Saturday, August 15, 2015

Paint Table Saturday

Hmmm, haven’t done the in a while.  So what’s on the paint table today?   Made a little more progress on these Perry Brothers American Civil War artillerists, guns and limbers.  I know certain parties didn’t like this last time I mentioned this project, but too bad.   There may be some Union artillerists in the next batch which will work, seeing as these are timeshare guns.

And just started these GW Gondorian soldiers, courtesy of the very kind Chris Stoesen.   Not terribly challenging, painting this lot.

Blessings to your paint brushes!


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Fiat Lux! Shedding Light On The Wargames Room

When we bought the new house, I was amazed at how much light was in the designated wargames room.   Eight neon light fixtures in pairs, for a total of sixteen neon bulbs.  That’s a lot of light!  It makes me wonder what the previous owners did in that room.   Possibly something of an illegal botanical venture?  The town I live in now, Barrie, Ontario, has a long and fabled history of such ventures.

After moving in, I quickly realized that only four of the neon bulbs in the wargames room were working.   Possibly the old bulbs had burned out?   I went off to the local DIY store and bought a dozen neon bulbs, rushed home, installed them, and at best got only faint flickering.   How disappointing.

It’s probably the ballast, Madame Padre observed wisely.  It just so happened we had the electrician coming the next day to fix other things that had mysteriously stopped working since we took possession.  Funny how that happens.   He gave Mdme. P. a quite to replace the ballasts in the six fixtures - around $800.   Yikes, we said.

I wasn’t quite sure what a ballast was, but I found a ton of how to videos on YouTube, such as this one.  Now, I have done a few minor home electrical projects before, but always with great fear and trepidation, on the general principle that you connect the same coloured wires together and all will be well.   Even so. there’s always that moment at the start, after I turn off the breaker and I nervously touch the wires, thinking this is the last thing I’ll ever do, but there was the ceiling light and fan I installed last year, and the garage door opener before, and I’ll still here..    So I watched the video again.  Doesn’t look that hard, I sez.   So back to the DIY store I went, found a ballast (about $25 Cdn) and found the whole process fairly easy.  Remove the offending old ballast (pictured below), install the new one, wire it up ...


… and cross my fingers, throw the breaker, turn the switch, and voila!  Mdme. Padre celebrates the achievement.



This operation leaves me with five more ballasts to replace, if I really want to get all sixteen bulbs into service.  As it is now, I have six bulbs working in a fairly small room, and the pictures from my first game looked really bright.  I suspect I’ll add at least another pair, but after the stygian gloom of the last war-game room, this much light is a luxury!

Blessings to your die rolls and wiring efforts!


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tuesday Night Boardgame: Ligny From GMT's Battles of Waterloo Take Two

I haven’t had a lot of time to push counters around, but I’ve had enough to figure out a few things, including the fairly complex rules for command and control and activation of commands (corps and divisions).    The rules are rather complex, so I’m making slow progress.

Here’s the situation at the end of the 13:00 to 13:30 turn.  I don’t blame you for not making much sense of it.   The town of Ligny is in the centre, as is Blucher’s I Corps under Zeiten..   At the top, Pirch’s II Corp is beginning to march south to reinforce Blucher.  At the extreme right, the first elements of Thielmann’s III Corps is entering the map.  French are coming on at the bottom.

For the Frenchers,  left to right, Milhaud’s IV Corps CavRes, the Imperial Guard under Drouot,and Gerard’s IV Corps just starting to come on. The III Corps is out of the shot on the left.   Note that many of the units are followed by a n Extended Column marker.   While most units are brigade sized, the game has some tactical aspects, including large units taking up extra space while moving in column on roads and paths.   Units with 6 or more Strength Points  in tactical movement as opposed to road movement can flip these counters and adopt an extended line formation to maximize their firepower.


I haven’t quite decided how the French attacks are going to work.  I suspect it will be III and IV Corps, supported by the Guards artillery.  One of the interesting things about this game is the sequence of play, which is a chit pull system.  Depending on the Supreme Commander’s command rating, he can choose a number of chits representing Corps and Commands.    Blucher gets two, and Napoleon starts with three (his command rating depends on his health from turn to turn).  The sides take turns drawing chits, and once they are gone, they take turns trying to activate Corps and Commands that spent the turn without a chit.   I’ve pretty much got that figured out.  Now to work on the combat mechanics.

Speaking of games, Victory Point announced recently that it was discontinuing several of its titles.   I wanted two games because of their Canadian content, Operation Veritable, about the capture of the Reichswald in 19944-45, and their Juno Beach game from their D-Day system.   I also couldn’t resist getting “Toe-to-Toe Nuc’lr Combat With the Rooskies”, a tongue in cheek solitaire game about red-blooded B-52 bomber crews.  Hard to resist.

I suspect I’ll tell you about the B-52 game along with my next Ligny update.

Blessings to your die rolls!


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Opening Knight in the Wargames Room



The kind and talented Jonathan Freitag held a contest recently on his blog and I was quite thrilled to receive this prize in the mail last week.   I wish I had acknowledged and thanked Jonathan sooner, but I thought it would be appropriate thanks to show that I’ve already employed this useful little book.

This book is valuable in two ways.  First, it provides 2-3 page rules for classic wargaming periods ranging from Ancients to WW2.   The rules are extremely brief and simple.   Each period has four troop types, and the rules for all these periods share an IGO/UGO turn structure: move, shoot and melee.    There are no morale or leadership rules, but for an hour long war-game, not every rules concept can be included.

