Sunday, 15 March 2020

Preparing to play 'Tilly’s Very Bad Day'

I was planning to play Tilly’s Very Bad Day for the first time later this month, but that prospect has receded into the distant future thanks to the rapid spread of Covid-19 and the impending great lockdown. Most people seem to have already gone into voluntary isolation here in the UK. Ticking one of the vulnerable boxes (age) I have also begun to become more cautious.

Anyway, remaining calm and carrying on, I've made a checklist of things to take. Simon Jones has a great scheme for organising playing aids but I haven’t got round to that yet.

The 6mm figure bases are currently being painted and will need to be stripped from their painting bases if they are not finished, but what else will I actually need?

Mat. I'm planning a small game initially. A 3' mat would be ideal for 60mm base frontages but the nearest I currently have is 4' square. I have, however, ordered a 3' one and it should be here long before the end of the Coronavirus crisis.

Scenery. Little of my scenery conforms exactly to the measurements for Small, Medium (the default) and Large pieces as defined in the rules, but I think they are near enough. I have a BUA, hill, woods, an enclosed field, physically flat fields masquerading as fields in season, areas of rough ground, felt templates and trees for woods, streams, roads and, should I care to deploy it, a river.

Measures. I've made some card rulers going up to 8 TUM (240mm in my case) which cover movement and small-arms shooting. As artillery range is unlimited, tape measures don't seem to be needed.

Cardboard Markers. Artwork is very usefully provided in the rules.

Cotton Wool to show units that have fired/moved. Almost forgot that.

Dice. At least three different colours required. 6 of each for each player should cover it.

The Rules. Two printed copies.

QRS. None as yet. I'll get a better idea if one would be useful after playing.

This translates as:

3 TUFF boxes of TYW figures
1 Mat (3' x 3')
6mm Scenery
TUM Rulers
Cardboard Markers
Cotton Wool
TVBD Rules

Perhaps a 'what-you-need-to-play' section would be useful in the rules themselves.


  1. Hello Richard,
    Good luck with your game. You might be able to get some of your 6mm terrain into your rules box, if you get one with the tray insert. Like the one I use for Poseidon’s Warriors for example.
    As for the Pandemic, I would not let the panic get to you. Remember we are British and just be sensible and take precautions about things.


    1. Hi Simon

      I'm gradually moving towards discrete sets of game aids, even though this involves some redundancy. Redundancy brings resilience, something our globalised, rationalised, borderless world has lost sight of.

      Scenery, however, is still shared across different games and even across different scales, and it would be going too far to duplicate it. I now store my scenery in large, labeled RUBs and then transfer it temporarily into other RUBs to take out as required for specific games.

      I'm not panicking about the virus but I have been preparing. Like most people, we seem to be a little ahead of the government but only just. The writing is on the wall for those who can read. I'm not at all surprised by the pandemic or the changes it will bring.

      Keep safe.


  2. Good organisation. I am voluntarily reducing social contact on a basis of 50% reduction and have been surprised on the impact that has given me for hobby time ... or rather getting hobby jobs done.

    1. We eat out twice last week (family birthdays) and also visited a couple of other towns via public transport. It was obvious to us that general footfall had already fallen by over 50%, so I would say that most people were being more cautious than us.

      We have not been hoarding hand sanitiser because it’s impossible to buy it. I’ve therefore made some from isopropyl alcohol (which I had for modelling purposes) and moisturising cream. It needs to be 2/3 alcohol. You can add a couple of drops of essential oil of your choice.

      We are still walking the dog but will not be going to the indoor gatherings we would normally attend.

  3. Hello Richard,
    That’s pretty much what I do with my scenery. I do like a labelled RUB as well.


    1. Once you reach a critical level of clutter (I've reached and surpassed it) it's very difficult to find anything. I'm therefore planning to label everything, not just RUBs!

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