Monday, May 31, 2010

Custom Laser Job and More Seleucids

This is a photo of some custom order markers I made for a customer. There are ten (10) of each of the numbered markers and fifteen (15) of the red markers. I'm not quite sure what rule system he's going to use them for, but he was very specific about what he wanted. Hopefully he'll be happy with them. They are made from 1/8" thick acrylic. The yellow markers I'm guessing will be some form of damage or casualty marker. They have laser-engraved numbers with black fill for high contrast per the customer's specifications. The yellow markers are 1/2"x1/2" with .02" chamfers on the corners to make them easy to handle.

This is the second pike block that I've purchased from Dragon Painting Service off of Ebay. Like the first one I purchased the figures were well painted but had terrible pikes made from rolled wire that was obviously straightened by the painters. Some of my pikes fell off in shipping, but that was more of a blessing than a curse since I removed the rest anyways to replace them with proper straight pikes made from 1/32" steel 'piano wire'. To go with these two blocks, I'm sending two more blocks worth of Xyston figures off to Kent at the 15mm Paint Shack  soon. Right now I'm cleaning the figures and making up another 64 pikes for them. I've been envying the wonderful job Kent has been doing for his other customers and I decided I'd stop living vicariously through them and get some of my own. There's another photo of these figures below.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Magnesia Second Play Test

My friend Mike and I had our second play test of our upcoming Magnesia game today. Helping us were our friends Don and Randy. With only four players pushing enough lead for eight commands things went more slowly than we expect them to go at the actual game, but we got some really good testing in. Don and Mike duked it out on one flank while Randy and I dueled on the other flank. On my flank Randy was able to destroy two of my skirmish units while I was able to turn one of his pike blocks with some lucky rolls with one of my legions. Mike's light cavalry gave Don's elephants some troubles but Don was able to rally the tantors before they left the field. Elsewhere on their flank Don and Mike crashed together with their heavy infantry and elephants with no clear winner declared within the time limit.

Mike and I are looking forward to hosting the game at next month's club game night. We both are very encouraged by the play test and think it will be a fun game. Below are 3 photos that form somewhat of a panoramic view of the in progress battle towards the end.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Hosting a Blue Max game at the Northern Conspiracy (2)

At the last minute tonight one of our club members had to cancel hosting his Aerodrome WWI air combat game due to having to work late. He asked if I could run my Blue Max WWI air combat plane it his place and I agreed to. Since I only had a few minutes to pack up the car and get on the road I opted for a plain Jane scenario. For the Germans, four Albatros DVa fighters and four Fokker Dr-I triplanes. For the Allies a force of mostly Sopwith aircraft: Camel, 1 1/2 Strutter and two Triplanes with a pair of Spad XIIIs and an Se5a escorting a DH.4.

When we started I only ended up with four players. The Germans chose to stick with just the Squadron of four Dr-I triplanes and the Allies chose the two Sopwith Triplanes and the two Spad XIIIs. Both sides jousted for a while with the Germans bringing their guns to bear first, but without a kill to show for it. As the game progressed the Allies started to draw blood, dropping a single Triplane followed by some additional jousting and then dropping two more tripes in rapid succession. With the final Fokker running for home the Allies ended up with a solid win. After the game the German players commented that a mixed group of two Dr-I tripes and two Albatros DVa fighters might have given them more options during the battle. For a quickly assembled game everyone seemed to have a good time.  More photos of this and the other game at tonight's game night can be found on our club's photo gallery.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Magnesia first 'Playtest'

My friends Mike and Michael came over last Friday evening for us to start working on our Magnesia scenario. We're planning on running a large-ish Field of Glory Magnesia game for our monthly wargaming club game night. We wanted a scenario that would be fairly close to the historical battle while still being manageable for 6-8 players.

Most of the evening we spent mustering our troops deciding on how many battle groups would be in each command. Toward the end Mike and Michael faced off by pressing a command each against each other in some simulated situations to see how they would work. We all ended up fairly satisfied with the outcome. This looks like it will shape up to a very nice game.

