Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Crisis 2011 – Crisis in the Kessel

Myself and another seven of my club mates from the St Albans club (a.k.a. TooFatLardies) are making the trip over to Antwerp for the Crisis 2011 show this weekend. It’s always a great show, and I’ve been twice before in 2008 and 2009.

Antwerp has a stunning Old Town, a relaxed but pretty vibrant nightlife, some great restaurants and many awesome bars. So, in a nut-shell, yes I’m looking forward to going!

We’re taking over a participation game which is based on the late February 1944 fighting around the Cherkassy Pocket. The rules we’ll be using are Richard Clarke and Nick Skinner’s new edition of “I Ain’t Been Shot Mum!”, which have just been published. They give a fast moving, fun and authentic game, as well as being very nicely produced. Both Rich and Nick will be at the show – so you can get any questions about the rules answered from the horses mouths (so to speak!).

Anyway, on to the game, which we play-tested for the second time last night. Because of my house being in upheaval at present owing to on-going building works, I didn’t get the chance to make much of the terrain for the game. I produced the forest bases, which were quite fun to do. I simply took the slightly scraggy 15mm scale fir trees which had been kicking around the club terrain cupboard for about two decades, glued them to a foamboard base, and then spread a mixture of PVA white glue, dark brown paint and Polyfilla all over each base before sprinkling liberally with builder’s sharp sand. Being from Yorkshire (and these being times of austerity), I was delighted that there was plenty of builder’s sharp sand around the house to choose from without spending a penny. I then dry-brushed the base a light ochre and dry-brushed the trees white. Last of all, I made some more of the PVA/Polyfilla mix, added some light grey paint and spread that over the forest base, before dry-brushing white when dry. The eleven forest bases took in total about 4 hours from start to finish. It was pretty economical too as the club had the trees already (most of which had been scratch built anyway) and the foamboard was only a couple of pounds.

And that’s all I got chance to do. Everything else on the table was Rich’s handiwork. I’m sure you’ll agree that the rest of the terrain, figures and tanks look absolutely top notch. You could feel the chill driving off the steppe just looking at the table. Either that or Panda had left the fire-door open when he went for a cigarette….

Without revealing the whole of the table, the game features a river where the winter’s ice has just melted, the river now running dark and heavy with slush and ice floes …

…. a small ferry station which the Germans need to defend …

… and a German defensive position into which the German players can deploy a variety of weapons. The one we took last night was a captured Russian 76.2mm anti-tank gun, manned by a German “Ace” gunner, Feldwebel Rudi Schweinsteiger.

As the game progressed, it became pretty clear that Feldwebel Schweinsteiger was indeed a veteran of the Russian campaign, knocking out Soviet tank after tank, irrespective of their positions. I don’t think I’d ever seen dice like it. Surely that can’t be repeated at Crisis?

Unfortunately for the Germans, there was still a lot of Soviet armour to come in the shape of a formidable detachment of T34s …

Feldwebel Schweinsteiger’s crew and supporting infantry platoon were steadily worn down through a hail of high explosive from various Soviet attacks …

We didn’t play through more than the first couple of hours of the game, but suffice to say there’s a lot more to come. And as a sneek preview, here’s some of the other forces which arrive at some point in the game

So, if you’re in Antwerp this weekend, drop by and have a go at the game, or just say hello. I’m really looking forward to it, and I hope to see many of you there. Oh, and this is me, second from the right, taken from our trip to Antwerp in 2009, with Noddy, Nick and Rich (left to right).

What, you thought the profile picture on this blog of the Williamite Gentleman was really me? Dear friends, you may need glasses…


  1. Really lovely work and models, have a good show.

  2. That's a lovely looking board! I'm getting cold just looking at it! I wish I could make it to Crisis, but sadly not in the cards this year.
    I ordered IABSM and I'm really looking forward to getting it.
    Have a great time!!


  3. Nothing better than reading this for my coffe break at work. Excellent looking game. I hope to see a nice, detailed and well illustrated AAR after the weekend (...and after the likely alcohol vapours have evaporated). Enjoy the trip, guys!

  4. Excellent figures and terrain, makes you feel chilly looking at it, have a great weekend don't get too drunk we need lots of pics!!!

  5. Great setup. Have a fantastic time at Crisis.

  6. Thanks guys. Have no fear, I shall keep you all posted with a full report of the weekend!

  7. Excellent preview and even more looking forward to saturday now. Will certainly drop by and say hello....Cheers, Michael

  8. Mike, you're most welcome. Please drop by...if you end up playing the game, you'll almost certainly do better than I did in last night's play-test!

  9. See you in Antwerp, we'll pick up our pre-ordered copies of IABSM3 which Richard promised to bring with him and have a go at IABSM3. And of course to say hello to you all :-).

  10. @Suchet - sounds great. Rich is bringing plenty of copies of IABSM3. Look forward to meeting up with you!

  11. Lovely work, scenery and game! I wish you much fun on the Continent!

  12. @ Pete - thanks so much. Shame you can't join us this time. Next year maybe?

  13. I can't think of a nicer reason to go to Antwerp. Sadly, it's a long way from Alberta, which will soon be as cold and wintry as your lovely looking game.
    So that's what you all look like! Tell Rich he's a miserable looking old sod! :)


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