Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"Not with a Bang . . ."   --    

". . . but a wimper." . . . well I'm afraid that I'm ending the year with plenty of wimpers.  Yes, it is the kidney gravel moving through my system again.  So here I sit at the keyboard, zonked on my pain meds constantly correcting my fumbling fingers.

Now I don't like feeling zonked; but it is better than the pain.  Anyway before this hit I'd started a blog about my Colonial gaming.  And my most recent post there quoted from something from the "Major General's" terrain philosophy.

Now I do wish to make it perfectly clear that the concepts which follow were written by David Helber of the Major General Tremorden Rederring's Colonial-era Wargames Page and not me . . . although I heartily agree with Mr. Helber's comments and feel that they deserve to be repeated.

I will note that the photo is from an early game of mine and that I built the buildings ala the Major General's philosophy and the techniques from his Building Construction page.  (As usual, click on photo for larger image).

-- Jeff

Small is Beautiful

Contrary to what your significant other might tell you, size matters -- especially in tabletop gaming. 

Specifically: small is beautiful. Because table space is always so limited, everything used in a game must be as small as it can be and still do its job.

The Ouargistan group uses a 5/8"/15mm (David's preference) or 3/4"/19mm (everybody else's) base size for 25mm military figures where possible, with the occasional base cut larger to accomodate the odd figure that needs it. 

Even a 1" base means that a unit of men will take up over 30% more linear space on the table and 90% more area than those on a 3/4" base. A 2-rank unit of 20 men will be 10" wide, rather than than 7.5". Ten inches is a lot on a table which is only 48" across. 

When the gaming includes buildings, boats, or vehicles, base size is even more important. Even though we allow bases to overlap when figures are in a boat or structure, a base which is even slightly larger will substantially reduce the number of men which can fit in the same space. 

A rooftop which is 2.25" square will take nine men with 3/4" bases, but only four men with 1" bases.

Buildings and vehicles themselves should be as small as they can be without looking completely ridiculous. 

In Ouargistan, a small, flat-roofed native building will be as small as 2.25" square with a roof 1.5" off the ground. The difference between a 2.5" and a 3.5" building doesn't sound like much, but it will allow you to put a 5-building town in about the same space as a 3 building town with the larger size.

When building structures and vehicles it is very easy to let size get out of hand. You must exercise ruthless care to keep things to a minimum, or else you wind up with forts or villages that take up half the table, and boats which require so much river to maneuver that there is no room for land. 

Generally our native buildings run from about 2.25" square to about 3"x 5", forts are about 12" square, and the largest boats/ships are no more than 9" long.

-- Copyright©1998 David Helber

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Gaming (Redux) --

Just over a year ago, I wrote a bit of a summary about my table top gaming interests over the years. After re-reading it today, I felt that it was worthy of another post . . . primarily because of my comments as to why I prefer 18th century Imagi-Nations (posted in blue below).

By the way, the photo to the left is from early action in the Battle of Wollmitz from last year. It was a refight of Mollwitz using my own house rules. Ross Macfarlane was visiting and he and his friend whupped Murdock and myself rather soundly. (As usual, click on the photo for a larger version.)


I was thinking today about how my wargaming interests have changed over the decades.

My introduction to tabletop gaming was with WRG's 7th Edition Ancients. For years, even with changes of rule systems, all that I played was Ancients. Even when our club briefly diverted to periods, we always came back to Ancients.

But I tired of them and my many Ancient armies (in both 15mm and 25mm) have languished in boxes for many years. The truth is that I really tired of the constant search by others for the "killer army".

Have you noticed that most of the "armies" that win tournaments nowadays are ones that never made much of a mark historically? Far too many Ancients players play the rules and not the history.

So, I'm sure that you're thinking, "Am I playing the history when I use an Imagi-Nation?".

Well I feel that I am. I'm not re-creating the exact 18th century history. No, I'm playing at being a minor monarch in the spirit of the period. Furthermore there isn't a search for a "killer army" since we all have access to the same troop types . . . so the
spirit of our battles is different.

So, yes, the Eighteenth Century is my primary period for gaming . . . but it isn't my only one. I'm also interested in the "Colonial" conflicts of the last third of the 19th Century.

The Northwest Frontier (okay, I'll admit to reading a lot of Kipling in my youth), the Sudan and to a lesser extent, South Africa. And the American "Wild West".

The major difference that all of the above share is a focus on smaller conflicts. Essentially these are primarily "skirmish" periods. The style of the games are different -- and more cinematic. In addition, they're lots of fun.

Are there other periods that interest me? Of course. Among them is the English Civil War for which I've been collecting books and rules. It is a period which I really don't know all that much about . . . so research is the first and most important step. It may be a few years before I feel that I'm ready to start painting troops.

And getting back to the 18th century for a moment. I plan on building a number of "historic" (as opposed to imaginary) units in 15mm . . . but again more research is needed first.

Finally, damnit, I am increasingly drawn to those 28mm "Big Battalion" battles. And I have copies of "Charge", "The War Game" and "BAR" on my shelf . . . and I know that "The War Game Companion" is under the tree . . . so THAT is another temptation.

