Thursday 28 March 2024

Creating Bacon Field the Home of the Pig Tickler Tournament

Well now that I have the miniatures for a Pig Tickler Tournament I will be needing a play field. The rules say you should go with a 60cm diameter 'oval' or 'square' area but anything really goes! Being a 'Pig Stickler' for detail I have decided to go with the 60cm diameter circle for the play field!

A period photograph of Pig Ticklers in 'the thick of it' on the hallowed grounds of Bacon Field!

Okay so first thing I made up a quarter circle template which I though I'd then trace with chalk a circle on my green felt mat but then I had a light bulb moment...I had seen while researching the Pig Tickler rules another player make some cricket sight screens presuming the game would be played on cricket ovals for his games, definitely an idea worthy of using!

I then proceeded to build two sight screens and a cricket looking scoreboard the old fashioned small ground type where the basic writing was intrinsic to the score board and panels would be hung showing players names and scores. Now for the boundary a picket fence would be the go but no matter how much I like scratch building putting together around 1.8 metres of picket fencing that needed to curve was not my idea of fun so over to eBay I went! Soon I had sourced some suitable 'fantasy toy model fencing' that would suit and an order was placed!

First up sight screens; these were easy I cut a rectangular piece of 2mm styrene plastic and scored in panel lines and then with 40 grit sandpaper scratched in a wood grain. Two simple triangular supports with bases were glued to the bottom corners and hey presto they were complete!

Then to the scoreboard; for this I used a similar construction method to my Wild West Town (see the TSOG Blog). I made up two rectangular 'boxes' one slightly larger than the other to be a base and the top one including a raised front for the oval's name. I used 2mm styrene plastic for these components. Edging for the top part was created with 0.5mm styrene plastic strips and the base was scored to give a planking look, the whole lot was sanded to again give a wood grain effect. Stencils were used as a guide to the permanent writing on the score board and the Pig Ticklers names and their scores were printed on thick white paper and then taped on, the brighter colour hopefully makes them look like added panels (not sure that works except for people who have seen such score boards before and know how the freshly painted panels stand out against the old weathered scoreboard itself). The name Bacon Field was selected by Mrs Darling from a selection of five I gave her, maybe it sounds a little more Baseball like than Cricket like (eg the famous Wrigley Field) but it flows and is very relevant to the 'sport' being played! So now the score board was ready to go!

In the meantime my picket fencing had arrived!

Lets put it all together...

Lovely set up even if I do say so myself!

Below a pair of Pig Ticklers ready for Battle!

Next Time: More on the Pig Tickler Tournament or maybe a the Russians are Coming AAR, yes I have one ready to type up!

Saturday 9 March 2024

Captain Darling & the Pig Tickler Tournament!

It is 1892 the height of the Victorian Steam Age and this story finds our hero Captain Darling in residence at his Mayfair home located just off Grosvenor Square, London…

 Pictured on a cricket oval near one of the sight screens in St James Park close to Wellington Barracks Captain Darling 'in uniform' prepares for the upcoming Pig Tickler Tournament!

It was very late on a dark and stormy night when a knock at the door of Captain Darling’s Mayfair residence roused him from his slumber! He leapt from his deep and comfortable burgundy Chesterfield, grabbed his revolver and sidled anxiously down the passageway leading from the smoking room toward the front door. As he approached the ornate portal he thought to himself it was a damn shame he let his Batman off for the day as he could still be lounging! Returning his full to the matter at hand he approached the door slowly, he paused, who would be visiting at such an hour he mused and then with some trepidation he reached out for the handle...he then froze as an envelope slipped though the mailing slot and drifted quietly downward to land softly on the lush hallway runner! Ignoring the letter Darling opened the door to find the step and sidewalk suspiciously empty! He took a second look both ways down the street and convinced no one was nearby cautiously withdrew from the front step. Back in the hallway his interest was piqued by the missive which he picked up after he gently closed the door securing its latch. He studied the letter thoroughly, the envelope was plain white in colour and bore a gold ink inscription ‘for the Attention of Captain Darling Esq.’ with a swift flash of his sword he slit the top edge of the envelope and withdrew the parchment it contained, with care he unfolded it and read the elegant gold script…

Darling me Ol’ Mugger it began and continued, Colonel Hyde-Park Commander of the Grenadier Guards Regiment requests that you represent the Unit at the annual Pig Tickling Tournament to be held on the third Sunday of August, eg in two weeks time. Our Tickling Champion has suffered a severe groin injury whilst scrumming in a game of Rugger against the Horse Guards so we are desperately in need of your skills. When considering your reply please remember your offer to assist the Regiment in anyway after the Turkish Incident in the Crimea, yours Captain Archibald, for Colonel Hyde-Park, the Grenadier Guards Regiment

Darling was taken aback, it was he who had pulled the Grenadier Guards nuts from the fire all those years before during the infamous Turkish Incident in the Crimea, still being a fierce competitor the chance to enter the exclusive and time-honoured Pick Tickler Tournament caught his attention, he fancied himself with a lance on a unicycle even though he had never attempted it before…he decided on the spot he would gird up his loins and accept the Colonel’s offer! He hurried to his writing desk to pen a reply which he would dispatch in the morning!

