Friday Grab Bag #7: The Smeagol Edition

October 20, 2017

After finally scoring some suitable models for Nazgul, I still am looking for a Smeagol figure.  I suppose a 15mm something would do.  My son thought a toad looking figure would work.  At that point he’d only seen the Rankin and Bass hobbit and Return of the King.  As well, a goblin figure would work nicely.  Whatever I decide on, the figure should be hobbit sized or perhaps slightly larger, should be relatively unarmed and should have minimal, raggedy clothing.

I need to make some more terrain bits.  Mostly card models of ruins will do, but maybe some dungeon models too.  I have EZ Dungeons and the Halls of the Mountain King from Fat Dragon.  Both work well for LotR but are also can be used for just about any fantasy or even pulp setting.

I’ve found a few old GW Fellowship of the Ring scenarios online.  These will be ideal for Frostgrave or any other low level skirmish game for that matter as they are solid “chase” scenarios.  One thing I am looking for is scenarios that follow the path from the book, The Hobbit.   I think that a Smaug scenario would probably not be terribly interesting.  In the halls, the scenario would play out with literally just 2 figures: a dragon and a hobbit.  Sounds kind of dull.  The spider encounter would probably be pretty fun. Maybe Bilbo has to kill a certain number of spiders before he can free his companions.  My son and I played out the Troll encounter.  A battle report was in a previous post.  I’m not sure what to do about the Elf encounter either.  It involves the Dwarves and Bilbo escaping the Wood Elf stronghold.  I suppose I can change it up a bit and make it a little more high adventure.

I think the end-game will be the Battle of Five Armies.  From the book if you please!  This would be a scenario where the enemy keeps coming until certain events happen and ultimately ends when the Eagles arrive.  I think Dragon Rampant will make an excellent set to play the battle out with.

I’m planning on doing a little show and tell session.  I only need to get some time to actually take some pictures.  I finished up all my ACW cavalry and also have a slew of Orcs that I just finished painting.  Hopefully this weekend.  Until then…


Friday Grab Bag #6: Musings on Games

October 13, 2017

I played my first game of Astounding Tales by Howard Whitehouse this weekend.  It is a simple set of rules for pulp adventuring.  Most of the game is open ended with some traditional mechanics to resolve combat, movement and so forth.  It is a game where, if you have a plausible idea, no matter how far fetched, the game master should devise a way to resolve its success or failure.  The game is on Wargame Vault and can be had for only $5.  I’ve not purchased yet because I have no clear plan to start yet another genre.

I don’t like cleaning up flash from soft plastic miniatures.  For those that don’t know, flash is the mold lines and “ears” that are sometimes covering the edges of the figure where the mold comes together.  Filing and sanding can’t be done as that shreds soft plastic.  A method I am keen to try is scraping down the flash and mold lines with a hot pin.  You simply put a sewing pin in a make shift handle like a wine cork.  You then can heat the pin for a few seconds in a tea light candle and then gently go over the seems of the figure.  It apparently works like a charm..

Complexity means very different things to different people.  Field of Glory was billed as an approachable game for beginners and experts alike.  I still own the rules and have never brought myself to playing them simply because they are too complex.  People tell me that Flames of War is a simple game.  If it is so simple then why in the world do you need 280+ pages to explain them?  I think many people look at the dice (usually D6) and think “It uses simple mechanics and D6s so it is a pretty simple game.”  Well, a collection of simple parts can make a very complex system.  A computer is a collection of parts that can count from 0 to 1.  A computer is very complex as there are many of these parts arranged in such a way that they can perform very complex tasks.  Anymore, when someone tells me about a simple game, I immediately ask how many pages there are of actual rules?  That usually speaks volumes.

Supplements and codices also baffle me.  If you have a book with the unit data already there, why do you need supplements?  It seems this is a way for companies to sell copy.  DBA, while somewhat expensive, has always been a single source book.  There is no need for any supplements.  The game has all the armies you need in the book.  Warhammer, Flames of War, Field of Glory all have army books.  True, you only need the supplement or two that cover the era you are most interested.  Most gamers end up buying them all anyway.  Once upon a time, part of the fun of our hobby was in the research.  We seem to have fallen to having someone do all the work for us and then we pay them for their hard work.  I suppose it is a quick and easy way to go but I think many miss out on an opportunity to learn something about history, not just war.

