Tuesday, 20 March 2018


Radio Moscow has jumped in first with a beautifully illustrated (which is quite remarkable for a Radio Station, when you think about it, but this is the VBCW) Battle Report. Comrade Professor Winters has even taken the trouble to produce an accurate one paragraph summary of the campaign background to the Assault on Wigmore Hall. Jolly useful for the uninitiated and confused, which appears to have included at least one or two of the players on the BIG DAY itself!

For the uninitiated who weren't able to listen to the pre-game oral briefing, but who have a VBCW desire to understand the full background, there is no better place to start than the SPRING BIG GAME GENERAL BRIEFING, followed by the SPRING BIG GAME FINAL BRIEFING.

And a saucer of milk for the Bishop of Ludlow, who has already expressed the private view that those who like to keep things simple really shouldn't backstab and break alliances.... 

Campaign complications at Wigmore Hall - Minefields and black faced sheep.
The Communist Intelligence Department ("CID") was at full stretch.
It is clear, however, that Commissar-Professor Winters and the Not So Broad Communist Front do not have the leisure to reflect upon the irony of our Hereford VBCW, namely that those who ruthlessly break alliances without warning may, in due course, as gleefully detailed in Sir Barrington Patchpole KC's diary, find themselves stymied by new alliances being formed against them. To the contrary, it appears that the Communists' Re-Education Centre No.1 (at Presteigne, the present compulsory lodgings of Sir Alan McGuffin, amongst others) is filling up so fast that the Commissar-Professor has to give priority to what to do with all his prisoners -

Some of the Not So Broad Communist Front's "bag" at Wigmore under guard, from front to rear -
Farmer Smith and his bucket carrying daughter, 3 itinerant "ice cream salesmen" who
appeared from nowhere, Mrs Smith and little Tommy with a crate of Mortimer Apples,
Professor Higgs-Boson, "mad scientist for hire" formerly in the employ of the
Mortimers, a hen. To the right, two "mobile bacon sandwiches" for the troops.
Notwithstanding Storm Commander Giles' continuing illness from wounds sustained at the Battle of Berrington Approaches, the initiated (whether old or new) can now look forward to an inevitable counter-blast from Government radio in due course........

Sunday, 18 March 2018


The Spring Big Game 2018 is now over. The resulting Propaganda Battle is about to begin. Major Straitt-Jackett's Intelligence Officer has already sent in a review of this morning's newspapers:

Morning Star -  ‘Another Top Fascist Eliminated by Our Gallant Workers!’

Daily Herald – ‘Royalist Attack Foiled!’

Manchester Guardian -  ‘Workers Foil Government/Anglican partition of Mortimer Country – Top Royalist General Killed.’

Church Times – ‘Christian Soldiers Repel Atheists in North Herefordshire.’

Daily Express – ‘Socialists and Anglicans repelled in Herefordshire – Maj.Straitt-Jackett Believed Killed!’

Daily Mail – ‘Government Forces save Mortimer Country!’

Daily Telegraph – ‘Communist Advance in North Herefordshire Halted.’

The Times – ‘Government Troops Save Wigmore Hall.’

Farming Weekly – ‘Fat Ted and Offspring Saved!!’

while the truly privileged may now eavesdrop on a lengthy conversation between the Bishop of Ludlow and his Chief Intelligence Officer, Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart of the EIS [note 1].

True to form, we await the inevitable fully illustrated accounts of the stupendous SPRING BIG GAME 2018 and the resultant boasting of victory (no doubt from all sides).....


(1). The Bishop's conversation incorporates full reference to Sir Barrington Patchpole KC's private diary (with thanks to JP) and a transcript of a recent Government broadcast (with thanks to Alan, and for the headlines above).


The Hereford AVBCW Spring BIG GAME 2018 took place on Saturday 17th March 2018 at the Burley Gate Village Hall. As we await the reports, broadcasts and fully illustrated lectures from all the participants, this blog can exclusively reveal the contents of the "Wigmore All Round Defence Plan", previously known only to Sir Barrington Patchpole KC and his most trusted ADCs:




1. Introduction

1.1.         Upon news of the cowardly assault into Mortimer Country by all the principal factions of the Hereford VBCW, Sir Barrington Patchpole KC (“BPKC”) has initiated the Wigmore All Round Defence Plan.

1.2.         Mortimer Country faces simultaneous assaults from:

1.2.1. from the EAST, the Not So Broad Communist Front (lead by Comrade Professor Winter - Rob)
1.2.2. from the SOUTH, the forces of HM Government (lead by Storm Commander Giles - Giles)
1.2.3  from the WEST, the forces of the Anglican Alliance (lead by Captain General Jermingham - Mort)

1.3.         BPKC is determined to defend WIGMORE HALL, the ancestral county seat of his new bride, Lady Deirdre. Wigmore Hall is situated on the CENTRAL table.

1.4.         BPKC is also determined to defend, if at all possible, the Vital Strategic Objectives of Mortimer Country: Radio Free Mortimer (on the EAST table - threatened by the Communists), the Mortimer Cricket Club (on the WEST table - threatened by the Anglicans) and the Mortimer Brewery (on the SOUTH table - threatened by HM Government).

1.5.         The loss or destruction of any of the above Vital Strategic Objectives will gravely compromise Mortimer Country’s ability to survive in future as an “independent area” within the VBCW. The loss or destruction of Wigmore Hall itself will mean the end for Mortimer Country, BPKC personally and his family, including the beauteous Miss Nemone (who would then face the awful prospect of being “carried off” by the Communists/Fascist scum, or - for better or worse - an arranged marriage to “the Shropshire Swain”).

