Monday, October 9, 2017

Recent painting


I recently finished the basing of the speed paint figures I'd done at Gencon this year, so that gave me an idea.  I decided to accumulate a war band (for some undetermined skirmish game) using just the speed painted figures, and whatever prizes and free figures I'd gotten.  So, when work sent me to Colorado for most of last week, I took the portable paint kit and these three figures with me.  The left and center figures are Reaper Miniatures which were awarded to me for winning qualifying rounds in the preliminaries in 2016 and 2017 respectively.  The figure on the right, Mr. Spiky, is a sample of 3d printing capability handed out this year at Gencon by Shapeways.  I must say, I was favorably impressed with the smooth surface texture.  If one needed something professionally printed, I can see where it might be worth it. Given the spikiness, I painted him in an olive skin tone as a half-orc.


Since I was working up the war band, I decided that it was finally time to touch up this figure:


She is some sort of Malifaux thing that I had tried to paint in the final round of a Wyrd Miniatures event in 2015.  I had run out of time before I was really finished, and I was trying to paint without magnification, which made the rather petite little face problematic.  I just touched her up today enough to make her look like I was trying for in the speed paint.  I don't know much about the Malifaux backstory, so I have no idea what she is, but the rest of the player/painters that time were excited by the fact that she was some sort of alternative pose not usually available, as best I recall.  Since she's throwing a fireball and armed only with a sword, I figure I can drop her into a fantasy game without any artistic qualms...

That leaves me with just a package of Malifaux wild boars that I got with a gift certificate from speed painting in 2015. As kits of only three to five pieces, I think that I can manage that, and I don't expect the paint scheme to be particularly difficult.


I took advantage of the federal holiday (and resulting long weekend) when I got back from Colorado to get this unit moved off my painting table.  The figures are old Minifigs DA range Carolingians, from an eBay purchase, and I just wanted them done, so they come from a clan with a limited range of hair color....I expect that they will be dropped into the fantasy Byzantine campaign set-up, as part of the "Westerners".

The other excitement for the weekend was a HAWKs game day, so I had an opportunity to throw some dice in a couple of WWII games, for a change of pace.  Now, though, I'd like to get some of the recent painting on the table...

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Casting Session

The weather was cooperative today and I had little else on my schedule (besides a ballroom dance event later this evening...), so I decided to take advantage of the circumstances to do some casting. I've recently been trying to get two playable warbands for Dux Bellorum using these home cast figures, and the last metal working session left me nearly out of round shields. I was also short of oval shields for the Late Romans. If I don't get another chance, I should now have enough to carry me through the winter for painting.

Since the molds were in the same box, I tried a few casts with the molds of the 54mm 'Trojan Wars' figures (from Heralds plastic originals). I keep circling back around to Greek legendary/mythological topics, so there are enough to keep me busy for a while if one of my ideas finally gels.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The calm after the storm: Some painting

I mentioned in my previous post that it has been a hectic time at work.  We finally ran the week-long exercise I'd been preparing last week, so I reached the weekend tired but calm.

I ended up taking up my brush and finishing two figures from my deep backlog:

Irregular friar and Marx merry man

 and the back:

Not my best side...

I checked my painting records, and it would appear that the last time I finished anything for this project was in 2012.  The last game to be put on the table was in 2014, at Historicon.

One of three games from Historicon 2014



The Historical games that year involved three narratively linked scenarios, starting with the one pictured above, about raiding for provisions.

I was considering the possibility of running Medieval Mayhem at Gencon next year.  The transport is right, albeit somewhat bulky, but would be reasonable if we chose to drive, and if the hotel situation allowed for hauling things to the table.

Anyway, with those guys done, it should be back to 25mm Due Bellorum figures next...





Sunday, September 10, 2017

Imagi-Nations Interlude

I've been in a busy period at work, so I haven't been doing too much gaming in the evenings the past couple of weeks.  I did get one thing done, as a leftover from the previous blog post.  I sat down and finished the Saxon mounted companion stand I've been working on, for Dux Bellorum.  I'm experimenting with some commercial flags from Wargames Designs for this project.  I also did the metal work last weekend on several more stands' worth of troops, so I'll be able to provide some choices in war band composition for the Saxons even if I don't get in a casting sessions before the weather becomes too cold.