MWAN 101: Gaming with 6th Graders

October 12, 2017 was looking through a PDF copy of MWAN 101 which includes a great article by John Stafford on gaming with 6th graders.  There is an introductory piece which includes a brief description of how he devised the game and a battle report describing how the game went.  At the end of the article is the rules used for this game.  It is based mostly on the On to Richmond rules from back in the early 80s.  The game uses a pair of 6 sided dice for all mechanics.  The rules fit on about 3 pages really.   From what I gathered from both the article and the rules sheets, the game is scaled at about 700 men per stand and each unit is about 1 division.  Confederate divisions are quite large compared to their Union counterparts.  If running this, I would arbitrarily make confederate divisions 2 roughly equal units which together total the entire strength of that division.  The other thing I would add is a penalty for under strength units at -1 per stand less than 6.  I would also allow a second shot with a unit that has more than 6 stands at the appropriate penalty.  Thus, an 8 stand unit would get 1 shot at full strength and a second shot with a 2 strength (ie -4) to the die roll.  This is a brilliantly simple set of rules and is well worth the price of the magazine.  I am looking forward to giving these rules a try with my son.

Back from Southern Front

October 9, 2017

For those that don’t know, Southern Front is a small convention held every fall in Raleigh, North Carolina.  The conventrion has a usual attendance of just under 100 people.  There are usually a half dozen games going on at any one time and there are usually several dealers for you to spend your money on.  If you are within a few hours, I highly recommend this convention, if only for the nice ladies and gentlemen who attend.  Below is a selection of games that were played this weekend.

Arab Slavers attack some cultists who are trying to use the heroin as a sacrifice. Yeah. Everyone has their faults. Don’t judge! The game played was Astounding tales by Howard Whitehouse. Highly recommended!

Another view. Chinese underground and Chicago Mafia being ambushed by various denizens.

A racing game. Note how far I was ahead before I spun out. I could have won this one by downshifting to 4th gear but I kept my promise to run the whole race in 5th gear. And I would have made it too if wit weren’t for

Snake Oiler came within a car length of winning and besting his rival Speed Racer but it was Speed managed second place while Speed Buggy took the checkered flag.

Tron themed game. This one was very clever. Perhaps a little slow playing but quite fun never the less. It was programs vs the computer. We didn’t make it to the central processing unit.

A grand view of the desert town. The GMs left this setup all weekend. The racing game, an El Cid game and a Conan game, a Zombiecyde game and a Conan game were all played on this board. The GM used kabob skewers to help denote the movement zones.

Here are some pictures of other games played that I did not participate in or know little about.  Very nice terrain setups.

A WW I game

I did play in this one! Faction based objectives. Great fun!

Le feu Sacre I think.

The purchases for the weekend. A friend gave me 7 Reveresco “28mm” knights. They are absolutely closer to 1/72 scale.

Foreign Legion battle.

Going Medieval This appeared to be a Norman v Saxon fight..

Harlequins on bikes?

Pointe du Hoc. Note the nice looking card model Higgins boats. This was a pretty nice looking game.

Another Medieval or Ancients game.  I took the shot for the layout but the battle looks quite nice!

Traffic was bit slow going both ways from home to the con and back.  I had a great time but was happy to be home when it was all done.  Looking forward to next year.


Friday Grab Bag #5 – The Traveling Life!

October 6, 2017

I am making my yearly pilgrimage to Southern Front in North Carolina today.  As such, I don’t have much of a grab bag to share.  There will be plenty of games to be played and even a little beer to be consumed.  When I come back, I shall have some pictures o share and maybe even a battle report or two.  Until then….

More Thoughts on Simplicity in Practice

October 5, 2017

SIP will work well for any sort of linear warfare.  Even Napoleonic wargaming should work with these rules if we accept the abstract.  But my thoughts today are for the English Civil War and Thirty Years War.  To start, the basic building blocks are already in SIP.  Regiments of troops are all close order infantry.  Light infantry could be commanded shot, forlorn hope and the like.  Heavy Cavalry and Dragoons are anything like Curasiers, Reiters, Dragoons (who don’t charge into combat but still shoot) and other sorts of Europeoan heavy horse similar to  the Swedes. Light cavalry would be Hussars, Cossacks and such.  Finally, artillery is artillery.  It represents all forms of gunnery.

