tonbridge for Cavalier.

The Society’s game for this year was masterminded and built by Phil, and was a 3D representation of a map game published in the 1977 Warlord Comic Summer Special portraying a Luftwaffe raid on Southern England during the Battle of Britain.

Phil’s board, 560 individually marked squares!
Airfields and ammunition dumps are three of the targets for the Luftwaffe
A close up of the town
A copy of the original game can just be seen at the bottom of the photo

The Quest Begins

Tony F reports on the beginnings of an epic journey.

About four years ago, Games Workshop released The Quest of the Ringbearer, the latest source book in their Middle Earth Strategy Battle series. This is centred around a series of 28 scenarios which, if played in succession, tell the story of Frodo’s journey across Middle Earth to destroy the One Ring. It’s a bit of a mash-up between the story as told in the book, and the slightly different version in Peter Jackson’s films.

Phil and I have finally managed to get ourselves into gear and started on our Quest at the first meeting of the year. The initial scenarios are quite short, so we managed to race through the first four, even with the club AGM being held during the meeting ! Aiding us were Andy, who joined Phil on the Evil side, while Jon R played with me on the side of all that is Good. This report will cover the first two scenarios, with the next two in a separate post.

Scenario 1 – Farmer Maggot’s Crop
“The hounds of love are hunting”

Farmer Maggot’s cottage

This was a simple starter scenario, with the four hobbits (Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin) being on the evil side for once, trying to steal cabbages from Farmer Maggot’s field. Defending the brassicas were Maggot along with his three dogs, Grip, Wolf and Fang. The hobbits had to steal five cabbages from the field and get it back to their stash, while the dogs had to inflict sufficient bites on the backsides of the thieving hobbits to drive them away. Because this was nothing more than a scrumping mission, no-one could ‘die’ – when the dogs took a wound they ran back to their kennel until the Farmer sent them back again, while a hobbit that lost all of their wounds would run away and abandon the expedition.

Starting positions for scenario 1. The hobbits by their stash (giant tomato), Grip, Fang and Wolf by the kennel and Farmer Maggot asleep in his cottage.

In our playthrough, the hobbits got off to a good start, stealing their first cabbage and sending two of the dogs back to the kennel almost immediately. However, Wolf showed early form by biting Sam – in fact Wolf would be responsible for most of the wounds we inflicted. As soon as one of the dogs took a wound it woke Farmer Maggot, and as the mechanics of the scenario meant that the Farmer had to be touching the kennel in order to release any hound that had slunk back to it, Jon and I decided that our best course of action was simply to leave him there so that the dogs would be immediately be back into the fray.

Sam fends off Fang while the others gather cabbages

With two of the dogs temporarily out of action, the hobbits managed to grab a further three cabbages before they returned. When a hobbit was charged it had to drop its plunder, so not all of the cabbages made it back to the stash point when the dogs returned. As all three dogs got into action we started whittling the hobbits’ numbers down, with Wolf playing a starring role, until there was only one left facing all three dogs, with two plunder tokens still needed – a couple of good bites and it was all over.

The scenario was pretty well balanced, we felt – the hobbits managed to make it off with three of the required five cabbages, and could easily have made it further had Jon not rolled something like four successive sixes towards the end of the game.

Scenario 2 – Short Cuts Make Long Delays
“It’s in the trees – it’s coming !”

This scenario saw three of the four hobbits lost in the forest on the way to Crickhollow (Merry has already gone ahead). Three Ringwraiths are closing in on them, and only the intervention of Gildor Inglorion can save them. The hobbits started in the lee of a large hedge which runs through the forest; the Ringwraiths started in the centre of three of the board edges, while Gildor was on the fourth, Eastern edge (he got to start 3″ in because the Good side won the previous scenario). The objective was to get Frodo off the Eastern side of the table.

The Ringwraiths are in ‘Sentry’ mode – each turn they must roll a dice and depending on the result they could either move normally, at half speed, stay still or even in some cases be moved by the Good side. Conversely, the hobbits are all petrified of what could be in the woods so they each had to make a Courage test every turn – pass and they could move normally, fail and the Evil side got to move them. Once a Ringwraith spotted a hobbit (which was only at 3″ range in the woods) the alarm was raised and everyone could move normally. So these rolls would be crucial to the outcome – if the hobbits could evade detection for long enough then Frodo could escape.

Sam and Frodo make for the eastern table edge, but Pippin has been spooked by noises in the forest and has fallen behind.

The Ringwraiths pottered around pretty randomly – the one on the Southern edge came up with several 1s on his movement rolls, allowing the Good side to move him away, and he gained the nickname ‘Sh*t Ringwraith’ from has master which stuck for the rest of the day. The Western ‘wraith quickly moved up to the hedge with a decent couple of rolls. Pippin then failed a courage test and the Evil side moved him back towards the hedge and things looked dicey – one more dodgy roll and the alarm would be raised, which would allow the Ringwraiths to quickly close in with their superior speed. But the Western ‘wraith twice failed his rolls to cross the hedge, and spent two turns untangling his cloak from the branches, allowing Pippin to get away. Pippin did fail at least one more courage test but the Good side, being somewhat more decorous, decided not to christen him the ‘Sh*t Hobbit’.

