Just to give my latest handbook for I Ain't Been Shot, Mum a little pre-publicity, I got the cover through from Rich today.
The handbook will be available from the TooFatLardies website on May 10th (next Thursday) and weighs in at over 180 pages!
The good news is that despite its huge size (over twice as big as the other handbooks in the series) we're not making it more expensive than the other books: it will be the same price as the French, the BEF and the Dutch/Belgians.
The handbook will cover the German army that invaded France and the Low Countries in May 1940. It will contain lists for each of the ten different types of infantry division, each of the ten different Panzer Divisions, the cavalry, the SS, the Fallies, the army troops...you name it, it's in there!
Here's a great looking battle report from the Devon Wargames Group, playing the Over the Hill scenario produced as a free PDF download by Rich Clarke the author and co-partner of Too Fat Lardies during the early incarnation of the rule set and easily converted to the latest version of the rules.
The scenario along with others is available to download from the Lardies Yahoo Group, which is well worth joining if you are interested in the best WWII Company level rule sets available!
Another great podcast from the Big Rich, Nick and Sidney.
The lads get together once again to discuss what's new in the world of Lard and what they are working on, and then get stuck into a couple of meaty topics: including political symbols in wargames and how the design of a game can provide a plausible command experience for the gamer.
Please note, the section on Nazi symbols is potentially contentious but they were asked the question and didn't want to shy away from the tough ones. You may not agree with what they say, but hopefully they don't upset too many people.
The usual trip to the library rounds off this episode.
When IABSM v3 was published, two late war handbooks quickly followed: Battle for Liberation and Vpered Na Berlin. I am very pleased to say that today sees the publication of the first of the v3 early war handbooks: Blitzkrieg in the West #1: The French.
The handbook is 73 pages long, and covers the French Army from 1939 to the fall of France in 1940. It has twenty-nine force listings in it, all looking at core company structure and then the possible battalion, brigade, regimental, divisional and higher level supports. It also has a guide to rating your French forces, and a comprehensive armoury.
Available only as a pdf from the TooFatLardies website, Blitzkrieg in the West #1: The French costs £8.40.
Handbooks covering the BEF, the Belgians and Dutch, and the Germans follow one per month in March, April and May this year.
Blitzkrieg in the West #1: The French contains the following lists:
Infantry Divisions Infantry Company GRDI Cavalry Squadron GRDI Motorcycle Squardon
Motorised Infantry Divisions Motorised Infantry Company DIM Motorcycle Company GRDIM Motorcycle Squadron GRDIM AMD Squadron GRDIM AMR Squadron
Independent Tank Formations Independent Tank Company (R-35, H-35, D-2 or fCM-36) Independent Tank Company (FT-17)
Colonial Infantry North African and Foreign Legion formations
Christmas comes but once a year and this year the Lardies Christmas Oddcast comes from a very special location as the Lardy team meet in front of a live audience to discuss a bulging sack of letters they have had from listeners.
Raise a glass of festive cheer and sit back for an hour and enjoy the Festive Oddcast.
For those of you who missed episode three, the Lardies had some technical difficulties with the upload, but you can find it here: Oddcast Episode Three.
[Click on 'Festive Oddcast' and/or 'Oddcast Episode Three' to hear all]
The third in the series of TFL Oddcasts is now available: and this time it's uploaded onto YouTube.
Back from their European Road Trip, the chaps discuss what stimulates the development of a new rule set as well as what's on their workbench and a trip to the Lard Island Library for some suitable reading.
Also featured: Nick fancies a 200lb Beaver, Rich discovers what a quadrilogy is, and Sidney talks about his time on the set of the A-Team.
Here's a quick and somewhat fuzzily-photographed IABSM microarmour AAR from Mark Luther, this one covering action in France 1940 as the French counteract with Somua tanks.
Click on the pic below to see all:
Mark based the game on another AAR from this site: this one from Brian Cantwell. You can see Brian's version (in 15mm) by clicking on the pic below (opens in a new link).
And now a quick request.
I am running out of battle reports to post up here on Vis Lardica.
I am getting the occasional report sent direct to me for posting, and many individuals are kind enough to have allowed me re-posting rights to their blog entries, but it is becoming more and more difficult to keep the flow of reports coming.
