Monday, March 12, 2018

Module Suitability Review: Korean Sourcebook

Taken from DriveThru RPG

Hey all, been a long time since we did one of these, eh?

Well, this has been long threatened for Twilight: 2000, long demanded, cajoled, and pleaded for, and now, it's finally here. A canon sourcebook for the Land of the Midnight Calm. And, like the last time, it seems this 2nd Korean War has settled into a stalemate again, this time, both combatants are at the ends of long, shattered supply chains, fighting in a nuked, blasted landscape, and they are surrounded by a population that really wishes they'd leave. (Pretty much sounds like a lot of Twilight: 2000).  

So what do you get? For starters? I must say, Raellus did a good job. For a $2.99 PDF download, you do get a lot for your money. A very good description of events in Korea, a whole chapter on Korean Culture (a very useful thing for non-Korean GMs and players!) It has a lot of information on all the players in North and South Korea in 2000, important NPCs, character generation rules, as well as campaign ideas and missions and equipment unique to the Korean peninsula.

What I really like about this module is how it plays off the split between the Soviets and their North Korean "allies" (who are basically allies in at most, name only, really.) and the Milgov/Civgov - esque split in South Korea (which makes a lot of sense considering South Korea's history of Military/Civilian relations in the past). Rae also manages to throw a bit of horror elements into it for those so inclined. 

While the book has some editing issues, it's a solid book overall, I had a lot of flashbacks to the format and writing style of RDF Sourcebook, which as a model, you could not ask for a better template if you ask me. 

Now of course, you ask, what is the miniature gaming scenario potential for this book? Well, as it turns out, a lot, so let's get cracking, eh?

Skirmish Games

Like it's spiritual ancestor, the RDF Sourcebook, the Korean Sourcebook doesn't have any specific ideas for skirmish gamers, but the Mission Generator has some really good skirmish game fodder, as well as the rules for North Korean tunnels (Yes, that alone would make a great table setup and a very unique idea, a post-apocalyptic dungeon crawl! Always a hit!)

But here's some other ideas:
  • A small American outpost on the frontline, and it's adventures could be resolved as a skirmish campaign, you could use a mix of rules from the module, and either Force on Force or No End in Sight's campaign systems would shine here, no matter what rules you use. Using Platoon Forward from Too Fat Lardies would be an excellent idea to flesh out the personalities of the American garrison. 
  • A race to recover a nuclear weapon that failed to detonate from the remains of Seoul. You could have a three sided race, the US/South Koreans, the North Koreans, and the Soviets all racing to get the warhead before the other side does. And then there are complications with the nuke itself. Black Ops would be a great set of rules for this and a devious referee could make this a very exciting bit of gaming meets an RPG adventure.
  • Another great idea is a raid on the remains of the North Korean bioweapons program by either side, neither of whom is going to be really enthused about the Kim family unleashing whatever variety of nasty their scientists have been cooking up on what is left of the world. This would also make great Black Ops fodder.
  • Gaming out the initial raids by North Korean commandos and sleeper cells on a South Korean installation (any number of ideas here can be mined), versus a collection of South Korean cops, reservists, and other internal security forces). If the North Korean player can escape with any of his people, you can then game out the hunt for the surviving commandos as a mini campaign for Black Ops?
  • A clash between an American/ROK supply convoy and North Korean partisans. Rules for this would be Force on Force.

Larger Games

In terms of larger game fodder, like RDF Sourcebook, you really have to mine that from the chronology, as organized military operations do tend to break down after about 1998. But, it seems you can get some really interesting stuff out of it, some of the more interesting ideas to me are:

