03 August 2008

Cast and Crew list

Battle in the Tuzkhur Valley

An SOTCW Production

Cast List

Andreivian Armenian Commander
Pete Jones

Andreivian Government Commander
Richard Crawley

Andreivian Turk Blocking Force Commander  
Will McNally
Andreivian Turk Regional Commander  
Rob Connolly

NATO Commander
Richard Baber

Andreivian gunboat Captain
Michael Jones

Jaguar Pilot, US PsyOps Sergeant & SAS Leader  
Nathan Ahern

Task Force Intrepid CO
James Townsend

Gendarmerie Sergeant  
Chris Pickles

A10 pilot and T-72 platoon commander  
Steve White

Andreivian Military Academy Officer  
Mick Ahern

Scenario Design
Richard Crawley

Vice-President in Charge of Cakes  
Rob Connolly 

Richard Crawley
Will McNally
Graham Spearing

Forces provided by
Mick Ahern
Pete Smith
Richard Baber
Richard Crawley 

Costume Design
Richard Baber

Rules Used - Tac Skirmish: Arc of Fire by Scott Fisher and Chris Pringle

Rules Consultant
Mike Reese

Game played entirely on location at Gauntlet 2008, Broughton, North Wales. The producers wish to thank the members of the Deeside Defenders Games Club for their assistance.

Copyright in The Battle in the Tuzkhur Valley is protected by the laws of the Republic of Andreivia. No reproduction without express permission of the Minister of Culture, Ministry of Culture, Culture Ministry Building, Ministry of Culture Boulevard, Tcherbevan, Andreivia. The characters and events in this game are fictitious. Any resemblance between them and real events or people is entirely deliberate.

07 July 2008

First Reactions!

Well I think that went rather splendidly.  I think the first measure of success has to be that after last year's game we had two SOTCW members keen to "do something next year at Gauntlet". Now we have four or five!
The first shot below shows the table from the south-western end - in the distance are the shores of Lake Khikide and the town of Tuzkhur.  The village in the foreground would prove a tough nut for the Americans to crack.

Here are the initial bunch of reprobates - from left to right: Will McNally (Andreivian Turk blocking force commander), Pete Jones (Andreivian Armenian commander), Rob Connolly (Andreivian Turk regional commander) and Richard Baber (NATO commander).
A NATO Jaguar on a recon flight over the valley.

03 July 2008


I've found another couple of pictures on my memory stick so I thought I might as well let you see my team of Andreivian Turkish engineers. They are plastics from the Orion Chechen Rebels box. The two on the left were originally stretcher bearers but modified with a little Green Stuff. I've added some tools from the Airfix Command Post and a landmine from the Revell German Engineers set.

Some last minute pics

Just got time to get some pictures of the latest toys uploaded. Here, for starters, is the Jaguar GR.1 I've produced to provide some air support for the NATO forces.

It's the Revell kit made up pretty much out of the box. The nose art is in the form of a scantily clad young lady who rejoices in the name of Debbie. By chance that happens to be the name of Richard Baber's wife and Richard is our NATO Commander! Good hey?

And now a couple of pics of The Important Building. This is a government building in downtown Tuzkhur. At the start of the battle it's in Government hands.

The model is from foamcore on an old cork and melamine place mat. It's basic but functional.

02 July 2008


I finished the Important Building last night and that's the last thing that needed doing. In fact I've been so relaxed for this game that I spent Sunday evening painting some old Airfix Napoleonic British infantry - the first Napoleonics I've done for over 20 years!

Tonight I'll have a look through the boxes and see if anything needs last minute repairs but basically I'm there! Somehow it isn't going to seem right not being up until midnight the day before the big game painting those last few models.

Must get some photos done though.

18 June 2008

NATO Air Support Done

I finished the Jaguar last night.  I'm quite please with the effect considering it was a bit of a rush job.  Photos shortly.

Now I only have to: 
  1. finish the bigger Shellhole Scenics ruined building
  2. build and paint the Important Building for downtown Tuzkhur
  3. paint some civilians
  4. paint a block of ruined buildings.
No problem!

10 June 2008

M1 Abrams


The early M1s had some deficiencies these weren`t found until the first Gulf War when the M1 served alongside the M60A3. The lack of an "infantry phone" at the rear made it difficult for infantry/tank cooperation (the M60A3 had the phone) - this was corrected after the War.

