Thursday, 31 August 2017


As the last soft rays of summer sunshine fade from the fabled green landscapes of the embattled County of Herefordshire, plans have been laid by the vast (and vastly) creative staff at AVBCW (TNG) Tac-HQ for the Autumn 2017 “Big Game”. Yes, coming soon to a tabletop near you, it’s the long awaited:



The Campaign Situation

The County of Hereford remains central to the outcome of the continuing, and Very British, Civil War.

Parish Map/Situation Map No.11
In the south of the County, with his regional base at Ross on Wye, the square-jawed Captain-General JERMINGHAM (Mort - Anglican CinC), usually assisted by his doughty (and jealously independent) ally, Sir GILBERT HILL (Doug - Golden Valley Invincibles LDV) continue their dogged drive northward towards HEREFORD itself.

In the north of the County, with his regional base at Ludlow, the gallant Bishop of LUDLOW has crossed the Shropshire/Herefordshire border on his self-styled “Great A49 Drive” southward towards LEOMINSTER, and thereafter (he devoutly prays) HEREFORD.

In the west of the County, with their regional base at KINGTON, a mixed force of Welsh Nationalists, Socialists, Communists and anti-Royalists of all descriptions - loosely allied to the Anglican cause for the moment - battle grimly on under continuing siege by a mixed force of pro-Royalist and pro-Government forces.

In the east of the County, the area centred on LEDBURY, the great early battles of the Hereford VBCW have given way to an uneasy calm.

Hereford VBCW General Theatre Map
In the Shire Hall at HEREFORD, Lord DE BRAOSE sits brooding. Embroiled in personal scandals [caused by his own murderous and malignant character/promoted by the false propaganda of the Bishop’s Broadcasting Service - select according to your taste] he increasingly has to rely upon his principal field commanders and their forces: the snarling Captain ARROWSMITH at the head of his black clad BUF and that devil-may-care King’s Colonial, Stokkies JOUBERT.

And in that field jostle the usual (and not so usual) cast of factional sub-leaders, each jealous of their reputations and ready to step up the chain of command if any of the “leading men” (sorry, Rita, they’re all still men, but this is 1938 and we’re aiming for gender equality by 2018) fail to “make the date” of the “Big Game” - Major STRAITT-JACKETT, the Bishop of LICHFIELD and the Blessed Lady Rita TALBOT-PONSONBY, Commander Eustace SPODE, Captain VERITY, Storm Leader GILES, the Reverend Percy FITZNEATLY, Sir Ed WARD-GLEAR of the MHC, the list goes on….

But new problems confront all our commanders……

The Local Defence Volunteers

The outrageous and bloody events at the HEREFORD GOLF CLUB (see “The April Fool’s Day Massacre” - Spring 2017 Big Game) have emboldened the native spirit of adventure and deep sense of independence within the County’s many and varied forces of Local Defence Volunteers.

It has been duly noted that many of the “supporting teams” that ventured forth that warm April day sprang not from the warring ideological factions of Fascists, Anglicans, Royalists, Socialists or Albertines - but from the native soil and agricultural villages of Herefordshire itself.

No longer are the miscellany of Hereford’s Local Defence Volunteers willing only to “stand their ground”.

No longer are these mixed bands of the great untrained (and occasionally unwashed) willing to take part in the County’s Civil War without reward or recognition. After all, they took on the toffs in the Spring and won (or nearly won) the County Golf Cup….

Now comes a time when the Great Commanders of all the factions must beg and wheedle and bribe and cajole for support (yes, even the jackbooted Captain ARROWSMITH). Without the support of the Local Defence Volunteers, the best laid plans of HEREFORD, and LUDLOW, and ROSS-ON-WYE, even of KINGTON behind its siege lines, are bound to go astray….

It’s the Economy, Stupid

Months of civil warfare have taken their economic toll. The County’s industries have faltered or been turned over to war production. The vast farming population have gleefully taken the opportunity - wholly in line with their native instincts, but contemporaneously presented by a lack of firm central authority - to stop paying their taxes. Inflation is rife. Recruitment is hard. The Central Treasuries of the warring parties have dwindled steadily, with no respite - other than the distant possibility of total victory in the field - in sight. Once, tanks and heavy guns were common sights on the VBCW battlefields of Herefordshire - with even an occasional aircraft being spotted (or acting as spotter). Ammunition was shot off with gleeful abandon. Now, and one way or another, the price of every engagement has to be paid for not just in blood, but in coinage.

And a possibly debased coinage. With the Bank of England’s national gold reserves drained and the transportation of notes and coins from the Royal Mint a hazardous business in a troubled land, the factions of HEREFORDSHIRE have each taken to producing their own currency, backed by their own regional banks: the Capital and County Bank of Herefordshire, for example, or the Lending Co-Operative Society of Ludlow. Where once there were only pounds embossed with the King’s head, now there are florins, and fresh minted guineas, and even twenty shilling “Herefords” boldly stamped “BY ORDER - DE BRAOSE”. It is boasted (by their respective political backers, if no-body else) that each is equivalent to the old, pre-Civil War, pound - but equally widely rumoured that at least one - perhaps even more - of the new “currencies” is actually valueless.

Who can tell?

The Games

Everyone enjoys the good old “3 platoons v 3 platoons/3 platoons v 2 platoons” battles. After the wild mayhem of the “all versus all” Golf Cup Challenge, we return to our “campaign meeting engagements”, but possibly not as we have known them….