1.6.         If possible (and it may not be possible) BPKC would also like to preserve as many as possible of the small farms and their attendant farm animals, scattered over the EAST, WEST and SOUTH tables. Loss of these farms and animals will mean that Mortimer County, even if retains its “independence”, is likely to “go hungry” in the future.

1.7.         BPKC has detailed some of his tenantry not able to serve in the Mortimer LDVs (i.e. the very young, the elderly, reserved occupations, courageous farmer’s wives etc.) to try and save as many farm animals as possible in the event of invasion (“the Farmers” and “the Farm Animals”).

1.8.         Otherwise, the following are the constituent parts of the Wigmore All Round Defence Plan:

A. “Fixed Assets”

BPKC has the following fixed defences to distribute around any of the EAST, WEST and SOUTH tables at the very beginning of the BIG GAME in such manner as he thinks fit:

(1). PILLBOXES                                                                     (x 4)
(2). MINEFIELDS                                                                  (x 6)
(4). WIRE ENTANGLEMENTS                                             (x 6)
(5). FOUGASSES                                                                   (x 3)

B. “Household Troops”
BPKC has the following “Household Troops” gathered at the very beginning of the BIG GAME at WIGMORE HALL on the Central Table:

(1). BPKC and Family HQ Section
(2). Wigmore Hall Staff & Servants (Rifles&LMG, Infantry,Irregular)
(3). North Hereford Hunt Hussars (Rifles&Sabres, Cavalry, Regular)
(4). “Roaring Meg” Heavy Mortar (Irregular)

C. “Household Guests”
BPKC has the following “Household Guests” to keep at WIGMORE HALL or to distribute around any of the EAST, WEST and SOUTH tables at the very beginning of the BIG GAME in such manner as he thinks fit:
(1). Mr George Formby
(2). Miss Gracie Fields
(3). Mr Henry Hall & the BBC Light Entertainment Concert Party (Rifles, Infantry/Irregular)
(4). Professor Higgs Boson plus Scientific Assistant and 2 x “Great Panjandarums”

D. “Local Defence Volunteers”                                                              

BPKC has SIX (6) Platoons of Local Defence Volunteers to distribute around any of the EAST, WEST and SOUTH tables at the very beginning of the BIG GAME in such manner as he thinks fit:

(1). MORTIMER POLICE PLATOON (lead by Chief Superintendant Ronnie Bigsworth Hill i.e. DOUG)
(2). NORTH HEREFORD LDV/CLAN MORGAN (lead by Cadet Captain “Junior” Morgan i.e. CRAIG)
(3). FIRST MORTIMER LDV (lead by Captain James Barleycorn i.e. TOM)
(4). SECOND MORTIMER LDV (lead by Lady Felicia Fownhope i.e. RITA)
(6). LANDOWNERS PROTECTION FIELD FORCE (lead by “Himalaya Joe” himself i.e. JP)

Note : BPKC has retained the heavy weaponry (i.e. TANK/BIG GUN and “SOMETHING VBCW”
from their Platoon Rosters) of all the above within the garages of WIGMORE HALL. BPKC will release such heavy weaponry from the Wigmore Hall garages - and not necessarily to their “parent Platoon” - during the course of the BIG GAME, dependent upon where BPKC judges they may best serve the defence of Mortimer Country. See “Reinforcement” rules below.

E. “Possible Allies”

BPKC has had helpful “discussions” with the Chief Mommet of Herefordshire, who has ensured that 24 Mommets (Irregular, Hand Weapons only) are “somewhere around” and ready to defend (to the death) “the beasts of the woodland” (i.e. rabbits) from being rustled in Mortimer Country….DO NOT MENTION THE BUNNY! Otherwise, the Chief Mommet has no interest to defend in the BIG GAME or in Mortimer Country.

F. Mortimer Command Structure

In terms of command structure, BPKC (JP) is ably supported by both his Principal ADC, Chief Superintendant Bigsworth Hill (Doug), and his Assistant ADC, Cadet Captain “Junior” Morgan (Craig). Either of the ADCs may roll dice/make choices during the BIG GAME in the event that BPKC is temporarily otherwise detained.

2. Pre-Game Sequence

2.1.         The Umpires will have set up the terrain on the CENTRAL, WEST, EAST and SOUTH tables in the usual way.

2.2.         The Umpires will have distributed Wigmore’s Farm Animals (and bunnies!) randomly across each of the same tables.

2.3.         The Assaulting Factions (HM Govt, Anglican, Communist) will be setting up on the table edge of their respective tables furthest from Wigmore Hall, i.e. in the usual way.

2.4.         The Umpires will have distributed the Farmers to “Farpoint Farm” on each table i.e. the small farm nearest the Assaulting Factions.

2.5.         BPKC has to:

2.5.1. distribute the “Fixed Assets” across the WEST, EAST and SOUTH tables as he sees fit. These Fixed Assets may not be placed on the CENTRAL table;
2.5.2.  distribute, if he wishes, any of the “Household Guests” across the WEST, EAST and SOUTH tables as he sees fit. These “Household Guests” (some or any of them) may be retained on the CENTRAL table if BPKC sees fit;
2.5.3. distribute the LDV Platoons across the WEST, EAST and SOUTH tables as he sees fit. These LDV Platoons may not be placed on the CENTRAL table. The LDV Platoons set up on the table edge of their respective tables nearest to Wigmore Hall, i.e. in the usual way and approximately at or in line with their relevant Strategic Objective.
2.5.4. make a note on the Reinforcement Table (attached) of all Heavy Weapons in the garages of Wigmore Hall. A clear note will be vital for the purpose of identifying reinforcements during the BIG GAME. The relevant Heavy Weapons should be made available now by their owners for easy use during the BIG Game (we will try to provide a special table for these).