There are references to T72s being able to damage or even knockout M1s but pretty rare! The tank is also vulnerable to RPG7 hits to the rear and top hull/turret.

If you check the Wikipedia entry for the Abrams, there is a pretty good damage assessment section: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M1_Abrams

09 June 2008

Dress Rehearsal

I’m planning on hosting a game this coming Sunday to get in some practice using the rules with the latest (well, 1990s) in high-tech American kit. This will be the first time we’ve tried combined arms ops with the M1 Abrams and the M2 Bradley so I’m keen to find out quite how lethal they are in Arc of Fire.

The Abrams has fantastic armour, it’s fast and it gets all kinds of plusses when firing. The Bradley has fire-power coming out of its ears with a 25mm chain gun (a high rate-of-fire autocannon) and long-range TOW anti-tank guided missiles.

An interesting tactical note is that we will be using the early 1990s Bradley squad organisation. This has a six-man dismount element that doesn’t breakdown into mutually supporting fire teams. The contemporary doctrine assumed that the Bradleys would provide fire support while the dismounts manoeuvred.

This is all very well in theory and the Bradley has plenty of firepower but in the very nature of things terrain that suits infantry often doesn’t suit armoured vehicles. It’s not difficult to conceive of a situation where the infantry enter terrain where the Bradleys can’t easily or safely follow.

Another factor in the big game will be ammunition supply. TOW missiles are bulky (and expensive) so the Bradley doesn’t carry many. To give them the best chance of hitting you need to stand off and engage enemy armour at a distance – not particularly compatible with providing close support to the infantry.

So despite having huge firepower and the ability to engage enemy forces at long range, Richard Baber (our NATO commander) will have some very interesting tactical choices to make.

05 June 2008

Government Air Support

As a semi-detached member of the eastern bloc, Andreivia often pursued an independent line in arms procurement.  Contacts with Argentina led to the purchase of some aged A4 Skyhawks for use by ground attack squadrons of the Andreivian Air Force.  By the early 1990s a single squadron was still flying.

The model is a cheapo kit I picked up for 99p from my local Wilkinson's Hardware a few years ago.  Only now has it been lined in and acquired Andreivian markings. 

I originally tried putting Israeli roundels on the wings and painting over them but I couldn't get adequate coverage to hide the stars.  I ended up scraping off the decals and using the faint marks they left as a guide to paint in the yellow circles by hand.  The serial number is from an old kit decal.

27 May 2008

Flying Stand

I've just finished a flying stand that can be used to carry aircraft as they roar over the Tuzkhur Valley.


The idea is pinched from Simon Miller's "Crimson Bat" model for Gloranthan Hordes of the Things.  Basically it's a foamcore and card model based on a CD.  The building contains a few dozen unwanted lead figures and a load of tile grout to give it some stability.  


The chimney extends into a variable height flying stand that's made from one of those extendible magnet things - like a car aerial and designed to pick up metal objects from inaccessible spaces.  

Each of my aircraft has a small magnetic coin glued to its underside (I use Latvian 1 Santims pieces but modern British pennies will do the job too).   This allows you to mount the aircraft securely on the stand at any appropriate height from about 15 to 60 centimetres.

This final pic shows an Andreivian Air Force A4 Skyhawk flying low over a typical Andreivian house.

When I get some better pics done this will be my entry to The Guild's scenery group build.

20 May 2008

Guide to AoF tweaked

I've edited the Intro to Arc of Fire posting (beginning of May).  Our Senior Assistant Vice President in charge of Rules Consultation (Mike Reese) pointed out that I got the section on "Moving Out Of Turn" wrong.  It's now fixed.

Thanks Mike.  You'll be listed in the credits!


18 May 2008

NATO Air Support

I went over to visit my parents in Merseyside this weekend and that meant a chance to pop over to what used to be called "The Model Shop" (now Kit Stop Models) in Birkenhead.  I used to go in there as a kid when I remember it as an Alladin's cave with Airfix and Tamiya kits all over the place.

Generally, it's a mistake to go back.  The shop is now bright and airy, and fairly well stocked but no longer has the magic of the old place.  Or am I just getting old?  Still, had a nice chat with the owners and have promised it won't be another 30-odd years before I go back again.