There are still three tables of our usual generous size, in this case designated “KINGTON SEIGE”, “NORTHWARD PUSH” and “THE A49 DRIVE”, each thereby representing the present campaign areas of conflict. The tables are pretty indistinguishable, however, being mostly fields, hillocks and woods with occasional B roads and hamlets. The great towns, siege works, rivers and railway lines of the County are off table, for these are to be meeting engagements on a highly localised scale…

There are only six Faction Commanders (3 pro Government, 3 anti Government). The rest of our gallant band of players have brought along not factional troops, but forces of Local Defence Volunteers. There’s no telling on which table they may fight, or on whose side….

The Treasuries

The six Faction Commanders each have access to their own Treasury, denominated in their own currency. None of the Faction Commanders know the resources of the other Faction Commanders, for stores of currency may be unequal….but all of our LDV commanders are presently penniless.

Over our usual morning coffee, it is up to the Faction Commanders to “beg and wheedle and bribe and cajole” for support - and perhaps even threaten. Hard currency (of whatever sort) will no doubt lubricate the wheels of diplomacy, for that’s what our Faction Commanders have and that’s what our LDV Commanders need.

The Negotiations

But wait!  All is not so simple. In the chaos of the Civil War, a losing LDV Commander cannot be guaranteed to keep the price that he might have earlier extracted from his Faction Commander. LDV Treasuries (commonly referred to as “Stashes”) might go missing in a retreat, or ransoms might have to be paid, even outright bribes to extricate a losing LDV force from the field. The canny LDV commander will not just demand a high price from his support, but will judge whether the price can be kept by victory in due course….

And even if kept by victory, would the price be worth anything at all? With the rumours of debased coinage swirling around Herefordshire, there is no guarantee that the cash offered by the smiling (apart, possibly, from Captain Arrowsmith) Faction Commanders is actually worth anything at all. What is a poor LDV commander to do?

Prepare his force of Local Defence Volunteers, obviously. A well-armed and equipped Platoon will be more attractive to a Faction Commander than a bunch of ill-trained layabouts, so get that Platoon polished up and on the training field in readiness for the day of the “Big Game”…..and be sure to boast in negotiations of just how effective your lot will be on their table top - if the price is right.

But what is “well-armed and equipped” and can our LDV Commander afford it? That’s right, it’s not just the Great Commanders that now have to worry about money. A tank demands diesel (or at least coal), big guns and even mortars demand ammunition stocks, aircraft and pilots might prove prohibitively expensive “in the field” and “on the day”. The better trained the Platoon, the more expensive their own wages might be…There is no point obtaining a high price for one’s services, only to watch it all drain away in the fabled “expenses” ledger.

And a ledger will be kept. That’s right, the various “stashes” of the various “LDVs” will be recorded at the end of the “Big Game”. All of our LDV Commanders might - no, will - need “money in the bank” (or under the mattress) for future adventures…as will the respective Treasuries of the Faction Commanders. Knowing this with certainty, how much will our Faction Commanders choose to spend this time out - possibly leaving them short on another occasion?

Campaign & Table Top Tactics

There are still 3 tables, but no longer fixed “3 Platoons v 3 Platoons” table engagements.

How many Platoons actually finish up on each side (pro or anti Government) will depend upon the Faction Commanders negotiating skills over early morning coffee. If Captain Arrowsmith continues to snarl, it could be, say, 15 Anti Government Platoons vs. 3 Pro Government Platoons (i.e. reduced to the Pro Government Faction Commanders). If, to the contrary, the Bishop of Ludlow decides to ignore “brass tacks” (or the provision of Ludlow “alms to the needy”) and preach a wordy sermon instead, the reverse could hold true. Or honours could turn out more or less even (i.e. equally expensive for respective Central Treasuries) and both Pro and Anti Government factions will finish up with around nine Platoons each…who can tell?

After the recruiting negotiations have finished, it’s then up to the Faction Commanders in conference to decide their campaign tactics. No longer does each table have to have 3 Platoons - it’s now a matter of tactics. Will the Anglicans and Allies choose to sacrifice the brave defenders of KINGTON, for example, and allocate the majority of their Platoons to the tables representing “THE NORTHWARD PUSH” and/or “THE A49 DRIVE”? Can the Government Forces risk the fall of HEREFORD itself to grab the long awaited prize of KINGTON, or should they concentrate their forces, say, against the hard driving Anglican Commander of Chief? Would too many Platoons on the one table get in the way of each other, and is a “balanced approach” the key to success?

Who can tell?

The only rule is that at least ONE (defending) Platoon of Pro or Anti Government Forces must be allocated to each table, and that such ONE Platoon cannot retreat off table to another table. Oh, and the second rule is that such platoon NEED NOT be a Faction Commander’s Platoon. It can be an LDV Platoon.

And you thought this was simple…

Not every LDV is equally reliable, nor necessarily stays bought. And even the LDV Commanders don’t know whether they’re reliable or trustworthy when the great negotiations take place over morning coffee….

That’s right, it’s time for the “LUXURIOUS SEALED ENVELOPES” as introduced in the Spring Big Game 2017.

This time, a “LUXURIOUS SEALED ENVELOPE” is given to each LDV Commander on the morning of the “BIG GAME”, not to be opened until after all negotiations have concluded.

