Monday, 17 September 2012

When in Rome

I had this vision for re-energising the story in Winter of '79.  A number of back to back games representing a co-ordinated series of raids by Special Branch and SO13 on suspected terrorist/rebel safe houses. Inspired in part by the dramatic scene in Patriot Games where Alun Armstrong leads an RUC raid on an IRA bomb factory. But equally no less inspired by the synchronisity brought to the table by the cut-out terrain tiles and accessories that came with HOF Fire Team from

Mr Benn's lodgers at 52 Festive Road
are likely to be behind in the rent this month

Put the two togther and a game emerged. It's worth noting at this point that whilst nominally 15mm, the tiles are perfect with 20mm and even less than heroic size 28mm figures. The tile sheets come with 2-D furniture to cut-out allowing you to create any combination of bathroom, living, sleeping and kitchen spaces. Believe me, whilst a little garish at times, and some of the bedsits I lived in in the eighties were just that garish, these tiles work surprisingly well.Whether it's a single bedsit or a two up, two down, urban terrace.

The other thing to bear in mind is that they are portable and just in case if you are wondering, this is where Rome comes into the picture. I packed HOF Fire Team, the tiles and a small box of unbased miniatures in my hand luggage and took them to Rome. Well, there's only so much L'ispettore Barnaby, "Mio Dio! il vicario รจ stato pugnalato di nuovo!" one can watch on the TV in the room whilst you partner gets ready for a night out. You are always guaranteed this downtime, so why not put it to some practical use!

During the wait in departures at Edinburgh airport I turned some vague ideas into short d6 tables in my pocket notebook and refined them further during the 3 hour flight over. Something to while away the journey. Using a die roll app on my phone, even I draw the line at taking dice on holiday, I could determine the number of raids in the operation and the background for each. Essentially, this boiled down to where it was taking place, type of property (no. of floors/rooms), numbers and type of security forces involved, deployment, expected targets, opposition, modified by quality of intelligence etc. I'll throw these tables up online by the end of the week as I'm running out of time and energy tonight. But you get the picture.

We'll run up a new security forces op. too, Operation Pantheon, in honour of Rome and then post the AARs shortly after. 


Saturday, 15 September 2012

Viva Roma!

Reaching a landmark does have some advantages. Heather arranged a 'surprise' birthday present and whisked me away to Rome to celebrate, and not just the big day, but life.

And what better place to savour the moment than Life restaurant in the Via della Vite, where I enjoyed one of the best meals I've ever eaten, in one of the most friendly, convivial restaurants we've had the pleasure of dining in.

There was plenty else to celebrate. Just before my birthday was the second anniversary of being informed I had five years left to live....eight if I'm "lucky". I don't think about it normally, but when the anniversary comes round it's like waking up in the early hours and staring at the clock to see how much time you have before the alarm goes off. But I'm here now and that's what's important.

If you remember, H. was made redundant earlier in the year and together we experienced the change curve. Not unnaturally, she needed time to reassess her life and what she did next. I'm glad to say it proved to be a hidden opportunity and she is now in a much better job and wondering what stopped her from moving on all these years.

And three days before my birthday, the electronic pay and personnel management project I've been leading finally launched. Built from the ground up, in just eleven months since I returned to work. The last couple of weeks before launch saw problems and delays dropping in like Russian paratroopers from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Causing me tearing up the implementation plan on a daily basis as my timetable became ever more squeezed. However, in true CoD spirit I attacked the issues head on, my team stepped up to the mark and we delivered.

Those of you in similar fields will know it's like giving birth. A long drawn out pregnancy followed by effort, pain, tears and finally joy mixed with relief. Now the job is to smooth out the inevitable kinks, roll it out and implement the other modules.

An upside to all this, is that I've been asked to manage a second team and deliver another high profile pilot. Whilst Tuesday, I'm presenting my vision for bringing together the human factor with IT, BI and HR to create a single conjoined strategy to realise the goals of the business over the next 5 years. I'm sure being a wargamer and spending long hours pouring over SPI games in my youth are finally paying off.

I know you'll understand when I tell you that I've come home many evenings, opened up the blog and have simply been unable to string two words together. And wargaming itself has progressively taken more of a backseat as the weeks have passed. Though there's been days here and there where I've been able to catch quick text chats with Maff on the journey to or from work.

The bubble's burst at work. I am feeling great. My hobby is very much a part of life and everything to celebrate about it. I have a saying pinned up on my project noticeboard in the office "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"  Makes a damn good strategy for life too.