3. Special Rules

3.1.         In the same order as their introduction above, the following special rules apply to the MORTIMER ALL ROUND DEFENCE PLAN:

(A). FARMERS: See first blog post for special rules. Farmers always move/act first i.e. at the start of each phase and are not dependent upon cards.
(B). FARM ANIMALS: See first blog post for special rules. Farm Animals (and the bunnies - shhh!) remain static unless “rustled” or “saved” as per the blog post.
(C). FIXED ASSET - PILLBOXES (x 4): Pillboxes are considered as “dug in” heavily armoured tanks (without armament). Play to the rules accordingly. The Pillboxes interior size delimits the number of figures that can take shelter within them/fire out of them.
(D). FIXED ASSET - MINEFIELDS (x 6): Minefields consist of 3 mines within a circular area (a DVD base). Minefields have been fitted with the Wigmore IFF Trigger (Patent Pending). They will not explode if crossed by anything/anyone friendly to Mortimer i.e. Mortimer LDVs, Farm Animals, Farmers, Mommets etc. They will potentially explode if any part of the DVD is entered or crossed by a figure/vehicle etc. unfriendly to Mortimer (other than “Engineers” on their first move). In that event, roll a D6 with the following results:

1 - 3 : Mines do not explode. They’re home-made VBCW weapons, after all.
4 - 6 : Mines do explode. Place a mortar template on each of the 3 mines in turn and apply the mortar rules 
thereafter to anybody/anything within template (including any Mortimer figures).

Once a minefield has exploded it should be removed from play. See also the Engineer rules below.

(E). FIXED ASSET - VERY OBVIOUS UNEXPLODED BOMBS (“UXBs”) (x 6). UXB’s operate as “automatically triggering” RSBs. They are fitted with the Wigmore IFF Trigger (Patent Pending). Subject to that, anyone/anything (other than “Engineers” on their first move) entering within a radius of the artillery template of the UXB may cause the UXB to explode. In that event, roll a D6 with the following results:

1 - 3 : UXB does not explode. They’re home-made VBCW weapons, after all.
4 - 6 : UXB does explode. Place an artillery template centred on the UXB and apply the artillery rules thereafter to anybody/anything within template (including any Mortimer figures).

Once a UXB has exploded it should be removed from play. See also the Engineer rules below.

(F). FIXED ASSET - WIRE ENTANGLEMENTS (x 6). These look quite fearsome (hopefully) but are only made of baling wire. It’s the VBCW after all. Treat simply as a hedge under the general rules.

(G). FIXED ASSET - FOUGASSES (x 3). These are quite fearsome! Fougasses operate as “automatically triggering” flamethrowers. They are fitted with the Wigmore IFF Trigger (Patent Pending). Subject to that, anyone/anything (other than “Engineers” on their first move) crossing a line drawn 12 inches from the mouth of the Fougasse may cause the Fougasse to fire. In that event, roll a D6 with the following results:

1 - 2: Fougasse does not fire. It’s a home-made VBCW weapon, after all.
3 - 4 : Fougasse does not fire, but explodes. It’s a home-made VBCW weapon, after all. Place an artillery template centred on the exploding fougasse and apply the artillery rules thereafter to anybody/anything within the template (including any Mortimer figures).
5 - 6 : Fougasse fires. Place the 12 inch triangular “Fougasse template” with the narrow end exiting the mouth of the Fougasse. Treat any figures (including any Mortimer figures) within such template as subject to MMG fire. Apply the MMG rules. Make whooshing/flaming/screaming noises.

(H). HOUSEHOLD TROOPS - ROARING MEG HEAVY MORTAR. “Roaring Meg” is an antique ECW heavy calibre mortar restored for use in Britain’s 2nd Civil War. It is thoroughly unreliable but potentially devastating. Use as a mortar subject to throwing a D6 with every attempt to fire :

1 - 2 : Roaring Meg does not fire, but explodes. It’s a home-made VBCW weapon, after all. Place a mortar template centred on the exploding Roaring Meg and apply the mortar rules thereafter to anybody/anything within the template (including any Mortimer figures). Remove Roaring Meg thereafter.
3 - 4 : Roaring Meg fires! Use the mortar rules and template as normal.
4 - 6 : Roaring Meg really fires ! Use the mortar rules as normal but substitute the artillery template.

(I). HOUSEHOLD GUESTS - Mr George Formby. Have you heard “Cleaning Windows”? It’s enough to drive one to suicide. Mr George Formby operates as an automatic anti-standard bearer applicable to all troops, driving down their morale.

(J). HOUSEHOLD GUESTS - Miss Gracie Fields. Have you heard “Sally”? It’s a tonic for the soul. Miss Gracie Fields operates as an automatic standard bearer applicable to all troops, causing their morale to soar.

(K). HOUSEHOLD GUESTS - Mr Henry Hall & the BBC Light Entertainment Concert Party (Rifles, Infantry/Irregular). Operates as an ordinary rifle section. Note does not have an LMG.

(L). HOUSEHOLD GUESTS - Professor Higgs Boson plus Scientific Assistant and 2 x “Great Panjandarums”. BPKC’s very own “Terror Weapons”! (x 2 !). A Panjandrum may be moved at infantry pace under the care of a scientific minder (either Professor Higgs Boson or his Assistant) until they are “fired” (by pressing a Big Red Button). It takes one phase to “Fire”. Panjandrums will then explode automatically in the 3rd phase next after “Firing”. After “Firing” and before exploding, Panjandrums travel automatically by throwing 2D6 and a direction die each phase (must move in each phase). Obey the dice results exactly. Upon exploding, use the Artillery Template centred on the Great Panjandarum. Four templates are used in turn - front, rear, left, right - always with one edge of each template placed on the centre of the Panjandarum.