The “LUXURIOUS SEALED ENVELOPE” will tell each LDV Commander their personal character. These will not be complicated, but will be varied. LDV Commanders can range in character from “DOGGEDLY LOYAL” through “SCANDALOUSLY INCOMPETENT” to “OUTRIGHT TRAITOR” - to give just a few examples.

LDV Commander’s Character Traits can be revealed orally to Faction Commanders and fellow players after the start of each tabletop game (so as not to effect initial placement), and may be reflected in individual bonuses or handicaps. The written contents of the “Luxurious Sealed Envelopes”, however, may not be revealed at any time. “DOGGEDLY LOYAL” players may get a +1 on morale tests. “SCANDALOUSLY INCOMPETENT” players may get a -1, or even a -2, on shooting tests. “OUTRIGHT TRAITORS” may act in the interests of the opposing side (pretty obviously), but when they choose to do so and how they choose to do so will be a matter entirely for them. So secretive are they that not even the “opposing side” - and not even the Umpires - know that they are “TRAITORS” until the moment of truth…the only thing that is certain is that an “OUTRIGHT TRAITOR” is very unlikely to confess in advance that he/she has such traitorous characteristics….

Of other bribes, Umpires’ Ambushes and Ancillary Rules - YOU REALLY SHOULD READ THIS BIT

Here’s the “wash up”, although the umpires (Clive and Roo) reserve the right to invent new rules absolutely on the spur of the moment (but pretend they’d thought of them months ago) to fix any glitches:

(a). Faction Commanders : Have you been working on a new piece of kit, a shiny new Section or a nice meaningful terrain piece? Tell the Umpires what you could bring along in addition to your Platoon and you might just be granted special dispensation to use it. This could be useful in negotiations with LDV Commanders (e.g. “the Umpires have granted me permission to use my HUGE NEW TANK at no cost, so we’ve got the beating of Captain Arrowsmith this time, no worries” or “I have a Petrol Dump terrain piece which I can provide you with, so your Armoured Cars will cost you nothing to run this game if you stick with me…”). The only limit is your imagination and the Umpires’ jointly granted generosity. PS. the better the back story, the more exotic/imaginative or the more VBCW your extra piece of kit is, the more likely you are to be granted permission).

(b). LDV Commanders : absolutely the same applies to you. Ask the Umpires for permission to use your additional kit, and your wishes might just be granted (or not, dependent which side of bed they got out of that morning). Worried that you don’t have an LDV force at all? Don’t - however your existing troops are uniformed, they can be named as an LDV anyway (although the black shirted lots, if the price is right, might just prefer to ally with the BUF for “the look of the thing”).

(c). Umpires Ambushes: and speaking of Umpires, please understand this time (and for all time) they’re evil. On AVBCW TNG’s first time out in Spring 2017, we invented “Umpires Incentives” to get your Platoon Roster in on time, and in proper order in accordance with the Rules (well done, Alan and Rita). We also invented “Umpires Thank You’s” for those who had gone out of their way to help with terrain, etc. (well done, Tim and Nick). The incentives were then relatively minor (a +1 bonus on a morale throw, which, by the way, Alan forgot to use at a critical time). This time we’re bigging them up Billy-Big-Time….you have been warned.

(d). Continuing Favours - of Absolute Authenticity - Mark One: Oh yes, some things translate from Big Game to Big Game. The proud victor of the Hereford County Golf Cup (not Roo, who actually won with his scratch force, but that 28mm mercenary miner, Mr Cuddy Davison) will be displaying the Cup behind his assigned Platoon (if Nick and the Lichfield LDV can make the game!), which will benefit from a +1 morale bonus throughout the Autumn Big Game. Look out for this valuable piece of silverware! (although it’s actually painted gold -  and it can be captured, yes).

(e). Continuing Favours - of Dubious Provenance - Mark Two: And yes, some things even translate from AVBCW (TOS) to AVBCW (TNG). We speak, of course, of the notorious (and possibly forged) “Memoirs” of the late Colonel Mustard, as captured on the field of battle by the Socialists. Such book, in the same manner as the Golf Cup above, will be displayed behind a selected Socialist Platoon (if they turn up at all, which is never guaranteed), which will “benefit” (if that is the word) from a -1 firing bonus throughout the Autumn Big Game. Look out for this classic example of English illustrated literature [tasteful erotica] [smutty pornography] [forged rubbish] (which can be captured, yes, if anyone wants to do so - just please don’t ask why the socialists can’t shoot quite as straight as before, this is the 1930s).

(f). Ancillary Rules: And yes, we have noticed that we could finish up with one table with only one “Defending” Platoon on it, and, say, three to seven “Attacking Platoons” facing them, dependent on how the negotiations and the Campaign Tactics work. That might not make for the most interesting game. So here’s what we’ll do if that situation occurs. The “Attacking Platoons” must advance up to the “end” of “their” table (no doubt running or motoring frantically and no doubt destroying the one “Defending” Platoon on the way). At the “end” of “their” table they will then be translated to “another table” of the Umpires’ choice, at a point of the Umpires’ choice, and will then take full part in the battle on that table as the relevant Faction Commander requests. If things look really bad/potentially boring on any one table at the start of play, bear in mind that the Umpires have kept the fabled “Mommet’s Circles” terrain pieces from the Spring Big Game 2017, which may be deployed at the Umpires’ will to assist with (already fantastically assisted) movement….