So here's the request: if you are playing one of the TFL games covered by Vis Lardica*, and don't have a blog of your own or anything like that, take a few pictures of the action, scrawl down a few notes on what happened, or even just captions to the pictures, and send the lot through to me at email@example.com. Don't worry about format or tidiness or anything like that: I can turn the raw content into a report for you.
That way you have a record of the games that you have played, a record that you can come back to and browse anytime you feel like it. I certainly enjoy reminding myself occasionally of the great tabletop encounters I've enjoyed in the past, and judging by the traffic stats for the site, so do the rest of you!
So don't delay and get scribbling!
*The site covers TFL's company-sized games - I Ain't Been Shot, Mum! (WW2); Charlie Don't Surf! (Vietnam); and Quadrant 13 (sci-fi) - along with their variants Rock the Casbah (the Arab/Israeli wars of the '70s); B'Maso (Africa in the 60's) and the various adaptions for Moderns.
Finally, one thing that did catch my eye earlier today...
I was trawling the Internet looking for interesting wargames content to read, and came across a Russian-language site with a battle report on it. A quick Google translate came up with the usual pidgin English, but one sentence particularly caught my eye:
"well, where in the truhistori vargeim without homruli"
It's like reading Chaucer, or listening to Grendel/Grendel's Mother speak in the Ray Winstone Beowulf film, but expresses a sentiment we should all take to heart: is a wargame truly a wargame without home rules!
The second TFL Oddcast is now available for download.
This time, the terrible trio of Big Rich, Nick and Sid took the advantage of a long drive to Crisis in Antwerp to discuss their hopes for the show and, the big issue of the oddcast, their experiences walking battlefields and how that relates to their wargaming.
As nearly all the content on this site is based on rules from the TooFatLardies, we like to keep you all abreast of what they are up to. One new thing they are doing is a series of "Oddcasts": like podcasts, only Lardier.
Rich, me, Nick at the 2011 Tobruk Games Day at Lard HQ
Here's the announcement from Lard Island News:
"Looking to keep abreast of what is happening on Lard Island? Well, here’s a new way to do so with the Lardy Oddcast, a semi-regular show hosted by international wargaming celebrity and well known washing-line Commando, Sidney Roundwood.
"This show, recorded in the Lard Island Broadcasting Studios on London’s Drury Lane, focuses on telling us what we can expect in future and talking to the two men behind TooFatLardies, Richard Clarke and Nick Skinner, and asking them to give their view on what Lard means to them."
This first Oddcast is a really good discussion of the philosophy behind rulesets such as I Ain't Been Shot, Mum!, Chain of Command, and Sharp Practice, with none of the "well, then I rolled a one, and he rolled a four" tedium that seems to have beset certain other podcasts of late.
Although this site concentrates on the company-sized games from the TooFatLardies, I like to keep you all abreast of their other activity. Today, for example, saw the release of the Citadel, the Breakthrough pint-sized campaign for Chain of Command.
In Rich's own words:
"This Pint Sized Campaign for Chain of Command is the second covering the decisive battle of Kursk in 1943. The action here covers the attack of the Grossdeutschland Division on the Soviet Second Defensive Line. This key action will either see the Germans breakthrough and head onwards for Kursk, or be stopped by the Soviets; whoever wins will seize the initiative in the East for the rest of the year and possibly change the course of the war.
"Six battlefields provide a campaign which sees the Germans attacking and the Soviets but with the Russians counter-attacking to buy time. This campaign can be fought as a stand-alone series of games or can be played as a continuation from the first Kursk Pint Size Campaign, Storming the Citadel.
"This classic Pint Sized Campaign is designed to be run using the campaign rules in At the Sharp End and with Chain of Command rules. Can you seize the initiative and put the Soviets on the back foot while you build up your defences or can you keep up the momentum of the attacks in the East as you drive relentlessly towards Berlin?
"Thirty-two pages long, this Pint Sized campaign provides the background history to the campaign with situation maps. Uses period maps to show the location of the actions and then provides a complete campaign with forces for both sides, support options for players to select from and full victory conditions for all six battles and the campaign as a whole."
At time of publishing, Citadel was on sale for only £3.80: actually less than the price of a pint in some of the places I go!
This year's TFL Summer Special is now published and available for purchase. Here's Big Rich on what's in it:
"Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, Silence the pianos and with muffled drum Because the Summer Special has arrived!
"So, allegedly, said W.H. Auden when we released the contents list of one of our earlier Specials and this one is just as packed with Lardy fun as any we have seen before with great scenarios, rule ideas and variants and plenty for Lardies old and new to enjoy.
