Editing the Summer and Christmas Specials must rate as one of our favourite jobs here on Lard Island, and this latest edition has been one of the most fun that we’re produced in what is now the seventh year of their existence. In some ways the history of the Lardy Special is somewhat odd. Initially the 2004 Summer Special was produced as a stop-gap as at the time we had very little supplementary material available for our rules and the plan was to try to provide a smorgasbord of scenarios, articles and rules ideas for people to sample. Since then the Specials have become hugely popular and much anticipated – look at our web site and you’ll see that second and third in the “hit parade” of products sold are the Summer and Christmas Specials from 2009, only Sharp Practice outsells the Specials.
Our objectives with any Special are fairly broad. In the first place we want to always provide some kind of supplement or self contained game. Over the years we’ve covered the Falklands, Korea, a fast-play version of Algernon Pulls it Off, Corps Blimey, and many others. This year I think we have really got a couple of crackers with Chris Stoesen’s Malta Convoy Campaign system and the Battle for Hue expansion and mini campaign for Charlie Don’t Surf. Some of the most fun games we’ve had with Bag the Hun2 have been attacking shipping, and the opportunity to do that as part of a campaign is going to be fantastic fun. Hue is an interesting subject as it really saw the US Marines developing their own brand of urban warfare tactics. How these developed and the story fo the battle is charted, along with rule amendments for refighting Hue and a mini-campaign of linked scenarios that see the gamer attempt to relieve the MACV compound on the first day of the battle. Semper Fi!
In addition we have always attempted to bring you the freshest ideas for developing, tweaking or simply stripping out and replacing rule mechanisms wholesale. Joe Legan piles in with the sledgehammer and rebuilds two sections of Bag the Hun2, with ‘Brag the Hun’ a fresh look at attacking ground targets, and ‘You’re Havin’ a LAAF’, his new Anti-Aircraft rules. James Schmidt comes up with some interesting suggestions for doing away with card decks altogether and Tim Beresford has some great ideas on making your Blinds more aesthetically pleasing.
Of course we have always wanted the wargamer’s bread and butter: scenarios, and this edition has them by the skip load. OverLeutnant von Strüdelheim makes his entrance as a new character for Sharp Practice as he leads his Austrian Jäger on a wine snatching exercise on the banks of the Danube in 1809. Tom Ballou takes a detailed look at the battles of Mill Springs and then suggests how to run the game with “They Couldn’t Hit An Elephant” (see Tom and his fantastic looking game on the US Convention circuit where he and his buddies are running the same scenario with three different sets of rules). Housewives’ favourite Max Maxwell is back with two scenarios both using Through the Mud and the Blood, but neither are for the Great War. “Toro!” is set in 1936 on the outskirts of Madrid, while the superb “Get the Fakin’ Fakir” is a rather jolly inter-war bash on the North West Frontier.
Charlie Don’t Surf is well represented in this issue. As well as the Hue expansion we have an introduction to VC tactics with “Winning Here with Charlie” that provides not just an overview of how the PAVN fought, but also how to replicate that on the table-top and how to hone your skills whether you are controlling Free World or Communist forces. Charles Eckart provides us with “A Bird in the Trees” where a LRRP group has been inserted to find a helicopter crash site on the Cambodian border while Robert Avery has written “Manchu Alpha” which begins with US forces pinned down on the banks of the Saigon River.
Stephen Milam provides us with some data on British Jets of the post-war period for Bag the Mig, Allen Coleman takes us to the Arse End of Nowhere with “The Mad Baron and the Living Buddha”, we have two scenarios set on Sicily for IABSM, one with British, one with US forces. We head for Tamames and the 1809 battle for Le Feu Sacré, Moncacy for The Couldn’t Hit an Elephant and then Sir Sidney Roundwood presents two excellent scenarios on the Western Front for Through the Mud and the Blood, both examining cavalry and armour cooperation as they attempt to reach the green fields beyond. The Flight of the Golden Pheasant is a WWII skirmish game with a difference. Set in 1945 a Gauleiter is on the run and in desperate need of transport while some Soviet chaps have the transport and are in desperate need of a Gauleiter.
Fat Nick weighs the anchor and hoists the White Ensign as he says “Make Sail for Montechristo” and attempts to cut out a ship with Kiss Me Hardy, whilst simultaneously taking a trip up the Tigris as he attempts to rescue Townshend in Kut with a scenario for If the Lord Spares Us.
All in all it is a real bumper issue with something, we hope, for everyone. It’s 142 pages in length and we are still holding the price at a great value £5 for the seventh year running. If only the landlord at the Lard Island Arms took the same approach with his beer!
2008 and was the biggest publishing schedule that we have ever had, and the feedback we have recieved from that has been fantastic. Now 2009 looks like being just as exciting with several now products en-route and several old favourites returning to centre stage. Charlie Don’t Surf, our long awaited Viet Nam rules, are nearing