I think that all of those Ancients armies will just have to wait a lot longer before they regain the table top.

-- Jeff

Monday, December 14, 2009

Our First Real Snow of the Season --

Yes, we had a brief dusting of snow last week . . . but it barely lasted an hour on the ground.

The prediction for today was for 4" of snow . . . well we've already cleared 7" from our driveway and the snow hasn't let up at all . . . and we still have most of the night to go (currently about 9:30 pm here).

Yes, the photo to the left is of me . . . taken today shortly after the snow started to fall. (As usual, if you should want to see a larger image, click on the photo.)

-- Jeff

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Our Tree is Decked --

Yes, we have another "Frasier Fir" this year . . . and please note the "nutcracker" style toy soldiers that grace some of it's boughs. (click on photo for larger image.)

In addition, to initiate the holiday season, we had our first dusting of snow today at about 4:20 pm . . . just enough to turn the roads white and to give spotty coverage on the lawn . . . although many blades of green emerged from the snow.

May all of your holidays be full of warmth and good cheer.

-- Jeff

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

YIKES! Where did the time go? ---

It is almost two months since I last posted anything here.

*sigh* . . . There hasn't been much to report on the gaming front, I'm afraid. We've been very busy with "real life" issues . . . nothing particularly noteworthy, but time-consuming nevertheless.

As my dear lady wife says, "Getting old isn't for wimps." . . . and I fear that we are getting on in years, with all of the assorted aches and pains that that entails. For example my hands didn't start to ache every time the weather changed . . . but they do now.

My dear lady has been having some nasty difficulties with her hip for the past several months . . . and lots of time is spent going to physiotherapists, chiropractors and acupuncturists as well as her doctor . . . and then we've been through the crazy go-round to get H1N1 shots.

Nothing earthshattering, but time consuming. Hopefully the new year will bring more gaming back into my life.

-- Jeff

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Some ECW Reading --

One of my "long range" projects is to build some English Civil War armies. But being as I am an American now living in Canada I have very little knowledge about that conflict.

Yes, I have a number of rule sets . . . and NO, I haven't picked one yet because I don't know enough about the conflict to choose wisely. So obviously it is time for me to do some reading.

Yesterday's post brought a copy of John Barratt's "The Civil War in South-West England 1642-1646" which I hope will provide a good background for that ECW theatre.

It should cover the campaigns pitting Hopton and Waller . . . neither of whom I had ever heard of before starting my inquiries into this period.

Of course I HAD heard of Prince Rupert before . . . it is a community on the northern coast of British Columbia (less than 180 miles from me) . . . but I had not known that it was named for the ECW general:,_British_Columbia

"All the King's Armies" by Stuart Reid is another volume that arrived recently. It comes highly praised by various posters on the TMP English Civil War Message Board.

It presents a broader picture of the war . . . covering the armies and events in other parts of Britain (at least I think that it gets into the northern war where the Scots had lots of action).

I would love to do the ECW using Sash and Saber's lovely 40mm figures . . . such as those featured on the Lead Gardens and For Ye Kinge blogs.

However I do not think that my pocketbook could handle the burden (particularly with the cavalry for much of the ECW is quite cav heavy). So I suspect that I will eventually have to join the Old Glory army club and use their 25mm figures . . . and fortunately it is supposed to be one of their better lines.

However I am still a LONG way from getting figures . . . and it isn't like I don't have other projects to work on . . . but right now it is simply "research time".

-- Jeff

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Easy 15mm Fences for ACW --

While reading Steve-the-Wargamer's blog, I was reminded of my easy method for making split-rail fences for the War Between the States.

(note -- click on photo for larger image)

These fences are really simple to make. Start with flat toothpicks. Cut some into sections about 5/8ths of an inch in length. Glue these into "X" shapes.

After these have dried, glue full-length toothpicks into opposite sides of the Xs. (note the three segments lying sideways in the photo -- while they obviously stand the other way --these give a better idea of how the fence segments are constructed.)

Glue one X near the end of the toothpicks; and the other a bit past halfway. Be sure to have the narrow ends of the toothpicks go in opposite directions since they look better that way.

Now you can place the "long" end of a segment against the "short" end of another to get the right look to the fences. And these are very flexible. They can be used to make either straight fences or the irregular fences so common on the rural frontier.

The best part is that these segments are pretty mindless to make. You can do it while watching TV . . . or if you have children, you can probably get them to make them.

Finally I will note that they probably should be painted grey since that is what most weathered fences I've seen look like . . . but they will look okay even if left as is.

-- Jeff

Monday, September 14, 2009

My Ancient and Medieval Rules --

Peter of The Nyudrev Chronicles posted a list of his wargame rules. I thought that this might be a good idea for me too . . . but I own so many that I've decided to limit this first part of my list to my Ancient and Medieval rule sets only . . . and only to ones that I have published copies of (and not those that I've downloaded from the Net).

My very first wargames were with WRG 7th Edition "Ancients". Indeed, this was all that I played for a number of years (since that was all that my opponents played). I got pretty good with these rules . . . but I never really liked them. To me they were too much of a "thinking" set.