(g). Ancillary Rules +1 ; Inter-table movement is not necessarily restricted to the situation given above. If one side is victorious on a table before the “close of the afternoon” and (by equally frantic running/motoring) reaches the “end” of “their” table as above, they can equally move onto another table via the special (highly secret, and rumoured yet to be invented) Umpires’ Tabletop Campaign Rules….

(h). Ancillary Rules +2 = Auctions: Ok, someone’s going to be late and miss the morning coffee negotiations. These things just happen. If any LDV player is late, or if any LDV player has not come to satisfactory terms with any Faction Leader by the close of morning coffee negotiations, their services will either be “purchased” by open bids in a quick, dirty and very public auction, or simply assigned (NB. at nil value to the LDV player) by the Umpires. It is not recommended that Faction Commanders turn up late. Well, not if they want a comfortable rest of the day.

(i). Free For All: There is no ban on negotiations between Faction Commanders and LDV Commanders taking place before morning coffee on the day of the Big Game. There is equally no ban on LDV Commanders negotiating amongst themselves - how about an LDV “trade union” to keep the price of life and labour up? If you wish to indulge in private discussions by email, well done. Be aware, however, that it may not be clear until relatively late in the “circular emails” who is actually going to be a Faction Commander and who an LDV Commander (dates which everyone can make are very hard to arrange) and none of the Faction Commanders will know how much money they have to spend until the morning itself.

(j). Currency Debasement: Oh yes, we’re serious. At least one of the Faction Commander’s currencies is absolutely worthless. It might even be more than one currency. You don’t know which, and even they don’t know which, because the worthless currency (or currencies!) will be decided/announced by the Umpires at the conclusion of the Big Game. Well, you know, sometimes even 28mm life is a bit of a bummer….

(k). Charitable Donations: Some may remember that the County Golf Cup Challenge event was held in favour of the now hugely enriched (but also now hugely overworked) Hereford Widows and Orphans Fund. The Umpires wish to continue the idea of Big Games being held in aid of “charidee”, particularly so as the funds are worthless and the charity fictional. See, that’s how bitter and twisted we are. You have been warned again. Anyway, we want YOU to suggest a fictional, Hereford based, charity to benefit from the Autumn 2017 Spring Big Game, together with a tagline that can be used in charitable posters, leaflets, etc. The best idea with the best back story wins, and the originator will receive one of those new Umpires Bigged-Up Favours….useful for the negotiation phase before the Big Game.

(l). FREEBIES. Oh yes! There’s no such thing as a free lunch in Hereford 1938 (in fact, we’re continuing the TNG approach of not providing lunch, so bring your own please as before. We’ll provide coffee and biscuits, though) but there are NEWLY INTRODUCED FREEBIES! Here’s what’s on offer this time:

(i). FREE CURRENCY. That’s right. The Hereford 1938 economy, ruined as it is, is not just a paper accounting exercise. We’re providing real plastic (or maybe real paper, we haven’t decided yet) currency to our Faction Commanders for distribution in negotiations and for you to keep (if you’ve got any left) after the Big Game! Wow!

(ii). FREE SWAPMEET/BRING AND BUY. Your tat is another’s treasure. Got figures you’ll never use? Terrain pieces you’ve tired of? Impulse purchases that demonstrate only a complete lack of judgment? We all have, even in VBCW. Bring them along to the Big Game and swap them or sell them. Great!

(iii). FREE MODELLING CHALLENGE DOGGY BAG - NEW! The Umpires - and the vast (and vastly creative) planning staff of AVBCW (TNG) have already devised a unique “Big Game” for next year, 2018. They’ve gone further, and actually bought some real model kit that they want you to convert as you will, paint, and bring along to the 2018 game. So, free “Modelling Challenge” Doggy Bags will be available at this Big Game for any VBCW volunteer willing to take one away and spend the long winter months converting and painting (well, we think it’ll probably be an evening’s work/fun, but still). ONLY VOLUNTEERS NEEDED - no compulsion to take a doggy bag - but hey, FREE MODELS! (Terms and Conditions Apply). What- ho!

(iv). FREE AND VERY, VERY REAL 1938 RELIC TO “THE VICTOR LUDORUM” = NEW! NEW! The County Golf Cup (in 28mm form) proved a real vote winner last time out, so we’re keeping our newly minted tradition of having a small prize at the end of the “Big Game”. This time out it’s a VERY, VERY REAL 1938 RELIC that ANY HOME WOULD BE PROUD OF (well, let’s not fall foul of the Advertising Standards Authority, it rather depends who wins it). Oh yes! The joint award of the Umpires, the VERY, VERY REAL 1938 RELIC will go to (i). the player who has most keenly demonstrated the VBCW 1938 spirit during the BIG GAME AUTUMN 2017, or, at the Umpires’ option but wholly in line with their native inclinations, (ii). the player who has most obviously demonstrated the ABSOLUTE EVILITY NECESSARY IN A CIVIL WAR, EVEN A BRITISH ONE, or (iii). oh, bloody hell and excuse the French, the obvious winner of the day. I say, top-hole, Bunter!

(m). That’s It, Chaps! That’s your challenge, should you choose to accept it. If you wish to add any ideas/cautionary words/constructive criticism/worries/ideological texts or, even better, good period jokes, please feel free to send a message to either of the Umpires!

“AVBCW The Next Generation - Herefordshire: the final frontier. These are the games of the AVBCW crew. Their continuing mission: to explore strange new scenarios, to seek out dodgy geezers and model Heath-Robinson contraptions, to boldly go where no gamer has sensibly gone before” - a Hereford1938 quotation attributed to Sir Ed Ward-Glear of the Malvern Hills Conservators.

