Monday, January 28, 2008

Snow Day!

Yes, it's true, we got about four inches this morning, though it is raining right now. Snow days are problematic. When school is closed the days have to be made up. Usually that means the Enfilade Friday is the make up day, so I have to do the fast shuffle. This is a deadline week for Jagwire, which means the paper will be delayed coming out. That's not so good either.

However I did take advantage of the time off to make more progress on my 1/600 Action Stations boats. I should have at least five more finished, which means I'm that much closer to working on something else. I went over the list of vessels I need to have finished for our game at ConQuest. That should be no problem, but I also have a some more coming that would be useful in the game, so no time to fool around.

On Saturday we had our first Enfilade meeting, which did raise my level of concern about getting my Cowpens figures tallied and painted, so moving on past Action Stations and getting those figures done is also a great idea.

I've included pictures of my 15mm Scots army from the First Jacobite Rebellion. The wide shot is of my five completed infantry units plus my little bitty cavalry unit led by The Dundee himself. I zeroed in on Dundee for the second shot. You can't quite pick out the tartan on the infantry, but oh well. I did receive my last last two standard bearers in the mail last week. That will allow me to wrap up my last two units, and then half this project will be complete.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Tarleton's Quarter: First Play Through

Tarleton's Quarter is the name I gave to my little homegrown adaptation of Fire and Fury to the American Revolution. It is a very focused set of rules, intended to be played in the Southern Campaign 1780-81.

It is a regimental level rules set, based on the open formations adopted by British units to fight American skirmishers and riflemen in persistently lousy terrain for traditional close order, two rank formations. In Tarleton's Quarter, British units are free to move between an open order, or standard two rank line. These are documented in Lawrence E. Babits' excellent "Devil of a Whipping," on the Battle of Cowpens. The rules strongly resemble Rich Hasenauer's wonderful Fire and Fury ACW rules, the original brigade level game, not the regimental system that is under development, and possibly will be under development for the rest of my lifetime. It also owes a huge debt to Doug Hamm's work on a similar adaptation for the War of 1812.

I've been remounting and painting troops for my little game system for the past three or four months (off and on) and I finally summoned up the courage to try to play the rules. Mark Waddington and Scott Abbott, both expressed interest, so I dragged all my stuff down there on Saturday. Surprisingly, there were a lot of guys there to try 'em out, so what I believed would be a handful of players, ended up being eight.

The scenario was simple. A British force of three infantry units, a cavalry detachment, and a gun were to advance against an American safe house, capture their supplies and free some British prisoners. The Americans had five units of militia, including a rifle armed unit.

The Americans and British made their plans. The Brits had to advance across a creek, had bad die rolls, and were shot at a lot. The Americans didn't have to move as much, and rolled much better on their shooting die rolls and repelled the British advance.

All the players were pretty complementary, but offered some good suggestions:
  • I rewrote the maneuver table for the d10 level of the original F and F game. It's now easier to move.
  • I added one more category of troops-loyalist militias and American state troops, and factored in their brittleness to the maneuver table.
  • I rewrote the melee table to better represent the militias' reluctance to come to close quarters.
  • Everyone expressed an interest for adding a special events card draw for rolling a natural 10 on the fire table. This would end the automatic out of ammunition and/or officer casualty result from the brigade level game.
Everybody also expressed an interest in playing the game again, so I will need to make some time soon if I am to have the rules serviceable enough for play at Enfilade.

I, of course, forgot my camera, but will have pics next time for sure.

Next up is the first Enfilade meeting of the year at Bruce's next week. DBA day is on February 2nd, if I can make it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Preparing for ConQuest

ConQuest is coming up in February. It's been a bit of a trial to get ready. NHMGS members seem pretty reluctant to support the con this year, and I'm not quite sure why. I have probably lined up as many games as I'm going to get, and now I hope I have enough gamers to play them.

Daveshoe and I are going to put on an Action Stations game. It's very exciting. I love those rules, and just need the experience of running the game a few times. In any case, tonight I've been madly assembling some of my little horde of PT Dockyard vessels in preparation for our late Med Sea scenario.

This does disrupt some of my other plans. I've been mounting some of my 15mm highlanders, but I've gone as far as I can because I'm short a couple of standard bearers. I've ordered them, and hope they'll be here in the next week to ten days. I've also primed all my Anglo-Danes, and should start them tomorrow--in between painting little ships.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

On a 15mm kick

I'm finished with all of my 15mm highlanders. They are from the wonderful Hallmark League of Augsburg range, and I will use them to play King's War. They are just painted, not based, and I still have a handful of irregular cavalry to paint, as well as Dundee himself, and a wishful cannon. Then the army will be complete (I think.)

After that, I think I'll paint another DBA, army. I have a pile of 15mm Old Glory Saxons lying about that I can use as Anglo-Danish. They are all foot, which means 46 figures, but they are pretty easy to paint. It's nice to be cutting into my stockpile o' stuff a bit.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Drumbeat 2008

Dick Larsen hosted Drumbeat in Seattle today. It is a smallish gathering held at a city community center on Seattle's Beacon Hill. The setting is intimate, and attracts historical only games. Dick's intention is to recreate the feeling of Camp Long many years ago. I'm not sure he succeeds, but I certainly admire his effort. We each kick in ten bucks each toward defraying the cost, but it doesn't cover the total expense. In many ways, it's his gift to the attendees, and I, for one am thankful for it.

There were two game periods, with what seemed like six games each period. I regret I didn't get more pictures of each of the games played, but I got wrapped up with what I was doing. There were some 25mm colonials, some great looking WAB Samurai and Mycenaeans, 25mm Napoleonics, Wings of War and DBA/Hott games.

I ran, or helped run a couple of games. I hauled out some of 1/600 Ironclads and ran a scenario I've run a few times. In 1865 a Confederate squadron is headed to Havana to put in for a final overhaul before beginning operations against the Union blockade. They damage from a storm and encounter a Union squadron sent to intercept them. The Union ships are all large wooden vessels, with good crews who have not been affected by the storm. The Confederate flotilla includes the ironclad ram Stonewall. It's a tough battle, and the game played well. According to the rules of the scenario, if any Union ship suffered 50% hull or flotation damage they would have to withdraw. In a game that saw some real ups and downs, the Confederates won, exiting three of their four ships from the table. The Union victory conditions included inflicting 50% hull and flotation damage on Stonewall. The Union fleet was banged up, but not grievously when, according to the scenario rules, the commander of the flotilla panicked and required a retirement of the Union ships.

I brought the hydroplanes and Daveshoe did most of the Thunderboats game. I spent most of my time talking with Darin Howard and Tom Biecker. We used to game together many years ago in the days of Fire and Steel Napoleonics. It was great to see them both. So much water has passed under the bridge since those days, it was hard to get caught up. Darin was interested in the ACW naval stuff, and I will make sure to get at least another game or so in before his busy season starts again in April. It was perhaps the highlight of my day.

I did sneak in to the last heat of the Thunderboat races and managed to finish. It looked like I was going to place second, but Dale Mickel passed me on the last turn of the game on a fabulous die roll. Good work.

As always, the games were fun. It was great to drag my ships out of their boxes. It was fun to race the hydros. It was wonderful to see the other games--Paul Hannah's Christmas Wars HOTT game looked reaalllly cool. However, the best part is seeing friends and spending time with them. I thank them for playing giving up their Saturday for my games.