Friday, 17 April 2015

Walmington-On-Sea


While the bulk of the action in my alternate 1930s scenario will take place away from the British Isles, the idea of creating an English town in miniature is quite appealing. Not only is there the "Dad's Army" factor I would like to include in my games, but one of my earliest wargame memories is the Terry Wise series of articles on Operation Sea Lion in Airfix Magazine (1975-76). I distinctly remember his modelling a gun emplacement disguised as an ice cream kiosk and similar items, and I told myself I would do that one day.

It turns out that in fact memory failed me and it was actually a pillbox disguised... but there was a mock-building with a gun-turret inside it. The coastal fortifications article can be found included in this blog post and the series on Sea Lion itself is available on the Vintage Wargaming blog... the Internet is a truly wonderful thing!

Operation Sea Lion has always been an interest of mine and I am fairly sure I have pretty much every book written on it. As I have opted for a German-free alternate history scenario however, the French will have to step up to the mark in their stead.

I cannot see the 'Dutch Oven' bakers here though.

I have opted for Walmington-on-Sea as the model for my English town. It is fictitious, yet the street plan is available. As I possess the Dad's Army DVD box set, I also have all the reference material I need to work with too. Being a creation, the town is somewhat simplistic in its design, in comparison to a real one. It will do double service as an inland town (the outside scenes in the series were actually filmed in Thetford), so as a single project it ticks all the boxes.


The Very British Civil War phenomenon has inspired a number of companies to produce buildings and other scenic items, which means that life is a lot easier than when the HO/OO Airfix cottage was about the only English building around. Sadly I am led to believe that particular old-school wargaming staple is no longer with us.  

In 20mm of course you are spoiled for choice, with all the model railway scenery around, even if some of it is a bit expensive. For those who prefer to produce their own items, building accessories, 'roofing card' and all sorts of items, even down to period vehicles, are also fairly readily available. Red phone and post boxes, telegraph poles, you name it, can all be found. Somewhat oddly I find that British items are actually far more easily acquired than American ones... with all things being equal you might imagine 'old-timey' U.S. Plasticville style things might be far more common than they are.


Besides Walmington itself, I plan to construct outlying farms and other scenic items. After all the bulk of fighting would typically take place outside of built up areas. That being said Southern England is fairly densely populated and it would be difficult to find a stretch of land which does not have at least one building on it.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Old Time Nuclear Armageddon


As I frequently mention, I am somewhat obsessed with the '50s & '60s, so much so that when I acquired Fallout 3 and the subsequent Fallout: New Vegas games for my sadly departed X-Box, I was in Retro-Sci-Fi heaven. It was the same with the original Call of Duty: Black Ops too with its Kennedy-Era Cold War slant too. 

There is a certain something about Fallout that appeals, whether it is the funky pseudo-science, vintage ideas about what the future would look like, take your pick. The various folk involved in the developments of those games did their research too and totally pulled off the setting, as far as I was concerned at least.

It was not perfect of course, I have to say I was not too keen on the Super-Mutants myself, but that is very much small beans in the final analysis. Otherwise elements from every possible scenario, TV programme, movie or book, was there somewhere... even more up to date ones like A Boy and His Dog (1975) and of course Mad Max (1979). 

In the post-apocalyptic future ammo, clothing, food and anything essential is scarce; except cosmetic implants and hair dye.

Building on the previous games in the series, a whole setting has slowly been established, which has concentrated on different locations with each incarnation of the game. For those attempting to do this with miniatures, it still leaves plenty of room for them to create their own mini-story within their own part of the Wasteland, should they not wish to follow the 'canon' settings.     

Post-Apocalypse gaming is not all about Fallout however and it is very much a case of different strokes for different folks. The nuclear armageddon is a bit tired nowadays, but it is my preferred scenario; largely due to my growing up in the shadow of 'the bomb'. However ecological disaster, meteor strikes, pandemics and of course the 'zombie apocalypse', are all variations on the same theme. Take the programme Walking Dead and take out the zombies and you have a post-apocalypse setting that would work with anything.

Gaming A Post-Apocalypse World

I have dabbled with various rule sets, of which Two Hour Wargames All Things Zombie and their other rules, have fitted what I wanted more so than any others; which is to say a small game involving few figures, but which is quick to play, exciting and fun, but also with a solo play element. I have tried converting other rule sets and even tried the original 'official' Fallout miniatures rules, but they were not what I was looking for overall.  

Part of the expanding Punkapocalyptic figure range.
More recently I ran across a fairly new game Punkapocalyptic, which has all the hallmarks of becoming a great game... as opposed to the really good game it already is. It has its own small excellently rendered 30mm figure range too. In comparative terms it is in the same field as Necromunda, players command a band or gang, figures have attributes etc., but with both attribute rolls and opposed rolls, plus a single figure activation sequence based on Agility, it is a better and slicker system.

As with most systems nowadays people seem to prefer 'official' lists for gangs, but if you play with a much looser style amongst your friends, there is no reason why you should find it difficult to create your own bands to fit into your idea of what 'your' wasteland should be like. I like the figures Bad Roll have come out with, but there are others out there I would also like to include, not least the 'Fallout' style figures of Brother Vinni, oddments from the Infinity, Statuesque and Lead Adventure ranges, amongst others, as my fancy take me.

Bad Roll don't provide a construction system to 'make your own' gangs as yet, but it is not rocket science to take the gang profiles they already have and break them down to get the points values. Weapons and equipment are cost listed, so not too much hard work will be involved altogether.        

I love this figure.
I am very much of the view that if you are going to game a post-apocalyptic setting, you should engage in the process to a point. By all means go for the 'official' plot, or even gangs if you prefer, but for me the opportunity to be creative with your back story and characters is something usually denied to you if you tend to play more historically-based games and settings. There really are no boundaries in such a setting and it is a shame to waste a blank canvas.

So in this section I will be creating my own setting, admittedly that I will be plundering other peoples' creations for ideas, so it will not be entirely be all my own efforts... then again most sci-fi and other gaming settings generally follow the lead of a particular movie, book, or comic series in any case. So maybe it will not be entirely original, but it will be my take on what others have already done.