Monday, 28 August 2017


Somewhere within the confines of the (undestroyed) Clubhouse of the Hereford Golf Club - probably in the upstairs loo - is displayed a wooden board, lettered in gilt, declaring the results of the 1938 Golf Challenge:

The Winner (and Holder of the 1/1 Scale Cup)
Roo’s Scratch Terretorials (Quasi - Royalist/Mercenary)

The Successful Robber from Sir Alan McGuffin (and Holder of the 1/60 Scale Cup)
Mr Cuddy Davison (Mercenary Miner)

The Runners-Up (who made it onto the 18th Fairway)
Jay’s Spanish Catholic Nationalist Monarchists (Royalist/BUF/Politically Confused)
Tim’s Bishop of Lichfield’s Field Force (Anglican)
Craig’s North Herefordshire Parishioners Militia (Anglican)
Carl’s “Not those Carlists” Local Defence Volunteers (LDV)
Rita’s Herefordshire Field Force (Anglican)
Monsewer Crapaud’s (Nick’s) Lichfield Local Defence Volunteers (LDV)
The Gallant Field (and in no particular order)
Steve’s Chinese Converts Column (LDV)
Alan’s Fascist Alarm Company (BUF)
JP’s Blackshorts (BUF)
Neil’s Rorke’s Drift Re-Enactment Society on Field Exercises (LDV)
Stephen’s “THE Rural LDV” (LDV)

What will the future hold for "Cuddy Davison" and his section of blackened miners? Indeed, for all the forces of "supporters and well-wishers" who turned out for the Spring "Big Game"? How will Sir Alan McGuffin extract his revenge for his destroyed Golf Course? These and other burning questions can only be answered by participation in the AUTUMN BIG GAME....


And so it came to pass that Recently Defrocked Referee Roo (RDR-2) was acclaimed the winner of the Spring Big Game 2017, and the holder of the Hereford Golf Cup!
A visibly overcome Roo receives his 1/1 scale Cup and Winners Medal. Behind him may be the estimate of the number of casualties his forces suffered during the "Big Game". Only the confines of the Village Hall prevented a full scale "lap of honour" and only the complete lack of knowledge of the remaining Umpire of matters football prevented comparisons to Lionel Messi.
But wait!

A late Appeal !

It turns out that, such was the desperation of RDR-2 in the scramble to put together a force in 10 minues before the "Off" in the morning, his 28mm commander had "borrowed" a small section from none other than Monsieur Crapaud (Nick) of Crapaud Force - a section of "blackened miners" lead by one "Cuddy Davison".

And who had relieved Sir Alan McGuffin of the 1/60 scale Cup at the point of a bayonet? None other than "Cuddy Davison" himself.

Brows were furrowed, heads scratched. Counsel's Opinion was taken. The Appeal was successful.

The leader of RDR-2's "Mercenary Miner" section, Mr Cuddy Davison, was duly given the right to carry the 1/60 scale cup back to Crapaud Force in triumph, and have a tiny medal sewn (well, painted) onto his jacket. The scale Cup will accompany Nick's miners section on the next occasion of battle, and give them a well deserved +1 morale bonus (until the Cup is captured by someone else, of course..)

Which leaves only the Sir Alan McGuffin, sorrowing over his lost Cup and his destroyed Golf Course:

The Hereford Golf Course : Before the "April Fools Day Massacre"

The Hereford Golf Course : After "The April Fools Day Massacre"
[with many thanks to Alan & Rita and others for their photographs of the day, which were used throughout this account)


The final charge.......
Jay's Mounted Troops "go wide" in an effort to avoid the Committee's Machine Gun fire, and then turn...
J's Horse charge, taking on the Committee's Machine Gun. To the right, RDR-2's Miners take on the Club Committee
A closer view of the final moments. It is now too close range for the Commitee's Field Gun, and Sir Alan McGuffin
can only take cover between the champagne Behemoths....
Sir Alan McGuffin, as Chairman of the Hereford Golf Club and custodian of the Cup, personally commanded the Committee's rearguard action. A charge home from the Spanish mounted troops, but the tussle was inconclusive (hard luck on the dice rolling, J)..wide eyed Sir Alan swung round to check his other flank, and suddenly found himself staring into the grim eyes of a blackened miner levelling an old fashioned Lee Metford...

A courageous miner is about to "hold up" Sir Alan McGuffin
"I'll have that, son" growled the miner, pointing at the Cup. "And I think happ'n we've earned it."


Neither Crapaud Force nor the "Not those Carlists" LDV had the forces to outdistance J and his mounted troops, nor RDR-2's frantically running (and charioteering) Lew Wallace Memorial boys. After a brief exchange of fire between their forces, differing tactics became clear. Crapaud Force advanced warily behind J's politically confused Spaniards, hoping that the "initial wave" of attacks would be broken by the Committee's firepower. Carl and his "Not those Carlists" LDV, however, possibly driven mad by their long-running battle with the Lower Course tank and benefiting from some long range weapons, took to bombarding the "front runners" from behind with great glee - particularly Carl's old friend, RDR-2. Whatever the tactical thinking, perhaps not so tactful in relation to a man who was due to give you a lift home later....

