Devacon 2019: Cross Of Irn Brew

This is a Very British Civil War 1938 scenario for running at Devacon using Mercenaries, Spies & Private Eyes. It’s set in an alternate history we’re Edward VIII refused to abdicate plunging British into a civil war relying on facist bully boys for support.

Based on invaluable intelligence acquired from George Formby a impromptu squadron of up to 7 freedom fighter pilots is despatched to save the Isle of Man from invasion by the dastardly Royal Air Force.

Should the RAF take the Isle of Man it can cut off supplies to the Liverpool Free State, Scottish Republic, Ireland and Welsh rebel groups.

The Choice of Pilots

1.Harry Fairweather, ex-Royal Navy

Devil may care adventurer in a Gloucester Gladiator

2.Porco Rosso

Cursed anti Facist Italian mercenary humanoid pig

3. Lieutenant Coleridge & Sergeant Hoover, Irish American ‘Wild Geese’ Squadron

Two fisted pilot & observer of a Consolidated P-30

4. Lieutenant Gertrude Stein, Comintern Volunteer Squadron

Dour international communist in a ‘rats’ fighter

5. Lieutenant Hamish McCrae, Scottish Republican Air Force

Gentlemanly open hearted Scot knight of the air, flying a Fokker XXI.

6. Flight Lieutenant Hugh Evans, Welsh Free Air Force

Hard drinking bitter survivor flying a Westland Whirlwind.

7. Robert Vaughan, mercenary pilot

Survivor of a dozen wars just after a place to rest.

And three members of the Birkenhead badgers squadron

8. Sir Swintin Swinton

Quietly spoken and modest 5’7″ the bespectacled and balding Smith is an eccentric man of letters who developed an interest in flying as part of obscure spiritualist experiments. He is keenly attractive with an open face which shows little if any ravages of his debauched lifestyle.  Changing his lady friends as often has his headgear (he tends to rotate between fez, Pith helmet, arab headdress and sikh turban depending on the ‘spiritual moment’) he is well known figure about town. His spiritualism in a time of war has made him popular amongst the rich and them popular with his pocket. A unspecific for fierce socialism motivates him to fight for Free State and to pass on his earnings as a medium to the Squadron coffers. He flies a Polish PZL-P7 which he acquired before the wars from a customer who was a Polish General’s wife

9. Samson Loss

A strapping 6’5 working class Londoner with a full beard and thick hair . He wears spectacles and has surprisingly sensitive eyes. He also has a very committed sweat tooth. He’s a committed if eloquent socialist which may explain his service to the Free State. His piloting skills have been developed at the Squadron, and he has worked as a hospital orderly so knows a little first aid.  He flies a Gloster Gauntlet fighter in yellow livery. He also refuses to follow any encouragement to take physical exercise.

10. Jane Cliff

An outspoken Liverpudlian firebrand never happier downing shots or downing Royalists flies a Dewoitine D.500 donated by the French.

Published in: on February 23, 2019 at 7:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Random Royal Highway Patrol equipment table

For roleplaying purposes if PCs encounter a bunch of Royal highway patrol here’s a random table for their kit & appearance

Roll 2d6 for headgear, body, legs & arms for each thug – sorry – Constable.

Random Royal Highway Patrol or other Auxies table

Roll Headgear Body Trousers Arms

2 Slouch hat/ RCMP Stetson RIC Tunic RIC trousers Lever action rifle

3 RIC Tam O’Shanter Khaki overcoat Cavalry jodhpurs / boots Automatic pistol

4 Army Tam O’Shanter Leather jerkin Khaki shorts Revolver

5 Glengarry Trench coat Oxford bags SMG

6 Fedora Civilian shirt & tank top Suit trousers LMG (chaucaut, BAR, Lewis etc )

7 Flat Cap RAF tunic RAF trousers Military Bolt action Rifle

8 Army / RAF Service cap Navy Reefer Jacket Coudroy trousees sawn off Shotgun

9 Navy Cap Policeman’s tunic Policeman trousers Elephant gun

10 Police helmet Army Service tunic Army trousers Pump action shotgun

11 Brodie / steel helmet Leather jacket Leather trousers Hunting rifle

12 Motorcycle helmet Tweed jacket Tweed trousers Military Bolt action Rifle

for ease here’s the recap of the RHPG

Royal Highway Patrol Group

RHPG Cap Badge normally worn on blue backing.

A special kind of auxie the RHPG is dedicated to keeping the King’s Highways free of bandits, red and rebels. Recruited from all over the Empire and beyond they pretty much wear what they like as long as they have a RHPG cap badge somewhere (sometimes worn as a broach) and a blue scarf/kneckerchief. They range the roads in heavily gunned vehicles. For head-gear Canadian style mountie hats are popular as our various steel helmets, Tam O’shanter, civillian fedoras and flat caps.  The ‘typical uniform’ is  a blue shirt, khaki pullover, black slacks and a waxed barbour or burberry jacket but really anything goes.

