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Nigel
post Jun 27 2017, 12:27 PM
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Well, I finally took a chance and just turned up at the club on Sunday with a big box (technically a bag: one of those foam troop transporters) of toys (my Mexican Revolution collection) to see what would happen, and based on 963(!) views of my post on this forum of two years ago without a single response, wasn't really expecting any interest. Somehow my timing turned out to be perfect: there was another newbie (or rather renewbie; he was returning to the fold after 20 years out of the hobby) there (hello Mike) looking for a game, and open to playing anything. We had a very enjoyable game, and Mike even said he was keen to do more Mex Rev(!). Even though it's not a core interest of mine I'm happy to play some Napoleonics too, so his toys can get an airing.

I also sensed that the balance of interest at the club has further shifted away from the dominance of GW products towards other game systems and even... historicals. I've observed this process developing very gradually over many years of very occasional visits. This is all very promising, and will probably result in me making regular use of the facilities.

Anyway, following on from the last point, my main aim in this post is to promote interest in a new (to the club; it was released in 2014) historical rules system: Lion Rampant, by Daniel Mersey. This is one of the slim, relatively inexpensive Osprey Blue Book series of miniatures games, of which there are now about twenty (I have about half of them). It's an easy-play, scenario-based medieval skirmish game that only requires around fifty figures per player. It's the best selling book in the series. The premise underlying the game is that most warfare in the medieval period was of the petty variety: raids, ambushes of supply convoys, tax collecting and the resistance thereto, and so on. Field battles were rare, and not what LR is designed to represent.

In detail, what I propose is that participants each collect a Lion Rampant army. The setting for games would be a fictitious, strife-torn region of 13th century Europe located where the influence of a number of cultures and languages overlaps. The central monarchy is weak, and so the local barons are constantly fighting among themselves for dominance. There's a number of historical examples of this type of situation (e.g. the period known as The Anarchy, in 12th century England). The point is that a noble of this type would control a small feudal army numbering at most in the hundreds, and usually a lot less. Without the constraints of precise geography and slavish adherence to real history players would be free to invent their own noble families and coats-of-arms (although it would be perfectly acceptable to repurpose an historical design), with family names and titles hinting of French, German, or Italian origins - and the sillier the better :- ).

One-off games of LR are fun, but to get the best out of this concept, once everyone has enough playing experience I think a campaign would be in order... and it just happens that I have the ideal vehicle: a simple, stylised boardgame from the internet for up to six players called 'Battle of the Barons', designed to simulate exactly the type of historical context I describe. The campaign could also incorporate sieges, which were relatively common, and if a field battle does occur I have Fireforge's own mass battles rule set, 'Deus Vult'.

I selected 13th century Europe as the setting so that players can, if they wish, source all the figures they need from the readily accessible Fireforge plastic range, thus keeping costs down compared to metal (although if a participant wanted to use metal figures there'd be no reason why he couldn't). Also, the favoured missile weapon on the continent was the crossbow, which neatly avoids any need to buy archers; for reasons unknown, the Fireforge archers cost twice as much as their crossbowmen. I know that Gripping Beast and Conquest make plastic archer sets, but they're Dark Ages, not medieval.

Now to once again sit back and watch hundreds of views accumulate without a single response :- ).



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Arch_Magos_Kasen
post Jun 27 2017, 12:44 PM
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Lion Rampant is the bomb smile.gif Hope you can organise some players mate.


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Nigel
post Jun 27 2017, 05:28 PM
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Mein Gott im Himmel! A response ohmy.gif

I forgot to mention that there's a fantasy variant: Dragon Rampant. It's the same rules system with added fantastical elements. So... Warhammer gamers looking for something different who play Lion Rampant will be acquiring transferrable knowledge that will set them up nicely for Dragon Rampant games... and they can even use their LR armies for DR biggrin.gif
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b20f08
post Jun 27 2017, 08:06 PM
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Diehard LR fan here. Good to see more LR followers. Be good to see some AAR too. armata_PDT_34.gif


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Dust Warrior
post Jun 29 2017, 09:42 PM
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The game gets played all over the state, even if it isn't a core game. It does make for a nice distraction where there aren't many rules to remember. I prefer it to Dragon Rampant because I have lots of other fantasy based wargame options.
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Raven
post Jul 1 2017, 08:54 AM
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As always any game is welcome at Southern War gamers and I think it is great to see some Sundays that there are half a dozen plus tables on the go with a different game on each table. So it would be great for a new game to establish and a campaign develop.
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Nigel
post Jul 6 2017, 05:58 PM
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In case anyone at SW is actually interested in trying this, what you'll need is:

!. A copy of Lion Rampant. It's very reasonably priced in either soft-cover or electronic form.

