Monday, December 13, 2010

A Stunning Russian Victory! --

The Battle of the Yellow Sea was refought Sunday afternoon . . . and resulted in a stunning and decisive Russian victory. (Click on thhe photo below for a glimpse of the action.)

While it is true that three of the Czar's battleships slipped beneath the waves, the Japanese lost not only three of their remaining battleships, but two heavy cruisers as well. Indeed, as three Russian battleships sailed to meet up with their Vladivostok cruiser squadron, the sole remaining but heavily damaged Japanese battleship was seen to have fires burning as it disappeared in the distance.

Pete, Murdock and Murdock's son Alex joined me in my game room for our initial trial of the "Naval Thunder: Rise of the Battleship" rules.

I gave Alex his choice of which Division he wished to play and he chose the Japanese 2nd Division (again, click on any photo for a much larger image):

He also wanted to play on the same side as his Dad . . . so Murdock took command of the Japanese 1st Division . . . pictured below:

The Japanese plan was for the First Division (Mikasa, Asahi and Fuji) to take the lead and to cut off the Russian attempt to break out.

Meanwhile the Second Division (Shikishima and the two Heavy Cruisers, Kasuga and Nisshin) was to hang back as a second line.

Pete chose to assume command of the Russian 2nd Division (Peresvyet, Poltava and Sevastapol).

This meant that I was left to command the Russian 1st Division (Tsessarevich, Retvizan and Pobieda).

My "battle plan" must remain a state secret due to its success . . . and due to the fact that my command disappeared beneath the waves with no survivors.

Indeed, Pete's complete 2nd Division survived with little damage . . . so he will get the credit for this stunning Russian victory.

-- Jeff

Friday, November 19, 2010

First Dusting of Snow --

Well, Thursday (November 18) we had our first dusting of snow for the season. It didn't stick on the ground, but the weatherman says that we'll get a couple of inches over the weekend. Of course, we're on a higher elevation so we might get more than that . . . or it might miss us altogether.

Along with colder weather I'm finding that my joints (especially my knees) are aching a lot more . . . *sigh* . . . I didn't have arthritis when I was younger (but I sure have it now).

Not much to report on the gaming front, I'm sad to say. I have been painting a few 1/2400 scale RJW Pre-Dreadnoughts . . . and hope to get a trial game in before too long. Problem is that Sunday is the best day for my fellow gamers . . . but the next two Sundays are the CFL Divisional Finals and the Grey Cup (League Championship) and I have become very enamored of the Canadian Football League style of play . . . so I'll be watching.

And then we are into December and the Holiday Season when free time gets gobbled up.

-- Jeff

Monday, October 25, 2010

New Computer Installed --

Well as of today I am writing this post on a new computer. Nothing special, just the least expensive "desktop" computer from STAPLES . . . an Acer Aspire with Windows 7 (instead of PCLinuxDOS I previously had). I don't need "bells and whistles" since I do my gaming on the table top and not on the computer.

In some respects it is a welcome change since our new cable connection didn't work well for the Linux machine . . . and in others it can be quite frustrating since it is years since I had to try to figure out a Microsoft product . . . and I've screamed some "bad words" more than a few times.

Anyway, just one more reminder that my old "uniserve" email account is defunct . . . if you wish to email me, use . . . for example, if you want to get your 18th century Imagi-Nation added to the "Emperor vs Elector" group blog.

However I fear that you are likely to hear some more "bad words" coming from Vancouver Island, BC, Canada if you listen carefully. Please forgive me.

-- Jeff

Friday, October 15, 2010

Moving to a New Computer --

As many of you know, I've been laid up after a nasty fall. I am doing much better now although my knees and head are still sore (as well my right elbow, which I still don't understand). But I'm really only having to take Tylenol now . . . which means that I'm much less zonked than on the pain meds.

So now I will potentially be off-line for a while as I attempt to switch over to a whole new computer . . . moving from a Linux machine to a Windows 7 machine.

Hopefully there won't be too much trouble transferring files and learning a whole different system . . . but I doubt that anyone will make book on it.

