Saturday, April 28, 2007

Moving Week / Off-line for a While --

Well, we are starting to get packed up in preparation to move into our new home this coming week. Do not be surprised if it takes me a while to get back online. However the move will mean that I get a nice big room for my gaming -- which will be very, very nice.

Still, moving is one of life's great traumas (even when it is what you want). We are also hoping that we can get a high-speed internet access there without changing ISPs . . . but they can't tell us until we get our phone connected (which won't be until next week) . . . so we might have to change that too . . . *sigh*.

Anyway, I shall return (although maybe not for a couple of weeks -- although hopefully sooner).

-- Jeff

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Names for Saxe-Bearstein Units --

Thinking back upon the 'history' of Saxe-Bearstein, I noted that the von Ursas (then called Franscioni) originated in Switzerland. This gave me an idea and I looked up Swiss Beers . . . which helped me fill out the names for my Saxe-Bearstein units.

So, here follows the various names I've come up with for the RSM units which I either have or have on order. By the way, to your left you will see the basic pattern for Cavalry flags. The von Ursa Horse Grenadier standard is shown. As you will note, the basic color of the flag is the "regimental trim color".

Starting with the mounted regiments. Eventually it looks like I'll have seven in total. Three of these will be "Heavy Horse":
  • von Ursa Horse Grenadiers -- Red coat trimmed in Black
  • von Klosterbrau Kuirassiers -- White coat trimmed in Red
  • von Kodiak Kuirassiers -- White coat trimmed in Blue
In addition, there will be four "Other Horse" units. The flag to your left is the standard of the Wildschwein Dragoons -- the name means "wild boar", which somehow seems to me to be very appropriate for a dragoon unit. The bottom color is the same as the coat; the top color is the trim color; and the grey section will be trimmed away.

Saxe-Bearstein looks to have two units of Dragoons:
  • Edelbrau Dragoons -- Buff coat trimmed Green
  • Wildschwein Dragoons -- Buff coat trimmed Red
And eventually I intend to have two Hussar units (based on the two uniforms of Luckner's Hussars):
  • Heineken Hussars -- the Green uniform with Mirlton
  • Hopfenperle Hussars -- the Red/White uniform with Busby
Of course the heart of any good Eighteenth Century army is its Infantry. To your left you will see the basic pattern for all Infantry standards. The 'cross' is in the regimental trim color; while the diagonal 'rays' are in the color of the coat.

The central oval and corner leaves are in the color of the hat tape (generally this is the button color as well -- but not always).

Since I'm in Canada, the flag I've chosen to feature today is that of Infantry Regiment von Molson (Molson is a Canadian beer company whose colors are . . . you guessed it . . . red, white and blue).

Eventually I should have nine Battalions of Regular Foot:
  • Furst's Own Grenadier Guard -- Red coat trimmed in Gold
  • Regiment von Becks -- Red coat trimmed in White
  • Regiment von Carling -- Red coat trimmed in Black
  • Regiment von Coors -- Red coat trimmed in Yellow
  • Regiment von Grolsch -- Red coat trimmed in Lt. Green
  • Regiment von Lowenbrau -- Red coat trimmed in Lt. Blue
  • Regiment von Molson -- Red coat trimmed in Blue
  • Regiment von Schlitz -- Red coat trimmed in Maroon
  • Regiment von Urquel -- Red coat trimmed in Dk. Green
Now, while some of these units may change before they reach the tabletop, I suspect that the bulk of them will remain as above.

I'm also planning on some artillery pieces and jagers . . . but naming those will come later.

-- Jeff

Friday, April 20, 2007

More on Saxe-Bearstein Units --

Some time back (January 21, 2007) I wrote about various options for naming units. After some thought, my current plans are to name most units by their inhaber. The inhaber is the "owner" of the regiment. Often this is either a member of the royal family. another nobleman or occasionally the unit's colonel.