My son Norman had arranged to stop in for a visit this weekend, in conjunction with getting some car maintenance done, so we had been considering what we might do by way of gaming. He has been working (intermittently, as we all sometimes do) on a 19th century imagi-nations project for several years, originally inspired by the acquisition of some interesting toy building blocks at Cold Wars back in 2014.  He's recently completed a few more stands, leaving him with forces that would do for Neil Thomas's One Hour Wargames rules.  Ross Macfarlane had posted a review of One Hour Wargames back in 2015, and I didn't have high expectations, but I also didn't have a good suggestion for an alternative set of rules, so we agreed that we would give them a try.  


One of the nicer aspects of One Hour Wargames are the scenarios, already keyed to a three foot square map.  Norman and I both have sets of double sided mats in that size, so setting things up was a breeze.  The first game we tried was using Scenario 9 "Double Delaying Action".  I took the Elabruenese forces, attempting to prevent the Occiterrans from capturing the town and exiting the map on the road on my side of the river, while also subject to a requirement to withdraw three units at various stages of the game.  We each had a full six unit army (the maximum given for scenarios in these rules).  I ended up able to withdraw my units on schedule, but was unable to prevent the capture of the town and the subsequent exit of a pursuit force,
Elabruen forces mass for delaying action; dice indicate remaining unit strength
Cavalry and skirmishers on my left flank guard the ford

We chose scenario 8, "Melee", for our second game.  We switched armies, since Norman wishes to maintain an impartiality to these forces, rather than espousing loyalty to one of them. The scenario involves both sides attempting to control a dominant hill, with forces coming in piecemeal for both sides.
Elabruenese defending a large hill in Scenario 8
Since Norman's forces started in possession of the hill, it was up to me to take it, and I did start with a larger force.  Unfortunately for me, I was still figuring out how tactics work in this game, so ended up spending too much effort uselessly attempting to get an artillery unit in position.  I was never able to put enough concentrated fire on the hill to clear it, and Norman was victorious again.

Not a good day for Occiterre...

After the game, we did a quick hot wash, and concluded that the side with the need to move into the enemy fire zone first was going to be at a disadvantage.  However, with the random force assignment, we did note that the battle would have been much different if his force had included cavalry instead of the skirmisher who had made trouble in the woods through the whole game, for example.

We had intended to play some Full Thrust, a space game that's been in Norman's collection for many years, but the business of digging out Legos and forming them into two spaceship squadrons took longer than expected.  We boxed the ships up for the next visit, which will give me a chance to read up on the rules as well.

 Before his departure this morning, we threw one more One Hour Wargames scenario on the table.  This time the battle was #10, "Late Arrivals".  A random throw left me with the Elabruenese as defenders in a race against time, as I started with 2 units against his 6, and the reinforcements were not particularly prompt.

I did, at least, have a town to defend.  This time around, Norman got an army list with cavalry and no artillery, and the cavalry can't enter the town.


That made the open ground a dangerous place for my troops, but the difficulties Norman had in wearing down my town defenders fast enough ultimately gave me the victory, leaving me one for three for the weekend. 

Nevertheless, a good time was had by all, and it was nice to have the opportunity to get his project on the table for the first time.  I would play One Hour Wargames again; it was neither quite so static nor so fast as Ross's review had led me to expect, but I should note that he used the ancients rules section, while we used the horse and musket rules.


Sunday, August 27, 2017

Dux Bellorum, back around for some more work


In the week before Gencon, I got Rosemary Sutcliff's book, The Shining Company, off of my shelf for a reread.  If you aren't familiar with it, it is a retelling of The Gododdin, an early Welsh poem about a band of heroes who almost all died in a battle with Saxons.  Like all of Sutcliff's books, it's very atmospheric.  The battles could be refought without too much trouble using Dux Bellorum, so I thought that it might be a good time to dust off my stalled Dux Bellorum project.  I took a few figures along with my portable paint kit as a backup, but didn't use them during the convention.