Wish me luck.

-- Jeff

Friday, October 08, 2010

Ouch & Double-Ouch! --

A week ago I took a tumble down a couple of steps in our garage . . . not a good idea . . . and, while fortunately I didn't break any bones, I conked my head pretty good and bruised parts of my body that I didn't even know about.

Because of that the next few days are pretty blurry. My head cleared up a bit after the week-end; and while I still hurt lots of places, I was on the mend . . . or so I thought.

My left knee started hurting more and more . . . I guess that the stress it received in the fall ended up triggering an attack of gout!

So, like an eighteenth century general, I am currently severely hobbled. However, unlike those generals I at least have access to medications for pain relief and to mitigate the severity of the attack. Still I am having to hobble around the house with a walker and getting up or down is difficult and painful . . . and it is hard to sleep due to the pain (the knee screams with every little movement).

It really makes me empathize with those old eighteenth century generals.

-- Jeff

Saturday, September 11, 2010

New Email & Planning a Game --

Well we have now switched Internet Service Providers . . . and, as a result, my email address has changed. It is now . . . and I suspect that I may need to get a new computer shortly too.

In the meantime I have a game to plan. Murdock is supposed to come over next Sunday (the 19th) to play something . . . and I have been wanting to give Clarence Harrison's "Victory Without Quarter" rules another try . . . so that's the direction I'm currently leaning toward.

We played these rules twice before, back in 2008 . . . both times with "substitute figures", which would be the case again. For those who might be interested, here are links to our first game and our second game. In both cases, the comments from "Anonymous" are in fact from VWQ's author, Clarence Harrison.

-- Jeff

Monday, August 16, 2010

Warning:  Off-Line Soon --    

Because of a number of pending computer changes in our household  (both computers and connection type) I will have very spotty internet access for an indeterminate time starting relatively soon.

I will attempt to warn everyone more fully when this is about to occur . . . and sadly it will probably mean a change in email which might interfere with blog connectivity . . . but I will have to wait and see.

-- Jeff

Saturday, July 31, 2010

First Panzerschiffe Ships Painted --   

Well I have now painted a dozen of the 1/2400 scale Panzerschiffe Russo-Japanese War ships.  I had ordered the six major ships for each side for the Battle of the Yellow Sea.

As I believe I have mentioned at times, I have chosen to use pre-war (or the transition to war) color schemes rather than  the boring gray gray gray of wartime painting.


Because my eyes are not the best and I wish to be able to easily distinguish the vessels of various nations.

As can be seen by the photo above (click on it for a larger image), I have painted the Japanese ships with their black hulls and funnels, and white superstructure and turrets.  The Russian ships have dark cinnamon brown hulls, khaki superstructure, ochre funnels and dark gray turrets . . . which approximates the reports of the Pacific Squadrons early in the war.

On the left you will see all twelve ships.  The Russians are on the top; with the Japanese vessels below.

By the way, I do know that the Russian Pacific Squadron had white hulls pre-war, but I'm reserving that for the US "Great White Fleet" which I'll eventually have.

For I have gone through all of the Pre-Dreadnought navies that I might eventually want to own and planned the basic paint scheme of each so that all will be unique unto themselves.

-- Jeff

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Finally Back & Able to Post --     

I have not been able to post for a few weeks now . . . and I don't know why.  Blogger wouldn't fully load the "new post" screen for Saxe-Bearstein.  It would for EvE, etc.; but not for this blog . . . *sigh*.

I suppose that my biggest news is that Phil Olley asked me to contribute an article to Pilot Issue of "The Classic Wargamer's Journal".

I of course complied with an article about "The Character of Commanders".  For a brief review of the Pilot Issue of CWJ, take a look here.

 I've also managed to paint a dozen Panzerschiffe 1/2400 scale Pre-Dreadnoughts for the Russo-Japanese War Battle of the Yellow Sea . . . although when I'll get a chance to play depends upon a number of factors . . . amoung them being basing, choosing which rules I want to try and getting a good "sea surface".

-- Jeff

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Another Birthday . . . *sigh*  --     

Well it is June 19, which means that I'm another year older. 

