Sunday, December 30, 2012

Another Year, and What Have We Done?

I got a lot started this year, but not a lot finished.  :)

I decided I was never going to paint enough Seven Years War for Black Powder by myself, so I sold the ones I had to my brother.  He is now trying to duplicate my paint job.  Good with that, bro.

I did do some small scratch building projects.  I made about 8 feet of fences to give to Jaye.  Our group games at Jaye's house, so I wanted to contribute something.

I made a couple of small hills.  I started work on some GHQ hex terrain.  I need to do more, but I have a good start on it.

I did get interested in Bob Cordery's Portable Wargame Project.  I have started some WWII figures for those rules, and made a board for it.  The rules use a board marked off in squares.  It will certainly reduce questions about whether something is in range.

I have almost finished 2 units for Gaslight.  I got some Russo-Japanese War figures from Outpost.  They are Russian infantry.  I decided to black prime these instead of my normal white priming.  Much quicker to paint, and less strain on the eyes.

I did pick up an Optivisor this year, at the suggestion of Phil, the owner of the local hobby shop.  (Tabletop Games)  I am very glad I did.  It made it possible to paint again.

I decided to make some wargaming goals for the new year.

1)  Make a contingent for Gaslight, consisting of 3 infantry units, a steam tank and a walker.
2)  Run at least one game this year at the regular Thursday night gaming session
3)  Finish up a 15mm science fiction army for Gruntz.

I hope to do more, but I want to set goals I can reach given the health problems.

Keep on gaming!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

40mm Sort of Seven Years War

I recently won an ebay auction that was 2 Prince August 40mm molds, an officer and an infantryman.  I then went a little crazy, and got 2 more molds from Prince August in Ireland.  They are very easy to order from, and ship quickly.

I became interested in this from reading posts about the Not Quite The Seven Years War project of the HAWKS club.  I had always wanted to game using the Charge! rules, and I loved the look of the 40mm partially round figures.

I had my first casting session today.  It went pretty well.  The two molds I had gotten off ebay cast the best.  They had been used before, the seller said he had cast the molds and painted figures for a client.  They were not vented, but still cast well.  I had bought in addition bought 2 molds that were double molds.  They had an NCO, a drummer, a grenadier and a standard bearer.

I got 6 of the basic infantrymen, 3 grenadiers, 4 officers, one standard bearer, one drummer and 2 NCOs.  I will probably only keep the best two officers and melt the others.  That mold casts well, and I don't need that many officers right now.  I plan on casting on a regular basis.  I am casting outside, and I don't think it will work too well when it gets cold.

All in all, a good afternoon.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Little bit of everything

Well, its obvious.  As a blogger, I suck.  :)  Long time since my last post, and a lot of changed directions.

I have been working on a French fleet for Dystopian Wars.  I bought the starter box, and then some more ships.  So far I have finished the 9 small ships, and work is progressing well on 3 destroyers, 3 cruisers, and the pocket battleship.  I am not sure where the other people in my group are in this process. 

I started painting some 15mm Franco-Prussian war figures, intending to do an Imaginations project using The Portable Wargame.

I got small units for each side done, but in 15mm they look quite similar from a distance.  I am not sure how I feel about this.  The figures are not exactly painted for FP war, its my own take on this.  I may end up using a much lighter blue for the French to make them easily distinguishable on the table.

The last project comes from my long interest in the old Charge! rules.  About the time started reading about the Not Quite the Seven Years War project that the HAWKS wargame club has been doing for a while.

I liked the idea of the 40mm figures, and I managed to get two Prince August molds of an officer and a soldier off of ebay.  I then went a little crazy and ordered more molds from Prince August in Ireland, metal from a company in  California that gave free shipping with orders over $100, and am scrounging for a suitable pot for melting the metal.  I plan on initially using a burner that is on my gas grill, but may buy a melting pot made for casting bullets later.

So, as usual I am involved in more stuff than I really have time for.  This is in addition to a bad World of Tanks habit with my brother and my nephew. 

Gotta get better at posting...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Letter of Marque and Reprisal

I recently came across this set of rules.  Letter of Marque and Reprisal is intended for small ship actions with miniatures.


They don't seem to have too much done to them lately, but they look like a really good rule system for pirate battles, smaller naval sailing ships, etc.  The movement system is run by card decks you construct each turn based on the speed you are going.  You get a certain number of sailing cards based on your speed.  You intersperse these with various special command cards. 