This week, though, I had to take my car in for some maintenance, so an enforced time to sit seemed like a good time to get some painting done.  Four of the figures on this stand were finished over a year ago, and have been awaiting the second four to complete the stand, which I polished off during the maintenance (I should note that they were partially painted, so I wasn't starting from scratch):


"Noble" Saxons



As with the rest of the war band in process, all the figures are made from Prince August or Dutkins molds.  They are a mix of Dutkins unspecified Roman and Barbarian molds, Prince August's 25mm fantasy molds, and the mostly discontinued Prince August ancient armies multiple part molds.

I also finished up a mounted standard bearer, a Dutkins figure with a Prince August head on a Prince August horse, leaving me two more riders to go for a stand.  At that point, they told me my car was ready...

Mounted Dark Ages standard bearer

My original minimum Saxon war band was going to have the one mounted stand, three "noble" (better armed/armored/motivated) warrior stands, three "ordinary" warrior stands, and two skirmisher stands, and I am now short one "noble" warrior stand and the riders.  Inspired by completing these figures, I sat down with my large box of Prince August castings to see if I couldn't put together the third noble warriors stand:


While I'm not getting too worried about archaeological correctness, I am still depicted these with a front rank of armored figures and a back rank including some less armored figures.  I glued them to sticks and primed them after this picture was taken.

I still haven't played enough Dux Bellorum to know whether that war band composition is going to give a good game, so, as long I was doing metal work, I started turning out a few more ordinary Saxons.

Their opponents are due to be some Romano-British and/or some Late Romans, so I've also started putting a few of those together from the Prince August ancients molds:


Those armies are permitted to blend by deploying allied contingents of the other, so I would like to get them on the field faster than the Saxons have gone.  The Romans have a few specialized units available, and I did a conversion of a Roman horse archer the last time I was doing metal work for this project.  A bit rough, perhaps, but I only need two, and I'd mostly like to keep this project in home cast figures.




I looked up the first Saxon stand; I posted it here in October 2014, nearly three years ago.  The exception to the home cast mandate will be for Ross's figures. Ross gave me some Romano-British from his collection a couple of years ago, so I think it's high time to get them rebased and refurbished to fight the encroaching Saxon hordes. 


All completed Saxons to date

I like the idea of getting something historical done again; it's been fun getting out the vintage fantasy lead, but it has ended up as a somewhat all-consuming project for the past two and a half years, and I'm getting the itch to mix it up again.






Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Gencon 2017 After Action Report

Sunday, 13 August 

After double-checking my packing list, Irene and I loaded everything in the car and set off for Indiana on Sunday morning.  I have noted that packing to travel by air enforces some discipline on one’s luggage, and driving this year caused my contingency packing to be somewhat more expansive than was probably necessary. After a relatively uneventful drive of 12 hours (including meal and rest breaks), we arrived at my brother's house in Bloomington.

Monday, 14 August

Norman was mostly ready with the materials needed to run our two Chaos Wars games, but he had a craft project to try to complete before the convention: fire markers built over flickering battery-operated tea lights, to mark burning buildings during the border raid scenario.  We walked around Bloomington for a while, checking out a used book store and a game store, and then played a couple of warm-up games of Carcassonne.



Tuesday, 15 August

It was difficult to contain the eager anticipation, but there was little to be done for it.  Norman and I headed out to Lowe's to pick up a convertible flat bed/dolly to haul around the materials for miniatures games. We eventually headed up to Indianapolis around 2:00.  Through the luck of the room lottery, I had managed to get a room at the JW Marriott, while much of the rest of the team was in a non-convention block downtown hotel.  That meant that we were providing the forward operating base, so our plan was to park in the parking structure under the hotel and move all the miniatures game boxes up to the room before supper.  We were surprised to find that the hotel parking lot was full.  Apparently some other conference was still here, so we found space in a parking structure attached to the Circle Center Mall temporarily.  This is where having a brother who comes to Indianapolis regularly for events is handy.  We walked back to the JW through the skywalk (hamster trail) system, orienting Irene to the venue as we went, and checked in at the hotel.  We decided to finish Irene's orientation tour and then went to find something to eat.  By the time we were done, we were able to call the hotel and confirm that space had opened up in the parking garage, so we moved the car over and unloaded the gear.  Warning signs were all over the place...