This allows me to even change the unit's name upon occasion if I decide that I like something better. It also allows me to use some of the names that I came up with when I first began to create Saxe-Bearstein.

My intention then (as now) was to name most units after either bears or beers . . . with the emphasis on the later (since there are so many wonderfully Germanic-sounding beer brands). Thus the first fewunits that will find their way to the paint table will probably be . . .
  • Infantry Regiment von Molson
  • Infantry Regiment von Schlitz
  • Infantry Regiment von Lowenbrau
  • Infantry Regiment von Bock
  • von Coors Kuirassiers
  • Edelbrau Dragoons

-- Jeff

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The "Big Picture" --

The Principality of Saxe-Bearstein, like most 18th century imaginary nations, represents a small state in the Holy Roman Empire -- not one of the "major players" (Austria, Prussia, France, etc.).

In my local area we are gearing up to run the "Wars for Arcadian Glory" -- The Arcadian Guild being our local "gaming umbrella organization". What we are at present envisioning is that our small states will be joining one of the major powers for small local campaigns against our neighbors.

The major powers will be . . . the Elector and the Emperor . . . yes, that is a definite nod to the forces used in "CHARGE! or How to Play War Games" by Young and Lawford. Currently (although this is definitely open to change) we're thinking of a 1740 "starting date" for our wars.

All of our imaginary countries are, of course, free to change sides at will . . . perhaps supporting the Emperor one battle and the Elector the next (depending upon who we are fighting) because, after all, our primary concerns are for our own small nations and not what happens to the "big boys".

We further envision encouraging new players by allowing them to join into a battle with as little as one unit (as freicorps). I, for one, hope to eventually have some "loaner units" to those who'd like to join in.

Anyway, it occurs to me that the overall concept of "Elector vs Emperor" is one that would work for the many fictional nations here in "blog land". Many bloggers have created not only their own fictional nation, but their traditional rivals as well. Certainly we are all free to take one side or the other and have our traditional rivals take the other side.

So, if you find that you like this concept, feel free to use it . . . it may well inspire even more cross-blog interaction at best . . . and, at worst, it still gives us a potentially larger framework for the fun we have with our little nation-states.

Now, which do I like best? The Elector or the Emperor? Hmmmm, I think I may have to re-read CHARGE! to see which is more interesting.

-- Jeff of Saxe-Bearstein

Friday, April 13, 2007

Saxe-Bearstein History --
(note -- this is a modified reprise of a post from last August)

gely enough, the history of Saxe-Bearstein starts in the late-14th century just north of the Piedmont in the Swiss Alps. Bruno Franscioni, along with a number of his fellow Swiss joined a mercenary battalion called "the Bears" and campaigned in France and the Holy Roman Empire. Over time, Bruno rose to become Colonel of "the Bears".

Eventually "the Bears" ended up in Germany in the pay of Margrave Frederick the Warlike of Meissen. It was during this time, as the Margrave sought to extend his realm into the lands of Saxe-Wittenberg, that a curious event occurred. The Margrave and Colonel were enjoying a meal on a hillside overlooking a broad valley in southern Saxony.

Both being fond of beverages, they had consumed copious quantities of said beverages when out of the trees they were charged by a large bear. Bruno snatched up a knife from the table and interposed himself between the bear and the Margrave so that the bear attacked him instead. Then, with the knife, he managed to kill the bear although losing an eye and sustaining many injuries.

So moved was Margrave Frederick that he there and then re-named Bruno Franscioni as Bruno von Ursa -- in honor of the bear who attacked him. Shortly thereafter, in 1425, when the Margrave completed his conquest of Saxe-Wittenberg and was named Elector Frederick I of Saxony, he granted the lands of that valley where he'd been saved by Bruno as his fief -- Saxe-Bearstein.

"The Bears" settled into the valley and Bruno von Ursa became the first Furst, Bruno I of Saxe-Bearstein. The Italian Swiss soldiers of "the Bears" quickly settled down, marrying the German girls and started raising families. As time went on, being who they were, a great conflict started up with a neighboring valley -- Saxe-Deerstein over the respective qualities of their beverages.