  • The initial attack on the DMZ, you could do a collection of company sized US or ROK outposts along the "Z" hit by a couple battalions of North Korean light infantry, with a bit of armor, and more than enough artillery (which isn't going to hit much outside it's pre-planned targets, but the pre-planned ones should be hyper accurate), and with some pre positioned North Korean sappers already to the rear of the US/ROK positions). The North Koreans have to overrun all of the positions to win, the US/ROK has to just hold one to win. Rules for this in my opinion would be the Cold War Battlegroup rules put out by the Cold War Hot Hot Hot blog, as authored by Richard Chambers, as the game is kinda too big for a skirmish game, and too small for a 1:5 game like Fistful of TOWs or Command Decision.
  • The fight for Munsan in the early days of the North Korean invasion, it's a desperate rear guard action between dug in South Korean defenders buying time for the ROK/US forces to set up a defense further south, and a North Korean mechanized army trying to push down the traditional invasion corridor. Couple this with a heavy chem environment in an urban area, and you have quite the game for Fistful of TOWs.
  • The summer 1997 amphibious landing near Kimpo by US 4th Marine Division and ROK 6th Marine Brigade. This landing and the subsequent breakout has the makings of a pretty decent Fistful of TOWs or Command Decision campaign.
  • The retreat of US 8th Army from the Yalu in 1997 as the Soviet Yalu Front enters the war in late summer of 1997. Fistful of TOWs works well here, as you might be using a nuke or two to simulate the heavy use of Soviet tactical nuclear weapons here.
  • The "Last Soviet Offensive of the War in Korea" in July of 1998, this could make a decent Fistful of TOWs or Command Decision game, as you have a depleted Soviet MRD with support from a Air Assault Brigade (both short on fuel) attacking towards the Gimwha Valley in an effort to seize the farmland to feed the Soviet army trapped in North Korea, as well as the US/ROK counterattack. This also might work as a campaign for Fistful of TOWs or Command Decision.
Well, that is it for now. We have a bit coming down the pike, a review and build of PSC's recently released T-55 kit for 20mm, a review and writeup of the Unofficial Cold War variant for Battlegroup, and those Iran-Iraq books I have been promising a review of. I will get to them, also, my roleplaying group and I want to try an actual Twilight: 2000 themed miniatures game in the very near future, so I am excited about that, and I will be working on that soon, so lots to come.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Book Review: Setting the Scene - Winter Wargaming, A Guide for Creating A Winter Layout for the Games Table.

Taken from the Wargames and Terrain Webpage

Setting the Scene - Winter Wargaming, A Guide for Creating a Winter Layout for the Games Table.
Author: Pat Smith
Publisher: Self-Published, 2018
Dimensions: 8.5 x 11"
Cover: Soft Cover
Pages: 103pp

  Setting the Scene is to me, probably one of the best terrain books to be published for the hobby in a long time. What I like about it is, unlike other wargaming terrain treatises, like Games Workshop's How to Make Wargaming Terrain, (the older, red covered edition is superior, by the way), this book is geared towards the historical terrain market, and from the looks of it, the 15 and 20mm gamer.

  Another thing I like about this book are the production values. All of the pictures are fairly good sized, the text is on a white background and is easy to read (which, with my eyes, is a damn good thing), and the steps are clear, workmanlike and don't have a lot of unneeded detail, which, for a guy like me (who isn't the world's best modeler in the first place), a godsend.

Isn't this picture gorgeous? Yeah, it is! And yes, it's in the book. Taken from the Publisher's Website.

What makes me the most happy? He shows you how to do this with a lot of easy to get items. No having to kill yourself to get that "special spray" or that effect from <fill in the blank> hobby company that does cost more than the average pot of paint. And here is the little secret...the terrain can be built for any season. He has a separate "winterizing" step, that if you don't want to build something (like hay bales) for winter, just skip it! 

 While books of this nature do not lend themselves well to bibliographies, he does have a very helpful links section for places to get ideas, and materials. (And many of it costs less than purposes created mats, though, I will say this much, don't sell the purpose built mats short.) It's got something for everyone, and even though it's oriented to the Ardennes in World War II, the ideas here can be adapted for anywhere and anytime with a little imagination and forethought. 

 The author is also accessible, friendly, and is easy to procure the book from at Wargaming with Silver Whistle, where he usually sends you a Paypal invoice for the book within 24 hours of request. The price of the book is 17.50 GBP, with an additional 7.45 for shipping, so all told, it will set an American gamer back about $34.50 (going by current conversion rates), but it's worth is for the quality of the book alone.

