Tuesday, May 31, 2022

A Too Fat Lardies Game Day in Canada

Last Saturday I made the two hour trek south from Barrie to Hamilton, Ontario, for LardEhs, the second such event run by some dedicated Canuck gamers, the first being in November.    The name LardEhs is a play on Canadian speech patterns (IYKYK, if not, Bob and Doug will explain it to you here).  I ran a game in the afternoon, of which more in a subsequent post, but here quickly are some of the photos I had time to take in the morning.  The event attracted about 40 game masters and players, a small but impressive selection of vendors, and brought in at least one person from out of province.

Thomas Sero ran a Large Chain of Command game in 20mm featuring British and German troops fighting for Rauray, Normandy.   Thomas’  village, seen here, featured many of his own scratch-built structures, including a rather fine looking church.  I ran the British armour, and made the mistake of rolling too far forward in my Sherman, paying the price for not looking to my right and noticing the Panther in the orchard (top right).   It was a close fought game still in the balance when we had to finish the session.   Well done Thomas!

Howard Tulloch made an even longer drive than I did, coming down from Orillia to host morning and afternoon games of What A Tanker!  Howard’s skills running games, honed running DBA events for years, were fully on display here, with a novel and very interesting table taking the players to somewhere in Burma later in the war.    

 Japanese tanks, not often seen on the wargames table, stalked British Shermans and Stuarts for much of the day.    Tanks were continuously exploding, new players came and went, and much laughter was heard.   

 Roger Chrysler hosted one of two games of Sharp Practice, featuring a War of 1812 scenario by the late Mike Hobbs in which British troops and their First Nations allies are wreaking their revenge on Americans as they stumble out of their tents.   My friend and podcast partner James (top left) along with Dan played the British/Indians, and appeared to have victory well in hand as the Mohawk warriors were last seen crashing into what was left of the American flank.  Ouch.

 Sean Malcomson ran a game of Infamy! Infamy! pitting angry Britons against Claudian Romans, seeking to impose their evil metric ways.   I played in Sean’s Infamy game at Hot Lead this March, and was glad to have the chance again to see his colourful armies on the table.

 I do love me a chariot.  These are very tasty.  Somebody should write a chariot rules set called “Wicker and Whinnies”, I’d buy it.

Romans grimly hold the line.  I didn’t see how the game finished, but it looked like the Romans were a tough nut to crack.

Chis Robinson, a friend of the Canadian Wargamer Podcast, ran another game of Sharp Practice, an ACW battle that featured abundant numbers of cavalry.   Chris ran two distinct but linked games, with the morning game having a bearing on how the afternoon game played out.  Chris’ 18mm figures are highly distinct, sitting in the sweet spot for size and detail between 15s and 28s, and are very well painted.  Both Chris’ games were popular and well subscribed. 

 A high point of this event was the $400ish dollars raised from the charity raffle to support the local university children’s hospital foundation.   I want to thank Richard Clarke of TFL for donating a handsome number of red Lardies dice, which we sold as part of the fundraiser.   That along with other prizes donated by various vendors and by a certain Canadian podcast show the spirit of our Lardies community.

There were a few notable absences - no games of I Aint Been Shot Mum or its successor, O Group, no flying games, and it seems that the latest Lardie publication, Mark Backhouse’s ancient big battles rules, Strength and Honour, haven’t made it over the water yet.   There will be a LardEh 3 in late September, I hear, so maybe we’ll see the newest Lardie game then.  It would also be wonderful to see Lardies fans in other parts of Canada follow Ontario’s lead and run similar events.

Well done to Chris, Barnaby, and all the good folk who made this event a success.

Blessings to your die rolls!


