Sunday, March 15, 2015

Butterfly Syndrome

I still hope to type up a Cold Wars report soon. For embarrassing technological reasons (didn't empty my phone...), there won't be many pictures.

February turned out to be a really good month for painting.

Everything in this box was done in February, which made it one of my best months in a decade or more. I was, in fact, so busy actually painting that I neglected to update my blog. In addition to all of that fantasy, most of of which is Reaper Bones, I also finished a stand of Saxon skirmishersfor my Dux Bellorum project, and a bunch of 1/72 individuals for the Portable Fantasy Game.

I've decided that I don't really want to spend my hobby time worrying about quotas and deadlines, which feels too much like the real world, so I am trying to relax to the idea that I'll just go with the flow, and paint whatever seems interesting. It's not like I'm short of games to play while working on something else. However, it does highlight my problem with the Butterfly Syndrome (i.e. the tendency to flit from one project to another).

I wrote down all the things that sound interesting now, interesting enough that I've got started miniatures actually on my desk. It turns out that I'm working on 40mm Not Quite Seven Years War (which Ross and I will be running at Huzzah in May), 28mm fantasy (as seen above), 28mm Dark Ages (which I ran at Cold Wars), the home-cast 25mm Dux Bellorum project, 1/72 individually based fantasy figures for the Portable Fantasy Game, and 1/72 units for a fantasy/Punic Wars project.

Here are two stands of that, finished up on Friday. I have Armati Roman and Carthaginian armies (in the 'optimal' scale), and I'm trying to do two things with them. The first is to add enough stands to permit me to field the 'intro' scale armies for the Spanish, Gauls, and Carthaginians, who currently make up Hannibal's mercenary army.

The second is to be able to field those four armies (Romans, Carthaginians, Gauls, and Spanish) as fantasy armies in the long-delayed Myboria campaign, intended to be played with Hordes of the Things.

The two stands shown above, a magician and a shooter, will give a little flex to the Gauls, whose collections currently consists of 4 stands of cavalry (knights in HotT) and 10 stands of warbands. I also hope to do a hero stand soon, using the HaT Gallic Warrior Queen.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Back to Bones, Briefly

My box of Bones from the second Kickstarter arrived yesterday, so I decided that I had better prepare by finishing a few more of the Bones from the first Kickstarter. I think it's safe to say, at this point, that I could run fantasy skirmish games or Dungeons&Dragons with tactical displays ad infinitum...

In this first shot, the Burrowing Horror in the front is a new figure, with the balance from Bones I.

In this second shot, the basilisk, third from the left, is new, and the remainder are from Bones I.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Portable Fantasy Game Painting

The weather on the east coast of the US has been cold all week, so I didn't end up walking for exercise during my lunch break, although it would have been good for me. Instead, I took the opportunity to break out my small painting box (about 20 colors and two sizes of brushes). I posted the first batch of figures previously, the skirmishers for Dux Bellorum. Unfortunately, this has not been a good week for being organized in the morning, so I didn't have any more of the Dux Bellorum figures stowed at my desk.

Therefore, I broke out what I did have. This first figure (and I apologize for the close cropped shot making it appear a little fuzzy) is one of the ten poses of elves from the Caesar fantasy range (now apparently out of production, temporarily, I hope). He didn't take my entire lunch period to complete, so I also added some paint to a 28(+)mm Reaper Bones fighter, still unfinished.

The next day, frustrated by the Bones figure, I decided to grab something else from my stash, and came up with this pair. The lutenist on the left is from the Linear-B Age of Tudors set. He's likely to be dropped into a game as a D&D-style bard. The figure on the right is from the Red Box War of the Roses Irish troops set. I think the galloglasses from that set have a great "fantasy" look to them, even though they are pretty historically correct.

As far as D&D goes, I could use these two as representations of two of my original game's player characters...there's probably a scenario seed in there somewhere.

I'm finishing a few Caesar skeletons and basing all of these this morning, so perhaps there will be pictures of the whole lot later this weekend.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Dux Bellorum skirmishers

I had a quiet lunch break yesterday, so I pulled out a stick of home cast archers, destined to be a skirmisher stand for the Dux Bellorum project. Start to finish took an hour, so I wasn't using refined paint techniques on these rather rough castings. They still shouldn't look too bad when fully based.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Solo Games for the New Year

I was a little short on games played last year, and hope to do better in 2015. I particularly hope to bring out and play with some of the projects that have been languishing in storage for an extended period of time. Therefore, I am
determined to play a few more solo games.

