Wednesday 30 June 2021

The Corunna Road - A Spanish Civil War Scenario


I've been posting less and less on the blog as the more immediate and shorter form social media platforms are becoming more popular as peoples time and levels of concentration reduce like water down a plug hole.

However this sort of post, the scenario, simply can't exist on a "blink and it's gone" format.

For our first post Lockdown game I decided to go for something we all enjoy and something which we have played that often we have a reasonable chance of remembering the rules after over a year off !

Spanish Civil War is a big favourite here and we have large collections of figures to choose from, we use a set of rules I developed myself and they are explained in the video below, if you are interested.

The scenario I used as a basis for our game is on the link below, which also contains a number of other resources for a variety of periods.

Please note that some unit choices are based on available figures not historical accuracy.

Historical Setting

The Nationalists had failed to take Madrid by direct assault in late 1936, so their efforts shifted to cutting the city off by severing its main communications links to the north and south east of the city. 

In early December they attacked in the region of Boadilla, northwest of Madrid to cut the Corunna road, with four mobile columns under General Varela. Heavy Republican counterattacks forced them back again, at the cost of high casualties to both sides and as a result both sides dug in and reinforced their troops. 

Varelas columns were reinforced with conscripts, German trained Falangist militia, planes and tanks, although their best troops remained the Moroccans and Legionaries of the Army of Africa. The Republicans also reorganised their forces, incorporating the various workers militia units with regular army units into so-called ‘mixed’ brigades with a more formal military structure. The battle resumed in January.

The game is played with our own set of rules but is perfectly adaptable for any rules system.

Table Set Up 

We used the whole of our 12 x 6 table with the set up shown in the photograph above, more detail on the following photographs.

Photograph 1, viewed from the Republican lines and referred to in the write up as the right side of the table.

Photograph 2 again from the Republican Lines and the left side of the table, the two sides of the table are matched up via the central river (which was an excuse for me to use my new river !).

Terrain Definitions

You should be able to see the terrain in the photos above, here are the explanations for them,

All woods are open and the two fenced areas with trees in on the left table are orchards. (-2 cover)

Patches of rough ground (lighter tan earth areas) give a -1 cover.

Hills are low and are sufficient to give Hull Down cover.

Their is one area of Rocky outcrop on the far side of the right table and this is a-2 cover.

The river is fordable in three places, two are clearly defined on the table, the third one is variable (see Nationalist brief).

All buildings can hold 15 figures and are hard cover (-3)

The Corunna Road is the grey coloured Road running up and down the left side of the left table.

Republican Briefing 

After a quiet period on the front the word is that a major Nationalist Offensive is on the way, the target is the Corunna Road and we need to stop them to keep this vital supply route to Madrid open.

You start the game with two units of Militia on the table, one must be set up on the right table and one on the left. Both must be set up with 6 inches of the dirt road that runs along the near side of both tables.

You are uncertain where the Nationalist troops will appear other than from the other side of the table.

Each unit consists of 1 HQ with 3 Figs and 4 sections of 10 soldiers 9 armed with Rifleand a leader armed with either an SMG or a Pistol.

Reinforcements are on the way (see Umpire brief), Air Support may appear at random. 

You will receive 4d10 finance rolls per turn. (We use this to buy support units see above video for explanation) there are no Infantry units available to purchase, just vehicles, Ammo and Support Weapons.

You're objective is simple, keep the Nationalists off the Corunna Road.

Nationalist Briefing 

The advance on Madrid has stalled and despite heavy fighting you have been unable to force your way into the Capital, the latest plan is a flanking manoeuvre around the western side of the city to cut it off from its supply routes and supplies.

You begin the game with a single Cavalry unit of 18 men (1 HQ Sqn with 6 figures and 2 Sqns with a Sgt and 5 troopers) and they have just entered the table at the Nationalist entry point which is the road at the far side of the right hand table.

Behind this are three units of infantry, one Foreign Legion, one Moor and one Carlist.

Each of these units have 1 4 figure HQ and 3 8 figure units. The sub units have 1 Sgt and 6 Rifles and 1 LMG (the Carlists have no LMG). They will appear 2 sub units at a time (in Battalion order) at the entry point.

Your mission is to cross the table and capture the Corunna Road.

Reinforcements are on the way and Air Support is available at random.