For personal weapons each patrol member typically carries at least 2 pistols (usually 9mm automatics) and amongst the Lee Enfields and pump action shotguns the force has a number of Sumoi Finnish sub machine guns which are very popular. A fashion for machetes, kukri and hatchets is also prevalent. Vehicles are festooned with a variety of Vickers  machine guns, Lewis guns, some of the new fangled Brens, Boyes anti-tank rifles and even occasionally a full-bodied anti-tank or AA gun.

Boyes rifle armed RHPG Truck

They rely on speed and firepower rather than numbers and you never can tell where a RHPG  patrol will turn up next.  Their very mobility means they care little for the preferences of local leaders like Boyce and Farndon (both hold them in contempt) and their patrols range where they like. Neither Army nor Police they don’t answer to either but their approach tends to be swashbuckling and piractical in an Errol Flynn kind of way.

Thanks to Stormwell from the Gentlemen’s Wargame Parlour for permission to use his concept.

The selection test for the RHPG which is very much His Majesty’s personal project consists of:

▪  being able to recite a portion of the classics from memory

▪ field strip and reassemble a vickers HMG blindfolded

▪ fast draw a pistol and hip shooting put half a magazine into a  playing card from 10 paces

▪ and drink half a bottle of gin and fix a mechanical problem with a vehicle engine.

RHPG Commanders vehicle

Published in: on December 23, 2018 at 6:49 am  Leave a Comment  
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Grogmeet 2017 & Devacon 2018: Operation Ladybird (the liver bird has landed) 

Classification: MOST SECRET

Originating HQ: A.L.F.I.E.S ‘C’
Task Organisation: Field Team of 4-6 Agents
Situation:  Entertainer George Formby while playing the hapless apolitical fool has been an agent of the Liverpool Free State gathering intelligence from Royalist-Fascists and carrying messages between resistance groups.

Uncovered by MI5 he fled London in a commercial Dragon airliner intending to fly to the Irish Republic Unfortunately government forces scrambled the RAF Gladiators and they shot down the plane over Cheshire.

Cheshire is more Royalist than fascist being under the Command of Lord Farndon. However Formby was captured alive from the wreckage by members of a Bolton BUF ‘the wanderers’ Battalion posted to Peckforton Castle for rest and recuperation following a mauling at the battle of Down Holland Cross.

This has led to an impass -despite being on the same side the Royalists want Formby and the Fascists want his intelligence. Formby is being held while BUF interrogators are being sent from Manchester.

Formby’a rescue would be a boost to the morale of besieged Liverpool. Both the intelligence he has gathered and what he could give away to the enemy are vital to the resistance. Therefore an ALFIES team is being despatched to rescue him.
Opposing Forces
The 10th BUF ‘the Wanderers’ Battalion under Battalion Leader ‘Paddy bashed’ McGuiness. Recently mauled it is believed to be low morale posted to Cheshire to avoid desertions.

A patrol of the Royal Highway Patrol watching the BUF in Peckforton Castle.

Local police and the Cheshire Oublic Schoolboys Battalion billeted in local villages.

Possible Friendly forces:
Sandstone Spy Ring – a network of local Resistance agents – mainly pro Anglican league spinsters. Mission Objectives:
Rescue George Formby.

Create tension between the BUF and Royakust forces.

Cause discomfort to the enemy

Infiltration: The Team will be flown in by the Birkenhead Badgers.

Extraction: By the teams initative.

The Team:

Will be 4-6 members picked from

Comrade Miller, TUC Workers Army – surveillance and radio operator

Sir Hilary Bray, Albertine (supports a monarchy under King’s Brother) member of Royal college of Heralds. Establishment cover and Great War army veteran.

Tuvia Beilski, Comintern advisor

Peter Furst, Bootle IRA hitman

Joe Roberts, Ex Tank Rehiment deserter serving with Liverpool Scottish. Mechanic and driver.

Lt Rufus Excalibur ffolkes (Royal Navy retired)  – demolitions and explosives.

Maria the Cleaner (click link) assassin

Sister Hilary Wilkes, Anglican league nun and resistance contact.

Brenda McIntyre,  US volunteer

Published in: on May 25, 2017 at 6:17 am  Comments (1)  

Grogmeet 2017: the Liver Bird has landed 

I am once again honoured to be running a game as at Grogmeet 2017 the annual convention run by the excellent Grognod Files podcast.

This occasion I am going to revisit my roleplaying version of Solway Minatures Very British Civil War 1938 background.  Edward VIII has refused to abdicate and appointed Oswald Moseley his Prime Minister. Amongst the forces opposing this unconstitutional government is the Liverpool Free State.