I ended up playing a few other rule sets (but not nearly as many as I own . . . not even close). And I still own a lot of full Ancients armies (big ones, not just DBA size) . . . somewhere north of twenty I fear.

And why do I "fear" it? Because I haven't played any Ancients in years . . . except for the DBA tourney that Murdock hosted a while back . . . and really only then in order to provide an even number of players.

Format of the following list will be Title, (Author), Date . . . and I will try to put them more-or-less in order of publication date. Note also that I will use "shortened" titles for some of the better-known sets (e.g., "WRG" in place of their much longer titles)
  • WRG 5th Edition (Phil Barker ?), 1976
  • God's Acre (Dave Milwood), 1976
  • Condottieri (Dave Milwood), 1976
  • Broadsword (George H. Schneider), 1977
  • En Garde! (Darryl Hany & Frank Chadwick)., 1977
  • Bireme & Galley (Jan Vrapcenak, Edward E. Simbalist & Terry Cheeseman), 1978
  • WRG 1430-1700 2nd Ed. (George Gush), 1979
  • Fire, Hack & Run (Mike Gilbert), 1979
  • The Shock of Impact (Ian S. Beck & Michael Bussey), 1981
  • Newbury Fast Play (T. J. Hutsall), 1985
  • A to Z Rules for Ancient Warfare (Andrew Zartolass, Jr.), 1985
  • WRG 7th Ed. (Phil Barker), 1987 & 1992 printings
  • Ancient Naval Wargame Rules 500 BC to AD 500 (Martin A. Johncock), 1988
  • Tactica (Arty Conliffe), 1989
  • Romans, Goths & Huns (Simon MacDowell), 1990
  • DBA and DBA 2.0 (Phil Barker & Richard Bodley Scott), 1990 and 2001
  • Shieldbearer (Michael J. Young), 1991
  • Knight Hack (The Jogglers), 1991
  • Classical Hack I (The Jogglers), 1992
  • Blood Axe Ancients (Lance Runolfsson * David Kaser), 1992
  • Legio (Simon MacDowell), 1992
  • Tactica Medieval Rulebook (Arty Conliffe & Ed Regendahl), 1992
  • Flower of Chivalry (Bruce McFarlane), 1993
  • Armati (Arty Conliffe), 1994
  • DBR (Phil Barker & Richard Bodley Scott),1995
  • Warhammer Ancient Battles (Jervis Johnson, Rick Priestley, Alan Perry & Michael Perry), 1998
  • DBM 3.0 (Phil Barker & Richard Bodley Scott), 2000 plus earlier editions
  • Warrior (Four Horsemen Enterprises), 2001
  • Battlestandard Ancient Rules (Jeff Stuckey), 2004
  • Warmaster Ancients (Rick Priestley), 2005
  • Impetvs (Lorenzo Sartori), 2008
Now besides all of the above rules, I have lots of army lists, battle books and army background books . . . and almost certainly more rules that haven't been unpacked yet.

And I really haven't played Ancients in years . . . because other periods have claimed my interest since.

-- Jeff

Saturday, August 08, 2009

(OT) Hot and Sore --

I'm sorry that I've been so inactive of late. Once again "real life" has interfered. We are just over a very nasty heat wave here on Vancouver Island. I'm not sure just when it started, but the past few weeks were brutal.

The temperature here seldom dropped below 30` C. (86` F.) even at night; and most days we were between 35 and the low 40s (say 95 to 110 F.).

Note: our home thermometer is in the shade and in a relatively windy spot so it doesn't "bake up" . . . the official temperature here is at the airport, right near the ocean, not in the "heights" where we live. Still July was the second hottest in 128 years of record-keeping.

Now I am of a much more than stout build. I am not built for warm weather, let alone hot weather; and my dear lady wife suffered even more than I did. Anyway we spent most of our time in the basement . . . and since our computer room is the warmest in the house, we kept it closed off and seldom ventured in.

Additionally I have been rehearsing a play which closes tonight here in the Comox Valley . . . and that eats up a great deal of time and energy. Add to that a fall I suffered a couple of weeks back (nothing broken, but bruises and sore muscles aplenty).

Finally, a very sore right foot. I thought that I'd pulled my Achilles tendon . . . because that is what was sore . . . but as the pain increased and the foot began to swell we discovered differently.

It was a gout attack in my right ankle. I've had a number of attacks of gout before (remember the one in my left big toe back in April?) . . . but they've always been in my big toes. I didn't realize that gout can attack other joints as well.

Anyhow once we knew what it was, I had medication to knock it down . . . but it has been a very hot and sore stretch of time . . . with no gaming (except for some reading).

-- Jeff

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Some Colonial Terrain --

Steve Turner of At the Old Dessauer's Table and LITTLEJOHN of Lead Gardens have been contemplating "Colonial" projects.

Both have been discussing some of the terrain ideas from Major General Tremorden Rederring's Colonial-era Wargames Page . . . which is actually not a "page", but an extensive website which is generally simply referred to as the "Major General's".

So I decided to post a few photos from games that show some of the terrain features that they are contemplating. (Remember to "click" on any of the photos to see a larger version.)

