Wednesday, July 31, 2019

I took a challenge.........

       I was fishing around on the interwebs and I spotted this; Dead Dick's Tavern August Terrain Challenge   Being a pathological terrain builder I thought that this was a perfect fit. So I went and signed up. I will be documenting this adventure (as I have with so many other projects) here on the blog. But take a second and pop over to the Tavern and look around a bit, interesting stuff there.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

One Hour Wargame Napoleonic Rules Mods

     A goodly number of people have inquired about these rules and, rather than emailing them out individually, I figured it would be easier to cut and paste them onto the blog.

     Be aware that this is still VERY MUCH A WORK IN PROGRESS.  As such there are lots of gaps and a whole bunch of things missing (like charts and diagrams and sample army lists). Please feel free to treat this as a toolkit or idea platform. As I generate charts, diagrams, examples of play and further definitions they will be posted. These will be in a different color text to catch your eye!

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Napoleonic Wargame using (heavily modified) One Hour Wargame AAR

      The Housemartin showed up a little while ago with a set of rules called One Hour Wargames and some modifications that he had put together to give it a more Napoleonic feel. A decent set of Napoleonic rules being one of the "Holy Grails" of wargaming (lucky dice being one of the others) I was instantly intrigued. We set up a test game and were quite pleased with the results. A few more tests,  and a few more tweaks. and we were even happier with what we had in hand. We are still refining the idea (and I hope to get The Housemartin to authorize a "final version" of the modifications for publication soon) but I'm satisfied enough with the basic mechanics to provide an after action report on one of our games. This scenario can be played with any other Napoleonic rule-set which has the infantry battalion as a basic maneuver unit.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Dirt Cheap Mini Bases

what treasures does this battered metal case hold?

      I will admit it; I prowl local garage sales looking for things that I can use in wargaming. Sometimes things are obvious; unbuilt plastics kits, "those old toy soldiers", toy dinosaurs, other times you have to think outside the box, or maybe inside it. I stumbled across these almost by accident, the sturdy metal box is what caught my eye (having once -as a teenager at a garage sale- purchased three Colt M-1911A1s under similar circumstances when I was just trying to buy their cool wooden boxes; wow, did my Dad freak out!) so I peered inside to see what deserved such protection; poker chips! I have never been much of a gambler so I have no need of poker chips but, when I picked them up I noticed the weight, they are possessed of a nice heft. The price of two dollars made them nearly free and the fact that I was looking at something on the order of two hundred perfectly round, 39mm size, hefty discs meant that I was going to be all set for miniature bases for quite some time.

I suppose the box might even come in handy

the perfect size for 28mm figures
 (of which I have several thousand in need of paint and bases)

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Book Review Australian Bushrangers Osprey MAA 525

     Osprey does this to me every once in a while. They publish a book with an almost irresistible subject and pair it with instantly engaging artwork. The first time that this happened to me was their Arthur And The Anglo-Saxon Wars back in 1984. It has happened several more times since. It happened again the other day when I casually picked up this book;

      What can I say? I am a sucker for rebellious Irishmen, exotic locations and great artwork. Before I got home I was rationalizing getting into playing this. I already have tons of Victorian minis (a long-held fascination with VSF subjects spawned those) and a good set of Shoot-Out rules. And at least one manufacturer produces the hero from the front cover; Ned Kelly in his bullet-proof armor. I am in too deep already!

      But enough of my mental meanderings. This is a standard format Osprey Men At Arms volume; 48 pages, great color artwork (and I do mean great, this approaches the late lamented Angus McBride) tons of black and white illustrations and just enough information to really get the hook set.  The text is easy to read and explains the establishment of Australia as a penal colony, the types of people who were sent there and the structure of society. They then explain the motivations of the "bolters", the convicts who fled into the interior to escape their prison sentence. These were the original Bushrangers, men who lived on (and preyed on) the edges of society. The book covers the transition of these outlaws from skulking convicts into romantic highwaymen as the decades passed and the structure of Australian society changed with the discovery of gold and the success of ranching. This change is illustrated by a series of short biographies of some of the most prominent Bushrangers. Some of the most audacious and significant robberies are covered as well as the almost universal violent end that most of them met.

