Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Beer and Pretzels Napoleonics at the Bavarian Grill

We met at a great German restaurant on Tuesday, December 29th for an end of the year "beer and pretzels" Napoleonic game. Click on the Title for a small gallery. Here's a after action report.

The French were composed of two divisions/two brigades/6 battalions of infantry, a heavy cavalry brigade (2 Cuirassier), divisional and reserve artillery and...wait for it....two battalions of Imperial Guard. We don't normally bring the Guard on the table for moral reasons (I'd complain and whine if they were played of course). The French were opposed by an Austrian division augmented by Kurassier and Dragoon regiments.

French divisions advanced upon the central hill dominated by an old stone church. If we play this again, we definitely need a Wursthaus or a Biergartenhaus. The game was punctuated by copious amounts of Pauliner and Dunkelbrau so details of each individual melee won't be remembered by this author.

French forces set up a divisional battery on the right flank and in the center. These batteries swept the field of the Austrian first line and exposed the weakness of the Austrian position on the right flank. The French right flank commander (me) held a brigade in reserve supporting the artillery. This would prove to be semi-prudent as the Austrians were "sneaking" through a wood and were unseen until they approached and attacked the divisional batteries.

Austrian Forces set up in two lines across the table with a defense of a walled farm on the left and a concentration to their right. Austrian horse was in reserve. The Austrian commander (Clay) was lucky enough to get them on the table on turn 3 while the French cavalry commander was still eating breakfast. They proceeded to do a general advance while the French were making merry, consuming Pauliner and chuckling to themselves about the Austrians advancing in the same old way...we have to meet them in the same old way.

After a brief lunch break (and more Pauliner, Dunkelbrau and several rounds of Apfel Korn), the battle was resumed in earnest. The French pressed the Austrians on the right flank punctuated by the removal of double handfuls of Austrian infantry that ventured in front of the divisional batteries. The Austrians stopped the French advanced on "Church Hill" cold with a combination of 6pdr batteries and supporting infantry. Austrian cavalry began to sweep the French left flank. The cuirassier division finally arrived and promptly was plonked in the center as a central reserve.

A perfect storm developed on the French right flank as the cuirassiers were moved into a position to work over the Austrian infantry. The horse was supported by the remnants of the French right flank artillery and several fresh infantry battalions . The Austrians went into battalion masse at the sight of the heavy horse. The French commander brought up the artillery and infantry and promptly routed the masse by fire. This left the path clear for the heavies to sweep the field of the remaining Austrian infantry which unfortunately did not move into masse. The horse swept the flank of the Austrians. It was game over on the right and time for another beer!

On the French left flank, the Austrians were pressing the veteran infantry but they were in square. Causalities were high and the personal morale of the divisional commander was rocky. The Imperial Guard were committed to the center to take the 'Church Hill". Mission accomplished! The Austrians announced SQP and we all finished our beers on the table. Game, set and match to the French!

Our total bill included 10 shots of Apfel Korn (we finished the bar's bottle), over 10 pints of Pauliner and Dunkelbrau. Check out the bill on the gallery if you don't believe it!

The game was definitely a hard fought action and actually a close run thing for the Austrians. The venue was great! The food...hell...good as usual! If you live in the DFW area, you should definitely be a part of our "Biergarten Series". I'm looking forward to the next game....a Franco Prussian game in 15mm using "Died for Glory" rules. It will be a "pay-back game" for the Prussians in this one!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Keep those dice on the table and your car outa' the ditch!

Monday, December 21, 2009

1941 Barbrossa-15mm Flames of War 2

We put on a multi-company Early War 1941 Barbarossa game at the Rat PalaceIII on Sunday. The Russians cobbled together a company of infantry and an "ersatz" company of T26s, T60s, T28s, and T35 "land battleships" and tried a local counterattack on two German infrantry companies supported by a platoon of Pz28s and a smattering of Stug IIIs with "short 75s".

The Russians "came on in the same old style" and the Germans "met them in the same old style"....105 and 150mm artillery knocking big holes in the Russian conscript infantry.
The Russians destroyed both German infantry companies but at a cost of both the infantry and the armor companies. The Germans held their armor in reserve and destroyed the remaining Russian armor.

The counter-attack was bloody for both sides and decisive as usual as are most of our Early War games. The game came down to the last platoon and company morale. Game over....Germans win!

if you're not playing FoW Early War, you should give it a try. Games are up close and personal rather than long distance shooting matches and 'uber-power gamer" tanks. We had a great game!

Here's a gallery link:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Black Friday After Thanksgiving Napoleonics Game

Battle Report
: (Please click on the title for the full gallery)

One of the DFW Irregulars' traditions is to play a post Thanksgiving Day game on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Most of us are and have been “hitched” for years; this game gives the best excuse for not doing the spousal shopping task as the commercialized Christmas season “opens” for business on that Friday as well. We decided on a Napoleonic game using Clay's “home brew-NINJA rules”. These rules have taken what we like best about several sets and melded together for a cool little set of rules that are simple yet subtle.

I set up the table in a 6'x12' configuration and put several farms, Botond House, Sandy's Mill, and a ruined medieval chapel in the mix. Allen Eldridge (The Terrain brought me a new box of his new “Pin a Trees” to supplement my collection. His tree line is varied in color and contains deciduous and pine trees in the “railroad tree style”. They go pretty well with the natural trees I made with real twigs and such and were a lot easier (for me) to get to the table. Highly recommended! So highly I bought 68 of them and have ordered another 68!