 I have to say, I really liked this book, and plan on undertaking a few projects from it soon. I encourage everyone out there to get this book, as it's worth it, and can really improve the look of your table. I give it 5 out of 5 mushroom clouds. Run, do not walk to get this book. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

More News Coming About!

A New Game Store in Chantilly, VA!
There's a new game store in Northern VA! And yes, Virginia, color me excited. Chantilly isn't TOO far from me, right down 66, and I am excited to know people who love 20mm have a storefront for me to hop down and pick up stuff to fill my gaming needs.

 Where in Chantilly is it, you ask?

4124 Walney Road, Suite H
Chantilly, Virginia 20151
(Do us a favor, tell them "500 Miles..." says hi when you visit!)

The store, from photos on their Facebook page, looks well stocked and has pretty much any gaming needs filled you might want. And yes, dear reader, we will be paying a visit soon to do a proper review, but one could not let something like this go without letting folks know. We have quite the readership in VA, and yes, we want this store to do well! And their grand opening is THIS weekend! So, go on down, and say hello!

Images taken from Wargaming and Terrain Website

And there's more. A new book is out, called "Setting the Scene: Winter Wargaming" and we'll be doing a review on it as well, as soon as I can manage it. On first blush, it looks gorgeous, and hey, winters and Twilight: 2000 go together like nuclear explosions and gamma rays! We'll have a review shortly for you, but the book looks very useful indeed.

We also should have a review of the new PSC T-55s that were finally released, and I put some together and I will have my thoughts on the assembly and details.

So, lots to come in the coming days.

Friday, February 23, 2018

More news of interest to the Twilight: 2000 miniature wargamer!

Well, it's been a bit of a mixed news bag for the Twilight: 2000 gamer of late. First, for those of you that backed the PSC 20mm T-55 project, good news. The kits have shipped. When they arrive depends on where you are in the world, but knowing PSC, it won't be long. For those that waited, they are available for sale at 18.95 GBP for three tanks in a kit.

For Twilight: 2000, three tanks can often comprise a division, so the price isn't bad for what you get, and I am going to have to do a step by step build to show you all what you are in for.

Yep! They're on their way, Picture is courtesy of PSC! 

As covered in an earlier article, the Guild sadly, has left us, and with it, quite a bit of information for the discerning 20mm gamer (and many other gamers as well). That said, there has been the rise of a new site, and a new Facebook group, of which I am glad to point people to:

The new website is the Wargamer's Guild, it's new yet, and it might not quite have the flash the old Guild had, but I think, be patient and give it time, and it will do as well as it's predecessor did. I personally will be cheerleading it here, and hope to see many of you there.

The Facebook Group is known as Armchair Gamers. It's got quite a few "Guild Refugees" and memberships seems to be limited to former Guild members for now, but I do hope this policy changes soon, as the painting work is well, just incredible, and is meeting the usual high Guild standard (and not to mention the usual helpful nature of everyone there).

I also was at Williamsburg Muster down in Williamsburg last weekend. I haven't had the time to do a proper convention report, but I promise I will write one. I didn't see a whole lot of stuff of interest to readers from this blog, but there were some ideas worth mentioning I did see. And there was a Napoleonic skirmish game that would, with a little adaptation, make an excellent Twilight: 2000-themed scenario,

Another bit of news of interest to readers of the blog is some recent releases by Ehliem,  I am very interested in their new series of modern separate heads to convert figures with, including heads with a range of Soviet helmet types, and a 3-D printed BRDM-2 and BTR-80. There's also some new separate backpacks and food, perfect for customizing some post apocalyptic figures and terrain. I look forward to what comes down the pike further with these releases.

Till next time everyone!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Guild Wargames Forum Down for Good?!

Sad news from the 20mm Wargaming World. It seems that the Guild, a stalwart of the 20mm Wargaming community, and a site that I was an august member of, has seemingly gone under:

According to freewargamesrules on TMP on a thread asking about this:

Last I heard none of the Admins could access the Forum. The PhpBB forum they use has recently stated:

Earlier today, we identified that the download URLs for two phpBB packages available on were redirecting to a server that did not belong to us. We immediately took down the links and launched an investigation….If you downloaded either the 3.2.2 full package or the 3.2.1 -> 3.2.2 automatic updater package between the hours of 12:02 PM UTC and 15:03 PM UTC on January 26th, you received an archive modified with a malicious payload.