Door sign on the sky walk


I love miniatures games, but there is no denying that they are not particularly easy to take to conventions.  My local miniatures club, the HAWKs, is currently setting up a contest to be judged next year at Fall In in November.  Details are to be made public soon, but the basic idea is to see what kind of convention miniatures game can be staged with all of the material packed in a 17-liter Really Useful Box.  (That size has been chosen as the largest which will fit the overhead rack luggage profile on most airlines.) By Gencon next year, this "Battle in a Box" contest will be in process, and I hope to be in a position to be testing my entry.

Wednesday, 16 August

I met my brother around 6:30AM, and we did a quick walk around the convention center. As expected, things were fairly quiet on Day 0.  The Will Call line had not started to form.  We landed at Bee Coffee Roasters, an independent coffee shop, which was getting into the Gencon spirit with a rack of promotional T-shirts and some themed signs.



Since they are on the street facing the convention center, they had elected to be open 24 hours a day starting on Wednesday morning.  They were running a loyalty card for dice promotion as well, with a d10 as the top prize, for ten visits. I had my d10 by Saturday, and the breakfast burritos were a lifesaver for the weekend.  The coffee was excellent...

My Bee dice and token, plus Crystal Caste and Scotty's dice


Speaking of free dice, we walked down to Scotty's Brewhouse for lunch, picking up a Scotty's die.  By then, it was nearly time to go pick up the cart with the Dragon Rampant gear.  We got over to the Union Station gaming space to kick off our Gencon activities with a six player Dragon Rampant game.  I had 24 point factions laid out for my "Myzantine Empire" home setting (fantasy Byzantines), consisting of a Myzantine mounted field force, a Myzantine foot field force, and an allied/mercenary centaur band, opposed by an "Easterner" (fantasy Saracens, essentially) force of actual Easterners supported by a mercenary band of orcs, and an allied group of Lizard-masters. While all six tickets were taken for the event, I didn't expect to see all of them show up.  So, I was not surprised to find that we only had four players. 



Dragon Rampant game


We let them choose which of the warbands they would use.  So the centaurs and the orcs went back in the boxes.  I haven't run Dragon Rampant at a convention previously, and I came home with some notes on improving my handouts.  Dragon Rampant has various ways of handling initiative in a multiple player game, and I went with the simplest; letting each side activate both war bands until they had both failed an activation roll.  Players new to the system are often frustrated by failing their first initiative roll, so I also gave each player three re-roll chips which could be traded in for another activation attempt.  Since we had an even number of players, my brother wasn't needed as a spare player. The game went fairly well, and I felt, as I dragged my cart back to my hotel, that I had gotten off to a good start. Irene and I met up for some dinner and a scheduled game of Carcassonne.  I was reminded by my own ticket situation that the Carcassonne GM was probably wondering whether anyone would show up for his game, so I resisted any temptation to jump into a different game.  As it was, we were the only ones that did show up, so I was glad of that decision. We had a nice game with the gamemaster playing, after which time it was time for some rest.  I was glad to confirm that the kids coming separately from different places in Michigan, had arrived safely.

Thursday, 17 August

We ran two games nearly back to back, a Chaos Wars demo on behalf of Iron Wind Metals, and a tweaked version of the 1975 not-Lord of the Rings game Ringbearer, which we also ran last year

Norman explains the rules

Setting up Ringbearer



I had the briefest period of time in which to run into the exhibit hall, which I used to pick up dice and a few selected books from Indie Press Revolution.  The Ringbearer game wrapped up at 6:00, so there was time to grab some sit down dinner with Irene and my brother before we headed off to our seminar.  My kids had both recommended, in previous years, a seminar on medieval foods, which was interesting, if a bit rambling at times.  I need to expand my food horizons a bit, and I marked his web site for further thinking.

Friday, 18 August

Norman and I wrapped up our convention gamemastering with a second run of the same Chaos Wars scenario we had used on Thursday. 