My darling wife did get me three gaming-related books . . . well, okay, I ordered them for her to give to me some time back . . . but I'd forgotten what they were.

Two were "Colonial".  Winston Churchill's "The Story of the Malakand Field Force" and Byron Farwell's "Armies of the Raj".  The other was for one of my "hopefully some time in the future" projects . . . "The English Civil War" by Peter Young and Richard Holmes.

So all-in-all I am well pleased . . . now if only I could regain the good health I had in my youth . . . *sigh* . . . but I haven't figured out how to undo birthdays.

-- Jeff

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Siren's Song --     

I'm sure that it happens to lots of us.  I have masses of lead to paint in a couple of periods that I really like . . . and I'm being tempted to start another period.

I know that I should stick with my SYW and Colonial projects.  I know it.  But . . .

But I'm being tempted by a lot of really nice photos of units and games using ECW troops.  That's the English Civil War for those who might be unfamiliar with it . . . you know, the various conflicts (there were a number of phases) in the mid-17th century.  Not the much earlier War of the Roses (which is what one of our local bookstores thought).

The Quindia series "Collecting a Wargames Army 101" (series of 8 icons about halfway down the page) first excited me.  Then many photos on sites like Angus Konstam's ECW page, Lead Gardens , Steve's Fieldworks, For Ye Kinge and others fueled my interest.

So the "Siren call" has been heard . . . but I don't have any figures (I'll probably opt for the Old Glory Army Deal at some point) and I haven't got a rule set that I like a lot yet . . . so I wouldn't know how many figures to paint for a unit . . . and I haven't read all of the history books that I've already purchased for the period.

So why am I wanting to start painting?

It is that darn Siren.  I'm sure that you've heard similar calls . . . oh, maybe not for the ECW, but for something . . . for some period.

So far I'm resisting.  I am wavering on whether to paint SYW or Colonial figures when Murdock comes over for our paint day . . . but I'm trying not to head that Siren's call.

-- Jeff

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Recovering from a Bad Knee --     

I've spent most of the past fortnight in considerable pain.  I had some loose cartiledge in my right knee go awry and it triggered a gout attack in the knee.

Between the two of them I was pretty much out of it . . . (thank goodness for strong pain pills).  I'm still using a cane to get around the house (and I won't try the stairs down to my "war room" for a few days yet), but I'm now down to just taking Tylenol.

Sadly I've not been able to do much hobbywise because everything was downstairs.  I've read some blog posts . . . and left a few comments (some of which made little sense thanks to being spacey with the pain meds).

Murdock called the other day and we've arranged for him to come over on the 30th for a "Painting Day" . . . which I'm looking forward to.  I've always found that I get more done when I'm painting with a friend. 

I've been reading a fair amount of favorable comments about the "Black Powder" rules . . . but of course the copy I got from is downstairs and has thus been  unobtainable for a few weeks.  I think that we'll have to give it a try this Summer.

So, I've been "out of it" for a while, but I'm getting back (I hope) relatively soon.

-- Jeff

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A New Look for the Blog --   

Well upon reading the latest post from the Grand Duchy of Stollen, wherein Stokes mentions that adding a photo to the top of the blog is easy, I decided to do so.

I will probably look at several different photos . . . so don't be surprised if there are some different looks here until I decide.

-- Jeff

How to Add a Background Photo

After the above post had been online for a few hours, it occurred to me that I should explain HOW to add a photo . . . it is very easy.

First -- Find the photo that you want to use . . . and look for one that doesn't have a "busy" top half, because you want your blog title to show against this background.

Next -- Go to your blog's "Dashboard".  There are several options --  New Post, Edit Posts, Settings, Layout, Monetize.  Click on Layout.

Now -- Right under the tabs at the top of the page are a number of Headings.  The first of these is "Page Elements" . . . click on it if it isn't already at the forefront.

Then -- Go to the first "block" right under the "Navbar" --  this should be your "Header" area.  On the far right there is an "Edit" link . . . click on it to bring up a window.  