Pippin on his lonesome, waiting for a Black Rider to find him…
… but the Ringwraith in question has snagged his cloak on the hedge and spends several turns trying to cross !

This left just the Northern Ringwraith as a threat – but by this time Gildor had moved up to meet the hobbits and was shielding Frodo. Since the scenario only required Frodo to escape, we decided we’d sacrifice the other two if necessary to get him away. So Sam and Pippin moved into blocking positions and Gildor hurried the Ringbearer off the table. Pippin was struck down in the last turn, but it was nevertheless a victory for the Good side again (rolling after the game, Pippin was determined to not be entirely dead, so his sacrifice was worth it).

Sam and Frodo make for the eastern table edge, but Pippin has been spooked by noises in the forest and has fallen behind.

The scenario was tricky for the Evil side, but depending on the random movement rolls for the Ringwraiths it could have gone entirely differently – and getting stuck on the hedge for two turns (only a 1-in-6 chance) effectively took one of them out of the game. What was key for the Good side was that Frodo, with his higher courage value, didn’t fail a single test and so could move towards the edge of the table at full speed every turn, making it in the minimum possible time.

‘Come on if you think you’re hard enough !’ – Gildor shepherds Frodo and Sam to safety ahead of other wraith.

So – after two scenarios, it’s

Good 2-0 Evil

Barons at war

Stephen reports on a series of Barons War games played at a recent meeting.

We had a Barons’ War session recently.

We kept it small, with 500 point retinues, which meant we got three games in.

What’s nice about Barons’ War is the scenario content – there’s 15 different scenarios with 12 different deployment options. Which makes 180 different combinations. That’s not bad, eh?

Stand firm

We chose scenarios and deployments randomly.

Game 1

First up was #10 ‘Hidden Treasures’ with Deployment Map 3 (both opposite each other in the traditional way).

Deployment 3

In this scenario each player places 3 objectives. When a player controls an objective you roll a D6 and on a 6 you’ve found the treasure (all other objectives are then removed) and the winner is the one who has possession at the end of Turn 5.

Tony was using a mixed force of knights, sergeants, spearmen, and crossbowmen. He won initiative and, since he started in control of one of the objectives, rolled a dice and…nope, no treasure. This was the first time Tony had played Barons’ War, and it had been a while since I played, so it was very much a ‘get to know the rules’ game. He advanced his sergeants and his spearmen (being led by a sergeant commander).

Outlaws in the cabbage patch

My retinue was made up predominantly of outlaws. My archers also started in control of one of the objectives (in a cabbage patch) so I rolled a D6 and…I got a 6! The treasure was mine, now all I had to do was hold on to it for the rest of the game.

Both my archers and Tony’s crossbows were behind fences and hedges, and at long range to each other, so we stayed put and exchanged a bit of missile fire – the odd casualty but essentially harassment fire. I also engaged Tony’s knights with my archers as he moved into the centre. The rest of our units got stuck in with the melees  and by the end of turn 5 the treasure was still in the hands of my outlaws, so game 1 went to me.

Typical high street behaviour

Game 2

Second game was #6 ‘Tear It Down’ with Deployment Map 11 (in a kind of wedge shape).

Deployment 11

In this scenario the two players again placed 3 objectives each but the idea was that you had to burn your opponent’s objective by being in control of them. The first player to burn all their opponent’s objectives is the winner.

I was unlucky enough to get the red deployment zone, Tony got the blue zone.

This one went a bit catastrophic for me. In fact, the game lasted no more than 30 minutes (and could have been over sooner than that if I’d conceded sooner!).

Around the back of the barn

Again, Tony won initiative and his opening action was to shoot with his crossbowmen at a unit of my outlaws. It was long range and they caused a couple of casualties, meaning I had to make a Morale roll. Which I seriously fluffed and the outlaws went Broken and had to make a move away. Problem was, I’d deployed them quite close to the table edge, and so they routed off table having done exactly chuff all! Realising that my whole right flank, and probably centre, was now compromised (and I had two of my objectives there) I had to hurriedly plug the gap.  So I moved my knights around to delay Tony. He then charged my knights with his sergeants, which is fair enough (if he hadn’t charged me I was going to charge him). However, in Barons’ War if you roll a 10 it’s counted as a critical hit which can only be defended with a 10. My four knights got hit by four 10s! And I didn’t roll a single 10 for defence, which meant…off go the knights!

Truth is, that was pretty much the end of the game (my outlaw commander took control, so I could technically fight on but knew it was no hope). However, I just couldn’t let him win 3-0, so we played another turn and the other unit of outlaws then set fire to one of his objectives. At that point I conceded – at least I got one of his!

