Archive for September, 2014

IMG_3365This is less of a review, more of a preview as I haven’t actually played this game yet. So after an interminable wait Fifth Column Games’ self produced Codeword Cromwell finally sits proudly in my home. This is the first time I’ve committed funds KickStarter style to a board-game that at the time had not even been produced.  Reading through all the positive feedback on Board Game Geek kind of alleviated my fears although the price tag in excess of £60 not including courier postage didn’t. So I did what any right minded sane scheming sly little oik would do and suggested Wifey might want to get it for me as a present.  Job done although I had to wait a few months longer of course.

So what is Codeword Cromwell? In short its a military boardgame simulation based on the German Armed Forces Invasion of England, in the summer of 1940, hypothetically speaking of course.

Rather than recreating the entire invasion it focuses on a single action, the ‘Battle of Birkham Stokes’, in which a small group of civilians, Home Guard irregular forces and Regular British soldiers defended the strategically vital Sussex village against advance elements of the German Invasion Force.  Think “Went the day Well” meets”The Eagle has Landed” meets “Dads Army” and you’re on the right track.  Of course living in a Sussex village and loving this sort of “what if/it happened here”? history doesn’t get much better for yours truly so it was something of a no-brainer in reality.

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“You’re gonna need a bigger table”

So whats in a box? Have a look/see. From this picture it looks fairly standard fare until you realise that the map-board is 104x72cms or 3&1/2 by 2&1/2ft !!! Blooming mahoosive AND ITS MOUNTEDNow I’m going to digress a bit here but this subject is very close to my heart. Remember those good old days round the fire with Mother and Father sipping Horlicks and playing Monopoly, Cluedo or Escape from Colditz and later your first pre-pubescent initiation into wargames via Avalon Hill? Still with me? The thing they and this game have in common is a mounted map/gameBOARD, not a flimsy excuse for one like those thin 1mm card efforts or even worse bog standard paper with a glossy (oooh wow) finish. No an actual map/gameBOARD. So well done Fifth Column Games big thumbs up here. Right, back to the contents, apart from the huge mapboard theres the usual rules, and technical data manuals and another first, in full colour on smell sense overload glossy paper (this time a proper WOW) that makes me want to sniff the ink right off those pages like theres no tomorrow. Chuck in the ubiquitous dice and Event/Strategy cards and the contents seem again almost run of the mill. So whats left?…….the counters! not your little 1cm sq bits of matt card here, my descriptive skills are inadequate when attempting to describe them so I’ve attached some pics to pore over and marvel at the sheer beauty. These 1 inch counters are also thick, thicker even than a Brighton & Hove Albion fan on a good day.

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So hopefully this demonstrates what I’m rambling on about. Its Capt Mainwaring, Daisy the village brass, the Rev, Womens Institute and Harveys infused Pub Regulars armed with an assortment of weapons from cricket bats & pool cues to Thompson smg’s and a Spigot mortar. Their quarry, German Falschirmjagers (easy for you to say) and Panzers. AWESOME! I suppose it was too much to ask for (leather……ahem) Nuns with beards and jackboots under their habits speaking that classic slightly insulting 1970’s wartime German accent (you know the sort, lots of Vees “Vee vill ask zee qvestions, Your name vill also go in zee book “etc). BUT there is a fifth columnist Codenamed “Chaplin” this is one of your very own who at some point you hopefully discover as he/she will be doing their fiendish best to sabotage your efforts to defend the village the dirty low down surly beadie eyed rotten damn unsporting just not cricket scoundrel.

Of course, production values do not a classic make, only playtime will tell but I suspect this is a good ‘un.  Oh and by the way the first print run sold out months ago so you won’t be able to buy this unless a second print run comes in or someone is nuts enough to sell his copy.  So for me its onto the rules although strangely enough work commitments (yes you read that right) might delay starting this.  Once I’ve mastered them, it’ll be time to convert to my local village and commence a series of AAR’s Pathe style.

“You know what morale is”?

DSCF9932 (1024x768)Well I just had to?  Come on, everyone would do this if they had the chance.

This is the first in a series of local wartime finds that I’ve been meaning to put up for a while. So this discovery just south of Royal Tunbridge Wells was quite unexpected. Ok I knew there was a bit of a tank relic there but I hadn’t counted on it being a whole turret that’s been just dumped on the ground for anyone to crawl all over.

So onto the history bit, its a British Churchill tank turret (Mark I or II, (Thanks Grant!) you can tell by the convex front where the barrel would protrude from) This version was was not particularly successful after the Dieppe raid/disaster and replaced with a better more recognisable MkIII/IV turret version. Some of the remaining ones were kept for training purposes of which this one almost certainly was. The spot where its located was a training camp for the Canadian Army prior to the D-Day landings (Apparently there are also remnants of a WWI training trench used to train soldiers in the earlier conflict so another visit beckons – Huzzah!)

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What really impresses me is how thick the armour is. Just look at the photo of the rear of the turret. More local war time relics/sites/things wot I like to follow

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Hurricane I/II and Spit Vb

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Boulton Paul Defiant I in night fighter finish (Polish Sqn)

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Heinkel He111H

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Messerschmitt bf110G (Later night fighter model) An earlier version of this was flown by Walter Rubensdorffer shot down over Rotherfield 15 Aug 1940

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Fiat Cr.42 Falco flown by the Italian CAI during the Battle of Britain and shot down over England in October ’40

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Junkers Ju87D (Later model of the famous Ju87b) Stuka dive-bomber royally thrashed by the RAF in August 1940

Birthday trips don’t get much better than this, so after a few years of Steam trains and Vintage Formula One it was only a matter of time to revisit a museum last attended 15 years ago when I had my cats neutered……….nice!!!

Anyway I’m going to let the pictures do most of the talking here. Kudos to Wifey for humouring me especially as the trip across London involved not one but two lots of engineering works and a 3 hour each way journey. Love you Mrs B. Still it was worth it wasn’t it.

Obviously there are tons more on offer but memory space dictates that I’m limited to just putting up a selection so I’ve decided to go with some of the less common ones here that interest me. Now, feast those eyes on some serious aviation porn safe in the knowledge that there’s not a single filthy FIESELER STORCH in sight.

Great review. It looks like Who is back on form. All hail Capaldi!!


Into the Dalek, dual-written by Phil Ford and Steven Moffat, was up to this point the episode I was looking forward to the least. I’ve mentioned several times on Geekritique that the Daleks need a rest, that they’re a tired monster. I wrote this episode off simply on that basis alone – “it’s another Dalek episode. Yawn. Wonder how many times they’ll get Nick Briggs to yell exterminate this time around.” And then something brilliant happened. Something beautiful, and new. I saw a star being born. What I expected to be just another Dalek-encumbered episode turned out to be perhaps the best of its kin in recent memory. This is easily the best outing the pepperpots have had since 2005’s Dalek, and a strong case can be made that it’s even better than that.

Into the Dalek does exactly what it says it would. The Doctor, Clara, and stand-in friends…

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