Last GM gig for this con


We had all four players, which was nice, and handed some miniatures samples out to people who stopped to talk as well.  In the usual way of things, the orcs had a pretty easy run of things on Thursday, but had the snot beaten out of them on Friday, so it's hard to say if the scenario really needed adjustment.  I decided that I was over-scheduled, and skipped a live show of "Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff" so that I could look around the exhibit hall for a while,  but painted in an Iron Wind speed paint round. I was about 3rd, so there was no prize for that one. I had signed up for a short craft seminar on building a portable wet palette.  I’ve used a commercial wet palette at home, but I do a lot of painting on the road and thought that it would be a useful addition to my tool kit.  I discovered that there are no deep secrets to this, since it’s just baking parchment on a sponge in a sealable box, but that was good to know, and we got one to take home. I expect to be using this technique more going forward.  I had signed up for a Saga game that evening, but  I ended up sucked into the auction.  I wanted a copy of TSR’s 1977 Star Empires game, which I had noticed was in the display case of rare items.  At Gencon, the rare items usually go up for auction in a special session on Friday night.  As it turned out, I could have played Saga and still been back in time to bid, as it turned out to be the penultimate lot.  I got it (including its companion game Star Probe) for $230, and it was past 0230 before I got to sleep.

Saturday, 19 August

Despite the lack of sleep, I made it to breakfast with my kids and the Dutton children, old family gaming friends with who they have a lot of shared childhood memories.  After that there were  two sessions of swing dance lessons with Irene from the good people at Dancing and Dragons.   I had tickets for two Reaper speed paint competitions in the afternoon, and a second pair intended for William, who had had issues with his events registration back in May. Norman and William discussed the situation and decided to switch events, so Norman came to speed paint with me.  I was parentally thrilled to find that we each placed won one round and placed third in the other, and therefore both earned slots in the Reaper speed paint final round on Sunday afternoon.  

Two Reaper speed paints; the left one is the round I won



This is the third year in a row where I've been in a speed paint final, so I guess I have some idea of what I'm doing.  After the speed painting, I met Irene and did some shopping in the exhibit hall before closing time. My local group, the HAWKs, have been playing Frostgrave by Osprey for the past two years, so I talked to Frostgrave author Joseph McCullough about the upcoming new game, Ghost Archipelago


I got a demonstration of the portable gaming tables from Game Anywhere, and now need to consider whether I would buy one. I went back to the room briefly to empty my pockets before we met the whole crew for dinner at our usual Gencon location.   Irene and I dressed up for the Gencon dance, but after a brief section of ballroom danceable music the DJ switched over to some rave club stuff, and we decided that sleep would be a good plan…  

Sunday, 20 August

We had agreed over dinner that we would make sure that we would check out in time to get to 10:00 games.  Norman and I ended up at Games on Demand for my only RPG of the weekend.  Games on Demand, despite being in a new location due to the remodeling of the downtown Marriott, was apparently popular all weekend.  They put on a selection of mostly indie press games, with a system for randomizing the line so you have a fair chance at signing up for something.  Norman and I drew a mid-range slot, and had a fair number of choices remaining, so we elected to try a Fate Bulldogs game with characters inspired by Guardians of the Galaxy.  I'm reasonably familiar with Fate, so learning the mechanics was no issue.  We had a pleasant session.  I ducked into the dealers' room for one last scan before my 1300 Darksword Miniatures speed paint event.  My brother had been in one of their events on Saturday and had been giving an anthropomorphic animal to paint, so I was unsurprised to find that I had the same.  However, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with a penguin rogue, and my Adelie color scheme was over shadowed by king or emperor penguins.  Of all of the figures I painted, I’m least sure what to do with him.   Norman joined me at 1400 for the Reaper final round.   

Norman and I intent on our work

We had 60 minutes of painting rather than 45 for the earlier rounds, but the miniature was more complicated. 

Not too shabby for 60 minutes



As expected, once I was among the experts, there wasn't a prize.  There was, however, another brush and a free miniature, so what's not to like?  After that it was time to depart...

Overall Impressions

Irene had a good time, and enjoyed watching all the cosplayers.  She came home with a dress on order, to be delivered later, so I may have to engage in a bit myself.  The kids had relatively few scheduled events, so ended up with several Games on Demand sessions and enough Magic to win half a booster box of prizes. My brother’s best experience of the weekend was an opportunity to play the old TSR Dungeon board game with Dave Megarry, the original designer.  