Someone is going to get hurt

Game 3

The third, and final deciding, game was #1 ‘Behind Enemy Lines’ with Deployment Map 4 (lined up opposite each other on short edges).

Deployment 4

In this scenario players place 1 objective each and the winner is the one who controls both objectives.

We both began by moving units up by Running, to make up the ground. Things slowed down once we got near each other as we tried to out manoeuvre each other. Both Tony’s crossbows and my archers were on the same flank. I decided to move my archers into the yard of an inn so they could use the fences for cover. These archers were led by an outlaw commander (a veteran, dispossessed, young nobleman – you know what I was thinking!) who used his multiple actions to order the archers to keep firing. They peppered Tony’s crossbowmen who promptly routed off the field. Good – I needed to get rid of them. This opened up the way to Tony’s objective and if I could get my archers there I would win.

Come out the house if you dare

Meanwhile, in the middle, Tony’s sergeant, led by his sergeant commander, engaged more of my outlaws and Broke them. And on the other flank I left my knights in control of my objective, with some spearmen hiding in the woods. Similarly, Tony was advancing on them with his knights and spearmen.

Next turn my archers double-timed to get to Tony’s objective. Realising how exposed the objective was he’d moved some sergeants up to take control of the objective, meaning I would have to fight for it after all. Well, I say ‘fight’ but what I intended to do was shoot more arrows at him.

Flashing blades

‘Intended’ is the important word there, because Tony won initiative next turn and, quite rightly, charged my archers with his sergeants. Fair enough, I expected that. But it went bad. A couple of casualties and, like the knights in the previous game, I rolled really badly for their morale, meaning they had to fall back. But, again, like the outlaws in the previous game, they were too close to the table edge and the flee move had them off the field!

I can hear them but I can’t see them

The game was decided in the fight for my objective. My knights were finally surrounded by Tony’s knights and spearmen. I counter-charged his knights and killed two of them! That took the smile off his face. But I was surrounded and every time I had to fall back I had nowhere to go, which meant I took an extra casualty. That quickly mounted up.

Result? Tony won the last game. But only just!

A clash of arms


The (Roman) Empire Strikes Back

A ‘Massed’ 28mm Skirmish Game Report, by Peter Merritt


Somewhere in Germany, © 1st century AD, after the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest….

The original idea behind the game was how to stage an increasingly large-scale ‘skirmish’ using quite a few very nice early imperial 28mm figures which I had acquired via eBay. Although it started off as 1:1 scale, the idea (and collection) soon grew so that we could actually stage larger conflicts but still retain some of the unique tactical flavour associated with each very different side. To achieve this in a fast, playable form, I turned once again to a fabulous old hybrid board/figure game, “Star Wars Epic Duels” by Hasbro (see links at the end).


The key features of this design are that each player controls a small team, with one main character (say, Darth Vader), plus one or two little helpers (Stormtroopers in Vader’s case). Normal movement is fairly standard, although some variability is introduced by means of a die roll. However, the design really scores because teams also get a dedicated pack of cards which are used for both combat and any unique ‘special abilities’ – such an elegant, simple way to reflect widely varying attributes, and without resorting to thick books of charts and +/- tables!

Although the original Star Wars game was very 1:1 oriented scale-wise (and thus fitted extremely well with early LOTR games featuring the Fellowship), I have also adapted the concept in the past to much larger affairs, with masses of Orcs, Wargs etc vs varying amounts of opposition from the Riders of Rohan. Whilst having so many figures would render a normal ‘skirmish’ unmanageable, by nominating so-many groups per player turn this can both speed-up the playing cycle and reflect the rather hap-hazard nature of combat before the advent of truly drilled and ordered units in the later gunpowder era. But to retain an element of massed if not co-ordinated movement, a simple movement rule addition allows an ‘active’ unit to also drag along a number of those adjacent groups, sometimes more so if enhanced by a special card.

I really cannot stress how much the use of such dedicated card packs adds so much to the ‘period flavour’ of the game, hopefully reflecting the different combat options and other unique actions of the various Roman forces – legionaries, auxiliaries and stirrup-less cavalry – vs the massed ranks of fearsome tribesmen.

Roman Cavalry

For example, the Barbarians can gain advantage by deliberately sacrificing figures in massed attacks or an ‘active’ leader dragging one or more adjacent ones with him (at some personal risk).

Barbarian Druid and Warriors

On the other side, the Legion ability to reorganise and their close-in pilum-throwing are deadly. Whilst your immediate choice of tactics may always be affected by the cards in your hand, like any ‘real’ historical combat, victory will go to the side which can maximise their peculiar advantages whilst exploiting the weaknesses of the enemy.