The "second wave" of arrivals on the 18th Fairway. To the left, the Not Those Carlists Armoured Cars pour fire
into the Lew Wallace Memorial Assault Group (just visible on the flank), while on the right, the Spanish Mounted Troops easily outpace the Crapaud Force (and everyone else).
Gee-up! Whipcrack away! RDR-2's 28mm commander, juddering along on his artillery limber, well saw that he was being outpaced by the faster moving mounted troops of J's force, and knew that he could expect no mercy from behind. Forward! Faster! Into the teeth of fire from the defending Committee! Onwards on the Fairway of Death!

Whipcrackaway! RDR-2's brave 28mm commander on top of his fast travelling
limber. On the flank, a depleted section of miners is all that is now left of the
Lew Wallace Memorial Assault Group. Thanks, Carl (and Nick and J)
The lead horse of the artillery team went down; then another. The remainder stumbled, recovered, gathered themselves for the final gallop and.....

An artillery shell landed slap bang on top of them.

The brave 28mm commander was obliterated in an instant; in a tangle of leather straps and drivers and mangled horseflesh, in that but one explosive instant, both the leader and the dreams of the Lew Wallace Memorial Assault Group died.

But did they?

On their left, J's fast movement had put him into the teeth of the Committee's fire. Spaniards fell left and right, with J's forces rapidly being whittled down. RDR-2 still had one (reduced) section of grim-faced miners to make one last close assault...

The respective (1/1 scale) Commanders saluted. It was to be now or never. After a long day of grinding battle, it had come down to one last, great charge....


As RDR-2 and the wily J set up their forces on the 18th Fairway, news filtered through from the Lower Course - the will of the Herefordshire Watch Committee had finally been broken, and the defending tank destroyed....

The sadly depleted forces of the Lew Wallace Memorial Assault Group assemble on the 18th Fairway.
Their brave commander can be seen mounted on his chariot-style artillery limber. 
J's Politically Confused Spaniards assemble in the other corner. Will his mounted troops give him an advantage?
There was not a moment to lose! After the briefest exchange of fire to confirm that their "Golf Buddy" alliance was well and truly over, RDR-2 and J raced off up the Fairway towards the Clubhouse, the waiting Committee, some chilled Behemoths of champagne, and the Cup!

A good impression of the Clubhouse and the waiting Committee, Cup and Champagne.
The wide, green acreage of the 18th Fairway is clearly visible.
It soon became apparent, however, that the Committee had arranged both chilled champagne and a hot reception for our contenders, forming up the Club staff behind a field gun, a machine gun, and as the remarkably well mannered servants of two mortars. The Chairman of the Club, Sir Alan McGuffin, had let it be known that the Cup was only to be wrested from his cold, dead hands....while behind J and RDR-2, the victors from the Lower Course, Nick and his "Crapaud Force" and Carl and his "Not those Carlists" LDV entered the assembly areas of the 18th Fairway....

Who would triumph?

Fighting slowly petered out on the Upper and Lower Courses as the players gathered round the 18th Fairway. Later qualifiers - Lady Rita, the lumbering Lichemaster of the Upper Course (Craig), and (remarkably) the heavily battered Bishop of Lichfield (Tim) - gracefully accepted that their role was now likely to be academic, as they were already behind the earlier four top table qualifiers. It appears that a late change of "Golf Buddy" cards on the Upper Course, together with the physical exhaustion and/or sudden onset of claustrophobia by Captain Straitt-Jackett, had allowed the good Bishop to qualify.

But which of our four early qualifiers would claim the Cup?

Sunday, 27 August 2017


Not just speed, however, but speed allied with firepower.

After the near extinction, by massed artillery fire, of both the Ben Hogan Friends of Herefordshire Golf (on the Upper Course) and the Herefordshire Watch Committee (on the Lower Course), the defenders of the "central objective" on each table were seriously undermanned.

The situation on the Upper Course has already been described. On the Lower Course, due to the three way (and still continuing) melee, the non-participants had been making slow but steady progress towards the centre of the table : a newly cautious Spode, the wheel-spinning Commander Carl of the "Not those Carlists" LDV, and the seriously undermanned Monsewer Crapaud. On both courses, any assault on the "central objective" would be practically bound to succeed.

Before the lunch adjournment, Umpire Clive had ordered a change of "Golf Buddy" cards. Perhaps a re-shaping of alliances could save the "central objective"? To no avail. The fall of the cards resulted in little change, and just as much danger to the "central objectives" as ever.

Over lunch, RDR-2 hastily re-frocked himself, and the Umpires now fell into discussion. A solution was found. Upon resumption of play in the afternoon, the players on both courses stared aghast at the HUGE TANK that now defended each "central objective"....(apart from the Bishop and the Captain, of course, whose heavily blackened eyes made sight difficult, and who soon fell again into their mutually enjoyable and entirely private bunfight, taking turns to bludgeon each other -See Rule 2A(iii) of the "Close Quarter Assault" April Supplement to the Rules).

The Lower Course after lunch. The two remaining members of the Herefordshire Watch Committee have received
substantial re-inforcements. The Hero's Grave Special Objective remains as yet unclaimed. The tank defending the
Central Objective on the Upper Course was even larger.
On the Lower Course, the tank proved a serious obstacle. Vast amounts of firepower poured over the behemoth and its two sheltering policemen (who were nerveless, and apparently indestructible) to no effect. The three non-meleeing parties were seriously held up, particularly the teeth-grinding Commander Carl : would no-body free him from this turbulent tank?

