• Diane Sutherland goes "On the trail of the lonesome rawlplug". After tracking down a particular type of this standard DIY accessory, she uses them to re-purpose an artificial Christmas tree - the perfect article as we approach the festive season!
• Neil Shuck has plenty to say as ever, particularly about the recent trend for hobby companies to head over to Kickstarter to get new projects off the ground. He's also been trying our Phil Hendry's Augustus to Aurelian ancient rules published by the Lardies.
• The other half of the Sutherland duo, Jon, is here again too: "Ebb and flow" presents some cracking ideas for creating more realistic battlefield dynamics into your games, and shows you how you can make your own pack of Lardy-style cards to challenge your generalship according to the period being fought.
• Quirky contributor Conrad Kinch uses his "Send three and fourpence" column to ask some fundamental questions about our use of terrain in wargames, giving us some useful tips about making sure that our miniature landscapes are fit for purpose.
• Warmaster Ancients fan Daniel Johnson makes a welcome return with "Deus lo volt! Doryleum 1079". This is a thumping scenario from the Crusades, with fanatical Franks taking on the nimble Seljuk Turks in a cataclysmic battle that opened the path to the Holy Land. Colourful and fast-paced, this makes for a tremendous multi-player wargame.
• Our Command Challenge this issue comes from seasoned eighteenth century gamer and Fife & Drum Miniatures supremo Jim Purky. "Hold the line! Defence in depth: the action at Pitzer's Ridge 1777" sees the American forces doing their best to save their supplies whilst a strong British force attempts to capture them. A real nail-biter!
• Tim Beresford is another stalwart I'm glad to see back in the list of contributors. Here, he demonstrates his breathtaking painting skills in the first part of a two-part masterclass, "Colourama", in which he discusses and demonstrates his methods for creating more realistic effects in miniature.
• In my own "Win more wargames" series of tactical lectures, I raise the stakes again, throwing the fictitious forces of Grenouisse and Granprix into an even larger encounter that now includes brigades and sub-commanders on a bigger battlefield. The play-through of the encounter from issue 31 with Iain Burt can be seen here on the blog.
• Mike Siggins has an extended "Thoughts from the armchair" this outing because he's go lots to say about 'Double Dux' - the two Dark Ages rulesets from TooFatLardies on the one hand and Dan Mersey for Osprey on the other. He comes to some interesting and surprising conclusions. He's also been indulging in samurai games and Big Filing - you'll have to see the piece to understand!
• Recce is packed as usual, and The Battlegames Combat Stress Appeal carries both a report on my recent visit to Combat Stress HQ in Surrey to see their new courtyard garden for veterans and an announcement of the forthcoming auction for the latest painted figure, an Australian WWII miniature - painted, very fittingly, by a veteran.
With more besides and a boom in advertisers too, that should keep you busy until the next one! Also, keep an eye on my blog.
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