Sunday, 17 December 2017


The Autumn Big Game 2017 continued the present TNG focus on the role of LDVs in the Hereford VBCW and the innovation of "Luxurious Sealed Envelopes" providing LDVs with certain eccentric character details.One such, of course, was the notorious "Traitor" characteristic drawn by Craig (as Captain Morgan of the North Hereford LDV):




DOGGEDLY LOYAL. “You have reached a deal with your Faction Commander and will absolutely honour it - without question, come what may - to the end of the day. I say, what a chap! We’re afraid you don’t get any bonuses, but then you don’t get any penalties, either. Well done!”


This is what you tell your Faction Commander and fellow players, but it is completely UNTRUE. You are in fact an OUTRIGHT TRAITOR. No-one knows this but you - not the present “Opposition” nor even the “Umpires”. Reveal yourself and join “the other side” when you wish at any stage during the course of the game after the first two moves by stating “My Luxurious Envelope has given me new instructions, and I am in fact a black hearted traitor who will now make common cause with the other side - bye, bye, suckers!”  If you shoot your former friends in the back at the same time, or otherwise act with ingenious evility, you will get extra Umpire acclaim.



while another type altogether was drawn by James (of the Brichester LDV):




WHO IS DR. ALZHEIMER? You’re getting on a bit, in fact, you’re really completely past it, and so are most of your LDV, which boasts more than a few Zulu War veterans (and even one from the Crimea). Before any moving or shooting by any of your sections, throw a D6 per section - on a roll of 1-2, such section doesn’t shoot/move as intended at all, while on a roll of 3-6, you’re good to go as before. Lack of movement reflects your LDV’s age exhaustion; lack of firing reflects the absence of orders to do so (Who is Dr. Alzheimer?) Otherwise - you have reached a deal with your Faction Commander and will absolutely honour it - without question, come what may - to the best of your age limited ability and to the end of what might well be a frustrating day. But where is that Zimmer frame? Who is Dr Zimmer? And what is a D6?



Everyone else drew the "Doggedly Loyal" characteristic, namely:




DOGGEDLY LOYAL. You have reached a deal with your Faction Commander and will absolutely honour it - without question, come what may - to the end of the day. I say, what a chap! We’re afraid you don’t get any bonuses, but then you don’t get any penalties, either. Well done!



which "Doggedly Loyal" characteristic was by far the most numerous of the Luxurious Sealed Envelopes, an attempt not to unbalance the game (ironic hissing from Storm Commander Giles and Councillor Cracknutt) and to provide as much concealment as possible if (as of course was the case) the "Traitor" card was drawn.

The Autumn Big Game 2017 also provided an opportunity for a TNG innovation, namely the "campaign cash" system. There were lots of worries about this beforehand "behind the scenes", but it seems to have worked pretty well, providing another facet to the game i.e. the opportunities for bargaining as to LDV terms of service, the pre-game and lunchtime "blind auctions" of additional forces (of very varying quality, again out set out in a Luxurious Sealed Envelope) and (as below) some measure (but only some measure) of how the various LDVs did during the course of the day. According to Councillor Cracknutt's report (see previous posts), it also appears to have provided Comrade Golumroo with the means for an outrageous attempt at bribery!

The actual course of the game has been thoroughly set out by each of the Faction Commander's reports (plus, of course, Councillor Cracknutt's) as referred to in previous posts. Hopefully, everybody enjoyed the day, even if Councillor Cracknutt and Cousin Verity did not get "into action" until very late on - a combination of unfortunate late withdrawals from a number of usual players (we trust everyone is now back in good health and fully recovered!) and, it has to be said, "the informal truce" (as set out in the reports of Councillor Cracknutt and the Bishop of Ludlow).

