My View

My View

Saturday, 29 June 2013

World War Z and Despicable Me 2.

I saw World War Z last Saturday morning. There had been mixed reviews, so I was not sure what to expect. Fans of the book had criticised it as it moved away from the original theme of survivors sharing their experiences. Reviewers had criticised the reworked ending of the film.

The opening scenes got off to a good start, with a mixture of exposition and action. It was strange trying to watch the unfolding action without being distracted by trying to identify the familiar Glasgow landmarks that were filling in for Seattle.

Brad Pitt plays an ex UN worker who is phoned up by his ex boss and asked to help save the world. He has to find the source of the disease that has caused people to become things that everyone goes to great lengths not to call zombies. He travels to South Korea, Jerusalem and Wales and works out a way to combat the disease. A way is found to distibute the countermeasure. That is the plot in essence.

It is an entertaining film, especially in 3D. However, there were many things that grated as unlikely, even in a movie plot, not the least the ending. How a world that was overun and almost destroyed one minute can suddenly find the manufacturing and transport resources to distribute a solution is beyond me.

I would describe it as Outbreak meets 28 Days Later, with a similar saccharin ending to War of The Worlds. Brad Pitt's character would make a good Captain Scarlet!

As a counterpoint, I can enthusiastically recommend Despicable Me 2 as great family entertainment and a very funny, and at times poignant film.

Gru has gone legit, and is running a straight business. He is kidnapped by the Anti Villain League, who need help in catching a supervillain, who has holed up in a mall. He works undercover in a cake shop. There are lots of shennanigans and pratfalls before the unmasking of the supervillain.

Once again the Minions steal the show. Especially in the closing song and dance and during the closing credits, which are worth watching in 3D, especially the bubbles!

Don't miss this film in 3D!

Neither film has post credit extras past the producer credits.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Thursday Game: VBCW with a Scottish Twist.

The Thursday game this week saw me get a chance to use the Very British Civil War figures that I bought at Carronade a few weeks back.

Taking inspiration from the Armies And Enemies Of  The Scottish Republic by Solway Crafts and Miniatures, I developed a scenario. It was a test of the FUBAR rules, as VBCW is only a background, with no set rules.

The scenario was set somewhere in the Southwest of Scotland, where the BUF and their Unionist allies are active, but rub against Republican control. The local Unionists had been plagued by some Republican deserters. They had used their influence to have a section of BUF troops assigned to support two groups of farmers and farmhands and the local laird and his staff in removing the threat.

At the same time, a Republican patrol was investigating a tip off about a Workers Militia arms dump in the area.

The arms dump is at the top left, while the deserters are holed up in River Bend Farm, middle right.  Forces: BUF 2 fire teams of 5 with Lt Kyle, a veteran of Spain, in charge; The Laird and 5 staff; 7 farmers and farmhands and a Carden Lloyd carrier with MMG.
Republicans: 1 section split into two fire teams of 4 rifles and an LMG team.

Both sides were aware that there were civilians in the area and to avoid shooting the innocent ones!

Both forces arrive on the table. The BUF rush to get to the deserters, whilst the Republicans quietly patrol their way onto the table.

The irregular forces blaze away at the first thing they see, causing a potential casualty in the Republican patrol, which are now supported by a light tankette.


The three pictures above show the firefight between the Unionists and the Republicans. The tankettes fired at each other. The BUF tankette suffered a movement hit then had it's main gun damaged. The Republican tankette had it's LMG damaged.

In the centre, the BUF forces advanced, and after a sharp firefight, pushed the Republicans back.
A sympathiser from the League of St Andrew is discovered and, despite wounding one servant, is shot by the Laird!

To complicate things, the Workers Militia turn up to collect their arms shipment. One of the servants tries to stop them, with predictable results!

But, their cache had been discovered! Pushed back under fire, the farmers assault and overwhelm the two reds guarding the stash. The pictures below show the end state. The Republicans fought to a standstill, but reinforced by their, probably temporary, allies: the deserters. The BUF were fought to a standstill. We didn't have time to finish the game.

Rick was Republican, Aidan BUF and I controlled the random element with the odd event happening! I overcomplicated the scenario: with too much happening; the terrain was too dense (only 7 deaths on both side all night!) and too much role playing?

An enjoyable evenings gaming!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Man Of Steel.

I saw Man of Steel last week. I had been looking forward to this new reboot. I was not disappointed! The first 30 miutes or so are set on Krypton. This is a Krypton different from any other portrayed on film. It has been re-imagined in a Gothic/40K type style with a hint of insectoid. I would not have been disappointed if the film had stayed on Krypton.

This new telling of the story is darker with the humour stripped back. The story is told from the point of view of Kal-El and how he adapts to his new home planet. He is aided by Jor-El who exists as a computer/holographic projection. By the time of arrival of Zod, after 33 years, he has become fully acclimatised.

I will not say more on the plot for the benefit of those still to see the film.

Without the camp humour that we have seen in past films, the spititual side is more obvious. The sense of hope and some less than subtle religious and mythical references are more prominent.

I enjoyed the film immensely.

There is no after credit sequence.



As a break from figure gaming, our last Wednesday game was Khet . This was one of Derek's regular charity shop finds: this time from Stirling, on the way back from Carronade.

This was a great little chess like game. The added complication of having two lasers firing at mirrored pieces added a brain-hurty level of complexity. We managed to have six games: everybody played everybody over the first two set ups. At least three games were decided by the active player miscaculating and hitting their own Pharoh (I did it twice!).

A great fun evening with a game that cost less than £5!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013


The original plan for last Thursday's game was that I would host, with a VBCW skirmish using FUBAR. However, with Neil visiting from the UAE, four people would be too much for my cluttered hovel. Rick stepped up to the plate with a re creation of the Battle of Castalla from June 1813, played out on his 6 x 4 Hexxon II covered table.