We like to put figures on the table. We've got the space so why not!? Here's how the forces broke down.

Orders of Battle:

The Russian force consisted of
23 Battalions of infantry (12 figure battalions)
3 Regiments of Dragoons (12 figure regiments)
1 Regiment of Kurassier (12 figure regiment)

1 Regiment of Hussars (12 figure regiment)
6 medium guns (4 crew per gun)

2 heavy guns (4 crew per gun)


The Russians were backed up by Prussians. This army is a classic Hinchcliffe army from the late 70s-early 80s. It was painted by Jim Cooper, originally owned by David Jones

and gifted to Clay.

It was cool to see this army on the table again. It consisted of: three

regiments of three

battalions (9 Battalions x 12 figures each plus each regiment had attached Jaegers. One regiment was Landwher (Conscript). One battery of guns. The three regiments of cavalry didn’t show…. (3 x 12 figure Regiments)-they never made their activiation rolls for the entire battle. That was pivotal.

Figure Totals: (No the table didn't collapse)

Infantry: 22 battalions x 12 figures= 264 figures

Cavalry: 5 regiments x 12 figures= 60 figures

Artillery: 6 guns (4 crew per gun)=24 figures

6 Generals


Infantry: 9 battalions=120 infantry
Artillery: 4 guns with 16 crew
Cavalry: 3 regiments x 12 figures=Did Not Show*
3 generals

Allied Totals:

Infantry: 384 figures
Cavalry: 60 figures on table-paper strength 96 figures

Artillery: 10 guns, 40 crew

9 Generals including Tsar Alexander

Clay sent me the OB strengths in figures for the French and Bavarians. Thanks Clay!

French and Bavarian Infantry:

420 infantry

96 cavalry

16 artillery models and 54 crew

10 Generals (of this total, the Bavarians had 60 infantry, 2 guns and 8 crew)

Total Figures on the table:

Infantry: 804 figures
Cavalry: 156 figures
Artillery: 26 models and 94 crew

I got to see my old, trusty Heavy Cavalry Division consisting of the 2nd Carabiners (1812 uniform-12 figure Regiment),

Westfalian Kurassiers (they're over 25+ years old and have never been on the table!-12 figure Regiment), Baden Dragoons (12 figure regiment), 5th Cuirassier (French-25+year old Hinchcliffe Foremost 12 figure regiment) on the table again. That was cool!

French forces concentrated in the center of the table supported by a “mini-grande batterie” of medium and heavy guns.

They proceeded to press the Russian forces in the center. The Russians held stolidly for several hours (in real time) but were pressed back by the numbers of French. Botond House and the famous (at least to us) “Three Tittie Fountain” were taken by French leg ere.

On the flank, it was a hard pressed issue as the French advance slowed under a press of Russian conscript infantry. The French “converged heavy cavalry division” arrived on the flank and the Russians began to get nervous. Their cavalry had not made an appearance.

The mini-grande batterie made the Prussian advance untenable as it literally paved a “lane of death” through the Prussian ranks. The Prussian general lamented frequently on the tardiness of his cavalry. He had three regiments in reserve that could not seem to find the battlefield. Their non-appearance was pivotal in the battle. (No picture due to lack of physical presence) :)

French Heavy Cavalry division II was sitting in reserve and was not called upon to exploit the holes in the Russian lines. This game was a sluggo match with the pretty boys on pretty horses watching the action take place.

The Russians under Bob Hall were slowly grinding down the French. It seemed as if the French were like kicking an anthill; the more we “whacked”; the more strode down the road. Bob held the line and launched local counterattacks to keep the French from completely splitting the field in two.

Steve M. launched his Grenadiers (4 battalions) that made up his second line on the mid-left flank. These Grenadiers hit an elite French battalion and both battalions explod

ed in heavy causalities. Our game's combat system is simple, you fight a percentage of dice per figure depending on your morale grade. Elites fight 1 dice per 1 figure. The Russians hit the French with 8 causalities out of 12 figures. The French hit back with 9 causalities out of 12 figures. Both sides were staggered but both sides passed morale. Steve Bidwell kept the pressure on the Russians all day and captured a battery of medium guns. He received a battlefield honor for doing so, crewed the Russian guns with French infantry and TURNED the gun back upon the Russian Grenadiers. Bob and Steve looked at each other and knew it was going to be “one of those days”.

Scott kept the Prussians from advancing while Allen pressed the attack in the center. It seemed as if the French would not get stopped from splitting the Russian/Prussian forces. Steve Bidwell knocked a hole in the Russian flank with a Westfalian (?) kurassier charge that swept two battalions from the field. The Russian cavalry arrived and a standoff ensued on the left flank. Steve took the Kurassiers and Hussars (“The Crabs”) and moved them to shore up the center of the Russian flank. It was devoid of infantry at this point.

A hole developed in the French center between the first and second lines, exposing the French grande-batterie. Steve decided to stake the battle on taking out those guns. The “Crabs” (a job for Hussars or Chasseurs right?) took on the job, rolled their charge distance dice (normal movement + 2D6) and came up about two inches short of reaching the guns.

Steve's personal morale was broken at that point. A glorious try but as we all know “almost is only good enough for hand grenades and machine guns”.

The game was called as the Russians literally had nothing but several decimated infantry batallions, a battery of heavy guns, a shot up regiment of Hussars, and the Russian cavalry that sat on its collective saddles on the left flank keeping the French from sweeping the flank. A French victory on its way to Moscova!

