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Shortly before Christmas 2009 a handful of wargamers – mainly acquaintances of my old friend Jan Willem – gathered for an improvised WWII tank battle on my ping pong table. It was to be my first tabletop game in, oh, twenty-five years. Even though I wanted to make a fresh start, I didn’t want to spend serious money prematurely so I had only my DIY skills to go by.

The Prokhorovka scenario was nicked from the Web. For the sake of simplicity the game would be tanks-only and the Spearhead rules seemed the most suitable. The 10mm tanks and scenery were scratch-built by Yours Truly. The bottom of the command T-34 in the first picture – teh Kellogg’s – says it all. I was afraid my battalions would look like shit, but the overall impression was quite acceptable.

The attending company made up for residual shortcomings and the game was fun, not just for my young sons and myself but for the veterans as well. My cat’s diversionary tactics and my son Daan’s talents were duly noted.

The armour and command rules from Arty Conliffe’s Spearhead proved a good choice. We had three runs in all (only Owen had four…) and on the third we discovered that even cardboard armour can form a successful Panzerkeil. With the point Tigers drawing most of the Russian fire, the wings of weaker Panzer III’s and IV’s made it across open fields and bridges in sufficient numbers to press home an authentic Gegenangriff. Observe.

Nowadays my tables look differently.