Monday, 25 February 2013

A Cavalier attitude or, what I did instead

I didn't get to go to Cavalier this year, wifey was ill and so I stayed home to comfort her...I am a nice guy after all. 'Ealdgyth', I said, for 'tis her name, 'Ealdgyth, if the pain gets too much fear not, for thou shalt not find me wanting when the time cometh-eth'. A smile crept over her face that said she was indeed deeply comforted...or it may just have been another bout of wind it was difficult to tell that day; poor little love. 'I am a dab hand with the ol' pillow my sweet and would not stand by whilst you suffer...'. A small tear ran from her eye so touched was she.....although, she declined my suggestion that it might be a good idea to practice a bit (emergency pillow always on stand-by, just in case).

This all left me with a little spare time so I decided to familiarise my self with the Operation Squad rules again, in preparation for my game with Mark on Tuesday....only to find that they were missing! I thought I had lent them to club member Bob C. but no. Luckily, I did have a copy of the 'Modern' version of the rules at hand and a copy of the rules explanation sheet I drew up last year. I always get a tad confused on the mortar rules and didn't want to slow the game up. That took up a while and I am now better prepared....possibly...all I need now is some decent die rolls. Yeah, I know. I'm screwed no matter how well I know the rules. Mortars are a bit tricky to use in Op Squad. They can fire at a target in the open and in their own line of sight, so no problem there, but they need to be directed by the squad Sergeant and be within 20cm of him to hit anything else. The Sergeant must first 'spot' the target figure and then communicate that to his squad members, including the mortar crew. The mortar can then fire at the newly acquired target during its own activation long as the target doesn't move before the mortar can fire. Choosing a suitable target and getting good priority rolls is important.

That done, I took the dog for a walk in a local park I had not been to before and ended up considered the local topography in relation to the known historical features of the island (Sheppey). The park must have been part of an old estate although there are no obvious features that indicate a focal point, nor are there any obvious medieval manorial sites other than those still intact; it could be an Early Modern landscaped estate though, cool. Sheppey has a very interesting history and I think I have identified two possible sites for a conquest period Norman castle (other than the later one at Queenborough)...maps, field walking and aerial photographs can be so useful! There is a lot of history here that would be of interest to a wargamer for scenario ideas. Ah, the joys of being a wargaming social historian....anyway..........

So, after all of this (plus lunch, housework, a decision to paint up one box/unit of wargame figures a month, the realisation that I may have enough figures to build a modern British force for Operation Squad Modern Forces but actually not by about three figure types and a few trips to the lavy) I started getting the odd call from people telling me about Cavalier. It seems that club member Simon was seen ferrying box loads of kit to his car with a slight 'oh what have I done' look upon his usually happy face. Mark also enjoyed his run out and spoke to a lot of traders and clubs about coming along to Broadside; smiled a lot, handed out flyer's and booking forms. I have had three bookings from these already! Our good mate Ray, of Posties rejects fame, was having a good show, even sold some of his newly painted figures on the Bring & Buy. Sadly, he had his experience somewhat ruined when he realised that one of his items had been stolen! I dont think this is an issue peculiar to Cavalier but it is a risk with Bring & Buys; one of the reasons we chose to have a Flea Market system instead. Clint seemed to have a good show, bought a few goodies and spent some time chatting with wargame one does at these events. Clint also told me about one of the games being played at Cavalier. One club had been using 'Beneath the Lily Banners' but had discovered the rule set 'Maurice', by Sam Mustafa. They were so  bowled over by this set they now use it almost exclusively and highly recommend I then spent the rest of the evening looking at on line reviews!! The rules are played using a set of special cards which make the package some £35.00!! Why am I looking at these damn things??? Because I have Screaming Rule Book Fever, that's why!!! Damn you Clint.....

My research into Maurice have shown it to be very interesting and would accommodate most basing systems. Players are forced into making decisions based upon the cards in their hand at the time, the ability to gain new cards and some clever mechanics that account for national characteristics. An aspect that I came across in one review particularly caught my eye. Player A was moving a formation of cavalry but player B was able to interrupt the move with a card. This card allowed player B to place a new terrain feature, in this case some boggy ground, in the path of the cavalry and thus caused them issues. This is the sort of thing that happens in battles, an order from higher up the command chain cannot take into account the exact ground conditions the units have to deal with....nasty surprises crop up often. What other rule book provides this element in a game? Quirky? Yes. Traditional? Not really. A good game? It seems so......just need to find a set on ebay that someone has given up on and wants rid. Anyone???

So that is what I did rather than go to Cavalier. Bet you all wish I had gone now! :)


  1. I had a long chat with one of the guys, Richard from Southend Wargames, it does look and sound a fun game, although its very different from the norm. They reminded me of a cross between a wargame and a board/role playing game??

    1. Hi Ray,

      So sorry to hear of your stolen figures :(

      I know you are into Lily Banners, you got me into it too, but what are your thoughts on the playability of Maurice in comparison? Might it be something you would play, especially as you do not have to re base everything? The whole wargame/role playing hybrid does interest me and I am always interested in your views on such things.