Once you decide an order of initiative in the turn, then each player in turn plays a card.  If its a plain sailing card, you move a specified distance, and you must move that distance.  If its a command card, you attempt to do the command.  You have to roll against officer abilities to do the command.  All turns, for example, are handled this way.  It requires some thought and planning to construct the deck so you can perform actions when you need to.

Firing is done whenever you bear.  The reloading sequence is pretty interesting.  You have a reloading track on your battery.  When you fire, you reset the reloading track to zero.  Each time ANYONE play a sailing card, you advance on your loading track.  Smaller guns have a shorter track, but use smaller dice in combat. 

I have some 1/450th ship from Peter Pig I bought years ago.  I am planning on finishing them and trying these out.

These rules deserve playing.  The earliest entry in the guestbook is 2006.  Aside from what is clearly some kind of spam this year, no comments have been made since 2010.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Alien War - Continued

Alien War – Continued 

This is the second post about the new rules Alien War, available at Defiance games.


Alien War weapons are rated for range, impact, and how many dice you get for firing while moving or standing still.  Support weapons are counted as suppressive weapons, which means they count double for determining if the target it pinned down.

If the number of shots fired (dice thrown) equals or is larger than the number of figures in the target area, there is a chance for the target to be pinned down.  This has nothing to do with how many casualties are caused, its simply the weight of fire.  I like this feature of the game.

To determine how many of the shots are hits, you cross reference the shooter quality with the target type.  This gives a number from 1 to 5.  You need that number or less on a 6 sided die to hit. 

You then divide up the hits on the target figures, and go to the “cheating death” table.  This was a bit confusing at first, because I think there is a bit of left over text from a previous version.  The process is to subtract the impact of the weapon from the armor of the target.  This gives you a column on the table you roll against.  That column is shifted right or left depending on factors like troop quality, sniper fire, and artillery fire.  The range of results is out of action, wounded, ok and retaliate.  This is essentially a saving roll.  I am not a big fan of saving rolls, but it looks like it will work.  There aren’t a  ton of factors, so it shouldn’t bog down the game much.  The retaliate result is the target immediately shooting back at the firing figure.  You only retaliate once each time you are targeted.

If you get a wounded or out of action result, you roll on another table to determine how serious it is.  You may return to the battle or the other end of the spectrum is gory death.  Wounds can be treated by medics. 

Again, I am not a huge fan of including battlefield casualty treatment in a wargame (damnit Bones, I am a combat officer, not a doctor) but these rules are pretty straightforward, and there are good reasons for treating casualties. 

There are special weapons like grenades.  There are also flame throwers, limited to 3 shots per game.  Getting hit while carrying a flame thrower means you risk a fiery death. 

I like that the chance of being pinned is not directly tied to casualties.  Its more a function of the weight of fire you are taking.  The different charts you use in the casualty process are easy to understand.  The modifiers are column shifts as opposed to a lot of numbers to keep track of.  I am going to be really interested in seeing how this plays.

Close combat, because of the sequencing of moves by element, allows you to fire support weapons at the target the same turn you assault.  You do have to pass a test against the highest rank combat value before you charge.   You perform any fire you wish with other elements, and the defender tests as normal from that fire.  There is a reaction test against the CV of the defending side.  If they fail, they cannot fire and run to defensible cover.  If they fail by 3+ die points, they run and end up facing away.

Close combat is a firefight at close quarters.  The number of dice you roll is increased, unless you are weapons crews, flamethrowers, etc fighting with pistols at close range.  You figure up the casualties as normal. 

There are points you figure out from the combat, and you are trying to double the opponent to determine the winner. 

My third post for this rules set will be after we play the game.   I am looking forward to it.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Picking Apart Alien War


This is not picking it apart to see if its broken, but picking it apart to see how it works.  I am planning on running an Alien War game in about 3 weeks.  I wanted to break it down so that I understand it before I run the game.  This is as opposed to my “I can learn the rules while I explain it” method of learning.

I plan on doing this in a couple of parts, or maybe three depending on how long it gets.

First, the scale is one figure equals one man or vehicle.  Currently there are not vehicle rules, but this is a beta and it says vehicle rules are coming.

The game appears designed for play with a squad (6-15 models) up to a platoon (40 to 100 models or more). 

