Tuesday 31 December 2013

Tales from the Cold War: Assault on Bunker RGx.x

It was the early 1980’s when the peace protesters planned their assault. The aim was to attack one the ‘key’ components of Britain’s nuclear arsenal, a regional government wartime headquarters. Their aim was to enter when the Air Observer Corps were starting an evening training session, overwhelm the few who arrived early and enter the bunker. Inside they would ‘trash’ the bunker and on the way out, they would put stones through the windows of the cars of the militaristic Air Observer Corps parked outside. The assault was planned with military precision, include hoax phone calls to distract the police and delay the police response.

The Monday evening arrived and the peace protesters moved silently across the fields. They had formed up in the layby used for the odd visitor to the adjacent historical battlefield. A voice challenged them in the dark as they approached the entrance to the bunker. They charged towards the blast doors, stumbling in the dark. They were moments away from their objective.

Unfortunately, that evening the Air Observer Corps were present in force. All three crews were assembled, 450 in all, plus a contingent of the RAF Regiment. The intruder alert came out on the bunker tannoy and there was a rush outside. The Observers lined up and marched across the somewhat surprised peace protesters. Unfortunately, the odd peace protester person might have stumbled in the dark and might have hurt themselves in their panic. Apparently the RAF Regiment tried to intervene in the chaos, but someone in civilian clothes told them to ‘get lost’ and take a smoke break round the back of the bunker.

The police and ambulances arrived to find a lot of peace protesters who claimed they had been assaulted in the dark by hundreds of people. However, when they approached the bunker, the only person they could see was an elderly caretaker who said no-one was in the bunker and anyway, anyone could see only a few people could fit it inside (most bunkers are small on the surface). The blast doors were shut and he did not have a key. Eventually, the police left, somewhat bemused.

With hindsight, it was interesting to note that by sheer chance the protesters choose to assault the bunker on the rare occasions it was fully crewed. One wonders who suggested the assault and that date to them. Surely, Special Branch had not set the peace protesters up?

Some of the cold war was grim, but some of it was funny.

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Early Wargaming II

Inspired by the discovery of Colonel's George Alfred Keef’s army and 60 pages of a campaign history from perhaps 1878-1882, I have been researching the start of hobby wargaming with toy soldiers. Colonel Keef's games seemed to be dependent on gunpowder in toy cannons, so were truly in the toy end of the wargame spectrum. 

Polemos (1886) published in Early Wargames Volume 2 was the earliest contender for a toy soldier based wargame, however I have now found an earlier game. 

The game is from approximately 1860 and was discovered by the late Hans Roer (an expert on early German figures). The two photo's below are reproduced from his book and are copyrighted to Hans Roer. 

This is clearly the earliest example of a hobby wargame with toy soldiers found to date. However, as I write this I already have more information arriving about even earlier wargames. 

My thanks to Brian Carrick for further information about the game. Brian is one of the editors of Plastic Warrior that marvelous hobby magazine all about collecting plastic soldiers.

Saturday 7 December 2013

Fields of Glory- Ancient Warfare Card game now available.

At the UK Conference of Wargamers in 2012, played Martin Wallace's card game, Fields of Glory. This was a card game about ancient warfare and was highly amusing.

The first part of the game was about choosing your army and the second part was fighting the battle. Of course, you have a number of tricky decisions to make during the game.
Martin's games are always worth looking at for interesting ideas to borrow when designing games.

The reason I mention it is the game is only available from the Tree Frog website and is not going into general distribution. http://www.treefroggames.com/field-of-glory-2 (I am sure there is a story there).

The site also lists all of Martin Wallace's games; some of which are classics in terms of giving players multiple choices to make.