Monday, September 24, 2012

Lots of Activity

There's been a lot going on since the last time I posted, and quite a bit of it even has to do with gaming...
The 15th saw the HAWKs host Barrage XVI, our local game day. This year it moved from January, when we tended to have snow problems, to September, when we lucky to avoid hurricane problems, and from downtown Baltimore out to Havre de Grace, just across the river from where I live. Including club members we had about 120 attendees and several 'real' dealers plus a lively flea market. I put on one game, a kids' ancient game with 1/72 scale plastic 2nd Punic Wars figures. I used rules adapted slightly from Morschauser's How to Play War Games in Miniatures from 1962, and the scenario was based on Hannibal's initial encounter with the Romans after crossing the Alps, Trebbia. It had been quite a while since I had run a proper kids' game, and, to be honest, I had forgotten how high-energy a process that could be, with a constant stream of direction necessary to keep things moving.

I have been upgrading my storage from cardboard boxes to the 4 and 9 liter Really Useful Boxes, so I have been handling a lot of projects that haven't been out in a while. One of these is my 40mm French and Indian War project, done with a mix of Meisterzinn and Prince August home cast figures, and commercial figures from Irregular, Sash and Saber, and Trident. I want to get these on the table sometime soon, so I took a risk and picked up the hot new FIW rules, Muskets and Tomahawks, by the publishers of Saga. The import price of $40 seems a bit steep, but I had money from flea market sales to offset it. I hope to try it soon and post a report/review. At least I have enough figures to field any of the units contemplated in the game...

In any case, it was nice to have both sons home for the event. They weren't running anything, but were able to find some things to play. William was particularly successful at Aerodrome, earning his Ace pin in one long session.

The week following was not as interesting from a gaming view, until the weekend. Norman came home again on Friday night in anticipation of a gaming day at Chris Palmer's house on Saturday. We marked the Tolkien festival of 22 September early, with a lightly Tolkien-themed Hordes of the Things game. Norman has recently expanded his orcish army to 24 Hordes army points, and we matched them against a composite force of elves and men, plus a wizard. While I promptly botched my first attempt at bespelling the orcs, leaving the wizard vulnerable to "frogging", the rest of the battle went in my favor, and I won with a high-stakes general-to-general fight, in which neither general had room to retreat.

We celebrated Bilbo and Frodo's birthday the next morning with a hearty breakfast of waffles and ham, then loaded the car for the trip to Chris's house. The game for the morning was Charge!

While the lighting is not the best on this shot, the basics can be seen. A North Polenburg force has taken up a prepared defensive position anchored on two villages and constructed three redoubts. A Pragmatic Coalition force of troops from Schoeffen-Buschhagen, Wachovia and Wiegenburg is approaching from the right. (This is scenario 1 from Grant's Scenarios for Wargames, the Green Book.)

Faced with a requirement to force the position, the Coalition commanders looked at the dug in guns and concluded that there was no time to waste. Two regiments of infantry were detailed to assault the village in the center of the line while the artillery kept the North Polenburg redoubts under fire. The Wachovian regiment attack the village on the left, and the fourth infantry regiment was assigned to attack the redoubt at the right of the positon.

To the far right, a detachment of the King Rupert Jaegers attempted to work their way through the woods to a position to support the attack on the redoubt.
The SB dragoons were placed between the center attack and the right attack, opposite a regiment of North Polenburg dragoons, resplendent as always on their showy white horses.

Much to the surprise of the Coalition commanders, the battle unfolded much as planned. A cavalry melee developed quickly in the center right, as both sides moved forward in support of their infantry. (In these circumstance, I elected to use the rules for accidental melee.)

Despite the movement of the NP cavalry, a detachment of thier infantry was caught be a fierce charge and driven back in disorder.

The attack in the center eventually was driven home, though not without losses. The SB Adelmann regiment was reduced below strength and withdrew to regroup.
Shortly thereafter two of the three redoubts fell to Coalition action, and the NP commander assessed the situation. With half his infantry force gone, little fight left in the other half, and two thirds of his guns in enemy hands he decided that using his cavalry, in somewhat better condition than the Coalition cavalry, to cover his retreat was the best course of action.
After packing that game away, one of the other HAWKs laid out a 6mm WWII game using the the club's Look Sarge rules.

So I got three games in for the weekend, which is quite respectable. That brings me to 31 so far for the year, not too far short of an average pace of one per week. If I can keep that up, it should be a good year.
I had a little time to work on painting yesterday.
Here are the sample Prince August orcs I cast last session. I don't usually prime in rust color, but I was out of gray at home, and will add a thinned black gesso coat before I get started.

I also started in earnest on a 1/72 scale plastic fantasy army, earmarked for Norman's proposed Myboria Hordes of the Things campaign. I am building the Viking-inspire Barbarians of the Cold Islands, figuring that I have done enough Dark Ages figures in 28mm that the painting should come naturally.

This group will consist of 15 stands of figures, totalling 79 figures; 3 heroes, a sneaker (Valkyries), a horde of thralls to complement the 3 point sneakers, and a choice of 2 shooters, 2 spears, 2 blades, and 4 warbands. The figures are a mix of Zvezda Vikings, Orion Vikings, and Revell Anglo-Saxons.
I also stopped by the local game store yesterday, and found that they had some Reaper Bones Orc archers, so I picked up a pack and some others odds and ends to keep me warming up to the great fantasy makeover next spring.


  1. Out of curiosity is that the Chris Palmer of G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. fame?

    -- Jeff

  2. Lucky you, sir. Glad to see that he plays things like "Charge!" as well.

    -- Jeff

    1. Have you seen his writeup of this battle?

      From my point of view, and considering the chronology, I consider Gaslight to be a sad distraction from the NQSYW. :-)

  3. Yes, as Rob alludes to, he and I started our NQSYW project, a while before GASLIGHT was developed. Then GASLIGHT took all my time and attention away from my NQSYW armies, and for over a decade I did nothing with them, loaning them to Rob on a extended basis for his many NQSYW convention games. Happily now I have my armies back, a renewed interest in the project since Rob ran the game last month, and even now am painting up a unit of North Polenburg Hussars. I'm looking forward to much more NQSYW gaming in the future. I hadn't realized how much I missed it, until I started playing again.

  4. For some odd reason a vision came in to my head of taking the PA castings where the faces were vague and painting them up in greenish-brown skin as NQSYW orcish infantry. I'm alright now.

    tsk tsk, Rosmark gets distracted by civil war and the Pragmatic Coalition gets all feisty. I better start making arrangements for the lang march.