On the Upper Course, the tank seemed to interfere seriously with the previously steady advance of Captain Chang's Chinese Christian Mililtia. J's "politically confused" Spanish Force seemed more sanguine, however, having some means of taking on the Behemoth, while the newly defrocked (again) RDR-2 decided that the time had come for desperate measures. He mounted his 28mm commander figure in unorthdox seat on a spare artillery limber, whipped up the horses, and heedless of danger and in imitation of Charlton Heston's famous Ben-Hur, set off at a frantic gallop towards the "Central Objective"!

Fortune favoured the immensely brave.

A planned change of "Golf Buddy" cards swapped RDR-2 into alliance with J's Spaniards. A lucky short destroyed the Behemoth.....

The burning tank at the centre of the Upper Course. Ben Hogan's Friends of Herefordshire Golf have been wiped out.
To the right lies burning one of Captain Shang's amoured vehicles : it was not his lucky day. Just in sight at the foot are the Spanish Horse, just out of sight (but, boy, can he race!) is the Commander of the Lew Wallace Group.
and the Central Objective of the Upper Course fell into the hands of the swift moving 28mm Commander of the Lew Wallace Memorial Assault Group and the mounted troops of his new (and very temporary) ally, J's Spanish!

The first "team" to be translated to the hitherto untouched 18th Fairway (the Central Table) and to hazard an assault against Sir Alan McGuffin's defending Club Committee! But who will take the Cup (there can only be one!) and will not the Lower Course contribute some competitors ?


Not to be outdone, the Lower Course descended into a more measured, if equally desperate, bout of chaos : the first three sided melee in recorded Hereford VBCW history. Determined to capture a vital "red flag" from the upper green (or at least deny it to the enemy), the forces of the Blessed Lady Rita, the Rorke's Drift Re-Enactment Society and THE Rural LDV fought a long-running, bloody and somewhat indecisive engagement through and over the bunkers: 
"The trouble with the Bishop - and the Captain - is that they do things on such a small scale, m'dear." -
Lady Rita Talbot-Ponsonby in the course of the vast three way melee on the Lower Course.

An aerial shot of the Lower Course. The three sided melee continues in the
foreground. In the centre, two Special Objectives remains to be
captured - a "Hero's Grave" and a "Chemical Works".
In the background, Spode's black tank can be seen idling,
anxious not to enter another Minefield.

The one recipient of vast fortune - and an equally vast number of re-inforcements - via capturing "Special Objectives" (which varied from Minefields through Mommet Groves and Mommet Tunnels, to an abandoned Champagne Smuggler's Cart, the Herefordshire Cider Makers' Secret Stash and a herd of a Herefordshire's famous cattle) was none other than the Captain Percy Fitzneatly and the North Herefordshire Parishioners Milita. It seemed that Captain Percy (Craig) could not help but throw his D6 for the "more men/double more men" options every time he encountered a Special Objective, and soon the plucky Milita had grown to Divisional size, and the "Spare Units" table was looking denuded:
The patriotically covered "Special Units" table, originally filled with units, is quickly reduced to
a random smatter by the re-animating good fortune of Craig the Lichemaster. The units shown
here will soon be on their way to join the Burghill & Tillington Infantry Corps
While rendering Captain Fitzneatly's force even more formidable than anticipated, such was the vast scale of the re-inforcement that it seems to have slowed down his advance to a crawl. With the Bishop and the Captain still engaged in their never ending bitch - fight in the southern corner of the Upper Course ("I take this pen-knife...I see your pen-knife and raise you a rusty fork - take that, you bounder!), the remaining players (Captain Shang's Christians, the Lew Wallace Memorial Assault Group, and J's Spanish-Monarchist-Nationalist-Catholic Militia) would have to rely upon speed to claim their victory.


Spode's self-confessed reasoning seems to have gone something like this : a minefield looks threatening. However, it is a special objective set by those too-clever Umpires, and is therefore almost certainly not a minefield and no threat whatsoever. Confidently, he strode into the minefield, received and then opened his "Luxurious Sealed Envelope" only to discover that his Special Objective was - a Minefield ! (in fact, of all the minefields scattered across the course, this was the very worst). Only a throw of "6" on a D6 could now save Spode from disaster - and he duly threw - a 6!

Others were not so lucky. Captain Straitt-Jackett, leading his BUF Alarm Company towards the south centre of the Upper Course, wandered into another kind of Special Objective : a strange tunnel entrance. Upon opening his "Luxurious Sealed Envelope", he read the following: 


"Congratulations (we think)! You have discovered the entrance to a large tunnel belong to the “Herefordshire Molemen”, the “underground” faction of Herefordshire Mommetry. These mysterious sappers and miners are in training to assist an attacking faction at any VBCW siege within the County (or perhaps to relieve the defenders of any such siege).