Every 30 minutes after the start of the BIG GAME, BPQC throws for re-inforcements. See Re-inforcement Table attached, which should have 12 Tanks/Big Guns/”Something VBCW” elements numbered 1 - 12 at the start of the BIG GAME. Throw the number of D6 equivalent to the number of available reinforcements (i.e. on the first occasion throw 12 D6, and thereafter reduce as appropriate). Re-inforcements arrive as follows:

Attempt One (30 minutes). Choose one re-inforcement element for each “6”
Attempt Two (60 minutes). Choose one re-inforcement element for each “5” or “6”
Attempt Three (90 minutes). Choose one re-inforcement element for each “4”, “5” or “6”.
and so on……….

Re-inforcements may be placed according to BPKC’s direction on any of the EAST, WEST, or SOUTH tables. They may not be placed on the CENTRAL table.

On BPKC’s direction, re-inforcements arrive automatically at the relevant table’s Vital Strategic Objective. If such Vital Strategic Objective is lost to the enemy, re-inforcements cannot be sent to the relevant table.
Re-inforcements are placed in the care of one of the Mortimer players on the relevant table, who is entitled to an extra Action Card on the next distribution of cards, and thereafter use the reinforcement normally. The re-inforcement cannot take any action unless subject to an Action Card.


Remember - do not mention the Bunny! At least, not until an assaulting player seeks to rustle it by placing a figure in base to base contact and saying the magic words “I’m rustling this Bunny” (or equivalent). This automatically causes a MOMMET ATTACK from the nearest Wood on the table against the Rustlers and/or anything standing between the MOMMETS and the Rustlers.

There are 24 Mommets potentially available. Throw 4D6 and use that number of Mommets (if available).
Mommets always move first - immediately upon “the bunny rustle” and thereafter first in each phase (even before the Farmers). Mommets are not subject to Action Cards. They are controlled by the Mortimer LDV players subject to the “MOMMET SPIRIT” i.e. their desire to save the bunny and cause as many casualties as possible to the Rustlers (in a suicidal and rather psychopathic manner).

Mommets are not subject to morale rules. They will continue to attack “the rustlers” until destroyed according to the normal rules.

Mortimer LDVs will not attempt to “save the bunny” from being rustled. That would be silly.


A number of the assaulting Platoons may have brought along Engineers to deal with Mortimer’s fixed defences.

Engineers operate in parties of three. They are unarmed and should be easily identifiable.

Engineers may attempt to deal with Mortimer’s fixed defences by coming into base to base contact with them, and then seeking to defuse them. Upon an attempt to defuse, throw a D6 with the following results

1 - 3 Failure. Device remains live. May attempt to defuse again in the next phase
4 - 6. Success. Device is defused and removed from play.

The Engineers are highly trained. The device will therefore not fire in the first phase in which the Engineers make base to base contact. If the Engineers make an attempt to defuse and fail, the device will thereafter behave normally, and the Mortimer LDV may attempt to explode it in the usual way.

The Engineers may be shot at in the usual way. An Engineering Party remains effective until completely destroyed (i.e. all 3 figures out of action).

Engineers are attached to their relevant HQ Section, and move according to the HQ Section’s Action Card.

(P). Movement between Tables and Inter Table Special Rules

This is Umpire controlled. The following should be taken as guidelines rather than formal rules, as everything within this section is subject to player appeal and Umpire discretion.

(1). Troops committed to the SOUTH, EAST and WEST tables have standing orders to defend their territory (i.e. ultimately, their Vital Strategic Objective) until the end. They may not therefore retreat to the CENTRAL TABLE. Troops exiting a table edge under the morale rules are considered lost.
(2). Attacking troops from the SOUTH, EAST and WEST tables may enter the CENTRAL table.
(3). Upon “a sufficient body” of attacking troops entering the CENTRAL table, the CENTRAL table starts distributing Action Cards, etc. The SOUTH, EAST and WEST tables are not “synchronised” but “play at their own pace”. The CENTRAL tables is equally not “synchronised” but commences play at its own pace in the circumstances above.
(4). Once the CENTRAL table has come into play, new troops from the same or other tables may enter the CENTRAL table. Such troops cannot take actions until they receive Action Cards at the next “deal” in accordance with the CENTRAL table’s timing. Nor can they be fired at until they receive Action Cards.

4. Conclusion & Umpires’ Notes

4.1.         The following brief background notes may help/spark further ideas before the BIG GAME:

4.1.1.     BPKC will be under considerable pressure during the day. He has to roll for re-inforcements every 30 minutes (the Umpires will not remind him), fight as his alter ego Himalaya Joe and fight (if necessary and when the time comes) on the CENTRAL table. He therefore needs to co-operate closely with his ADC1 and ADC2, who can deputise for him as appropriate. This briefing sheet can be sent on (on terms of strictest secrecy) to ADC1 (Doug) and ADC2 (Craig) in advance of the BIG GAME should BPKC consider appropriate. Time will be allowed for a confidential “briefing session” on the day in any event.

4.1.2.     Each of the SOUTH, EAST and WEST tables are “3 Platoons vs. 2 Platoons” battles (unless we suffer late drop-outs, in which case the Umpires will scratch their heads and try to keep everything equivalently balanced). BPKC should therefore be prepared for at least one, possibly more, breakthrough to the CENTRAL table.

