Saturday, June 27, 2015

Random Fun

I just posted another episode of my solo rpg adventures over at Tale of the Templars. I just wanted to make a comment about the game mechanics.

For this adventure, I am randomly rolling up occurrences. Here is my chart:

1-2 Encounter (some kind of creature)
3 - Trap
4 - Skill Test
5 - Random Event
6 - Peace and quiet (roll to see if the characters find some useful "loot")

For random events, I am using a 3D6 table inspired by the table in the Mythic Game Master Emulator. I found this 3D6 version over at the Mythic RPG Yahoo group. Anyway, this table has created some fun surprises.

The first event I rolled was "Possible loss of friendship." Because one of the characters is an android, I could not see how the heroes could have a falling out. However, it popped into my mind that something bad could happen that threatened the lives of one of the characters. The narrative just took off from there.

The second event was "rivalry." When random events are rolled, Mythic encourages you to go with your first instinct. In this case, the most logical rivalry in my mind was to re-insert a pirate captain, previously defeated and imprisoned earlier in this adventure. Once again, the narrative took over. The event itself was short, but it has set up a lot of story possibilities.

Anyway, I just wanted to praise Mythic again for its flexible mechanics that really stimulate the imagination.

Victory at Waterloo

Lately, my gaming interests have focused on my imagi-nations instead of historical. Furthermore, being on the far side of the pond, the Napoleonic Wars don't have as much resonance with us. As a result, the anniversary of Waterloo came without much notice on my part. But then I started reading all the wargame battle reports and my interest was piqued. I decided to do a quick Waterloo scenario to commemorate the anniversary.

I don't have any Napoleonic figures so I pressed my 3mm Age of Reason figures into service. I don't remember much about the battle itself, so I swiped a Command & Colors scenario from the internet and adapted it for One Hour Wargames style armies on my 6 x 9 battle board. Naturally this will involve a great deal of abstraction. It is probably best to say, in Hollywood style, that this game is inspired by actual events.

French - Napoleon fields the following units: 3 infantry, 2 artillery, 1 cavalry, and 1 Guard
  • Yes, Napoleon has 7 units
  • The Guard unit can take 5 hits and ignores retreats

British - Wellington fields 3 infantry, 1 artillery, 1 cavalry, and 1 skirmisher (in Hougoumont on the British right flank)

I did not bother with Prussians or any fancy rules for their arrival. Instead, Napoleon must simply defeat the British in 15 turns. If he doesn't, I assume that the Prussians arrive and the jig is up.

Opening positions.

 Napoleon unleashes attacks on Hougoumont (left), La Haye Saint (middle), and the ridge. His infantry advances in column  but the flanks suffer heavy casualties thanks to the British Lights in Hougoumont and the artillery on the ridge.

Wellington unleashes his cavalry on the advancing French column while the French cavalry rides forth, swinging around the right flank.

The French drive the British from La Haye Saint but the British cavalry charge destroyed the French right.

  • If you look closely you'll see the initial foray of my new casualty bases. I took a strip of infantry, cut down the base so it would lie flat, glued it to the base, and then painted it. I;m using it to denote when a unit is eliminated, as in this picture below.

The British Lights drive off the French infantry on the left. They begin to make their way through the woods to hit the French flank. The French Guard move up to support the infantry in La Haye Saint. The cavalry of both armies now clash, while the British infantry on the French right inexplicably make their way to Papelotte.

Napoleon advances his artillery to provide support for his advance in the center. The French win the cavalry clash.

  • I also have some cavalry casualty stands, but I haven't finished painting them yet.

Wellington recalls the infantry headed toward Papelotte. It becomes engaged with the victorious French cavalry.

Which drives the infantry back across the ridge. Meanwhile, in the center, the British have eliminated French artillery and infantry units.
Then the Guard engages. They destroy the British artillery and then turn on the Dutch infantry (left)

The Guard drives the Dutch from the ridge. Alas, they have taken heavy casualties and have the British Lights in their rear.

The Guard destroys the Dutch, but are in turn wiped out by the British Lights.

However, the remaining British units are routed by artillery and cavalry attacks.

The way to Brussels is open! However, Napoleon's army has been decimated and the Prussians are closing in. It seems that l'Empereur has won a Pyrrhic victory.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Good Home Project - 2mm Ancient


The next batch for sale is:

Irregular Miniatures 2mm Ancient
A variety of strips from the ancients line. They are given a very basic paint job (typically 2-3 colors) although some are incomplete. There are elements from 3 generic factions (gold/red, silver/blue, and brown/green).

Top: wolves, heavy infantry, command stand
Middle: variety of cavalry (light and heavy it appears), infantry, command stand
Bottom: Archers in a generic white paint job
A variety of cavalry in various paint schemes (or unfinished)
Unfinished elephants in the middle

All figures are sold as-is in a single batch. I will not break up batches.