      I have to recommend this book to anyone even remotely interested in the subject; great read, stunning artwork and a unique subject all combined in one slim volume. Buy it now!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Playing with Pictures


     I wasted way too much time trying to erase unwanted features from this picture. I'm still far from happy with the effects. This was done using Paint from Microsoft, which is a clumsy tool for such work. Does anybody know of a free photo editing software that would make this easier?

after, the cannon smoke just doesn't impress me at all

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Upcoming Gaming dates

It looks like Thursday 18JUL19 at 1800-2100 is going to be our next gaming date
with a game on Saturday likely as well, time TBA

Would anybody be open to gaming in the AM Saturday?  Say 9am-1pm?

Naval Battle using Close Action rules

as always with R.U.P.s games, the models were beautiful

       Rich Uncle Pat (R.U.P. henceforth) invited us all to his new house to play a game of Close Action. Set in the period of the American Revolutionary War this game featured those all-time nautical heavyweights; Spain and Portugal. To get an idea of just how lowly they were consider this; on a scale of A through G (A being the best) my Spanish sailors entered the game as "E" rated, the far more ferocious Portuguese began as "D" or "C" rated sailors. Truly a battle of the naval midgets of the time. It does make for a much more interesting game as managing your crews morale becomes a serious consideration (and you lose more Victory Points for a ship striking that you would if it just ran away). Let us see how events unfolded.

Building Bridges

      In these days of Trade Wars, Monetary Wars, Culture Wars and too many Real Wars wouldn't it be nice if everybody spent some time building bridges? Just an hour or so a day? I decided to do my part and descended into The Workshop and fired up my trusted friend Proxxie; inside of an hour we had built four bridges. Really, I don't see why this is so hard......on the other hand I don't see it solving too many of the world's problems either. But it did give me an hour's peace and distraction, so I guess that "all's well that ends well".
        This is how it all went down.........

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Arrghh Matey!! There be a battle brewing!

     R.U.P. is going to be hosting a game this Saturday 13JUL19 at 1800hrs at his house. He plans on fighting a naval battle from the age of sail using Close Action rules. This battle will be a proper set-piece fight involving a good many vessels so please attend if you can. His model boats are up to his usual standard of excellence and the game room is most agreeable. My lack of nautical skills will be on full display so you may want to attend for the humor of it all.

   P.S.  This may well also be a Sign of the End of Times as it will mark the third game I have played in the space of a week;  Armageddon Approacheth!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Quarterly review 2019 Q-2

      The time for soul-searching and introspection has come again. This last quarter was quite disruptive of my schedules (like I haven't used that excuse before) with four lengthy trips out of state.  Fortunately I still got a fair amount of work done, unfortunately I haven't painted so much as single figure; not a one. Happily I managed to host, or play in, a dozen games or more through the quarter, which works out to about one a week.
      Throughout the quarter my gentle readers were exposed to my pontifications, opinions, and general blow-hardiness as I reviewed nearly everything I read, bought, attended or played. I thank you for your patience in this matter.
      I managed sixteen figure or product reviews (mostly of the superb Strelets American Civil War range). If you are looking for nice 20mm ACW minis you should consider them.
      I posted five photo essays about forts that I have had the pleasure to visit. These received a surprisingly positive response which encourages me to continue with this enterprise.
      I wrote three book reviews of the always informative (if also often misspelled) Helion & Company publications.
      I posted two AARs and a review of the Drums At The Rapids gaming convention.
      I did manage one terrain project, but it was destined to never be used in a game at my house.
      My crowning achievement was to unburden myself of all of my micro-scale figures that I had realized I would never get painted. I hope they all  went to good homes where they will be painted and played with for many years to come.