We also had some enjoyable "blasts from the past". Most obviously, the (as it turned out, disastrous) appearance of Sir Alan McGuffin and his golfing party in their home made behemoth; and less obviously, Comrade Commissar Winter's detailed memory of the events of his defeat at the Second Battle of Ledbury (which he (Robb) bitterly ascribes, in the most vehement terms, to "useless Anglicans"). While there were worries before the game as to whether the "LDV bargaining mechanism" would produce an unbalanced game at the outset, it is interesting that the initial Platoon Set Up (5 Anti Fascist Platoons vs 3 Royalist Platoons) was exactly the inverse of the Second Battle of Ledbury itself - albeit with a very different result!

One result, however, was clear - the award of the day's prize (a genuine Edward VIII Coronation Tumbler/Dice Cup, or "The Very, Very Real 1938 Relic") to Craig. Having drawn the "Traitor" card, "Captain Morgan" proceeded to be the most enthusiastic traitor known to history, respectively spending the entirety of his LDV funds in purchasing additional troops, getting almost the whole of his LDV (even as expanded by purchase) destroyed in his heroic "woody battle" with Storm Commander Giles, and finally getting himself shot in order to prove his loyalty to his "new employers". True VBCW spirit!

Captain Morgan (deceased) with the Very, Very Real 1938 Relic. No doubt he feels that he could
have used some Burley Gate Guides in his "Woody Battle" with Giles - although, if he had,
they would undoubtedly have finished up being heroically shot.
It should be said that, had the Umpires thought of a "Wily Coyote" prize in advance, it would undoubtedly have gone to Councillor Cracknutt (Alan): having had a disastrous strategic start by taking employment with the outnumbered and soon to be traitor-struck HM Government, he managed to negotiate an informal truce with Cousin Verity, then persuaded his Storm Commander to make it formal, then rushed across the table to aid his by now wounded Storm Commander (with the honour of firing the last shots of the Battle of the "Rural Redoubt"), accepted a bribe from Councillor Gollumroo (and then double crossed him), and finally managed to retire his LDV in good order and within minimal casualties. Truly wily - no doubt "Councillor Cracknutt" will be back for more diplomacy and/or double dealing in due time!

Where does all this leave the Herefordshire VBCW? In a most interesting place. Considering all the factions:

The Socialist (Very Broad) Front had an astonishing success at the Siege Lines of Kington, comprehensively breaking the Government stranglehold. A number of parishes to the west of the County have now gone over to support the Socialists, and a revolution has been precipitated in the east of the County, on the left flank of the Anglican "A49 Thrust". The Socialists are in a much better strategic position as a result of the Autumn Big Game 2017 than they have been for a very long time. Even leaving aside Comrade Commissar Winter's heedless regard for the casualty rolls, however, such success seems to have come at a cost. The (Very Broad) Socialist Front seems to have come under complete Communist control, the previous (and long standing) Anti Fascist Alliance of Socialists and Anglicans has been comprehensively broken, and, at least for the moment, the (now Communist dominated) Not So Broad Front has finished up being regarded as "the most hated and untrustworthy" faction within the VBCW.

HM Government Royalist/BUF had a very difficult day. Kington was a strategic disaster for HM Government, who equally failed to prevail against the Anglicans at the "Battle of Berrington Approaches". The Government's run of bad luck continued right through to the end of the day itself, with the collapse of the Bank of England. The most that can be said is that "it could have been a lot worse" - but for Storm Commander Giles' stout defence of his Rural Redoubt and the wiliness of Councillor Cracknutt (see above), the Government forces could well have lost everything (as per, in reverse, the result of the Second Battle of Ledbury). The "Government" faction has much thinking to do.....

Anglicans will look back and rue "a missed opportunity". Not only has the northward advance of Captain-General Jermingham/Sir Gilbert Hill stalled within an area of apparently pacified LDVs, the southward advance of the Bishop of Ludlow seems to be proceeding at a snail's pace. An opportunity to deal a very serious defeat to the Government forces at Berrington was lost in the mists of battle, and the Anti Fascist Alliance, long a source of comfort to anti - government forces, has been smashed by Comrade Commissar Winter's "faithless betrayal".