Thursday, May 26, 2022

Canadian Wargamer Podcast Episode 15 Is Out

Hello friends:

It's been a few weeks since James and I released the May edition of our podcast.  We took a distinctly Too Fat Lardies approach since our guest is one of the most prolific Lard ambassadors in the Great White North.   A wide ranging, longish conversation with the usual natter between me and James after the interview.  Very gratifying that we are ticking towards 4500 downloads since we started this a year ago.   There's a give-away contest as well, have a listen for the details, answers here are eligible.   Will be doing the draw at the end of May.  Cheers, and thanks for listening, MP


It's been over a month since we published Ep 14, so here's TWO AND A HALF HOURS of nonsense and yakking to make up for our absence.

In the first half, we talk to Montreal-based gamer Pierre-Yves Troel, who wowed us all in March at HotLead with his participation game of What a Cowboy, a much-anticipated western gunfight game soon to be published (we hope) from Too Fat Lardies.   P-Y (Mike totally mangled his name and variously called him Y-P, P-J, and God knows what else, though our guest was too polite to say anything) talks about his gaming career, discovering the TFL community through online gaming, and his growing expertise in 3D printing.  We also talked about the gaming scene in La Belle Province of Quebec.

In the second half, during our Canadian Content Corner (CCC),  friend of the podcast Chris Robinson checks in to give us a update on LardEh, Canuckistan's  TFL-themed gaming day returning to Hamilton, Ontario on 28 March.  Chris also tells us about what he and Big Rich chatted about when Chris was a guest of the TFL Oddcast.    Rounding out the CCC, Mike reports on what he's learned about how the Canadian Army faced a massive challenge training an NCO Corps from scratch in WW2.   We also chat about about the Guadalcanal Campaign, about gaming WW3, James' WW3 Imaginations (Mantovia and Borduria), Mike's discovery of DBA (talk about coming late to the party) and how many figures a horse and musket unit really needs.  It's a wide ranging convo, good for an extra-long painting session.

Our Guest:

Pierre-Yves on Twitter: @iwouldlike2rage

P-Y's minis and painting website: http://www.iwouldliketorage.com

P-Y's contributions to the CWP Virtual Library:

Churchill's Secret Warriors: The Explosive True Story of the Special Forces Desperadoes of WW2 by Damien Lewis.  Quercus Publishing, 2014.


Behind Japanese Lines: With the OSS in Burma  by Richard Dunlop.  Skyhorse Publishing, 2014.  



Other Subjects Mentioned In This Podcast:


LardEh, Hamilton, May 28: https://twothreesixmm.blogspot.com/2022/03/lardehs-game-day-ii.html?fbclid=IwAR03DIVymyCg_GqCWmHkxIwb7LcUEUCQhJuLZOZg6bzh5Z4Kq-w1HGTYBm0

Frozen Lard Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/frozenlard

Books Mentioned:

Battlegroup! The Lessons of the Unfought Battles of the Cold War, by Jim Storr (Hellion, 2021).


Neptune's Inferno: The US Navy at Guadalcanal, by James D. Hornfishcher.  (Bantam, 2012).


Building the Army's Backbone: Canadian Non-Commissioned Officers in the Second World War, by Andrew L. Brown (UBC Press, 2021).


George MacDonald Frazer, Quartered Safe Out There. (2007)


DBA 3.0 Rules, by Phil Barker (WRG).


Our Closing March:

The Meeting of the Waters (Quick March of the Rocky Mountain Rangers), played by the band of the Royal Highland Fusiliers:



Listen closely to the podcast for details on how to win some of Bob Murch's fabulous Cossack miniatures, proceeds go to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Fund for Ukraine. 

Contact Us:

Canadian Wargamer Podcast Facebook Page:



Mike: madpadre@gmail.com







Monday, May 23, 2022

The Royal Ontario Museum Toy Soldier Collection

Picking up on yesterday’s post’s mention at the end of my visit to the Royal Ontario Museum last Saturday, I’m happy to share some photos of the ROM’s vintage toy soldier collection.  The collection was donated by Henry Jackman, billionaire businessman, Chancellor of the University of Toronto, Lt. Governor or Ontario in the 1990s, Honourary Colonel of the Governor General’s Horse Guards, Conservative Party bundler, so a fairly serious chap.  As a child he played with toy soldiers (I imagine his dad bought him a LOT of them) and as an adult he collected them, so if anyone tells you that you’re not a serious adult because you’re a wargamer, say “Pfffftttttt” and refer them to Hal Jackman.