 Now -- You should see a list of items you could edit -- "Blog Title", "Blog Description" and "Image".

 Wait -- Do not enter your chosen background image yet.  First, scroll down until you see the choice "Shrink to fit" and make sure that this it checked.  Otherwise your Header Photo may be way way wider than the rest of your blog.

Now -- Add your chosen background photo by either using the "Browse" feature OR the "From the web" button. 

Almost Finally -- Scroll to the right and click on the  "SAVE" button.

Now --  Click on one of the "View Blog" links to see how it looks.  If everything looks good to you, you're finished.  If you dislike the photo, go back to "Page Elements" and click on the "Header" "Edit" button, "Remove" that photo and try a new one.

But -- If the photo is fine, but the Blog Title and Descriptive text color doesn't show up well, is there another text color that would work better?  

If so -- On the "Layout" page, right next to "Page Elements" click on the "Fonts and Colors" heading.  The 9th color choice down is "Blog Title Color".  Click on this to then select a different color for both your Blog Title and Blog Description (I think that they are always the same -- but I could be wrong).  

Remember to SAVE!

Also -- If you scroll down farther you can change Font Size, etc. as well.

 I hope that this helps some of you . . . it is really very easy to do.

-- Jeff

Friday, March 12, 2010

(OT)  It's what?  SNOWING?  --  

Yes, I woke up today to discover that snow is falling from the sky and building up on the ground.

"Yeah, well you live in Canada, eh?"

Our only other real snowfall this season was on December 14, 2009 . . . that is three months ago.  Since then we've had the warmest January on record and a February where the temperature hovered aboud 50` all month.  Heck, right across the way, they had to truck snow in for a bunch of the Olympic venues.


(note:  photo taken at 1 pm from kitchen window -- click on it for larger image.)

-- Jeff

Monday, March 08, 2010

Murdock's "Grizzlyville" Photos --      

My gaming buddy Murdock, who was kind enough to step in when I was ill and run my "Shootouts in Grizzlyville" game at our local convention has post many more photos, as well as accounts of the games, on his "MurdocK's MarauderS" blog.

Above is just one of the twenty photos he's posted on his blog.  As usual, click on any photo to view a larger image.

-- Jeff

Monday, March 01, 2010

My Perfect Rule Set --    

I've been reading the new "Black Powder" rulebook between naps (my bug makes me sleep a lot) . . . and this evening I took a break and read Phil Olley's article on his Thirty Years War project in the new "Wargamers' Annual -- Volume 1"

It got me to thinking about "my perfect rule set".  One of the things that concerns me is how units look on the table top.

The problem is . . . I really like the "no figure removal" concept of "Black Powder" and other rules . . . and I really like the individual figures (and figure removal) of "Charge!" and "The War Game", etc.

A bit of a problem, what?

I demand simple mechanics . . . but want a great deal of flexibility while maintaining proper period character . . . which usually means detail, not simlicity.

I do not want every unit to look like every other unit . . . I want units to have a variety of sizes.  Wow!  Guess what?  That one is pretty constant . . . what do you know?  There's at least one aspect that I'm settled on.

But not settling on the others makes it difficult for me to define my perfect rule set . . . and let me be clear about this, my perfect set isn't necessarily what anyone else would find "perfect" (or even acceptible).

One of the problems that I have with a number of periods I'd like to play is that I really can't decide HOW I would like them to look on the table top.  It makes things difficult . . . particularly in finding that "perfect rule set".

-- Jeff

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Grizzlyville Goes with a Hitch --  

Well our local gaming convention, Dak-Kon XV, was this weekend and "Shootout in Grizzlyville" won the "Best Presentation Award for 2010".

Sadly I was not there to see it.  I came down with a ferocious bug and was too sick to attend (I could barely even talk).  Fortunately my gaming buddy, Murdock, was able to fill-in for me. 

Instead of using the MDF boards as previously reported, he used one of the Hotz Matz from Hotz Artworks.  Specifically it was the "One Horse Town Western Town Mat" and it is perfect for use with the "Whitewash City" buildings.