Good game to all!

If you are interested in playing Napoleonics or other historical games in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, please drop us a line. We've been around for over 25+ years as a viable game group and play various periods of historical, and some non-historical games as well. Drop me a line:

Friday, November 27, 2009

Renaissance Break-Earthworks/Fieldworks

Renaissance Break!
I put this Italian Wars period field works set together a couple of years ago. I used GW Empire figures as I was building a Warhammer Fantasy Battles Dogs of War army. As all things GW go, I outgrew that silliness and kept most of the figures. They work well for Pavia period artillery and crew. I'm upgrading the crew, gonnes but keeping the general design for general Renaissance, Thirty Years War and ECW usage.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Warlord ECW Artillery and Emplacement

I've been working on a Warlord 28 (?) ECW Saker box set lately. Here's how it went together and a little bit on how I put artillery pieces on my game table.

I painted the figures and gun model separately. The gun was made of resin and went together pretty well. No major mold issues were found on the model. The crew was flashy but no more than Old Glory. There were some weird pointy bits of flash that needed to be cut off. If they weren't, they'd tear up my Scharff paintbrushes.
I built the wood field works pieces from balsa. It went together easily and takes paint well. The gabions were a mix of Dixon and a resin set I picked up from a friend of mine. I liked the variance in "plashing". It made the emplacement different from the others in my ECW collection. I base coated the gabions with an old shade of Polly-S Ogre Dark Brown. I use this color for most undercoats requiring a deep brown with a flat hue. I always prime my figures white. I use Rustoleum Flat White primer. I don't mess around with anything else.

I use Minwax Polyshade Urethane when I want to add depth and seal pieces for the war game table. Some people use a "dip method". I find that to be tedious and messy.
My method is a little bit cleaner. I use a flat brush and paint a light coat on the pieces I want to stain. It really works well using this method. I clean my brushes with Turpenoid Odorless Turpentine. It definitely can be used indoors without spousal dissent.

My groundwork process has been adapted from Clarence Harrison (Quindia Studios). My complete ECW collection is done in this style. It's simple, easy to do and looks good on the table. I first paint the base with Vallejo Beasty Brown. I also paint the bases of the figures. I use hot glue to put the figures on the base. It works and works well. I use a thinned down Elmer's Glue (50-50 mix) to hold the ballast on the base. I use a mix of medium brown and fine brown ballast by Woodland Scenics. Let the ballast dry and then glue down some medium and fine rocks from Woodland Scenics. I also put a coat of Flat Finish on the base and figures after doing some dry brushing on the wood pieces. I used Vallejo Cobra Brown highlighted with Vallejo Iraqi Sand on the edges to bring out the highlights.

I added ballast to the gabions as well to keep some consistency for the emplacement. The Warlord figures are well animated and really do make the diorama work. I'm sure someone will pick nits on the colors but I wasn't there so I'll use the ole' artiste's eye!

Completing the model was pretty fun. My standard basing highlights are:
Dry brush Vallejo Iraqi Sand over the dark brown ballast. Painting the base before putting the ballast down tends to help with any areas that didn't work with the thinned down Elmer's glue.
I use an additional thinned down Elmer's glue solution to put down static grass in random areas. I know that the emplacements were probably similar to the trenches of WW1 in terms of mud, mess and torn up ground. I use the static grass to break up the colors of the emplacement. The rocks are painted Vallejo Basalt Grey. They are highlighted with Vallejo's Light Grey and then highlighted yet again with a light touch of Liquitex Medium white. Don't ask me why I use white but it just looks good to me and draws the eye to the emplacement.

Here's a pic of the completed Warlord Saker box set. It's expensive in comparison to Old Glory but the figures and project turned out well. It was fun to do....Recommended for those that putting an ECW collection together

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sniper Emplacement Update

Got the emplacement primed and the "wood works" base coated. The light brown stuff is Vallejo Pumice I tinted Iraqi Tan for my 1st Crusade project. This stuff is really cool. I've used Elmer's Wood Putty for years but this stuff just kicks its butt. One of my friends gave me the wicker works and the "pie shaped" gabion. It just looked the part.

Here's the emplacement with a coat of Vallejo's Game Color-Beasty Brown. This is the base coat I've used with the ECW collection to date. I bought about 24 bottles. Guess I'm the dummy and should have had Home Depot mix me a quart right? Nah, I'm just a slut to keep wargaming vendors in business. Just like the First Consul in Washington, I'm just spreading the wealth around a little. :) One of my friends gave me the resin pieces. He said he got them via E-Bay. If any one's interested; I'll drop him a line and see from whom he purchased. They really look nice. I've got a bunch so field works (get it?) will be next after King Chas I (pre ax man) gets painted. It just seems that this project goes on forever!

I should have the sniper emplacement done over the weekend. I'll bring out my gun emplacement over the weekend too. It's taken from Funken's Renaissance book and contains hand built fascines, lots of mud, some funny bits and will get re-crewed with ECW gunners and ECW period ordinance.

Keep checkin' back...and keep yourself outa' the ditch! It's supposed to be a gully washer here in Big D on Wednesday-Thursday.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Warlord Sniper and Arty update

I've finished the sniper and artillery crew figures. Am slogging together a mini diorama for the sniper. What have I noticed? The Warlord metal figures are definitely smaller than OG and have some weird sharp edges and points where the sleeves or cuffs are. I had to clean them up a little better than any Dixon but not as much as OG. The metal is more brittle than OG or Dixon. They may work as a unit but again; will NOT mix with OG. There's just a large size differential! Will post pics later today.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Warlord Artillery on the way-The Sniper too!

