Saturday, September 16, 2017

SEPTEMBER GAME NIGHT: PRUSSIANS V FRENCH SHAKE DOWN GAME

This last Friday was our club's September game night. As usual, there were three offerings, mine among them, a reprise (on a larger scale) of the game I had run at my place in my Friday Night at the Fights Post.  More on that in a bit. First, the general bits as usual, you may clix pix for BIG PIX...
...early arrivals indulging in some pre-game night banter. Warren (front left) and Dave (front right), would be running another game. Mark (seated rear left), of Mark D's Gaming Site, Pete (reading book--probably looking at pictures), and Bob (blue shirt) were in my game.  I didn't get very many shots, so this won't be a comprehensive report.  First, I'll share what I have on the other two games...
  
...Phil returned to the group's roots with a 28mm American War of Independence Battle of Bennington (August 16, 1777) game using the original (blue book) Volley and Bayonet rules:


...Dave ran a Yanks Up the Yangtze 28mm game that featured a Hollywood film crew being held for ransom, warlords, US infantry in campaign hats (among others), and of course, a gunboat!

My game was a reprise of my earlier Napoleonic game, as I've mentioned. I am going to be putting on our club's Game Day game, which will be a large Napoleonics game using a modified version of our group member Charlie's Napoleon's Rules of War.  This game was one of a series intended to get players familiar with the rules, the mods, and the forces before the big event. Interest was looking like it could be strong, so I packed extra troops...

...game prep this week.  Getting labels on the figures and configuring them to travel. Above right: 2/3 of the Prussians I brought to the game.  

One thing I'm working on for the final big game is the troop:space ratio.  I think I got a good feel for the limits:  in this game, 10 players pushed a total of 57 battalions, 24 cavalry squadrons, and 6 artillery batteries  in  a 7.5 foot x 6 foot playing space (probably will be a bit more spread out on Game Day, I'm thinkin'). There were three Prussian brigades vs 2 French divisions, plus a Young Guard brigade and a French cavalry brigade--all told. The aim of the scenario was mainly to have everyone just get stuck-in for practice, and this turned out to be the case.  Once things got rolling, I was mainly engaged with running the game, so didn't get very many shots (of my game or the others in progress)...
...Bob (left) and Mike (top left of shot), part of Team Prussia, look on as part of Team France (Robert, in blue shirt, and in order, Mark, Ralph, and Earl) bring in their first wave of troops in their half of the first turn...
..Byron (orange shirt) and George of Team Prussia keep an eye on Earl...
...still early in the game. The lull before the chaos.  Very quickly after this shot, things got very loud and very involved (which is why this is the last picture). 

It was another mix of gaming and joking, and lots of dice rolling.  I gained some good insights that will influence the Game Day event and will help me to fine tune the one last prep game in late September.   I must send a shout out to Charlie who, despite being among the French players, helped to facilitate the game as well.  Thanks to the players, as usual, for their good humor and indulgence.  It was another good night out among friends playing with toy soldiers: a great way to end a very busy week. 


Excelsior!


Monday, September 4, 2017

BLOG: YEAR ONE

It's been one year since this blog was launched (officially--if such a term can be applied). Of my original aims, the only clear one was to migrate material from my old Yahoo Groups to a blog (and to dump Yahoo Groups entirely, which is what I've done). That was successful (the original content page, Dubious Designs, was up and running from the start). Since then, I've added other content pages and have more in the works. As you may have guessed, I'm always designing or modifying rules and am happy to inflict them on the public--this blog, like my Yahoo groups before, is my very own vanity press. I recognize that in the future I need to complete the works-in-progress on my content pages, though, for them to be viable (the Chocolate Box Wars in particular).

Sharing content aside, I realize that blogs are much more than file-sharing platforms. I have been a long-time follower and admirer of many blogs, and it has been a pleasure to join the wargaming blogosphere and enter the conversation, literally and figuratively. I am a bit concerned that I'm falling into a limited range of posts, though--battle reports, convention reports, painting reports, e-books for antiquarians, and the odd rules announcement.  I'd like to expand into other kinds of posts in the upcoming year. For instance, the Interlude on my origins in the hobby seems to have been well received, and I always find these sorts of ruminations on the hobby interesting when I read them on other blogs. I'll see if I can expand into other sorts of material like this (without getting too self indulgent).

So, what has gone on in the first year? Well, I have tried to keep the blog active--I generally aim to post once per week, at least. Sometimes, this has been a challenge, but I have noted that like any writing activity, the more you do, the more fluent it becomes. And given that I'm always thinking or doing something hobby-related, there isn't a real issue with material (making material engaging, that's another thing).  

I've also steadily expanded the links on the page.  I very much appreciate blogs that both inform and provide resources, and this is another aspiration I have for my blog.  If you haven't noticed the "Wargaming & Hobby Links" to the left, and the "Other Interesting Links" on the right under the "Popular Posts" sections, you might want to poke around there some time.

I have also found that blogging has kept me more active and engaged with the hobby--I have never painted so much, for instance, as I have while blogging. The connection to other bloggers and their works-in -progress helps to motivate me to keep at it myself. This is good stuff, and I thank my fellow bloggers and followers for the support.  Even though I am lucky to be a member of a very active gaming club, much of what goes on in the hobby, like painting, is solitary and only sees the light of day periodically, especially when it's a work in progress. Blogging has changed much of that for me. 
 