LDVs, at least in terms of commanders, suffered a remarkable 40% loss rate (Captain Morgan going down in the woods, and Cousin Verity being "exploded" by Comrade Gollumroo's 18pdr just at the end of the Game). While the resources of the various faction's "Central Banks" remain a closely guarded secret, in terms of "campaign stashes" earned and retained by LDVs as a result of the day, in no particular order, the following was recorded at close (all units of currencies equal to £1, or no doubt - now - "one New British Pound")

Cousin Verity (Verity LDV, deceased) : 50 Ludlow Groats
Councillor Cox (Brichester LDV) : 100 Ludlow Groats
Comrade Golumroo (Communist LDV) : 120 Liverpool Roubles
Councillor Cracknutt (Wormelow Tump LDV) : 7o Liverpool Roubles
Captain Morgan (North Hereford LDV, deceased) : NIL.

Given the collapse of the Bank of England, the GBP fees earned by HM Government LDVs proved worthless, albeit that was of little concern to Captain Morgan, as he had spent all his money anyway (and was dead). As to Cousin Verity, some kind of decision will have to be made in due course as to whether the estates of deceased LDV Commanders can pass on their campaign stashes to their (1/60 scale) successors.....

Planning is already underway for the "Spring 2018 Big Game" provisionally entitled "The Great Wigmore Cattle Rustle aka The Fall of the House of Mortimer?". This is intended to be a grand Government v Anglican v Communist v Wigmore LDV "bashathon" to celebrate not the 5th Anniversary (as had previously been thought), but the 6th Anniversary of the start of the Hereford VBCW Campaign (which makes it one of the longest running VBCW Campaigns in the country, don't you know). In honour of the "HerefordVBCW (TOS) way", "campaign cash" and "Luxurious Sealed Envelopes" will play a much less important role in the "Not the 5th Anniversary Game", but new surprises will be introduced.....

In the interim, various thoughts have arisen/potential storylines may arise as a result of the events of the Autumn 2017  "Big Game", viz:

What will be the effect upon HM Government Forces of the collapse of the Bank of England?

Who, by the way, is responsible for the said banking collapse ?

What view will Lord de Braose/PM Mosley take of "recent events" at Kington and Berrington?

Is Storm Commander Giles' job (and/or neck) safe ?

Can Councillor Cracknutt survive a charge of 
"unauthorised treating with the enemy"?
[Cousin Verity has no such worries - he is presently "singing with the angels"]

What will the notorious (and numerous) "Morgan Clan" of North Herefordshire
make of the death of their clan patriarch, Captain Morgan?

 Will the "Morgan Clan" re-raise a North Hereford LDV, and if they can find
recruits from anywhere (given the previously recorded loss rate, membership
does not seem a very attractive proposition), will they continue to support
the Communists in honour of their patriarch's "traitorous" (and final) decision?
Will there now be a 'blood feud' with Storm Commander Giles and the BUF?

Did Doctor Campbell's "Marvellous Mechanical Man" survive the day (last
seen waving a severed claw in the middle of  a melee with the BBC 
Light Entertainment Concert Party?) Does Doctor Campbell have more
 scientific marvels planned for future battles?

Have Comrade-Commissar Winter and Comrade Gollumroo run out of
friends to betray ?

Are the Communists really taking over the Socialist (Very Broad) Front
and what effect will this have ? Will the Chancellor of All-Ludlow, the
Rev. Duff-Postin, have to resign following the collapse of his
well-known policy of "detente"? Can Sir Alan McGuffin survive
 "incarceration and re-education"?

What will now become of "Colonel Mustard's Manuscript" ?
Will Red Robbo, who originally captured this
scurrilous farrago of lies/true reflection of
the County aristocracy's collapse in morals
have to hand it over to Comrade-Commissar Winter?

Are all the rumours about Captain Arrowsmith really true ?

All these (and more) burning questions can only be answered by participation in the SPRING 2018 BIG GAME....................

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