Saturday, 13 July 2019

We're going to Salute 2020!

It might seem a tad early to be considering a visit to one of the biggest independent, one-day wargaming and gaming events in Europe, but Salute is very much on our radar at the moment and I am thrilled to be able to share some exciting news with you here.
Schloss Itter at the time of the War.
So taken, were James and I, with how much interest and curiosity that the Pegasus Bridge project generated, all through its construction and beyond, that we were keen to repeat the idea and ultimately see if we could take it that bit further. 

 An obvious starting point was to celebrate the 75th anniversary of V.E. Day, 8th May 2020.  As we looked around for a suitable tale to tell we stumbled across the Battle for Schloss Itter, the incredible story of a group of German Soldiers, American G.I.s and French Prisoners of War that fought alongside each other in the final days before the War in Europe came to an end.  This really is the stuff of Hollywood, but this remarkable true story would be perfect for a lecture to the school and would provide us with another modelling challenge - Austrian Castle anyone?!

As with Pegasus Bridge, our primary goal is education and given the increased scale of this project we are keen that the pupils will be able to contribute in the construction in some way and hope to hold a club in the Spring term.  As I mentioned at the start we are keen to push ourselves that little bit further, and that progression is leading us down the totally unfamiliar path of game design.  

In short we have decided to design and build a participation game to commemorate the Battle of Schloss Itter ahead of the 75th Anniversary of VE Day.  To use the model to illustrate a talk to the school, but also to take the game to Salute 2020, just because it would be an awesome thing to do.  Having registered with the South London Warlords we were thrilled to receive the news that we have bagged one of the Early Bird slots and have had the 'green light' to "crack on with whatever bit of genius/madness you have planned."

So crack on we have!  Working form photographs taken at the time of the battle, James has started to map out the floor plan of the castle, getting a sense for how we could construct it.  This is no mean feat and I am continually impressed at the skill James displays in bringing the past to life.  As we broke up for the summer holidays a couple of test pieces had been cut and immediately we were staggered at just how big this project was going to be!
Castle and playing area, concept design James Walters
There may yet be concessions made in the interests of gameplay, but James' first goal is to create a castle that is true to the photographic evidence, otherwise what is the point?  The drawings are moving forward and I am happy to share them here to give a sense of where we are headed and to generate some momentum and excitement about the project.
Castle Design, concept design James Walters
I have been tinkering away with ideas for how to 'play' the battle, again trying to put education at the fore with a large smattering of humour, and look forward to running them past the more experienced gamers, Mike 'The Dark Templar' Reynolds and 'Bullcher Feb'.  
Castle and Gatehouse, concept design James Walters
Our goals for the summer holidays are to flesh out our ideas and hopefully start construction on some of the landscape elements, if for no other reason than to get a better understanding as to how the game plays.  I want to try and create a 'shopping' list of the miniatures needed and plan out some colour palettes whilst James wrestles with the intricacies of a castle, gatehouse and bridge!  

We hope to share updates as we progress, particularly of areas that might be of interest to the larger modelling and gaming world and would welcome any feedback or suggestions that you might have as we are acutely aware that we are somewhat out of our comfort zone, but relishing every creative minute of the experience.  

61 comments:

  1. Sounds like a plan! I shall look forward to the game.

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    1. Thank you Ray, don't forget to take some photographs in your capacity as press officer. ;)

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  2. Sounds awesome, Michael, and very well done sir!! Looking forward to "Salute" 2020 even more now :-)

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    1. Thank you so much Simon, looking forward to seeing you there again.

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  3. Wow! That sounds great! I'm now already exited about Salute 2020!
    Best Iain

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    1. That is the sort of encouragement we were hoping for, thank you Iain.

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  4. I read about the Battle for Schloss Itter a few years ago, and found it a real example of the strange tides of war. An interesting project, and I look forward to what you both come up with.

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    1. Thank you so much A.J. it is a completely improbable story, but one we felt we needed to share with the pupils and a wider audience.

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  5. Congrats on bagging a table - I look forward to seeing it in April :)

    Just in terms of practicality, it might be best to go 15mm rather than 28mm; the castle and battlefield would be about 250 x 400 yards; that would be a 7.5 x 10'table at 15mm scale.

    Rather than writing your own rules, it might be worth checking out one of the various company level rules already out there - PBI from Peter Pig or I Ain't Been Shot Mum from Too fat Lardies for Instance (or "Big Chain of Command" by those fine-bodies gentlemen).