2. A retinue (the game's term for an army). To keep things on an even keel all the retinues would be composed of the same units. Some of the unit types listed in LR won't be needed, either because they weren't present in the sort of geographical region the games and campaign would be set in, or because they weren't used by the minor feudal nobles players will represent. Players will require one unit each of Mounted Men-at-Arms, Mounted Sergeants, Foot Men-at-arms (representing the Mounted Men-at-arms when serving dismounted, so they should be painted identically to the mounted figures), Foot Sergeants, and Crossbowmen. All these are available in the Fireforge plastic range.

Fortunately it just happens that the contents of the various Fireforge sets line up perfectly with Lion Rampant's unit sizes. The first three unit types listed above have six figures, and the other two twelve figures per unit, however, a box will provide enough for more than one player, so participants should generally get together and share the cost of a set.

Mounted MAA can be found in two sets: Teutonic Knights and Templar knights, and Mounted Sergeants can be made from the Sergeants set. All of these contain twelve riders and horses, but as a cautionary note, half the horses in the Templar Knights box are unarmoured, whereas LR assumes armoured horses for Mounted MAA. Also, most of the heads in that set wear 12th century helmets. All up the Teutonic Knights set is more useful to us, even if some of the helmet adornments are a bit over the top and would be best removed. The rider bodies are the same in all three sets, so a prospective participant could buy a set of Templars and he'd be able to make Mounted MAA and Mounted Sergeants from it by using spare heads from other sets (every set contains more heads than needed), of which there should be plenty floating about if enough people get involved in this project.

The Fireforge Foot Sergeants set contains enough parts to make 48 figures (all depicted wearing fabric and cotton armour): all Foot Sergeants with spear and shield, or up to 24 crossbowmen, so it will provide two players with a unit of each if they share the cost.

The anomalies in the Fireforge range are the two knightly order infantry sets (i.e. Templar Infantry and Teutonic Infantry), which although containing only 24 figures, are priced the same as the other boxes, including the 48-figure Foot Sergeants set! Why they're twice as expensive on a per figure basis I have no idea, but if you need Foot MAA you have no choice but to buy them. Only twelve of the bodies in each set represent dismounted MAA; the other twelve are armoured infantry in mail, which can mixed into Foot Sergeant and Crossbowmen units with the figures from the Foot Sergeants set without problems (infantry armour always varied within units in this period). The set includes mail-clad arms holding spears or crossbows.

I'm thinking of also including a unit of Foot Yeomen (12 figures) and a unit of Bidowers (6 figures) in each army. These aren't available in the Fireforge range, but I have plenty of suitable metal peasant figures that just need a change of weapon and, for the Yeomen, the addition of a spare shield from the plastic sets, that I'd be happy to sell for a dollar each.

What about the boss... the baron, you might be thinking. In the game your leader is attached to and part of a unit throughout, so it's simply a matter of selecting one of your Mounted and Foot MAA and giving it special treatment when painting. You can also make a good case for using a Teutonic Knights set head with one of those outrageous helmet adornments, probably painted gold, to make him especially distinctive on the tabletop smile.gif .

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Nigel
post Jul 7 2017, 09:50 AM
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The units listed above are actually the bare essentials required; what players will really need is enough units to field 24 points, which is the standard retinue size for a game. All the units mentioned cost four points except for MAA (both types) at six points per unit, Foot Yeomen at three points, and bidowers at two points. Foot Yeomen can be upgraded with the addition of javelins to four points. Mounted Sergeants can be armed with crossbows, but the points cost doesn't change.

Having one of each of the listed plastic units would give someone only 18 points, so there will be more than one of at least one unit type in any retinue in play. Players will be allowed to field up to two of any unit type in a game, but there's nothing to stop someone collecting as many extra units as he wishes (up to the limit of two of any type), to allow more flexibility when selecting a retinue for a particular scenario.

This post has been edited by Nigel: Jul 7 2017, 10:34 AM
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Nigel
post Jul 8 2017, 10:45 AM
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Because, as noted above, they will represent the same unit in either mounted or dismounted mode (I'll call this a double unit), if a participant owns only one each of Mounted MAA and Foot MAA he'll only be able to field one or the other in any particular scenario. If someone wants the ability to field both Mounted MAA and Foot MAA in the same game he'll need to own two Mounted MAA and two Foot MAA units, representing two distinct double units in mounted and dismounted mode. The foot and mounted components of each double unit should be modelled and painted identically. Participants might even want to name each knight to better personalise their retinues.