Legions advance with skirmisher support

Each turn consists of two phases per player, movement then two actions (Romans can do in any order, Barbies guys must move then do one action). Normal movement uses a grid or in this case 4” hex cloth and a die roll to generate movement points; however, some ‘special moves’ via certain cards are also possible, such as reorganising all adjacent bases adjacent to a standard-bearer, or signalling an ambush! Play alternates in a random manner between one Roman then one Barbie group (hex), so it can be that not everyone is quite in the right place at the right time. This has had interesting effects in multi-player games, as the ‘current’ player can choose which groups to ‘activate’ – including any previously organised by a colleague! Finally, once a group has been activated and finished it can only thereafter defend itself until either (a) all players have moved, or (b) the current player uses their turn to ‘rally’ their forces rather than move/fight, removing 1d3 active markers from units/groups. This was especially useful in the game as it allowed for maintaining a degree of offensive.

Combat was computed by hex vs hex, with a small list of +/- factors. Factors were either ‘straight’ card numbers or ‘specials’ which could seriously affect your day. Things like ‘arrow shower’ or ‘pilum charge’ will be long-remembered… Hits were then converted to actual kills (removing a base), or ‘disorder’. The latter sounds easy but units with too much disorder were then increasingly rendered ineffective and vulnerable to a follow-up assault – thus the advantage of having a 2nd wave or reserve handy to blow-away that otherwise formidable unit.

As we had long departed the original 1:1 skirmish idea, the figures were organised with four figures per base for the regular Legion or close-order Auxiliaries, and single-figure ‘clouds’ for skirmishers. Roman heavy units/groups were normally 4-6x bases, which fitted very nicely in a 4” hex! To me, this looked about right for a typical 80 to 90 man century. For the Barbarians, many of the figures I had were already on massed bases, so 2-3 of these constituted a ‘unit’ in one hex. Especially nice were the chariot units which their creator had turned into mini dioramas – the sort of thing which makes our toy soldier games a real pleasure, especially as you’re getting hammered into the ground.

Speaking of the games….


 In the end I had two players fool- I mean, kind and raring to give this experimental version of the system a go, so I thought that they would be best deployed together as the Roman forces with me running a large but disorganised Barbarian opposition (this also fits my style of generalship). I had long decided on an overall plan (“Ok, men – go get ‘em!”), which as sole umpire made it easy for me to both control events and make a hopefully convincing ‘fist’ of a tough time.

Opening shot of initial deployments, with beautiful chariots to the fore!

The scenario, such as it was, had a Roman punitive column probing the territory of the German tribes near the frontier of Gaul, trying to establish if another major incursion was being prepared. As such, Eric and Mark were suitably impressed by the initial set-up with the Romans marching on and suddenly facing an edge-to-edge arc of extremely unfriendly-looking tribesmen.

The hairy barbarian battle line

However, although it certainly had the appearance of a tidal wave of terror about to engulf them, they gradually began to discern one of the key differences between the armies – the Roman organisation meant that units acted (fairly) smoothly in concert, whereas the Barbarian units were much more, ah, ‘individualistic’ let’s say, requiring frantic interventions by leaders to get any sort of co-ordinated action!

Early-on the chariot units thundered in from each flank, creating some wobbly moments for the Roman generals as they overran some outlying auxiliary units and routed a cavalry force which had scouted slightly too far ahead.

Roman Cavalry on their way to a messy end

These chariot units – especially using their rapid speed and special attacks – surprised everyone (including me!), and ended their initial run threatening the flanks of two Legionary units in the centre.

Chariots and escort

With no support to hand, however, the chariot attacks tended to run out of steam as they approached the main line, and as primarily offensive units, Eric quickly marshalled enough counter-force to ensure that they soon took so much disorder that they effectively fell apart. This was repeated on the Roman right flank by Mark, although the chariots here came in in waves (mainly due to terrain, not my planning), and thus caused a few sweaty turns as Mark’s forces had to keep an eye on their own flanks. The downside for the Barbarian efforts was that the sweeping to and fro of chariots tended to block some warband units from advancing together (not that there was much risk of this as it turned out!).

Barbarian centre begins its ‘lunge to destiny’ (ignoring the left flank)

By now the Roman players were getting into both the system and the specific opportunities afforded by each card in the deck, so tactics and plans started to get more ‘subtle’ (as befits the early Empire?!). So it was that what should have been the main Barbie ‘follow-up’ punch by the full weight of centre warbands quickly disintegrated into a hap-hazard race towards the solidifying Roman line! True, several auxiliary units were overwhelmed or brushed aside, but the Legion, with a few awkward moments, held their ground and developed a really nasty-looking right-hook…

As the Roman centre and left hold, the Roman right advance begins to advance…

As the central slog developed and the Barbarian flanks signally failed to get their act together (the chieftain/leaders were a might busy at this point, making some awful activation rolls or, err, dying at really inconvenient moments), it was then that two key factors began to sway the tide of battle:

    • The Roman generals co-operated in using the ‘pause to rally/re-organise’ option for units which had already been active.
    • These ‘reorganised’ units were then quickly thrown-in with support from those ‘brushed-aside’ auxiliaries in two-front attacks, converting disordered units into panicking mobs heading for the forest!