While the basic unit is the squad, that can be subdivided, and the rules intend for you to do that.  You can, on an ad hoc basis, form elements, or fire teams.  Your squad may be moving forward, and need to drop off a heavy weapon with a gunner and a loader.  As soon as they are more than 3” from the rest of the unit, they are their own element.  Single figures such as snipers and medics can act as their own element.  You can form or disperse elements as you see fit.  It’s a two-edged sword, as it gives flexibility but can result in not activating in some circumstances.

Information you need to keep track of for a figure is their grade (Green, Experienced or Veteran) and their rank.  The grade will determine their CV, or Combat Value.  You also need to know what they are armed with and if they have armor.  Each squad will have a grade also, either Professional or Grade 2 ( militia, bandits, etc.)

While mention is made of both medics and comm techs, the basic squads shown in the rules do not include them.  I assume they will show up in the platoon organizations later.  I suppose one member of a squad could be assigned as a medic as a collateral duty to the fighting.

The weaponry is pretty generic.  You won’t find long listings of made up weapon names.  An assault rifle is an assault rifle.  Weapons are rated for range and impact.  Armor has a rating from 1-7.

Each turn you roll to activate your force.  I assume this means each side rolls.  I am checking with the author to see if he means that or if it means each command on a side rolls.  The order of activation is decided once, at the beginning of the game.

You roll a D6.  For professional troops with linked communications (think satellite) on a 1-3 you can perform 2 actions with all elements in your command.  On a 4-5 any element led by a level 1 or higher (Corporal) may perform 2 actions.  On a 6, you roll on the “What the ?!?” table.  You can perform the same action twice if you want. 

Rolling a 6 causes some things to happen.  First, your comms drop one level.  This will make activation harder in the future.  You check to see if your wounded models die.  One element in your force may perform one action.  You also roll on a table that tells you what table to roll on for a random chance.  Some are good, some are bad. 

So you go from most or all of your squad activating, to 1 element activating.  This happens 1/6th of the time.  I will play it that way, but I am thinking it may really slow down the game.

In addition to moving and firing, you can set up overwatch (no mention made of how large an area) , take up a counterattack pose (you can charge enemy that appear from cover), set up an heavy  weapon, or do almost anything your GM comes up with.

Movement is creeping, walking and running.  You generally can fire while creeping or walking.  Difficult terrain is half speed movement.

Next up is firing.  I will do that in a separate post.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Can I turn over a new leaf?

I have been really bad about this blog.  So, either post or close it down!

What have I been doing lately?  I decided that my Seven Years War project was just too much to take on.  I sold my figures to my brother.  He and a friend are having the figures painted by a Sri Lankan service.  They will get done, which was not happening with me.

I bought a French naval starter box for Dystopian Wars.  Several people in my group are painting these, so we should  be able to start playing soon.  My box did not have the masts for the larger ships, so I emailed Spartan games and they are mailing them to me.

I also am looking at 15mm AWI figures.  I can paint those much more quickly than the 28mm 7YW figures, also I am not doing them for Black Powder, so I will be doing smaller units.

I downloaded a new set of science fiction rules, called Alien Wars.  They are written by Howard Whitehouse, whom I met many years ago when he came to a wargames convention I was helping run.  They are published by Defiance Games.  They can be downloaded here.

I only have read them, but I like some of the concepts.  One problem I have with a lot of sci fi skirmish rules is that you have to keep all figures in a squad within a certain distance of each other.  In Alien Wars, you can break up your squads into fireteams.  The fireteams have to stay together, but this is ad hoc.  You can combine and divide fireteams as you want. 

It has an effect on unit activation, and if you have a coms problem you may need to move back together to activate your units fully.

But it lets you have a sniper or heavy weapon set up, and then have the rest of the fireteam move on to a different position.

I am still not certain I understand all about the combat system, it seems at first look a little complex.  Having wargamed for over 30 years, I do know that if you like a set of rules, it quickly becomes second nature to do combat.  (maybe except for Empire III)

Ok, all for now.  I will be trying to get stuff painted and pictures put up.  Otherwise, I might have to resort to political rants or somesuch to fill this thing.

Saturday, March 31, 2012


I decided I needed a quick project.  I had acquired a new tool sometime, the Chopper from NWSL.
This little device device made cutting small pieces of wood a snap.  Along with my Dremel it made this task much easier.
I had tried to make some fences before, but they were not strong enough.  I decided to use 1/4 inch mdf for the bases, and drill holes for the fence posts.  I used small sticks of wood I bought in a pack from Michael's to make the posts, and flat sticks for the fence rails.