Buyer agrees to pay the specified price + shipping (via US Postal Service Priority Mail). Payments made via PayPal.

To purchase, contact me directly at warwell2 AT yahoo dot com

Good Home Project - 15mm Medieval


With the success of my 3mm experiment, I now have a lot of unwanted miniatures. I decided that I want to find them a good home. Thus, the Good Home project is born. I'll be posting batches of miniatures I'd like to sell. Any figures that aren't sold within a month will end up in the trash.

First up:

Irregular Miniatures 15mm Dark Ages/Medieval
A variety of figures from Irregular Miniatures Dark Ages and Medieval lines. I am not sure of the exact make-up but will try to give more details in the captions. Most are unpainted. There are 8 packs of 12 figures each (purchased from Silver Eagle for $8 per pack).
The whole set
These appear to be medieval knights
Spearmen (Normans and Saxons?)
Some kind of Dark Age command + Viking archers
Axemen + Viking spears (partially painted)
More axemen

$20 now $10

All figures are sold as-is in a single batch. I will not break up batches.

Buyer agrees to pay the specified price + shipping (via US Postal Service Priority Mail). Payments made via PayPal.

To purchase, contact me directly at warwell2 AT yahoo dot com

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Why Miniatures?

I like board games. As I mentioned in the first installment of my Retrospective series, I started my wargaming career with Avalon Hill board games and we still pull out board games for Family Game Night (Courtier last night). My gridded games are essentially board games with miniatures. Furthermore, I really dislike painting. So why do I even bother with miniatures?

I ponder this question on occasion (like here) but today I would like to jot down a few reasons.

  • I like 3D. I'm not sure but the game is just more evocative when played with 3D components. Last month I mentioned playing a battle using a virtual tabletop. I concluded that there was "just something lacking." As much as I enjoyed the old Avalon Hill games, their components just do not inspire me as much as miniatures. They don't even need to be expertly painted figures on realistically styled terrain. Even unpainted Memoir '44 figures work better for me!
  • Rules independent. When I started miniature gaming in the mid-80s, board wargames still used counters, usually with game-specific info printed on them. The components were strongly tied to the rules themselves. When I began experimenting with my own rules, the system-neutral aspect of miniatures was appealing (and they looked better than homemade counters)
  • Scenario flexibility. Back in the 80s, the board of tactical board games was very limiting. Terrain was printed on the map and this could not be changed. If you wanted scenarios with new terrain you had to buy new maps. Miniatures games, in contrast, featured an endless array of battlefields. You could create practically any scenario you could imagine! Now, the Command & Colors board games have solved that problem with modular terrain, but if you think about it those are really pre-packaged miniatures games.
  • Period flexibility. With miniatures, you can play games from obscure eras not covered by board games (War of Jenkins Ear, anyone?). This is especially beneficial for us imagi-nations aficionados. I still haven't seen any board games covering the Grayrock Revolution.
The combination of these factors grabbed and have sustained my interest in miniature gaming.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Battle of Crystal River

Battle 1 of the Tweenwater War

As we have seen, King Henrik of Bluderia decided to expand his country's influence by reclaiming the province of Tweenwater. He came to an agreement with the Empire to prosecute war against the Redgravians.

In late spring, the armies of Bluderia advanced through the Imperial province of Fenwick toward the Crystal River. Detachments were sent out to seek a crossing into Tweenwater. One detachment, under General Hamfist, approached the town of Franklin, which boasted a nearby bridge and ford. Alas, Hamfist found that a detachment of Redgravians were also rushing toward the crossings.

Battle Notes
The scenario is #4 - Control the River from One Hour Wargames. It seemed fitting given the geography of Tweenwater.

I rolled randomly for the army make-ups, although I had to tweak them because I haven't painted all my 3mm cavalry yet.

Bluderia (the attackers) had 3 infantry, 2 skirmishers (the Foresters of Greenglade), and 1 cavalry.
Redgrave (defending) had 3 infantry, 2 skirmishers (the Rangers of Redgrave), and 1 artillery.

I used the Song of Blades and Heroes activation rules. All units are rated as Quality 4.

Battle Report

Opening positions - facing northeast.
The ford is denoted by some rocks in the river.

Both sides begin advancing toward the crossings.

The Bluderian cavalry brigade rushes across the bridge but find themselves entangled with enemy skirmishers and infantry. Meanwhile, the Bluderian right lags behind.

 Disaster on the left! Bluderia loses its cavalry and an infantry brigade on the left flank.

 The Redgravians advance to the bridge. Musketry from the Foresters routs one brigade but the "Tiger" Brigade makes it across the river. A long-range musketry duel breaks out on the right.