"Let’s take a look at the contents:
Flashman and the Emperor: Give yourself top billing as you step into the shoes of Harry Flashman. Can you guide our hero to a safe outcome in this campaign-launching tale of derring-do set in Mexico in 1867. Will Harry Save the Emperor Maximilian or will he face an untimely death at the hands of the Juaristas?
Holding the Line: Internationally famous wargaming celebrity and lover of gnomes, Mike Hobbs and his chums take us to Normandy 1944 for this Chain of Command scenario with some fun rules additions to tickle your fancy.
Sacker of Cities: If the only Homer you know is on the Simpsons, allow “The Colonel” Dave Parker to introduce you to the excellent Trojan Wars expansion for Dux Britanniarum produced by the intellectual giant which is the Durham Wargames Club. “Beware the Wrath of the Gods” says Dave. I have enough trouble keeping the missus happy…
1745: David Hunter leaves the safety of the Crossroads Motel and parties like it’s 1745, taking Sharp Practice for a Highland Reel north of the border with unit Rosters and rule adjustments for the Jacobite Rebellion.
Cracking the Westwall: Big Rich heads for the Siegfried Line and reveals all you could ever want to know and more about this vision in concrete.
Build a Bunker: Inspired by his research, Big Rich shares a step-by-step guide of how to turn polystyrene to concrete.
Achtung! Big Rich completes his West Wall trio with a bunker assault scenario for Chain of Command. Pick your squad, choose your tools and see if you can break through the West Wall.
Using Field of Glory Renaissance Armies in Sharp Practice. In the first of our two articles looking at extending Sharp Practice into the age of Pike and Shot, Carole gives us some interesting rule suggestions as she expands Sharp Practice for her evil ends.
The Battle of Frank Sanbeans Farm: This ACW Sharp Practice scenario from Jim Ibbotson, as seen at OML5, wins an award for the worst ever punning title for a game, but we forgive him for his wonderful brush-work.
Action in the Valle Delle Marie A hard fighting scenario for I Aint Been Shot Mum from the pen of Mike Whitaker as he heads for the hills and valleys of la bella Italia.
LRRP teams in Charlie Don’t Surf: Charles Eckhart gives top tips on using LRRPS in CDS, plus a scenario to test your new skills. Can you find Charlie?
The Attack on Sochaczew: Robert Avery pushes his panzers to the limit with an Early War scenario for I Ain’t Been Shot Mum
The Bridge at Saindoux: Fat Nick goes Commando with a scenario for Chain of Command and the outcome is, predictably, explosive.
Unternehmen Rollshufahren. An German airborne assault on a critical British installation see the LDV fighting for their lives as criminal elements assist the naughty Nazis in this Operation Sea Lion scenario for Chain of Command. Nothing if not topical!
Sharply Buffed: Our second foray into Pike and Shot with rule ideas and force rosters from Nick Worthington
Sharpening Up I Ain’t Been Shot Mum: Frugal Scot Wee Derek Hodge squeezes two rule sets into one Page in a remarkable fusion of ideas.
The Roundwood Report Sidney brings up the rear with a topical look at Command and Control the key trends in the hobby.
"At 123 pages in total this is packed with some great ideas as well as the usual mix of scenarios and other Lard-based fun. When we first produced the Specials in 2004 we tried to make them the best value in wargaming. Thirteen years on we are still doing the same, holding the price at just £6 for the sixth year running."
You can buy the Special by clicking here or on the picture of the front cover, above.
Although this site tends to cocentrate on the company-sized games from the TooFatLardies (IABSM, CDS, Q13), we do like to promote new releases for their other systems.
Here, then, is the latest pint-sized campaign for Chain of Command: Bloody Bucket. Here's the blurb:
"This Pint Sized Campaign for Chain of Command is the first covering the battle of the Bulge. The action here covers the initial German attack against the US 28th Infantry Division as the 26th Volksgrenadier Division attempt to clear the ground between the Our and Clerf Rivers in preparation for Panzer Lehr’s advance on Bastogne. What followed was three days of epic action which destroyed the German chances of victory.
Six battlefields provide a campaign which sees the Germans attacking and infiltrating to isolate the US defenders, initially with infantry but soon with armoured support while a gallant band of men fight on to the end.