You will receive 4d10 finance rolls per turn. (We use this to buy support units see above video for explanation) there are no Infantry units available to purchase, just vehicles, Ammo and Support Weapons.

Umpire Notes

Reinforcement schedule is as follows,

Roll 1 d6 when the last of the 1st 3 Nationalist units enters the table, place the Republican Armour card in the deck and reduce the die by 1 each time the card appears, when you reach zero 2 x Republican will appear on the Corunna Road on the left table on the near edge.

Repeat this process when the tanks arrive this time placing an International Brigades Card In the deck. When this reaches 0 a unit of Internationals arrives at the same place as the tank. 1 x 4 fig Hq and 3 x 8 figure units, no LMGs.

When this is on the table the Nationalists receive 3 x CV33 Light tanks at their entry point.

Both sides then roll 1 d6 and these are reduced on the drawing of the Legion Hq and International Brigades HQ cards, when they reach 0, the Republicans receive a second unit of Brigadistas whilst the Nationalists receive 3 more units, again 1 Legion, 1 Moor, 1 Carlist, entry points etc same as before.

There is a third Ford somewhere on the River, either side can search for it. When a search occurs the player rolls 2d6 one red, one green. If on the first turn a double is rolled the Ford is located. If not the search is directed up the table on a higher red dice, down on a green, the distance being 2 x the difference in dice rolls. 

When the unit reaches this spot they can check again but with a minus 1 on any of the dice (to effect a double and find the Ford) add one to this each time the Ford is not found. If you reach one if the marked fords the water level has risen and the hidden Ford is too deep to locate.

Reinforcement List

None scheduled reinforcements are purchased in our rules, see the video if you're not familiar.

10 pesetas for 5 Ammo

20 pesetas for a Donkey (Ammo 

25 pesetas for a Truck

25 pesetas for a Dynamentaro 

35 Pesetas Light Mortar and Crew 

40 Pesetas HMG and crew

50 Pesetas Heavy Mortar and crew

55 Pesetas Armoured Car or Anti Tank Gun

60 Pesetas Light Tank or Field Gun

70 Pesetas T26

My mate Roger who attended the game has already done a write up on his blog, so that saves me a job.

Part 1 can be read here

With Part 2

And the final Part 3

Hopefully that will prove useful for someone, next up on the table was a spot of WW1 Naval.

Saturday 26 June 2021

Yarkshire Gamer Podcast - Episode 9 - Peter Moreby - Elite Miniatures


Well the Podcast train, it won't stop running, no way to slow down ! 

It seems a lifetime since I started the Reet Big Wargames Podcast but its only just over 3 months and what fun it's been. Plenty more planned, 5 booked in and some fresh ideas on the horizon. Tune in to the latest episode on the embedded player below or follow and subscribe on Podbean or any of the other Podcast hosts.

Episode 9 is my first face to face interview with a guest, everything being previously done on Zoom.

Peter Morbey has been running Elite Miniatures since 1985, the company is still going strong constantly producing new figures and expanding the existing ranges of miniatures.

I was very kindly invited across to Elite HQ (still in Yarkshire) and using my new Zoom H1n Voice Recorder had had a chat and a brew with Pete about all things Big Game.

If you haven't seen Elites ranges before make sure you pop down to their website and have a browse, the new Collectors Series stuff is absolutely superb.

Thanks again for listening and if you haven't already give the Podcast a follow.

Regards Ken

The Yarkshire Gamer

And just in case you missed the last episode or you just want to listen to it again with some lovely pictures here is a link to Episode 8 with Simon Hall which has been released on YouTube.

Thursday 17 June 2021

Yarkshire Gamer Podcast Episode 8 - Simon Hall - Mortem et Gloriam


Well this episode came out last Friday and in all the excitement and general chaos of Yarkshire Gamers real life I forgot to post it up on the original Yarkshire Gamer information portal, the blog 🤦. So here it is, if you haven't picked it up already the episode can be listened to directly via the embedded player below or via any major Podcast Host. If you follow me on Podbean (it's free !) you will get a notification of the episodes as they are released, just in case I forget 😆

With 9 episodes (including the Pilot) in the bag the Podcast has come a long way in the 3 or 4 months it's been around. Thanks for listening and following it's much appreciated.

Episode 8 sees me going a long way south of Sheffield, in fact we've gone as far as Cape Town in South Africa.

