Tuesday, September 24, 2013

ACW - Pea Ridge

I bought Pea Ridge, Wilson's Creek and First Manassas from Greg at Wargame Downloads. I was intrigued because the site said that one could build the battle board in 3D. Maybe I will get to that in the future, but that may end up being an unrealized project. Pea Ridge is the first of three that I assembled.

After the purchase, one receives a ZIP file download that has several PDF files included. These PDFs include the battle board, counters, rules, instructions for making the 3D board and a small history about the particular battle.

One of the first things I realized is that the battle board is on A4 metric paper. I have a B/W printer, so off to one of the big chains that does color laser printing. I found that printing Actual Size, centered on Legal size paper produced the correct results. Next was a visit to a Hobby and Craft store to get some Black Foam Core, Spray Adhesive and Mat paper.

Assembly was pretty easy since the map was kept to 2D. Note, when working with foam core, have several new #11 blades ready for your knife. When cutting with a dull blade, the foam will tear and look nasty. A razor sharp knife glides through the material effortlessly, but the foam core dulls a new one pretty quickly. I used three blades for this project. I wanted a nice clean look.

Battle Board

All the games in this series use the Brothers At Arms rules set. It looks to be a pretty straight forward rule set with some interesting rules for Command and Control and Zones of Control. I look forward to playing the initial Pea Ridge game this week. Are you ready Greg?

I do not understand why the authors of this game chose to create hex based unit counters. It meant just that much more cutting and trimming and doesn't really add anything of value. Square counters would have served just as well. On my next game, First Manassas, I will be converting the counters to squares. However this is a minor nit, all in all the assembly was easy and was a nice Saturday afternoon project.

Finally my OCD kicked in, since I was not able to find a box that I liked. I made one, and used the remaining Pea Ridge cover page as the box cover. I now understand why games are so flaming expensive. There is a lot of work to build the board, make the counters, create the rules and package the whole thing. All told, I have about 25$ into this one game for purchase, printing and craft supplies. That seems like a pretty good deal to me.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Recruits Wargaming Convention - Part 2.

There are a lot of pretty games that are put on at Recruits. This session continued that trend. On Saturday afternoon I found one of the special ones. This was a scenario based in the privateer years on the Spanish Main. HMS Redoubt had sailed from Port Royale with a small invasion force. The target was the rich but sleepy Spanish town of Santa Domingo.

I did not get the name of the game master other than Jeff with a nom de plume of Gully. This oversight withstanding, Gully put on a first class game. This little video is just a pan across the town, just to give you an idea of the amount of work and preparation that went into this game. Truly impressive.

The town may have been sleepy, but it was armed to the teeth. Here are some photos of what awaited the British invaders. I love the fact that Gully included fishermen on the docks as an extra detail flourish. Also, countless tables, chairs, crates and barrels were scattered about.

I volunteered for the task of acting as a distraction. I sailed my little boats to the far edge of the town and started my assault. This was to distract some of the guns from focusing on the main invasion. The first Spanish artillery salvo sunk one of my boats. Soldiers swimming toward shore do not constitute much of a threat. The soldiers swam slowly, weighted down with guns, knives, swords and menacing facial expressions. They were all killed to a man before they reached shore.

My other boat came under fire from cannon, swivel guns and musketry. The fisherman even threw a carp in my direction. The crew in the second boat was also killed. All of them except the officer. As the boat reached shore, he was facing 3 cannon, 2 swivel guns and 10 or 15 muskets. He apologized for the misunderstanding in his most polite and formal Spanish, and then promptly surrendered.

At this stage in the day, I was about spent on playing war games. I found a bunch of friends and we played board games for the rest of the evening. All in all looking back over the convention, I had a great time filled with lots of laughter. As the convention was closing, my board game buddies went to a local establishment and finished the time with drinks and appetizers.

Thanks Recruits! See you next year.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Recruits Wargaming Convention - Part 1.

This past weekend was the Recruits Wargaming Convention held in Lee's Summit, MO. This is going to be a fairly long post but I want to capture my experience while it is fresh in my mind. Recruits is an annual convention, generally held in middle September. My first impression was of the gorgeous weather that had bloomed for the weekend. The massive heat of a mid-west summer had broken, and the sunny, high 70s temperature was absolutely perfect. This post shows a limited number of games where I participated. I am sure there will be more pictures and information at the Recruits web site about the overall experience.

The second impression of the convention is how inexpensive it is. 5$ gains you a pass for the weekend! So I went over on Friday night around 6:00 PM, played until closing at 11:00 PM and was then back for an all day Saturday. On Saturday, the doors opened at 8:00 AM and gaming started around 9:00 AM. I played all day and finished at 10:00 PM completely sated with gaming. The point about expense needs to be taken further. Food and drinks are available on site for minimal costs. A bottle of water is 1$. Hot dogs are 1$. Slices of pizza 2$. This allowed me to focus the vast majority of my gaming funds on wargaming paraphernalia. There are vendors, a silent auction and a raffle. I spent money in all three venues.