I had in mind to pick up maybe an A10 Thunderbolt to provide the NATO forces with air strike capability.  As it happens I decided to pay half the price and get a Jaguar GR1A from Revell.  I'm going to start building it tonight.  Photos when I get it finished.


15 May 2008

Beware TV Crews

It may not be long until the U.N. bring a resolution about for a limited UN force to enter Andreivia ,meanwhile, news agencies are clambering to cover the conflict.

Recently sighted was this CNN news crew. If you notice they have painted their SUV white with large TV markings on it hoping they aren't targeted. The 3 members of the crew are all wearing blue coloured body armour for protection.

09 May 2008

So much stuff!

Last night I had an email from Ian Shaw (of the Deeside Club and SOTCW) offering to lend yet more modern kit for the game. Frankly I am overwhelmed by all the offers of toys to play with - we now have more offered than we can possibly use!

My plan is to use at least one item from each person. I'm also going to publish a "Cast and Crew" list for the game. I'd like to ask all participants to make sure I have their full name so I can make sure everyone gets due credit.

The main need now is for players! Of course you can turn up on the day (either day) and play but I'd also like to hear from people in advance. Comments here or via the SOTCW Forum or mailing list, the Deeside Defencers list or The Guild are a good way to contact me.

08 May 2008

History of Andreivia

Medieval times – Christian nation surrounded by Moslem neighbours. Slavic Andreivians share the territory with Moslem Turks and, in the eastern mountains, a smaller Armenian community.

19th century – successfully avoids integration into the growing Russian Empire but is a battleground during the Russo-Turkish War.

early 20th century – the Armenian population is swelled by refugees fleeing Turkish persecution. There is some inter-ethnic violence.

WW1 – sends a small expeditionary force to fight against the Germans on the Eastern Front.

Russian Civil War – King Alexei V is deposed in a coup and Andreivia briefly joins the Trans-Caucasian Republic but withdraws before the Republic is swallowed up by the Soviet Union. In 1924 the King is invited to return.

1941 – Hitler invades the USSR. Andreivian Prime Minister Mishkin declares the Kingdom neutral and states that she will defend her borders against any attack. Mishkin flirts with the Axis side and a volunteer Andreivian Legion fights with the Germans in Russia. Many Andreivians also join the Red Army and eventually a Regiment of Andreivian Riflemen sees hard fighting in Hungary.

1945 – Soviet Forces occupy Andreivia and install a Communist regime under Istvan Sakhvashev, the highest ranking Andreivian in the Red Army.

Post War – Sakhvashev proves to be a skilled diplomat and successfully rebuffs attempts to integrate Andreivia into the Soviet Union. Subsequently, he even wins for the nation a special status in relation to the Warsaw Pact. Andreivia does not receive the benefits of a large Soviet military presence.

early 1990s – The death of President Sakhvashev and the dissolution of the Soviet Union trigger a scrabble for power within Andreivia and the resurgence of ancient ethnic rivalries. Ivan Dzhugashev is elected President but many Armenian and Turkish delegates boycot the Party Congress.

This year – Dzhugashev proclaims Andreivian to be the sole national language and calls for a renewal of Andreivia's national identity as an Orthodox Christian Republic. Andreivian-Armenian Deputy Serj Benkian declares the republic dissolved and calls for an uprising to establish an Armenian Republic in Eastern Andreivia. Achmed Karamanoglu, professor of art history at Tcherbevan University makes a similar call on behalf of Andreivia's Turkic people. Fighting breaks out throughout the country.

This month – On the strength of a hastily agreed UN resolution, NATO forces cross from Turkey into southern Andreivia. On Russian insistence, the UN resolution severely limits the strength of the NATO contingent.

This week – The charming, lake-side town of Tuzkhur sees heavy fighting. Benkian's Armenians hold most of the town but they are being shelled from the surrounding hills by Andreivian-Turkish artillery. Elsewhere, the main NATO effort is aimed at clearing a corridor to bring humanitarian relief to the capital Tcherbevan.

Today – A small NATO force is tasked with breaking through to Tuzkhur and rescuing trapped foreigners.

05 May 2008

Disappearing pics

Sorry about the vanished pictures.  My photos are hosted at Imageshack.us which seems not to be working at present.  I may have to find an alternative if things don't improve.