As it became clear that the central assault had failed and the core Legionary units had only been ‘dented’, with no sign of a pincer move from the flanks I thought it time that the tribesmen would consider they’d done enough for today and head home for some serious bardic singing and drinking, thus ending the battle.


 I think I’m correct in saying that the players, once they had mastered the system and individual cards, certainly seemed to enjoy themselves – which is a great end point for any game! Both players – not normal ancients types – seemed to like the idea that the system and cards were so tailored to that specific period and the armies concerned, rather than a ‘generic’ set spanning many hundreds of years which required the player’s experience to supply the realism. As I understand it, dear old Bob O’Brian (one of the key developers of WRG rules) only used to play strictly historical games – no Yorkists vs Egyptians etc.

As the designer I was also pleased with how ‘balanced’ the overall game was, both in terms of forces deployed, and my extremely amateur development of the various cards. It also validated the concept that the core system was so amenable to other ‘asymmetric’ situations, now covering subjects from Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Roman Empire and (soon) Seven Samurai. A truly classic system, in my view.

Finally, the fact that my lightweight design had at least as much to do with a reading of Tacitus and Agricola than it did to a rewatching of ‘Carry On Cleo’ was not lost on the players, with one card allowing a bonus action for anyone who could name the actors playing certain supporting roles in that fabulous film…

My tremendous thanks, as ever, to a fabulous bunch of guys at the Maidstone club.


Rules and Card Decks:

As with almost all my games the rules are home-grown stuff and, as such, possible to extend or amend as you wish (the mark of a good product/system in my view). Hopefully these will appear on the blog site ‘real soon now’. If not, come along to the club and try it some time!

Original game:

Details of the original HASBRO “Star Wars Epic Duels” by Craig Van Ness (with assistance from Rob Daviau) can be found here:


Thanks to the advent of so many superb plastic 28mm ranges, the web (eBay etc) is now awash with old and 2nd hand extremely units which can be had for quite reasonable amounts. And if, like me, you can barely paint the side of a house, many of said units come pre-painted. If you prefer the ‘look and feel’ of massed forces, however, the core system is quite happy as (like a boardgame) it is base-oriented, so you can put shed-loads of 15, 10, 6 or even 2mm strips on said bases.

Other previous outings:

    • ‘One Ring’ (Weathertop or Amon Sul): 4+ Ring Wraiths vs pre-Fellowship
    • ‘Fords of Isen’: ambush of Prince Theodred by massed Orcs & Wargs
    • ‘Pelennor Fields’: the charge of the Rohan cavalry vs besiegers, including 1/24th Mumakil!
    • ‘Mines of Moria’ down in the claustrophobic setting with 1:1 Fellowship trying to escape Bernard the Balrog!

(for more pics and other rules, see here: )

There is a great fan-following on the net as well (for this and the original Star Trek game), with lots of suggestions for other card deck, scenarios etc.

BTW, I am also in the process of using the wonderful character-specific card system for such diverse topics as:

    • ‘Seven Samurai’ (final battle in the village); objective for the bandits is to kill as many peasants as possible as these represent the resilience / surrender level, thus making it a challenge for the deadly, professional samurai to protect them!
    • ‘Ranks of Bronze’ is based on the fab David Drake book of the same name in which a captured Roman Legion is sold to aliens! These creatures then deploy the Legion on various worlds which they wish to exploit but are forbidden by the Galactic Council to use any technology higher than the locals! By creating card decks for the alien races, a very interesting mini-campaign can thus be created.
    • ‘The Four Musketeers’ will see a return to fully back to 1:1 ratio, as we can now have card decks specific to the main characters, as well as more generic decks for thugs, mercenaries or of course the Cardinal’s Guard (boo, hiss…..).
    • Really Super Heroes is another 1:1 scale effort, this time featuring the various comic-book heroes and villains such as Batman etc. We may not stretch to Superman, as any character who can alter time and spin the planet around is a bit out of the ‘biff!’, ‘pow!’ league…

 Stay tuned to this blog……

After-Action Report 26th August: ‘Square Bashing’ 6mm Franco-Prussian War

Club member Peter reports on a game that he ran at the society recently.

You know how it is – you collect all these armies, have great fun and lots of memorable actions – and then one day you realise that the last time you played this fab little game was the turn of the century! So, post-retirement I have been dusting-off a variety of games and systems which deserve wider exposure – and ‘Square Bashing’ is certainly one of them…

The System/Rules

Briefly, ‘Square Bashing’ was developed by good old 15mm manufacturer Peter Pig and some associates and is a sort of boardgame/tabletop ‘hybrid’ which allows for fast yet accurate handling of large formations, beyond the capability of most other rules. It achieves this by using markers on a normal wargame table to denote squares, roughly 25-30cm on a side. Units are made up of so many bases but orders/activation, movement and combat are by ‘square’. Movement in march mode is relatively fast, but once ‘deployed’ things slow down – a lot! Thus, it encourages thinking at the true Corps and Army level, as it takes precious time to deploy and then re-orient units in the field. Speaking of which…