The first arm to consider is the infantry.  This will be the trickiest to deal with.  First off, they have a large portion of long pikes.  I would prohibit cavalry charges to the front until the infantry have taken at least 1 DP.  There is also unit sizes to deal with.  If you are dealing with just the English Civil War, all infantry regiments are roughly the same size at somewhere around 500 men.  Larger proportions of pike would get an advantage in melee vs enemies that do not measure up.  But, these units would suffer in shooting.  New Model Army regiments as well as swedes would have an advantage in shooting.  But what of the larger Imperial and Spanish regiments?  These regiments were about twice the size of a Dutch or Swedish regiment.  However, they were also deployed about twice as deep meaning the frontage they took up was only a little wider.  I’d allow them to take another DP for a total of five before being routed.  I’d also allow them to shoot well simply because of the large amount of shot in the regiment.  It would also not have any flank vulnerability.  Finally, there is the large, 2000 man Spanish square. This was purportedly used at Lutzen. I would allow it to take 2 extra DPs for a total of 6 before it is eliminated.  I would also allow it to shoot in two directions.  It would also not have any flank or rear vulnerability.

Cavalry is pretty straight forward.  Cavalry can either shoot or not shoot depending on the type.  I suppose dragoons would be broken up into two classes.  They would be mounted arquibusers and actual dragoons.  arquibusers would fire from the saddle and may charge home.  Dragoons fire similar to arquibusers but may not charge home.  Instead, the get a bonus on shooting if they do not move that turn.  Light cavalry also may not charge home but may shoot to harass the enemy.

The only modification for artillery is that once it fires, it is assumed to be set for the battle.  In those times, artillery was moved by civilian teamsters.  These teamsters did not want to fight so they would drag the guns into position and then get out of the way.

I’ll probably mock up a couple of cardboard armies and give these rules a go.  I purchased a few figures from Permes from WGV.  I’ve already experimented with reducing size in GIMP.  The figures look pretty good.  That was a while ago.  So no pictures as of yet.


All About Nothing: Friday Grab Bag #4

September 29, 2017

I’m a wargame butterfly.  Recently I got up a nice head of steam and painted up a bunch of Afrika Korps infantry.  Then I found Nazgul well suited for my LotR 1/72 scale project so  just HAD to stop and paint then.  I am trying to get refocused on WW2 but Lord of the Rings (maybe it is the call of the Witch-King) is holding me back.  The sad part is, somehow I am feeling the draw of the Horse and Musket era too.

Someone inquired about the 2 AB41 scout cars on my paint table.  It at least prompted me to maybe give them the paint job they deserve.  They are nice models after all.  Well, at breakfast, I thought I’d clean up the tiny bulges you sometimes get with resin models.  I found out the hard way that the wheels were not molded on but glued on.  Pop went he wheel.  Stab went the knife into my thumb.  To make matters worse, I could not find the wheel anywhere on the floor.  My daughter is home sick so I told her she could find the wheel if she was up to it.  She pointed down on the floor, “You mean that wheel?”  Crisis averted.

There are fan made rules for playing Frostgrave same side which suits my son fine.  He can’t seem to do well when he fights me.  I am using good old tactics.  I hit/neutralize targets that are imminent threats and then focus firepower on other targets or destroy the ones that have been neutralized.  It’s not really different from modern infantry tactics.  Anyway, I told him about playing same side games.  He also has an interest in LotR as we just finished up the trilogy of movies recently.  So Frostgrave already has behavior rules for monsters and the rules for solo play require that you spawn monsters randomly around the board 2 at a time.  It should make for some challenging “chase” style scenarios.  We can pick up loot along the way.

I’ve been a good boy except for adding the odd figures that are needed to round out a project.  The lead pile never seems to shrink.  I’ve been stricken with the fever that most miniatures gamers get, buying the the latest shiny objects or starting a new project because it looks “cool.”  I have not started a new project in years.  I have several stalled projects though.  Well maybe not stalled.  Just temporarily halted while I vacillate between them all.  Slow and steady I suppose.