While I was working on my Bee “Die for Coffee” challenge, one of the staff asked what my favorite part of Gencon was.  I didn’t have a ready answer, but I suppose it’s just being there with my family among my peculiar tribe that’s the best part.



Lessons Learned and Path Forward

Despite the fact that I know better, I over-scheduled this year.  Next year I will plan to schedule less, and leave a comfortable amount of time for browsing and the auction.  All Gencon experiences chosen result in missing other things, so the best plan is to make a plan and stick to it, with the caveat that it should retain some looseness.

The handcart turned out to be vital; having used it to drag a game across the convention, I have no idea how we managed to run Norman’s Ringbearer game without it last year.

Because of the over-scheduling, Norman (son) and I did not run anything for Games on Demand as we had hoped; I’d really like to do that next year.  

The drive was long, so flying may be the plan again next year, and that would mean that having a portable miniatures game to run would be a priority.



Sunday, August 6, 2017

Portable Fantasy Campaign, Part 3

As I noted previously on this blog, some gaming with my elder son in March left me with an itch to do a campaign.  I therefore sat down to do some reading, and pulled out five books from my collection that seemed pertinent.  These were:

The Partizan Press Guide to Solo Wargaming, Stuart Asquith
The Solo Wargaming Guide, William Silvester
Setting Up a Wargames Campaign, Tony Bath
Solo-Wargaming, Donald Featherstone
Wargame Campaigns, Charles S. Grant




Thus fortified by the wisdom of those who have gone before, I started considering how much record keeping I wanted to do, and what my goals were.  I have reminded myself periodically that my goal is to generate some interesting battles when no opponents are to hand, and to help to keep my painting focused on a broader goal of having this whole project available for conventions someday in the next few years.

Recalling that Hordes of the Things will be the army-level rules of choice, and that I intend to spice things up with Dragon Rampant games which will affect the outcome of the larger army-scale gaming (with skirmish games a possibility, but only rarely being something that would have a lasting effect at a higher level), I set down some preliminary thoughts on scale and record-keeping.

Having drawn the map, I started doing some calculations.  For purposes of the campaign, I wanted to use an area movement system, and have the turns be approximately a week.  With a movement rate of one area per week, this would imply a typical distance of about 50 miles across an area.  The map is about 7x10 areas, or about 350 by 500 miles.  



That is approximately half the size of France, an area which might have contained 6 million people before the Black Death.  If 5% were available for military service, that would be about 300,000 fighters.  Given that there are five countries on the map, if each had a 12 element Hordes of the Things army, each element would represent about 5000 men.  I typically imagine a HotT stand as about a thousand troops, and we are therefore in the right order of magnitude.  Let's assume that the population is only half of that, since it's going to be a turbulent period, and that each country can field two armies.  That would make each Hordes stand about 1250 figures, which is going to be close enough for a fantasy campaign which will not involve detailed logistics calculations.

This set of calculations implies to me, by the way, that the cities marked on the map are only the major population centers, and that there are undoubtedly a lot of smaller cities/towns/castles that are not represented.  At some point, I'll have to think about what that implies about sieges and control of territory.

The logistics that I am willing to deal with will be based around HotT army points.  So, each country will have 24 army points times two armies, or 48 army points.  If each army point is supported by an abstract tax point, each country would have 48 tax points distributed across its six to eight locations.

I could probably handle the paperwork involved with the idea that each territory has some inherent "value" and that the tax points collected each year are 5-10% of the total value.  The reason to do this would be to reflect the effect of raiding warfare, where a successful raid would produce tax points immediately and reduce the overall tax base of the area, so that things would gradually wear down unless some sort of reinvestment was made.  I'd probably want to start each country with some sort of reserve treasury. Ross Macfarlane suggested to me that I could probably just let the tax value regenerate after the collection season, so that raids would have to be sustained to keep a province's value depressed.  That would certainly take less record keeping.

