This blog started life on 29th May 2013, ten years ago, with a post looking at the White Star Rising boardgame, published by Lock ‘n Load, covering the Noville scenario in some detail (a link to that post is in the Resource Section below).
The blog offers something of an eclectic mix of boardgames and figure gaming across several periods, with a bit of terrain building and campaigning etc thrown in.
It has been interesting to revisit the first post and to see the character traits of this blog still reminiscent of those humble beginnings, with fairly long posts highlighting system detail and an inclination for playing games that don’t take up too much space.
As much as I enjoyed that game, it is no longer in my collection (true of many of the things that I have covered here), however, as a celebration of 10 years of blogging, I thought it fitting to get a Noville based boardgame scenario to the table again.
This post also looks at some of the stats of the blog and the direction that it is going in.
For the rest of this post, please use the ‘read more’ tab.
To my surprise, none of my tactical board games / modules carry a Noville scenario. The closest I can get is other nearby fighting, around Bastogne, by taking the ‘Nuts!’ Scenario from the Ghost Front module in the Old School Tactical system, published by Flying Pig Games and designed by Shayne Logan.
This module covers the Bulge (Ardennes) actions in December 1944.
23rd December 1944 at Bastogne, Belgium, 101st Airborne Division are dug in and besieged. German forces are probing the perimeter, looking for a weak spot.
In this instance, we have elements of 26th Volksgrenadier Division and a couple of supporting StuG IIIG’s attacking American positions.
Above - The Americans set up first, protecting road junctions. There are 3 green counters with white stars, these are German objectives. The Germans have two groups of troops, allowed to enter the map at any of the points on the edges that I have marked with white stars.
Playing solo, I decided to dice for the points of entry and above is the result. I would have preferred to enter one group at the top, as it is the shortest distance to the objectives, but at least the American forces wasted some of their assets (mines and wire) trying to cover that area.
The snow is reducing movement allowances by 1 MP per turn, so in this seven turn scenario, it seems that the Germans will spend most of their time trying to get the American defensive line, let alone fight! This is a tight timescale.
Note the lone Airborne rifle section stuck up in the woods by the road (brown stack). This unit created a load of hassle for the Germans and delayed their advance by a turn or two.
Above - A German infantry section armed with a grenade bundle has made it to the tip of the woods and is about to assault the position of an American sniper that has already shot and killed a lieutenant and caused casualties on another section.
By the end of play, the Germans had only captured one objective hex (the top one). They had tried to seize another (the bottom one), but despite getting a foothold in the hex, the defenders held out and then a fresh American rifle section arrived to bolster the defence and the Germans were ejected.
The system always offers a 50 / 50 chance of a scenario being extended by one turn. There were roughly a platoon of German infantry close enough to that second objective to try another assault if the extra turn could be gained - but the dice said ‘No’.
As always with this system, a lot of small ‘down in the hex’ intrigue is going on. One of the German StuG’s got caught out when a road block suddenly appeared (hidden asset) and with buildings either side, was forced to reverse back and while doing so, narrowly missed destruction from a badly aimed bazooka.
So there we are, the ten year cycle brings us back to where we started, an Ardennes tactical level boardgame scenario. In truth, not much has fundamentally changed during that time in the nature of blog content or presentation.
Above - Kit bash figure, cavalryman torso on infantryman legs and
a couple of spare horses to give an ACW horse holder base.
When I look at the post titles for the rest of that year (2013), I see most of those games / figures have been sold ….. and yet here I am, doing much the same thing and still being enthused.
I wonder how much of my current crop of ‘liked’ games is destined to go missing from the shelves in the next decade to make space for new stuff?
I’m not sure how good the stat buttons are here, but a quick bit of research shows over a million visitors (thanks also to the bots who seem particularly interested in a set of my rules with a certain title), 411 posts written, 8265 comments made (half of them are of course my replies) and the top most viewed post covers ‘Comparing Tactical WWII Systems’, which to date has garnered over 15,000 views. The post is over 8 years old now and could probably do with an update or some sort of re-imagining.
I was trying to work out that if I were an author, writing books and getting paid for it, just how many books worth of text I have written over the past ten years ….. there is probably a very good reason why we are given just 8 fingers and 2 thumbs, it keeps things simple and counting limited to things that are really important, like how many roast potatoes I like!
Readership figures have dropped from around 12k plus per month to around 10k and I put much of this down to the migration of interest away from blogs and towards Facebook groups and YouTube.
We all have limited time to browse and I imagine that my longer posts can lose out to the fast grab of Facebook and Youtube.
Some will appreciate the extra detail here, but I do ‘get it’ that ploughing through a wall of text is not always convenient and I feel inclined to rein in posting length, not so much to respond to figures and trend, but just for me to spend less time at the keyboard.
I would be quite happy to post less frequently, I am not chasing post numbers and these days I am fully resigned to the fact that only a small percentage of kindly folk who read a full article will bother to comment, but subject matter naturally occurs at the rate that I post and in some respects, it returns favour to the hobby, helping highlight designs, designers and producers.
At several points in the past 10 years I have wondered about how long there will be things to write about and yet the ‘well’ never seems to run dry. Sometimes the enthusiasm to write dips, but the material is still there.
Blogging does bring some mysteries of the universe, such as why I sometimes have to submit a comment to my own blog four times before it will load up (bug?) and why Norton Anti-Virus has decided that my blog is a ‘Phishing risk’ and also why people with names like Abigale Huels and Dream Medicine haunt my comments with spam links to no doubt wondrous things …. I’m still trying to get through the pile of Viagra that the last spammer sold me!
Considering the blog in effect covers a lot of product and can easily be mistaken as a collection of reviews, the long time readers will know that the blog prides itself on being independent of external influence. Everything I write about, I have bought and enjoyed enough to want to write about it. That might not always produce the best objectivity, but the writing is honest and readers that generally like the same sort of games that I like …. will probably be happy with what crops up here.
So thanks as always to all those who take the time to read this stuff and in particular to those who have been unstinting in their visible support through comments and following over the years.
Future Plans for the blog? - well just more of the same really, but perhaps not as lengthy …… though I have of course said that before and Mr. Wordy does not yet seem ready to lay down and roll over :-).
As I settle more into game ‘series’ for easier, more sustainable play, there may not be as much new rule sets being delved into and ‘reviewed’ for want of a better word.
I can see AAR’s being briefer and more superficial like the one above and other interests coming to the fore, such as campaigns and the crossover between figures and boardgames being explored and more commonly presented. I know that I want to do more at promoting the Pocket Army concept for getting figures onto the kitchen / dining table.
None of it actually matters too much, but a bit of escapism and hobby immersion does keep us bobbing along nicely. Thanks all and thanks to Google for giving us a free platform.
The first post for this blog from the White Star Rising game - LINK
Comparing WWII tactical systems, most viewed post (and more work than I care to think about!) LINK
My sister webspace ‘COMMANDERS’ is being re-configured to showcase various figure and boardgame systems that I am enjoying and gives a flavour of where current ongoing projects are up to. Link.