Thursday, July 30, 2009

British Grenadier! at Historicon

My good friend Byron took a bunch of wonderful photos at Historicon and sent them to me to include on the Northern Conspiracy's photo gallery pages. When Byron stopped by the British Grenadier! game I was playing I asked him to snap a couple extra shots so I could use them here on my Blog. My thanks to him for taking these great photos.

The game I played was a 25mm battle of Bunker Hill game hosted by our southern neighbours, the Boston Trained Bands wargaming club based in Malden, MA. Richard Claydon and his assistant GMs from the Trained Bands were excellent hosts and ran a very good game with beautiful terrain. To facilitate quick learning of the rules, and a fast-paced game some of the British Grenadier rules were used in a modified form. The most major change I noticed was the players were allowed to move their units as they liked instead of having to issue and adhere to written orders. This sped up play and made for a fun convention game. The other major change was to allow casualties to take effect immediately rather than waiting for 3 levels of disorder. This helped the game come to a conclusion in the time allotted.

My opinion? I liked a lot of things about British Grenadier! The rules definitely have an 'old school' feel in some ways, but also have some modern components. Played 'by the book' home in a club environment, rather than a convention environment, I think they'll be quite fun for smaller battles where the difference in morale and quality of the two armies is as important as the size of the forces. British Grenadier! has the unique quality that it can be used for battles where smaller forces of British Regulars took on large forces of American rebel militia.

I purchased the rules and both scenario books. The scenario books are quite informative and the scenarios run the gamut from small to large battles both in the north and the south. Even if you're not going to play all of the scenarios in them they still seem quite a good value for the money. I'm looking forward to playing some of my own British Grenadier! games in our club as well as meeting up with the Boston Trained Bands for some future games.

More of Byron's photos of this game can be found on the Northern Conspiracy galleries. Richard Claydon has also posted some more photos of the same game over on the British Grenadier forums on the General de Brigade site. Also of interest to at least one of my subscribers are photos Byron took of a First Carlist War game that his good friend Mark Stevens ran at Historicon.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Blue Max game at Historicon '09

My friend Rich Oster (on the left) and I have been friends and fellow Blue Max fanatics since meeting at Historicon about a decade and a half ago. Since Rich lives in Ohio and I live in New Hampshire we only get together at the Historicon conventions. This year Rich wanted to get his Gotha on the wargaming table and we joined forces to put on a huge Blue Max game for the occasion!

I was involved in the original conversion of the Blue Max Board game into the first edition of the Blue Max Miniatures rules. Phil Hall was very generous to give me co-authoring credit for my work on the project but truthfully all of the hard work was done when he originally created the excellent board game. Since that time I've continued to play Blue Max, but Rich has continued to follow Phil Hall's improved rule set which Phil has developed with Eric Hotz. The new rules, now called Canvas Eagles, are available for FREE, including all game aids and aircraft charts on Phil and Eric's excellent site The current version includes many improvements to the original system as well as much improved artwork on all of the airplane charts. Everything you need to play is provided in printable PDF format. Rich and I ran our game with the new Canvas Eagles rule system which all of the players, only a few of which had ever played Blue Max or Canvas Eagles, were able to learn quickly.

The game was surprisingly bloodless for a three-hour fur ball of over 20 planes in the air. We had one early 'Golden Bebe' shot as one German pilot pulled a 'pilot killed' chit, but for many turns both sides jousted only causing minor damage until late in the game when each side lost an additional fighter. With the Gotha successfully dropping it's bombs on the Allied airfield and the Germans only suffering two fighters lost the game was declared a minor German victory. I'd like to thank Rich for running the game with me and also I'd like to thank all of our players who approached the game in a fun and very sportsmanlike manner. At conventions you meet all types of gamers and this was a great group of new friends I hope to game with again in the future. Additional photos are available on the Northern Conspiracy events photo gallery page.

I also got to play my first game of the "British Grenadier" AWI rules and enjoyed it enough that I picked up a copy of the rules and the scenario books. My friend Byron took some photos of the game while I was playing and when I get copies of them later I'll probably make another blog entry about the game and my impression of the rules.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Off to Historicon 2009

I'm off to Historicon again this year! I promise to bring my camera and take photos for the blog. Also I'm co-hosting a game this year with my good friend Rich Oster from Ohio. Rich and I are running Event S-410 on Saturday at 7pm. Here is the event description from the PEL:

S-410 - Blue Max Flying Circus
Sat. 7 PM, 3 hrs, 10 players
GM: Richard Oster with Alan Wright and TWA
WWI 1:72, Rules: Canvas Eagles (Blue Max varient)

Come fly with the infamous Richtofen's flying circus escorting a Gotha Bomber (yes a Gotha in 1/72 scale). Richthofen's flying circus has been
ordered to excort a Gotha bomber to its target. Fly with Manfred and Lothar Richthofen,Ernst Udet and even Bruno Stockel from the movie The
Blue Max. If you prefer the good guys fly Eddie Richenbackers' Spad XIII with the allied powers to stop tyrany.
Come play in our game, or just stop by and say hello.

Just a quick update on why you haven't seen a lot of new painted figures on the blog lately. Recently I suffered some water damage in my hobby room due to a leaking clothes washing machine. I've spent the past two months repairing and remodeling the room. The work is finished and hobbies have resumed. Both will be the subjects of posts after I return from Historicon. See you all there!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Second Field of Glory Game - Part 2

To kick off the holiday weekend we all returned to my friend Mike's house on Thursday to finish up the second Field of Glory game in our Second Punic Wars campaign. This photo was taken by Mike and so see the rest of the gallery you can visit Mike's Picassa page.

In this second session I continued to try to stem the flow of Carthaginian lights in the woods on our left flank, but Leo (playing for the other side in this game) continued to dominate my Velites eventually routing all four units. To shore up the flank my partner and CinC of the Roman army, Mike brought in some Legionaires to defend the ground outside the woods while I clung percariously to the hill to the west of the woods. During this prolonged delaying action Mike was finally able to press home the attack in our center and right with our legions. Although it was a touch-an-go situation for many turns, eventually Mike was able to defeat the Spanish on the right flank and then isolated, the Gauls also gave way. After these areas were in control Mike was able to turn several battle groups to our faltering flank and rescue me from my almost certain defeat.

In the end Mike's play saved the Roman army and won the field of battle in a narrow victory over the invading Carthaginians.