Murdock was able to run four games (the first simply a "training game") over an 8-hour time frame.  As previously indicated, he used the "Fistful of Lead" rules, which are very easy to learn and lots of fun to play.

In the photo to the right it looks like some British Colonial figures have somehow appeared on the table.  (By the way, click on any photo for a much larger image.)

Well, Grizzlyville is set in southeastern British Columbia, Canada . . . and the original uniform of the Northwest Mounted Police was in fact the British colonial uniform, including the very climate-inappropriate "pith helmet".

 I've only had a brief phone call from Murdock (and a few photos that he emailed me), but one of the highlights was when the NWMP appeared on the table.  One of the onlookers suddenly went, "ooh, I want to play them" . . . it turns out that he was a real-life Mountie!

Apparently the games were lots of fun . . . and lots of Dak-Kon attendees were excited about the buildings -- which are available as inexpensive .pdf files -- so it is a good thing that I had printed out about 50 fliers with the web addresses for the buildings and game rules.

-- Jeff

Friday, February 26, 2010

(OT)  "World's Greatest Athlete"  --      

The winner of the Decathlon is generally refered to as "the world's greatest athlete" . . . but is he really?

The Decathlon encompasses ten track and field events . . . but that is it . . . all are running, jumping, throwing events.  While decathletes may well claim the title of "greatest track and field athletes" they don't really have to take on so many other athletic disciplines.

Now let us consider the Pentathlete.  The modern Pentathlon is comprised of five athletic events from five totally different disciplines:
  1. Shooting 
  2. Swimming
  3. Fencing
  4. Equestrian
  5. Cross-country Running
The Modern Pentathlon is based on the skills that might be needed by an Aide-de-Camp (aha!  a connection to our historical gaming).

The Pentathlete has to master such a wide variety of skills (with essentially no overlap -- remember eight of the ten decathlon events involve running).

Perhaps the Modern Pentathlete is more deserving of the title of "World's Greatest Athlete".

-- Jeff

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Grizzlyville Playtest --

Well, Pete, Murdock and his son, Alex stopped by today (Sunday) to playtest the "Fistful of Lead" rules which I plan to use next weekend at our local gaming convention.  Unfortunately I was too busy to take many photos, but a fun time was had by all.

(Click on photo to see much larger image.)

This is a scene from late in the first game (won by Murdock).  You will note that the figure lying in front of the Grand Hotel's porch not only has a wound marker (the bloody washer) but is also "pinned" . . . and I thought that using a safety pin would be a fun way to indicate pinning.

While the mechanics of the rules worked quite well, the players had some good suggestions as to the layout of Grizzlyville . . . thus it may well change shape a bit prior to the Con.

-- Jeff

Friday, February 19, 2010

Grizzlyville Has Changed!  --    

I have built more of the Whitewash City buildings for my upcoming games at our local gaming convention . . . and totally changed the layout for Grizzlyville.

I wanted a more open layout of buildings . . . both to provide more options for maneuvering (and shooting); and to make it easier for players to move characters during convention play (hopefully with no damage to my buildings).

The first photo shows the view from the south -- looking north along Central Avenue.  (As usual, click on the photo for a larger image).  

The southwest block contains the Brooklyn Hotel & Saloon (big red brown building; the Pioneer Hotel (at the intersection); the City Cafe (moving south); then the Gallows and the Sheriff's Office and Jail; with the Undertaker in the southwest corner (partially cut off).

The southeast block features the Livery Stable (big brown building across from Gallows); then the Grand Hotel (at the intersection); with the Gunsmith to the east; with the Dry Goods store on the far end of the block; there is a corral in the interior of the block; and the Blacksmith in the corner.

This next photo shows Grizzlyville from the West, looking east along Main Street.

The Northwest block shows the Orient Saloon (partially cut-off) at the north end of Central Ave; next to it, the small building is a Bath House; the Bank sits on the intersection of Central and Main, with the Pool Hall just to the west; and the Longhorn Saloon sits at the west end of Main Street.

The southeast block was described earlier . . . and, as with all blocks, there are numerous small outbuildings (mainly privies).