The other useful thing about this book is that the second half features a set of scenarios, thirty in all, which would work for the rules in the book or for more complicated rules.  This combination of smiple rules and fast scenarios seemed like a perfect way to inaugurate the wargames room.

Since I had just unpacked the box containing my 28mm medievals figures, which have been sitting in that box for four moves and at least ten years, I decided to break them out and try Thomas’ medieval rules.  In a very simple confrontation, using the Pitched Battle scenario, the forces of Humphrey de la Tour Palouse face off against the retinue of Godfrey Mainfort.  Humphrey has allied himself with Oswry the Usurper and promised to deliver him the North in return for being made Lord of the Marches and marrying his daughter Esmerelda to Oswry’s rodent-faced son Ranulph.   Godfrey Mainfort, on the other hand, is loyal to Penric, uncle and Protector of the two young princes of the late King Bohemund the Pious.   The two armies meet on the windy moors to decide the contest.

Both sides are identical in composition:  three units of knights, and a unit each of archers, men-at-arms and levies, since both roll the same number on the random force generation table.  Duc Godfrey chooses to mass all of his chivalry on his left wing, while Humphrey only has two thirds of his knights on his right wing.


Humphrey’s array.   Many of these figures, including the peasants in the foreground, are about twenty years old.   I’m glad my friend James convinced me never to get rid of them.


Godfrey’s knights surge forward.  They will mass 2 to 1 and 1 to 1 on Humphrey’s two units, annihilating one immediately.   As you can see from the white bases at the top of this picture, I had started a rebasing project, years ago, then forgotten about it.  I suppose I should revisit that project, as most of these figures are based singly on pieces of cereal box cardboard, and the state of the basing art has progressed since then.

Lord Stanley of Barrie adjudicates the clash of chivalry.  A most palpable hit, he cries.  Now, where’s the tuna you promised me for this gig?

Humphrey’s unengaged unit of knights rides down Godfrey’s archers, which are old Minifigs castings with one Wargames Foundry figure closest to the camera.

In return, Godfrey’s chivalry, having crushed Humphrey’s right wing, ride down his archers while Humphrey’s men at arms look increasingly endangered.  In the back of the photo, a unit of Godfrey’s knights rides in pursuit of Duc Humphrey.  Some of the charging knights are RAFM and others are Minifgs.  The archers are Wargames Foundry.  I don’t recall who made the halberdiers at the bottom right.  Citadel, perhaps?

Who legs it, with his surviving knights, leaving his foot to their dubious fates.  Notice in the photo below how my collection, which was quite haphazard, combines a late medieval/WOTR era figure with early 14th century figures.   Shockingly ahistoric, but these were collected in long ago, more innocent days, when I was content to grab whatever figures I could find on a limited budget.

Duc Humphrey has escaped to plan his revenge.  The fate of the realm is far from decided.   There will be other battles.

Joanathan, thanks for your very kind gift.  It was a great pleasure, in my distracted state, to use this great little book for a cheap and cheerful battle with some old, old friends.  I will turn to this book again, I am sure.

Blessings to your die rolls!


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tuesday Night Boardgame: Ligny From GMT's Battles of Waterloo

It’s a retro post tonight as I finally punched a game I’ve had for ages, GMT’s Battles of Waterloo, a 1994 game design by Richard Berg.   I bought it and three other titles through a sale after a friend of mine told me about this new, up and coming gaming company called GMT.  My newfound Napoleonics interest made me want to go back and give it a try.

I’ve decided to start with the Ligny scenario.  It’s a big game, played on two maps (the maps are clever back printed to allow four battles in one box.  The new house gives me a study with a door I can keep closed from the dreaded kitty cats.  Even so Ligny is a big game, taking up my entire desk.  Here’s the initial setup, with the Prussians in the centre and the French just coming onto the map.

Old “Vorwarts” Blucher ponders how he can extricate his army from the French tide and link up with Wellington.  It’s quite a nice map.

While Napoleon together with Grouchy plot the piecemeal destruction of the Allied armies

Here’s a bit of gaming history.


In the bottom of the box I found a GMT 1994 catalogue.  Billingsley, Berg, Herman - quite the lineup of talent that they were able to include as part of the GMT team.  The artwork already has that signature style of Rodger MacGowan that makes boardgames of previous decades look so dull.   A reminder of how long ago 1994 was, the game design notes mention that Berg and the play testers were able to collaborate using an awesome piece of technology called the Genie Information System.  Hands up if you remember GEnie.   Bonus marks if you ever played a game using GEnie.

Hopefully next Tuesday I’ll actually have something to say about the game itself.

Blessings to your die rolls!


Monday, August 3, 2015

Back To The Brushes

A big accomplishment  this long weekend, other than sawing the box spring of our spare bed in half (long story), was getting my painting desk set up in the back corner of the basement.  Hurrah!  I’m hoping it won’t be too cold in the winter.  The advantage of the narrow space is that it certainly focuses my attention.

There are a lot of half-finished projects to unpack, but I thought I’d start with the first thing that came out of the box, these Perry Brothers 28mm figures from their American Civil War artillery set.   Very inexpensive compared to their equivalent lead figures.  I’m painting these as Confederates, even if that means gritting my teeth and using as many different colours (shades of gray and butternut)  as possible for the uniforms.  Nice to have the artillery cassions, as well.


Blessings to your brushes!


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