The next question would be what the scale of a Dragon Rampant unit would be.  I am thinking that it would be hard to justify more than about 100 men per unit (so a ratio of about 1:10 against the figure representation on the table).  That would make a Hordes element worth 10 Dragon Rampant units.  So it would be a reasonable amount of bookkeeping to track the results of DR battles at the larger scale.  If a HotT element has lost 6 DR warbands it would round down to being undeployable in a HotT game, but from 0-5 DR warbands lost, it would round up to a normal HotT element.  

I have some thoughts about how to handle raiding/looting/chevauchee in more detail, but I think that will wait for later.

My hope is to kick this off soon with a Dragon Rampant scale game involving the forces of the Baron of Rienne against an increasingly organized company of bandits attempting to build a fort in the Debatable Marches.  The bandits will be "free", but I'll record any results against the Baron of Rienne's forces.  Whether there are follow-ups and what they are, of course, is what makes a campaign.  


I might also note that I have been brainstorming ideas for role-playing game scenarios using this map, and the broader military campaign will potentially be interwoven with any games which result.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

July Accomplishments

I ended up painting a fair amount this month, and haven't organized everything into the ultimate storage configuration yet. That left everything all neatly together for a group picture. Except for the 1/72 Vikings in the upper left, they are all vintage 25mm fantasy figures or recasts thereof.

My thoughts on that project are evolving, and I still hope to get back to doing some historical painting again soon.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Recent 1/72 scale barbarians

I am continuing to gradully chip away at the Hordes of the Things barbarian (Viking) army which I want for my projected solo fatnasy campaign. I finally finished up two more warband stands (though I should take their picture from a greater distance...), which puts me close to being able to deploy a 24 point standard Hordes army. When using these figures wih Dragon Rampant, as also planned, two stands are a unit, so I'm still short about 4 stands of a reasonable warband.

I also inventoried the 1/72 fatnasy recently, and came to the conclusion that I could (barely) deploy two armies for the feudal kingdoms on the fantasy map, so I am hoping to put some preliminary games on the table soon.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

More painting

With these two, my travel paint kit is temporarily empty of figures. On the left is a Minifigs ME19 Rohirrim lancer, of the topknot variant. I'm trying to work on getting cavalry painted more expeditiously, and this model wasn't too hard. The other figure is almost vintage--it's an unreleased Heritage wizard, available through Mike Thomas's Classic Miniatures. Time to base up this work...

Monday, July 3, 2017

More Vintage Fantasy Figures

I have had some time to work this weekend, and painted the Broadsword P11 ranger swordsman-captain for my Broadsword ranger unit, as well as two vintage Heritage Gondorian citadel guards, original catalog number 1060. Next up is a Minifigs Rohirrim lancer to match the archer from the previous post.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Some recent painting

I was out on a business trip last week with my portable paint kit. Here are a few vintage figures finished and ready for basing.

The Gandalf is a Minifigs ME4. The rather barbaric Rohirrim horse archer is a Minifigs ME20, and the lutenist is a Broadsword P11 ranger. I'm not sure that the lute would be my instrument of choice ranging through the woods, but I like the figure. I have, from the same set, a swordsman/captain and a handful of archers (five, I think), and hope to get them all finished as a little Dragon Rampant unit soon. They'll be scout unit, or, if one thinks of them as elite, a reduced model count bow unit.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Western League Defeat in the Spaetzelthal

Sometime during the War of the Western League, some years before the outbreak of the Not Quite Seven Years War,  a League army advanced down the Spaetzelthal.  Falling back before them Colonel Adelmann, of Schoeffen-Buschhagen, was determined to stand at the Spaetleseberg, a position which dominated the valley, hoping that reinforcements would arrive before he was overwhelmed.  He had sent word to General Schwarzadler, his immediate superior and commander of the combined Wachovia/Schoeffen-Buschhagen  Coalition force, to hasten forward with all possible speed to reinforce his position.

The Spaetzelthal, Adelmann Regiment deployed on the slopes of the Spaetleseberg (view to the south)

Anticipating a difficult fight, Colonel Adelmann ordered his troops to erect hasty breastworks to fortify their position.  A single battery of guns was sited near the center of the Spaetleseberg, and a squadron of cavalry placed in a reserve as the southern end of the ridge.  It was none too soon.  In the distance could be heard the fifes and drums of the approaching League army.  Scouts quickly reported that the defenders were outnumbered by almost four to one.  

