Monday, October 24, 2016

Some Basics.....

The planned VSF campaign will require (but will not be limited to ) the following:

We are using The Men Who Would Be Kings rules from Osprey, you will need a copy, either a PDF printout or a bound copy, hard copy preferred!

An army consisting of at least enough figures to field 24points under the rules

An Army List of 60 points under the rules, this will be the ENTIRE land forces of your colony so choose wisely.

Some practical thoughts on Higher Command appearing on the table.

Some thoughtful ideas on how to handle steam-powered vehicles including AFVs.

Some thoughts on handling skirmish-sized combats (I am thinking that In Her Majesty's Name might suffice)

A list of the three most important things you want out of a campaign game.

Tom's Halloween Party is this weekend, it looks like we will be meeting next on 5NOV16 1900hrs.

oh, and wee need a name for the mythical continent, my vote is Neulandia.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Forts (again) Fort Stueben, Ohio

Located oddly enough in Stuebenville Ohio, this on-site reconstruction represents one of the first new forts built by the fledgling United States (technically they were the Confederated States as the Constitution had not yet been written and ratified Actually, true believers, Article 1 of the Articles of Confederation is them declaring that their confederacy would be known as the 'United States of America'. It's a single sentence long. Also, I now feel like Stan Lee... - Justly Rulin' JnR). Named after the Baron Von Stueben of Revolutionary War fame this fort was constructed in 1786 to protect surveyors who had been contracted to begin the platting of "ranges" (a.k.a. townships) along the Ohio river. The presence of the troops also enforced the claim to the lands west of the mountains that had formerly belonged to Great Britain and helped enforce the treaties with the Native American tribes in the area. The fact that the 150 soldiers present there represented one-fifth of the total armed forces of the nation showed how seriously the government considered the work being done.

The original fort was built in just over a month by the 150 soldiers assigned to defend it, it was reconstructed in fits and starts over a much longer period of time. There was suggestions of building a reconstruction on the centennial of its founding and then, after repeated archaeological digs on the site,and some very dedicated fund-raising by local enthusiasts, work was begun on the current reconstruction in 1989. This project continued for ten years with alternating bouts of construction and fundraising until the project was finished. The fort has a very informative and well presented Visitor Center staffed by knowledgeable and enthusiastic volunteers. If you are in eastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania or the northern tip of West Virginia take the time to drop by it is well worth a visit!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

First Blood

      The ever creative and relentlessly jingoistic ( or would that be Gingoistic ? ) Housemartin has laid claim to the Mexican Empire as his nation in our Alt-History/VSF campaign. To bolster and buttress his claims to a place in the sun on the newly discovered continent he has issued the following missive. A literary masterpiece soon to be required reading worldwide! I encourage everyone intending to participate to construct a similar time-line (it does not need to be a complete - or bombastic- as this beauty) to announce to the world their backstory and plans.

     It is a delightful example of thinking outside the box, about how a few minor changes to a timeline could have changed the face of the world we know. No need for time-travelling AK-47 merchants (side-eye at H. Turtledove) just a few different decisions and a different bit of luck. 

The Mexanish Empire’s History of Magnificence. 
The ascension of Emperor Maxmillian I on 10 July, 1863 was the brightest day in Mexico’s brief, but glorious history. Since his ascension, His Most Catholic Majesty, Maximillian I, has presided over a rapid and impressive rise in both Mexican power and prestige on the world stage. At his ascension the Emperor faced the warmongering ways of the Yankee Imperialist Lincoln with manly resolution. Avoiding both direct involvement in the American Civil War, but also maintaining his right to the throne of Mexico. When the Southerners successfully defeated Lincoln in their Civil War, with significant material assistance from the Sovereign of Mexico, any attempts at Yankee meddling in Mexico were ended. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

New Rules, Deep Thoughts and Dark Plans

    After several successful games of The Men Who Would Be Kings and a serious-minded discussion with some of my gaming compadres (and an even longer serious discussion with myself) I have decided to float the idea of starting a new VSF campaign. Drawing deeply on the seven years of experience that the Daftrica campaign provided will correct the flaws that became apparent as time went by.