Roll 1D6 and implement the result below:

[1]. NO RESULT! Nada. Nothing. Zilch. This is a long abandoned training tunnel that does not lead very far. Move on. Yawn!
[2]. SECRET EXIT! You and your entire force (as surviving and wherever they may be) follow the abandoned tunnel to a secret exit 12 inches (in any direction) from the centre of this Special Object. Choose your direction, mark your point of exit, and then re-set up your entire force (as surviving) within a radius of 12 inches of your exit point.
[3]. REINFORCEMENTS! The Tunnel Entrance is guarded. The Herefordshire Molemen emerge from the stygian gloom and resolve to join your force. Now choose ONE UNIT (if available) from the “Spare Units” Table and add it to your force - by grouping it immediately around your Command Figure (or senior surviving Command Figure). You can claim an Extra Movement Card for your force at the beginning of each succeeding turn.
[4]. DOUBLE REINFORCEMENTS! The Tunnel Entrance is guarded. The Herefordshire Molemen emerge from their hiding places and resolve to join your force. Now choose TWO UNITS (if available) from the “Spare Units” Table and add it to your force - by placing them within a radius of 12 inches of your home Tee. You can claim two Extra Movement Card for your force at the beginning of each succeeding turn.
[5]. GOLF FLAG! The Herefordshire Molemen have previously stolen a Golf Flag from the Club, and hidden it here. Well done! Now all you have to do is keep hold of it and get to the Tee (18 or 18A) at the centre of the table….
[6]. YIKES! There’s a strange tick-tocking noise coming from the end of the tunnel. The Herefordshire Molemen have booby trapped their diggings. There might just be time to get away before…BOOM!"

The BUF's fateful decision to enter the tunnel entrance of the Herefordshire Molemen
Rolling a 2 on his D6, Captain Straitt-Jackett (Alan) had no option but to transport the entirety of his Alarm Company bang into the centre of the advancing forces of the very surprised Bishop of Lichfield (Tim):

Underground attack! Alan's BUF emerge from the Momett Molemen's old workings into the centre of Tim's forces.
The apparently confident attack (although actually forced on Alan by the rules of the "Luxurious Sealed Envelope") had fateful consequences at southern end of the Upper Course. Captain Straitt- Jackett and the Bishop of Lichfield, both highly experienced commanders, promptly forgot the "Rules of Golf" entirely, and indeed even the vast acreage of the Herefordshire Course itself, preferring to spend the remainder of the day in one vast, swirling, hard punching melee confined within an area of about 12 inches square....

Two stoats in a hessian sack. "It says here - Section B(1) - ancillary rules for kneeing in the groin...."
Captain Straitt-Jackett (left) seeks advantage in his never-ending melee with the Bishop (Tim).
In the foreground, the North Herefordshire Parishioners Militia and the Lew Wallace Memorial
Assault Group quietly get on with trying to win the Hereford Golf Cup.
In the background, the six players on the Lower Course do the same.
"Section 8, Supplement D2 - Rules for Throttling and Eye Gouging. Only allowable in a space less than the square area of a telephone box (1938)." - Captain Straitt-Jackett. "Well, that seems fair enough. Shall we spend all of the next round trying that out then?" - the Bishop of Lichfield - "before we get down to 'Combat with Newly Sharpened Sticks'"?
Everyone else has advanced just a little further towards the central objective of winning the game.


Completing the crew of "mostly LDVs" - in contrast to previous "Big Games", dominated by the ideological factions of Royalists, Anglicans, Mosleyites, Albertines, Socialists, etc - were two native sons of Herefordshire on their "first outings" : "THE Rural LDV" (Stephen) and "The Rorke's Drift Re-Enactment Society (on Field Exercises)" LDV (Neil), both in the north of the Lower Course:

The Rorke's Drift Re-Enactment Society (on Field Exercises) set off from Tee 3. The redcoats seem to be
at the rear as the Force's scouts recce a very strange obstacle to their front....
THE Rural LDV advance confidently, ready to take on all comers (and they will).
Scattered about the Golf Course itself are a wide variety of "Special Objectives", each (once captured) giving possession of a new invention by the AVBCW-TNG crew - "the Luxurious Sealed Envelope" (thank you, J.) - and the opportunity of significant reward (or significant disaster). Who will be the first to bold enough (or foolhardy enough) to take on a "Special Objective" and discover the secrets therein?

One of the less imaginative "Special Objectives" - A Minefield. Or is it?

Step forward - Eustace Spode!!


Some very irregular forces, and a few very hastily put together. In the far north of the "Upper Course" lurked "Recently Defrocked Referee Roo" (RDR-2) with whatever motley forces he could scramble together from his reserve boxes - and loans from friends - on 15 minutes notice (a scheduled player had failed to turn up without warning). For reasons that will become apparent - read on, read on - RDR-2's unititled scratch assembly rapidly became known as "The Lew Wallace Memorial Assault Group".

Flanking RDR-2 were, to his left and centre, a formidable new entry from the North Hereford Parishioner's Militia, under the command of Captain Percy Fitzneatly (Craig), otherwise and shortly to become known as "The Lichemaster" (read on, read on); and to his right flank the highly experienced Captain Shang (Steve A) and his "Chinese Christian Column".

The North Herefordshire Parishioners Militia. The Burghill & Tillington Cricket Club flank the HQ Section
Captain Shang's well prepared Chinese Christians. Dice cup - check. Tape Measure - check. Rulebook - check.
One of the day's Special Objectives - an Ammunition Dump - can be seen in the foreground.
While in the deep south of the Lower Course, an equally hastily assembled scratch force under Monsewer Crapaud (Nick) faced off against Spode's Blackshorts opposite, and flanked by yet another scratch LDV commanded by Carl:

"Crapaud Force", sadly depleted by a hasty error on the part of Umpire Clive in the course of "the morning rush".
"Not-those-Carlists another-kind-of-Carlists-altogether-chap" LDV. Carl's formidable Armoured Cars would
spend most of their time wheel spinning as the soft ground of the Golf Course exposed their off road limitations.