One of my mates spoke with the Admins who say "it is gone for good"

Further news from S&S's Facebook Page, directly from Shaun suggest the same:

If true, then this has been a blow to the 20mm community in particular, and the larger wargaming community as a whole. Reams of useful information have been lost to what appears to be a hacking of some sort. While more than a few FB groups have been filling in the breech, and the numbers for the Guild have gone down, it was hoped that upcoming releases, like Battlegroup NORTHAG and others would revitalize the Guild.

Here is hoping someone brings the Guild back, in some form, in it's heyday, it was an awesome place, and I think it can be again!

Update, sadly, the Guild has died, confirmation from the Guild FB page:

After a rather confusing and sad week, "The Guild" admin team are now announcing that it appears that the forum has gone for good.

We share the sense of loss that has been circulating online for the last few days, and like you we mourn the loss of what was not only a great wargaming and modelling resource, but was for us a labour of love and place to hang out with friends online. 

Between us we have run forums together for over 14yrs, first at Elhiem, then Showcase20 and most successfully with "The Guild" which ran for over 11yrs, our success based around treating others the same way as you would expect to be treated. A sign of this successful ethos was the fact that the forum pretty much ran itself as the 3500+ international membership were polite and encouraging. The reputation that the forum built up is an immense source of pride to us, and we thank those who helped foster that. We would also like to thank those of you we have met, travelled with, played games with, crashed at homes and generally been amazing friends with over the last few years. The friendships we have built I hope will endure beyond this.

With the death of the main forum, this FB page is redundant and the decision has been made to turn this off in the next two weeks also. 

At present the admin team are talking about the possibility of starting again and creating a new space to hang out in, but 11yrs on we now have much busier real lives, with added demands from work, family and children and other hobbies, so nothing is yet confirmed....

We thank you all for your recent communications and we hope to see you at a wargaming show soon...

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Finding Terrain for the Post Apocalypse -- Commercial Terrain in 15 and 20mm

One of the things you will find as a Cold War-era gamer (and Twilight: 2000 is firmly a Cold War-era game) is that terrain is tough to come by, and what terrain you can find is difficult to make look "right". You're often reduced to just putting lots of ruins on the table and calling it "done". Now, granted, most cities in Central Europe in Twilight: 2000 look like Berlin in 1945, with the added complication of an elevated rad count, but we can and should try to do better than this.

So what are our options? Well, if you're willing to do the internet legwork, there's plenty out there. Also, this article from the Cold War Gamer blog is very useful in assisting one with improving the look of your table. Now, it's written for "Sunday Drive to the Rhine" games, but there's a lot of stuff for Twilight: 2000 if you're willing to look. I have also written some ideas of my own on the subject, but let's take a look at what is out there commercially, shall we?

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is going to be something of a "living" page, as I want to make sure that as people find stuff, they can let me know and I will review and add it here. So if I missed something, lemme know!


Taken from Spikey Bits blog, Image is of terrains4games product

terrains4games is a Polish outfit that seems to make something of everything. I haven't dealt with them myself, but the stuff they make looks good, and it seems to have quite a good number of reviews. For 20mm, they make the usual collection of ruins, as well as 15mm, but they also make a "Cold War City" that has the ubiquitous apartment blocks one sees throughout Central Europe and would do very well in a Twilight: 2000 game. While the company is in Poland, it's got a nice storefront, and all prices are in USD, making ordering a snap. When I get a chance to pick up something from them, I'll let you know how it goes.

Gamecraft Miniatures

Image taken from GameCraft Miniatures
GameCraft Miniatures is nothing short of prolific. They make it all in 6, 15, 20 and 28mm. I've ordered from them in the past, and I found the process painless and easy. Now if I could just figure out how to fill the big empty space in the factory warehouse I purchased from them? I do have to put it back together again too. Also, I bought a barracks, which looks a lot like some of the barracks I saw at Ft. Knox, and that one looks a bit complicated. My one complaint there? Instructions would be nice. That said, the quality of the work is very good, and I cannot complain as to the workmanship. Any faults in the construction are mine, and I readily admit it. But, if you want to find good, solid buildings to fill your Twilight: 2000 table, this is a darn good place to start. They are based in the US, with an easy to use storefront, so us American gamers have a good source of terrain, but folks in the UK might have some issues with postage costs.

