Friday, June 27, 2014

Pirate Rules Play Test

Tonight my friend Michael and I got together to work on his house rules for our upcoming pirate game day which will take place this October. Michael is adapting Limeys and Slimies for use with the club's large selection of 28mm pirate ships that we used last year.  

Michael has put a lot of work into his modifications to the rules to make them fit both the scale of our ships but also the club's play style. After doing some test runs of each of the different sections of the rules (ranged fire, grappling, boarding, morale) I can honestly say I think these are going to be a lot of fun to play. Michael and I have some additional work to do. Michael is going to make up a QRS for the rules and finalize some minor changes we came up with and I'm going to get working on some play aids on my laser as well as making up some additional ship kits for new members and some guests that will be coming this year.

If all goes well we hope to have a final play test in my garage this September.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Weekend - 2014

I've just returned from 'The Weekend'. This is an invitation-only weekend of gaming in Lancaster, PA run by Otto Schmidt. It's not as exclusive as it sounds, email Otto and he'll be happy to include you as one of his invited friends, that's how I got to attend last and this year.  'The Weekend' is a non-convention. I like to think of it as gaming with 50 of my best friends, all of whom I may not have known before I met them. There's a casual sitting area to shoot the bull, snacks, beverages, a free stuff table and a bring-and-buy table and oh yeah, a ton of great gaming. The games are primarily historical miniatures games with the occasional board game or sci-fi/zombie game tossed in for flavor. The historical periods run from ancients, which to my pleasure seem well represented, through WWII. There's no signing up for games and I was able to walk up and get in every game I wanted to play in.

The first game I played in was an epically large Siege of Alesia game using hundreds of beautiful 28mm figures and a fantastic set of terrain. My command was bloodied by the Gauls fairly well but all in all the Romans did fairly well. We ended up letting some Gauls out through one area of our siege walls giving them a minor victory. The major victory was getting to play in such a beautiful and well run game.

On Sunday morning I played in a 28mm Black Powder "Seven Years War" game. This was Prussians attacking a castle held by the "local inhabitants" with support from a relief force of Austrians and Saxons. Mike ran a great game and as you can see from the photos and video below, the scenery and scenario were very creative. I played in this one just for my friend Byron, who's an avid Seven Years War aficionado.  Byron, this one's for you :-) Watch the videos first for best effect.

As the Saxon and "Kandi Guard" commander I was somewhat overwhelmed bearing the duty of defending against the main Prussian thrust. My one Gingerbread Man Sepoy charge was repulsed by a fresh Prussian infantry regiment. The other Gingerbread Man Sepoy unit held nicely against repeated Prussian dragoon charges finally crumbling under the pressure (pun intended).

My Saxons did reasonably well but eventually started to show signs of wear from constant Prussian pressure. When the Prussian siege train deployed I lacked the resources to prevent it.  FYI, the scenery and the two special Gingerbread Man units were wonderfully whimsical, but in truth this was a great set piece 7YW battle and reinforced my affinity to the Black Powder rules for large games.

I'd like to thank Otto for organizing the event and all of the game masters who hosted games I had the pleasure to enjoy.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Wright Museum, Wolfeboro, NH

Saturday, with the help of fellow Northern Conspirator Chris I organized a club trip to the excellent Wright Museum in Wolfeboro, NH. This is a museum entirely dedicated to WWII, but not your normal museum containing only military artifacts. Over half of the museum's exhibits focus on the home front and New Hampshire resident's contributions to the war. Don't get me wrong, the museum has PLENTY of fantastic military items on display including a very significant fleet of vehicles, almost all of which are in running condition and are used for parades and celebrations state wide. The Stuart tank you see above is one of two in the collection, the other one is a 'runner'. Chris is a volunteer in the museum's motor pool and arranged for special access for our group which was amazing - thank you Chris!

In addition to visiting to enjoy the museum, the club's members made a significant donation to the museum last year in memory of our friend Leo Murphy. Much to our pleasure, the museum had mounted a plaque dedicated to Leo in their honor roll at the entrance to the museum. It is shown below.

