Tuesday, 9 October 2007
As you can see from the screenshot it is nicely rendered. The game play is good to shoot alien ships, dock at space stations, trade, build up your spacecraft.
This is a work in progress and the designer hopes to add detail to it for many years to come.
Find it here: Website
Monday, 24 September 2007
Besides watching Zombie flicks I also like gaming the era. This is a list of my favourite zombie games:
Dawn Of The Dead - original boardgame of the film which was commercial published but now available free on the web here.
Dead Of Night - free web boardgame with outstanding production values and a good game to boot. Available from designers page.
Last Night On Earth - a new commercial boardgame that is getting very good reviews and is on my wish list. From Flying Frog Productions.
Zombie Plague : Free downloadable boardgame from Fortress games. Somewhat reminiscent of the Dawn of the Dead board game, on one team are the humans, while on the other are the zombies.
Mall Of Horror - commercial boardgame by Nexus.Each player controls 3 characters: a blond girl, a big guy and a dude with a gun. They must escape the zombies by locking themselves in the stores.
Blight of the Living Dead - Free miniature game available here. A set of miniature rules for a Fantasy Zombie Slaughter Fest
Dead Walk Again - free miniature rules from here. A set of tabletop rules inspired by the ever-growing number of zombie movies which pitches a small group of heroes against hordes of zombies.
Zombies!!! commercial boardgame by Twilight Creations which has spawned 5 expansions and has great plastic figures.
ZombieTown commercial boardgame by Twilight Creations which is a spin off of Zombies!!!.
Dead & Alive - solitaire free zombie game available from Boardgamegeek.
Send More Brains - an attempt to capture the flavour of zombie movies in a fun, fast-playing miniatures game (FREE). Available here.
And when you have finished all your Zombie gaming I recommend reading World War Z the official history of the Zombie Wars by Max Brooks.
Tuesday, 11 September 2007
In the last week I've picked up a couple of cheap ones and a couple of free one's worth mentioning.
Prussia Rising £3.00 from wargamesdownloads. A game on the Franco Prussian War of 1870-71, played using a system similar to GDW A House Divided. It is a point to point game, with generic infantry and cavalry units, that may be upgraded during the game. It's not very complex and should be finished in around 2 to 3 hours at most. Playable both solitaire than face to face. The maps are beautifully drawn. The rules are bit foggy and require more clarity but the author is approachable via consimworld.
I Obey £3.00 from wargamesdownloads (sale price). This one is an operational game on Garibaldi campaign over the Alps during the initial and central phases of the Third Italian War of Independence. With a very peculiar chit drawing activation method and a combat system that stresses fatigue over real casualties, I obey is a fascinating study of this neglected campaign.
Postcards from the Revolution Free game from the authors website. This is a little gem a post card that includes the board, counters, rules and historical background of a single battle from the American Revolution.
Hohenfriedeberg free from authors site. This is inspired by the Postcard rules above but now covers the Battle of Hohenfriedeberg" which took place in 1745 during the Second Silesian War between Prussia and Austria.
So that should be enough to start you off...happy gaming.
Monday, 10 September 2007
Pit your wits against the remorseless Artificial Intelligence engine of the Battlefield Academy, in four challenging historical missions.
The computer will be your enemy as you seek to gain tactical battlefield experience. You will only graduate when you have won every mission.
To help you succeed, some of the greatest commanders in history will be on hand to give you tactical advice - and the best players will be entered into each mission's High Score Table.
Sunday, 12 August 2007
So this morning I downloaded a couple of anti-trojan tools from the net. I tried a couple out then I had the following message "A program has removed a critical file please place Windows XP disc in the drive". Now this caused one major problem my PC came pre-installed with XP and 2 backup DVD's that only take it back to the factory settings.
The PC then completely crashed and would not start. I used a Linux Live CD to boot the computer up and accessed the hard drive. All folders was still intact, however, every single file on the PC had been wiped! Gone! No sign of them!
I've lost loads of rules, wargames articles....my last back up was a month ago. You guessed it I back up every 31 days and the crash occurred after 30 days.