This post has been edited by Nigel: Jul 8 2017, 10:46 AM
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Nigel
post Jul 8 2017, 11:27 AM
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After further thought, to allow prospective participants to keep their collections entirely plastic if they wish, I've decided that Foot Yeomen and Bidowers (skirmishers in all but name, which would represent the enlisted woodsmen and huntsmen from a baron's estate) should be optional. This way I also avoid any hint of ethical taint through accusations that I'm attempting to gain financially from the concept (tiny though any such gain would be). Bidowers can be very useful in rough terrain, and Foot Yeomen are effectively cheaper unarmoured Foot Sergeants, but neither should be mandatory acquisitions.
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Nigel
post Jul 9 2017, 01:16 PM
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There's one western European Fireforge set I don't have: the Mounted Sergeants with Crossbow. The company created this set by combining parts from existing sets. Most of its parts come from the Mounted Sergeants set, but lances are replaced with... crossbows(!)... which can only have come from the holy orders infantry sets because the arms are mail-clad. You don't really need to buy it if you have all the other sets because there should be enough crossbows and arms left over from the holy orders infantry sets to create a couple of MS crossbow-armed units.

As mentioned previously, the bodies supplied in the Mounted Sergeants set are the same as those in the two knights sets, which means they're wearing surcoats over their armour. All the information I have available indicates that this garment was only worn by knights, but... there's not much we can do about it, so we just have to use other methods to differentiate Mounted Sergeants from knights (Men-at-Arms, in LR terminology - although historically all heavy cavalry that charged was classed as MAA).

As also mentioned above, the heads in the Templar Knights set are mainly wearing 12th century helmets. The heads provided in the Mounted Sergeants set wear infantry-style helmets like the ones in the Foot Sergeants set. Although helmets sometimes remained in use with knights for a long time, even being passed from father to son, as a rule Mounted Sergeants were lumbered with the oldest, most out-dated armour and equipment, so a good way to maintain a clear distinction between MAA and Mounted Sergeants is to only use 13th century helmeted heads on the former, and a mix of 12th century knights' and infantry-style helmets on the latter.

There's a head in the Foot Sergeants set wearing a flat-topped helmet. I've never seen any evidence that this style of helmet was worn by anyone other than knights.

In an earlier post I stated that the Foot Sergeants are all depicted in fabric and cotton armour. This isn't quite right: a couple of bodies are also wearing metal scale armour.

The two knights sets include cloaks for all the figures, but I've seen no evidence that this garment was worn in combat in Europe by secular knights. As with any spare parts though, they shouldn't be thrown away; even if you don't have a use for them someone in your gaming circle might or might just want to add them to his 'bits box' for future use. For instance, only the command sprues in the Gripping Beast Dark Age sets include cloaks, but they were often worn by ordinary warriors of this period.

This post has been edited by Nigel: Jul 9 2017, 01:40 PM
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Nigel
post Jul 9 2017, 11:23 PM
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Strictly speaking there are two types of head in the Foot Sergeants set wearing flat-topped helmets. One is a typical wide-brimmed 'kettle' helmet; I meant the other type.

I had hoped that by now this thread would have elicited at least a token expression of interest from a member of Southern Wargamers, but I suppose based on past experience...

I intend to continue what has effectively turned into a guide for wargamers on how to use the Fireforge plastic medieval figures with Lion Rampant, and in particular my vision for a club set up. The views are slowly accumulating, so presumably someone out there is finding this information useful. If it boosts interest in the rules in the wider gaming community and helps gamers get started with Lion Rampant I'll consider the time and effort well spent, and if further down the track the proposed games and campaign get up and running at SW it will still be here as a useful resource for new recruits smile.gif .
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Nigel
post Jul 10 2017, 01:18 PM
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I have a number of the old Wargames Research Group books, including two relevant to this... monologue: 'Armies and Enemies of the Crusades', and 'Armies of Feudal Europe'. There are line drawings of mounted sergeants in both books - one in the former and two in the latter. None of these illustrations depict sergeants in the surcoat, however, tucked away in the text accompanying illustration number 20, on page 62 of '... Feudal Europe', the last paragraph says: 'After heraldry came in sergeants (and household knights) sometimes carried their lord's device or badge on shield, pennon, or SURCOAT' (my emphasis). So Fireforge's historical accuracy credentials (on this point, at least) stand affirmed. Interestingly, the text goes on to say 'The surcoats themselves may even have been of a uniform colour within a retinue...'. BTW, to anyone new to historical gaming seeking a good, one-stop source of information, these books are well-worth acquiring... if you can get them at a reasonable price. Being products originally of the 1970s (most have had second editions in the 80s), they're aesthetically basic, but you won't find more densely packed information sources. There was a time when many historical figure ranges were nothing more than direct 3D renderings of all the illustrations in them. Today the volumes dealing with the ancient and classical periods need to be approached with caution as some of their conclusions have been superseded by more recent archaeological and historical research, but they remain treasure troves of knowledge all-the-same.