4.1.3.     Subject to 4.1.4. below, Assaulting Troops of different factions on the CENTRAL table may engage each other in the usual way. BPKC will no doubt wish to encourage such inter-factional warfare.

4.1.4.     The Assaulting Players may make/break alliances with each other in the usual way. Similarly, BPKC may make/break alliances with any of the Assaulting Players as he sees fit. If any such alliance is made, however, the Umpires may consider that Mortimer Country has “lost its independence” and “become a vassal state” of the allied faction, and therefore that BPKC has “saved his life” but “lost the game”.

4.1.5.     BPKC has a “scouting network” around Mortimer Country designed to provide intelligence on any faction readying itself for assault. The Umpires will therefore view favourably any reasonable request for a preview of some (or some part) of the Assaulting Player’s Platoon Rosters.

4.1.6      The Umpires wish BPKC and his supporting commanders all the best with the Mortimer All Round Defence Plan. Let’s keep Mortimer Country Free and Independent! Don’t mention the bunny!


Wednesday, 14 March 2018


The Usual Practical Details

The Spring Big Game 2018 ("The Great Wigmore Cattle Rustle aka The Fall of the House of Mortimer?" will take place this Saturday 17th March 2018 at Burley Gate Village Hall, Herefordshire, from 10am to 5.30pm. 

Setting up of tables will take place from c. 9am, so if you want to come earlier than 10am please feel free.

Directions to Burley Gate Village Hall can be found here.

Please bring your own lunch. Those who forget can (usually) purchase provisions at the Burley Gate Village Shop, located in the Portakabin right next door to the Hall itself.

Cost is £10.00 as usual.

Photography of the BIG GAME is encouraged! Please don't forget your cameras!

The Hereford VBCW Modelling Challenge No.1 ("Create a Landing Fleet") is still running. Please see previous AUTUMN BIG GAME 2017 briefing posts for details. We still have 4 lots of plastic boats available for anyone who wishes to take part and can say that they are likely to be available for the AUTUMN BIG GAME 2018 (to be held in October 2018, presently planned as River Crossing Game, or can otherwise get their (slightly) converted boats back to the Umpires before then.

Rules Queries

Since the publication of the SPRING BIG GAME 2018 GENERAL BRIEFING, some rules queries have been received. To assist anyone with similar queries, here are the Umpires rulings or clarifications:

(1). a unit does NOT have to use the same Action Card in both phases of a single turn (usually but not necessarily the "Movement" phase and then the "Action" phase). In each phase, it is for the player to determine the Action Card to be used by each of his units. Please note this has a helpful side effect, namely that cards do not have to be placed on the table next to a unit, but can (and should) be retained at all times in the player's "hand".

(2). "You CANNOT increase range by use of a template" The furthest edge of the template must be within the range of the template weapon firing.

(3). If you are using Roadside Bomb as part of your Platoon Roster, please check with Mort on the day as to their correct use. Remember Mort wrote the WTDW Rules!

(4). Miscellaneous stuff about rustling (and saving) agricultural animals :

(a). can troops allocated to rounding up livestock ignore the "unit coherency" rule - NO
(b). can one figure control more than one animal? - NO
(c). can "rustled" (or "saved") livestock have to be led off table ? - NO
(d). can vehicles be used to "herd" animals - NO

Note : making "base to base" contact with an agricultural animal and stating "I am rustling this (whatever)" or "I am saving this (whatever)" counts as an ACTION for the purposes of the phase rules. Only farmers, infantrymen or cavalrymen can rustle/save animals.


Everyone familiar with VBCW Hereford knows that the City & County Dining and Refreshment Rooms, right next to the Old House in High Town, is the place to go for the latest gossip and information![1]

The City and County Dining & Refreshment Rooms, as situated just by The Old House in High Town
But what is hard information and what is mere gossip? Amidst the chink of tea cups and hushed whispers (both Lord De Braose's informants and agents of the Ecclesiastial Intelligence Service are said to have permanently booked tables at "The City & County") it is often very difficult to tell. But scrape some jam onto that scone (cream is now a rationed delicacy in Hereford) and lean forward:

(1). Lord de Braose is in serious danger of disgrace and retirement. He has not been seen in public for weeks. It is said that he wanders the chambers of the Shire Hall throughout the night, wailing and groaning "My boys! My boys...." and has had to be heavily sedated by his doctor.

(2). Storm Commander Giles has not recovered from the wounds he sustained in the last battle. His position is serious and has been complicated by further infection. This must be true because Edna heard it from Matron at the hospital. There is real doubt as to whether he can stay in command of Government forces.

(3)."The Mortimer All Round Defence Plan" is a complete figment of Sir Barrington - Patchpole's imagination.

(4). Miss Nemone is ready to marry "The Shropshire Swain" if it will "save Mortimer Country". What a girl!

(5). Comrade Professor Winters has never forgiven the Anglicans for their poor performance at the Second Battle of Ledbury.

(6). The Revd. Duff Postin has been having secret meetings with Major Straitt-Jackett. The Major has asked for extension of the "battlefield truce" brokered at The Battle of Berrington Approaches and a joint attack against the Not so Broad Communist Front. The Rev. Postin has demanded the return into Anglican hands of the Bishop of Hereford. The Bishop is being transported in one of the BUF's trucks to Mortimer Country for a "handover" and subsequent Anglican/Government alliance.

(7). The Soviets have provided the Not so Broad Communist Front with military advice and assistance. One of their top men, Comrade Colonel I.V. Knokisblokov, has been seen in company with Comrade Professor Winters and Comrade Gollumroo.