02 May 2008

An Intro to Arc of Fire

I thought it might be useful for anyone thinking of joining us for the game to have a brief outline of how Arc of Fire works.

Two Crucial Numbers

Units have a TAC score from 4 (the best) to 8 (the worst). TAC represents training and general tactical competence. In addition to TAC each figure has a Morale score. Again 4 is best, 8 is worst. Figures roll against their Morale to avoid being pinned down by incoming fireand to recover from being pinned down (Broken). Units also roll against Morale at the end of the turn. Morale is rolled on a d10 (or a d6 if the figure is wounded).

Two More Crucial Numbers

At a given range (in inches) a weapon has two factors, say 5/7. The first is against soft targets (people), the second against hard targets (vehicles including trucks, bunkers etc.). Roll as many d10 as indicated (e.g. SMGs roll 3 dice). With our factor of 5, a roll of 5 (the number required exactly) causes a Morale check. Rolling 6 also causes a Morale check but at -1 to the die roll. A roll of 7 is a wound and 8 or more takes the figure out of the game (either dead or seriously wounded).

Cards - Play Yours Right

At the core of AoF is its card activation system. The sequence in which units are activated is determined by turning over playing cards. Each unit in the game is activated on two cards. So, for example, it might be that the Andreivian Turk AAMG team is activated on both of the black Aces. In our case, any particular pair of cards will activate several units at different locations.

Moving Out of Turn

In AoF, units can act out of turn by one of two methods. A unit can use Opportunity Fire to engage enemy units that move within sight.  This is subject to three provisos - (1) the firing unit must be in Defence Mode, (2) it must spot the enemy and (3) it must have a card left to play remaining in the deck.   By using Opportunity Fire it sacrifices its chance to move on its next card.

Alternatively, a player may hold on to one card as an “initiative card” to be played later.  This can be used to interrupt another unit's turn but it requires a successful TAC to achieve.  In our game Initiative Cards are limited to one per player at any one time and they only apply to one unit at a time (any additional units activated on the same card are activated as usual).

Action a la Mode

Arc of Fire units are always in one of three Modes - Advance, Defence or Confused.

  • In Advance Mode some of your figures can move while others fire.
  • In Defence Mode, none may move, any or all can fire. You also get bonuses in cover and the ability to use opportunity fire.
  • In Confused Mode you can move or fire. If any element of the unit fires, none may move. If any move, none may fire.

That'll do.  You'll pick it up easily enough.

30 April 2008

Downtown Tuzkhur Real Estate

At Triples back in March I bought a couple of Shellhole Scenics Buildings. This is the first of them painted up.

I've been inspired by Rob Rowell's excellent work on the Esci Italian Country House kit as showcased on The Guild. Rob uses a combination of pale base colours, washes and dry-brushing. I can't compete with his quality but I'm reasonably happy with this.

10 April 2008

Borrowed Buildings

My good mate Will McNally from Wills Wargaming Blog who is also a member of our club has offered us the use of some buildings he has constructed.

You can see the finished buildings at this page.

09 April 2008

Gauntlet Webpage

Our club webmaster for Deeside Defenders has now updated the details of the Gauntlet show where this game will be put on.

Gauntlet 2008

US Forces

I've now got my part of the US Forces painted up. Again these are plastic figures. These are a few troops with the M1 from Mongoose (pre painted).

Here's more troops with cheap Hummers from local Asda toy store. They had to be re-painted though as they were green when bought.

I'm still ploughing through the trees, I have some SAS on the painting table which are in counter terrorist suits. Maybe we could have these dropped into towns along the way to clear housing.

Also today the Russian Federals and Chechen fighters arrived from Harfields. These will be painted up as the Andrevian Turks methinks.

I'm also looking at borrowing some buildings for the day, more pictures soon.

02 April 2008

The Militia

These are the militia, figures are Caesar urban Resistance Fighters. In the background is a technical which they have cobbled together to give themselves some firepower. (Mongoose Battle Evolution model).

Behind the Technical you can make out one of the cake decoration palm trees.

I'm now working on the US Soldiers and SAS Unit.