I've put the base coats on the Warlord artillery gunners and sniper. Will get a coat of Minwax on them, highlight and then get them based. Whew...all I have left in this project is to get the King's diorama and entourage completed. I'll paint up another Warlord infantry regiment before Millenium Con in Austin and use up the box. My plan is to give away any of the spare stuff left on the sprues. Drop me a line and I'll try to get them to you when I'm completed.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saturday Update-Finally..A Head to Head Comparison woulda' thought that I was having a root canal by the length of time it has taken me to get this far on this unit.'s only 16 or so figures. The picture on the right is where the unit is at this point. I've put together a head to head gallery at Flickr. Please click here or on the title to take you to the gallery.


The unit is being based at this point. I've borrowed (stolen in a gamer's fashion) Clarence Harrison's basing style. It's simple and once it's dry is robust for fat war gamer fingers, dropping on the table, etc. This unit needs another24 hours for the basing sand and rocks to dry. I won't paint them until Monday afternoon at the least. I use Clarence's formula to the T. The bases get painted with Vallejo's Beasty Brown (I won't waste money on crappy GW paints-ever), let dry, painted again with a diluted Elmer's School Glue mix and dipped into mix of Medium and Light Woodland Scenics ballast (brown). The brown paint makes the places in which the ballast didn't stick invisible unless close. I then use a bright green static grass (again NOT GW) to work in on the bases. Clarence advised me to use a camouflage type of pattern so multiple bases go together well. Again, advise well taken to heart! It works and looks good.

Let's take a few moments to discuss head to head how Warlord compares to Old Glory, Dixon, Renegade, and Perry figures on the game table. As previously blogged, the Warlord figures look consistent with the other manufacturers on the game table. That's OK with me since I've got more to paint out of the box set. The OG figures are curiously chunkier than the Warlord (a little more well fed perchance?) and are a tad easier to paint. As has been blogged before, both sets of miniatures take my "git 'er done and don't Richard around with the project" style of painting. This may disturb more sedate and organized painters but; it works and looks PDG on my game table. Has for years!

In my opinion, Warlord figures will not mix well with OG, Dixon, nor Renegade but should mix quite well with Perry since these figures are on the scrawny side of 28mm anyway. I will paint another regiment or so plus some F'Lorne Hope to add to the collection. They do look fine when built into solely Warlord units. Funny how that works eh? It's a vast British conspiracy right? The Warlord figures just don't have the deep "cuts" (folds?) necessary for producing large amounts of contrasts on the figures. I'm not disappointed but probably just lazy...I would rather not do the Dallimore glop and paint every single musculature like a Rubens painting. I want to get things started, get things done and have units look good on the table in a reasonable time frame. Putting Warlord figures together is an extra time irritant for me. I knew that going into this mini-project. Would I buy more? I don't know. I want to see their cavalry just to see if I can paint plastic horses using my 30+ year old oil rub method. Hope Rustoleum primer sticks to horse's butts like it did to the musketeers.

For an inexpensive (relative term in any hobby) way for gamers to get started or add units quickly to an existing collection; Warlord ECW figures may be something to consider. I'm an old school lead junky and like the weight of figures on the table. I'd also paint Warlord figures if I was doing a demo game in which I didn't want my primary collection to get abused by fat, stinky war gamers with greasy hands from eating at Mickey D's.

We have a news spot here in Dallas called "Deal or Dud". I'd rate these figures a deal but if they don't get painted and still played....their OWNER is a DUD!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday Update

Am plonking along on this little project. I've completed the base coat colors for the regiment and have brushed on a light coat of Minwax Royal Walnut stain.

Here's a list of the colors I used for the regiment. Only Vallejo acrylic paints were used.

Face:Beige Red
Hats: various shades of Beasty Brown (Game Color), Tan, Orange Brown, Saddle Brown, Red Brown.
Feathers: One was painted with...get this...Ral Partha Gold Yellow. I STILL have about 6 bottles of the old stuff. Hasn't crapped out on me yet. I've got to go to Sherwyn-Williams and get a pint made up since I can't get it anymore. The fifer's feather (say that five times fast) was painted with some Liquitex Medium Viscosity Red. I had the tube laying around, found it under a pile of crap and said..hmm...oughta work!
Uniform Coats: Prussian Dark Blue
Cuffs: Liquitex Medium Viscosity White. Another ancient bottle of paint. It's a 4 oz. bottle and I've had it for years. I think it's majic and refills itself sometimes.
Pants: Some Prussian Dark Blue, British Tan, Yellow Ochre, Russian Green, Medium Sea Gray IIRC. I don't worry much and just paint them where they lay.
Shoes: Various browns..see above and add some Snakesomething Game Color. It's a weird in between light and dark brown. Pretty cool color. I've used it a lot for the ECW project for belts, shoes, horse tack, horse hooves, horse tails, etc. You should buy a bottle and give it a go.
Socks: Light grey, Howard Hues (uh huh...more classic paint) Concrete and an odd color just to not stay bored!
Armor: I use a bastardized Dallimore technique of Black base coat, Vallejo Brassy Brass first dry brush, Vallejo Oily Steel for highlights. This works great with a light coat of Minwax!

Overall, so far so good. I'm still not overly in love with these figures. I like figures that are "cut" deeper with more relief. That type of figure just fits my style.