The lances supplied with the mounted sets are ridiculously overlong at 8cm; more like pikes. The spears in the other sets are about the right length, but you'd be stretched to replace all the lance-armed, mail-clad arms in the various cavalry sets with spear-armed, mail-clad equivalents: they only appear in the holy orders infantry and Sergeants-at-Arms (mounted crossbowmen) sets. So if you're concerned with historical accuracy it's probably better to either cut the lances down to no longer than 5cm and sand the tips to a point, or replace them with wire or brass rod. However, for the skilled modeller/converter, this fault does present the opportunity to use the lance arms to create pikemen, although personally even then I think it would be easier to use wire instead. The main problem with replacing lances with spears is that most of the spears in these sets are, as you'd expect, being held at the point of balance around the middle, whereas a charging mounted man could project more lance (about two thirds) towards the enemy thanks to the couched (underarm) charge posture keeping the the butt end of the lance in a firm grip.

Needless to say there are lots of reviews and box openings of the Fireforge plastics online, of varying degrees of helpfulness. Some consist of no more than some out-of-focus glimpses accompanied by a couple of minutes of inaudible mumbling, but the best are highly informative. Try to find commentators with a solid knowledge of medieval warfare; many reviewers are only using the figures as Bretonnian substitutes for Warhammer or other fantasy applications ... which isn't to suggest that they're necessarily mutually exclusive, but...

This post has been edited by Nigel: Jul 10 2017, 01:40 PM
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Nigel
post Jul 11 2017, 12:51 PM
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In the interests of economy and variety someone who buys into this concept might be wondering about other possible uses for his retinue. I've already mentioned Dragon Rampant; all you'd need to do is add a few special pieces to convert your retinue for fantasy games - and if you play Warhammer you've probably already got them. On the historical side, for games with a very different tactical character, generic 13th century troops like these could fight Mongols (also available from Fireforge in plastic) or be sent off to the crusades to fight Arabs and/or Seljuk Turks (plastic sets made by Gripping Beast).

In the next exciting instalment I'll be making suggestions about using the different shield types in the Fireforge sets, but as this will involve counting them it'll be at least a couple of days before I next post.
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Nigel
post Jul 12 2017, 12:43 PM
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Back again, but just to add a couple of thoughts to yesterday's comments; the shields will still have to wait smile.gif .

It's a stroke of luck that the available plastic sets from this era and the retinues they allow gamers to collect (for which there are suggested lists in the LR rule book) can all fight each other without any historical qualms: baron versus baron, baron versus Arabs/Seljuks, Arabs versus Seljuks, baron versus Mongols, and Mongols versus Arabs/Seljuks. You could be forgiven for thinking that Fireforge and Gripping Beast have been cooperating smile.gif .

What this means is that there are options besides a baronial retinue for gamers who want to get in on the action, but whose playing style doesn't align well with European armies.

On the subject of European retinues, I haven't mentioned the option of collecting a chivalric order army - which is of course what the Fireforge sets were primarily intended to represent. This is an option for someone who doesn't want to/can't participate in the Battle of the Barons campaign, and is happy just fighting Saracens, or (very optimistically) if we/you get the maximum six campaign participants owning barons' retinues. If you were collecting a mass battles Crusader army Templars and Hospitallers would comprise only a small portion of your force, but because Lion Rampant is a skirmish game it would be entirely historically acceptable for someone to create an exclusively chivalric order retinue... which means every figure could be painted in uniform colours and plastered with crosses. Although there's only a generic 'Crusader' list in LR, there is a Teutonic list in the Eastern Europe section (historically they fought the Mongols), but... see below. I should add that the only difference between a unit in a chivalric order retinue and an equivalent one in a secular army would be the colour scheme. LR takes a broad brush approach to the period: there are no quality gradations within a troop category, so a knight is a knight, a crossbowman is a crossbowman and so on.