01 April 2008

On The Workbench

This is my contribution to the project:

US Infantry - plastics
M1A2 Abrams MBT - Prepainted tank by Mongoose
7 x Humvee's - Asda Specials (need a repaint though)

To assist the NATO forces I was thinking of a brick of SAS that could be landed from the lake to help the local Andrevian Armenians.

I also thought that the Armenians might put some of the local populace into service as Militia to fend off the Andrevian Turks whilst waiting NATO. (These are all painted just waiting basing).

I have lots of palm trees which are cake decorations, I'm just devising a way of basing them that makes them more solid for the table.

Pictures to follow soon.

30 March 2008

Andreivian Militia pics


My minor contribution to Richard`s great effort, a unit a Andreivian Militia - 2 squads with transport (figures by Liberation Miniatures - various 1980s Russians and Balkans militia), the BTR60P is a plastic kit and the BTR152 is a Russian di-cast toy I bought in a Istanbul flea market some 15yrs ago.


At last, some pics of the Corgi diecast Chinook I bought earlier this week.

That is to say, at last I've taken some pics.  Unfortunately, Blogger has failed to upload them three times so far today.


29 March 2008

Now for some progress

Work has been all-consuming for the past few weeks but now I have a week off!  

Pete Jones has reported back with some idea of the forces he can contribute and I think we're about there with figures and vehicles.  So now I'm going to concentrate on buildings!

I picked up a couple of Shellhole Scenics ruined city buildings at the recent Triples show in Sheffield.  I'm now putting together the first parts of down town Tuzkhur.  

I have half a dozen old melamine and cork place mats (the kind you put your plate on when eating your dinner).  They are rectangular and have curved corners and will make perfectly acceptable bases for city blocks.  The mat forms the pavement and a grey or sand coloured sheet underneath can be the roads.  Again, pics when I make some progress.

05 March 2008

Air Mobile!

I popped over to Meadowhall (shopping centre) this lunch time. I wanted to visit the Apple shop to find out why my iMac and my iPod are no longer talking to each other. Turns out (for those who care) it’s because I installed iTunes v7.6 before I switched to OSX v10.5.

While I was there I popped in (like you do) to Modelzone. There I found some Corgi ready made 1/72nd scale helicopters at half price! So I’ve bought an RAF Chinook HC.1 in a 1991 Desert Storm special operations camo scheme. Just the thing for transporting around a certain British unit operating in the Tuzkhur Valley.

Photos to follow when I get the chance.

03 March 2008

Size isn't everything (apparently)

It’s not going to be easy to play-test this scenario given the size of table I’ve been planning on. Everything I’ve read about putting on a convention game says make sure you play test and make sure it’s possible to complete the game in the time available – if in doubt, make the game too brief rather than risk running out of time.

So I’ve done a bit of mathematical modelling. No, really! Dividing up the distance from the US baseline to Tuzkhur (say 20 feet on a 24 feet long table) by the 10 inch per card road move of a fast tracked vehicle in Arc of Fire, we end up with a duration of twenty four turns to get there and back. We can probably double this to allow for the Americans’ need to fight their way through. So we’d need to play twenty four game turns a day, both days, to meet the main NATO objective.

Now Martin Rapier has a rule of thumb that an evening’s game at the club should last no more than 10 turns. Apparently this works whatever rules you’re playing. How much can I get away with adding for an all day convention game?

Shall we take a punt and say 15 turns per day? That should allow time for chatting, drinking and eating, and wandering around the event. In that case we’re looking at 12.5 feet from the US baseline to the town.

Now that really doesn’t seem very far at all, especially if the Americans were able to put the pedal to the metal and whiz through without stopping (which may just be an option in an M1 Abrams.

On the whole, then, I’m tempted to go with a battlefield based on three “standard” tables (for a total length of 18 feet) rather than the four I originally envisaged. Look out for a later posting that muses on why I seem to feel the need to use feet and inches in wargaming when I use metric everywhere else.

25 February 2008

Miscellaneous Pictures

This Dushka 12.7mm AAMG is attached to the Andreivian Turk Regional HQ attacking Tuzkhur.  It's a Viet Cong team by SHQ (I think) but it'll pass as Andreivian in the heat of battle.

One of the rebel factions, meanwhile, has this Red Star BMP-2.