      All are invited to the discussion of what they are looking for but I am the final arbiter of the campaign. I will set forth the rules and modifications to be used, I will establish the entry level commitment for players (be ready to paint your army if you don't already have one available) and the time-lines that will drive the campaign. If you aren't serious, have issues with completing paperwork in a timely manner or want to sponge armies off other players please do not apply. There will always be plenty of slots in the OPFOR side of things for people that only want to show up and push lead.

    Baseline requirements are:
       1. Have a copy of the rules, The Men Who Would Be Kings, no excuses, none, don't ask. Osprey rules are cheap and widely available, and these are dead-easy to understand.
       2. Have an email that is checked regularly, that means daily, preferable twice a day.
       3. An army totaling 40 points under the rules, these must be composed of PAINTED  period-specific figures from 1850-1900. No recycled WW2 Japanese or such. Certain exceptions will be tolerated but you must come to me on bended knee to ask permission.
       4. The ability to undertake the rudimentary math required by the rules.
       5. A true sense of the Victorian and a jovial sense of humor, a strong sense of the power of the Pun is welcomed as well.

     Further, probably more irrational requirements will be imposed by me on a whim, proper pith-helmets (or other period appropriate headgear) is a possibility.

     Interested parties can reply to my email or directly in the comments section


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Fireforge Russian Foot

      I bought these a while ago and I am only now getting around to writing this review. Fireforge has brought out something that I've been waiting on for ages; Dark Ages Russian foot. I have a Byzantine army and have been cheating for years using Vikings as Rus. Now I can finally do the right thing and field a real unit of Rus warriors to assist the Emperor in defending Byzantium from the barbarians.Doubtless they will be striving to get promoted to the Varangian Guard!

      These figures show their Viking heritage but have a decidedly Eastern/Slavic look. They are molded in a medium soft gray plastic with very crisp details. A good selection of shields and weapons is provided, a bit heavy on the archers to my taste but that is just one man's opinion.You could easily back-date these by swapping in more round shields and hairy faces from other sets of minis.I can barely wait to start converting these models.

once again the back of the box shows a photo of the very pretty painted minis, 
one of these days the guys in marketing will realize that this would sell more boxes

not that there is anything wrong with the cover-art, very atmospheric
not at all like the tragic Wargames Factory cover art

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Looking forward, Game Schedule for September and October

     The rest of this month looks good for our normal schedule of 7pm Saturday games. October, on the other hand, is a complete train wreck; between family commitments and work I will not be able to host a game all month. Others are welcome to host a game at my place, just contact me in advance so I can set things up.

     Of course you all are welcome to host games of your own, I make no claim to be the only venue in town. Suggestions for games or offers to run one can be posted in comments or emailed to me.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Lace Wars Part VII, Into action at last!

     The point of owning and painting wargames minis is to actually play games with them, at that is what I have been told! The growing pile of Lace Wars figures had me thinking that I would like to see them in action on the table top, not just a staged photo-op, but a real game. So I concocted the following scenario.

    On the Island of Santa Margarita the Spanish have begun to construct a gun battery on a bit of high ground that overlooks the Straits. They have been concerned over the increasing tensions with Britain and want to secure the passage against interference by the Anglos. Right near the proposed battery is the homer od Senor Fernandez, the leader of the local militia. He has called them to his home to assist with the construction work and to guard the area while the battery is built.

     Having better and faster ships the British have found out that war has broken out against Spain. The salient problem is that while word has arrived, reinforcements have not. Lord Feversham understands the need to capture the battery position and spike or carry away the guns but he lacks the manpower for the job. To make up numbers he has struck a bargain with the devil and signed on a large number of Buccaneers to at as shock troops. They have been promised a free hand in looting the island as long as the battery is wiped out first.

