Saturday, 28 May 2011

Ade Edmondson and the Bad Shepherds live in Dunfermline

Jan & I had excelent evening out to the Carnegie Hall Dunfermline last night. We went to see Ade Edmondson and the Bad Shepherds. They did a fantastic concert with the evening being filled with fun and superb musicanship.Do enjoy the video...




Friday, 27 May 2011

Wargstadt ,early morning...

It is early morning in the back streets of Wargstadt an old man collects his daily bread from the bakers and returns home. He is interrupted from his musings by a small dog who barks a greeting to to him. Around the corner is the Church where the Electors are meeting. As the old man passes by the Electors are hearing Mass prior to the first session. His thoughts briefly alight upon them before returning to matters more mundane...



Meanwhile in the Church the Electors have gathered . For you here is a list of the Fourteen as they are known:





  1. Peter von Alderfort - Guild Meister of the Guild of Falconers - a man reputed to be ambitious,wise, generous but an intriguer...


  2. Joachim Durkhiemer- Guild Meister of the Guild of Clockwork , Ulhwerkhausen- a man infamous for his cruelty, unreliability and over powering ambition


  3. Ulric and Elric von Wargstadt- albino twins and each the Grand Meister of one of the rival shooting fraternities of Wargstadt . Both men are energetic, good tempered and absolutely loyal to any cause they follow-except each other


  4. The Slydavian Ambassador to Tradgardland speaks for the Slydavian community of Wasehiem


  5. Joseph Wilderludwig- Guild Meister of the Meister Butchers of Wildschwein. The role of Guild Meister is an entirely honory position which is currently held by a member of the Empress of the Imperium's Kitchen Staff. In this case by a vain Chocaltier of unstoppable ambition...


  6. The Master of the Horse Ritter von Altdorf


  7. The Hereditary Librarian of Oberspange -an Nobel of the Imperium Court ( one who answers only to his title never his name) who is devoted to scholarship and the obtaining rare manuscripts at the expense of everything else...


  8. The Count of Unheimlichwald- one who is described in the Wargstadt broadsheets as "Having something of the night about him..." yet presents as happy young man of sunny disposition


There are two External Electors who do not belong to the towns that make up the Disputed Valley. They have travelled far and quickly from their respective homelands to be here for the first session. One is the Tradgardland representative Von Bergmann and the other the Imperium Ambassador . They represent their country's longstanding but rival interests within the Valley.



Mass is now over and the Electors file two by two into the debating chamber ready for the first session. There is much talk of the absence of some of the Fourteen whose will arrive later that day. Until then there is much to talk of and fellow Electors to weigh up, disregard or even listen to.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

The Electoral College convenes



"Rumours are currently sweeping the Disputed Valley that the aged Duke Benedict ( long exiled in the East and confined in a tower by his own choice) has finally died. If this correct the small but often over looked Electoral College will be convened in Wargstadt. Upon verification the rusty cogs of the process will set in motion and the good and the great will gather..."


The Rumours have proved to be true and so the members of the Electoral College of the Disputed Valley have gathered. With them they have brought the crowds and their entourages too. An atmosphere of excitement and joy has filled Wargstadt- acrobats,pedlars and street entertainers crowded the marketplace. Tomorrow sees the first session to be held in the Cathedral. The Electors will put forward their candidates,argue against those of the other members and hopefully agree upon two names. This process can take up to a month. Afterwards votes are cast and a new Duke is declared to the crowds assembled.


Fourteen men make up the Electoral College, each with their own agenda, their own masters to please and their own gold with which to bribe opponents. In the next post we shall meet them and hear of their foibles and fancies...



Monday, 23 May 2011

The battle of Wargstadt bridge a solo game battle report...

Today the Duchy is being lashed by gales and rain.My beautiful Beech hedging newly come into leaf and having put on new growth is being absolutely pounded! I was out briefly a.m and dodged the showers long enough to plant out peas,beans and courgettes having built bamboo cane towers for them to grow up.The weather has deteroriated since then.
Before lunch I sorted out some figures for the forthcoming club Dark Age campaign. After lunch I decided to set up an 18th Century game on a 3 by 2 kitchen tile arrangement as you can see. The forces of the Imperium are holding a river crossing and important orchard. The forces of the disputed Valley are attempting to retake the bridge and orchard. The game was played using Joe Saur's Old Wormley Creek Wargames Society 18th Century Charge Variant rules designed for smallish tables. Le t battle commence-

The set up for the game with the forces of the Disputed Valley (under the command of Brigadier and Burgomiester Bertolini) are advancing upon the Imperium troops ensconced around the bridge and orchard...

Turn one and the Disputed Valley troops came under fire from Grenzers who fired successfully from their positions- three sixes thrown!