(8). Lady de Braose is a tart. She's been seen "in company" with Comrade Professor Winters, and Comrade Gollumroo, and Comrade Colonel I.V. Knokisblokov, and Sir Barrington Patchpole KC (chaperoned by Lady Deirdre). She is a treble agent negotiating for the handover of the Mustard manuscript to Mortimer hands for use as a "negotiating weapon" with the Government. But what price will the Communists demand in exchange ? And have you seen those photographs !

(9). Captain Arrowsmith has not left Hereford. He simply cannot be seen in public because of the injuries he sustained in that recent explosion at the Royal Ordnance Factory, Rotherwas. That must be true, because the editor of "The Hereford Times" has a photograph but is banned from publishing it. HM Government are determined to hush it all up.

Captain Arrowsmith suffered serious injuries as a result of the ROF Rotherwas explosion.
(10). No-one knows the true identity of "The Shropshire Swain", but he pens terrible love poetry.

(11). Winston Churchill himself has been seen in Herefordshire. It is said that he is raising an independent army of "Constitutionalists" ready to intervene at the right moment in the Hereford VBCW. The right moment is said to be one of complete surprise to all concerned.

(12). Lord de Braose is now addicted to morphine. See (1) above. See (8) above. Have you seen those photographs ? Who else features in that dreadful book by Mustard ? Not Daphne !

(13). The convoy carrying Commandante Jay and his Politically Confused Spanish Nationalist Catholic Monarchists was sunk as it left the River Severn and entered the River Wye. Commandante Jay and all his men were drowned. This was the result of an audacious Anglican commando action lead by the dashing Captain - General Jermingham himself / a drifting Government anti shipping mine.

(14). Captain Morgan's son has returned "from abroad" to take over leadership of the Morgan clan and avenge his father's death.

(15). Captain Morgan was a traitor to the Government cause. The shame of it! Morgan Junior served in the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War. Chances are Morgan Junior will betray his masters just like his father. He's supposed to have a senior position in the Mortimer LDVs, don't you know ?

(16). There is a "spike" in Hereford's birth rate. This is very unusual in such troubled times. The most popular boy's name for newborns is "Stokkies". Who would have thought it ?

(17). Mortimer Country has recruited some disaffected Government scientists. They have developed "special weapons" including an "IFF Trigger" for their minefields and bombs.

(18). Mortimer Country's minefields and bombs are highly unstable. This has been a major problem for the disaffected Government scientists recruited by Sir Barrington Patchpole.

(19). There is no bacon to be found in Hereford's markets.

(20). Captain Arrowsmith is dead. He was on a flight to Australia in order to lead a BUF Recruiting drive and his plane went down somewhere over Borneo. If he survived the landing, he didn't survive the attentions of the local natives. This must be true, because CBS is reporting it in America.

CBS's intrepid Borneo correspondent with the head of Captain Arrowsmith.
(21). HM Government and Sir Barrington Patchpole KC have brokered a deal. Neither can afford to lose an engagement in Mortimer Country. Sir Barrington could never reach an agreement with the Communists, and has no wish for Miss Nemone to sacrifice herself to the Anglicans (see (4) above). If Captain General Jermingham or Comrade Professor Winters even gets close to Wigmore Hall, the trap will be sprung !

(22). Wigmore Hall has many treasures. Lady Deirdre's first husband was a renowned Egyptologist and bitter rival of Howard Carter and Lord Carnaervon.

(23). Sir Barrington Patchpole KC is a great friend of Lord Emsworth, and both keep prize pigs.It is said that Sir Barrington would sacrifice Miss Nemone in order to save "Fat Ted", his prize porker. Poor Nemone! Would it be better to have an arranged marriage to "The Shropshire Swain" or be "carried off" by those thugs from the Not So Broad Communist Front ? Or the BUF?

(24). Morale will shortly collapse in Hereford. It's even said that George Formby is coming to give a "special concert" !!

(25). The Soviets are experiencing the greatest difficulty with the 're-education' of Sir Alan McGuffin. It is not that Sir Alan's political views now cause difficulty : he has become a full convert to the concept of a "worker's paradise". Rather, it is his unbreakable mental and physical addiction to the thoroughly bourgeois game of golf. While Sir Alan insists on golf as his favourite pastime, he will never be released from Re-Education Camp No.1 (situated somewhere outside Presteigne).

As the intelligence reports gleaned from "The Capital & Counties" gossip flood into the headquarters of Captain - General Jermingham, Storm Commander Giles and Comrade Professor Winters, who knows what is actually true ? This, as with so many questions, can only be answered by participation in the HEREFORD VBCW SPRING BIG GAME 2018!


[1]. The modern day traveller may still enjoy a cup of tea in the "City and County". Unfortunately, it is somewhat more expensive than in 1938 and is now called "Starbucks". See "Hereford VBCW : Then and Now" for full details.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

The Stars come out for Wigmore - SPRING BIG GAME 2018 SLEBTASTIC NEWS!

Fact is sometimes stranger than fiction, and in the all action world of the Hereford VBCW, our 1930s stars of stage and screen don't just hold a charity benefit concert six months after the event : they make a personal appearance at the event itself ! 

The stars of the 1930s

News is now trickling through that both Miss Gracie Fields and Mr George Formby - accompanied by the BBC Light Entertainment Concert Party (commanded by the bespectacled Mr Henry Hall) - have recently "stopped off" at Wigmore Hall to "entertain the troops" in their inimitable style - and declared their intention "to help out" should Mortimer Country ever appear to be in jeopardy.

How will their presence in Mortimer Country affect the balance of power in the Hereford VBCW?

The answer to this question, as is so often the case, can only be determined by participation in the Hereford1938 AVBCW SPRING BIG GAME......