This classic Pint Sized Campaign is designed to be run using the campaign rules in At the Sharp End and with Chain of Command rules. Can you break through and open the route to the Meuse and Antwerp, or will you make an heroic stand and halt Hitler’s lunatic vision of victory in the West?
Thirty-two pages long, this Pint Sized campaign provides the background history to the campaign with situation maps. Uses period maps to show the location of the actions and then provides a complete campaign with forces for both sides, support options for players to select from and full victory conditions for all six battles and the campaign as a whole."
Click here or on the picture of the front cover to buy "Bloody Bucket".
Sorry for the lack of posts recently: been working and training and going out-ing hard over the last week or so, so have had neither the time nor the energy to update properly.
Anyhoo, leaving that aside, yesterday was the annual Operation Market Larden games day organised by Ade Deacon and the other Wyvern wargamers.
For me, this involved an hour's sorting and packing the car on Friday night, then leaving the house at 6.30 on Saturday to get up to Evesham to get everything set up for the two games of IABSM that I was due to run.
As usual, it was a brilliant and well-run day of gaming followed by a delicious curry and plenty of drinking. My thanks to all the Lardies who attended and made it such a good day (and evening!) and especially to Ade and the other organisers.
I'll write up the two games that I ran later this week, but in the meantime here's some pictures from the day unashamedly "borrowed" from the TFL Facebook page:
The man himself: Mr Deacon and the famed Lardy cupcakes
Amazing looking Napoleonic naval game
Sid, Noddy and Ty
Chain of Command: the calm before the storm
Sharp Practice...on Mars
It's me! Just starting the morning's IABSM session.
Although this site is mostly dedicated to the TFL company-sized games (IABSM, CDS, Q13) I like to publicise what else is going on at Lard Island. It therefore gives me great pleasure to announce the publication of the latest pint-sized campaign for Chain of Command, the platoon-sized WW2 game.
Here's what the TFL website says about Storming the Citadel:
"This Pint Sized Campaign for Chain of Command is the first covering the attack of PanzerGrenadier Division Grossdeutschland at Kursk. The action here covers the build up to the attack, with actions in no-man’s-land as the Germans attempt to seize observation posts and clear minefields, followed by the first day of this epic battle as the Germans storm through the Soviet outpost line and the first line of defences.
"Six battlefields provide a campaign up to ten games long, by which point you’ll have a clear winner and be set up for the next campaign in the series which is already being prepared and follows Grossdeutschland into the second line of Russian defences and attempting to break into open ground beyond.
"This classic Pint Sized Campaign is designed to be run using the campaign rules in At the Sharp End and with Chain of Command rules. Can you breach the Russian defences and seize the initiative in the East, or will you defeat the fascist invaders and restore the safety of the motherland.
"Twenty-seven pages long, this Pint Sized campaign provides the background history to the campaign with situation maps. Uses period maps to show the location of the actions and then provides a complete campaign with forces for both sides, support options for players to select from and full victory conditions for all six battles and the campaign as a whole."
You can buy Storming the Citadel for the pint-sized cost of £3.80 by clicking here.
This website is built on the Squarespace platform: very arty, very reliable, easy to use, and more than just blog functionality. Highly recommended for this sort of hobby site that needs a bit more than a pure blogging platform can offer.
I pay the $180 a year to have up to 1,000 pages and was somewhat surprised when, on coming to build the pages for this year's TFL Painting Challenge, I was told that I had reached my limit.
I can't have built 1,000 pages!
Of course, it turns out that I have. Two hundred pages for previous painting challenge galleries, five hundred pages of individual after action reports, all the different articles, army galleries and scenarios: it all adds up.
So what to do?
I contacted Squarespace and said "help"!
Their (very helpful) customer service chap couldn't give me any more pages, but pointed out that I was using the platform in quite an old-fashioned way: using web-pages rather than blog-posts for my content...a bit like producing a daily newspaper on super-high quality gloss paper rather than newsprint.
He suggested that as Squarespace gives you unlimited blog posts, and that a blog post contains most if not all of the functionality of a web-page, if I was a bit clever about navigation and presentation, then I could actually archive a lot of my web-pages onto blog posts, thus significantly freeing things up.
Not only that, but Squarespace has various 'summary' functionalities that can group and present blog posts in a very pleasing way, and would actually save me the trouble of having to build second tier navigation pages line by line: I could just pop in a 'summary' block and the machine would do it for me.