I had high humidity-white finish-itis tonight. I sprayed the unit with Floquil Figure Flat (yeah..I've still got 12 cans) and didn't pass the "stupid test". I know better than to spray figures flat and leave them out when the humidity is high. No worries, I resprayed them and brought them inside. Uh spouse has gone to the other side of the house, my dog doesn't love me and I'm sure my feeble senior's mind is getting fried by the fumes. At least the unit is getting painted right?

I paint by the unit and don't dick around painting one figure at a time. Life's too short not to throw figures on the table. My technique is simple:
  1. Hot glue the figures on strips of cardboard about three fingers wide. I don't touch the figures, the cardboard is more comfortable than trying to paint on stupid Popsicle sticks and is cheap in "mass quantities".
  2. Block paint the figure
  3. Light coat of Minwax Royal Walnut (NOT A DIP..DIPPPING SUCKS!)
  4. Highlight the figures with a traditional highlighting technique. I use a mix of Foundry's glop on each highlight method and a softer complimentary color highlight. I don't know...I paint by the seat of my pants! Whatever fits the figure works for me and they turn out cool for the table.
I should be done with the unit tonight and will get them hot glued (it's a standing joke in my gaming group) to stands. I'll take pics on Thursday and suffer the slings and arrows of not having them based. I know there are several folks that want to see just the size differential and could not give a rat's behind about how they were painted.'ll just have to wait until Thursday won't you!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Warlord ECW Under Construction Update

I've finished the basic tones painting on the entire regiment (16 figures). I've just brushed on some Minwax Royal Walnut stain. I don't want to argue the merits or demerits of Minwax. I don't dip my figures and the light brush coat seals, shades and gives the figure the tone that I want and like. They should be dry enough to flat coat and the highlights will be painted (face, flesh, highlights, any lowlights as well).

Keep checking back, I'll have some pics Wednesday night and definitely will put them side to side with my OG/Dixon/Perry stuff. They're pretty big...larger than the Renegade officers I've got in several regiments. We'll see, my jury's still out and it's weird to work with figures that don't weigh anything.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Warlord Plastics Part 1

I finally got around to getting out the Warlord plastic ECW box set on Sunday, 9/27/2009. I'll blog a "blow by blow" on how they paint up, my opinions (based upon 30+ years of wargaming and painting experience), how they stack up to my other infantry regiments (a mix of Old Glory, Dixon, Renegade, and Perry).

My regiments are 16 figures strong. I know others play larger regiments and some single based (Warhammer ECW?) figures. I play Might of Arms ECW. It is a variant of Bob Bryant's Might of Arms rules I put together because I liked the system and my gaming group understood the mechanics. I'm not going to waste a lot of time espousing/explaining why I use them. Just suffice it that I like them. Period. End of Story. Now to the figures!!!

The plastic that is used is the equivalent to most Games Workshop plastics I have built in the past. It's not gunky, soft nor does it feel or look cheap. Most of figures have a minimum of flash and mold lines. I was able to trim up some of the mold lines but; they just aren't a problem. The figures remind me a lot of GW plastics in the way they go together and the chunky "Imperial Guard-like" features such as the face and hands. I chalk that up to plastic figures.

It took me the better part of an afternoon to put these figures together. I figure that's because I'm a klutz or just a schmo that is used to working with metal figures. It was a little off putting however because I'd much rather be painting than
assembling. Will quit whining...I bought them to see how they worked so there! There were a few variants in hats, arms and the way weapons were carried. A couple of things that bothered me was the length of the arquebus in relation to the figure plus the modeling of the musketeer's hands. They look rather large in comparison to the rest of the figure. The pikemen are OK but the tassel thing on the end of the plastic pikes is a distraction. I wasn't there to know if it was historically accurate, so; I'll just paint it and shut up. I'm not hip to plastic pikes or flag poles so my jury's still out on how they will fare in a fat war gamer environment.

I've decided to clip off most of the bases as they are pretty large. I also will leave a couple in the original size to see if they'll take basing a little better.

Over all, I'm OK with these figures so far. They're a far sight less fiddly than Victrix. I almost swore off experimenting with ANY plastic figures because of THAT experience. For war gaming, these figures should do just fine. What are they? Inexpensive, and a fast way to build a regiment or two from a single box. In fact, I'm planning on painting two regiments and using the rest as a "Forlorn Hope" (fodder). I wish that Warlord would have packed 48-64 figures to a box set. That would fit my thinking...more figures on the table is better!

Above is the sniper from the "specialist" blister pack. I know Might of Arms doesn't have any way that this guy can fit in but; I'm going to build some "event cards" into the game to spice it up a bit. This guy WILL get his shot! There's another figure in the blister pack that looks like he's holding some type of instrument, firebox or something nasty with which to determine who "is or who is not a witch" Now, all I need for that one is a pond and some rope.

Keep checking back, I'll post up in progress pics and comments on how this mini-project is going. Now, what I REALLY REALLY want is some decent two winged Polish Hussars. I've got some TAG figures but they're only single winged and the distributor my vendor uses is hit or miss. Alright...I digress...I'm done for this episode.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I'm Ready to Run and Play A Fall ECW Campaign

I've been kicking around doing an ECW campaign for several months since completing the first phase of the ECW project. I've read my old copy of 1644 (the red cover version) and the recent Warhammer ECW rules. Both have a mini-campaign included.