Tuesday, 20 February 2018


Spring Big Game 2018
"The Great Wigmore Cattle Rustle akaThe Fall of the House of Mortimer?"

The Story so Far......

It was an opportunity too good to miss. Even as the Communist forces of Comrade Commissar Winter (now "incommunicado", but that's a different story) enjoyed their moment of triumph at the Siege Lines of KINGTON, gladly accepting the change of allegiance of Captain "True Traitor" Morgan (now definitely deceased) and putting the few (very few) remaining Government besiegers to flight (see the earlier Autumn Big Game 2017 posts), Party HQ was planning their next strategic move - a direct assault upon the rich agricultural lands of historic MORTIMER COUNTRY.

A general advance was declared from the Communist/Welsh Nationalist strongholds along the County border - KNIGHTON, PRESTEIGNE and KINGTON. Forward the Revolution! Onward to Wigmore! Let's rustle some bourgeois cattle in the name of the oppressed working class!

General situation map. Mortimer Country and the Communist border
strongholds are clearly identified to the North and West of the County..

The Gallant Defenders......

Notwithstanding the general tumult of the early VBCW, Mortimer Country has so far remained virtually undisturbed. The wise leadership of Lady Deirdre Patchpole (nee Faines-Muir, the last true descendant, even if on the distaff side, of England's famous Mortimer family), chatelaine of Wigmore Hall and Lady of the Manor, ensured that it's rich agricultural lands remained free of the pestilence of conflict. Her recent marriage to a neighbouring LDV Leader (and all round gentleman, if somewhat choleric in the mornings), namely Sir Barrington Patchpole QC, was thought to have strengthened the position of "Mortimer Country" as an independent force within the County, paying lip service to HM Government (and the Anglican Church) and maintaining good tenant relations as a bulwark against dangerous "Socialistic" ideas. Just another few months of relative peace, and Lady Patchpole might even have found a suitable match for her beautiful niece, Miss Nemone Mortimer-Wagstaffe.....(1).
Sir Barrington Patchpole QC, Lady Deirdre & Miss Nemone
The Leaders of Mortimer LDV Resistance

...and The Other Factions

Smarting from the desertion of the faithless Captain Morgan (deceased) and the rout of their remaining troops from the Siege Lines of KINGTON, HM Government cannot allow MORTIMER COUNTRY to fall into Communist hands. Not only would a yet further victory be of immense propaganda value to the Communists, the whole balance of power in North West Herefordshire would be fundamentally altered...Lord de Braose, HM Governor of the Marches, consulted hastily with his field commander, Storm Commander Giles.

"Bugger the balance of power!" stormed Giles. "With the collapse of the Bank of England, my men aren't even getting fed these days! Nobody will take our worthless banknotes! I'm thinking steaks, and liver, and perhaps a nice bacon sandwich in the morning....." He smacked his lips. "We're not leaving all those specially fattened farm animals to the Commies...."

A closer look at Mortimer Country in context. As before, the Communist strongholds
of Knighton, Presteigne and Kington appear to the west. HM Government Forces, having
retreated eastward from Kington, are grouped within the area Pembridge/Shobdon, blocking a
Communist advance towards Leominster, but also ready to strike northward toward
 Wigmore and into Mortimer Country. Anglican Ludlow lies to the north and east. 
The Ecclesiastical Intelligence Service immediately intercepted Storm Commander Giles' assault orders.

By blind luck (or God's good grace, dependent upon your point of view), an Anglican Command Conference was even then being hosted by the Bishop of Ludlow. Captain - General Jermingham, the charismatic Anglican Commander in Chief, had travelled all the way from Ross to address his loyal lieutenants:

"Splendid!" Captain - General Jermingham's luxuriant moustaches revolved in different directions with suppressed excitement. "You've been chasing Mortimer for an alliance for too long, my dear Bishop! And they've played hard to get - and I don't just mean Miss Nemone! Now's the time! Assaulted from the east by the Communists, from the south by the Fascists : well, it's time that we took our message of Christian love and peace (through superior firepower) into Mortimer Country itself! The whole balance of power could be altered at a stroke!"

The gathered Anglican commanders - the Bishops of Ludlow and of Lichfield, the Blessed Lady Rita - murmured in agreement. One could never have enough steak, after all....

Advance Player Notes for the Spring 2018 Big Game

In no particular order (and perhaps with varying elements of veracity) here are some advance "Player Notes" for the Spring 2018 Big Game:

(1). Upon first hearing of the Communist approach towards Mortimer Country, Sir Barrington Patchpole QC (JP!) immediately implemented "THE MORTIMER ALL ROUND DEFENCE PLAN"

(2). "THE MORTIMER ALL ROUND DEFENCE PLAN" is centred upon the most important building in Mortimer Country, namely Wigmore Hall itself (situated on a special "Central Table"). The historic home of his new bride, Lady Deirdre, while the Mortimer standard flies proudly above the Hall, Mortimer will remain undefeated. Mortimer Hall has its own special defenders - the Herefordshire Hunt Hussars, the Hall's loyal Staff and Gardeners, and the Mortimer Foot Beagles. It may also have some antique artillery pieces....

(3). "THE MORTIMER ALL ROUND DEFENCE PLAN" acknowledges that there are three "Strategic Objectives" likely to be of interest to any invader : "Mortimer Free Radio" (a broadcasting and transmission station), the "Mortimer Brewery" (source of much good cheer for Mortimer's residents), and the Mortimer Cricket Club. These lie to the south, east and west of Wigmore Hall itself (one on each of the three flank tables), and each must be defended to the end...