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    1. Thank you Tamsin, not long now! Thank you also for the advice. We are going big with a 10' x 6' table and our thoughts at the moment are that the castle is the start of the show, certainly with regards to the lecture. Game play at the moment is being considered along the lines of boardgame and I am tinkering around with elements of Congo, Donnybrook and Zombicide!

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  6. What a splendid idea, Michael. I shall definitely call by on the day - possibly to play, but also to shake Mr Walters by the hand and congratulate him on both the previous and this oroject. Might be worth speaking to Steve, as he could assist with the rules as he's pretty good with stuff like that.

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    1. Thank you Jez, we shall have seat with your name on it! :) Steve is a great shout, I wonder if he would read through what I have scribbled down so far?

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    2. I can't imagine he'd be averse to looking them pver. He did help you out with the solo play for IA, after all. Can't hurt to ask, as if he says no, you're in no worse position than you are now. A philosophy that has garnered me many dates over the years...prior to getting married, naturally.

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    3. Well that made me chuckle! I shall have to pluck up the courage to show Steve my scribblings.

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    1. Thank you Nick, I may well be picking your brains with regards to painting techniques and correct uniforms if that would be alright?

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  8. What an excellent project to get your teeth into.
    baordgamegeek have a print and play boardgameversion of the battle that may be useful too (all free files quite a long way down the page):
    https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/196257/castle-itter

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    1. Joe, thank you so much! Definitely going to have a look at these. We were aware that there was a boardgame out there because it kept coming up on an image search. Should prove very useful.

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  9. This is going to be just fabulous. I look forward to seeing this project develop over the coming months - I know you and James will make it a feast for the eyes.

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    1. Thank you so much Curt, we are going for 'Wow', just hope we deliver!

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  10. Ha! That's will be great!
    See You there ;-)

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    1. Wonderful news Michal, it would be great to finally say hello!

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  11. A most excellent idea. Lookin forward to seeing this develop

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    1. Thank you so much Dave and let's not underestimate just how much inspiration your 'big' games have had on us.

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  12. Good news will watch the project develop and you never know I might just come to the smoke next year 😀

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  13. Great idea Michael, I will be looking forward to the updates and ultimately seeing it in all its glory at Salute next year.

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    1. Thank you Pat, I may well be picking your brains before too long.

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  14. Wonderful plan, I look forward to the many updates regarding the project.
    It's a shame I won't be able to see it in real life with my own eyes.

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    1. Thank you, great to have you along for the ride.

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  15. This sounds just incredible!! What an absolutely brilliant idea and I can not wait to watch the progress on it throughout the year :)

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    1. Thank you so much Ivor, this is just the sort of encouragement we are going to need!

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  16. Ooh, a marvelous project, Michael. The battle is unique and I don't recall ever seeing it gamed. This would be amazing, particularly with the castle being designed on the historical evidence. Best wishes and looking forward to seeing the progress.

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    1. Thank you so much Dean. I am sure there will be some twists and turns along the way, but we are looking forward to the adventure.

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  17. Stunning and very interesting project, congrats!

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  18. I'll come and give you a shout. That looks like one hell of a project, so I am looking forward to seeing how it progresses.

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    1. Thank you Mike, I shall make sure we reserve you a spot.

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  19. Looks to be a formidable project, but keep the faith & you will see it through! Will be an interesting journey to follow along as it progresses!

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    1. Thank you Terry, I think we are only just starting to realise what we have let ourselves in for.

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  20. Slowly spreading the love for this hobby to your pupils I see ... and educating them to boot. Good work!

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  21. Replies
    1. PS..if you want any help with German Details on the battle just ask. I´ll see if I can dig any up anyway.

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    2. Thank you Paul, I would certainly be interested to see if there is a different perspective on the battle. I have members of the 17th SS Division as being involved, but little corroborating evidence.

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    3. Here´s something I found.Not in german ut adds a couple of interesting bits such as firing the .30cal as a Signal to the Shermans. Hellcat News.12th Armored Division
      Excerpts from divisional newspaper printed in Germany shortly after V-E Day.
      Scroll down to "12th Men Free French Big-Wigs"
      http://www.lonesentry.com/newspapers/12tharmored/

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    4. Historynet Version from 2009
      https://www.historynet.com/the-battle-for-castle-itter.htm

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    5. Thank you Paul, the Historynet article is written by the same author of the book I had read, so fairly familiar. The divisional newspaper is a great find though. Thank you!

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  22. I'll be following this with interest. I love seeing how a big project comes together, and the thought process behind it.

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    1. Thank you, we feel that we might need the ongoing support, hence sharing here.

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  23. Great idea Michael, hopefully I will get a bit of time to come and see it on the day

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  24. That's suitably ambitious Michael, I can't wait to see the results

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