Turn two saw a general advance from both armies and the Disputed Valley forces at the bridge deployed into line. Yet another unsuccessful firing from the artillery piece- far more training required in the Disputed Valley I fear!





Turn three see withering fire from the Imperium at the front of the picture and at the back too. Disputed Valley musketry is poor- terrible dice throwing by me again!







Turn four seeing the decimation of the Disputed Valley troops especially the Slydavians and an end to the game is in sight...









An attempt by the gallant Syldavians to rescue their colours was a partial success...











The final turn saw an attempt of the disputed valley forces to leave the field in some order. The grenadiers held off the cavalry whilst others marched off and attempted to take the cannon ( which had missed everytime it fired during the game) with them too. Note the Colours at the top of the picture being rescued from the field also.


It was a fun solo game ( the first I have played in absolute ages) which was set up in the landing at the top of the stairs. Today is a Monday holiday for me but Jan is in work,Freya at school, Anna at home revising having had a Physics exam this morning and Zoe studying hard for her next exam tomorrow! I must set up another game very soon...













Friday, 20 May 2011

Weekend solo gaming plans...

Weekend at last! Off for three days- Monday is Victoria Day (a public holiday in Edinburgh to celebrate her visit to the City many moons ago) and the schools are therefore closed!
I found this drawing in my Dodopad this week which I had forgotten about since I did in in Jan/Feb of this year. It depicts my plan for a small battlefield based upon floor tiles left over from the kitchen renovation. I hope to set it up this weekend and have a couple of solo games- one at least set in the disputed valley. I hope you have a great weekend whatever you are doing. Special best wishes to Paul of FLW fame who has a spiffing outdoor game/playtest this weekend- may the sun shine on your efforts sir!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The Wargstadt Jaegers- a disputed valley unit...



The town of Wargstadt fields a unit of jaegers. They march behind the town banner which depicts a large black hound who,it is said, still haunts the town square at night - 400 years after it single handedly defeated the leader of a pack of invading wolves on the feast of S. Stephen. The black hound ( who remains nameless in the sources) died in the attack ,but by killing the leader the thirty other wolves were routed and the town saved...


The unit is made up of two shooting fraternities whose rivalry is the stuff of legend. The Warg fraternity favours the rifled musket and the Stadt fraternity an early ,yet deadly, air rifle. Each year they compete along with all comers from the valley in the annual shooting contest. In times of war the two rival fraternites put differences aside and fight in a single unit under the town banner in their distinctive fraternity uniforms- the Warg in purple and the Stadt in green. Any invaders of the valley will find these light infantry a force to be reckoned with...



Monday, 16 May 2011

The Militia of Uhwerkhausen- a disputed valley unit...



The Milita of Uhwerkhausen on parade. They are accompanied by the Town banners depicting the fabled unicorn seen by S. Ulrich in the 14th century. They have the privilege of marching through the town on the Saint's feast day and end their march at the "Unicorn at bay" inn where they are provided with complimentary ale and local cheese.


Along with the musket armed members of the militia you can see the unit's cannon served by the local brewer and his sons. The powder comes from the powder mill at Wargstadt and is exchanged in kind for diverse clockwork automata .Regular gun drill takes place outside the brewery where passers by offer encouragement verbal and otherwise.


On the right flank can be seen the elite of the militia namely the Grenadiers.The role of Grenadier is hereditary and has been in the town bell ringer's family for generations. It is said their deafness caused by the Cathedral bells is an advantage when dealing with the noise emanating from the grenades as they explode They still drill with the grenades which have gone out of service in most of the rest of the Valley. With a slow match wrapped around their hands and a satchel filled with grenades they are formidable especially in the storming of buildings and fortifications ...







Saturday, 14 May 2011

Musings and updates from the Duchy...

It was a tad windy in the Duchy yesterday - the newly green Beech hedge took a hammering and it was impossible to sow seeds outdoors. However Jan & I spent a useful and enjoyable afternoon in the garden with the grass being cut and further cultivation tasks being completed. I did muse , in the light of my previous post and those of the Duchy itself, that in some way my armies are made in my own image. A word of explanation is perhaps necessary. Tradgardland was conceived by me as a rural 18th century Duchy with an army based upon militia who gave a portion of their time to military service and the rest to crafts and agricultural . In a vbcw my main interest is in Mistery /Array - is a theme developing? Finally my 54mm chaps (Army Red/White) are based upon the Swiss military experience of the early 20th century. I rest my case - this has all occurred without a grand plan honestly. Do you think your armies reflect you and if so how? 2000 word essay to be handed in on Monday or a comment here would do if you don't mind...