(4). Sir Barrington Patchpole QC has gathered into the substantial garages of Wigmore Hall all the heavy weaponry of the Wigmore LDVs (Tanks, Armoured Cars, Big Guns etc., as per Platoon Rosters). These will be released for action at regular intervals during "The Big Game" (at Sir Barrington's discretion - and onto any table) in order to re-inforce the most hard pressed defending LDVs. This central strategic reserve is a core tenet of - you guessed it - "THE MORTIMER ALL ROUND DEFENCE PLAN"

(5). Speaking of which, Sir Barrington has also organised considerable fixed defences around Mortimer Country. These include (most obviously) re-inforced bunkers, minefields, pipe bombs, roadside bombs, barbed wire coils, etc. etc. Sir Barrington has taken great pains to deny intelligence of Mortimer's fixed defences to any of the assaulting parties (Commies, Anglicans, HM Government), and the precise location of the same is somewhat of a mystery (JP to organise at his discretion before start of Big Game)...

(6). All of Sir Barrington's fixed defences are heavily improvised, home made weapons. Whether any of them will actually work is equally a mystery (including to Sir Barrington).

(7). Mortimer LDVs start the Big Game on the flank table edge closest to the relevant "Strategic Objective" (see (2) above). Assaulting Platoons start from the opposite end of the relevant flank table. On each of the flank tables, in addition to the "Strategic Objective", there are two further buildings - Farpoint Farm (closest to the Assaulting Platoons) and Mid Table Manor. The flank tables are otherwise scattered with woods, hedges, hills, etc in a bucolic/agricultural manner. There is at least one road on each flank table leading to the vicinity of Wigmore Hall on the central table.

(8). In addition to their fighting troops, the flank table Mortimer LDV Commanders control a party of farmers/farmer wives/innocent civilians who start the Big Game at Farpoint Farm (figures provided by umpires). They are tasked with gathering in the grazing animals (pigs/cows/poultry/sheep/horses etc -figures provided by umpires) and leading them to safety (i.e. well away from the assaulting Platoons). There are lots of grazing animals on each flank table, and thus a lot of work for the farmers to do. They may move as a section, or they may move as individuals. They are armed (or unarmed) as per their respective figures. They operate just like irregular/untrained infantry according to the rules. Farmers always move/act first in any turn or phase, and are not dependent upon cards for priority of movement.

(9). Farmers may be shot/run over/blown up/captured etc by the assaulting Platoons as per the normal rules.

(10). Grazing animals (scattered randomly across the flank tables by the umpires at the start of the Big Game) do not move until a player establishes base to base contact between one of their figures (whether farmer, ordinary infantryman/cavalryman etc.) and the animal AND states the magic words, i.e. if a farmer or defender : "I'M SAVING THIS (COW/HORSE/PIG etc)" or if an assaulting figure "I'M RUSTLING THIS (COW/HORSE/PIG etc).". Base to base contact means base to base, not "close". Failure to state the magic formula results in the animal being removed from play without benefit to the relevant player. Once base to base contact has been established and the magic words said, the animal will move in contact with and precisely as desired by its new keeper without any penalty.

(11). If the "keeper" is killed, the relevant animal remains static until another figure renews base to base contact.

(12). The Mortimer LDVs have the benefit of the Farmers. However, the Assaulting Platoons can have the benefit of a party of 3 Engineers (if the relevant figures are produced by the Platoon Commander). Engineers always move as a combined party and may not take individual action. Engineers may approach any item of the "Fixed Defences" and may attempt to defuse/clear away the item for one turn without it "going off". If the Engineers fail on the first turn, further attempts to defuse/clear away the item may be made on second and succeeding turns, but the Mortimer LDVs may seek to blow/explode/set on fire etc. the relevant fixed defensive item on each such turn.

(13). Engineers in the VBCW also double as Sappers, Miners and general Gofers. Accordingly, figures carrying spades, buckets, pickaxes, coils of wire, etc. make good "Engineers". In cases of lack of inspiration, any figure with a helmet clearly marked "E" counts as an Engineer. 

(14). Engineers are unarmed and move/act according to the card priority of  the relevant Platoon HQ. Engineers may be shot/run over/blown up/captured etc by the defending Mortimer LDVs as per the normal rules.

(15). There is no ban on negotiations of whatsoever nature between any of the competing factions and/or Sir Barrington. However, the competing factions cannot fight each other (if they so desire) until they are able to move off their respective flank tables and onto the Central Table. This will place them perilously close to Wigmore Hall itself.....

(16). Defending figures/items of equipment on the flank tables cannot be withdrawn to the Central Table without umpires' permission. The usual orders for such units are to defend their own Strategic Objective to the end
"Not a step backward" - Mortimer LDV "High Command"

Thursday, 8 February 2018

AVBCW Megagame 19th May 2018

Planning is reaching its advanced stages for the Hereford AVBCW Spring Big Game 2018, which will take place at the Birley Gate Village Hall as usual on Saturday 17th March 2018. The Autumn Big Game 2018 will take place on a date to be decided shortly in October 2018.

However, if you need a VBCW fix between March and October, the Megagame Makers are running a specific Very British Civil War Megagame in Stratford, London, on 19th May 2018 - see the link here. It's well worth having a look at the page and in particular the Game Handbook (see link to pdf on page) as it deals with the VBCW on very large scale indeed, and has lots of interesting game mechanics.

Please bear in mind that 19th May 2018 is the Saturday upon which Meghan and Harry are getting married - either you will be unable to attend the Megagame upon the basis that you/your better half will be glued to the television (Royalists), alternatively this might just be the event to "get you away from it all" (Socialists/Communists etc.etc.)!!