Both valleys were noted for both the fine beers and wines they produced. Each claimed that theirs was better than the other -- and thus, words turned to raids, and then eventually escalated into battle. Finally, in 1509, Furst Silvio von Ursa was able to add Saxe-Deerstein's lands to his own.

Then, this newly enlarged principality settled down to happily brewing beer and making wine . . . and drinking both. The Electors of Saxony often called upon Saxe-Bearstein for military service; and they always responded well. Over time, grateful Electors added to the lands of Saxe-Bearstein until, under Rupert III, in 1583, Saxe-Bearstein had reached her current borders.

The Thirty Years War was quite kind to Saxe-Bearstein, since none of the armies romping through Europe wished to disturb the one steady source of tipple. Every campaign seemed to circumvent the fields and vineyards of Saxe-Bearstein -- but every army seemed happy to frequent the fine taverns that sat on her borders.

It is true that the Furst (Valerio von Ursa) also maintained a very respectable army (supported by the profits of the taverns), which would have required a very nasty fight if a campaigning force wished to loot Saxe-Bearstein. But most forces were wise enough to realize that the war would be a long one -- and a good steady source of drink and, er, well . . . drink was more important than a brief surfeit of booze. Besides which, had any force been foolish enough to deprive the others of their chance of a good source of drink would have gained the enmity of all other armies.

The only ones foolish enough to attempt anything were, of course, the French (who were jealous of Saxe-Bearstein's fine vintages). Fortunately the Saxe-Bearstein forces (along with the help of several other armies) were more than a match for the French and their Germanic ally , Stagonia

Then, again, during the War of Spanish Succession, Stagonian forces (along with the French) once again attacked Saxe-Bearstein but were again soundly defeated by the Saxe-Bearstein army. Nevertheless, to this day, the speaking of French is prohibited within the borders of Saxe-Bearstein.

Now, once again, it appears that war may be on the horizon. Many nations, including the Duchy of Meiczyslaw, Grand Duchy of Stollen, Kingdom of Wittenberg, Pils-Holstein, Hesse-Fedora as well as many others seem to be mobilizing. Even the venerable Duchy of Alzheim seems to be increasing its forces.

Accordingly, Furst Bruno V has begun recruiting new units from the domains of the Dayton Consortium. While it may take some time to equip and train these new battalions, the current forces of Saxe-Bearstein (sustained by the beers and wines of their homeland) should be sufficient to defend the Principalities borders for the time being.

-- Jeff

Duffer's Drift Link --

It is over a hundred years old, but Ernest Swinton's short little work is still of value. For those unfamiliar with it, I urge you to take a few minutes and read through it. It not only has many uses as a tactical tool, but it contains more than a few ideas for miniature games.

Best of all, you don't need to go to a library to read it. It is available online -- here's the link:

Be sure to click on the "Map" to see what the terrain looked like.

For those who don't know of it, it purports to be a series of dreams where a young officer tries various ways of defending a vital piece of real estate during the Boer War (1899-1902). The tactical lessons he learns might just help us on the tabletop.

Give it a read . . . it isn't long.

-- Jeff

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Side-tracked While Waiting --

Not much that I can do in the wargaming sense while getting ready to move into a new house in three weeks . . . so I've allowed myself to get "side-tracked".

One of the things that I have "somewhere in storage" is a bunch of painted 1/144 World War One planes. We used to play a somewhat modified version of "Fly or Die". Well, while surfing the net, I came across a very interesting website:

"Canvas Eagles" is another WWI miniature air battles game that has grown out of the old "Blue Max" boardgame. The rules can be downloaded for free from the above website and look pretty good.

So, while I have no intention of abandoning or delaying my work on my Saxe-Bearstein troops, Canvas Eagles may allow me to host a good participation miniatures game well before I have enough troops painted for a "Wars for Arcadian Glory" game to be hosted.