To be continued…

Okay on the LAF an opportunity came up to buy a set of Pig Tickler rules and a bunch of updated and extremely well painted miniatures, I thought about it and jumped at the chance! There were the rules, a PORC template (to determine the pig’s movement), 12 lance armed unicyclists, an umpire, two stockers and of course a pig! The excellent thing is I was going to buy some of these Eureka lance armed unicyclists to use in VSF games where the lances would be tipped with explosives and the unicyclists the task was to ride up to a Martian Tripod deliver the charge and then ride to safety as the detonation brought the Martian to the ground, sounds a great idea what could possibly go wrong, anyway this has saved me that purchase and the chore of painting. The other good news is the updates unicyclists include have had their lances replaced with better rigid examples and unicycles reinforced so there’ll be very durable. 

Here's what I picked up from fellow 'LAFfer' I happy...YUP!

Original of the top picture...

Next Time: Building some Pig Tickler Tournament Accessories!

Thursday 4 January 2024

The Christmas Pudding Factory Incident AAR

The Xmas FUBAR Game has been played, and prefacing this with a thanks to HG Wells for penning War of the Worlds first published in full in 1898...😊...

Martian Tripods 'Red' and ' Green' on the the Move December 1874!

The Forces

8 x Steam Powered Armoured Wagons
1 x Heavy Auto Cannon (no -1 at long range as pre-sighted prior to the battle)
1 x Tesla Gun (no -1 at long range as pre-sighted prior to the battle)
2 x Steam Powered Blimps (One Bomb attack each arriving Turn Two)

The Nasty Martians
2 x Tripod Fighting Machines

The Objective

The Martians have Eight Turns to exit one Tripod from the opposite tabletop edge to the one they start on, the Tripod must have at least one functioning Weapon System.

The Battle Report!

Late December 1874 and Sir Blythe-Hamilton-Pants formed up the troops of his 7th Steam Power Armoured Detachment in advantageous positions to fight advancing Martian Fighting Machines. He selected uneven and marshy ground well to the South of Little Tinkle on Clyde for the battle. This terrain plus a tributary of the Clyde River would help his cause, the battlefield was split by a metalled road running North/South and the tributary was spanned by one of Brunel's wonders!

It was mid morning when the Evil Martian Tripods lurched into view and halted appearing hesitant on the skyline. Using this pause Sir Blythe-Hamilton-Pants gathered his men and read them a rousing declaration from her most Imperious Highness Empress Victoria! The men were buoyed by the words and prepared for action!

The Tripods known to the British as 'Red' and 'Green' had spent several days trekking across the English countryside to reach their objective, a Human Factory located in Little Tinkle on Clyde. The Martian High Command had methodically calculated that the destruction of the Facility would break the unexpectedly high spirit the Humans were showing when facing their Fighting Machines! The two great machinations halted to survey Human defences located near a stream along a roadway as they came into view. The Humans took this pause as hesitation but it was not, the Martians spent a few minutes to plan their attack, they quickly determined these men and their puny machines could easily be swept aside so they ADVANCED!

The peace and quiet of the English countryside on that serene winters day was shattered by the roar of the Martians Machines powerplants and sounds of their rocket fire!

Reacting to the Martians attack Sir Blythe-Hamilton-Pants ordered his vehicles and Blimps to deploy with for his artillery to give them covering fire!

The air resounded with the noise of Steam Engines running at full speed, explosions, the Pew-Pew of Lasers, shouting, screams of pain and the clang of hot metal on the cold armour of the Martian Fighting Machines!

The battle played out quickly. Soon the burning wrecks of several Armoured Wagons lay upon the field of battle but the defenders were elated as they appeared to score telling hits on the closing Behemoths!

With the two Fighting Machines virtually upon the defences of the 7th Steam Power Armoured Detachment one of Sir Blythe-Hamilton-Pants Engineers triggered off one of the two mines they had buried in the fields, 'Red' disappeared in a huge fountain of earth generated by several hundred weight of TNT! A huge cheer erupted from the British lines and there was much excitement among the defenders at the sight of the explosion but their high spirits plummeted as the smoke haze cleared and seemingly unhurt the Tripod with its Red Eye glowing fiercely continued to close on them.