Now the above makes me sounds positively antediluvian (hilarious, as I work in media and spend a lot of my time working on the commercial side of some very large publication websites) but as I sat and played with Squarespace, I realised that, as regards Vis Lardica, I was still in very much a pre-blogosphere mind-set.
So, gradually, over the next few months, I shall be migrating content as Squarespace suggest.
Trouble is, of course, this is very time-consuming and actually quite annoying: it's the web-designer equivalent of re-basing!
I've already spent four hours working out how best to present just one small part of the site (see below), and another four hours actually migrating the content. New areas will be built a la blog, but moving the old will take some time.
So, first area migrated is the gallery of my 19th Century (Waterloo to Mons) figures. Here, the navigation page is effectively a blog, with each different gallery being a different blog post, and with the links to the different galleries coming from a Summary content block.
Although a divisional rather than a company-sized game, here's news of the launch of the first TFL/Reisswitz publication, Pickett's Charge.
"Written by veteran game designer Dave Brown, Pickett’s Charge are an exciting and dynamic game with plenty of fast-paced action combined with a command and control system which is intuitive and simple to use, but nuanced and subtle enough to provide the gamer with interesting and testing command challenges. ‘Simple to learn but a challenge to master’ has never been more the case as the player is constantly presented with decisions about how to best influence the action, to seize the initiative from the enemy and to inspire his troops on to great deeds.
"Packed with Civil War flavour, Pickett’s Charge is designed for Divisional and larger battles in the American Civil War, with the Regiment being the smallest manoeuvre element, the Brigade the lowest tactical command. A typical club night action involving several Brigades per side and a full day or weekend handling a Corps or two with ease.
"82 pages in length, Pickett’s Charge includes rules for using both 15mm and 28mm figures, suggestions for organising your armies with a point system and a guide to rating force. An introductory scenario is all you need to get playing with this great new set of rules from the master of the big battlefield.
"PLEASE NOTE: This advanced order option is for the hard copy rules with the bonus of a free PDF of the rules. The PDF will be emailed to you on the day of publication, the 26th of October."
You can buy the rules by clicking either here or on the picture of the front cover.
Although Chain of Command (CoC) isn't usually featured on Vis Lardica - this site being devoted to TFL's company-sized games, and CoC being a skirmish-level, platoon-sized game - it's nice to be able to let you know that the Lardies are having a bit of a sale and offering CoC at 15% off:
News from Lard Island: the TooFatLardies are launching a sister company named Reisswitz Press.
Here's a copy of the release:
It isn’t often that a new publishing house dedicated to historical wargaming is launched, but that is precisely what is about to happen as Reisswitz Press prepares to publish it’s first set of wargames rules, Pickett’s Charge by respected game designer Dave Brown, the man behind such classics as General de Brigade, British Grenadier and Battlegroup Panzer Grenadier.
For the uninitiated, the Reisswitz name comes from the author of what are widely viewed as the first set of modern wargames rules; the 1824 Kriegsspiel which was adopted by the Prussian Army and led to an explosion in military gaming which became popular with military men and enthusiastic civilians alike. Indeed it is testament to von Reisswitz that his rules are still being used today and, probably more importantly, that the hobby he did so much to launch goes from strength to strength.
Most wargamers, especially readers of Lard Island News, will be familiar with TooFatLardies. As game designers and publishers we have long been convinced of the importance of history within our wargames; with a large dollop of Clausewitzian friction and an emphasis on command decisions being our trademark. The founding of Reisswitz Press will allow us to publish wargames rules which fall outside the traditional scope of Lard but which share our dedication to historical gaming.
What is more, Reisswitz Press is an opportunity for us to work with some of the most dynamic and influential people in the hobby. As we have seen, Dave Brown needs no introduction and we have been very pleased to work with Henry Hyde who has done our graphic design and layout on this project and to use the artwork of the peerless Don Troiani on the cover.
Over the coming weeks, as we move towards our launch publication date, we’ll be keeping you informed about Pickett’s Charge with articles on design and reports on games. We are also looking to produce a range of short videos to show the rules in play.
Vis Lardica is a website devoted to wargaming and military history, with a special emphasis on the company-sized rulesets produced by the TooFatLardies: I Ain't Been Shot Mum (WW2); Charlie Don't Surf (Vietnam); and Quadrant 13 (science fiction)
Welcome to Vis Lardica, a website mostly dedicated to the company-sized wargaming rules produced by the TooFatLardies, but encompassing my other gaming interests as well.