Following are some of the best photos that I took of the trip. If you're in the lakes area of NH I strongly dedicating a few hours to visit this excellent museum.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Bolt Action - Expermential Large Battles Multi-Player Rules

Last Friday we got together at my uncle's house to play a game using some multi-player modifications we've been considering. Bolt Action is a fun game, but tends to slow down when you have more than two people playing, particularly when the unit counts start to climb. We're still working the rough edges out, but our idea is to use multiple bags of dice with each bag dedicated to a sector of the tabletop. Each sector is clearly defined on the tabletop by terrain features such as roads or rivers. Each sector has dice in it for the units in that sector. As units travel across sectors, their dice are moved to the appropriate dice bag. Shooting and close combat across sectors happens after the current die is resolved in the sector being shot or charged into.

The game was a re-play of a scenario that we've used before with a single dice bag. Everything seemed to work well and we played twice as many turns and everyone seemed to have twice as much fun.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

May 2014 Game Night

Last Friday was the Northern Conspiracy's May game night. I played in Charlies 28mm Napoleonic game which he ran with his own rules, Napoleon's Rules of War.  That's Charlie in the red shirt between my fellow Frenchman Greg and the British commander Mark D. Not pictured, the Spanish commander Ed, who played opposite my French forces. Those are his Spanish lights skirmishing with my leger in the photo below. Many of the troops for this game Charlie has completed painting recently and were very nice. I particularly liked the Spanish cavalry in their buff-yellow coats and bicornes.

The scenario was a recreation of the battle of Barossa in the peninsular campaign. The battle featured a significant wood which separated the Spanish and British forces and also split the French army. I played the command that historically intercepted the Spanish who promptly fired a 'volley for honor' and then left the field. I put a token force on that flank and concentrated the rest of my forces in the woods. The Spanish, unlike the historical battle. Dispatched my flank battalions with little trouble and then proceeded to crush my stronger holdings in the wood. Possibly I should have fired a 'volly for honor' and retired with my troops, who then at least would live to fight another day. On the other flank our grand battery did minimal damage to the British who played the role of the Spanish in the game and retreated out of artillery range. At the end of the battle the extreme left flank saw some token action with the British guards being pushed back by some French regulars, but the British regulars also pushed back some of the French battalions. This was mostly inconclusive as the Spanish thrashing of my force had already sealed the fate for the French and it was just a matter of time before we'd be forced from the field.

There were two other equally excellent games. The first was Phil's 15mm Regimental Fire & Fury game of the battle of Jericho Mill. I didn't catch the results of this game as I was pretty well engaged in my game while this one came to a conclusion.

The final battle was a 28mm Bolt Action game run by my uncle. This was an American attack on a German held town and rail station. The terrain was beautiful and included three of his buildings built from my laser-cut parts. Forgive me if I feature those a bit in the included photos below. This ended up being an American victory as they had success early and often assaulting the German held town significantly reducing the German forces there.

Additional photos can also be seen on the Northern Conspiracy Club website in the Photos section.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Misc. 28mm Terrain Pieces

This post has several smaller terrain items I've completed recently. On the left is a town or cemetery gate section. This is modeled roughly after one my uncle has in his collection. I've coveted it for years so when he asked me to make up another for him to match it I didn't hesitate since I wanted one for myself.

The gate is made from laser cut plywood with roofing tiles made from more of the vacuform plastic sheeting I've used on other projects. The surface texture is applied using textured faux-stone spray paint after careful masking of non-textured areas. After the texture paint drys I over-paint the desired color and dry brush to bring out the texture detail.

 This is a small bunker designed to hold three 28mm figures. This will accommodate a small team in Bolt Action, say a medium machine gun team, sniper or panzershreck team. Most 28mm standing figures will fit inside with the cover on as shown in the photo below. The vision slit is shoulder high perfect for figures with extended rifles, MGs, etc.

The piece is made from layers of 1/8" thick plywood cut on the laser and glued together intentionally misaligned to mimic multiple layers of poured concrete as some bunkers exhibit. I also plan to do one larger bunker with a retaining wall. That one I might sand smooth if the mood fits me.

This tall wooden fencing I purchased unpainted at the Huzzah! convention last weekend. It was originally three pieces of unpainted resin all the size of the longest piece. I cut two of the three pieces into two smaller pieces. I made all of them different sizes on purpose to hopefully be able to fill many roles. A couple of these pieces might even make it onto my farmstead terrain piece with my larger cottage and barn that I posted last Sunday.