The top photo shows one of the "mountains" that the Major General builds out of cardboard. (See Lead Gardens for a look at his "scrap" versions that he put together just to get an idea of how they'd look.)

These not only provide great places for ambushers or snipers, but in line with the Major General's philosophy, they take up very little table space.

They are also very flexible as the second photo demonstrates. Here I've placed two back-to-back in the center of the table, with my other two on the sides to create two "mountain passes.

And finally, they make good backgrounds for photos.

The last photo shows some simple "Arab" houses (note that they are usable for many other cultures . . . mine certainly get used on both the Northwest Frontier and in the Old West.

Using the techniques shown on the Major General's "Building Construction Page", I took my figure bases (in my case, pennies) and planned the interior roof size to fit a few troops comfortably.

I then made a few houses to hold a few more troops, then a few large enough to "nest" the smallest houses in order to make some two-storey structures with room enough for more figures in some cases.

For texturing, I used "spackle" (not sure what the Brits call it, but it is the stuff you use to patch holes in drywall. Then I used slightly different colors of "off-white" to create different looks. I was careful however to make sure that I used the same colors on those buildings that I wanted to be able to "nest".

-- Jeff

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

RSM Dismounted Dragoons --

Well my RSM order arrived . . . and it contained their Dismounted Dragoons . . . and here are some photos of them straight out of the bag. (Remember to click on them for a larger image).

By the way, although their website hasn't yet registered the changes, they've increased their prices a bit . . . but they are still amongst the most reasonably priced figures around.

Their infantry bags (36 figures) now cost $29.00 US (up from $27.00).

Their cavalry bags (12 mounted figures) now cost $25.80 US (up from $22.20).

And their bags of 6 mounted generals /aides is now $12.90 US (instead of $11.10).

A brief note on these figures. I didn't even really look at them (I'm zonked on pain medication for kidney stones). I just opened the bag and grabbed four figures. I didn't look for flash or bent metal . . . and I can see a bent scabbard now.

Anyway, here are some raw photos for your evaluation.

-- Jeff
(OT) I've Started a "Mythic" Blog --

Inspired by reading some of the Accounts of gamers using the "Mythic Game Master Emulator" (the one with the blue cover), I've decided to try running a solo adventure using it.

Sorry, I'm not placing this initial trial in the Eighteenth century . . . or even on Earth. Yes, I'm running a Fantasy adventure (please forgive me). Because of that, I'm not adding it to the "Emperor vs Elector" blog lists -- but I have added it here.

It is called Mythic Fangharm Quest and so far I've just set the scene . . . now I'll spend a few days re-reading the GM Emulator to make sure that my pain med muddled mind understands it.

Anyway, take a look if it interests you.

-- Jeff

Monday, June 29, 2009

More Kidney Gravel --

*sigh* . . . Not much has been happening here in the Principality of Saxe-Bearstein. Yes, I had a birthday and got some wargaming goodies; but I've been enduring close to two weeks of kidney gravel moving through my system.

Essentially it is sort of like grains of sand slowly working their way out of my body . . . with their sharp little corners scraping against parts of my that don't like to be scraped.

Don't get me wrong, I'd much rather have this gravel than to have actual kidney stones. I've had the gravel's big brothers and I do NOT ever want them again.

What I've got is painful . . . but it is really much more on the uncomfortable and fatiguing side of things . . . and the pain pills that the doctor has given me take care of the worst of it. However they also fog my mind so that I can't really get anything done.

So, what did I get for my birthday? A number of books, mostly ECW and Colonial research material.

I also got some Ral Partha Colonials . . . and I've got some RSM figures somewhere in transit . . . including the Dismounted Dragoons that I've been meaning to get (but forgotten to order) for the last few orders I've received.

I've also been amusing myself reading some of the "Mythic" gaming adventures various places on the web . . . for which I have to "blame" At The "Old Dessauer's" Table. Very interesting stuff . . . I might try writing an adventure using it.

-- Jeff

Monday, June 08, 2009

Grand Tour Visits Saxe-Bearstein --

Count Wilhelm Hatzof, the Kingdom of Wittenberg's Ambassador to the Principality of Saxe-Bearstein (pictured at left in the gray coat), and his military attache, Major-General Heinrich von Bose of the Duchy of Fenwick (in the red coat) discuss the latest news with the Cavendarian ambassador, Monsieur Dashiell Jeansonne (in the brown coat), while the Lutelande grenadier, Nils Norberg (green uniform) listens in.

The "Grand Tour" has reached Saxe-Bearstein. Reich Duke Wilhelm and young King Basil have arrived . . . and Furst Bruno von Ursa is providing some very different entertainment than that which has greeted them in other states.

"They have started with a 'pub tour' . . . which means that they are drinking beer in various local taverns." says Monsieur Jeansonne.

"And why not?" responds the general, "Saxe-Bearstein is justly famous for its superior brews. I think that they're even better than those of the Reich Duchy of Beerstein . . . and that is saying a lot."

"Indeed", responds Count Hatzof. "I wonder how the Reich Duke will judge them?"

"And later in their stay they are supposed to go 'fouling' . . . which sounds just too disgusting to even consider." responds Jeansonne.