 The Tigers manage to drive off the Foresters from the hills on the left. Redgravian infantry falls back on the right.

 A hill too far. Bluderian infantry routs the Tigers, securing the Bluderian flank. Unfortunately, the Redgravians still control the bridge.

 Both sides take heavy casualties. The second unit of Foresters breaks and flees from the battlefield.

 Bluderian infantry rushes toward the bridge. Can they make it before nightfall? Meanwhile, the other Bluderian infantry brigade is driven off.

Redgrave secures the ford. The Bluderians drive off the Rangers on the left but cannot make it to the bridge before night.

Unable to exploit their success, the infantry withdraws, reporting back to the main army. The crossings remain in Redgravian hands.

Battle Notes
Although the path was open, Bluderian failed to secure the bridge by the 15th turn. Redgrave was the last to hold the bridge so it remains in their control. The ford clearly belongs to Redgrave. Victory for the defenders!

Because I was rolling for activation using the SBH rules, I played with standard dice rather than the Command & Colors ones I own. Infantry is hit on a 4-6 while cavalry and artillery are hit on 5-6. A roll of 1 forces a retreat. Typically, I forget to use retreats but I remembered in mid-game today. I added a twist, though. A unit could ignore a retreat if it made a Quality roll on 1 die. I liked this rule because it moderated the amount of back-and-forth movement that can occur. Instead, units tended to stay in the line more consistently, although precipitous retreats can and did happen.

This was the first battle for my 3mm Magister Militum miniatures. I must say that I am very pleased with them!

Friday, June 12, 2015

One Hour Wargame Scenarios

A little while ago, Kaptain Kobold over at Stronghold Rebuilt began a project to play all of the scenarios from One Hour Wargames. I decided I wanted to do something similar and work my way through all the scenarios. I am not going to complete them in order, however, but I want to avoid repeating a scenario until I complete them all. As I go through them, I'll list the battle, period, and campaign..

1 - Pitched Battle (1)  - Battle of Hemlock (horse & musket - Grayrock Revolution)
 2 - Pitched Battle (2) - Raider's Ridge (medieval - Francesian Conquest)
3 - Control The River - Battle of Crystal River (horse & musket - Tweenwater War)
4 - Take The High Ground - Battle of Hargrove Hill (horse & musket - Grayrock Revolution)
5 - Bridgehead - Invasion of Evil (medieval fantasy - Anarendor)

6 - Flank Attack (1) - Lord Mattheus Strikes (medieval fantasy - Anarendor)
7 - Flank Attack (2) - Assault of Hill 531 (sci-fi - Frigidair campaign)

8 - Melee - Battle of Mander's Hill (medieval fantasy - Anarendor)
9 - Double Delaying Action - Battle of Wannagama (horse & musket - First Seminole War)
10 - Late Arrivals - Battle of Redwick (medieval fantasy - Anarendor)
11 - Surprise Attack - Battle of Osmar Mountain (air - Lucranian War)
12 - An Unfortunate Oversight - Battle of Fiddler's Bridge (horse & musket - Tweenwater War)
13 - Escape - The Merridale Massacre (medieval fantasy - Anarendor)
14 - Static Defence - Battle of Vesta (sci-fi - Invasion of Zirconia)
15 - Fortified Defence - Battle of Nieuville (horse & musket - Grayrock Revolution)
16 - Advance Guard - Battle of Haines City (air - Lucranian War)
17 - Encounter - Battle of Harumba Hill (fantasy - Defense of Presteria)
18 - Counter Attack - Battle of White Cloud Pass (air - Lucranian War)
19 - Blow From The Rear - Massacre at the Foaming Flood (fantasy - Anarendor)
20 - Fighting Retreat - Battle of Mount Branson (air - Lucranian War)
21 - Twin Objectives - Russian Counterattack (horse & musket - Napoleonic)
22 - Ambush - Siege of Grayrock City (horse & musket - Grayrock Revolution)
23 - Defence In Depth - Battle of Kramer's Crossing (horse & musket - Grayrock Revolution)
 24 - Bottleneck - Battle of Pogo Pass (fantasy - Defense of Presteria)
25 - Infiltration - Raid on Presteria (fantasy - Defense of Presteria)
26 - Triple Line - Invasion of Zirconia (sci-fi - Invasion of Zirconia)
27 - Disordered Defence - Battle of Quadrivium (medieval - Francesian Conquest)
28 - Botched Relief - Battle of Hartvale (horse & musket - Tweenwater War)
29 - Shambolic Command - Battle of Shadowcrest (medieval - Francesian Conquest)
30 - Last Stand - Battle of Icebox Alpha (spaceships - Frigidair Campaign)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Tweenwater War

Following the Battle of Hemlock, Bluderian forces were withdrawn to the coastal city of Glumport while the two sides negotiated. Ultimately, Bluderia felt it had no choice but to recognize Grayrockian independence. Edouard, the Sieur of Maraconi, was declared King of Grayrock, Bluderia withdrew all its forces, and a Grayrockian-Redgravian friendship was formed.

