Thursday, March 29, 2018


 It's been awhile since I've posted: out of town on some business travel, a few late-season snowstorms, and a few other things have intervened. I'm happy to break the drought with a report on our club's March Game Night.  As is the norm (among our abnormals) there were three games on offer:  A WWII Iron Cross Game, An Indian Mutiny Brother Against Brother, and a Medieval Have Fun Storming the Castle, Lads game.  I played in the last, a GIF animated story of which is at the bottom of this post.  As usual, you may clix pix for BIG PIX.  There is also an excellent report on AJ's Wargaming Blog  

On The Road to Lucknow: Indian Mutiny
Byron, at the head of the table, presides over his Indian Mutiny Game. 

Byron is quite accomplished at running Brother Against Brother Indian Mutiny games, and he'll be bringing this game to the Historicon Convention in July. 

 Operation Charnwood, July 4, 1944: Iron Cross

Fellow blogger AJ briefing players for his Iron Cross Game pitting Canadians vs Germans.
Iron Cross has captured the attention of our group to the extent that it will be featured as the rules for our upcoming October Game Day (an annual large game that our group runs on a Saturday).  Several members of the club are running a series of Iron Cross games leading up to that event to get the club oriented. 

 Many Rivers To Cross: Okay Just One: Medieval--Franks vs Saracens
Michael B explaining his Have Fun Storming the Castles, Lads, home-brew system to players before the game. 
This was the game I played in. Here is the description: A Saracen force attacks a crusader castle that guards a river crossing. They are too small a force to storm the castle, so the Saracens seek to burn the village that has sprung up in its shadow and to capture or kill the peasant workers and to take home the livestock before they can take shelter or flee across the river.  

I was among three Saracen players, and we were pitted against four Franks.  It was something of a blur.  I was in the center, so I basically took my two units (one of foot and one of horse) and charged down the middle of the table to cause as much havoc as possible and get as far as I could while my compatriots worked their way down the flanks.   In short, I ran the gauntlet.  The following panels give you an idea of how my mission came to be called the "Martyr's Charge"--I'll leave it to the end of this report to let you know whether or not we heroic defenders of the Holy Land prevailed over the Frankish interlopers.
 The Franks Coordinating Their Move
My Main Striking Force strikes fear in the Franks. I had inadvertantly grabbed a leader figure (the fellow in blue) from a neighboring Saracen player (John) and used it along with my men-at-arms for most of the game. It took awhile to notice (as you'll see in this story). 

The charge begins--Well, Mostly...

The Franks, in an act of desperation, move a line of foot in front of their crossbows...

...which the Saracens made them pay for, but with bowfire. In the next phase, the Saracen horse followed up with its charge, but the Franks had the countermove and so were able to slink out of contact. In the background can be seen fellow Saracen player Paul.

The Martyr's Charge hits home--sort of. This wound up being near the end of the game. The footare fellow Saracen John's, who had by then worked his way around on the right. Shortly after this, he would reclaim his leader figure (who survived the solo charge into the crossbows).

In the end, although a ferry full of peasants and livestock were gotten across the river, we had grabbed enough livestock, picked off enough peasants, and (most of all) caused enough destruction by putting the church to the torch to be declared victors over the Franks (although this was one of those victories that sure felt like a beating!).

 Putting away the toys after the game

That concludes my report on our March Game Night, dear readers. In sum,  it was another fine thing, to gather with friends and push toy soldiers at the end of the week.

Sunday, March 11, 2018


 It Looks More Orderly Than It Is: There is More Stuff Than Shelf Space (and You Can't See What's Left, Right, and Behind the Camera): Sorting and Culling Is In Order.

Ever since sometime in late August, things have been something of a blur--a combination of high tempo at work, a series of disruptive unplanned trips half way across the country to deal with family issues, and gaming projects that I didn't "recover" from before moving on, have all taken their toll on my "man cave." The spiral into entropy began with putting together the Ramillies 1815 game, for which my room was both the workshop and staging area.  And then, once it was over, I brought the stuff home and just dumped it in the room, an explosion of 28mm Napoleonics,  terrain, reference sheets, game bits, etc.  I walked away and left it "for later" to sort and stow. The time and energy for that, though, didn't come. Meanwhile, I tinkered with one or two more games (abortive), which left more stuff sitting out.  Of course I acquired new toys, a few more books, and did a few more painting projects, all things that would need new homes to be found, but which instead just got put in the room--sitting out mixed in with the exploded old stuff.  And that has been the state of things for the last few months.  I was operating right at the capacity of the room before.  I'm past that now:  the long-anticipated clear out is a matter of necessity. 
 Napoleonics In The Attic

I've taken the first big step, which was to take my 15mm Napoleonics out of the room and up into the attic--from there, I suspect that they may continue on their way out of my collection, but that's for later. For now, this step has opened up shelf space that will allow me to get some traction on the project (these used to occupy the open shelf space in the right hand corner of the opening picture).

 Perhaps when all is done, I'll be able to do better than lean my swords up in the corners.

I've been whacking away at this a bit at a time over the last few weeks. I intend to dedicate more and longer stretches of time to this project now (dare I call it "spring cleaning"?). I guess somewhere in the back of my head has also been the growing sense that I have reached that point where, as a gamer of a certain vintage, there is stuff that just needs to go. That is a long term thing that I'll no doubt start to engage with in this process (the 15mm Napoleonics being a start). In the short term, the urgency is upon me to to turn the room around so that I can start hosting games again (I'm overdue) and also so that I can start playtesting my Huzzah! game, coming up in May--now there's some more positive motivation!


Thursday, March 1, 2018


Hungarian Artillery in Kepi: Converted Northstar 1866 Austrian Gunners

For the long suffering readers of this blog who have been hearing about this (surprisingly extended) project, I shan't try their endurance further by reciting what has already been said. For them, this eye candy is the "payoff" for their endurance and helpful nudges along the way.  For those who are unfamiliar with the project and who may be otherwise curious or afflicted with a similar mania and interested in replicating this madness, you may recover the details of the conversion  in the Jan 28th Post,  the Feb 5th Post, and the Feb 23rd Post.  As usual, you may clix pix for BIG PIX.
  "Red Cap" Artillerymen with 8 pounder
Blue-capped gunners with 4 pounder
Candy-striped guns (they won't be mistaken for Austrians!)
The Hungarian grand battery: one "red cap" battery and two blue.

Re-reading Bill Haggert's excellent piece in the Midwest Wargamer's Association Newsletter #120 (Dec 2002) on the Hungarian Revolt, 1848-49, I found an interesting tidbit on the Hungarian artillery.  Its core was formed from the former Imperial 5th Artillery Regiment, which was a Hungarian unit stationed in Pest, which defected to Hungary en masse. Most of the volunteers who joined the Hungarian artillery were university students.  So the Hungarian artillery, a technical service that normally might be of low quality in a breakaway state was, to the contrary, "so proficient that the Austrians were convinced that they were facing French mercenaries from the newly Republican France" (Haggert, MWAN, p21).  So, in answer to the caustic query of, "They're pretty, but can they fight?" The answer is: Igen, Igen!
Clever lads with pretty guns--who shoot pretty well.

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