The final photo shows Grizzlyville from the east looking west along Main Street . . . and, as before, the southeast block was described earlier.

The northeast block features the Pink House Bordello at the easternmost end of the block (closest to you); just past it is Grizzlyville's Medical Building (with both doctor and dentist); and the Gold Star Saloon sits on the intersection; the Hardware Store is between it and the Imperial Saloon to the north.  It should be noted that there is another Bath House in the interior of the block (the ladies like you to smell sweet) and a large corral in the corner (barely visible).

Anyway, this will be the layout for this Sunday's playtest . . . any changes will be the result of my experience then.

-- Jeff

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Oh No, a Problem Arises --    

Today (Monday) I received a package from On Military Matters.  In it were four new hobby books (well, new to me).

There were two Osprey Men-at-Arms volumes for Colonial gaming:
  • # 411 -- Warrior Peoples of East Africa 1840-1900 by Chris Peers
  • # 453 -- Armies of the East India Company 1750-1850 by Stuart Reid
And two of the new Charles S. Grant / Phil Olley publications:
  • The Annexation of Chiraz
  • The Wargamers' Annual -- Volume 1
 Okay, that's great news, isn't it?

Well, yes . . . but I'm trying to finish preparations for my Gunfights in Grizzlyville game for our upcoming local convention . . . and the Olympics are taking place right across the Strait of Georgia (channel between Vancouver Island and mainland BC) from us.

So how do I allocate my time?  I want to do it all, of course . . . but that isn't possible . . . at least not all at once.

Also my wife was a professional figure skater (seven years touring with Ice Capades), and we both very much enjoy watching all of the Olympic skating . . . and here in Canada we get to see every single moment of every competitor's routines . . . not just the leaders or highlights, but the whole competition.

So tonight we watched all twenty pairs' long programs.  And we still have the Men, Ice Dancing and the Ladies coming up,

What am I to do?

I will enjoy all of it eventually, but I'm still a little kid at heart (I ignore the fact that I'm in my 60s) and I want to do it all right NOW . . . and I can't.

And, oh yeah, my copy of Black Powder is due to arrive here next week.

-- Jeff

Friday, February 12, 2010

Grizzlyville Progress --    

I now have 20 large buildings and 18 outbuildings (mostly privies) completed for my "Gunfights at Grizzlyville games at our upcoming local game convention.

Interestingly enough this is more than I will use for the convention games.  I want to have enough buildings for folks to manuever around and use as cover . . . but at the same time, I need to allow for enough "open space" for some distance shooting too.

So over the next week or so I will be trying out different layouts in order to get what I like . . . and, of course, there are still a few of the Whitewash City buildings that I want to build.

-- Jeff

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Nice Buy --     

All the buzz about the new "Black Powder" rules made me mildly interested in picking up a copy . . . that is until I learned that it retailed for around $50 US plus shipping!

I'm not THAT curious.

But then I happened to check (the Canadian version of . . . where it is selling for $20.07 CAD . . . that is equal to about $18.90 USD, 12.12 British Pounds, or 13.76 Euros . . . so I ordered one (along with some other stuff that I wanted in order to get free shipping).  Anyway, today I got an email notice that it has shipped.

I don't think that anyone outside of Canada can take advantage of this price, but for us it is great!

I'll let you know if it was worth it after the rules arrive (in a week to ten days or so).

-- Jeff

Monday, February 08, 2010

More Pre-Dreadnough Thoughts --    

I was thinking of building a pair of fleets of Houston's 1/1000 scale Pre-Dreadnoughts for the Russo-Japanese War . . . . But I had pretty much decided to do that with either 1/2400 Panzerschiffe or 1/3000 War Times Journal ships . . . not only because of the cost factor, but also because of the table room required.

Furthering that, the Houston ships I acquired via Bartertown do not fit into the RJW . . . in fact they are so varied that they don't fit into anything like a historical conflict . . . so what to do?

My intention with the Houston ships was to use the "Perfidious Albion" rules (they look like a lot of fun) . . . and the recommendation from those who've played them is for players to only run two or three vessels until they are very experienced.