I spent the next 2 hours getting the PC back to bog standard installation with anti virus and essential Internet software.
This afternoon I visited the father-in-laws to rid him of his virus and the Trojan he had installed (and the associated 118 others the original had installed) took me a couple of hours to get rid of. I did find a good piece of software eventually that removed it called SmitFraudFix which is now kept on my USB pendrive for emergencies.
It was the only piece of Freeware that removed the Trojans all the other failed (and I tried about a dozen).
So Murphys 123rd Law came true: "If you backup your data every 31 days you will lose your data on day 30"
Tuesday, 17 July 2007
On 17th my webhost contacted me to say all had been fixed but still, I and others couldn’t access the site.
After contacted the webhost and a lot of detective work myself I finally resolved the problem. One of the 568 files which was on the server and was only 1kb in size had been corrupted when their server crashed. This totally blocked out the whole site.
As you can imagine it was difficult finding this problem but all is safe and well again now.
Sunday, 15 July 2007
I don't want to go as big as 15mm or 20mm scale so my options are:
Not a great deal of coverage here. The Germans are well catered for, but only Char 1 and H35 available for the French, the British are worse with only the Matilda II.
These are a lovely range of figures and the detail for 3mm is amazing. Both the French and Germans are extremely well catered for. No British yet.
Heroic and Ros
Good coverage from this mainstay of manufacturers, I have lots of their 1944-45 figures already.
Some vehicles missing from the French (R35, H39) and the British (A10, A13 and Matilda I). The sculpts are not as nice as Heroic and Ros.
These are very reasonably priced too again a few missing vehicles for both the French H39) and the British (A10, A13, Matilda II).
Skytrex Action 200
These figures have been around a long time and some of the moulds show it. But all the vehicles are available.
One of my favourite manufacturers for 10mm, however, they have only recently started WW2. The only French tank they do at the moment is S35 and the only British one for the period is the Matilda 2.
A relatively new company they have an extensive range of vehicles for this period. They are a little pricier than the other 10mm.
I'm still undecided whether to go for 3mm with 3-5 tanks on a base representing a Platoon or for 10mm. The later figures look better on the table so I'm swaying that way.....
Maybe I should look at rules first?
The Gutenberg Project of Australia has released all of Robert E Howards Conan books as free downloads from their site.
I’m slowly ploughing my way through them now. If you want a good e-book reader for your computer I recommend Tom’s eTextReader which makes reading these books on the PC much easier.
Friday, 13 July 2007
I have been very busy of late with plenty of chores at home for Mrs Freewargamesrules.
This has stopped me from updating my blog, although I have been able to keep on top of the freewargamesrules website updates.
Hopefully things will be back to normal in the next couple of days!
Sunday, 10 June 2007
See how he's getting on at The Distracted Wargaming Blog
Friday, 1 June 2007
I was delighted to see that Fantasy Flight have bought out some 1/444 scale aircraft to go with their War of Wings game.
Theirs twelve models released in the first series:
3 x Spad XIII
3 x Sopwith Camel
3 x Albatross D.Va
3 x Fokker DR1
Needless to say purely for reviewing purposes I purchased all 12! They retail at £6.99 each.
They are made of plastic and beautifully painted. They have their own stand complete with forward firing arc. On the stand there is four detachable pegs for depicting the aircraft at different heights. Each place also comes with its own manoeuvre deck.
The models can be used for any game but we had a couple of games last night using the Wings of War rules. Everyone enjoyed themselves and a few more people are now talking about getting the aircraft too now.
See information here.
Monday, 30 April 2007
I've never had an inclination to raise, paint or buy any further ancient armies until I saw the HaT plastic range now available. So my interest in Ancients has risen slightly...but I don't want to play DBM, so what was the alternative?
In my club there has been a re-insurgence in WRG 6th Edition rules in 25mm. It started off with 2 or 3 players and is now up to about half a dozen. The rules are sound, however, there have been a couple of off putting things: (1) The rules are long out of print and are not easy to find second hand (2) Same for the army lists and (3) Three people who play 6th Edition in the club have had serious heart conditions!!