What a lucky fellow I am, that when we got to the ROM, my beautiful wife told me “You gotta come see the toy soldiers”.  Here they are.  Blessed is the fellow whose spouse takes such an interest in his hobbies and passions.

Marching bands from various countries, including fellows in what appear to be sombreros.

Even the wounded are allowed to take part in the parade, under the careful scrutiny of the nursing sisters.

A Salvation Army band played, and the children drank lemonade.

Zouaves demonstrating their characteristically athletic foot drill.  Kick, one, two, kick, one two!

Not really sure what the brontosaurus is doing here.  Possibly the TARDIS is behind those palm trees nearby.

Some very finely painted knights.

Canada is well represented.

A fine cross-section of modern transport and equipment, including searchlights!

I now have a plan for my miniatures collection, as I approach the checkout lane.   I’m sure there’s a world class museum out there that will want the Peterson Toy Soldier Collection.

Cheers and blessings to your travels this summer!


Sunday, May 22, 2022

Further Down the DBA Rabbit Hole: Chariot-era Battle With Howard


I’m picking up the ancients gaming theme of my last post today, which I finished by saying that I’ve been enjoying my discovery of small-scale ancients and learning to play DBA (De Bellis Antiquitatis), Phil Barker's small battles rules from WRG that have been around longer than many games today have been alive.  I’ve been aware of DBA for years, and was familiar with the usual potted descriptions - “like chess, very stylized, ok if you like fast games, it’s about how many sixes you can rol, etcl”.  I wasn’t prepared for just how entertaining it could be.

Charles, one of the regulars at the Barrie group, has played it for years and was kind enough to introduce me to it, using several of his well-used and much loved armies.  I found that I enjoyed it’s almost zen-like simplicity.  With just twelve units, a few pages of simple yet subtle rules, and sudden death if I lose four units, DBA provides interesting tactical challenges and a clear cut result in an hour.  It’s also a fairly simply gateway into what is, for me, complicated and unfamiliar world of ancients gaming.   Pick a period, pick an army (or borrow one, I’ve found that veteran DBA players have lots of armies and are very generous with them), learn the basic troop types, paint between 30 to 40 figures, and you have an army!

Last Thursday I was fortunate enough to play a game with an experienced player, Howard Tulloch, who has organized DBA tournaments in the southern Ontario area for years.  Knowing that I am interested in the biblical period, he brought two chariot-era armies, Cypriot-Phoenician (1/35) and Kushite Egyptian (1/46), both beautifully painted.    I took the Phoenicans, since I have an earlier Sea Peoples army on order from Essex and wanted to see how the Phoenicians as descendants of the Sea Peoples handled.  

I had a bad run of luck with the terrain setup.   Howard placed two dunes in my deployment area, which along with the sea coast really hemmed me in before I could get out the gate.   The only saving grace for me was that, as a Littoral army, the Phoenicians can deploy up to three elements anywhere along the water board edge.  I chose to place my two best Auxiliary infantry units in the middle of the table on the left edge, as a bit of a check on the Egyptians to keep them from swarming me as I emerged from between the two dunes.

Initial rounds saw my getting a lucky victory over the Egyptian light cavalry, but then Howard’s royal archers shot my own cavalry off their horses, tying the score at 1 to 1.    Our psiloi (light infantry) faced off on the hill to the right, but never actually exchanged blows, while Howard checked my Aux infantry with two stands of his own.    One of the things I’ve learned about DBA thus far is that when the odds are basically even, as they were on our flanks, battles can easily go either way and leave one in the hole on the lost unit count.  Better to seek a win where you can mass more units against you opponent and thus stack the odds in you favour.