"Pardon me, Ambassador," interjects the Lutelander, "but I fear that you have misunderstood. They are going 'fowling' . . . that is to say, hunting for ducks and pheasants with double-barreled long guns."

Count Hatzof adds, "Indeed, it is quite the sport. Given that the birds are flying and you have to take into account not only the time that it will take the shot to reach them, but that, as you know, there is a time delay between pulling the trigger and the frizzen charge going off and then igniting the main charge. It is quite the challenge to bring your bird down."

"Then it will be excellent training for the young king," replies Jeansonne. "For there is much unrest in his grandmother Princess Theofilia's Morea."

"Indeed", replies the Count, "It is thought that she sent her grandson on this tour primarily to keep him safe during the troubles her country is currently experiencing."

"Indeed." the others all agree.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Not Much New --

Well this has been a pretty barren month gaming-wise. My principal opponent has been busy with "real life" issues as he tries to get his business going in these economically uncertain times.

Also Stokes has had various "real life" issues interfere with our "Charge!" play-by-email game . . . but hopefully that will soon be resumed.

My primary gaming activity of late has been to order a few things for my upcoming birthday (June 19). I've ordered several books from On Military Matters including an extension of my BATTLEGAMES Magazine subscription. I've also ordered some figures.

I've ordered some RSM figures from the Dayton Painting Service; and some Ral Partha Colonials from Great Endeavors.

So now all I have to do is to hope that they get here in time for my birthday.

-- Jeff

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Thoughts on My Game Table --

Right now I have a 5' x 10 1/2' game table. It is composed of "banquet tables" (such as those pictured to the left) . . . two 8' long (side by side) and one 5' long on the end (perpendicular to the others).

Generally I have been covering it with a green cloth, using styrofoam hills underneath to provide elevation changes . . . as you can see in the second photo (below).

But lately I've been having some "second thoughts" about this arrangement.


Because I really like the "Old School" look that Stokes has for his "Charge!" games on his Grand Duchy of Stollen blog, I'm thinking of a very easy option using what I already have.

If I were to get some thin 4'x8' sheets of MDF (medium density fiberboard) and have two cut down to 4'x5' and the third cut to 3'x5' (a total of four cuts), I could then paint them my figure-basing color on one side . . . and paint the other side a desert color for my Colonial gaming.

Then, by placing the 5' long banquet table six inches from the others . . . and putting the 3' wide section in the middle (so that a 4' section could span the gap and still have good support on the other end . . . I'd have a nice 5' x 11' gaming surface.

I could get a second set of MDF boards and paint them blue on one side, black on the other, and have tables for Naval and Space gaming too.

Which gets me to thinking.

If I got a 6' long banquet table, I could do the same sort of thing, only with 6' long sheets of MDF. Then, I could split the two 8' tables a foot apart and have a 6'x11' table . . . and if I added another 6' banquet table off of the far end, I could add one more 3'x6' MDF sheet and have a 6' x 14' table!

And, given the size of my game room, I don't think I'd want to go any bigger than that.

But while MDF is inexpensive, the banquet tables aren't cheap . . . so I'll probably start with the 5' x 11' option and see how it works out.

-- Jeff

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

(OT) A "Television Moment" for Me --

Okay, this really isn't a "biggie" . . . but it was kind of cool anyway.

My favorite baseball team is the San Francisco Giants . . . (notice I don't claim that they're the best team . . . but I saw my first Giant game back in 1958 when they first moved west).

Anyway, being in the wilds of Canada the only way we get to see them is to watch the San Francisco telecasts on the computer. They have a feature where they have people send in questions and the announcers answer one each day on air during the game . . . well tonight's question was from "Jeff in Canada":
"Do switch hitters use the same bat from both sides of the plate? Or do they use different bats tailored to their different swings?"
Yup, that was from me.

They said it was a really good question and spent most of the inning discussing it. Their conclusion was that most of the switch-hitters they knew used the same bat but that some who had very different swings might use different bats . . . and they said that they would call some about it (although I doubt that they will).

Anyway, a small (rather anonymous) moment of fame.

On a different subject, I (in the persona of my "evil twin") am still waiting for Stokes to post the results of the first round of shooting in the Stollen - Stagonia battle for the Sawmill Village.

-- Jeff

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I'm Back Online, Gout Better --

Yes, after three weeks, my computer is back online (yippee!).

And my gout has subsided a great deal. To the left you can see what my foot currently looks like.

It isn't great by any means . . . but it is
so much better than it was! And the swelling has really gone down a lot.

Yes, it still hurts, but not nearly the way it did (I was more-or-less zonked out with painkillers).

For those fortunate enough to have never had it, be thankful. When full-blown, even the air is excruciatingly painful.

But I'm feeling much much better . . . and I most sincerely thank you all for the many kind words I have received from you.

-- Jeff

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Getting Better --

The good news is that I'm doing a lot better than I was. My gout has let up a considerable amount and I can now get around the house with a cane . . . I was barely able to move with a walker for a number of days. Oh, my foot still hurts a lot (and I'm still keeping a rigid schedule of pain relief) . . . but it is waaaay better than it was.