The game also has a fiendishly simple but vital initiative and ‘battle clock’ control on game length, whereby the loser of the initiative roll each turn can choose to either go first or move the countdown clock on by whichever of the two dice scores they choose. Thus, can asymmetric forces fight on more equal terms, as the large force cannot simply sit back and grind an opponent down but has to ‘get on with it’ before nightfall or some other key event. More on this aspect later…

The system has been used very successfully for WW1, Russian Civil War – and now mid-19thC battles. It was the latter in which I had some input, and to demo the system it seemed the most appropriate -so……

The Game

The game was based on a real encounter during the opening phase of the Franco-Prussian War, when the initial French assaults had been thrown back in some confusion and the German States were seeking to force the nearest French army back into the fortified zone of the city of Metz. Whilst this was too strong to assault and the Germans lacked any giant siege guns, having 150,000 extra ‘guests’ for lunch would overwhelm the supplies held there and, eventually, force their capitulation.

The game was therefore set-up as follows:

      • The table was roughly 9×6 squares, each representing about 0.75Km a side. It consisted of rolling, low hills, dotted with farms and light woods with the odd dense bit of forest.
      • Two French Corps would deploy anywhere in the first three rows, with orders to keep any German units away from their base edge. Just off table behind them, however, was the main French escape route, with progress of other units denoted by very slow-moving wagon markers – or so it seemed to the players!
      • The three German Corps were allowed to enter anywhere on their baseline, but there had to be at least one square gap between corps (or risk massive traffic jams). Their orders were to simply push ahead and ‘slam the door’ on Metz. The only complication was that the three Corps were from two different armies, Prussian III Army and the Bavarian contingent. I had little to do by way of briefing to add a little ‘healthy competition’ between the different commands…

So yep, five complete Corps, plus reinforcements, on the table in one afternoon’s play!

The initial French deployment was extremely ‘sparse’ – worryingly so, until I noticed that they were only using 1x Corps! Somewhat happier when the available units doubled in size, they were slightly more chastened by (a) the ground scale, which meant that their ‘old fashioned’ artillery could not support everywhere if grouped too heavily; and (b) the unending stream of Germans now marching onto the table…

Prussians begin to arrive as French ‘beef-up’ their extended front line

I won’t give a blow-by-blow account, if only because I was too busy to observe the minutiae of turns. Essentially, a dramatic cavalry thrust by the French on their extreme left was almost immediately destroyed by a combined-arms Bavarian group attempting a right-hook. The French were a little worried about a follow-through here, but this was closed-off by the adjacent French infantry division left-facing and thus threatening any attempt to exploit.

On the main Bavarian front, the French reinforced an advanced village/farm complex at a key crossroads which they proceeded to hold against several Bavarian assaults until literally blown-away at game end by massed batteries, themselves taking long-range hits by infantry fire. The French stand had, however, blocked any advance in this sector, as per orders.

French left Corps throws back Bavarian assault in confusion, but is starting to be by-passed…

In the centre-right, the Prussians were feeling their way forwards whilst deploying stronger formations in their rear. An early probe on their left against a large farm complex was bounced in short order by some Algerian Legionnaires and a Light Infantry unit. However, long-range bombardment and a full divisional assault eventually carried this position and was threatening the French extreme right until a timely reinforcement galloped on in the shape of a Guard Heavy Cavalry division (to add some ‘tone’ to an otherwise unseemly brawl by foot-plodders).

The centre was initially a see-saw with no major advantage going to either side, despite the mounting casualties. However, when the main Prussian assault finally got under way the close-range firepower of the Dreyse rifles, plus long-range artillery support by rifled pieces finally blew a gaping hole in the French centre, through which one of the reserve cavalry brigades poured. These galloped over the low hills to see a most unusual sight – strung-out before them in the distance were a long column of French army vehicles and assorted support units!

French reserve cavalry (foreground) on their way to destiny…

While this information was relayed to the commanders in the rear and tired infantry units summoned to exploit the position, minds were soon brought back to the current battle as they looked to their left down upon the gaily deployed French Cuirassier Division – facing the other way. As the clock reached game-end, the French cavalry were thrown into almost complete disorder when hit in the flank downhill, at least one French commander choosing to die here on the field, safe in the knowledge that some of the army, at least, had escaped the vice closing on Metz….

Final moves – French right is finally destroyed as the Guard Cavalry arrives (not Prussians on hill to their flank!)

After game observations

All players very quickly got to grips with the system, and I was pleased to see how feverish conversations soon focused more on high level plans re bunging one or two divisions in here, how many brigades to place there, grand battery vs close support etc, possible terrain restrictions on exploitation and so on.

