Friday, 8 March 2013

Back to the future.

Now, I know this isn't all Oldhammery at first glance, but it will tie in at some point during my ramblings so take a quick look at these BlackBerry photos. This labour of love is the result of months of hard work and research by a good friend from my gaming club and it is the scenario we played last night.

The fictional village of Studley Constable from the movie 'The Eagle Has Landed'. Note the Church centre top where the films climactic scenes were shot. Below that is the creamery where the jeep crashes and across the road to the right is the mill and mill pond, scene of the tragedy which uncovers Michael Caine's men as Germans.

The view from the opposite end of the table, giving a better view of the church and the pub opposite.

Despite being for WW2 and in 20mm this is actually close to my Oldhammer heart in philosophical terms. This represents hours and hours of work, not just the obvious painting/modelling and so forth, but it was also necessary to examine the real-life Oxfordshire village of Mapledurham (the location used for the movie) on Google maps, make small adjustments to compensate for the constraints of a 6' x 4' table, seek out and collect all the period appropriate buildings as well as scratch-building one or two features. The models themselves are resculpted to show the equipment and clothing of the film, not just used out of the box.

This deserves some thought on all our parts. There is no way this game could ever be played as a competitive scenario. It is a suicide mission for the Germans for starters, they are badly out-numbered, the narrow lanes and high walls of the village centre make for a very claustrophobic environment for troop manoeuvres and the tempting hide-outs of the central buildings swiftly become death-traps for the poor old Germans.

And yet, this is the best game I have played for about twenty years.

The simple driving ideas behind the scenario are lessons to remember. Use a medium number (we had about 65) of minis that are all fully painted. Have a table of really good looking and inspirational terrain, even if this means spending more time on it than the forces involved. Have a plot. Take it from a movie or book, rehash an existing scenario or if you are gifted that way think one up from scratch, but have a story to tell.

I don't mean to preach or patronise, but if you are not already doing this occasionally I can't emphasise enough how mind-blowing the results are.

And the title of this post? Well, it's no coincidence that the onset of this project happened at the same time as his third and youngest moved out! This is what we all have to look forward to apparently in the future, with hours of free time to potter about we can game like it's 1989 as much as we like!

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. I dream of what retirement and the kids moving out will bring! Got at least 15 years to go for the kids to fly and God knows how long before/if I get to retire so best not wish my life away!

    Stunning table and I concur most heartily with the sentiments of your post.

    Oh and cracking film too!

    1. It was one hell of a game, so much fun, and the film is a real favourite of mine. Now of course I have to corrupt the plot into some sort of fantasy setting!

  2. Yep as wonderful all that free time and room will be the bit between now and then is worth doing too.

    Greta table, been years since I did anything similar. Kids!

    1. I think my friend would echo that sentiment, though he has one or two cautionary tales to tell about no. 3...

      Glad his table has a modest audience beyond the club, it really deserves one. I am trying to convince him to take it to the next Fiasco.