Showing posts with label holiday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label holiday. Show all posts

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Battlesworn at Bundanoon

Catherine and I went away camping this weekend, because, as regular readers will know, this time of year is our wedding anniversary and that's how we celebrate it. As always I took some games with me and, as always, I failed to play most of them. However we did fit in a Sunday afternoon game of  Battlesworn in a shady picnic shelter (because it was too hot otherwise). I only took two pictures.

We played the King of the Hill scenario, with the winner being whoever had a figure on the stone plinth at the end of the fight. I used goblins and won the initial race to the objective, but Catherine got one of her dwarves up and a length fight ensued. Other figures got sucked in to support, but I managed to position mine so that access to the plinth was trickier. The game developed into my troll and a goblin with a poisoned spear holding off superior numbers of angry dwarves, whilst the goblin on the plinth stood there near to death but protected from direct attack.

The game ended after ten turns with a goblin win. It was too hot for a rematch.

Aside from eating, walking and sleeping, the only other highlight of the weekend worth noting was that I picked up a second-hand copy of The Earthsea Trilogy for $4. I've read it a couple of times (and the first book more than a couple), but never owned a copy before. I knocked off 'A Wizard of Earthsea' on Sunday evening before tea.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Two Holiday Museums

One thing I'm getting very bad at is going to museums that would make the subject of a good blog post, and then only realising that fact after I've been and not taken any decent photos.

And that's precisely what I did whilst we were on holiday. Twice.

So in this post you get some half-arsed photos of two museums which are worth the effort of visiting if you're  travelling along the NSW/Victoria border.

The first is the Lake Boga Flying Boat Museum, which is near Swan Hill and was the site of Australia's secret flying-boat repair base during WWII. Like a lot of museums of this nature, it's volunteer-run, on a shoestring budget, so the quality of the displays can be a bit iffy at times. There's a lot of random items in display cases, and a feel that the place could do with a little more organisation or curation, but it does the job of showing the work of this installation during the war, and what life was like for the hundreds of men and women stationed there.

They have a model of a Catalina flying-boat, of course ...

... as well as the real thing.

Lake Boga was selected as a base because it is large enough to land flying boats, whilst also being almost circular (thus allowing take-off and landing regardless of wind-direction). Being well inland it was basically safe from Japanese attack. Over 400 planes, Australian, US and Dutch, were repaired or serviced there during the war.

You can even climb up a rickety step-ladder and get a view along the interior of the fuselage.

Next to the main museum is the command bunker, which has some great wartime radio kit on display.

In a series of display cabinets in the foyer is a collection of 1/48th aircraft models bequeathed to the museum. These cover WWI and WWII, and include a complete set of all Spitfire marks. However the highlight for me was the collection of WWI aircraft. I took a few photos for painting reference purposes.

A Morane N

Morane L

Albatros DIII (I think)

Fokker DVIII

Fokker DVIII

A week later we found ourselves further west, in the town of Wentworth, which is where the Murray and Darling rivers meet. The Murray/Darling river system is extensive - the fourth largest in the world, and one of the most navigable - and was key to the opening up of the interior of Australia during the late 19th century. And where you get river you get riverboats. We'd seen the real things in Echuca earlier, but in Wentworth is a small museum run by a man named Rodney Hobbs who builds scale models of Australian riverboats.

There's about 30 in the collection at present, all completely scratchbuilt in roughly 1/32nd scale.

He admits that the accuracy of some of them is suspect; in many cases all he had to work from is a single photograph, newspaper illustration or written description, so some elements of the models are based on conjecture. In other cases, however, he has full plans, or even the actual boat itself.

This is a model of the Pevensey.

The actual boat has been restored and operates out of Echuca, taking tourists up and down the river. We went on it, and it's well worth the trip. The Pevensey starred as the Philadephia in the 1980s TV mini-series 'All The Rivers Run'.

As you can see, along with the models the museum has pictures, newspaper cuttings and all kinds of other ephemera.

I spent a good hour chatting with Rod about riverboats, both Australian (his passion) and those from the US Civil War (my passion). He showed me his workshop, and the model he currently has under construction, although I didn't take any photos there. He uses thin MDF strips for the hull planking, whilst the interiors and superstructure and largely built of balsa. Like any good modeller, he salvages all kinds of crap for future use.

This collection of models is truly worth a visit if you're passing through Wentworth.

A final bonus photo. Wentworth also has a Pioneer Museum, which not only houses artifacts and ephemera from the town's history, but also has a collection of fibre-glass models of some of Australia's extinct megafauna. Particularly impressive is this model of the giant monitor lizard, Megalania. It's a constant source of amazement that these things possibly overlapped with the presence of humans in Australia. It's not something you'd want to encounter, ever.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Holiday Games - Part 2

As we entered the second week of our two week camping holiday, we encountered Weather. I gave it a capital 'W' because it was pretty serious; torrential rain for two days, with warning of floods and general apocalyptic disaster. We decided to head for a commercial caravan park where, if necessary, we could rent a cabin for a couple of days or, as we actually did, we could pitch our tents but live in the cosy, dry and (above all) indoors kitchen areas they have. We basically spent an entire day living in a large kitchen area, but it was a great chance to break out some boardgames. Catherine and I played W1815 a few times, and the four of us played a few rounds of Love Letter. But left to my own devices one afternoon I had a go at Memoir '44, using the solitaire card allocation system I wrote up here last year.