     The British player was given the choice of flanking attacks from the north or the south, or an attempt to land directly onto the dock with the one schooner light enough to handle the shallow water. He chose to launch all of his units into a flank attack from the south with the schooner sailing toward the dock as a distraction and a signal to his own men to begin the assault. Below we have a map to the table

Monday, August 29, 2016

Lace Wars Part VI, Spanish 3rd Tercio

       I finally found someone that wore a color other than red, gray or blue. The Spanish 3rd Tercio wore green with red cuffs; a get-up the matches a certain Russian Guards regiment. I promptly set about painting them and in less than a week they had gotten to almost finished. The figures are 28mm plastics from Wargames Factory (now being produced by another company, Warlord Games I think). My objective is to be able to field a variety of readily distinguished units for a Imaginations  Campaign based (loosely) on the Caribbean during the Age of the Buccaneers. One thing I insist on is that all of the units be painted to represent a real historical unit, a needless restriction I know, nut one I will not bend!

 You can see the fruits of my labors below. I am still looking for a unit in brown or yellow.........

my inability to leave well enough alone is on display in the command figures of this unit, 
only the flag-bearer and one of the drummers have escaped modification

Friday, August 26, 2016

Odd Things that I have found

     I spend far too much time cruising the internet, it gets in the way of working on my projects from time to time.But then I find a gem of a site like this

Need a covered wagon? Don't want to spend a ton of money on what is essentially a prop? Try this:site, Need a dozen 15mm windmills and don't feel like scratchbuilding....they have them.

I have been raiding souvenir shops on all of my vacations picking up such items. I caution that some of the items are rather cartoonish and the scale is extremely variable, so buy one before placing a large order. It is remarkable what a coat of paint does for these things!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Lace is the Place, back to the 28mm Lace Wars figures

I pushed aside my many distractions and pulled out the last two boxes of Lace Wars infantry. This builds four more battalions of infantry once they are combined with the remains of the previous boxes. I decided that two of the battalions would be grenadiers, just to liven things up[ a bit........and to use those cool looking heads with the silly hats! A couple of hours and I had most of them based and assembled.  I have found a unit that dressed in green, but I'm still looking for a real unit that dressed in brown, I know they are out there somewhere, I just haven't found a picture or trust-worthy source. If anybody knows of such a unit please advise.

almost done, the horse are next

the assembly process would go much faster if I stuck with the standard poses, 
I always end up modifying at least two figures per unit

Monday, August 15, 2016

A Little Rough Going, 15mm rocky ground

   OK, another distraction to add to my list of distractions..........I know. I know, I keep up like this and the Lace Wars project will die in the cradle. But I do so love making terrain.

R.U.P. is planning a Rhodesia game for the beginning of September and he mentioned that he needed some areas of rocky ground because the REAL Rhodesia looks like this;

be careful kids, this is not your average table top

   Being an irrepressible half-wit I immediately suggested that I would put some patches of rocky ground for him, mind you, this was before he sent pictures! I have never learned how to un-volunteer for something so I was truly stuck now. Fortunately I have tons of foam and my trusty Proxon hot wire cutter. A half hour later I had put this together;
ruler for scale, I was going to put a model of Louis XIV on the table
 but at the last moment backed away from the pun

   I sent R.U.P. a picture and met with his approval so I kept at it and added a bit of paint ending up with a few areas of rather rough ground looking like this.
hartdly an exact match 
but the wee soldiers need to be able to stand upon it after all!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Oh No !!!! More with the mats....15mm roads

I spent the afternoon making roads with my eight year old granddaughter, she is still young enough to think this stuff is cool. Same materials, same techniques as before so I won't bore you with the procedural stuff. Here is a photo of the finished product, they are made on a base width of 2 inches. I am not certain that I am fully happy with these as they sit rather high above the surface. I will have to see what they look like on a mat.
 these will be used as trails in 28mm, notice the connection pieces at the bottom
 these transition from 3" road width to 2" road width
the distortion is from me using my cell phone camera in "panoramic mode"
while standing unsafely on top of a stool