Which was exactly what happened.  In the centre left, you can see two units from each side facing in a kind of “Z” shape, with each side having a unit on the other’s flanks, known as “closing the door” in DBA terms.    Once a unit is flanked, if it loses a combat and has to retreat, it is destroyed.   Thus, whoever would win this fight was almost certain to win the game, and it stayed locked that way for FOUR TURNS, with both of us rolling the same numbers to tie, forcing the battle into extra rounds.  Finally I was able to get my chariots into Howard’s archers, and with two lucky die rolls I managed a 4-1 victory, though it could easily have gone either way.

Moved up in the painting queue as a result of these games is a clutch of 15mm figures, which when finished should allow me to field an Early Hebrew or Syro-Canaanite army for DBA.  I was originally intending these figures for an ADLG army, but I think I’ll go the DBA route to get armies on the table sooner, which makes sense, as there are DBA players to hand and no one in our group plays ADLG.

For extra ancients inspiration, Joy and I visited the Royal Ontario Museum yesterday, where we had the classics section to ourselves for a brief while before the parents and kids arrived.  Here’s a lovely Corinthian style helmet for you to admire, supposedly found at Marathon and dating to about 500 BC, though there is some uncertainty about its provenance .


Blessings to your die rolls!


Saturday, May 14, 2022

Some Ancients Gaming: Clash of Spears at the Club

Hello friends and welcome back to this semi-moribund blog.  April was a bit of a write-off for me, what with the Easter season (a busy time for a wargaming vicar) and then winding down my contract at All Saints, King City, which ended on 1 May.   Since then I’m not sure if I’m retired or just between jobs.  Next week I have a chat with my bishop, who will try to tempt me into another gig of interim ministry, so May has been a bit of a rest, getting the garden ready, and some gaming.  

Recently I was at what passes for our local club in Barrie, Sir Games-a-lot, playing Clash of Spears with my friend Charles.  CoS as I’ve mentioned here before is currently getting a lot of play, it’s a skirmish level ancients game that might be compared to TFL’s Infamy, Infamy.  In this recent game, I took my freshly painted Victrix Germans and Charles took a Punic (!?) force.   Not sure what they were doing in the forests of Germania, but my guys wanted to send them home.  In this scenario, both sides are competing to control the green/white star tokens.

I was more fortunate in the terrain selection this time, giving Charles fewer opportunities to get all his troops into action.  Here a swamp on the left and woods on the right allow me to defeat one of his light units early on.    I quickly learned that while my German barbarians come be had cheaply on the points list, thy aren’t much good without sufficient leaders.  I had seven units and only two leaders, so six command points between them each turn, which wasn’t enough to take advantage of my numbers.

Charles’ auxiliaries don’t fare much better vs my raging tribesmen.  The dead chap on the dial marker is used to indicate fatigue.  Units acquire fatigue quickly in battle, and unless thy can be pulled out of the battle line for a breather while a fresh unit steps in, things go badly quickly.

I quickly learned that light horse archers can be deadly.  I pushed a unit forward in the wide open area on the right of the battlefield, the horse archers came up a half move and shredded the lightly armoured barbarians, then rode back, then did it again!   I have invested in some Victrix Gaulish horse to stand in as mounted Germans, not plentiful on the CoS Germanic list (found in their Clash of Eagles supplement for the early Empire era) but there if you want them.   


Final stage of the fight.   Both of us ended controlling an objective marker, but lacked the strength to take the second.   With those deadly light horse supporting Charles’ heavily armoured foot, I decided to split the honours.


As someone once said, is furies Romae, Romano vivid more, or to translate, when the other guys are playing ancients, play ancients also.   I once swore that I’d never take up ancients gaming, and had a lot of fun with CoS, so I’ve taken one step into the 28mm world, and have some Victrix early imperial romans on order, on the theory that one should always have two armies for solitaire gaming.  

I also have some adventures in smaller scale ancients gaming to report on, so my next post will describe how I discovered and enjoyed DBA.

Cheers and blessings to your die rolls,


CoS haClash of Spears

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