      Looking forward I must address the excess 15mm figures (more give-aways in the offing) and force myself to sit and pick up a paintbrush. I have fallen away completely from the one-hour-a-day discipline and really need to get back into the yoke.

                                                              Happy Gaming, my friends!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Is it Christmas in July?

no, Anton is just getting a chance to game twice in the same week!

At this moment it looks like Wednesday 10JUL19 will be a good date for our next gaming event.
We will begin at 6pm and continue until 9pm
Hope to see you all there.

Fort Pulaski Walkaround

Fort Pulaski as seen by Google Earth

     Another example of the U.S. Third System forts that predated the U.S. Civil War. Construction began in 1829 and was completed in 1847 using approximately 25 million bricks. Located on an island in the middle of the Savannah River Fort Pulaski blocked naval access to the city of Savannah and the interior, the coastal area being very swampy with a few barren sand islands along the Atlantic Ocean. At the beginning of the Civil War there were two caretakers "manning" the fort and it was easily taken by a force of Georgia troops with out firing a shot. After Georgia seceded in February 1861 the fort was turned over to CSA troops.

     One of the great problems in stealing a fortress from the government that built it is that the prior owner is apt to have a complete set of plans and be intimately familiar with the weaknesses of said fortress. This, joined with the massive advances in cannon technology in the period since the fort's design, meant that the Union was at a distinct advantage in their efforts to recapture the fort. Fortresses of the Third System were designed prior to the widespread adoption of rifled cannons, guns which had substantially longer range and far greater accuracy than the more common smoothbore guns on the 1820's. The Union forces began firing on Fort Pulaski on 10APR1862 and by the next afternoon had shot a huge hole in the outer face of the fort and had managed to place a shot onto the magazine located in the wall on the opposite side of the fort. Realizing that he and his men were sitting in what amounted a massive bomb (there were 10,000 pounds of black powder in that magazine) the Confederate commander surrendered. For a much more detailed report on the siege of Fort Pulaski check this Wikipedia page.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Upcoming Gaming Date

     I will be running a game at my place this Sunday starting at 1600hrs.

     If the Housemartin can get the updated Napoleonics rules we will be playing that; otherwise I will see about having Trunkmonkey bring his British Revolutionary War troops by for an ARW dustup

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Fort Michilimackinac walkaround

     Last summer I took the drive from the Detroit to Michilimackinac and toured the fort. This is a reconstruction of the final stage of a series of fortifications that guarded the Straits of Mackinac. Built by the French in 1715 the fort underwent regular upgrades to its design (these seemed to correspond the the lifetime of a wooden palisade in the rainy conditions of the Straits).
     The fort was more than a military outpost; it was a trading post and fortified village as well, containing storehouses and civilian dwellings. Surrendered to the British at the end of the French and Indian War in 1761 it was captured during Pontiac's Rebellion in 1763 and held by the Ojibwa Indians for a year until the British negotiated its return. The British decided that the position was too exposed and moved the fort and the town across the Straits to Mackinac Island but (confusingly) kept the name of the fort Michilimackinac, after establishing the position on Mackinac Island they burned the remains of the original fort.

the fort as seen by Google Earth

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Fort Holmes walkaround

     Last summer Rich Uncle Pat took a trip to Mackinaw Island and was good enough to snap some pictures of Fort Holmes while he was there. Fort Holmes (named Fort George by its builders) was built in 1814 by the occupying British army to rectify the glaring weakness of Fort Mackinac; that Fort Mackinac is overlooked by high ground to the northeast. The British were well aware of this weakness as they had exploited it when they captured Fort Mackinac in 1812 by dragging naval cannon onto the heights and threatening to blow in the back (wooden) wall of Fort Mackinac.

Fort Holmes, courtesy Google Earth

Monday, July 1, 2019

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

I've made a separate blog where I will intermittently cover things that don't make it here.

Procrastinations and Fascinations

And yes, I can already hear you.