Finally, one of the "Wandering Monsters" in the game is this US Army PsyOps team.  All of my modern America figures are a mix of Revell and Esci plastics.  The Hummer is a Dragon ready-made.

Some thoughts on the Rules - keeping things moving

I'm going to be running the Battle for Tuzkhur using Arc of Fire. These are rules I know really well and so can run confidently. I really want the game to bowl along at a good pace.

Bob Mackenzie would suggest this is unlikely to happen because AoF uses a card-driven turn sequence. However, I am confident that I can tweak the system to address his concerns.

As Bob suggests, there can be problems using card-driven systems in multi-player games. This is the definitely case if the system allows only one player to be active at a time and all the others are standing and waiting. However, I think we an get round this quite nicely.

Arc of Fire usually activates each unit twice a turn – each unit has a pair of cards in the deck - for example on both red Aces. However, it is common practice for a given pair of cards to activate more than one unit – it's part of the subtlety of the system in capturing different degrees of command co-ordination. In our long and thin game we can take this further. The only important factor from a game-play point of view is that opposing units in the same sector aren't activated at the same time.

My experience is that AoF games bowl along nicely as long as there are no more than about eight pairs of cards in the deck (plus the Jokers). So let's activate several sectors' worth of units on each card pair. There's no reason why the Ace of Spades shouldn't simultaneously activate American tanks in one part of the field, a French Special Forces snatch squad in another, and an NBC TV crew in a third.

Another concern with card-driven systems is that everyone has to wait for the slow player to complete his turn. This could be exacerbated in the system I've described. If, say, Black 2 activates two units carrying out lengthy fire-fights or complex manoeuvres, then some players will be left as spectators awaiting the next card. In reality, though, I've found this not to be the case when you have a referee. He can usually leave a slow player to get on with moving his unit and take a sneaky peek at the next card. Often this can be revealed without interfering with the flow of the game.

In a big game like the Tuzkhur Valley battle there is the danger of things being even slower at times when there aren't enough players to go round. Frankly, I have no idea how many players we'll get so there could well be many times when there is someone around to move, say, the American main force and their immediate opponents but no one to progress the fighting in and around Tuzkhur town. So be it. Most of war is sitting around waiting punctuated by short periods of terror. I have no problem ignoring the more static portions of the battle for a few turns while we concentrate on the exciting stuff.

In fact this approach brings its own advantages. These "static" portions of the battle provide ideal settings for passing players to play for a short while and get a feel for the game, the rules or whatever else interests them without having to commit for hours at a time.

Finally, I'd like to point out in defence of card-driven systems that the non-phasing players are rarely completely inactive. There are casualties to determine and mark, morale tests to take and often considerations of whether to attempt opportunity fire.

21 February 2008

Yet more NATO pics

Click for a larger picture. These are Revell and Esci modern US infantry and a pre-painted Dragon M2 Bradley. The building in the background is home made and has previously seen action in Lebanon and Chechnya.

This is the main NATO task force spearhead.

18 February 2008

More NATO Forces

I've started photographing the US and other NATO forces that'll form the main body of the Tuzkhur Valley task force.

First is a Dragon (ready made) M1 Abrams with mine-plough (plow to the Americans). As usual click on the photo to see a larger image.

The second echelon of the US force includes these M113 APCs. Again these are ready-mades, this time from Easy Model.

And here's a Bradley IFV and the dismount element of its squad. The early 1990s squad organisation for Bradley squads was for a six man unit. It made no allowance for breaking down into individual fire and movement elements (or fire teams). This is convenient for our game as it speeds up play.

And finally, some British chaps. Who knows what they will be doing? I ain't saying.

Richard's Spanish Peacekeepers

One of the aims of setting up this game was to allow other players to contribute to the forces we use. Richard Baber has excelled himself and provided a Spanish force that will play an important role in the NATO rescue operation.
Here is the first squad.

They'll ride in this M113. Really nice paint job by Richard I think you'll agree. It'll be interesting to see how far an M113 with a pintle mounted HMG can function as a tank against light infantry forces. Or are they just light infantry forces? It's reported that Andreivia got some surplus T-72s from Czechoslovakia....

The Jeep will be used by the HQ unit (below).

We Happy Few...

My pleas for stout chaps to lend a hand at Gauntlet have not fallen of deaf ears.