My thinking is to use K.I.S.S. as the guiding force for this campaign. I don't want to get into long and drawn out sieges. My main aim is to get the collection on the table and fight field battles. I like the simpler map campaign but want to include a little flavor to the campaign like Scots intrusions/duplicity and the same duplicity of the guys down south of Scotland. I'm not sure how many players I'll get. I figure maybe 1 or 2 players at most. Our group frankly doesn't know the English Civil War, is not very motivated by pike & shotte period. I don't know if I should go ahead and build the campaign or keep looking for some better campaign systems. I've got Grant's Programmed Wargames Scenarios, Wargaming Pike and Shot, and that crappy Napoleonic Campaign book by Hoplite Research.

I want to not fall into these traps:
  • Long, drawn out campaign season. That kills campaigns
  • Complex economics. Players want to put toys on the table and not be bankers IMHO
  • Sieges. I would rather fight a field battle outside a city rather than waste an evening trying to reduce a city and then attack it. Just a personal preference
  • Painting more figures. I've done enough and want to concentrate more on painting vignettes, preachers, bishops, and artillery emplacements. I don't think any of our group will paint ECW other than Cameron (painting Scots). We'll not holding my breath however
Any pearls o' wisdom on putting a quick ECW campaign season together would be appreciated.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

ACW Labor Day Bash!

I took a break from ECW project to play a larger scale ACW game on Labor Day. We called it the Labor Day Bash! We put on the classic Fire and Fury scenario 'Hooker's Attack". We had seven 7 players and put over 276 infantry stands on the 12x6 table. We played until the 10:30 AM turn and left the game up in the Rat Palace III for conclusion. The figures pictured were painted by Eric Wood, Clay Smith, Allen Eldridge, and Steve Miller. A great day was had by all.

Several requests have been made via TMP to see the Rat Palace and the terrain we play upon. You'll need to go through the slide show. We're blessed with great terrain, a super venue, patient spouses and a solid group! Enjoy the show and the Rat Palace II!! If you want to see a larger pic set, click on the title; it will take you directly to Flicker show.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I thought Plastic ECW Figures Would Be Cheaper

I bought a box of Warlord ECW Pike and Shot on Saturday at Area 51 hobby shop. I also picked up a Warlord Medium Artillery set. On a lark, I picked up a Xyston 15mm army box to see if I could still paint 15s? Walked out $100 lighter.
I thought that the plastic stuff was going to SAVE me money. Guess not. I've never paid $27.00 for one gun and 4 crew. Total BS. That gun model is going to my collection instead of on the wargame table. Way too expensive for everyday gaming.

Rant over now!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

ECW Project Virtually Completed!

I'm down to the barrel scrapin' on the ECW project. I've got two units of Folorn Hope (1 per side) to get done. It shouldn't take long. There's only going to be 12 figs in the units. I'm going to paint them with multicolored jackets to represent "volunteers" for the Folorn Hopes. The last painting task is to paint the Royalist officers and King Chuck I. Almost there!

NEXT PROJECT??? Finish out the Saracens for my 1st Crusade collection. The Franks are already done. Just need to get spears, pennants and flags together.

I want to paint "silks". I remember an Armory line of "silk paints". Does Armory still produce this paint? If not, will Vallejo's metallic addition work to make a silk color? Any pearls 'o wisdom would be appreciated.

Now...on with the next project. Galleries will follow.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

ECW Might of Arms at Skirmish '09 and at the Rat Palace

Gallery Link Here

I put on a Might of Arms variant for ECW at Skirmish '09 Games Day and at home last night. The games played smoothly. MoA is a quickly learned, easily taught, bloody, fast play set of rules for Ancients penned by Bob Bryant. I adapted the rules for ECW because of those reasons. As a result, multi-player games played on my 8x6 standard gaming table can be played to conclusion in less than 2.5 hours.

Skirmish 09 game was no exception to this rule. The rules were taken up by the players (most of whom had never played either ECW nor MoA) and were going strong in two game turns. I didn't get to see the result as I had an emergency and went to the E.R. in the middle of the game. The game looked quite even with the Royalist forces giving the Parliamentary forces a drubbing from fire. I've dumbed down the cavalry factors and adjusted cavalry charge ranges to simulate the differences between trotters and gallopers. The melee factors for cavalry have been adjusted to compensate for the "gentry" vs. the "proles". Some people would like to see more detail. The beauty of the rules is its simplicity but subtlety.

Last night's game was also fast and furious (in a 17th century sort of way). Both sides deployed a single battle line supported by two flanks of horse. I didn't say anything but was looking for a second line as reserves and also to provide supporting fire. The Royalist cavalry swept the Roundhead Train'd Band cavalry from the field in short order and exposed the flank of the Parliamentary battle line. The Parliamentary player turned a brigada to face the threat and came under a pummeling from artillery. It seemed as if the Roundheads were in trouble! Things are not always what they seem when playing MoA! The center and right flank were hotly contested with push of pike combined with laying on of musket butts. Both sides wore each other down over several turns. Again, neither side had a second line. No reserves would prove to be a tipping point. The left flank was the hero flank. Hesselrig's Lobsters were struck in the rear as they attempted to charge the flank of an unsupported Royalist regiment. They then turned and hammered the Parliamentary cavalry. I've included a -1 for facing Cuirassiers/Lobsters(not the crustacean variety). It worked just fine in this instance. The Parliamentary cavalry commander took a pistola shotte to the cabeza and promptly fell off his horse. The rest of the cavalry took morale tests and did not leave the table. The weight of numbers began to take toll on the beleaguered Lobsters. Being worn down and shaken, they could not stand. Their rout began the cascading morale effect for which MoA is known. Units began to go shaken on both sides as multiple morale tests weakened their resolve. The center push of pike was decided when shaken units on both sides began to fail morale and were removed from the table. Look for the blank area in the middle where the center used to be. The fight was tooth and tong! Both sides wore each other out and both sides left the table en masse. At the end of the day, the Royalists held the field with cavalry while the Parliamentary forces were whittled down to a shaken artillery unit and a shaken infantry unit. Terms were struck and the Parliamentary forces were allowed to leave the field with full honors. Such is the fortuna of war!

