Saturday, September 30, 2017


On Friday night last (29 September) I ran the final tune up game for our upcoming October club game day event. The hope was to get as many core members of each of the sides together for a final practice with the rules and to run a scale version of the game under the same victory conditions so that everyone would be versed in the situation, troops, and mechanics. Unfortunately, life hit several of our members in the forehead at the last moment, so we didn't have a full turnout, but it was still quite good, with six players. 
Playing for Team Prussia, above left, were Mike (white shirt), Bob, and AJ (just out of picture), of AJ's Wargaming Blog. Playing for Team France were, above right, from left to right, Earl (otherwise known as "boxcars"), Ralph, and Pete--who was on loan from Team Prussia. The game was held at AJ's (who graciously offered to help) on his big game table: 12' x 6'. One of the major objectives I was after, aside from the earlier ones, was getting a look at the figure to space ratio on a larger table...
 ...the main table on game day will be even bigger: 20' x 6'.  I  downscaled it onto AJ's 12' table, and deployed roughly 2/3 of the troops to see how things fit.  I was concerned about not having enough troops for the space on game day. As can be seen above, the troops quite handily filled the 12' table, with space to maneuver.  I now don't have any worries about having too few figures for the larger table on game day!  There will also be connecting tables on each side to add depth to the game as well (but more on that in the AAR after it happens). In short, the exercise achieved its ends--oh, and it was a fun game on a Friday Night, too!

Continuing from his streak on the last game night, Earl's dice were red hot. If he keeps this up on game day, it will be "game over" for the Prussians!  Given the number of troops, we didn't get to a conclusion, but still got a good feel for the flow for game day.  
If you're curious about the title of this post, Ramillies, 1815, the scenario is based on an alternate version of the 1815 campaign that I concocted---mainly to justify putting all of my Prussians on the table against most of my French--don't we all strive to have a game where we can lay out all of our stuff? I'll give full details in my game report in the wake of the event. So patience, dear readers, until then...


Tuesday, September 26, 2017


 I've been very involved with preparation for our club's upcoming October Game Day, so blogging has lagged a bit. This has taken up much of my time and attention, as far as hobby activities, but I do have some news to report on my Chocolate Box Wars project.  The last of my Austrian contingent has been completed: the infantry.  
I wanted my Austrians in white, and so I decided to capture the natty look of the 1850-59 Austrian army (above). These pictures are all from the New York Public Library Vinkhuijzen Collection of Military Uniforms (a resource that you must visit if you haven't already).  Naturally, I couldn't just acquire Austrian infantry....
...Instead, I went back to the Perry British Intervention Force line of figures, specifically the BIF 7 and 8, British Line Infantry Marching in 1855 Shakos--which seem to me to be an excellent all purpose figure that could be used for any number of the mid-century forces. These figures fit in well with my other conversions, particularly the Austrian Grenadiers and the Honved Grenzers--the latter I will probably now switch over to Austrians, given that they are also Perrys. (Which means my Austrian Grenzers will move over to the Hungarians, since they are Steve Barber figs that will fit in with my Steve Barber Honved infantry). But back to the current topic, the Austrian infantry. They look the part of Austrians, to my eye.
I cannot take credit for anything other than the basing and a bit of touch up (finicky creatures that we all are). These figures I had painted for me by the superb Brush Too Far painting service, and a wonderful job  they did, too!  I'm very pleased at how they came out. 
 When I get a chance, I'll do a "pass in review" post for my Austrians, as I have for my Prussians and Danes.  In  other news, I've recently heard from Steve that more of the Hungarian/Honved figures will be coming out soon.  With luck, I'll be able to complete my Honved force soon! 
We now return to our normally scheduled programming. I have a game coming up this Friday, and if things don't get too involved, there should be some Napoleonic eye candy coming in the near future.

Saturday, September 16, 2017


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... 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. 


Monday, September 4, 2017


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...

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