The bad news is that my computer is still down (I'm typing this on my wife's machine) . . . and is likely to remain so through mid-week at least. Between my gout and his work schedule, the friend who is helping me won't be available before then . . . *sigh* . . . so no email for a few more days . . . but at least my foot feels a lot better.

-- Jeff

PS, my grateful "thanks" to all of you who wished me a quick recovery . . . I truly DO appreciate it.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Owwww, I Hurt! --

Not only is my computer still down, but I have managed to acquire a very painful body since my last post.

I am again posting from a different computer . . . and I had a pretty violent sneeze the other day and felt a "pop" in my chest. I had popped a rib on my left side from the cartilage that attached it to my sternum . . . and, yes, it hurts when I laugh (or cough or sneeze or reach for something, etc.).

But that isn't the worst . . . I woke up in the middle of the night a couple of days ago with my left big toe hurting like crazy.

I haven't had a full-blown gout attack in years . . . but I've got one now. And while we might chuckle at the image of a foot all bandaged up, trust me . . . gout is extremely painful.

This is no fun at all!

-- Jeff

(note -- any misspellings or lack of sense is the result of the pain and/or pain medication -- I hope that you never get gout.)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Jeff's Computer Down --

The problems I've been having with my computer are more severe than first thought. It now looks like the hard drive will have to be wiped clean and a new operating system installed.

I'm writing this from a friend's computer because mine can no longer connect to the Net. So for perhaps the next week or so I will be unable to do much.

Furthermore this will delay my Stagonian game with Stokes. And prevent the awful nastiness resulting from the Vile King's encounter with the Duchess from coming to light for a while . . . who knows what evil lurks in their hearts?

Sadly we will have to wait . . . because right now my job is to try to copy all of the files I need before my poor machine is wiped.

-- Jeff

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"Small 25mm" Colonial Problem --

Responding to my last post, a number of you suggested selling my Old Glory Colonials or eBay.

Well, the problem with that is my Afristan Campaign. This is a campaign that I'd like to run on a fictional mini-continent in the Indian Ocean. (Note -- click on graphics for larger versions).

I would like to have not only the British, but also Germans, French and the Ottoman Turks (as well as a bunch of native tribes).

Now my Ral Parthas can supply the British (and their Sepoys), the Natives (both African and Islamic) and the Ottoman Turks (by using the Egyptians and Sudanese) . . . but they don't have anything usable as Germans or French.

If anyone can point me in the direction of reasonably priced "small 25mm" figures of Colonial Germans and French Foreign Legion troops, I'd appreciate it. And I live in Canada so figures that don't have to cross the pond are preferred.

Of course with the much larger Old Glory figures, I wouldn't have any problems. And with their "Army Deal", the figures would be reasonably priced. . . . But I don't like them as much.

Today's photos are of some of my Ral Partha Sepoys. As before I don't have full units on display . . . and there is a "base up" figure behind each unit to let you know what they are.

The first photo is an "over view" of these "Colonial" troops. Further photos show some closer looks . . . and, as always, 'click' on the photos for a closer look at the troops.

Above are the 3rd Gurkha and 2nd Gurkha units.

Above are the 23rd Sepoys and 20th Sepoys

Above are the 6th Eygptian, 45th Sepoy and 31st Sepoy units.

-- Jeff

Friday, March 20, 2009

My British Colonial Foot --

I had a request to provide some photos of some of my Ral Partha Colonials. Well there are far too many to put into a single post . . . but I thought that I'd give you a bit of a taste of them.

While I started out using "The Sword and the Flame", I later gravitated to "G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T." (although without the "steampunk" additions).

Eventually I ended up writing my own rules, "Khyber Knife". which used elements of both of the above and some ideas of my own.

Anyway, my units are all of ten figures (although I just use a few for these photos -- not whole units). Remember too that if you 'click' on any photo you will see a larger version of it.

Next to each unit I have placed a figure on its side so that you can see how I base them.

All rank-and-file are on pennies while the leader (usually a non-com, but occasionally an officer) is based on a nickel.

The bottom of the base of each figure is painted in the unit's 'facing color' with the unit number written with a sharpie.

The first couple of shots are sort of "group shots", but those following are of individual units. The fort and houses are built of foamcore and are very light and durable. The palm trees started life as 'cake decorations'.

Now for some individual units:

Above are some men of the 4th Foot -- the Royal Lancasters

Above are some men of the11th Foot -- Devonshire

Above are some men of the 24th Foot -- South Wales Borderers

Above are some men of the 36th Foot -- Worcestershire

Above are some men of the 42th Foot -- the Black Watch

Above are some men of the 57th Foot -- Middlesex

Above are some men of the 1st Royal Artillery

Above are some men of the 58th Foot -- Northhampton

Above are some men of the 78th Foot -- the Seaforth Highlanders

Above are some men of the 92th Foot -- the Gordon Highlanders

I also have several unit of 'Colonial' foot (mainly Sepoys), as well as a few mounted units. However since the move the only "enemy" troops that I have in Ral Parthas are Pathans. But pictures of those are for another time.

-- Jeff

My Health & a Colonial "Fix" --

Firstly, today the doctor said that my lungs sounded much much better . . . and I feel a lot better . . . but I still run out of breath with almost any type of exertion. In other words, I'm past the pneumonia but still need to take care for a while.