What did I learn from both these battles?
  1. I need to paint more figures! (Duh). I've got 6 regiments of foote per side and 6 regiments of horse per side.
  2. The game needs a mechanic to "add weight" into melees. I want to add regiments of horse and pack them into melee so I can get a visual scrum. I'm thinking that players should be able to add regiments into the fight (not getting charge bonus) on the second/subsequent turn of melee. This would add weight of numbers. On the flip side, MoA cavalry melees are usually sharp and relatively conclusive quickly. My jury's still out and will need more games to see.
  3. Larger table space. 8x6 is fine for a two person game. The cavalry is free wheeling in this game. I will move to a 12x6 or 16x6 for multi-player games. Again, need to paint more figures.
  4. Limiting terrain. I need to consistently use the terrain rules and use more hedges, enclosures, rock walls, etc. I'm of two minds about it however; in my historian's mind, terrain was found that suited the armies rather than hindered movement. My table is 3D, players should be able to see what is what and how the terrain may limit movement. I played these two games to test the rules however and kept the ancillary stuff out. I wanted to get to conclusion and see if people liked the game.
  5. GMB Flags are the BEST! They set my collection to the next level! Worth the $100+! My cavalry guidons will follow. This will be cool...highly recommended!

Order of Battle: Royalist
4 Regiments of Foote-2 muskets per pike (18 figs per regiment)
6 Regiments of Horse-Various grades-including one Lobster regiment because it was painted
2 Medium Gonnes
1 Galloper (light) Gonne-I have the model and made up the rule for it. Gotta' get it on the table!
1 Dragoon Regiment (8 figs mounted and dismounts)

Order of Battle: Parliamentary
4 Regiments of Foote-2 muskets per pike (18 figs per regiment)
6 Regiments of Horse (9 figs per regiment)
2 Medium Gonnes
1 Dragoon Regiment (8 figs mounted and dismounts)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Might of Arms ECW Game

I've run out of time trying to fix Victory without Quarter for multi-player games at Skirmish 09 Games Day next weekend in Plano, Texas . Steve Bidwell and Scott White were gracious enough to come down to the Rat Palace III and work through a mod. of Bob Bryant's rules-Might of Arms. MoA is our ancients game of choice and an ECW variant was on the Yahoo Groups files. We tweaked the melee and shooting modifiers and came up with a crackin' multi player game that's easy to teach, learn and plays well.
I have not given up on Victory without Quarter and will tweak/play it in smaller games after Skirmish.
Will update the gallery next weekend. I've finally completed:
11 Regiments of Foote (18 figs per regiment)
96 Horse
6Medium Gonnes
2 Light or Galloper Gonnes
2 Regiments of Dragoons (8 figs per regiment)
Command figures
It's been a hectic six months to get this done....but it's done and ready to play.

Next forts and field works!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

After Action Report Battle of Montgomery 1644

Click the Title to see the AAR Gallery!

We played our first Victory without Quarter game yesterday as advertised. The game was visually enjoyable for me since it has been a long six months to get things to this point. We played the battle as a four player game. The game's ebb and flow seemed to be OK and the rules conventions were "old school" with a sprinkling of Warhammer Historicals to add a bit of flavor.

We found some major glitches and holes with the rules. Instead of griping about them publicly and on multiple list-servs, we tweaked them to fit our gaming group's style of play and to make this rules set viable in a convention setting. The game was apparently written for a 1v1 game on a small 6x4 table. We modified the rules to accommodate up to 6 persons (that's all my current collection will support) and a minimum table size of 8x6 (my standard gaming table in my gaming house). The rules now support simultaneous movement instead of moving unit by unit, standardized cavalry formations, cavalry melee process, removal of units after routing (ala Might of Arms) and fast resolution of tabletop events.

Please take a few moments to have a look at the after action report below to see what the issues were and how we resolved them.

After Action Report

Steve Miller

We played VwQ yesterday and some major design and playability kludges came up during the game. They are not in any order but most if not all affect the way the game is played and player’s perceptions (most critical at this juncture before Skirmish 09 Games Day) of the period and game. The headings below are the areas of concern.


Apparently this game was designed for a 6x4 table. We found the movement rates a little slow on my 8x6. If you play on a larger table (recommended because of the basing and modern “25mm” figure size) use these movement rates:


Old Movement

New Movement Rate










Limbered Light Gonnes





12” (no change)



3D6 (no change)

Charging Gallopers


16” (no change)

Charging Trotters


12” (no change)

Charging Cuirassier



Rough Terrain

No change

Cross Linear Obstacle

No change

Use same formation movements

No change

Movement System (Card Deck) and Army Organization Changes

We found that persons that were unfamiliar with the period or just wanted to try the game had a hard time deciphering the card/name system. More importantly in a multi-player game (4-6+) drawing individual cards and moving by the unit produced a slow game where the majority of players had nothing to do for a period of time. This is ok for a 1v1 but not advantageous for multiplayer or convention type games. We switched to a simple card deck with a corresponding numbered OB for both sides. “Aces” and “face cards” were the commanders with numbered cards by suit (red=Royalist, black=Parliament) for the units. Reload, Artillery and Event Cards remain in the game as they provide action and some flavor. My advice is to purchase a cheap set of cards from the Dollar Store and build a game deck using cut and paste.

