Away from home visiting the seaside for a few days over the rainy Bank Holiday weekend, I took a couple of items to improvise a quick away game, should I need one.
I packed a small A5 tackle box of pound store plastic figures (£1 for 100 30-40mm figs), dice and stuff and the portable hex board cartridge paper game board from my 2016 Easter away trips.
Pound store figures are good to take as if you lose or leave anything behind on your travel battles, it’s not the end of the world at a penny a figure.
This is my pound store DIY version of the portable war game or Perry Twins’ popular new Travel Battle game.
Semi-Random Terrain Distribution By Featherstone Air Drop
Tucked inside the box lid are some passable or impassable map symbol type hex squares (marsh, river, impassable forest). Once the first river pieces were laid on fairly at random, the other hexes were dropped from on high to randomise their placing.
This is something I remember as a technique using paper circles scattered from a converted Airfix plastic Dakota kit for scattering paratroops, the Dakota held at a suitable height over the calculated or miscalculated drop zone.
I first saw this in a childhood borrowed library copy of Donald Featherstone’s Wargaming Airborne Operations (recently reprinted by John Curry). Airfix paratroop figures then replaced the paper parachute circles wherever they landed, sometimes fatally in water, on rooftops or behind enemy lines.
I would love to try this outside in a back garden / Yarden game. It would even work for beaming or teleporting down to another planet scenario. Beam ’em down!
The Featherstone Airdrop – Brilliantly odd game mechanic!
These map symbol coloured hexes were improvised from thin white packaging card on my Easter 2016 holiday trip and can be lightly tacked down (like the game board) with a smidgin of magic or Scotch tape.
Pretty it isn’t but practical and portable it is.
In my holiday ‘rainy day’ box I usually pack tape, scissors, a few fine liner pens or Sharpie pens and raid whatever watercolours, paints, cardboard or paper I can find to make game bits. Coffee stirrers are really handy and easy to come by, as are bits of stone etc.
These last saw action on holiday in Easter 2016 https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/31/close-little-wars-away-game/
For the back drop, I found somebody’s leftover Saturday’s newspaper had an intriguing surrealist landscape advert. With a bit of camouflage (space palm tree cocktail stick stirrers from Tiger.com taped for weight to a spare dice behind gravel stones) to hide the outsize hunter figure, this folded over to form a surreal space backdrop for my improvised Away Team solo game.
I used my Little Close Wars rules improvised and hexed up from Donald Featherstone’s appendix to War Games (1962) https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/close-little-wars-featherstones-simplest-rules/
For the melee sections I used the fast play Kaptain Kobold’s reduced dice version of Gerald De Gre’s duelling rules taken from Donald Featherstone’s Solo Wargaming.
I roll a dice to see which side – silver space marines versus red planet natives – are the Attackers, which the Defenders for the purposes of any Melee dice throws etc. if I ever forget. I use coloured dice for game counters for keeping track of hits (for speed each figure started a melee phase / round of only two combat or life points).
A pink flamingo cocktail stick marker marked out which side were the Attackers, another nod to a different famous Don Featherstone, inventor of the pink lawn flamingo. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Featherstone_(artist) Another d6 dice was rolled to see what the melee result was on the Kaptain Kobold d6 Dice Table dice table. The other spare dice was busy propping up the space palm trees.
Who won, who lost? The Away Team Silver Space Marines or the Red Planet Native Defenders?
The result is future history …
I will finish on a close-up of the ‘profit hunter’ from the nonsensical Artemis advert, looking very much like the cavalry or cowboy ‘Rough Riders on Mars’ blog site. I should be able to mock this hunter figure up pretty easily in several scales using Prince August 40mm Holger Erickson cowboy Homecasts, Airfix or various 54mm and OO/HO cowboys.
This advert has great fun ‘alien desert’ terrain, easy to create from some of the more lurid plastic aquarium plants and terrain.
http://chrisminaturewargaming.blogspot.co.uk and the Rough Riders section which starts here – also brilliantly odd! http://chrisminaturewargaming.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/rough-riders-on-mars.html
What a great hobby. How very Dr. Who! Which planet or time period next? Where to next?
Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, on my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog, 1 June 2017.