I have purchased the rules from the Evil Empire: Warhammer Ancient Battles and again a few people have been playing these in the club with their existing armies. There are some remnants leftover from Warhammer Fantasy that spoil these rules but I can't deny that the source books are excellent for people new to the period.
Then recently Crusader Miniatures brought out their new historical rules called Crusader which are a very reasonable £7.50 and printed in full colour. They cover the Biblical period through to Medieval and although designed for 28mm they can be used with any scale and any basing system. On reading these rules they look just my type of rules, simple but giving a good flavour of the period. The only downside is as they are a new set there are no army lists yet. (The book does have a Saxon and Norman scenario at the back).
The good news is that it looks as if the Army Lists are going to be free supported by their website and a Yahoo group. But in the meantime I am going to have to try and fudge the army lists for my Roman and Ancient British armies.
Sunday, 29 April 2007
This has worked a treat and I get no spams to the new email address. I still have to monitor the old address but I can view them on the server remotely and delete them if I can see they are not wargame related.
The second type of spam I was getting was via my Guestbook some spammer or web-bot was putting in multiple entries per day to some Italian spam site, which meant I had to daily enter the guestbook and remove his/her spams. Now I've had to amend the guestbook so that the user has to enter a 3 digit random code to accept the post. Hopefully this will stop any automated scripts from adding spurious entries to my guestbook. We'll see how this goes on, if this fails I'll have to start logging IP addresses!
I managed to transfer the entries from the old guestbook so they were not lost.
Friday, 20 April 2007
Well I had an email from Will Scarvie of San Diego with his solution:
I'm having no luck finding the right kind of hair curlers to make my armies. But, I did find a number of hair brushes whose teeth work almost as well. The kind I'm using has a rubber insert into the handle, and rows of plastic teeth coming up through the rubber.
Underneath the rubber, these teeth are joined in rows and evenly spaced along the sprue that connects them. Trim to length and I've got lots of infantry. It's not as cheap as the hair curlers probably are/were, but it works and it's WAY cheaper than 6mm lead figures.
Tuesday, 17 April 2007
So I paid £14.00 for shipping and handling to get my upgrade DVD pack which included an upgrade by the PC Manufacturer and The Vista Disc.
Now I'm no slouch at installing OS systems and in my time I have installed DOS, Windows 3.11, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows XP, XP SP1 and XP SP2. So you would think it would be easy to install Vista...
No. After 12 hours and numerous Blue Screens of Death (BSOD) I am defeated. The problem started with sptd.sys error. After booting up with a Linux CD I checked the web and found this is a problem driver. So I managed to get to a command prompt and rename the file.
I then managed to get to another BSOD with the error of Page Fault In Non Paged Area. I googled this and it is one of 2 possible problems that no one appears to have solved (1) Faulty Memory (2) Video driver problems. Other people with this error can't install Vista either.
So I have now rolled back to Windows XP SP2 and all is fine and dandy again. I just pity the people that spend hundreds of pounds to get the upgrade kit.
My tip of the week is if you want Vista - by a new machine with it on. Otherwise stick to XP as it works!
Monday, 16 April 2007
Saturday, 14 April 2007
Here are some pictures of such armies:
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
On Boargamegeek in the Battle Cry Page there is a variant set of rules for the game called Advanced Battle Cry Deluxe Edition (find them under Files). These really improve the game and make it more "ACW like". So much so that we play these rules on the tabletop with 20mm plastic figures.
You could use the Kallistra Hexon System but these are quite expensive to make up a board for BC. So I purchased a 4 inch plastic hex template designed for quilt making from http://www.roybland.cjb.net/. With a bit of practice I found the best way to draw the grid is not to fully trace around the template but only to draw the straight sides and then only about 3/4 of their length. This hides any errors as you get near the sides when the grid can start to drift but also looks very good on the tabletop. I then purchased some Kallistra singles and hills to place on top of my drawn grid.