Lancer Miniatures

Taken from Lancer Miniatures website

Lancer Miniatures is the current license holder to the RB Buildings line and these are, in my opinion, some of the nicest terrain to be available in resin out there. I have some older pieces of this line, purchased 2nd hand, and I do rather like them, a lot. Their quality is good, and they paint up rather easily. Just drybrush, paint a bit of detail and off you go. Now, while a lot of it is strictly geared to World War II, with some slight modification as per the aforementioned Cold War Gamer blog article, you can make some of this terrain look really good for your Twilight: 2000 table. The main issue is that due to the size and weight of these pieces, they won't ship outside the UK without discussing the shipping prices with you first. To me, this is more than eminently fair. These pieces are big, and resin is heavy folks, shipping costs, even with a depressed pound, aren't going to be cheap, and many wargaming companies are small outfits, so bravo to Lancer for at least warning folks ahead of time what they might be in for.

I know that much of this line is available through RLBPS, but they're in the process of transitioning their website, so I will let you all know when that is complete so US gamers can avail themselves of some of this line.

Sarissa Precision

Taken from Sarissa Precision's Website

Sarissa is a new, up and coming UK company that right now, is everywhere. I've seen their 15 and 28mm products at more than a few cons, and even some of their 20mm. I have purchased some French telegraph poles for WW-II and I liked them, they went together fast with the clear instructions provided. It's made me want to build some more stuff of theirs. Shipping at 2.50GBP worldwide is pretty awesome for this US-based gamer, and their storefront looks simple with a variety of payment options. Now, for 15 and 28mm gamers, this is a cornucopia of options for Twilight: 2000, but it's a bit limited for 20mm, as most of the "World War Europe" line is meant for Western Europe, but the Eastern Front stuff (minus the Russian Orthodox church) is almost spot on for your average small Polish farming village that you would still find in Twilight: 2000. In short, there's a lot to be had here, so give these folks a look. They also design to order (I have not made use of this, so I cannot comment as to what the final product might be, or how one goes about it?), so don't be afraid to special order...

Ironclad Miniatures

Taken from Ironclad Miniatures

Ironclad Miniatures is a newer UK-based company and I just received a bunch of their terrain for Christmas from my wonderful wife, including some very nice stuff from their Field Positions and Ruins range. The pieces were crisp, without any visible flaws, what bubbles there were were on the underside of the base, and that's fine by me, in short, I liked what I saw. The ranges come in the standard 15, 20, and 28mm scales and if the ones I got are any guide, they look great. The shopping experience looked pretty painless, and the packing survived the rough treatment the mail put the box through.  I would recommend their field positions heartily for a Twilight: 2000 table, as such positions are going to be found everywhere, and the Vietnam defenses range would work well for your average cantonment, and mixing it with the WW2 range would make it look very unique indeed. As for the ruins, you get a lot in the bag they give you, I think what I may do is glue the ruins to a plasticard base, add some bricks from GaleForce 9 and voila, a nice ruined building base or two?


Battlefront's been pushing out quite the terrain range (it's rather prolific) for their Team Yankee rules. And having seen the buildings, they look great, and could be used for Twilight: 2000 with very little need for improvement (Might want to make some look abandoned or burnt out). But they are a bit pricy, to be honest, but that's Battlefront as a whole, IMO. Now that said, they do have a very easy to navigate website, and they do have awesome customer service, and the terrain is very easy to find and get if you're doing 15mm (I would not use this terrain in any other scale), as it's as close as any hobby shop that carries Team Yankee.

Impudent Mortal - (Thanks Michael Brown for the heads up about these guys!)

