Saturday, September 23, 2023



The buzz in the room as things get underway during the September Game Night.

Our club recently (well, a bit over two weeks ago...) held its September Game Night. A blast of extreme weather came through the region and caused a few folks to not hazard the trip, so attendance was a bit down.  Even with the lower turnout, there were still a few guests in the mix and enough players to support all three games (our club standard is to have three games to choose from on each game night).  This particular game night had an unplanned theme, Civil Wars in America, with two ACW games (one naval and one land), and an AWI game. 

George ran an ACW Ironclads game using Bob Cordery's Portable Naval Wargame system.  The game ran smoothly and they were able to reset it and run it twice.

Charlie ran a robust Regimental Fire and Fury game (a club favorite): with plenty of troops and shooting to get stuck into!

AJ ran AWI game based on the Battle of Freeman's Farm using his innovative Electronic Brigadier  system. For those not familiar with it, I would encourage you to follow the link to AJ's Electronic Brigadier Youtube channel. This is where I plopped myself down, so a brief game report follows...
The situation: British on the right, Americans on the left. The game was originally designed for six players, but we had four at the table, so AJ adjusted by pulling two of the commands. Each player had a brigade, each shown with a box (red for British, Blue for Americans). Randy (top left) and I took up the American cause and Kevin (top right) and Earl , took up the British. Kevin commanded a mostly British force while Earl pushed Hessians. The British objective (in yellow) was to both clear a corridor and establish a unit on the hill. The Americans had to block them from doing so. Given the challenge, the Crown's forces were of higher quality with a slight advantage in numbers. 
(Left) The starting view from behind Randy's brigade on the American left: Morgan's Rifles and Dearborn's lights deployed followed by two battalions of militia and a light artillery section marching up. (Right) The starting view from behind my brigade on the American right: all marching in column: three continental battalions (of mid to low quality) and one battalion of militia. 
Opposite me would be the British Left: Earl's Hessian brigade, seen at start.
I sent my best unit (the 2nd New Hampshire) on a march across the front of Earl's fast approaching Hessians in order to harry Kevin's advance against Randy on our left, where we were under the most direct threat.  They took some lumps from fire as they went past, but arrived in good order. To delay Earl, I sent one of my NY continentals to the right to pull attention in that direction, and defended in depth in front of the his Hessian main thrust, putting my militia out front and my other NY continentals holding a position in some light woods behind them. With the 2nd NH engaged in the center, I would be both outnumbered and outclassed by Earl's Hessians--not enough to defeat them, but the idea was it would be enough to hold on. 
Things get under way... 
...and the Americans, Randy and I (in black shirt), watch the British/Hessian steamroller advance straight at us (Earl not being hindered in the least by my best evil eye). 
The 2nd New Hampshire would lock horns with the 34th Foot, exchanging fire toe to toe, for the bulk of the game. Eventually, the 2nd NH would retire but rally back behind the NY continentals. 
Randy's position on the American left: Kevin's British are pushing hard, and the American line is stretched one deep to cover the zone and block the British end run. 
Mid battle, and the entire American line is engaged, with the British/Hessians pushing hard. A hard pounding!
...End game.  Randy looks on with a sense of relief (shared by me, out of the picture), as the attrition finally catches up with the British/Hessians and several of their units fall back in disorder. The American line, battered and wavering at times, held in the end.  A good game, indeed, and a near run thing! Another excellent game delivered by AJ and his Electronic Brigadier system!

An integral part of any game night, visiting with friends around the table afterwards: and looking forward to more games to come!


Thursday, August 24, 2023



The view across the room as the club gathers for the August Game Night. 

Despite the ongoing constraints catalogued in recent posts, there are still interludes of hobby activity.  This last Friday, I headed out to our club's monthly Game Night, which will be the subject of this post.  Unfortunately, I don't have details of the course of the particular games, so this will be more of a "virtual visit" on the general goings on. As usual, you may clix pix for BIG PIX in this post.

The evening kicked off, as all do, with the club president (currently Byron, above), introducing the slate of games and welcoming guests, of which there were many (five or six, by my count). On this particular club night we also had a strong turn out from members (more on that anon), a definite sign (fingers crossed) that we've moved out of the long shadow of COVID and back into the swing of things.  As usual, for our game nights there were three games scheduled:

Greg (standing) ran a 28mm Great Northern War game (Swedes v Russians) using his modified Test of Resolve rules. 

Greg is known for his superb figures and presentation, and this game lived up to expectations. 