Besides, it is fun to think about. I've already thought of campaign mechansims, etc. . . . the great drawback, of course, is that they don't wear tricorns.

-- Jeff

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Tensions Ease in Saxe-Bearstein --

The arrival of Jakub, szlachta of Mieczyslaw, to the court of Bruno V, Prince of Saxe-Bearstein has somewhat eased the tensions that arose with the recent mobilization of Mieczyslaw's army.

The Furst (Bruno's real title -- which is usually translated as "Prince") was assured by Jakub that the Duchy merely wished to parade its troops so that the citizens of the Duchy would be reassured that they were safe . . . and Jakub whispered as he winked at the Furst, "besides it encourages the troops to clean and polish their equipment so that they can impress the girls".

The net result of the meeting was that the Furst is willing to send an ambassador to Mieczyslaw and to accept one from them as well.

Further discussion centered around the secrecy from the Duchy of the North and the apparent aggressive tendencies of Monrovia toward the Kingdom of Wittenberg.

-- Jeff of Saxe-Bearstein

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Tensions Rise in Saxe-Bearstein --

Reports that the Army of the Duchy of Mieczyslaw has been mustered have reached the Principality. The reason for such an event has caused some concern here in Saxe-Bearstein. Certainly there cannot be any cause for animosity . . . but why has the Duke called his troops together?

The report (from a most reliable source) can be read here:

Prince Bruno V has not yet decided to call out his own army (well . . . he can't until I paint them . . . and I can't do that until after we've moved . . . *sigh*). Still, this is a situation that calls for careful observation.

The prince urges friends of the Principality of Saxe-Bearstein to aid in keeping a careful eye on the Duchy of Mieczslaw and report any further troop movements.

(Translation -- Murdock is one of my gaming buddies who is ahead of the rest of us in getting his forces ready for the Wars of Arcadian Glory.)

-- Jeff

Monday, April 02, 2007

My Use of Flags --

Regular readers of this blog know that I am working on a set of mid-eighteenth century rules ("Tricorne Wars") for use by our local club in its "Wars for Arcadian Glory" fictional campaign.

In "Tricorne Wars", flags are not placed on the "command stand"; but on their own "colour stand", which is used to indicate the unit's current condition.

For mounted troops, I will simply use a single mounted figure with the unit's standard . . . but for infantry, the situation is more complex.

Beside the regular "line infantry", I will also (potentially) have converged grenadiers, irregular troops and skirmish troops.

Regular troops will have two flags. The unit flag (such as the one with the light blue cross) and the national standard (the red bear on gold).

Converged grenadiers (who historically did not carry a flag) will only have a "national standard". Contrasting with this, irregular units (such as Grenzers) and skirmishing foot (jagers) will only carry a "unit flag" (such as the one pictured in green and gold).

By the way, for those interested in my flags, the background color of the oval (as well as the leaves and ray borders) are in the unit's hat tape color; the diagonal "rays" are in the coat color; and the "cross" is in the unit's cuff color.

Thus only the "line infantry" will have two flags. . . . . at least, that's the current plan.

-- Jeff

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Game Table Quandary --

Well, it is still a whole month before we get to move into our new home; but I don't want to wait (even though I have to).

Here is a picture looking towards the far end of my "game room to be". It is 15 feet wide by 38 feet long.

Okay, the true "game room" portion will probably be only from the break in the wall back to the window.

In any event, I will have lots of room. So one of the questions I have to consider is "what size game table do I want?"

Part of the problem is that I'm sort of short and stout (that's a lot better word than "fat", don't you think?). My arms are not very long, so I don't want a table that I can't easily reach past the center of.

Also I have to decide how high I'd like the table to be (many are too low for my taste). As for style, here's a link to a nice concept for a game table:

Well, I've got a month to think about it anyway. I'm interested in any suggestions my readers might have.

-- Jeff