A new group has now opened called Hex/Grid Yahoo Group which is for like minded people to discuss these hex games, convert current rules systems etc. There are a number of hex tabletop rules available free from The Antwerp Fusiliers.
Friday, 6 April 2007
Thanks to Derek Hodge who let me copy his lists of blogs I now have a healthy selection.
Please feel free to tell me about any other blogs of interest.
Thursday, 5 April 2007
If you are familiar with Wikipedia its is an online encyclopaedia which anyone can edit. However, to ensure sensibility editors are used to keep the content relevant. One of these editors responsible for the Miniature Wargaming is a Larry Dunn, and I will come back to him shortly.
It would appear that certain persons have added content to the entry to try and give a broad background to our hobby. One person added the rules I Aint Been Shot Mum (IABSM) by TooFatLardies. Mr Dunn removed this link as he considered it commercial. None of the persons connected with TooFatLardies had submitted it and I'm sure they wouldn't have mind however, other "popular" rulesets were left on. I can see where Larry came from on this one but I think all the other rulesets should have been removed too.
On the other hand he allows a list of manufacturers so isn't this commercialism?
The one I do disagree with him though is that several people have tried to get the The Miniatures Page listed as an organisation because of the forums that people can visit. For some reason Larry won't let this stay on the page.
I think TMP is one of the most important meeting places for people from our hobby and think it should be allowed. (I think part of his problem is because 1. People can pay voluntary subscriptions to keep it running 2. He doesn't think it is notable enough).
Should 1 person be allowed this power over our hobby?
Today at 12.55 pm GMT I've added a link to my website which is completely free, non commercial and popular (thousands of visits per day). We'll see how long it takes to remove my link!
Monday, 2 April 2007
Friday, 30 March 2007
The new format keeps the wiki layout but greatly speeds up access (especially for dial up owners).
You can watch the development here.
The recent completions are:
- The Whats New page now an imports my newsfeed. This reduces the duplication of writing the newsfeed and the Whats New section.
- Designed the favicon for the final version incorporating the new white dice logo (although not implemented on the beta site yet).
- From beta testers it became apparent that users what the same functionality as the present site. So when clicking on a rule name it now opens as a new page in the browser.
- The Broken Link footer to each rules has now been reduced to an "!" at the end of the rule description thus reducing the clutter on the page
- Likewise I have dropped the format type the rules are in as this has become superfluous to what users require now.
- Looked at implementing forums but at present time this has been shelved as other sites like The Miniatures Page suffices for the hobby and is well established.
Still to do:
- The RSS newsfeed details will have to be redesigned slightly when the new site is implemented so that the Whats New section reads properly
- The Links section needs converting to the new format.
- Still have to convert data for the 2 largest sections yet: World War 2 and Sci Fi
- Decide on any further features to the site. Should I have a guestbook; bring and buy section; rule writing area. This will probably be left to a later implementation if there is need for it.
Wednesday, 28 March 2007
On speaking to some traders they seemed to be slightly down on last years takings. A few of them did say that most of their trade is Internet based now so they have cut down on the shows.
My purchases this year were:
- 2 League of Augsburgs armies in 10mm from Pendraken. Plenty of painting there.
- 1 6mm ECW dragoon booster pack. I bought the ECW Polemos pack from Peter at Baccus 2 years ago and have painted up one army so far. The only thing the army was lacking was some dragoons.
- HaT Napoleonic plastics - Austrian infantry and cavalry to finish of my Austrian army
- Stretlets*R plastics - Napoleon's General Staff(2). These are mounted generals for use with my on going plastics project. I figure I can alter these for mounted generals for my Bavarians and Austrians.
- Ga Pa rulebook for the Age of Marlborough by Thomas Arnfelt. These seem to be a very popular set of rules for the period. They have a limited army list in the back but cover the period I want.
- Disposable Heroes Rules - only bought these because they were half price and might convert them for my planned modern game (US v Insurgents)
- Quick Play Napoleonic Rules by Barry Edwards - again they were cheap and a couple of people in the club play them.