The lists in the rule book are just suggestions, but they are a good starting point if you don't have any reference material to help you create your own. If anyone does collect a retinue based on these lists and is then looking to expand/diversify it, or wants to collect a retinue not covered, I can help with lists from other rule sets that can be used as a guide to keep selections realistically historical.

Following on from the above, if your retinue will potentially be fighting in Europe and the Middle East you need to think carefully about basing. For Europe a dark brown base entirely covered in static grass would be realistic, but it wouldn't work for Syria or Palestine, and anyway, as historical wargamers realised long ago, it doesn't work aesthetically even for games set in Europe; and sand might be fine for the Holy Land, but it will look jarringly out-of-place for continental games. A good compromise that works for all regions is a light earth shade with scattered patches of vegetation (the Middle East isn't all desert), and as also learned through experience, lighter base colours show off miniatures to better effect.

This post has been edited by Nigel: Jul 12 2017, 12:53 PM
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Nigel
post Jul 13 2017, 09:38 AM
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Just a quick clarification:

Anyone who's familiar with the contents of the mounted sets might be wondering about my use of the terms armoured and unarmoured in regard to the horses. What you actually get is horses with or without a cloth housing or caparison, but the consensus of military historical opinion is that this piece of horse furniture usually covered mail barding, or horse armour. The horse's skin was protected from the mail by a padded housing, so the caparison depicted on the Fireforge horses would be the uppermost of three layers.
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Nigel
post Jul 14 2017, 02:25 PM
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Some people who are unfamiliar with the rules might be thinking that logically, if Foot Men-at-Arms are the dismounted equivalent of Mounted MAA, then Foot Serjeants must be the dismounted version of Mounted Serjeants (I've inadvertently been using the modern spelling, sergeants, previously). Actually... they're not smile.gif. Foot Serjeants is the rules' term for armoured infantry, usually either spearmen or crossbowmen. There's also an optional upgrade to Expert at a cost of two points. This represents men armed with melee weapons, and such units have different combat stats to spearmen. It gives you another option for your infantry and a use for all those sword, axe, and club-wielding arms in the Foot Serjeants set, and is historically justifiable for a continental Europe setting. Also, the categories are a bit abstract, so for instance Foot MAA can be used to represent small bands of hollywood-style heroes. There are lists in the Hollywood section for Robin Hood and His Merry Men and The Sherriff of Nottingham's bad guys. The unit representing the central Merry Men characters is rated as Foot MAA with bows (an option not normally available). This approach is fine up to a point, but along with having the best attack and defence stats MAA units also have the best armour rating, as you'd expect for men entirely clad in armour from head to foot and carrying a shield... which doesn't seem quite right for unarmoured outlaws. A friend actually has these retinues (old Hinchcliffe figures, for the veterans amongst you), and I've commanded the good guys in a couple of games, but I think if I was collecting them I'd reduce the Merry Men heroes' armour rating and modify the points value of the unit accordingly.

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Nigel
post Jul 18 2017, 03:21 PM
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If you want to see Lion Rampant in action there's a video of a demo game on the British website 'Wargaming for Fun'.

A few points:

1. This is the first scenario, 'Bloodbath', which is just a free-for-all punch up with no special scenario victory conditions, useful for becoming familiar with the game mechanisms. The other scenarios all involve scenario-specific deployments and objectives beyond merely destroying enemy units.

2. The demonstrators aren't using the Boasts system that adds another dimension of play.

3. The gentleman on the left makes a major game sequence blunder after his Foot Serjeants unit becomes battered: the first action he should have taken after play swaps to him is to try and rally the battered unit, but he starts attempting to activate other units, and the error isn't noticed until he's moved almost everything else. If he'd failed the rally attempt the battered unit would have retreated half a move and lost another figure, and its altered position might have changed both players' subsequent actions.

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big al
post Jul 18 2017, 04:35 PM
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For those who have not played Lion Rampant it is a Fun fast and fairly Brutal game and has some great game mechanics and is picked up very quickly I have played a few games at Garrison and enjoyed every single one of them. It is well worth giving it ago



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Nigel
post Jul 18 2017, 08:00 PM
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Thanks for the endorsement, Big Al.
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