Well, looking at the ships that I have, I can put together two or three ship "squadrons" of Battleships and/or Armoured Cruisers for each of a half dozen nations that come very close to each other in terms of "Perfidious Albion" points.

So I'll build those squadrons and then players can pick which one they want (or we can dice for them) and then we'll dice for allies and go to it.

Meanwhile I'm looking at a couple of different rule sets for the RJW . . . and both of these projects are non-immediate . . . but it is good to plan ahead.

-- Jeff

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Change of Pre-Dreadnought Plans --    

Some time back I had a post about my plans for some 1/1000 scale naval gaming.  Well, I ordered a few of the Houston ships from Great Endeavors . . . two Russian and two Japanese battleships as a start.

My plan was to build up to the Battle of the Yellow Sea (Russo-Japanese War).  That was my plan.

Plans change.

A few weeks ago I noticed an ad on Bartertown from a fellow looking to sell a collection of Houston ships . . . some painted, some primed and some still in their boxes.  Well, he was asking a very reasonable price (well under current retail) . . . so I bought them.

There were no Japanese ships and only one Russian ship (duplicating one that I already had) . . . but there were a bunch of American and Spanish ships, some British, Chinese, French and Italian ships . . . a real mix . . . not something for any historical battle.

So what do I do now?

Paint them up and play with them is all that I can think of at the moment . . . just have fun.

-- Jeff

PS,  I've had a very sore knee for close to a month.  Doc says that it cartilage and if I ice it and treat it nicely it will hopefully settle down.  Well this morning I woke up with gout attacking the ankle on the same leg . . . so I'm on pain meds and gout medication . . . and I'm zonked . . . perhaps when I'm no longer on the pain meds I'll figure out what to do with my Pre-Dreads.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Planning Grizzlyville --   

One of the things about a "Convention game" is that it needs to be reasonable easy to transport and to set up.   In the case of my Grizzlyville game, because I might well have players all the way around the town, I don't want to have a simple, one street town either -- I want a more complex playing surface.

My solution is fairly simple.  Since we will apparently be on 6'x4' tables, I picked up four sheets of 2 foot square 1/8" MDF (medium density fibreboard).  I'm using Whitewash City paper buildings, which come with floor plans.  I will glue these floor plans to the sheets of MDF and then simply place the buildings over the floor plans . . . a quick and easy setup.

Click on any of the photos (such as the one to the left) for a larger view.  It is my current plan for the layout of Grizzlyville.

Well, for the major buildings, that is.  There will be lots of small "out buildings" (outhouses, storage sheds, etc.) which are not placed on the current layout.  In addition, there will be a few other features in some of the "empty" spots.

Yes, I still have three buildings yet to construct . . . although I've placed their floorplans down.  In addition, not all of the current structures are completed.  Many do not yet have their covered walkways, outside stairways and such  . . . but they will.

The upper left quadrant (left to right to top) features the Longhorn Saloon (facing the Hardware Store across the street), a Bath House, the Grand Hotel (which still needs its balcony, etc. attached).  Not yet constructed will be a Gunshop.

I should note that there is a basic "cross" street pattern, with streets about 5" wide.

The upper right quadrant  (top to bottom, then to the right) features four main buildings and a corral.

The green roof is the Bakery (across the street from the Gunshop), blue roof is a Cafe, then the Frontier Hotel (across the street from the Grand Hotel).  On the right side of the photo, is the Livery Stable and a corral.

The lower right quadrant has four buildings and the floor plan of a fifth.  Also I have plans for the "empty" area in the corner.

Starting from the right this time and moving left, we have the Dry Goods store (on the edge, across the street from the Livery Stable), then the Sheriff's Office and Jail, then the Imperial Saloon. 

On the corner of the main intersection is the floorplan for the Gold Star Saloon (kitty corner from the Grand Hotel) and below it is the Undertaker (dark roof and fenced area).

The final quadrant (lower left) from left to right, has the Hardware Store (grey roof), the floor plan for the Medical building (doctor on ground floor, dentist up the outside stairs to the second floor). then the Bank (facing the Grand Hotel, it's side across the street to the Gold Star Saloon.