Rob Connolly was a tower of strength last year and is promising once again to keep the warriors supplied with suitably ethnic cakes. Now we just need to find some Andreivian cake recipes. Oh, and Rob says he’ll be familiar with the rules too.

Richard Baber, the editor of SOTCW’s magazine The Journal has gone beyond the call of duty and is bringing a force of Spanish UN peacekeepers and some Andreivian rebel types. Piccies to follow.

And now Pete Jones, a stalwart of past SOTCW gatherings and North Wales local, has also volunteered.

I reckon with four of us we can keep the game bowling along at a good pace and still have a fun, relaxed time. That doesn’t mean there isn’t still plenty of space for more heroes!

16 February 2008

Bendy roads disaster

If the Tuzkhur valley game is to be four tables in length (that was my initial plan) I'll need at least 24 feet (7.3m) of roads.  So I decided to do some roads made from foamcore.  I can get quite a lot from work (design companies tend to use it for mounting proposals and after you've decided which set of designs you like you're left with acres of the stuff).

I cut 12 feet of road sections with chamfered edges and then painted them with textured exterior masonry paint for that gritty, tarmac effect.

Sadly, they all warped, turning into attractive, but useless, smily shapes.  

I shall persevere for a bit - it's worth getting some experience with the materials and I might be able to save them but it looks like I may be on the scrounge for road sections as the day grows nearer.

15 February 2008

Battle in the Tuzkhur Valley (the background)

Andreivia, on the shores of the Black Sea, was, in the early 1990s, a nation emerging from years of communist domination. With the collapse of central control came ethnic tension and eventually all-out civil war. Orthodox Andreivians, Moslem Kurds, Armenians and Turks seemed to have a shared desire to soak Andreivian soil in the blood of their enemies.

Two factors gave these events a wider significance. Andreivia bordered Turkey (and hence NATO) and she hosted vital pipelines connecting the Caspian oilfields to the Black Sea. In the circumstances an American-led intervention was inevitable.

The Tuzkhur valley runs from US-occupied southern Andreivia to the town of Tuzkhur on the shores of Lake Kikhide. Although the Americans have no immediate plans to control the valley, news has come that foreign civilians (including some Americans) are trapped in the town.

Already overstretched pacifying his base area, the NATO commander has tasked a small US-led force with heading down the valley, rescuing the expatriates and returning them to safety.

Unfortunately for the US force, the Tuzkhur valley is already a battleground. Andreivian Turk forces hold the upper reaches but firefights with their Armenian enemies are frequent. The town itself is largely under Armenian control but a few beleaguered elements remain loyal to the central government. Speaking to the Central Committee in the capital Tcherbevan, President Memev has unconditionally opposed the NATO “invasion”.

It seems the rescue force will be venturing into the midst of an unpredictable, three-sided battle.

Latest work in progress - gunboat crew

I've done some crew for the Andreivian Government gunboat on Lake Kikhide. I decided to follow Nik Lloyd's approach of putting the crew on a plastic card "cassette" that can be removed if the vehicle is unmanned.

The figures are Revell plastics from their Kriegsmarine crew set.  The seated figure has been the victim of a head-transplant.

14 February 2008

Andreivian Government Forces

The first models finished for the game represent (some of) the Andreivian Government forces in the Tuzkhur region.

Andreivia bought some Type 61 tanks from Japan in the 1960s.

Also present are some students of the Dvimin Military Academy. These are ancient Airfix German Infantry from the early 1960s.

Under development is an Andreivian Navy patrol boat converted from a kid’s toy I picked up cheap in a flea market.

Not Another Wargames Blog?

Yes, I've decided to try my hand at this blogging lark. The plan is to let you know of the plans to develop a participation game to be run by members of the Society of Twentieth Century Wargamers (SOTCW) at the Gauntlet wargames event in north Wales in July 2008.

The idea is to put on a game that lots of people can join in with. The game should support people who want to come along and play in the game for the whole weekend as well as people who want to give it a go for an hour or so. It should also be flexible enough to cope with people saying, "I'm coming, and I'm going to build a unit like this...".

I expect this to blog to grow pretty much at random as I cobble together more details of the scenario, set up and forces involved. I won't be revealing all of the scenario details but I hope to show enough to spark some interest.

If you're interested in taking part, please let me know by adding a comment here.