The core of the Roman army is four legions, two veterans, two allied all superior in quality with elite triarii. On their right flank is a command of Atillid Pergamene allies.  The photo above is the left most Roman legion. Below are photos of the rest of the Roman forces following left to right across the battle line.

The Seleucid army is centered around six solid pike phalanxes with an additional three battle groups of elephants. In addition to these they have a solid compliment of heavy and light cavalry, some galatian warband infantry and some thurophorori. The Seleucids outnumber the Romans heavily but have the burden of attack. Photos below are of the entire Seleucid force looking from their right to left. The yellow markers separate each player's command and were for our reference only.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Gimme Some Uke!

I've started a new blog called Gimme Some Uke!. It's a place where I can collect all of the Internet ukulele videos that I've somehow strangely developed an addiction to watching and listening to lately. There's some AWESOME music being played on these diminutive instruments, a lot of it by very talented amateur musicians. I've always been blown away by people who have musical talent since I have absolutely none. I can play the triangle out of tune!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Laser Engraved Products Now For Sale!

I'm happy to announce that I'm now offering some of the custom laser-engraved wargaming products I've shown here on my blog through my radio-controlled airplane business, Wright Brothers R/C. I'll be adding additional products over time, but for now I've listed several of the items I've shown here on my wargaming blog that people have inquired about purchasing. If you have an idea for a new laser-engraved wargaming product please feel free to contact me.

In addition to the products offered on the website, I can also laser cut wargaming bases and movement stands from a variety of materials: Acrylic, Balsa Wood, Baltic Birch Plywood and solid poplar or basswood up to 1/4" thick.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Spartacus - Blood and Sand

Something of a cross between the films '300' and 'Gladiator' with a touch of HBO's 'Rome' miniseries, Spartacus Blood and Sand is a Starz original series based on the Glatiator Spartacus and the slave revolt he incited that led to the Third Servile War.

The complete first season of this series is now available via 'On Demand' for those with a Starz subscription and cable TV service, or by renting or purchasing the DVDs or catching it on re-air using your DVR. I've been hearing about the series from friends and recently was able to watch it thanks to a new pay channel bundle that I've recently switched to on my cable TV service. For those with children, don't let them watch this series until you've watched a few episodes yourself to determine if you think it's appropriate. For those adults with a taste for the sexual desires of Roman society and the blood of the gladiatorial arena, I can recommend this series. It's wet my whistle to return to painting ancients figures and even for adding a gladiator unit to my Roman army. The acting is good, the sub plots intriguing and the sets and costumes are fantastic. My only complaint is that the stylized blood in a lot of the scenes in the early episodes is a bit too far 'over the top', but for those willing to overlook this small complaint it's a highly addictive and enjoyable series.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Field of Glory Status Markers (2)

Here is a close up photo of the complete set of Field of Glory status markers I'm making with my laser. I've procured yellow acrylic for the fragmented and severe disorder markers in order to allow for easy recognition of each level of disruption and/or disorder and their relative penalties. The markers are ordered in traffic signal color order from least severe to most severe: green-yellow-red. I will be offering these for sale soon from my website:

The set will include:
  • eight (8) green DISRUPTED markers
  • six (6) yellow FRAGMENTED markers
  • six (6) red BROKEN markers
  • six (6) green DISORDERED markers
  • four (4) yellow SEVERE DISORDER markers
All markers are made from 1/8" thick acrylic with engraved and color-filled lettering.

If you think a different quantity mix would be warranted now would be a great time to help me out with your suggestions!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

1813 Campaign Completed

This past Saturday we completed the final battle in the 1813 campaign that I've been running for the past few months. Our second session in the battle of Preuilly started as shown in the photo to the left with the French guard infantry supported by a couple divisions of provisional conscript infantry was pressing the allied southern flank while both armies were still waiting for two more corps each to arrive to the battle. In the far distance the allies pressed the French on the northern end of the battlefield.