The player characters are spies and commandos of the Amagumated Liverpool Free Intelligences and Espionage Service (ALFIES.) There are plenty to choose from. I will add some female potential PCs too in addition to Maria the cleaner.

In  the convention game ‘The Liver Bird has landed’ (OPERATION LADYBIRD) the players mission is to rescue George Formby who is being held prisoner by government forces in Peckforton Castle.

The entertainer is not only an inspiration to the Resistance but also knows about rebel groups and is being tourtured for that information.

Player characters have to get behind enemy lines and somehow grab Formby and get him out or at least to a pick up point…

System wise I’m a little undecided – all my previous Alfie’s games have used GURPS which works very well but given the Grognodfiles focus on old games I may try a conversion to Daredevils or Top Secret. 

(Peckforton Castle is an Edwardian mock castle where Doctor Who’s the Time Warrior, BBC’s worse witch and Patrick Bergen’s Robin Hood was filmed.) 

Published in: on February 27, 2017 at 7:44 pm  Comments (1)  
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Collating all the Alfies artwork I got done 

Mainly by David Wynne – 1 piece (tan o’shanter) by Stephen Downey -rest by me (rubbish) and players 

Published in: on January 10, 2017 at 6:52 am  Leave a Comment  

2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 20 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Published in: on January 1, 2014 at 9:07 am  Leave a Comment  

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,600 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Published in: on December 31, 2012 at 11:52 am  Leave a Comment  

Visit to HMS Belfast

I recently visited HMS Belfast. I ddin’t take enough photos but from an ALFIES antics perspective it was an interesting trip. The Belfast is typical of the warships the mutinious Royal Navy sailors in service of the Liverpool Free State have under their control. Lacking sufficent sailors to man them at sea the large capital ships like Belfast sit off beached on sand banks adding the significant firepower of their main guns to supporting the City’s defenders and their anti-aircraft weaponary to the defence of the City and it’s supply fleets as they enter the Mersey. The size and complexity of the ship combined with elements of real spit and sawdust (like the simplicity of the Sick Bay and living quarters) was impressive, here’s a far too brief slide show.

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I bashed my knees on the ships ladders and caught my head a couple of times – any character above average height will take a few knocks aboard on of these, espically in chiopppy waters.

Published in: on September 2, 2012 at 7:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

Western Approaches Bunker

I recently visited the Western Approaches bunker in Liverpool by exchange flags ( ). It was great fun – from this underground complex the Battle of the Atlantic was run with Naval and RAF forces being co-ordinated to get convoys safely into Britian and destroy German submarines, aircraft and surface units trying to starve the UK into submission.

From a Very British Civil War  perspective the trip served two purposes:

  • The Free City of Liverpool would have had a similar if much smaller operation to rpotect the shipping in of it’s supplies.
  • The ground war of efendign the beseiged city could well have had a similar type headquarters,

He’s a slide show of the trip:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Published in: on May 4, 2012 at 5:26 am  Leave a Comment  
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ALFIES antics – the story so far, Spies, Ernest Hemingway and Zeppelins

Due to the brand new real life adventure I shall call BABYGEDDON this campaign is currently on hiatus. However I thought I’d take this opportunity to pull together a summary of the adventures so far. The Game has run so far from New Year till December 2011. In game time May-Christmas 1938


In the world of a Very British Civil War Edward VII did not abdicate but appointed British Union of Fascists leader Oswold Mosley as his Prime Minister. The country has collapsed into various factions including a ‘Free City’ of Liverpool which opposes the Royalist-BUF Government. The player characters in the game are spies for the Free State in the Amalgamated Liverpool Free Intelligence & Espionage Service (for more see Briefing.)

The mission report tab on the upper right hand side contains all the mission reports tied together in catergories but her is just a taste of them:

Operation Aphid

This was a cold-war style adventure extracting a spy with vital information from Government held Manchester with aid of the Manchester resistance.

Operation Beetle

This was an ‘off camera’ mission to establish an escape line in enemy territory (Cheshire.) They’d been an aspiration to play it by email but time constraints got in the way.


Operation Cricket

From the information gained in Operation Aphid agents infiltrated a railgun base built into the side of Cheshire landmark, Alderly Edge,


Operation Daddy Long Legs

A raucous night providing inept security for visiting journalist and hell-raiser Ernest hemingway as he carouses his way across Liverpool accompanied by amongst others a chain smoking cynical Belgian journalist Tin Tin.

Operation Earwig

A long term plan to create anti-Government forces in the Lake District – still ongoing (though the politicians in Liverpool are likely to yank control of this operation off ALFIES freeing the characters for more ‘won and done’ missions.)

Operation Flea / Grasshopper

A plan to fulfil a promise from Operation Aphid goes unexpectedly wrong – with zeppelin warships and sinister submarines (in progress.)

Published in: on March 29, 2012 at 9:06 am  Leave a Comment