Any regular fighting men would have fled at this point but the elite 7th urged on by Sir Blythe-Hamilton-Pants doubled their efforts and fired at the Martians Machines as the literally 'walked' over them! Again damage was inflicted on them but alas not enough to stop them!

The battle was over and it resulted in a victory to the Martian Invaders. Even though Human losses were comparatively light they had not been able to stop the advance of the Fighting Machines which continued on Northward in the direction of the Puddin' Lady's Christmas Pudding Manufacturing Co Factory!

Post Script...

Although the battle was lost the campaign was saved thanks to the ingenuity of our Hero, Captain Darling. Yes the Christmas Pudding Factory was saved! On hearing of the defeat of Sir Blythe-Hamilton-Pants Force Darling engaged the services of well known landscape artist Edward Wilkins Waite who quickly whipped up a full size and totally realistic painting of the Puddin' Lady's Christmas Pudding Manufacturing Co Factory which Darling cunningly used in a clever ruse to fool the Martians! The full size painting was put in place a mile south of the real factory and the Martians on seeing it blew it to smithereens! Convinced they had completed their mission successfully they reported the details to their Leaders. 'Red' and 'Green' believing their work was done withdrew albeit leaving the real Factory in tact and producing its precious wares! A huge well done and pat on the back to Captain Darling, yet again he had pulled the Empires bits out of the fire!

Some Pictures...

 Artillerymen of the 7th Steam Power Armoured Detachment zero their Heavy Auto Cannon in  on the approaching Martian Tripods!

The Crew of the Detachments Tesla Gun too laid in their sights on the looming Martian Machines...

End of Turn One Picture
The Martian Tripods advanced firing their rockets at their Human foes without achieving any successes, the outranged Humans advanced their Steam Powered Armoured Wagons!

End of Turn Two Picture
The Martians continue to advance, they destroy one of the Armoured Wagons on the road with rockets, the men of the 7th fire their first shots scoring no damage on the Fighting Machines!

End of Turn Three Picture
The Martians draw level with Brunel's bridge and using their Lasers they knock out another Armoured Wagon on the Human's right flank. The British Blimps launch their Bombs at the Tripods but inflict no damage, the Artillery on the other hand scored hits and the Martians took damage, nothing significant though!

Even through the Martians were advancing remorselessly and inflicting casualties on the 7th Steam Power Armoured Detachment the remaining Humans continued too put up a stout defence!  Here four active Armoured Wagons continue to engage the Tripods!

During Turn Four the Human triggered a mine consisting of several hundred weight of TNT, it created a large crater but barely scratched the Martian Machine, it scored a single 'Speed' hit...also in the picture a Steam Powered Blimp engaging the Tripod with its Rapid Fire Gun (eg Machine Gun)...

Turn Four
This picture is mid turn just before the Mine Attack on 'Red'. The second Armoured Wagon on the Human left is destroyed and 'Green' now has an open run to get passed the defenders! 'Red' engages the Heavy Auto Cannon...

'Green' having destroyed both of the Armoured Steam Wagons on the British right simply 'strolled' over them in Turn Five!

Turn Five and the Tesla Gun Crew fired at point blank range at 'Green' but were unable to disable it, it swept passed them and out of camera shot!

During Turn Five the Martians were passed the British line of defence but still attracted fire, several hits were scored on the behemoths inflicting more damage but still they soldiered on! 

Tally Ho!

Turn Six and 'Green' reached the Martian objective, eg exiting the tabletop, a Victory to the Martians!

The situation at the end of Turn Six and the game!

The Martian Tripods seemed to win an easy victory but they took a bit of damage despite having a 2+ saving throw on a D6 for any hit; 'Green' was only one speed hit away from being immobilised taking three of the four allowed and 'Red' had taken half of its allowed Speed and Steering Hits

Summary Stuff!

Okay we've played a smaller version of this scenario before but never had both of my Big Martian Fighting Machines on the table at once! I'd like to play this again sometime mid year as I think it is pretty well balanced. This was not an easy win for the Martians both Tripods were damaged  and they were very lucky as they had to consult the Breakdown Table three times and each time luckily rolled the 'power surge' result so neither one was handicapped by the 'Breakdown' results! Plus there were plenty of Human assets still in action, only three out of eight of the Armoured Wagons were destroyed, both the Blimps were still in action and only three out of a total of eight Artillery Crewmen had become casualties, the British still had a lot of firepower at games end! Be ready to read about a rematch later in 2024...

Next Time: Captain Darling's Grand Tour Review or a way overdue AAR or two!