This picture is of one of the bases I cut, plus the fence rail sticks.  The bases were cut on a table saw.  Then I used my Dremel to bevel the edges of the bases, and a drill to make holes.

I used the Dremel to also round off the bottoms of the posts so they would fit in the holes.  I could have used  round posts, but I wanted the maximum surface area to glue the rails to the poles.

I used epoxy to glue the rails to the fence posts, and left them to dry.

I then sprayed the assembled fence brown.

After that I drybrushed them with a light gray.

I then glued Woodland Scenics Coarse Ballast to the base, and painted it green.

That was drybrushed with a light tan and some small foliage clumps added.

I made 20 sections, each 4 inches long for 80 inches of fence.

Here it is with a Prussian battalion lined up behind it.

Reasonably successful, and a nice little project.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Catching up

Ok, so maybe I haven't been very good about blogging.  I tend to think I shouldn't write unless I finish something, but then I don't write forever.

Actually, I have finished some things.  I based up another unit of 24 Prussian infantry for the Seven Years War.  I am almost done with 2 Prussian guns, same period.  I am doing a unit of cuirassier, which I started as a unit of 8.  I hate painting horses.  When I started looking at them, they looked too anemic.  I am going to do 4 more and make the cav units 12 figures.  That will look a bit more solid.  I am planning on playing Black Powder, so it doesn't matter what the size is, but it should look right.

I cleaned up and primed 24 Austrian infantry and 2 guns with gunners.  I also bought about $250 more figures from Front Rank.  That should keep me occupied for awhile.

I have been trying to concentrate on Seven Years War, but one does need a silly project to do.  I found some really retro looking little plastic spaceships at the local World Market, and bought some.  I am going to do a game based on Blue Max.  It will be hex based, and involve simultaneous movement.  I am sure it will be most entertaining (and realistic) science fiction game ever designed.  At least until my brother the astrophysicist plays it and lets me know how it goofy it all is.

I am headed to my friend Larry's house the end of May.  He lives in South Dakota, and does a gaming weekend every year that we call Larrycon.  My brother and another old gaming buddy will be there, so I will take the spaceship game and make them play at midnight when they are stupid tired from gaming all day.  Hey, we are all in our 50s and 60s and can't game for 3 days straight like we used to.

For those wives of young gamers who think this is just a fad that they will outgrow, don't count on it.  I am 59 and have been wargaming since I was 17.  I did stop for about 3 years, but got back into it last year.

I will start typing this drivel on a regular basis, and see if my hit count goes.  It could happen!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Optivisor - Love it

My wonderful wife gave me a gift card for Christmasa to my local wargame store (Tabletop Games and Hobbies - great store). I knew she was going to do this, so a few days before Christmas I went down there to scout around for what I might get.

I had seen Optivisors in advertisements for years.  The store had some, and I asked the Phil (the owner) if it really worked.  His answer was that it gave his hobby back to him.  His eyesight had gotten bad enough that he was getting very frustrated trying to see what he was painting.  He said it allowed him to easily see the figures well enough to paint.

They come in 4 different focal lengths, and he had me hold a figure and brush at the distance I would be comfortable painting.  He then measured that distance, and recommended the 14" focal length model.  He was quick to tell me to keep the packaging, because if I needed a different one he could swap it out.

If it sounds like we have a really great local wargame store, with a really good proprietor, you would be right.

So I get home, and tell my wife about this and that I would be heading to the store the day after Christmas to get it.  She gets the gift card and tells me we are going to get it now.  :)  (Have I mentioned that I have one of the most wonderful women in the world for my wife?)

The optivisor was all that Phil said and more.  Its simple, it has an adjustable band that holds it on your head, even my unusually large long oval head.  You wear your glasses with it, it doesn't make any difference.  I have a lighted magnifying glass on an adjustable stand, but I couldn't use it.  It seemed to flatten everything out and I had trouble controlling the brush.  The optivisor is binocular, so you see in 3 dimensions.  It works incredibly well.  I have been able to paint more in the last 2 weeks than I did in the past 4 months.

I really recommend this product for anyone who is having trouble with close work.  Its probably the best $50 I ever spent on the hobby.