Then tonight I got a "Colonial Fix" with two Korda Brothers movies. The first was the 1938 film "The Drum" (also known as "Drums") -- difficult to catch all of the dialog due to the various accents, but great images of the Northwest Frontier including a mountain gun being set up.

The second was Korda's wonderful 1939 version of "The Four Feathers" . . . still the best version of this story. This one I'd seen before of course (indeed I have it on DVD too) but since it was on TV without commercials I watched it again.

And, yes, of course these make me want to do some more Colonial gaming.

But there's a problem. I started my Colonial collection with Ral Parthas (as did my California buddy, Bill S.); but when I moved to Canada all of his troops stayed in Califormia . . . and suddenly there were no Zulus or Mahdists.

Ral Partha was no more . . . so I ended up ordering a ton of Old Glory Colonials . . . and I've painted a bunch . . . but the two manufacturers do not mix! And I don't enjoy painting the OGs.

Now I've discovered that Great Endeavors has picked up the old Ral Partha Colonial line . . . and I'd like to get some . . . but then what to do with a few hundred Old Glory's (some painted, some not)?

-- Jeff

Friday, March 13, 2009

Cautious Optimism ---

The new antibiotic (Levaquin) that the doctor put me on seems to be getting the upper hand on my pneumonia. As my sife says, I'm breathing a lot more easily and not coughing nearly as much.

Of course as soon as I try to do anything (like walk to the next room) I run out of breath . . . but not as badly as before.

My thanks to all of you who have wished me well and a speedy recovery.

-- Jeff

PS, it is a good thing that I'd purchased a gift and a card before I got sick. Today is my wife's birthday and I was able to give her something even though I've not been out (except to see the doctor) for close to two weeks.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pneumonia Sucks ---

I've not been posting nor doing anything fun for a while. I'm now on my second course of antibiotics designed to clear out the infection in my lungs.

It isn't so much that I hurt, since I really don't. It is just that I run out of breath whenever I do anything . . . and it starts me coughing and then I can't stop for a while . . . and it is exhausting.

So hopefully this newest drug will work and I'll soon be back on my feet.

-- Jeff

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Wittenberg's Ambassador Robbed --

Count Wilhelm Hatzof, the Kingdom of Wittenberg's Ambassador to the Principality of Saxe-Bearstein and his military attache, Major-General Heinrich von Bose of the Duchy of Fenwick were accosted and robbed while passing through the Kingdom of Stagonia.

The Count (pictured at left in the gray coat), flanked by Maj. Gen. von Bose (in the red coat) recounted their harrowing experiences to the Cavendarian ambassador, Monsieur Dashiell Jeansonne (in the brown coat), while the Lutelande grenadier, Nils Norberg (green uniform) listens in.

Due to the violent rainstorms that had flooded the Spoilwasser, they had been forced to detour through the vile kingdom.

At the border, their coach had been "searched for contraband" resulting in their purses and luggage being confiscated. Then, after crossing through that blighted nation, when they reached the far border, their coach was confiscated "for exit fees" and because the horses would be needed for Stagonia's coming campaign.

Thus they arrived in the Principality of Saxe-Bearstein on foot without credentials, luggage or transportation. Fortunately Gen. von Bose was known to several of the Principality's generals, so based upon his word, Furst Bruno von Ursa has accepted the Count as Wittenberg's ambassador.

Further, he has granted both the Count and General a line of credit so that they may not lack for anything until they can arrange for the transfer of their own funds.

Details about Stagonia's "coming campaign" are very sketchy . . . but it is believed to be aimed at the Grand Duchy of Stollen, which has recently been defeated three times by the Electorate of Zichenau.

-- Jeff

Friday, February 13, 2009

Getting My Feet Wet --

Riiiiiight . . . just what I need . . . a new wargaming project.

Well actually I've found over the years that it is a good thing to have a "change-of-pace" period to give the occasional break from your main period. So to "balance" the 18th century, I'm going to "get my feet wet" with a naval period.

Ever since I happened to come across Angus Konstam's "Pre-Dreadnought Naval" webpages (and the great photos there), I've been toying with the idea of getting some of the Houston 1/1000 scale ships.

Photo to left is from the Great Endeavors website and shows some American ships from a refight of a Spanish-American battle.

So anyway I emailed Dale at Great Endeavors and ordered some ships. I've got two Japanese BBs (Fuji & Shikishima) and a pair of Russian BBs (Retvizan & Petropavlovsk).

These pairs should be fairly even balanced . . . at least according to their points values in the rules I'm going to try. These are the ones that Angus uses, "Perfidious Albion". I got them and the "Fighting Fleets" books as electronic downloads from DriveThruRPG . . . but they are also available (as well as a lot of other naval rules) from A and A Game Engineering (follow the link at the bottom of the page).

So how will this project turn out? I don't know . . . but if I like it there are a lot more ships from the Russo-Japanese War that I can add . . . and there are other nations too.

I'd best be careful or I might get in too deep and drown.