The third impression, is the age disparity between gamers. This convention is held at a high school, with the intent to introduce new gamers into the hobby. There are old grey-beards like yours truly down to spotted face teenagers that are finding a way to socialize over a gaming table. It is an interesting mix and a lot of fun. Finally, it was a weekend of getting reacquainted with old friends. That is the part I treasure most. Now on to the events!

Friday night I played in a game of French and Indian Wars. This is done with 54MM figures and beautiful scenery by Chris at CluckAmok. The idea was for the British to protect two different built up areas, a little fort and a small homestead. The French and Indians were to burn both establishments. The British had some hidden militia in both areas. The Indians could appear anywhere on the board. The first two images are an overview of the board.

A ferocious band of Indians appear suddenly in the forest. They are carrying torches and are obviously up to no good.

The provincial army raises the alarm about the Indians in the woods.

A unit of Grenadiers makes a volley at the enemy in the distance.

The British form lines, however it was a little too late, off in the distance, the fort burns. At the end of the day, the fort was burning. The farmstead was secure. The French and Indians had taken heavy casualties, but it ended in a draw.

On Saturday, I played in an American Revolutionary War game, followed by a sea assault in the age of pirates. First up is the American Revolutionary game. The scenario was that a American supply train had to start on one side of the battlefield, move along a road, cross a bridge and then get off the battlefield. The English wanted to destroy or capture the wagons, the Americans needed to protect it. I think those oxen realized they were the evening meal, because they were slow! They moved 2" per turn.

Here is a view of the battlefield with the supply train on the right. It would take almost 7 turns before the wagons would reach the bridge.

Americans had the militia deployed forward, with the regulars waiting to defend the road.

The militia performed admirably by stalling the British advance well past all expectations. The losses on both sides were brutal. However the militia was eventually driven back. Losses were high and they finally routed.

The right flank of the British was in no hurry to engage the American Regulars now opposing them. Fresh Americans with artillery waited. The action switched to the center of the battlefield. The British assaulted the town in hopes to cut the road and capture the supply wagons.

Losses were high on both sides. The British reached the town and the American Regulars were getting shaky. It was neck and neck at this point, but we were out of time. It was ruled that the British had a narrow victory. The damnable oxen hadn't crossed the bridge and the British were pressing.

This was a nice game, but it tested my math abilities. The best thing about this game was the great guys playing and the mountain of dead markers that the GM had painted. Looking at the table, one could see where the lines had come together, fought, bounced and slammed together again.

This post is getting rather long with a lot of images. I will post about the Invasion on the Spanish Main in part 2.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I need a SIgn

I saw this sign while out on an evening constitutional. I found it a quite refreshing slant on Children at Play. Now if only had a sign for when I am gaming or painting. It would be a scary one for when I am painting. Picture an aging, overweight, gray-haired man wearing opti-visors, listening to rock and roll, squinting to get the point of a brush on that last damn small detail. On second thought, maybe I don't really need a sign.

And that brings me to the point, under that signage, my Union artillery and dismounted cavalry project is complete. I can't wait to bring these boys out for Longstreet soon.

I have been using the same basing technique for a few years. That is, build up the basing using grey pumice gel media, then color it dark brown and dry brush successive colors toward a light tan. This gives me a dried mud looking base that I can then add static grass onto. I think they look pretty good. Something possessed me this time to try and finish a few of the dismounted cavalry bases by dry brushing different shades of green onto the pumice. I was not impressed and will stick to my old method from here on out. If one looks closely at the image below, notice two or three Dismounted Cavalry bases completely covered in static grass. These are the ones that have the failed experiment.

Also, Recruits Gaming convention is this coming weekend in Lee's Summit, Missouri. Hope to see you there. I just won't be wearing the Opti-Visors!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Current projects

Summer vacations have come and gone. It is now time to load up the project table. This has not changed a great deal, however, with the enthusiasm that Longstreet has generated, priorities have been rearranged. Like most gamers, I have to reorganize all my stuff periodically. My ancient Greek project has been pulled and the figures are in storage boxes. I am actually thinking about doing that in 6MM. There is a better arrangement for lighting now, so hopefully that will help when I am painting.

Here is the overall table, ACW up front, My Maurice infantry behind that and off in the distance, some 28 MM French infantry. These last are for Lead Addict, I may eventually get these done.

I was really surprised to find that my 15 mm ACW project was almost complete. There are just a few fill-in pieces that I need to complete both sides of my collection. I did not have any Union Artillery however, that was addressed. Here are the boys ready for the basing process. I use a coarse gray pumice in an acrylic medium as the base material. It has been applied. Next steps are dry-brushing the colors and then adding a little static grass and shrubbery.

While digging through my collection, I found these dismounted Cavalry boys that were on old cardboard bases. They weren't even flocked. I am changing these over to Litko one-inch square bases. That is my current project, hopefully I will get the Arty and dismounted Cavalry finished by Thursday. Once that is done, I will work on some Confederate dismounted cavalry, then gasp, my collection will be complete!

Finally, here is a picture of yours truly as photo-shopped by Baron Von J. This is for our Longstreet campaign. Colonel Frederick Joseph (Fritz) Wolfe at your service.

Current roster after first campaign battle