As far as other activity, you can see for yourself the web counter on the main page for the number of visits, as well as the number of followers. I reckon the numbers are respectable (even if I may not be).  What is hidden is the activity on the content pages, where there seems to have been a good amount of traffic as well. Here is the wrap up of activity on the content pages for the curious:
(I wouldn't have thought that this would have been the leader)
Dubious Designs: Ed's Downloadable Games: 544 Visits
(I'm surprised at the number of visits here--and curious)
Colonial Gaming: Ed's Colonial Gaming Resources: 455 Visits
(I need to add my home brew rules here, so this is a spotty page, I admit)
Miniatures On a Grid: Baroque Battles: 349 Visits
(Like my colonial page, this one needs more content, so my bad on this one)
Smalle Warre: 17th Century Skirmish Rules: 131 Visits
19th C Rules: Chocolate Box Wars and VnB Variant: 64 Visits
(this one has only been up for a week, though--and I need to complete the CBW rules)

I'm happy that these pages are getting visited--my vanity press is working! I'd like to know a bit more about how people are finding and/or using the material (especially the Dubious Designs games).  It may just be the nature of the beast, though--I know that when I visit other blogs' similar content pages that I'm mainly on those to check out the rules or resources, and my mindset is different than when I'm on the main blog. It certainly seems that the stuff is getting looked at, though, so I am content. We'll see what the numbers look like after two years! Which leads me to the next bit. 

At this point, I'll wrap this up with one of my characters whom you haven't heard from since about a year ago...

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

NEW CONTENT PAGE: CHOCOLATE BOX WARS & 19th C VnB VARIANT

A family situation called me away for awhile, but I'm now back and starting to get back into things, starting with this modest bit of news. I've created a separate content page for my 19th Century rules (it is now among the tabs under the blog header illustration). Although the Chocolate Box Wars rules are still a work in progress, everything I have is now available in one handy place (which I'll be updating as I get new things done). I've also posted my 19thC Volley and Bayonet variant there, along with notes and scenario information for the Battle of Dybbol game. This should provide a consolidated reference point for those interested in this material that should be easier to access than searching for content among various individual posts.  The content page is structured to present useable material. For those who may have missed the background and inspiration for the system, you can check out those bits in the "work in progress" posting.   

So Feldmutzekopf and I bid a herzlich willkommen (warm welcome) to those with any interest. Drop by and peruse the new page. For those who already have been to the original posts, there is a bit of new stuff tossed in that might be of interest.
Until next time, adieu, dear readers...

Saturday, August 19, 2017

AUGUST GAME NIGHT --OR-- THE SPANISH SPEED BUMP

Friday, our club gathered for our August game night.  Given the time of year, the turnout was light...
...but spirited. Above, some of the usual suspects.  Numbers notwithstanding, there were three excellent games on the slate.  Micheal B had a WWI Bolt Action game, Greg S had a unique 1799 French Rev in Italy Chosen Men skirmish game, and Charlie (author of Napoleon's Rules of War) offered a Peninsular Napoleonic game based on the Battle of Barossa, 1811.  Given that I was involved in the last, I can't say much about the other two, but can share some eye candy.  They were a treat to see and seemed very well received and run, from what I overheard.  In the below, I would encourage you to clix pix for BIG PIX to see more...

WWI Bolt Action Game
Michael orienting the players



 1799 Chosen Men Game 
Greg, in the blue shirt, the game master 


  Napoleon's Rules of War Battle of Barrosa, 1811, Game
This is the game that I participated in. I'm not up on the Peninsula, but Charlie informed us that the Battle of Barrosa was basically an ambush--a column of Spanish and British got p0unced upon by the French from two directions. Being a game fellow (aka not bright), I took up the side of the ambushed, and just to be sporting, I choose the Spaniards.
(Above) Charlie orienting the players before the game. At right, Warren looks on. He would be my compadre on the allied side, running the British. Pete (seated), listens intently while licking his lips in Gallic anticipation of what is to come...
 ...The allies started in columns within their respective areas, marked by red string. My bully Spaniards are at the head (to the left) and the British are coming up, forming our right: a brave sight! ...
 ...The French deploy.  On the extreme French right,  AJ, of AJ's Wargaming Blog, spots his troops. Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the table, Pete (seated) and Bob O (no head) put down the main French force.  The French, Spaniards, and British, each had an exhaustion level--accumulated when batteries or battalions went "Poof!"  The French had to crack both the Spaniards and the British. We had to crack the French or avoid the above. Simple, no?  

You will note in the above pictures a large forest to the front of the Spaniards...
...this would figure prominently in my BRILLIANT plan! Warren and the British would anchor our right, whilst I, Don Meanderer, General of the Spaniards, would block the road with successive lines of infantry and guns in order to thwart Gen d Division AJ, and I would push a brigade of light troops into the forest in a "telling maneuver" that would stymie any attempt by the French to skulk through that way.  

What ensued was something of a blur.  I think the following series will convey the results...

...(above) my Spaniards positioned on the road: ready to make the French pay...
...meanwhile, my four battalions of Spanish light infantry shake into open order and move into the forest...
..the combined effect of these BRILLIANT schemes... 
...meanwhile, on our right, Warren and the British were having an equally BRILLIANT day...


...and so, despite an ingenious plan, we got stomped.

However, getting out at the end of the week, gathering with like minded fellows, pushing toy soldiers, this all worked out as planned.  Thanks to Charlie, Michael, and Greg for putting on another fine set of games for the club.   To Warren, thanks for sharing in the adversity.  And to our cordial opponents for the evening, AJ, Pete, and Bob: wait'll next time!


Excelsior!
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