Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Sleeping in a Vaubam Fortification: Fuerte de la Concepción (Salamanca)

Patio de Armas with the chapel remnants

This is a quite belated blog entry which I was initially planning to publish in late October 2017. I spent several days touring the Portugal/Spain border fortresses of Ciudad Rodrigo and Almeida, as well as the battlefield of Fuentes de Oñoro.
But how would you feel if in addition to visiting all these historic places,  you had the opportunity to sleep in truly original Vauban fortification now refurbished as an upper scale (4 stars) hotel?

This is actually the case of the Fuerte Concepción located at Aldea del Obispo, now called Domus Real Hotel. I don't think it is  well known specially among British tourists, a shame because it is the perfect base-camp for touring all the places mentioned plus the battlefields of El Bodón and Tamames in the Spanish side and the River Coa area in the Portuguese side.

A little bit of background and context: until very recently, the only good communication routes between Spain and Portugal passed through Salamanca and Badajoz. To exert control on those two routes, twin fortifications were erected, Ciudad Rodrigo-Almeida and Badajoz-Elvas on both sides of the border respectively.   
Aerial view from a tourist leaflet

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Happy 2018 and some plans

Last post of the year, wishing the blogosphere a very happy and prosperous 2018, hoping it brings health and success in your personal and professional fronts. Not a happy 2017 for us at ahome specially the first six months and wishing the year to end once and for all.

As for wargaming plans, after the experience of 2017 I've decided to shorten my planning horizons and try to live by the day, not terribly concerned with failures or success. This does not mean that I have no t sketched some ideas for  next year.

There's actually one important milestone at the end of April which will be the triannual trip with my club friends to a battefield, convention or museum. In 2012 it was Salute and Bovington; in 2015 it was Crisis, Waterloo, Arnhem and Bastogne; in 2018 it's going to be D-Day Normandy and the Samur Tank museum. Very excited with the trip as you can imagine.

On the gaming front:

- To continue with General d'Armee and Commands & Colors Napoleonics (the last expansion “Epic Battles” was my Xmas gift)

- New potential projects: retaking the First World War with Through the Blood and the Mud (one of my club friends is taking a lot of interest in it and I would not mind playing again after several years); I just recently listen to a Podcast dedicated to the GMT game of the COIN series called “Labyrinth” that has attracted my attention and is now in my line of sight; and finally explore some Cthulhu-related project (don't know yet if card-related, role or tabletop).

So this is it, reiterate my family and my own best wishes for 2018.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

TFL Christmas Special

A quick post. Just before Christmas day the traditional TFL  Special issue was released, containing over 130 pages of scenarios and ideas for many of the house's rule sets. This year it also includes a scenario I wrote for General d'Armee called "Encounter at Guareña River".

This a small battle or large skirmish (whatever you may want to call ot) that took place on 18th July 1812, two days before the major engagement at Salamanca, between a British-Portuguese and a French force.

It's been extensively tested at the club and was even some time ago adapted to be played as a Sharp Practice scenario (you can see a review in my blog here)

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Merry Christmas

May I wish you a very Merry Christmas in the company of your families, relatives and beloved ones. As many of you know 2017 has not been specially good to us, at least initially, when my wife was diganosed breast cancer on 22nd December 2016. Luckly we have overcome the problem and since early summer we have returned to a more or less normal life. These Christmas start in a complete different mood at home as you can imagine and I hope 2018 will be a better year.

Other people I know has not been so lucky and they will be having a special place in our thoughts tonight, in particular Kay the wife of Michael Peterson (aka MadPadre) whose example and love have been a light for us in these difficult months. Wherever you are today Mike, you'll be present in our house tonight.


Wednesday, 13 December 2017

General d'Armee - A player review

As many of you know, General d’Armee (GdA) is a new set of Napoleonic rules published just before summer by Reisswitz Press, the sister company to TooFat ardies. The author, Dave Brown, is a well-known and experienced wargame rules writer so I was expecting a good quality set, as it’s been the case.
Although I bought the book the release day and read thoroughly in my summer holiday break, I decided to refrain from commenting in the blog until after I had tested on a gaming table and could consider myself enough familiar with the system.
For that purpose, I gathered a small group of players in my local club and have been extensively playing since late September. GdA is not simple, on the contrary, the learning curve is fairly steep at the beginning; but now I feel finally fairly confident and familiar with the rules.

What is General d’Armee?

In GdA players seat in the saddle of a commander of an army or division (in Napoleonic terminology): 5 to 8 brigades, each composed of several regiments. The rules however can be stretched and extended to play with a full Army Corps. So at least on paper, GdA is suited to play medium to large battles.

However the basic manoeuvre unit is an infantry battalion (300 to 1000+ men), cavalry squadrons and artillery batteries, representing the building blocks of the regiments; and this is as we’ll see later one of my main objections to the game.
General d’Armee is an old-school wargaming set; the 100 pages manual is basically all rules, with some photos and a good number of examples to illustrate or clarify the different topics. It is not designed for a light reading; it’s full of details and as I said before, it requires a fair investment of time in reading, annotating and playing with the book on the side for consultation. 

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Eight Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge

To mark my return to a normal wargaming and blogging schedule, my first post since late April is to announce my participation for the third time in Curt's Painting Challenge. For those not in the llop, this is a friendly painting competition among wargamers across the world, organised by Canadian Curt Campbell, who I'm very fortunate to have met personally (him and his lovely wife Sarah) in a trip to Spain last year.

The Challenge launch also marks the final countdown to Christmas. The Challneg works by each participat setting his own target in the form of points awarded from painting your minis, and extends between Decemeber 20 2017 and March 20 2018. No best way to spend this dark and cold afternoons!.

In addition to the points with your painted inis and models, you get additional points participating in the thematic bonus rounds, always named with strange names to squeeze our heads with a little bit of creativity. This year's themes are the following:

  • Flight' (January 6th submission / displayed January 7th / voting results January 14th)
  • BFG: Big Freakin' Gun' (January 20st submission / displayed January 21st / voting results January 28th)
  • 'Music/Musician' (February 3rd submission / displayed February 4th / voting results February 11th)
  • 'Childhood' (February 17th submission / displayed February 18th / voting results February 25th)
  • 'Monstrous' (March 3rd submission / displayed March 4th / voting results March 11th)
Any ideas on how to approach the themes are more than welcome!

Over the past two years I have focused on one single project (German Fallschirmjager in 2015/16 and Napoleonics in 2016/17). this year won't be different and will continue swelling the ranks of my Napoleonics collection to play General d'Armee. The only new news is that I'll be painting 20mm minis in addition to my traditional and favourite 28mm scale minis.

This year Curt has also added terrain to the challenge. I'm not a great modeller and therefore I'm not expecting to take advantage of the addition, but who knows.

So expect a little more of activity in the blog in the coming weeks and months

Monday, 1 May 2017

Update & House Cleaning

Easter week holidays and some domestic priorities among my gaming buddies has brought a temporary break in our Vietnam games. However I have not been idle and manage to finish this
M-577 Command Post vehicle from Force of Arms, a really nice model but alas unavailable as the company seems to have gone under.

If you follow my Twitter account (@Anibal Invic) you'll also know that I'm currently working on a M106 Mortar Carrier too, again form Force of Arms.