My first solo game of the year turned out to be on the 4th of January. William and I played a quick fantasy skirmish using Song of Blades and Heroes on the 3rd, and had intended to play it again. We ran out of time, though, before we needed to go out for the evening, and I needed to take him back to school the next day. I'm an early riser, so I decided I would do a quick reprise of the previous day's game to see if the entourage of the evil wizard could have done any better. As it turned out the second time, the defenders of Willstown managed to lose their leader, and that was enough to allow the entourage the victory. Let that serve as a reminder to use the leader to lead and not to fight...

I cleared the table, flipped over the ground cloth to the tan side, and dug out several boxes of scenery from my Darkest Africa project. This had most recently been out for Cold Wars in 2011, and I thought that it was high time that I put it on the table. I usually use these The Sword and the Flame, or, to be more accurate, the Sword in Africa variant from the 20th anniversary edition of the rules. I haven't played TSATF in a few years either, so I'm getting a bit rusty.

I wasn't sure if a 3x3 table would give a long enough game. The scenario involved a trading post (at the left) under attack by some Zanzibari Arabs and their native allies. I gave the Zanzibaris 5 bands of 8-9 men each, with one band with rifles posted in the jungle area in the top of the picture, one with muskets in the lower right jungle area, and three bands of natives, each with a mix of spears and muskets facing the path. The British had two bands of 8 plus a few noncombatants in the compund, and a rescue column of one band of askari constabulary and two bands of mixed askaris and bearers.

The Zanzibari musketeers can be seen here, from the direction of the compound.

Seen from this angle, the group to the right of the angle faced the Zanzibari riflemen, and those beyond the building at the left faced the muskets.

The first couple of turns consisted of the rescue force attempting to move up the track toward the compound, led by the native constabulary. Unfortunately, they fared poorly in an attack by one of the native bands, and Lieutenant Harland-White was slain by a native spearman (despite having a character's +2 on the die roll). The remants of the constabulary fled, although they did account for 6 of the 8 natives in the band that attacked them.

That left two bands of askaris and bearers to attempt to force their way up the path against two bands of natives. Outnumbered in fighters by two to one, this was clearly a hopeless task, and the last bearers fled after dropping their loads on turn 6 or 7.

Since I was playing both sides and needed to clean the game up today, I decided that the natives, lent confidence by their easy victory over the rescue force, would attempt to attack the compound. As expected, the die roll modifiers for attacking defended barricades made that quite difficult, and they were repulsed with heavy losses. Their Zanzibari masters were more prudent, and continued to snipe, with limited effect, from covered positions.

Inside the compound, a few casualties had been sustained as a result of the rifle fire, and one askari was slain by a spearman during the assault, but their situation was by no means desperate. So, as evening fell in the Valley of Shadows, the siege continued...

Overall, I'd count this as a marginal Zanzibari victory; defeating the rescue force was an accomplishment, but sniping at the compound was generally to the advantage of the defenders (as expected from the combat charts), and whether it could be overrun on another day was by no means certain.

I now need to go back and read some of the online commentary about the rules; there are a few fine points about the Sword in Africa variant that I'm not sure I played correctly. However, one of the advantages of the solo format is that the opponent seldom disagrees about rules interpretations.

All in all, it was an interesting little game, running about an hour and a half and ten turns. Next time, I'll set the small table up in my den, where it can be left indefinitely.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Song of Blades and Heroes

We inaugurated the year with a quick game of SBH today, with the usual deadly human warband enhanced with a griffin, and faced by the retinue of the evil wizard, orcs, an ogre, and some magical things. The humans were as tough as ever...

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Paper Models

For the Portable Fantasy Game, I built a half dozen or so building from Dave Graffam Modelsreduced to 65% of their original size. For home use, I have been wanting to do a few at full size for various games, but particularly for Song of Blades of Heroes on a 3x3 table.

I had some time to do that this weekend. Here are two buildings I've done so far, the Country House to the rear, and the Crescent Moon Tavern to the fron and right. I also finished off the Patrol Boat while waiting for glue to's been sitting half-built in the paper modeling box for a while. I had thought that I was going to add stone walls to the bases and give each of the houses a small enclosed area, but the Country House, in particular, was already on a base about 10" square, and a visually appealing fenced yard would have nearly doubled the base size (to 10x18 or so). I concluded that was probably more than I wanted for use on a 3x3 cloth. On top of that, there is the matter of the cubage for storage purposes. At least they are very light. I have some Fat Dragon models that are supposed to fold flat for storage on my to-do list.

I've got one more printed out, and the base flocking to do, and then it'll be time to put them in a game.