Yesterday also saw a tiny amount of work on the 40mm chaps who don't seem to be coming together for me at all and the beginning of rebasing the 18th century Tradgardland and Imperium Cavalry using base/movement tray samples I got at Carronade last week. The rest are in the post for me and will arrive this week. I am still working on the vbcw stuff in terms of seeing what few items need to be purchased from the Ducal war chest prior to autumn/winter 1938 gaming. Once rebasing has been accomplished the 18th century solo gaming in Tradgardland can commence once more. Jean -Louis fear not I have not forgotten Tradgardland!

Finally I must admit to myself and to others that it is surprising how much one's imagination becomes important in some way and is bigger than the some of its parts if you know what I mean. Finally Bob of late has been saying how much he enjoys reading other's Blogs. I certainly concur in this and say that a mug of good strong coffee and your latest updates upon your blogs makes a most enjoyable and interesting way to start most days for me. More power to your elbow gentlemen all!

Friday, 13 May 2011

Taking the mystery out of Mistery...




Just who were the real and the 1938vbcw Mistery/Array?


By way of explanation here is an excerpt from Dan Stone's excellent academic article on the real English Mistery/Array:




"THE ENGLISH MISTERY What, then, was the English Mistery? Founded in 1930 by the disaffected Freemason William Sanderson--author of the 1927 book Statecraft, which sought to recover the "lost secrets" of memory, race, and government--the group conceived of itself as a school for leadership, dedicated to retrieving the lost arts of governance. These centered on the concept of service; indeed, Sanderson claimed that the word "Mistery" actually meant nothing more nor less than service. What the group was to serve, and, in time, to educate the rest of the population to serve, was "nothing imaginary, ideal, or mystical, but the only truly real thing in the world." (9) This was the English race, defined as separate from the other races that inhabited the British Isles.Preoccupied by the concepts of service to the monarch and noblesse oblige, and obsessed with the need to revive England's emasculated hereditary aristocracy along with the medieval guild system, Sanderson devised the Mistery along strictly hierarchical lines. The group was divided into local kins, each led by a warden. Each kin comprised between ten and thirty people, "a sort of cell system designed ultimately to permeate and set the standard for districts, villages and crafts and trades." (10) Regional leaders were Stewards, and the overall head of the organization was the Marshal. Members would learn to love service, creating an organic society under the leadership and protection of the monarch. Hence, there was to be no argument over political principles: "Debate is prohibited within the kin"...."








They were in reality very extreme in their ideology but in the world of VBCW I have them as a nostalgic,back-to-the-Land, Monarchist and allotment frequenting group who form local militia units of chaps who garden and discuss whislt puffing on pipes -given to arcane rituals prior to drinking ale down the pub, who hanker back to a golden age of Merrie England and who volunteer to fight together in the world of 1838 vbcw! I represent them on the tabletop as an agricultural workers militia with the odd late medieval figure as a visually symbolic reminder of their views!








Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My last post has vanished after being up here for some time- anyone cast light upon this?

Thursday, 12 May 2011

The vbcw die is cast...



Well I have decided to go forward with the Royalist option for VBCW1938...

The Brigade will feature LDV units (assisted by English Mistery/Array advisers) foreign volunteers and regular troops loyal to King Edward viii. English Mistery/Array, whilst loyal to the idea of monarchy and desiring the re-establishment of Feudal Society, have their own agenda and some say they have their own candidate for the throne in mind.

More over the weekend! By the way I have included a propaganda poster of the time extolling the "Great Work" being undertaken in the Vale of Evesham.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

VBCW rules

Got home to find that the brigadier rules are available to pre-order at






I have seen a copy during the development phase and they are indeed excellent ,filled with period flavour and great fun too! Without hesitation I have just ordered them and look forward to them landing here in the Duchy around the 25th!


Well worth a look gents!

p.s utterly splendid cover Panzerkaput- well up to your usual excellent standard!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

1938 background reading and decesions to be made...




On my arrival late home from work ( a terribly stressing day was had by me there but that's another story) yesterday I found my wife off upon the maiden cycle with her new bicycle and this superb book arrived for me. I neglected to buy it when it was first released,forgot to pick it up on Saturday at Claymore but remedied the situation buying online. A most inspiring book it is well thought out and illustrated too.




On Saturday my regular opponent Phil was buying reinforcements for the Liverpool Free State in the shape of militia and ww1 Russians. I resisted more lead but am at the point at which I need to either concentrate on my Welsh Nationalist flying column or Royalist ldvs assisted by regulars and volunteers units. I will need to decide very soon. As ever your thoughts are welcome as to which way I should turn.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

The weekend in Tradgardland...