Behind the Bank (facing the Undertaker) is the Blacksmith, with a small corral next to him.

My current thinking is that I will be seated at the "top" of this setup . . . and the players on the left right and bottom sides.

And, of course, this all might change between now and the end of February when the convention takes place . . . but it at least gives me a good starting place.

Oh yes, I will be running a playtest of the rules and my town layout the weekend before . . . so there will be time to fix things if necessary.

-- Jeff

Monday, January 25, 2010

Grizzlyville Painting Day --    

Well Murdock and Pete stopped by yesterday (Sunday) and we managed to get 44 figures painted for the Grizzlyville games at our local Dak-Kon convention (end of February).

To the left you can see what we painted.  There are six gangs of six.  Each gang has its own hat color (white, grey, black, yellow, tan and brown).

(note -- click on photo for larger image.)

You will also note eight "North-West Mounted Police" figures . . . well you probably thought that they were British Colonial figures, didn't you? 

Well the NWMP (precursor) to today's Royal Canadian Mounted Police did indeed look like British Colonial troops . . . including having tropical "pith helmets" as their official summer headgear . . . which wasn't very practical . . . the modern Stetson "Campaign Hat" becoming their standard headgear after the Boer War.

Anyway, thanks to the help provided by a couple of friends, I now have enough figures for the Convention.  Aren't friends great?

-- Jeff

Friday, January 22, 2010

Grizzlyville Planning, Part II --  

So, what kind of a scenario have I got planned?

First of all, I must plan on a variety of scenarios depending upon the number of gamers who wish to play.

But my primary scenario for 6 or 7, would feature six gangs . . . representing a number of surrounding ranches.  Each group would have an enemy and a friend.

They will be recognizable by their hat colors -- white, black , grey, tan, brown and red-brown.  Of course there will also be some townsfolk to confuse the issue . . . and, if there's a seventh player, some mounties to provide law and order.

By the way, the photos above and to the left show some of the "Whitewash City" buildings as well as some of the "townfolk".  

Note that the gangs will be based on pennies while the townies are on Games Workshop bases . . . but does anyone care to wager against some of them being shot by "mistake"?

(more later)

-- Jeff

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Grizzlyville Game Planning --

We have our annual local "Gaming Convention" coming up at the end of February . . . and I've committed to running a game for it.

First you need to know that there probably won't be very many attendees . . . and most will be playing Role-Playing or Collectable Card games . . . although I think one other fellow will be running a role-playing game with miniatures.

Because we do not have a knowledgeable base of miniature players in the area, I've decided to run a very simple system -- Fistful of Lead -- which is available in .pdf format for only $6 from

(note -- I've also just realized that these rules were written by "Emperor vs Elector" member contributor "Baron VonJ" who writes the "Baron's Blog".)

Why did I pick "Fistful of Lead"?  Because, as Eric Hotz (of Larry Leadhead, Whitewash City, Roman Seas, Hotz Maps, etc. fame) wrote about them:
This game allows for fast and easy play, and players can play using more than one miniature without being burdened. May very well be the ideal convention game.
The mechanics of the rules are simple and easy to learn . . . and I suspect that I'll have some youngsters who want to play and these rules will work for them.

Is it the perfect set of "old west" rules?  No, for an extended campaign I'd prefer something like Gutshot:  but for a "one-off" game or just an occasional evening's game, "Fistful of Lead" is excellent (and the price is pretty good too).

I've built a bunch of the "Whitewash City" old west buildings and a friend had a couple of cowboy moulds and cast up a bunch of figures for the game.  I've got them primed and mounted on pennies . . . and on Sunday, Murdock and Pete are dropping by to help do a mass painting. 

So, I'll have rules, figures and buildings . . . all I need now is a scenario.  The rules include several good ones, but I've got an idea or two of my own.

Oh, yes . . . what is "Grizzlyville?"   It is the name that I came up with for the town where the scenarios will take place.

(more to come in a few days)

-- Jeff