Situation near the start; the cavalry battle begins
The initial clash of cavalry

After some preliminary maneuvering, the Adelmann detachment was faced by two regiments of League troops; the Hesse-Hattemstadt regiment at the north, and the Schluesselbrett regiment to their south.  A regiment of Hesse-Hattemstadt cavalry, somewhat reduced by the previous days' marching and skirmishing, swept around the south end of the Spaetleseberg, to be met by the depleted Schoeffen-Buschhagen dragoons.  An extended cavalry battle of charge and countercharge soon developed, and the S-B dragoons had never had a finer day.  More than holding their own against the League horse, they drew back the Leaguers with terrible losses.  They were sustained in their fight by the timely arrival of the lead element of the hoped for reinforcements of General Schwarzadler, a unit of Wachovia curiassiers.  Eventually, the survivors of the beaten Hess-Hattemstadt horse retired from the field, while the Coalition cavalry rallied in open ground between two small woods.

Schlüsselbrett infantry attack in the center
While the cavalry battle was raging, though, the situation for the Coalition was in doubt on the slopes of the Spaetleseberg.  The Schluesselbrett infantry deployed into line and engaged in a deadly short range firefight with a wing of the Adelmann regiment holding the south end of the hill, and, further north, the other wing of the Adelmann regiment was assailed by the Hess-Hattemstadt regiment, aided by a detachment of Saxe-Kirchdorf jaegers.

Reinforcements rush toward the fight
Help was near to hand, though.  A column of troops, led by the remaining detachment of the Adelmann regiment, hastened toward the fight.

The last detachment of the Adelmann regiment charges the Schlueselbrett troops

The arriving troops counterattacked the Schluesselbrett regiment, and were driven off.  The Schluesselbrett regiment's casualties had been horrifying, but their morale held, for the moment.  As they rallied after the melee, the survivors of the Adelmann regiment withdrew from the field.

However, the Wachovians had arrived, and a sharp fighter between the advancing Wachovian light infantry and the battered Schluesselbrett regiment proved to be too much for the latter, and they too retired to reorganize.

At the north end of the Spaetleseberg, the Hesse-Hattemstadt forces drove off the S-Bs and occupied their position, but the arrival of fresh Wachovians proved too much for them and they were shortly forced to retire.

It was now late in the evening, and the League commander considered his position.  His Saxe-Weilenz troops were still fresh, but slightly outnumbered by the Wachovians.  There seemed little chance of clearing the critical positions on the Spaetleseberg before dark, and, with the possibility of further enemy reinforcements to be considered, he ordered a withdrawal.

The commanders
Norman and I were probably at the game for a little over two hours, and it ran to seven turns.  The scenario was "Reinforcements in the Defense: On The Table", number 15 from C.S. Grant's Scenarios for Wargames (the "Green Book").  The rules were Lawford and Young's Charge!, and the scenario translation was on the basis of 1 book unit to 1 company or squadron of infantry and cavalry, and 2 book units of artillery to one gun on the table.

We have used the scenario on multiple occasion previously, and, given the rules, we added the breastworks to the defenders, to give them a chance against the attackers.  With no random morale rules, it's difficult for a Charge unit to hold against odds for very long.  Given the basing of our troops, and the fact the the book specifies that this scenario is to be fought across the narrow end of a rectangular table, it got a little crowded.  We had intended to fight it without the unsightly movement trays, but Norman ended up faced with a time constraint, so we tray-ed the troops for convenience.

Map of our theater of conflict
The War of the Western League is what we get when playing at home; it's our excuse for running a game using only the troops of countries stored here, and involves Schluesselbrett, Hesse-Hattemstadt, and Saxe-Weilenz against the coalition of Schoeffen-Buschhagen and Wachovia.  We used William's Free City of Wiegenburg troops as stand-ins for the still-to-be-painted Saxe-Weilenzers today.

It's been over a year since these troops were on the table, so we were glad of an opportunity to deploy them.  I do need to decide on some rules that would allow use of smaller units to make more efficient use of our limited 5 foot by 6 foot table.