- Robogear vehicles for the Airfix Robogear game. These were only £2.80 each instead of £7.99. I already have 2 sets of the full Robogear (yes still unpainted)so this was a good purchase adding moer vehicles to both sides.
- Mall of Horror boardgame. This was in impulse buy as you can never have enough Zombie games! I play lots of boardgames and a future blog will feature my thought on boardgames.
- 100 small steel bases. These are to glue on to my 54mm plastic figures bases to give them some weight.
- Some "Jaffar" type figures from the Stargate film made by MJ Figures. I already have a resin stargate which I bought off ebay some years ago. I've used it in all sorts of games. You can have whatever you want coming out of the stargate from Aliens, Predators to Daleks.
- Battle Master game by MB games. This was a present for my son as I always get him a present while I'm away. He's six and a half now and desperate to wargame. We've already had one game on the lounge floor (not wargames on the floor since I was about 14 and my 42 year old limbs were aching). Worst of all I lost to him, what is it with kids rolling better dice than adults.
- Finally bought a pewter dragon for the wife as she collects them. (This will allow me to go again next year).
My next outing will be Beer and Pretzels at Burton-on-Trent. Again it will be a stay over.
Another idea we had at the show was doing a wargame weekend at The Bunker Wargames Holiday Centre. It's £150 for a weekend wargaming with all the figures supplied bed and board. All you have to supply is beer.......very tempting.
Thursday, 22 March 2007
I wanted to simulate the legations thinking about their ammunition or running out of it so I came up with the following idea. I used poker chips and each legation was given 3 red poker chips (fire chips). Each time the legation wanted to fire they handed in one of their fire chips which were placed into a bag. Inside the bag at the start of the game was a number of black chips equal to the green chips on the table.
At the start of each turn each legation returned their black chips into the bag and drew back up to 3 chips again. So if they no fire chips they would draw 3 if they already had two fire chips they could only draw 1 chip.
The system worked well with legations running out of ammunition and unable to fire, or holding fire when they only red chip left to save for emergencies.
Another alternative to make it even harder for the legations would be that each legation can only draw 1 chip per turn. I may try this another time.
The rules I used were my LOTR Strategy Battle Game variant found at the LOTR Variant yahoo group.
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
The schedule of events on the Friday means arriving midday, playing some board games with a beer or two. Then off to get some lunch and maybe another beer. We return to the hotel mid afternoon to book in, play some more boardgames and maybe another little drink. This carries into evening time when we go out for a Balti return to the hotel suitably refreshed more boardgames and beer......as Homer Simpson says "Beer: The cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems."
Essential Items for the show are: purchase list (if left behind this is a disaster); comfy shoes (to walk around each hall several times); bag (to carry all the ill gotten gains in); bottle of water (to re-hydrate oneself); air-freshener (to deal with those people who have body odour problems - especially in the cramped Bring and Buy area).
Prior to returning home ensure you have gifts for the other half and kids so that they allow you to go again next year.
Upon arrival home the main decision to make is:
a) Do you take in all the purchases straight into the house
b) Drop them off at a friends house
c) Take some items in but leave the majority in the car boot to sneak into the house over the next several days
The other main event worthy of a yearly pilgrimage is the Spiele boardgame show, Essen in October. This nicely splits the year into two halves and has greatly improved my packing skills trying to lug back boxes of games in a suitcase.
Tuesday, 20 March 2007
In 1997 I decided to write a webpage for my local club Wrexham and District Wargames Club. In those days I knew nothing about writing webpages and used a WYSIWYG editor. It was a simple site with a link to a few rules I had written.
Soon it began to grow and I added further rulesets. I then learnt about frames so my site had the index down the left side and the main page on the right. I know began to learn to edit my site using a text editor so I could code it manually.
The site was getting a bit too heavy to edit all the html pages. I know had to have different pages for each era. I wanted a database but my ISP did not support it. A solution then was to save the rulesets as a database on my computer using Microsoft Access. I only updated the site once a month as the next process was very laborious. I exported the database into DBF format and used another piece of software to generate the HTML pages from that.