A few years later, King Luther of Bluderia died. Some say he died because he was broken up over his kingdom's defeat at the hands of the rebels. The throne of Bluderia passed to Luther's son, Henrik. King Henrik plotted to restore his nation's prestige, which had been shattered with the loss of Grayock. He enthusiastically supported overseas voyages of discovery, hoping to find new lands to conquer and exploit. Closer to home, he cast covetous eyes upon Tweenwater.

Francesia at the time of the Tweenwater War.
Flags indicate ownership at the start of the war:
Yellow = Empire
Red = Redgrave
Blue = Bluderia
Gray = Grayrock
Originally ruled by Grayrock, it passed into the hands of the Bluderian monarchy when King Marius died. Redgrave seized Tweenwater during the Redgrave War. In exchange for Redgravian support during its revolution, Grayrock relinquished claim to the province. Now, King Henrik plans to re-assert Bluderia's claim.

Bluderia has one problem. Its traditional pathway to Tweenwater runs through Grayrock, which is now cut off. Instead, Bluderian diplomats have contacted the Empress Annabelle (the story of her ascent to the throne is an interesting one which I'll cover at another), who wanted to reclaim the former Imperial province of Blancport. She agreed to ally with Bluderia to go to war against Redgrave.

Campaign Notes
Now that my 3mm forces are nearly complete, I am planning a new campaign in Francesia. Bluderia will combat Redgrave for control of Tweenwater. I am going to use the One Hour Wargames campaign system and play 5 games. However, now that the Empire is joining Bluderia, I could also run a separate campaign with the Empire vs. Redgrave for control of Blancport.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Belated Templar Action

Oliver, the cat we rescued last week, is locked in the den while we look for a forever home for him. Our cats don't like him so we can't give him the run of the house. I felt bad for him so I hung out with him in the den this morning. I wanted to play a game but because I was in the den, I could not really pull out my miniatures. The answer - solo RPG. As a result, I played a very belated scene in my Space Templars campaign.

It has been nearly 6 months since I last played out a scene (and I am in the middle of an adventure!). I have been pondering why I don't play more RPG. After all, it takes minimal preparation and materials. But that may be part of the problem. It lacks the tactile experience of one of my miniatures games. I've wrestled with this dilemma before and once again I am debating the issue. I don't want to go with full-blown miniatures, however, because I don't want to add more painting chores to my to-do list.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Holy Grail

I suspect that every wargamer is searching for this:

The Holy Grail - their own version of the perfect game. It will be composed of the perfect rules, table, terrain, and figures.

Ever since I got back into miniature wargaming and started blogging about it over 2 years ago,I have been on a quest to find my own personal wargaming Holy Grail. I have made progress. While I am still tweaking them, my rules for a gridded wargame are stabilizing. I have embraced the One Hour Wargames scenarios and army lists. Unfortunately, I have struggled to find figures that met my criteria of being cheap and easy to paint, yet providing an impression of a body of troops. I have experimented with a variety of options - 15mm, 10mm, 6mm, 2mm, and even block armies. I was never completely satisfied - until now.

3mm may be my Holy Grail!
Of course, I've gotten all enthused over miniatures before, only to lose interest over time. However, I have to say that so far I have been extremely pleased with the 3mm figures from Magister Militum. I did a minimal paint job on them yet they don't look horrible when I put them on my battle board. The best thing is that the painting is progressing rapidly (at least for me). Artillery is complete, the Bluderian infantry is done and the Redgravians are almost ready. I started the cavalry but still have a little bit of work. Two armies are almost complete, and it hasn't been 2 weeks yet!

Anyway, enough babbling. I snapped a few shots using some of my 2mm terrain (which should work OK).

View from the Bluderian lines
Redgravian artillery and skirmishers on the hill
Note: MM does not offer skirmishers so I simply used 1 strip of infantry on a base (line infantry uses 2). It is easy to distinguish. I mounted the strip near the front of the base. If I ever get proper skirmishers (I may use some PicoArmor Napoleonics) then I can add a strip to convert them to line infantry).

View along the line
 I mounted infantry on 20mm x 15mm bases while artillery (and eventually cavalry) will go on 20mm square bases.
From the Redgravian side
Ultimately, I plan to double the number of bases in an infantry unit, which should provide a decent amount of mass on the board.

Now I am considering picking up figures from Magister Militum's ancient line to use for my medieval Francesia games.