Friday, January 24, 2020

Historic Saint Augustine Florida, Visitor Center and Governor's Mansion Museum

        Saint Augustine is the nation's oldest continually occupied European city, at four and a half centuries it is ancient by American standards (please don't scoff you Europeans and Asians, the Great Wall and the Coliseum were new once too) and is suitably proud of its heritage. Not only does it have the magnificent Castillo de San Marcos but the downtown still conforms to the original Spanish layout. In honor of their heritage and to help orient a tourist the city has built a very impressive Visitor Center which borders upon being a museum in and of itself. I am confining the following photo essay to those portions that may be of interest to wargamers and military historians.

this wonderful display of craftsmanship is in the main hall,
a Spanish galleon from when Spain ruled the waves

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Gaming Update 25JAN02 1900hrs

The Housemartin has offered to run a game of Flint and Feather this Saturday at my place starting around 1900hrs. Be there to witness this event!

Monday, January 20, 2020

Book Review The Battle of Killiecrankie The First Jacobite Campaign, 1689-1691

        The Battle of Killiecrankie
        The First Jacobite Campaign, 1689-1691
        Author; Jonathan D. Oates
        Illustrator; Mark Allen
        Helion &Co. Century of the Soldier  #31
        ISBN 978-1-912390-98-4

                The title is perhaps a little misleading, the Battle of Killiecrankie features large as it was early in the campaign and a stunning victory of the Highlanders over regular Government forces but this book covers the entire Jacobite cause from 1689-91. Oates covers not just the military campaign but also significant portions of the political situation and the logistics of trying to campaign in the unforgiving terrain of the Scottish Highlands. The text is clear and easy to read (except for some of the lengthy quotes from the period; a combination of the local dialect and the lack of standardized spelling makes interpreting them a bit difficult) and moves along at an easy pace.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Gaming Update 18JAN20 1900hrs

      I haven't made up my mind what we will be playing just yet but there will be a game this Saturday, January 18th at 7pm.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Fort Pickens walkaround

       Located in the far western reaches of the Florida panhandle Fort Pickens was one of the most important of the forts built to guard Pensacola Bay against naval intrusion by a foreign power. It is ironic that it never fired a shot at a foreign enemy but was held against a hostile rebel force throughout the entire American Civil War. It is also ironic that it achieved its ruinous state at the hands of the Federal military through a combination of underfunded budgets, neglect, poor engineering and a fire that culminated in a magazine explosion (during peacetime!). A further irony is that the one assault against the fort by land forces was conducted by none other than Col. William Henry Chase of the Florida rebel militia; Col. Chase had designed and constructed Fort Pickens in his previous job as a Captain in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

 Fort Wiki has a nice potted history here
National Park Service has a less-than-impressive site here
Starforts has a delightfully tongue-in-cheek entry here

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Photo report on Spartacon 2020; the Return of the Storm-God

        Somebody made Thor angry. To celebrate the thirtieth year of Spartacon the weather decided to return to its historic model of dropping a massive storm on the convention-goers. A bitter combination of freezing rain, sleet, howling winds and snow hammered western Michigan the day of the event. This being Michigan a good-sized crowd still showed up for the convention. I helped run a big Hail Caesar game in the first period and ran my Thirty Years War scenario in the second, both games were fully booked and we all had a jolly good time. Photos of the second half of the convention were limited due my GM responsibilities. But enough of that, on to the photos!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

More Spartacon Prep

the armies align for battle

       Tom and I are also running a 28mm Romans vs Macedonians game for Spartacon using Hail Caesar rules. Just to be sure of the scenario (and to freshen up a bit on the rules) we ran a test game at my place this last weekend. It was jolly fun and I do love the sight of hundreds of 28mm figures battling it out on the table! Most of the usual suspects were there (except Joe.....where were you Joe?) so it was great to start the year off with a full house.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Getting Ready for Spartacon 2020

the armies laid out on a 6 x 4 foot table,
 at the convention I will be using a 5 x 8 foot table and rather more terrain

     I have finished the set-up of the armies that will be involved in my Thirty Years War game for Spartacon. These forces are organized for the Liber Militum Tercio rules. The battle with feature a conflict between Tercios of the Spanish Empire  and the Reformed Battalions of the Dutch Republic. I have designed the game to accommodate between four and eight players. It is scheduled to run in the second session. It is a very nearly balanced battle in terms of points, thus the outcome will be decided by a combination of skill and luck. If you are planning on playing please check out the basic rules for FREE right here.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2019 By The Numbers

      Following hot on the heels of my Quarterly Review I crunched the numbers for the year. It has been a surprisingly productive year for me despite a number of "alarums and excursions"; I managed to set an all-time record for 190 Posts, 604 Comments (a good few of them were even encouraging) and 103,438 pageviews.

       Breakdown on my posts were as follows;

              How To......................................25
              Self-published Rules...................3
              Book Reviews...........................12
              Kit Reviews................................9
              After Action Reports................10
              Fort Walkarounds......................11
              Convention Reports....................4
              Rules Reviews............................3
              Figure Reviews.........................21
                    The balance were on miscellaneous subjects

       Along the way I managed to;

              Start yet another Campaign blog this one of the Great Epicurean War
              Attend four conventions
              Rebase about 1600 15mm Thirty Years Wars Minis
              Give away 1000+ 1/300 scale minis, 400+ 15mm minis, one 1/1200 scale fort
              Play ninety-one wargames (in one glorious week I managed five!)
              Paint twenty-four 28mm minis and one-hundred-twenty-two 15mm figures, two 1/700 scale ships and three 1/72 scale aircraft
              Scratchbuild a ruined city and a cartoonish Brandenburger gate
              Scratchbuild four stone bridges, a base for a Playmobil Gladatorial Arena, a half-dozen Saharan buildings, and a 28mm Dark Ages tower (complete with a shingled roof)

        In keeping with my objective of "rational/attainable/desirable/affordable" I have added very few new minis to the Project Pile and unloaded most of the stuff in smaller scales that I know I will never get around to painting. As the scales get larger the decision to part with the minis gets tougher (as I can at least pretend that I will eventually get around to putting brush to lead) but I will keep banging away at it until at least a modicum of sanity prevails.

        I hope everybody had as much fun as I did this last year and has more in the coming year!

        Keep rolling sixes!