Wednesday, June 20, 2012

F&IW scenario for Recruits XX

After some considerable deliberation, I have decided to present a scenario representing The Battle of Quebec, fought on the Plains of Abraham to the west of the fortified city, on September 13, 1759. Our little reenactment at Recruits XX will take place on the 253rd anniversary of the battle, nearly to the day.

The Battle of Quebec was an atypical engagement of the Seven Years' War in North America in that it featured mainly European troops blazing away at each other in the stylized musket lines more typically seen on European battlefields. For some background on the battle, you can look here:
Battle of Quebec. No apologies for the Pro-British stance of the article; they won, after all.

The "pro" of this decision is that I don't have to build any new terrain. The "con" is that I have somewhat close to 140 54mm British and French regulars that need two coats of hand-applied varnish before they will be ready to take their places in the musket lines! Deadlines make things happen : )

Hope to see you at Recruits XX in the Fall!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Project List

As promised in an earlier post, following is the list of projects that I have undertaken, prioritized in the order of my favorite historical or fantasy genres, using the premises developed and described in my previous post.

Helpful Hint: Please read my previous post as the introduction to this list.

The Baron lately wrote about games he felt defined him, many of which he played as a youth. I didn't play RPGs or miniatures games in my youth, so I wasn't relating to his post. And then it dawned on me that my obsession with hexes, and using boardgames as foundations for miniatures games, is most likely directly descended from the board wargaming I did during my middle- and high-school years! A friend of my dad gave me 4 used Avalon Hill games the summer before my 8th grade year and I can't tell you how many times I played my two favorites, Afrika Korps and Battle of the Bulge. I discovered SPI shortly thereafter. I was a model and diorama builder as a kid, and somehow also knew that people gamed with their models. I owned and pored over the D&D Mass Battle Rules, Chivalry & Sorcery, the Hinchcliffe Barsoomian Battle and Roleplaying Manuals, Angriff! and actually painted some Miniatures for Starguard!, but I never played a miniatures game until I "came back" to wargaming after discovering DBA in the early nineties.

What has this to do with my project list? I made the decision about 4 years ago to focus on 4 major game projects - beyond the "space" I had carved out for HOTT (actually Great Hordes! which I consider HOTT with extras) - all of which were based on boardgames that used the hexagon to regulate game play. Thanks to The Baron I now know why - the "why" can always be traced to one's childhood : )

So without further ado:

1) Ancients: Macedonian and Punic Wars

The Punic Wars is hands-down my favorite historical period. I would be happily gaming away in this period with Great Hordes! in 28mm except that you can't represent the Republican Roman manipular formations without some nod to attrition in the rules, and I couldn't find 28mm Romans that I liked. Not figures that weren't "right" or "good," but that I LIKED. When Xyston finally got around to Romans in 15mm that I LIKED, that led me to revisit 15mm as a scale of "epic grandeur."

And then I found the board game Command and Colors: Ancients from GMT Games. Simple, but not simplistic, with an elegance of play akin to DBA with the added concepts of attrition and skirmishers that "shoot."
Troop types give good period flavor, and BIG multi-player battles play FAST. Although, Command and Colors: Ancients does not currently properly represent (subjective rant will appear in subsequent post) Roman manipular tactics, the game system is robust enough to suffer the "appropriate tinkerings." I reluctantly traded the pips of DBA for the cards of Command and Colors: Ancients.

Could I finally commit to scale? As much as I like 28mm miniatures, they just don't feel as "epic" as masses of 15s, even when using masses of 28s. I can't personally go smaller than 15s; there just isn't enough interesting detail in Ancients to make painting anything smaller worthwhile. When Xyston finally released Romans I LIKED, I jumped into the period again because Xyston is a great range with all of the Ancients armies I want.

Next I had to commit to basing. Agony. I tried various combinations of base sizes and numbers of figures on all several different sizes of hexes, but I eventually decided on standard DBA basing on the 4" Hexon terrain I already own. Kallistra's Hexon terrain allows the miniature battlefield to be modeled in a realistic, dimensional manner. I am doubling the infantry stands (2 stands = one block) for more mass and may re-base the cavalry so they have more mass, too, but the standard basing will allow me to play with other people's toys, and to play DBA or even DBMM if I am ever so inclined. This is a photo (teaser!) of 5 15mm Carthaginian units (2 infantry stands per block) with the Romans (also 5 units worth) in their manipular formation opposing:

Possible scheme for Cavalry on the right; standard on the left: 

I am finally satisfied enough to commit so I can start gaming my favorite period again.

My only completed Ancients army is this Carthaginian army, consisting mainly of Essex miniatures, that I originally painted and based for DBM. It has seen many a DBM and Great Hordes! game, as well as allowing its Punic, Numidian, Gallic and Spanish elements to be used as separate DBA armies. At some point I plan to replace it with Xyston miniatures, but the next army on the painting table in this project will be Roman! Until then, here are the Carthos, with a few extras for "morphing."

The Generals:

Punic Cavalry:

Sacred Band and Libyan Spear:

Numidian Light Horse:

Libyan and Numidian Psiloi:


Heavy Chariots and Artillery:


 Iberian Light Horse:

Iberian Psiloi:

Iberian Scutarii: 

Gallic Psiloi: 

Gallic Warbands: 

Gallic Cavalry: 

Gallic Light Chariots and Horse: 

2) French and Indian War

This project began as an adaption of the boardgame Hold the Line from Worthington Games. I thought if I used the John Jenkins 54mm figures and these simple rules I coud get this project up and running quickly. The figures were the right idea, but I wasn't happy with the representation of the wooded terrain I was getting with the hexes. Instead I opted for more traditional geomorphic terrain squares and rules that provided more period flavor: This Very Ground. I also have the flexibility to play at a more man-to-man skirmish scale. You can see more of this project in my earlier posts.

3) World War Two: North Africa

The plan is to use Tide of Iron from Fantasy Flight Games with an amended battalion level order system, perhaps similar to Spearhead. Or I might just play Spearhead. Scale is 1/285; Miniatures are all GHQ MicroArmor. The Baron did some initial painting of armor for me, to which I will add detail, weathering and then base. Lots of infantry need painting, too. Terrain will either be Hexon or GHQ Terrainmaker hexes. Photos will come when something gets completed. . .

4) Crimson Skies

This was to be my nod to skirmish gaming. No adaptations here; just the straight-up oop board game from FASA and the miniatures from Ironwind Metals (originally Ral Partha) played on Hotz Artwork mats. You can get into the game with just 2 model airplanes. We played a lot of this in Tulsa and had a lot of fun with the "roleplay lite" aspects of the alternate history. I plan to post a lot more on this project, nostalgic happenings and new, in the future.

Additional Projects. . .
Of course I have more projects I want to do . . . and for which I have collected miniatures, terrain and assorted rulesets. For the following I am currently contemplating either playing Great Hordes! or some set of skirmish rules to be determined after more research:

Ancients: Classical Greece through the Roman Principate

Samurai: Ge Koku Jo / Fantasy

Conquistadors / Aztecs

Norman Conquest: England and Italy/Sicily

Dark Age Fantasy; “Broken Sword” theme per Poul Anderson

World War Two North Africa / Italy

Barsoom (This will definitely be skirmish scale)

StarSoldier (A pet project with extreme science-fiction aspects, not just beefed up moderns)

Whew. I probably won't post much more Blah Blah Blah this summer. I got some F&IW stuff to get done to do Recruits XX justice. I'll post as I get stuff done, though.

See ya!