I played a Gold Beach scenario first of all.

The Allies pushed ashore quickly, but the German defences are quite tough in this scenario; a mixture of bunkers and towns.

An early Armoured Assault card got the tanks up onto the beaches fairly swiftly so the infantry were properly supported. At the top of the picture you can see the Allied casualties mounting, but actual unit losses were low. meanwhile at the bottom of the picture the Allies had captured two objectives.

A final push by commandoes supported by tanks saw the third objective fall, giving the Allies a win.

A view down the beach.

I then played the Mont Mouchet scenario from the basic rules which pits Tigers against French Resistance. It was a chance to use my 3D printed Tiger 1's from last year. The Resistance put up a bold fight, but both sides got a bad run of cards making clever plans rather difficult, and the advantage then lay with the more numerous and better equipped Germans, who picked up a decisive win.

Finally I gave the Stalingrad scenario a go. A few months ago I picked up the Desert/Snow boards, but hadn't had a chance to try them out. This was a first outing for the snow.

The Stalingrad scenario is wonderfully huge, and takes a while to set up, but gives a great game.

I used another 3D print for the German elite armour - an anachronistic Sturmtiger.

The Germans made a brave fight of it, but the advantage in this scenario lies with the Soviets, who can not only easily seize the three objectives (giving then 3 of the 10 medals needed to win) but are on the defensive, leaving the Germans to fight there way through formidable defences in order to inflict an casualties on their opponents. Left trading unit for unit the Germans were defeated fairly decisively.

I also took Exploding Kittens, but we never managed to play that.

In a further post I will look at some of the things we saw which might be of interest to gamers, but that will have to wait until I've sorted out the photos. I did, however, mention our new trailer in my previous post, so here it is, towed ...

... and deployed. It's basically just a storage box, but we can attach a platform to the side to use as a kitchen area, and the lid has an awning which gives us, and the contents, some shade and shelter from the elements.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Holiday Games - Part 1

I have just got back from our latest camping holiday - two weeks looping down into Victoria, up and along the Murray River, and then back up into New South Wales for the long trip home. As ever I took plenty of books and games, as we like to mix walks and visiting tourist attractions with lots of relaxed downtime in our various camps.

Here's our route (without the side-trips and outings). It's a total of 2,660km. We stayed at seven different locations, three of them for three nights each.

This trip was the full debut of our new camper trailer which gives us tons of storage space (well, not quite tons, but a lot) for camping equipment, thus freeing up the car for useful stuff like games and books. So I was able to be a little more ambitious in what I took, even if I did eventually leave a few things at home.

I'll do two reports on games. The first will cover the one miniatures game I took - HOTT.

I packed four boxes of Epic 40K armies, plus a board and minimal amount of terrain. HOTT is surprisingly portable if you plan what you take carefully. During our first week we had a day so hot that no-one wanted to moved out of the shade, so I played a few games to while away the morning.

I started with Dark Eldar vs Tyranids. The Dark Eldar defended.

However as a fast, mobile, army, it was they that launched an attack, throwing warband at the Tyranid centre which was mostly hordes supporting a couple of magicians.

They got there unscathed, after poor PIPs left the Tyranids virtually immobile.

However the attack was thrown back, and the Tyranids exploited an open flank ...

... to destroy the Dark Eldar commander, and pick up a swift win.

Winner stayed on, so in the second game the Tyranids defended against the Sisters of Battle. This army is a mix of warband, paladins and heroes.

The hero (a Chaplain), paladin and bikes attacked the Tyranid centre.

The Tyranids tried a flanking move, and held back the Sisters' own flank supports.

Local militia held out on a hill against attacks by Tyranid Malefactors.

The attack in the centre went badly, with the Chaplain diverted, and the bikes destroyed. The lone Living Saint killed a mighty Hive Tyrant, however ...

... and in a foolhardy attack swept through the Tyranid line to take their stronghold and pick up an unexpected victory.

The Sisters of Battle found themselves on the offensive once more in the next game, facing an Ork Kult of Speed. This consisted of massed riders backed up by hordes and warband.

The Orks attacked swiftly, driving back the bikes and militia facing them

With the Sisters' right flank neutralised, they then turned on their centre. The open battlefield really allowed riders to shine, as they quickly redeployed from one part of the battlefield to another.

The main lines met, with the Sisters smashing the Ork's right flank, held by a mob of Mad Boyz.

In the centre, though, both Living Saints fell to a mighty Ork war-engine.

The Sisters exploited their advantage on the Ork right to attack their stronghold, but were thrown back.

Meanwhile the Ork Warboss found himself under close attack.

He survived, and with the support of his fast vehicles turned the tables on the Sisters to pick up a win.

This third game was great fun, and could have gone either way, with both armies getting excellent positional advantages, only to lose critical combats.

Abut a week later, at another campsite, I played a fourth game, with the armies coming full-circle as the Orks fought the Dark Eldar. I didn't get any pictures, but both armies deployed massed riders. the Dark Eldar clinched a victory by supporting theirs closely with warband.

In my next post I'll look at the boardgames we played.
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