Organization/Simultaneous Movement

Armies should be divided into wings and players given a roster card in the following manner:

Side: Royalist/Parliamentary Center

Brigadier: Sgt. Major Smythe-Fruit Bat

  1. Lifeguard Cuirassiers-Sir Thomas More
  2. Miller’s Foote-trained
  3. Smyths’ Dragoons-raw

Wings should be as evenly divided as possible; giving each player enough units to enjoy the game. Given the size of my collection right now, 4-5 units per player maximum is all they will get. If players want more, they can paint more and contribute to the “cause”.

When a card is turned, ALL players on a side may give an order to a unit corresponding with that number (Left Wing #1, Center #1, and Right Wing #1). If the card turned is a commander, the commander still gives orders to a unit. If it is the CIC, he still retains his ability to give orders. Again, doing simultaneous movement per side speeds the game play. Cards are taken out of the pile as units rout and are destroyed. Simpler system, faster play.

End of Turn Card Procedure Changes

When the E.O.T. card is turned, all the cards PLAYED in a turn get shuffled and placed on the bottom of the deck. NON played cards in a turn get placed on the top of the deck. The E.O.T. card gets placed in the bottom part of the stack (should be done by ref or by various players during the game for fair play purposes).

Labels for Units

Labels for units (figures on table) should correspond to the OB given to the player. For example:

  1. Chas I Lifeguard (veteran gallopers)


As previously stated, event cards stay the same. The event process is slimmed down in this fashion:

When an event card is turned, turn the next card, consult the roster number for the unit or commander involved, roll 1D6 and then consult the table. Events happen now; again producing results for the players. In a convention game, events should be controlled by the game master/referee. Every event should not be bad nor should it always benefit players to keep player interest. In home games, play the chart as written.

Cavalry Organization and Melee (A huge problem with our game)

  • We standardized the size of regiments at 4 stands because that’s what my collection will support.
  • We ditched saving throws totally. They were just another dice throw that slowed down games.
  • To Hit has been modified to:
    Horse hit on a 4+ (hit Cuirassiers on a 5+) This is easier to remember plus cuirassiers seldom were seen on the ECW battlefield due to their cost. There were only two regiments in the ECW. Both were raised by Parliament.
  • Melee has been changed to an MOA format. We fight until we get a winner and loser. Losers test morale, pass=continued melee, fail=rout 3D6, pursuit=3D6 (may check morale to NOT pursue).

Melee Flowchart

Round 1: Front Rank only fights
Determine winner/loser
Loser tests Morale-Fail?=Rout-Pass? Get pushed back 2”, Continue Melee

Round 2: All stands fight
Determine winner/loser routs 3D6
Loser tests Morale, Fail?=Rout 3D6, Winner tests not to pursue 3D6 or choosing pursuit. If losers caught? Destroyed. Pick ‘em up.

Melee Tie?
Both sides test morale, pass? Continue next round, Fail? Losers rout 3D6, pursuers may test morale to NOT pursue, if fail or choose pursuit? 3D6. If losers caught? Destroyed. Pick ‘em up!

Melees are fought across the table simultaneously and resolved simultaneously. Makes the ebb and flow faster with all players participating.


This is not discussed in the rules. I am undecided at this point. One option is to allow one stand to fight at a -1 disadvantage. The other option (much more unforgiving/draconic) is that units hit in the flank do not fight back. This is common in most horse and musket rules and would punish a player for making a stupid mistake of exposing their flanks. I am leaning toward the “no fight back” to speed play in multiplayer games.

Shooting into a Melee?

This is not discussed in the rules. To keep balance, no shooting into a melee is allowed. This represents the chance of shooting your own teammates. That would be stupid to play and just plain dumb.

End of Turn Card “Housecleaning Process”

Routing and shaken units outside of 8” of enemy must test morale when the end of turn card is turned.

  • Routers and shaken pass? They move up a level to shaken and “steady status” respectively
  • Routers fail? Pick ‘em up
  • Shaken fail? Rout 2D6 for infantry, check next turn if they are still on table (if not charged, forced to take morale, or EOT card turned again). Become routers-subject to failure rule next EOT if not rallied

Rallying Units

Units may attempt to rally if outside of 8” of enemy. Routers fail? Take ‘em off. Shaken only? Pass a morale test and upgrade status to “steady”

Saving Rolls for Infantry and Artillery

We ditched the saving rolls to give a more decisive result faster. Saving rolls are a useless step in the process of moving the game along for players. We retained the “to hit” modifiers. It’s tough enough to hit at medium or long range for both infantry and artillery. That works for my simple mind. Again, 1v1 games on a smaller table may want to use this convention if so desired. I will not.

Army Break Point

An army that loses 50% or more of their units sues for terms and quits the field. (Game over). I would rather use the Koenig Krieg army break point rule but I can’t find my copy presently. It works better but for now, a static break point percentage works for me.

Quick Sheet and Event Chart

I am in the process of modifying the quick sheet to condense it to 1 page front and back. The Event chart will be modified ditching the 10s dice roll and using 1D6 when an event is turned for a particular arm…i.e.: Event card turned, unit identified, roll the dice.