-- Jeff

PS, Great Endeavors also sells the "true 25mm" Ral Partha Colonial line.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Exciting Campaign Nucleus --

This week I received both the BATTLEGAMES Magazine "Table Top Teasers" Special Edition, but also Charles Stewart Grant's new book, "Raid on St Michel".

Well, after scanning the latter, I'm stoked! Later this year I will be running a campaign (probably between Murdock and Jerry, with Pete commanding a force in Murdock's command).

Of course first I've got to finish re-writing my rules . . . and prepping some different terrain bits. And finish certain "honey do" projects before I'm allowed to run the campaign.

The forces needed vary from scenario to scenario (there are five in total) but it should make for an exciting campaign . . . and none of the battles are "even" . . . so "victory" is not always easy to define . . . although the overall result of the "raid" will dictate a clear winner.

Murdock, Jerry and Pete . . . do NOT get this book . . . the element of "surprise" will otherwise be lost.

Everyone else . . . oh yes, this is a nice book to have . . . five connected "Table Top Teaser" scenarios providing some interesting command decisions.

-- Jeff

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

An Exciting Discovery --

I've been looking for something inexpensive to base figures on . . . and I wanted steel so that I could use a magnetic base. But I'm in Canada and shipping across borders isn't cheap.

Sure, I could use washers . . . but the hole in the middle makes it awkward.

Well tonight I had a stray thought and tried something. I knew that most countries had stopped minting copper pennies because of the rising cost of copper.

So I took a chance and tried a magnet on some Canadian pennies . . . zing! . . . Some of them jumped right to the magnet.

I said some, not all.

All of the nice shiny 2007 and 2008 pennies did, as well as a few earlier ones. I have since learned that Canadian pennies are now supposed to be 94% steel. Supposedly the change-over happened in 2000, but almost all of my pre-2007 pennies were not magnetic (although a few were).

My guess is that they continued using their zinc mixture until the supply (or contracts) ran out. Anyway for those of us in Canada, the newer pennies are now usable with magnetic movement trays . . . and they only cost pennies.

This was a good day.

-- Jeff


Monday, January 26, 2009

Very Disturbing News --

(a report sent to Cavenderia by their ambassador, Monsieur Dashiell Jeansonne)

Your Grace,

I find myself the bearer of terrible news. Before I even had a chance to reach the borders of Saxe-Bearstein, I found myself in a coach with another foreigner.

He was a grenadier, one Nils Norberg, in service to Lutelande and bore terrible news. He too was on his way to the Saxe-Bearstein Court. He had be dispatched by his commander to carry this news to Saxe-Bearstein . . . and, since it also concerns Cavenderia, he passed it on to me as well.

They discovered that those vile Stagonians have newly recruited 8 full battalions of additional soldiers!

These 6,000 men are being secretly trained and while they have not yet been issued uniforms, they do represent a very significant threat to all nations in the area.

It seems that the new vile King, Ludwig the Mad, is brewing some sort of mad scheme . . . but where and when he will choose to use these troops is unknown at this time.

As for Furst Bruno von Ursa, he received me most graciously and has welcomed me to his Court. However he then retired to his counsels to evaluate the news that Grenadier Nils Norberg of Lutelande had brought.

I will write further when I know more.

Your obedient servant,

Dashiell Jeansonne

Or, in other words, I got some 200-odd infantry figures today for the army of those nasty vile Stagonians.

(note that the photo to left shows Monsieur Dashiell Jeansonne and Grenadier Nils Norberg.

Both are 25mm figures. The former is from Eureka and the latter is one of John Bertolini's Lutelande Miniatures.

Sadly the flash has distorted the colors. Both figures look much better in person.)

-- Jeff

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A New Look --

Well I've decided to "upgrade" this blog. I was using the old "template" system that required me to code in HTML (which isn't that difficult), but which didn't allow things like followers to show.

Anyway, I've now moved into the new "layout" system so you might see several different appearances in the next few weeks as I decide just what look I want.

-- Jeff

Monday, January 19, 2009

"Bad People" --

One only needs to read a newspaper or turn on the TV to know that there are a lot of bad people in the world. This isn't about them.

This is about those "bad people" . . . people like Stokes Schwartz, Bill Protz, Jim Purky, Phil Olley, Henry Hyde, Charles Stewart Grant and so forth . . . all of those people who are tempting me to go the "big battalion" route.

Oh sure, we know them as really nice guys who enjoy our hobby . . . but they post photos and write articles and books extolling the virtues of large units . . . and soon the desire to add more figures begins to seep into our subconsciousness . . . becoming a siren's song luring us toward financial ruin.

But they look so good . . . *sigh*.

-- Jeff

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Scene: the faculty rooms of the University of Saxe-Bearstein.

A special messenger from the Grand Duchy of Hetzenberg is finally admitted to the presence of Doctor Iago Knappenburger, who has been busily engaged in establishing the legal faculty of the university.

However, upon examining the seals on the thick packet that the messenger carries, the good doctor sets his current work aside and opens the packet. After reading for a while he calls for his secretary to cancel all further meetings for the day . . . he has much to research and much to think about . . . the situation presented in the Grand Duchy of Hetzenberg is one of grave import for the peace of all Uropa.