Simon Hall is a self confessed Big Gamer who also has had a very successful time writing rules, initially as one of the team on Fields of Glory before more recently publishing his own set of Ancient / Medieval rules Mortem at Gloriam.

Over the course of the show we cover many topics, Simon admits to owning over 60,000 figures and claims not to me mostly a collector on the Venn Diagram of Wargaming. We discuss Wargames skills in business (something I touched on in the last episode with Nick Skinner).

The Big Game section covers some great huge games from my guests past, a WW2 Normandy landing on a 30ft square Judo Mat and a huge WW2 Eastern Front game where the Russian and German Commanders were locked in a room with only a phone for communication !

For a lad from "that place over the hill" (Simon was born in Burnley) he does pretty well on the quiz and despite his protestations that the final mark should be out of 19, he got 75% from 20.

For the Big Topic I talk to Simon about his Mortem et Gloriam rule set, although they appear Competition Based as many Ancient style rules do, I chat with Simon about how they were developed for Big Games and go through a couple of the most interesting mechanisms in the set. If I sound like a fan boy its because I like the rules. Dont worry as a Yarkshireman if I didn't I'd tell thee !

Mortem et Gloriam is avaliable from the site below and other major gaming retailers,

The next episode should see me go on the Road for a trip to the Big Game Figure Manufacturing Legend that is Elite Miniatures.

In the meantime if you missed the previous episode with Nick Skinner of Toofatlardies where we talk about the WW1 set If the Lord Spares Us it's available now on the Utubes accompanied by lots of pretty pictures.



The Yarkshire Gamer

Friday 4 June 2021

28mm Italian Spearmen for the Italian Wars (kitbash and decals)


I have been trying to build this unit for a long time, early Italian Wars Spearmen are hard to come by, the only ones I am aware of come from Mirliton which are not particularly easy to come by and of variable quality. So rather than just a show off post I thought it would be a good idea to cover the build rather than doing just being a show off post.

I am looking to build a unit representative of Italian Infantry at the start of the Italian Wars and just prior when the Pike was not the main weapon of units raised by City States or by Condottiero. Troops would be raised with various weapons including Spear and Bow (see elsewhere for bow troops) and fought in a looser style than the Pikes. To represent that I have placed 6 figures per base rather than my normal 8 for Pike, I've also extended the front of the base by 10mm to 60 x 60 just to give the Spear a little more protection.

For the figures I have used the bodies and heads from the Perrys Mercenary Box set (with the occasional metal Perrys Italian head), the Spear Arms have come from the French Agincourt Infantry box set (so if you have any spare let me know !).

I used the body types from the Mercenary set that I would normally use on my shot troops which gave some nice dynamic poses. The Spear arms fitted quite nicely, there was the odd bit that needed shaving off and the odd bit I probably should have filled in but over all a good fit.

I used the Italian Oval Shields from Perrys which are available separately, they too fit the models really well.

Whilst browsing the tinterwebnet for inspiration for Italian Spearmen I came across a unit of re-enactors based in Italy who recreate exactly the thing I was looking for, you may notice some familiarites with the picture above and my Miniatures. I have to say the group have been brilliant and contacted me directly as a result of a general shout out I did about them. They even sent me a high resolution picture of the shield designs (more on that soon). Give their site a visit, I hope myself to drop in on them during one of my regular Italian holidays (post Phobon Plague).

With that high res picture in hand I was able to produce some custom shield decals. A remarkably simple process that now I wish I had done years ago.

I used some Image software to reduce the image down to the required size and added an oval approximately the size of the shield as a cutting guide, replicating the image 24 times to give me enough decals for the unit plus some spare. I then bought some decal paper of ebay and using a reasonable HP ink jet printer I printed them out on the highest quality settings on the printer (along with the relevant paper setting).

After leaving the print to dry overnight I cut out the area of the paper I had used and then used a clear Lacquer spray (from Halfords in the UK) to coat to area with about 4 or 5 thin layers. After that had dried I had a series of decals just like you would get in a model, I fitted them to the shields as usual and then blended them in to the rest of the shield using acrylic paint.

I used the same image to make the flags.

In the end it has produced a pretty unique unit that I really like the look of. I want to do a few more of these as I plan to do a spot of Campaigning in the years leading upto the French invasion in 1494.

I don't expect much success with them on the battlefield so here's a view I expect to see the most of !