Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fort McHenry - Birthplace of the US National Anthem

Francis Scott Key wrote the poem that would become our national anthem while sequestered on a ship in the Baltimore harbor during a British attack on the Fort McHenry and the city of Baltimore in 1814 as part of the war of 1812. We visited the fort, which is now a National Park, during our recent vacation to Baltimore and Washington DC. Although I was aware of the fort's significance during the war of 1812 and was aware that it was an active post during the Civil War, one thing I learned during my visit was that the fort was also used as a hospital during the first world war.

The pentagonal Vauban fort is impeccably preserved, and while we were there we were given additional information on the forts original smooth bore  Rodman guns (the largest of which were installed in 1868 after the civil war) and carriages by one of the many park rangers who make themselves available on the fort grounds, even in the 90+ degree heat that was present during our visit. I visit a lot of National Park battlefields and this is definitely one I would recommend. They're also currently building a new visitor's center which will be very nice.  Also of interest to us wargamers is a lovely 6mm diorama of the fort in the current visitors center. I hope they preserve it and bring it over to the new center.

If you're visiting either Baltimore or Washington DC, I'd put fort McHenry on your must do list.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Off on Holiday

Just a quick note that I'm off on holiday for 12 days or so. No updates on the blog while I'm gone, but I will bring some figures with me to work on. Perhaps a post when I return.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


My friend Mike and I ran our Magnesia Field of Glory (FOG) scenario last night at our monthly club game night event. Although the game was designed for eight players, because of the nice summer weather game night attendence was low and we only ended up with five players. Mike stepped in as a sixth player and he and one of our play testers, Michael each took two commands since they were the most experienced players.

The game went well, although since we were short handed we didn't get to play as many turns as we had hoped. A FOG game of this size without all players being experienced with the rules might be better played during one of our game days where we have an extended session to allow for the extra time we need. We did get six turns played with some significant outcomes. On the far flank Michael and Mike sparred with the Michael, playing the Romans getting the better of the scrums routing two of Mike's units while only losing a single light cavalry unit of his own. On that flank the Roman gains put them in a position to continue to press that flank well.  In the center the scythed chariots killed some legionaries but the Romans held firm thanks to good cohesion test rolls by their commander Bob. On the near flank the Romans held up the advance of the Seleucid pike blocks by holding firm against numerous light horse charges with a single battle group of Velites! Also in this area the single battle group of Roman poor elephants defeated one Seleucid Cataphrac unit while another was routed by the Roman legions in the battle line thanks to the disorder caused by the nearby elephants.

We called the game with the Seleucid army having four units routed or destroyed while the Roman army had lost only a single unit. Given some more time the battle could easily have turned either way. Hopefully we'll get a change to play this game again in the future at a time where we have a longer session available. In the meantime we'll be playing more FOG and hopefully getting more players up to speed on the rules. Our next FOG endeavor looks like it's shaping up to be a First Punic War campaign, complete with naval battles.

More photos from the game can be found below, and on the Northern Conspiracy Photo pages.

Left: the Seleucid commanders, Ed, Phil and Mike.  Right: the Roman commanders, Michael, Bob and Leo

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Magnesia This Friday

Just a quick note as to why there hasn't been any posts as of late. I'm busy preparing for the big Magnesia game this Friday. Unfortunately all of the work is the non-glamorous and not particularly blog-worth stuff: organizing the figures, printing out QRS sheets, putting all the terrain in bins to travel, etc. Look for a tasty update about the game early next week.