It was also salutary to see how reserves now played a key role, as although units fought well for a while, they soon lost their initial ‘edge’, then went to ineffectual despite several apparently holding ground. This is what happened to the Bavarians on the German right and the French in their centre-right. Once the Prussian reserves arrived, the previously successful French were stretched too thin and quickly dissolved – but not before buying vital time, which was the point! Gosh, commanders following higher orders – whatever next?!


The Prussian Corps were ‘square’ formations – 2x regiments per brigade, 2x brigades per division, 2x divisions per Corps. The French were similar except that these particular Corps had three divisions apiece. However…… Prussian forces had two important tactical advantages – their infantry at close range got a key bonus (Dreyse rifles being ‘slam-fired’), and their artillery was more numerous and had greater range (just). Lower-level leaders were more prevalent (not ‘better’, just more effective), and so individual units were slightly more flexible (elite divisional light infantry could be attached to brigades). Cavalry were still a threat as while they fared badly against infantry etc in stand-up fights (the French left were ‘vaporized’ in turn two!), they could also fall suddenly on disorganized units or a flank and create chaos out of all proportion to their numbers.

The French ‘advantages’ were not really of much use – their infantry rifles could fire two squares, and did seriously harass the Bavarian Grand Battery. Their prodding of the Prussian centre however may have simply stirred-up the ant’s nest which then lunged forward! But what of the famous Mitrailleuse machineguns? Well, they had to deploy with the artillery (as per doctrine), so missed-out on supporting the infantry fire-fights. On the few occasions where the enemy came to them (‘’Fortress Norfolk’ on the French left), the Bavarians soon saw their effectiveness……

The Clock

This feature as already discussed was central to the scenario design. It’s fair to say that the French were first to realise that ‘all’ they had to do was allow time for the sluggish Army wagon trains to exit left – terrain, losses did not really matter. The Prussians were slower to pick up on this, understandably focusing on the detail of battle. However, as they got closer to the French rear edge and could discern no form of counter-plan, it very quickly dawned on them what game the French were playing, and they went over from considered progress to major punches, sometimes surrendering the initiative for the turn to the French in order to adjust the clock by the smallest amount! This was very successful, as the French – on the overall defence – rarely needed the initiative anyway, although a couple of Bavarian brigades might dispute this plan!

My thanks to all for a great trip down memory lane (and for loans of scenery).

Prussian:              Pete S, Paul L

Bavarian (almost Prussian):          David P

French:                 Mark N and ‘Bob’

5 Parsecs – The Package

Club member Marcus reports on a solo game (with the editor’s apologies to Marcus  for the delay in getting this onto the blog).

As Pi in the Sky has blasted off from Palacco, we entered a new campaign turn. Firstly, space travel. I rolled a “It’s not supposed to make that sound…”.   Fortunately, Veyan rolled a success “but I know exactly what it is…just realign the phase couplers.” That could have been unfortunate, but instead the Pi arrived on Enout, a wild frontier world classed as dangerous.  Upkeep paid and ship debt increased to 22 Cr.

While Veyan and Pascal failed to attract any new patrons, Kell came up with a useful contact +1. Wellington traded for some basic supplies (-1 upkeep in turn 3). San (with a roll on the loot table) traded for…something interesting. A further roll identified this to be a military ship part; a 3Cr discount on the next ship component bought.  The crew already had a Patron mission lined up. This would be in a toxic environment (+1D6 roll + savvy when stunned or the character becomes a casualty). The mission: to deliver a package to the centre of the table, an abandoned facility. Unknown criminal elements have an interest.

I didn’t fancy setting up the opponents at one edge and posed some questions to players online. There are alternative deployment options in an expansion, but I opted to set up my own. I created my own random table and rolled for set up. The criminals in deployed in 3 groups utilizing a clock face method around the centre at roughly one, three, five, seven, nine and eleven o’clock. One group was also delayed in deploying.

The crew (pictured above) entered from the south – east corner. As luck would have it, the opposition deployed a group of two very close to them, with three on the diametrically opposite side of the board.

The table

The crew gain the initiative and Veyon, Pascal move into positions in the first phase.  Kel preps for snap fire, but no target manifests as no opposition appears immediately. The rest of the crew also move forward. In turn two both Pascal on the right and Nira and Wellington on the left seek to outflank an emerging threat amid the heavy jungle. Kel gets a close shot at Mant (a Rebel miniatures ant man) but misses, as does Veyon. Mant’s pal Worake (half worm, half snake) works its way forward.

Mant & Worake
Kell snipes at Mant & Worake

The third criminal group were now due to deploy. By chance they also deployed in close proximity to the crew in the south-east.

More antagonists deploy

In turn three Kell snipes unsuccessfully at Worake who shoots back at Kell, but he has the benefit of camo gear and blends into the jungle. Pascal spots the new intruders but in an exchange of fire goes down wounded.

Pascal is hit!

In turn 4, seemingly stung by the wound sustained by Pascal, the crew get their act together. Veyon targets Worake, hitting with a 5 and a damage roll of 6+1 puts Worake down. San similarly spots the newly arrived female gunslinger (Toogun) and despatches her and while her accomplice, Lazard (the lizard man) man responds, he misses. Veyon also gets a second shot and puts down Mant.