This is a Command & Colors Napoleonics game. With there being 4 players, we allowed the sub general to roll a D3 and order that number of units after the C&C had allocated orders from the card. blue markers are the commander's ordered units, white the sub general's.

 The starting positions seen from behind the Spanish and Anglo-Scicilian positions. It can be seen that the main French force is massed on the Allies left flank. A hopeless position?

                                                A closer view of the French dispositions.
                                                  View from the objective: Castalla!
In the early phase of the battle Suchet (Aidan) was happy to let the French centre and left flanks attack the strong positions around Castalla. There were a few casualties on both sides.

The French heavy cavalry then attacked. they brushed aside the British light cavalry and overran the guns. It started to look bad for the allies (below).
But the cavalry had outrun it's supports and had to pull back. The infantry in the French centre now made their presence felt in trying to exploit the confusion caused by the cavalry attack (below).

 The attack on Castalla made some headway, but was rebuffed by some accurate musketry and a glorious charge by the Spanish cavalry. The French on the Allied left flank still have not moved to support their colleagues(below).

The pictures below show the result of the battle of attrition on the Allied right and centre and around Castalla. This brought the French close to their required number of victory banners. Now the French right flank moved forward.

 The loss of the Spanish cavalry was the straw that broke the camel's back. The French now had 6 banners to 4. They had won!. We allow the loser one full turn to try to get a draw. Below, the pictures show the desperate gambit that I employed to try to rescue a draw. The allied forces on the hill attacked, but, alas, did not destroy any units. Instead, the French destroyed another unit. The last picture shows the end state.

This was an enjoyable game. Neil & myself took the Allies and Aidan & Rick the French. The French perspective can be seen here .

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Four Films.

Here are some potted reviews of some of the films I have been in to see in the past couple of weeks.

The Purge. This film was set in a distopian USA in 2022. The New Founding Fathers ( Tea Party/NRA?) have assumed power and have reduced crime to 1% by having 'The Purge', a 12 hour period where any crime against anyone not in government will go unpunished.

The film is the story of one family's struggle against a marauding group, when the son lets their 'prey' in to their fortified home. The plot is transparent with the twist well sign posted. This is a brutally violent film where no one ends up holding the moral high ground. Enjoyable but predictable.

Byzantium. A vampire film with a difference. Mother and daughter have to move from home to home to avoid detection by some mysterious assailants. They move to a seaside hotel and life settles into a routine. Their safety is threatened when the daughter begins a relationship with a local boy.

The way that Vampires are created is very specific and complicated and not automatically evil. This is a very entertaining film with some different takes on vampirism. It does get get quite bloody in the lead up to the finale. A thoughtful ending: not really a twist, as it is the only logical ending. I really enjoyed this film.

The Ice Man. Based on a true story, this film tells the story of the rise of  hitman Richard Kuklinski and how he manages to balance his gruesome day job with a family life. A wonderful performance from Michael Shannon as the cold blooded killer who would do anything for his family. Not for the faint hearted. Well worth a watch.

After Earth. This is a family film. A film by the Smith/Pinkett family. I found it self indulgent and disappointing, despite some good concepts that were not fleshed out. I tried hard to enjoy it, but it just didn't do it for me. May well have gone straight to DVD if it were not for the stars!

Friday, 14 June 2013

Past the finishing post!

As I write this, my two weeks of leave have come to an end. Where did the time go? What did I manage to achieve?

The first week was mostly spent in finalising arrangements for a charity race night to raise funds for my mother's care home's minibus campaign. It was held at The Ashvale and raised £1,800 I am glad that it's over and that it was a success. I can highly recommend the Ashvale: both for a good fish supper and if you are looking for a venue for a charity event.

I had no Wednesday game, but Aidan has got into Bolt Action! at the Aberdeen Wargames Club, and offered to put on an introductory game for Rick and myself. I took the Japanese and Rick the US Marines. It was not a competitive game and we managed to test out most of the rules. No pics, as I forgot my camera again. The attrition level of the game was high. The activation system, using dice to determine the order and type of action works. This will easily be incorporated into our Fubar games.

After recovering from the race night, the second week was a bit of a mixed bag. My old friend and wargaming opponent Neil, made the temporary change from expat to native as he came back to deal with some domestic matters. We had a chance to catch up and have a game or two. The wargaming scene in Abu Dhabi is rather sparce, so Neil was happy to take part in a game of Combat Commander : Pacific on Wednesday and join our Thursday group for a game and a reunion.

This, and the films I have seen, will be separate posts.

                                                                           Thursday teaser.

Friday, 7 June 2013


I have been guilty of  a lack of focus in my gaming (haven't we all?) for years. During last Thursday's game I had an idea of how to prioritise my projects.

Hopefully, this is one of the only times I will mention my work. My employer has been introducing their version of Lean working processes. Part of the induction process involves a role play, using Sticklebricks, to demonstrate how gradual changes to processes and visual management can improve efficiency. I enjoyed the excercise.

My idea was to use visual management, to keep me focused, by setting out a list of three projects and concentrating on these till completion. The first three projects will be:

28mm Interwar/VBCW; 28mm Sci Fi and 15/20mm early WW2 project.

My thinking is influenced by the fact that we are gaming 28mm Sci Fi using Fubar rules already and my recent VBCW purchase from Carronade is a core that can be built on, using figures that I already own, to game 1930's games using Fubar. The early  WW2 project will use a combination of 15mm to fight larger battles and 20mm for skirmish games. Once again, I already own enough figures to game this period.

My fellow gamers can be trusted to keep me on the straight and narrow.

I will keep you updated.