Victory at Sea

One of my first wargaming joys was fighting naval battles off Guadalcanal Island, in the Solomon Island’s in WW2. This was many decades ago(well around 5!) and I was collecting Purnells History of World War 2 magazine which was a weekly publication magazine which really trigged my interest in military history. So I made paper islands and paper ships….and wrote their names on them and I would sit at the kitchen table with my dice and refight the battles with made up rules. My interest would get boosted by Mum telling me about Grandad who was to old to fight in WW2(he was in navy in WW1) but as he was a miner he joined a construction team and built airfields on Guadalcanal…perfect. Then on the occasion Dads brother in law would visit, he and Dad would have a few beers and they would trade war stories which was the only time Dad would talk about his experiences of WW2, getting captured on Crete, the years in a POW camp in Poland and his dislike for Poms(British…they left them on the beach at Crete).

But I digress….so from paper ships I would watch ‘McHales Navy’, a 1960’s American sitcom starring Ernest Borgnine(he of the cheesy gap toothed grin and gruff voice) and enjoy moves like ‘PT 109’, ‘Tora Tora Tora’ and ‘Midway’. So jump forward to a couple of years ago and PaulW and Russ burst into collecting wee ships for a Pacific War but they couldn’t find rules they liked. Then Warlord Games(WG) released ‘Cruel Sea’s’ so they got into them, but they didn’t quite work. So I still stayed on sidelines waiting. Then ‘Warlord Games’ released ‘Black Seas’ and Alan and Russ have built some fleets to play Napoleonic ship battles. So perhaps WG were getting there.

And now Warlord Games have released ‘Victory at Sea’ which I believe is what I have been waiting for. So I have been following the reviews, watching the YouTubes of Gamers unwrapping the boxes(yes…Chromcasting onto the TV!) then them playing games and discussing the rules and the models and it really does seem to be for me.

So I have bought the ‘Battle for the Pacific’ starter set and the ‘US Navy Fleet’ box locally through a local online retailer and as they were out of the ‘IJN Fleet’ box I had to get that from Warlord Games(WG) in UK direct. They threw in an additional Cruiser on a weekend deal as well. Now WG have just changed their postal charges and instead of free postage to NZ if I spent more than 50 pounds, there is a 17 pound courier cost. The reason given is the Brexit and the Covid supply chain disruptions. All understandable hence desire to buy locally if possible. But to their credit when you purchase from WG, you get to add a free box of troops, from a limited range that is worth more than the postage, a winner. So I added a Pike & Shotte Infantry regt(Alan is hassling me to paint up opposition for his army). This order has arrived in less than 2 weeks(Gripping Beast website says 3 months!). Well done WG for looking after your customers!!(as an aside, when placing the order I didn’t see the box I had to click on to get my free box, so when had ordered and spotted it I emailed them straight away and asked is possible I could have a Pike & Shotte box. I quickly got a reply saying yes, added to order. You cannot fault WG’s service)

So my initial forces are:

The starter sets comes with:

  • A4 32 page rules manual
  • 15 resin model ships in 1/1800th scale
  • 3 US Cruisers and 6 destroyers
  • 3 IJN Cruisers and 3 destroyers
  • 15 ship cards
  • dice…lots of dice!
  • A0 Sea mat x 2

The US Fleet is below.

And here is the IJN Fleet.

The Fleet boxes add in the juicy ships. The US Fleet bring you the Battleship New Mexico, Carrier Essex , 3 more cruisers, 3 more destroyers plus 4 flights of F4U Corsairs.

Then we have the IJN Fleet. This introduces the Battleship Kongo, Carrier Zuikaku, 3 more cruisers, 3 more destroyers, plus… and what Japanese force could not have, 4 flights of Zero’s!

The bonus box was a IJN cruiser, the Kumano.

Already WG are rolling out boxes of PT boats, merchant ships etc so lots of good things in the pipeline.

Now what I will probably end up doing is getting some Kreigsmarine and British units to do some German raider games. I fondly recall listening to the song ‘Sink the Bismarck’ from the early 60’s and reading the Douglas Reeman novels so expect I will expand into the Atlantic at some stage…and those Italian battleships are really cute…stop …stop!

Its a nice wet day here in Wellington, Liverpool have just won a home game …yippee…so think I will watch that and then assemble and paint a destroyer as a tester. Fun day ahead.

Whisky of the Day

So rather than a whisky I am rolling with something else. A colleague of mine John is into his Gin and he along with a mate started a ‘backyard’ business making Gin. They call themselves ‘Bureaucrats Gin’ and when he was starting out, had given me some tester bottles(Lemon grass and Black Doris Plum) and I quite liked the Black Doris Plum. Now roll on a couple of years and they are now supplying wholesale/retail operations rather than sell online(they do work normal jobs still).

Now I buy most of my whisky from an online Retailer called ‘Whisky and More’ who are based in Taupo, a town in the middle of New Zealand’s North Island. Bizarre I know but perfectly placed to receive an order and ship product to reach a North Island customer the following day. So this week I got my weekly promo email from Whisky and More, and on it was Bureaucrats Black Doris Plum Gin. So I popped 5 floors down at work to chat to John and told him about the promo. He wasn’t aware he had sold any stock to Whisky and More. So I asked how about ‘Wine Merchant of Taupo’ and yes, he had had a long chat with a chap(Johns English) there several weeks ago, sent him a sample then filled an order. I suggested he check who his customers are, as that’s Whisky and More! Bigtime.

So here it is, Bureaucrats Gin and their Black Doris Plum Gin!

A gin full of bold and beautiful Black Doris Plum fruitiness. Kicking off with juniper and coriander, swiftly followed by full-bodied fruity flavours. With just a hint of sweetness, the delicate spicy notes embrace the delicious plum giving this gin complexity and balance.

Now that’s the official description, I just found it a very pleasing drink with ice on a warm day.

http://bureaucratsgin.co.nz/index.html

And that’s it for today.

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