Bob O (briefing players, above) ran the second game, a 15mm Battle of Plevna game (Russo Turkish War) using his innovative set of modifications for Command and Colors.  

On a previous game night, I played in one of Bob's RTW games using this system and can attest to its viability--and Bob runs a top notch game as well. He has created his own decks of cards that he had professionally printed, and all of his other game materials (which he produced) look as if they came out of a retail box: a good looking game with great components (and an interesting era!).

AJ, seated at right, put on the third game, a Clash of Spears game pitting Romans against Carthaginians.

This is a new system to our club, so AJ had the added challenge of running a teaching game to a group of players who were starting from zero (in a group like ours, there is usually at least one person per side who has some familiarity with a given system and can help move things along: not so this night).  Nevertheless, we (I played in this game) were all up and running after several turns and were able to bring the game to completion in the time allotted (a Carthaginian win--the good guys for this night, since I was among them).  AJ has quite an impressive collection of ancients, both for mass battle and skirmish systems. 

In our club, we generally have someone bring a "stand bye" fourth game (something that is easily transportable and a light setup) just in case we have a heavy turnout and need more seats. That (happily) was the case this last game night.  With 24 gamers in the room, the August Game Night was august, indeed! We needed a the fourth, overflow, game, and Gordon (seated at left) stepped up in grand on short notice to set up and run a Star Wars Armada game.

The club is, generally speaking, focused on historical miniatures, but it has in recent years broadened its range into the so-called "alt" gaming genres, sci fi being among them (and growing in popularity).  
Having been consumed for the last two months or so with "real life" issues that have caused me to view my hobby collection mainly as a problem that needed to be solved, this game night came along at just the right time--and I'm glad that I pushed myself to attend. It provided a timely and important reminder that the hobby is not just about figures and terrain. 


Friday, August 11, 2023



Bavarian Contingent Command

Greetings, dear readers.  The period of disruption continues in these parts, with its impact on blogging and things hobby. However, there has been an upside.  As part of the process, I have decided to use this process to round out hobby loose ends, the subject of this post being a prime example.  While bundling and packing up my toy soldier stuff, I ran across a box of painted mid-century (probably 1870ish) Bavarians that were generously gifted to me by a friend and fellow club mate, Bruce.  Not having a complete Bavarian "army" (like my others), I stored them away "for later."  When running across them again, I decided that later had arrived.  I came to the rather obvious realization that I did not need to build a whole "army" of Bavarians to make use of these, but they could be used by themselves to field a very nice allied contingent.  So, rather than packing them away again to not be seen until who-knows-when, I pulled them out and got down to rebasing them. 

I could have broken the infantry down several ways, but decided to organize them as a brigade of two regiments of two battalions each (using the two-stand per battalion model per my VnB Post-nap variant), with a half battalion of Jagers. 
Above Left and Right: one regiment in rose facings and one in yellow (mit Fahne). 
I pulled these Jagers in kneeling poses and spotted them on a single stand to represent a half battalion of Jagers.  

There were two fine regiments of Bavarian dragoons in the collection (four figs each)--providing a nice cavalry brigade to accompany the infantry brigade. 
The cavalry regiments are distinguished by separate poses, with one having sword on shoulder and one sword carried, and by their rose and red facings. 

I decided to be a bit more selective with the artillery. There were four stands of guns and gunners in the collection, but I decided on rebasing only two. This was due in part to the fact that the mix allowed for two "standard" 3-figure gun crews (as depicted, with a commander, a loader, and a ramrod holder), with the remainder being multiple figures in the same pose (pushing the gun carriage).  Had I needed four guns, I could have come up with a way of configuring them (as Bruce had), but given the size of the contingent, two batteries are about right. 

Although the contingent doesn't technically warrant an "Army" command stand, I had a Prussian command stand left over, which started out with the figure in the greatcoat nearest to the flag (and an aide, which I pulled).  I then added Bruce's command figure (the one in the foreground in the brown boots) and retouched the other, covering up the dark Prussian blue with Bavarian Cornflower Blue.   I figure I can still add this element as an allied command stand as needed, particularly if I pull the flag (which has a magnetic base), making it more generic. 
And there was this handy command figures in the mix, which I simply mounted up. He will do nicely as the contingent/brigade commander in a game. 

And perhaps best of all, the entire contingent fits nicely into a single Very Useful Box (blue, of course, to signify Bavarians).  Bruce has since moved on from our club, but I would like to publicly thank him for this splendid gift, which I have finally done some justice to.  I intend to add this contingent to the first game that I get on the table (once I have a new permanent gaming space again). 


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