As the battle proceeded the allied momentum from the first day of the battle continued to gain energy. As French divisions began to exhaust and collapse the tide of the battle turned. At the conclusion of the second full day of battle (game time not real time) Napoleon decided to withdraw from the battlefield and in turn to retreat back to France, ending the campaign. At dusk the battlefield positions were as pictured below. Additional photos taken throughout the second session of the game can be seen on the Northern Conspiracy's Club web gallery.

This was an interesting campaign. Both armies chose to mass their armies and settle things across two epic battles instead of manoeuvring smaller corps or wing sized formations along several routes in order to capture the enemy's supply cities. In the end the allied army was able to achieve a victory in the first large battle which gave them a decided advantage in the second. One interesting outcome is by losing the first battle the French commanders felt obligated to attack in the second battle - a task made more difficult by their disadvantage in numbers.

Both sides played well both on the tabletop and on the campaign map. I had a good time running the campaign and I would like to thank the players for 'rolling with the punches' whenever I made small mistakes in managing the campaign. Next up I'm looking forward to participating in a War of 1812 campaign my friend Mark is going to start up now that the 1813 campaign is done. Also some of my friends and I are working on a large Field of Glory scenario for the Battle of Magnesia.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Bemis Heights at Huzzah!

This past Saturday at the Huzzah! convention I ran a Carnage & Glory AWI game for the battle of Bemis Heights. Before I talk about the game, a quick AAR for the convention. I thought the Huzzah! staff did a great job for their first year running a convention. There were ample games, a Flames of War tournament, great variety of vendors and everything seemed well run. As a GM I was treated very well including my special request to be located near an electrical outlet. The hotel was right off the Interstate making it easy to get to even for those unfamiliar with the area and the facilities were well lit and clean. I will probably take advantage of the hotel next year in order to stay for an additional day.

Having run this scenario two other times, this game benefited from the tuning that resulted from lessons learned during the previous two games. In order to help reduce what previously had been the overwhelming power of the historical British artillery, this version of the battle had one of the British batteries left behind in the camp, and one of the remaining three batteries reduced to a single section instead of two. This small change seemed to have good effect on the game, which was a see-saw affair throughout the early and middle game as both armies held the initiative at one point or another.

The Americans had a clever plan which looked like it was going to work well. The arriving American reinforcements entered the field in column of route (aka march column) and double timed it to the British right flank in hopes of overwhelming them there while Morgan and Dearborn's light troops demonstrated against the opposite flank in hopes of pinning as many of the King's troops there as possible. In the middle the initial American forces sparred well against the British Lights and detachments pushing them back but ultimately failing to break them due to the excellent leadership of the Burgoyne and the other British field officers.

Just when the Americans were about to overwhelm the British left flank the British grenadiers arrived and fired several devastating volleys in successive turns, routing one American battalion and putting another in such a state of disarray that when the British grenadiers charged, it was a  complete rout, the Grenadiers pursuing deep into the American's lines. Elsewhere on the pressured flank the Hessians were able to hold the flank with a battered infantry unit while the Americans did manage to capture one section of British howitzers. Unfortunately for the Americans it was a bit to little and a bit too late. Their army morale had broken and units started to leave the field.

The computer ruled this a major British victory and at the end of the battle I agree. The sharp use of the British Grenadiers in reserve turned the battle for the British. To only look at the end result doesn't give a complete picture of how close the battle actually was. Until the decisive volleys and charge from the British grenadiers, the Americans had actually held the army initiative and were winning the battle. There were several British units throughout the battle that teetered on the edge of collapse but were rescued and reformed by judicious use of the British officers. Both sides fought very well and I had a great group of players. Usually I give away a prize to each side for the best sportsman, but because every player was an excellent sport I let each side vote on the best player on each side for the prize. Now that I have this scenario well tuned I think the next time I will run it will be this fall for the Carnage Centuries of Conflict event which will feature 18th century games at its theme this year.