It is the back of six in the morning on Monday and already the sun is shinning...
It was a good weekend on the whole apart from walking to on Sunday to the shops and getting soaked to the skin on the way back by a heavy shower. Yesterday saw Jan buying a folding bicycle for her journey to work and hopefully she will get it today or tomorrow. She saw one recently that she liked and has gone for it.
Saturday was the annual Wargames Show Carronade in Falkirk. An excellent show in a high school , it is fast becoming one of the best shows here in Scotland. Myriad traders were there and some excellent looking games. The magnificent 1938vbcw game rightly won a prize- beautiful figures and superb terrain. However the most important part of it all was meeting old and new friends- friends from my uni days club and my current one here in Fife amongst others. It was good to catch up enthuse,reminisce and hopefully make plans to meet up sometime.
I managed to resist starting a new period ( always a worry for me) and picked up a few sample bases in order to rebase my syw chaps for the coming campaign season in The Disputed Valley. They are made by a local friendly company who give superb service and are excellent-
http://www.warbases.co.uk/ . The new set of dark age skirmish rules by Gripping Beast sound interesting and may be a Autumn project.
Sunday saw painting of 40mm chaps for the ongoing project as well as watching Sir Ian Macelleran as an amazing Richard III in 30's kit on dvd. hopefully some more bases will be purchased this week and sorting out and collating will continue. I had better close and go for the train. I hope you have a good day at work or whatever you are doing

Friday, 6 May 2011

Spring has Sprung in Umstrittental...

Spring has come to the Disputed Valley (an independent region betwixt the Duchy of Tradgardland and the Imperium) and the new campaigning season will soon be underway. The tented camps have survived a fierce winter and the troops are ready for action. Uniforms are darned, muskets checked and all await orders...
The Syldavian ambassador ( perhaps dear reader someone from Syldavia might post a comment here telling us more of him and his uniform so he could be depicted here by me on the tabletop-hint,hint...) is currently being escorted across the arduous terrain from Tradgardstadt. He is charged with a mission of some delicacy. Meanwhile the Imperium is sending orders from Wein for courier to brief her general on his next moves diplomatic and martial. Finally across the valley in Uhwerkhausen the Burgomeister's watchmaker is checking the mechanism of the clockwork peacocks recently brought out from their winter storage. He looks up disturbed by the sound of the Militia mustering upon the heath and firing its cannon ...
Finally if you have a spare moment could you vote in my poll at
http://armyredwhite.blogspot.com/ regarding uniform colour schemes-thanks in anticipation!

Monday, 2 May 2011

Slydavians and gardening...

An excellent day was had in the garden-potatoes ridged up,plants divided and moved ,seeds planted and general horticultural fun had by the Duke and Duchess of the Household today aided at times by our youngest . Two other members were busy revising with days to the first exams! I did mange to spend a few minutes moving forward a unit of Syldavian troops- those who wish further details are referred to look here to a previous post- http://tradgardland.blogspot.com/2010/12/disputed-valley-syldavian-factor.html I hope you all had as much fun on your May Day holiday whatever you were doing .Back to work tomorrow...

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Planning indoors and outdoors...








It has been excellent weather here in the Duchy this weekend,although now at the time of writing seven am on Monday, it is a tad overcast for my tastes. We have spent much of the time gardening and improving the garden both for flowering plants and vegetables too. I know from your blogs that quite a few of you enjoy your gardens or allotments too.My wife Jan ,who has an excellent eye for design inside and outside ,keeps coming up with excellent tweaks,changes and enhancements for the garden.After this we work together to execute them.

One of the joys of gardening is the time it allows for reflection and a chance to think one's own thoughts- be they profound or otherwise. The same can be said with regard to ironing- something I find is in much demand here...





Planning ,dreaming & thinking are some of the greatest joys of the hobby. It is free ( albeit with the potentiality to give the Ducal Warchest a nasty dent...) and can be done in odd moments anywhere- garden,railway station or even speeding over the Forth Rail Bridge on my daily commute. For some years now I have used Dodo pads for combined hobby and work use. They are fun to read well laid out and entertain others at meetings who stick to pedestrian diary formats. I always keep mine as I am a hoarder by inclination. It is good to keep one's hobby/work ideas to look back on even if they never come to anything...












I have enclosed pictures of the Dodo Pad weekly format as well as an example of my jottings - in this case a map of my Parent's garden circa 1986 drawn last year from memory. It is styled as it could have been used (but sadly never was) for out door gaming in the style of that tremendous chap John Ruddles . His garden was filled with concrete houses,54mm figures ,buildings and much more. Last June I was musing upon using the garden in some way for al fresco gaming. I have posted a photo also of the garden taken yesterday which gives some idea of the layout here. Soon the Beech hedge will come into it's glory and provide a discrete barrier between ourselves and passers-by for around half the garden. This area with the three small Apple trees in it is the one I was thinking of with regard to outdoor gaming this July and August. I am still at the thinking stage and no doubt when the gardening boots are donned today more thinking ,planning and jottings will taken place. I'll let you know any more developments and perhaps even post more photos.