Kell gets a close-up shot using his blast pistol but misses even at close range. Wellington and Nira moved further up on the left concealing themselves in a grove of plants.

Nira & Wellington move up on the left

In turn 5 the crew got a good roll allowing Kel to aim and take a shot at Lazard. The opponents who deployed in the south-east are all put out of action. Meanwhile Nira and Wellington are hidden in the path of the remaining criminals and spring an ambush.


Nira scores a 6 to floor Hawk-man. One of the two remaining opponents, after squeezing off a couple of wild shots in the general direction of Nira, has already seen enough and decides to bug out on a morale roll. With only one opponent still in the game, Nira gains the benefit of a first-round action and with a well-aimed shot brings down the last of the opposition.


While the crew successfully meet their contacts and deliver the package, what of Pascal?

Post Battle:

Despite the outcome of this battle this criminal enterprise clearly does not relish taking on the crew again as they don’t want to become rivals. The crew get paid 9 Cr. The crew also find a curious data stick which will provide them with a quest rumour. They also pick up another blast rifle.

Pascal’s injury initially proved to be nothing to serious, just a turn in sick-bay. However, I forgot about the toxic environment. Subsequently I remembered to roll this. Pascal failed forcing me to use a story point to keep him in the game. Pascal is after all an interesting character. I was reluctant to lose him. “That infection you picked up in the jungle gave us a scare Pascal.  We thought we had lost you…”

Naturally, everyone picked up experience points. We didn’t try any training or find any purchases worth making except…

Finally, campaign events: An alien merchant offers a strange artifact. How can we resist for 4 Cr? A quick roll on the loot table leads us to the rewards table and ship parts; roll for value: 1 Cr! Easy come easy go…





DBA Tournament 2023

The DBA Tournament returned for the first time since 2019, with a new champion – the two headed hydra of new members Mark N and Bob, both new to the club and the rules, who teamed up together because Bob had to go early and they thought it would be a good idea to team up to learn the ropes. Tournament organiser Dave S loaned them his Anglo-Norman army and after a shaky first round, they soon built up a head of steam.

Three Knight and Heavy Chariot armies dominated the scoring leaving the other four trailing. Mike and Mark/Bob both finished with 22 points each, however the Mark/Bob pairing was declared the tournament winner. This was because there was an uneven number of entries and a “bye” result had to be awarded to those who had not participated in a given round. Before the start of the tournament, Dave made a ruling that in the event of tie for first place, that the non bye player would be awarded the trophy. As Mark/Bob had not taken a bye, they were deemed to be the winning contestant(s).

If there is one lesson Dave took away from the day, it is not to loan your Anglo-Norman Army to the newcomers !

Marian Roman v Marion Roman, one hard slog with Colin eventually prevailing.
Sassanid Persians getting a pasting from Mike’s Anglo-Normans
Minoan & Early Mycenaean’s teaching Mark/Bob’s Anglo-Normans why you do not let your Knights get outflanked (A lesson they did take onboard !)
Three Kingdoms & Western Ts’in Chinese just after they have destroyed the Marian Roman General element with their outflanking Cavalry just before the Gladius line could get into contact.

Open Day Games for 2023

There’s been plenty of progress with our games for our Open Day that’s on the 24th June this year. We’re open to the public from 11am – 4pm on the day.

This is a great day to come and see the society in action and maybe throw some dice at one of the various games we will have on the day.

This year we have a nice selection of periods and scales on offer, which might just be the incentive you need to either get back into the hobby or to find a new home for your own armies and games.

We will have a game of Strength & Honour in 2mm

A Lord of the Rings Battle from the First Age, 28mm Elves vs Orcs will fight it out

A crusade game Road to Damascus complete with scratchbuilt 28mm Arab Manor House

A whole host of 10mm Napoleonic Balloons will take flight

The Battle of Spicheren will be fought in 6mm

And if that’s not enough there will also be a 15mm Field of Glory game of the English Civil War

Details of where the club meets and location of the Open Day can be found here:


Open Day of the Maidstone Wargames Society 2023

Our Open Day will be on the 24th June this year. We’re open to the public from 11am – 4pm on the day.

This is a great day to come and see the society in action and maybe throw some dice at one of the various games we will have on the day.

This year we have a nice selection of periods and scales on offer, which might just be the incentive you need to either get back into the hobby or to find a new home for your own armies and games.

Name Scale Period
Strength & Honour 2mm Ancients
Field of Glory 15mm ECW
Lord of the Rings First Age 28mm Fantasy
Road to Damascus 28mm Medieval/Crusades
Napoleonic Balloons 10mm Napoleonic – Alternative History
The Battle of Spicheren 6mm Franco-Prussian

Pictures of the games will be appearing on our blog as we get them.

Details of where the club meets and location of the Open Day can be found here: