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  Leave a Comment  

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:

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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  

ALFIES Q Branch present: The Liver Lobber


Members of the 33rd (Old Swan) TUC Company, Workers Army (‘the cygnets’) defending the Broadgreen front with a Liver Lobber

The Liver Lobber was a Liverpool Free State hand-held anti-tank weapon developed during the British Civil. The ‘Lobber was designed in late 1938 by the Quartermaster Branch of the Amalgamated Liverpool Free Intelligence and Espionage Service in response to their agents need for an effective infantry anti-tank weapon, and entered service in December 1939.

The Liver Lobber was based on the spigot mortar system, that launched a 2.5 pounds (1.1 kg) bomb using a powerful spring and a cartridge on the tail of the projectile. It possessed an effective range of approximately 115 yards (110 m)[3] in a direct fire anti-tank role, and 350 yards (320 m)[3] in an indirect fire ‘house-breaking’ role. The PIAT had several advantages over other infantry anti-tank weapons of the period, which included a lack of muzzle smoke to reveal the position of the user, and an inexpensive barrel; however, this was countered by, amongst other things, a difficulty in cocking the weapon, the bruising the user received when firing it, and problems with its penetrative power.

                     ALFIES Q Branch stores of Liver Lobbers

The lobber was first used by ALFIES partisan teams attacking British Union of Fascist armoured narrow boats supporting a Government offensive down the Leeds=Liverpool Canal.

The design was widely copied by various Liverpool militias, single weapons being issued to platoons or companies. Different units have their ‘Lobbers made to different specifications by their backyard workshops with some units preferring wooden furniture, pressed metal and securing alternative projectiles (high explosive, white prosperous as well the usual armour piercing.)

The Bessie Braddock ‘Amazons’ All-Women’s Brigade went as far as to give several dozen weapons in dedicated ‘Dinner Lady’ platoons(a pun on ‘Liver’) in its support (3rd) battalion. By 1939 the weapon was paid the ultimate compliment captured examples and copies being used by BUF miltiias fighting on the government side.

Published in: on February 5, 2012 at 9:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Operation Cricket Poster

Poster commissioned for ‘Operation cricket’ the ALFIES scenrio ran last spring summer – very happy with it . Artwork by David Wynne whose work you can view here


Published in: on January 31, 2012 at 6:19 pm  Comments (1)