I found a lovely website called Tiddlywiki. This made an entire website into a single HTML page. The site had a fresh new look and the updates were a breeze to do. Now I could do updates on an almost daily basis. However, as the site has continued to grow so has the size of the single webpage. It's now over 600k. This slows it down when people visit it if they don;t have broadband. I recently changed to a webhost that supports version 4.01 of PHP so now the time is ripe to migrate to a PHP server.
Several days of hunting around has taken place trying to find wikis or content management systems that work on PHP 4.1. Most of them require version 5. However, I think I've found what I'm looking for in pmwiki. I uploaded the templates to my site and within 24 hours I have a working beta.
I have done this migration thing twice with big consequences from html to access in the 3rd Generation took a long time and I only had several hundred rules to do then. When I created the 4th Generation site I had 1,000 entries to convert. This time it's even bigger and I daren't count how many entries will need to be converted.
Will the site migrate to the new version? I don't know yet. But take a look at it and tell me what you think, over the next couple of weeks I will convert more content to see if it is viable.
Freewargamesrules 5th Generation Beta.
Monday, 19 March 2007
The problem with this period though is that no-one can agree on a good set of rules to play. My first set of rules were the good old Bruce Quarrie Napoloenic set which originally came out as an Airfix guide published by Patrick Stephens Limited back in 1974 (I have the 1977 edition bought when I was 13). Later on Bruce bought out an updated book, which I also have and have played.
In our local club Deeside Defenders there is no set of Napoloenic rules that dominate. Myself I'm still trying to find a set of playable rules that give a flavour of the period and that are easy to play (I'm getting too old for complicated sets with lots of tables). Also different national characteristics and unit quality is important.
I've narrowed it down to 2 free sets that I will test when the figures are finished:
Huzzah By oozlum games they have a unique mechanic I've not noticed until now. Instead of units firing at the enemy, the enemy takes a threat test when in range of enemy cavalry, infantry and artillery. Depending on the grade of the threatened unit they must make a successful test or if they fail they take staggers (which when accumulated can destroy a unit).
In The Name Of Glory These were recently only available to purchase but David Marks the author has now presented them free of charge. A lot of work has gone into the rules at 98 pages long. He goes into a lot of detail explaining small things which most gamers take for granted. Strip away all the explanations and the rules are quite simple and Stuart Asquith recommends them too. A nice little mechanism here is the command and control system. each army is given activation counters to assign to units of their choice. The number of counters depends on the quality of the general and the army in question.
So those are my two choices I will give a feedback at a later date on the two sets when playtested (and when the two armies are finally painted).
There are some lovely ranges and periods out there and the one that was a near miss was The Great Northern War. Stretlets*R have a lovely plastic range.
However, I finally settled on The League of Augsburg (also known as the 9 Year War). I was encouraged by The League of Augusburg website, they also provide a set of Wargames rules called Under The Lilly Banner.
The scale was something that I was unsure of. But I settled on 10mm after seeing some nicely painted 10mm ranges at my club from Pendraken. I've ordered 2 army packs from Dave which I will collect this weekend at Triples.
Being a rules fiddler I found a set of rules from Jackson Gamers which had potential as they are element based called Quick Tricorne which look good. I expanded the command and control system as the way I see it armies were very hard to command or control in this period. Generals didn't have all the staff they had in later years.
I also changed the morale tests from using a single D6 to 2D6. Class A troops have a morale of 10 down to Class D with a 7. Add or subtract modifiers to the morale number. Then roll equal or below the modified morale factor to see if the unit has passed.
I have been running a news feed to freewargamesrules for about 12 months now and use a piece of freeware software called feedspring to create the xml file that is a newsfeed. It really is simple.
The latest edition to the newsfeed is that users can now ask for the newsfeed to be e-mailed to them directly via another free service called r-mail. Within 2 weeks of setting this up we became one of the top 100 feeds on the service.