Image taken from Impudent Mortal
I cannot say I know much about Impudent Mortal, but their stuff looks good for the 15mm Gamer, and their Entry Level terrain packs are very nicely priced for an entire die cut town, which when mixed with the Sarissa Eastern Front stuff, would make a very nice Polish village for Twilight: 2000. They even have a ruined version, and they also have an industrial range for doing games in the ruins of oh, say, Silesia, or perhaps the Ruhr? Shopping looked very simple and they are a US based company, so shipping for those of us on this side of the pond is manageable. They also design to order, they say, so don't let their catalog limit you.

German Railway Buildings- Link is to eBay, the best place to search for them cheap.

Taken from eBay

A lot of the German railway buildings are just dead on for the type of buildings one is going to see in any Central European based Twilight: 2000 game. But, a few things you want to keep in mind. One, these are model railway buildings. They aren't meant to hold up to the rigors of gaming, and they come no frills on the interior. So, they're going to be a bit of work, to put it mildly. Next, they are not cheap at retail, or even on ebay for that matter, but there are bargains to be found if you know where to look and more importantly, how to look. Some of the best search terms to use are "Vollmer", "Faller", "Kibri", and "Pola". Finally, keep in mind HO and N railway scales do not correspond exactly to 15 and 20mm wargaming scales. You might want to make sure that your buildings don't stick out too much like a sore thumb on the table. But, if you can find stuff for a price you're willing to pay, and put in some improvement work, you can get some really nice buildings out of it that will look great on the table.

Hotz Mats

Picture of Piers Brand's Cold War Big Game. Picture taken by Piers Brand, taken from Hotz Website
Hotz puts out some really good stuff for wargamers. They have quite the catalog of mats, roads, and fields to choose from, all in durable felt (I should know, I own a standard green felt one that ate a beer during a WWII game, bit of time on gentle wash and an air dry later, no one ever knew).  Prices, considering the production these mats and other products go through, is pretty reasonable, but yes, 8 weeks can be a long time. But that said, it's very much worth the wait. My Hotz mat has seen a lot of gaming action, and I can highly recommend it. I can also recommend their roads, as I own a gidundus amount of their 6mm roads that I got second hand one Historicon. They wear really, really well, better than my older Geo-Hex roads I was less than pleased with (they never stayed in place). In fact, you can see their 20-28mm roads in the photo above! Their webstore is easy to use, and they have very good communication with their customers.

So, all that said, I would highly recommend their product. They are more than worth taking a look at and they will make a mat to pretty much any standard you like (within reason).

Cigar Box Battle Mats

Picture taken from Cigar Box website

Cigar Box is another maker of some very high quality mats that I have played on, but have never myself owned. I like the fact they seem a bit lighter than Hotz, and they come in a bit more variety, but some of the printed on designs can limit one's "creativity" in setup. Happily, they give some very good advice on how to get around that. 

I keep trying to hunt down their urban mats, but every time I come to Historicon, they seem to be out of the ones I am seeking, but the work they do is nothing short of gorgeous. I haven't ordered from them online, so I really cannot say what their webstore is like, but with a lot of gamers raving in a good way about these mats, you really cannot go wrong giving these a look either. Prices are a bit higher than Hotz, but for US customers, I suspect the shipping might be a bit lower, so it probably balances out.

You could do worse than give these guys a look.

Anyway, that's it for this piece. Let me know what else you'd like to see that would be of interest to Twilight: 2000-themed miniature gaming, and I will write it up. Until next time! 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

It has been a busy newsday! PSC is taking over the ArmiesArmy Cold War Range

Just wanted to make this short announcement: Plastic Soldier Company is taking over the ArmiesArmy Cold War 15mm range. I am happy to say that Keith Armstrong, Owner/Proprietor of AA is a friend of mine and of this blog, and I am happy for him that he is making this transition because of the reasons he has mentioned to me in the past.

The cool part about this is that PSC will be putting the Dutch, Belgians, Cold Weather Russians, and soon to come Scandinavians out to a much wider gaming audience. For this alone, I am excited for both parties involved (Even if I do not game 15mm).

I wish both companies the best, and look forward to seeing what PSC does with the AA Cold War line!

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Twilight 2000, The Look on the Tabletop, Part 1, Vehicles

Twilight: 2000 is in some ways, a unique post-apocalyptic experience, it isn't quite Mad Max, it isn't quite Gamma World, or for tha...