Monday, October 16, 2023

Games From My Past

I admit that I was a weird kid.  In senior high school I was poor, had no car, and was thus severely handicapped in the dating game.  What I had was a love of military history, a small income from summer jobs, and an older friend, David, son of my parents’ friends, who introduced me to paper war-games.    Thus I had a subscription to SPI’s house organ, Strategy and Tactics, and an opponent who was happy to beat up on me on evenings when I should have been learning calculus (I never did).   To this day, old hex and counter war-games, especially SPI titles and their distinct, slightly musty smell, are a Proustian gateway to the late 1970s.

Thus it was with great happiness that I discovered via Twitter a fellow who was selling off a considerable stock of old paper war-games.   I took a bit of a risk in sending him money (I won’t disclose the sum but, while considerable, it was very fair) and then waited while the promised games were boxed.  Once I got a legit tracking number, I figured he was a decent chap, and sure enough a box arrived last week, a sort of time capsule of SPI at the height of its powers in the late 1970s.

Two of these games are well known to me.  I played Empires of the Middle Ages a lot in undergraduate days, and it probably cemented my desire to do graduate work in medieval studies.   SPI’s Middle Earth trilogy was likewise something that I played, a LOT, though sadly I sold both titles during a period of youthful poverty.

The other two titles are ones I’ve wanted for a long time.  Art of Siege features four famous sieges from Alexander’s siege to Tyre to Lille and Sevastapol in the gunpowder era.   Never played, long wanted.  Likewise, Campaign for North Africa is the Mount Everest of paper monster games.    It has a legendary aura, as a ludicrously complex, unplayable white elephant, but as someone who once played Avalon Hill’s Africa Corps, it represents the extreme other end of the complexity scale from that legendary AH game.  Will I play CNA?  Maybe.   Maybe I’ll die with it on the shelf. But I had to have it.

Did I say that these four games were unpunched?

Blessings to your die rolls.


Sunday, September 24, 2023

Finished First Playthrough of Burma: The Forgotten War

I’ve finished my first solitaire play through of Mark Herman’s Burma: The Forgotten War from C3i Nr 35.  Here’s a quick look at how this game and it’s Empire of the Sun system is card driven.   Both sides get four cards in each of the four turns, but at the start of Turn 4 the Allies get a US B29 unit and through a successful Strategic Warfare turn have reduced the Japanese hand to three cards.   Of these, the best card is Col Tsuji, which if used as an Event card gives Japanese land units a boost but doesn’t allow any of the (still substantial) Japanese air units a boost.   The other two cards, if used as Offensive Cards rather than events, don’t activate that many units (the large number top right hand corner plus the HQ value of 1).

On the other hand, the Allies get four cards, all of which can be used as Events, in which case the number of units activated equals the Logistics value in the text of the card plus the HQ value of 1.  So the Allies can punch hard against the Japanese in the last turn.

And the final result at close of play.  The Allies have totally broken the Japanese lines.   One Japanese air and land unit at the top right is isolated and out of supply,  and their are only two Japanese land units left defending Rangoon.  The Burma road from Jarhat in North India can be traced all the way to Kunming in China, India is militarily safe (though politically a little wobbly) and China is still very much in the war, so one the Victory Points are added up, it’s an Allied decisive victory.

Somebody on Twitter (I refuse to call it by E Muskrat’s name) quipped that game designers are too fond of the word “Forgotten” but truth be told this is the only WW2 game I’ve ever played on the Burma campaign.  I have an MMP game on Burma which I haven’t tried yet, but I think that has a crunchier land war focus, whereas Herman gives you a good sense of the limited options available to the Japanese and the limited resources the Allies had to prosecute this theatre.   In another game I might explore the Chinese subgame more, where the Japanese can just defend on the map and use more cards for Chinese offensives (abstracted) which can drive down China’s ability to stay in the war and thus possibly yield more VPs.   Any Japanese cards that can be played to destabilize India are also worthwhile, as that does limit Allied replacements for their land units.

Good to play a hex and counter game again.  I recently purchased Mark’s South Pacific: Breaking the Bismarck Barrier 1942-43 game (C3i Nr 30) which also used the Empire of the Sun system, and now that I know the EoS mechanics I can give it a try before I try the big game.

Cheers, thanks for reading, and blessings to your die rolls.


Monday, September 18, 2023

New Ottoman Figures and Excellent Service From Warfare Miniatures USA

Pray ye, gentles, pardon this blurry picture of some ancient 28mm Ottomans in my collection, they were quickly painted back sometime in the 1990s and are a mixed lot of Janissaries and the lower row are Tufeckis.  I have no idea what make of figure they are or how I acquired them.  Judging from the primitive muskets they are meant to be 17th century.

I wanted to flesh out the fellows on the bottom into their own unit, and so while searching the internet for Ottoman figures and flags, I came across Warfare Miniatures USA, based out of Virginia.  They specialize in 17th / early 18th century figures.

These are some of the Warfare Miniatures Tufeckis compared to one of my old painted ones.  They compare well in size, though the new figures have longer muskets, which are sadly a bit bendy but otherwise the figures are decent.

And finally, here are the paper Ottoman flags that arrived in the same shipment, printed cleanly on heavy card stock.

Before I close, a word of appreciation for this vendor.   When my original shipment arrived via UPS while I was on holiday and then got returned after I missed the deadline for final pickup because I was out of the country, Clarence at Warfare Miniatures USA reshipped the order via US Postal Service and didn’t charge me for the second shipment,  A real gentleman, and I commend his customer service and products to your consideration.



Monday, September 11, 2023

Game On The Table: Burma The Forgotten War

Hello friends:

Just a quick proof of life blog post to show that I’m here and still interested in wargames, just terribly short of time.

On the gaming table currently is a paper game, Burma 1943-44, The Forgotten War.   It’s a design by Mark Herman that shipped in the most recent C3i Magazine publication of Rodger McGowan which is essentially the GMT Games in-house magazine.

This is a strategic-level game that uses the same engine as Herman’s Empire of the Sun (2005) which covers all of WW2 in the Pacific.  I have EOS but thought that the Burma game would be a good way to learn the system, which is card-driven and focuses a turn on a series of possible military, political or economic events.   Cards can be played for specific effects as printed on the card (eg, the Japanese can use certain cards to make India more politically unstable for the British and cutting off key reinforcements and replacements needed to police the Raj instead of supporting the Burma offensive) or the like.

Or, cards can be played for their logistic and command and control values to allow certain units to act offensively, or to react defensively.   Thus, it’s not one of those games where every unit can do something during each turn.  It requires a lot of thought, and as it’s a card game, would doubtless be more fun as a two player game.

The puzzle for the Allies is to use their limited resources to punch a hole through the Japanese defences and push on Rangoon before the war ends.  The Japanese have a decent army and some air units, and can either play defensively or make their own attempts to reach India or knock the Chinese out of the game.

Not a simple game but it’s short (four turns) and halfway through my first try I’m enjoying it and feeling like I’m mastering the system.

Cheers and blessings to your die rolls,


Thursday, July 6, 2023

WIP: 28mm TAG Janissaries

Hello friends:

As usual, the usual disclaimer about not having posted much here because too busy, real life, etc etc.

I can report some progress on the podcasting front, there is new edition of The Canadian Wargamer Podcast just up, in which we talk mostly about a big Napoleonics kiegspiel we just finished by email.

On the painting front, other than some scale model aircraft, I’ve been working on a unit of 28mm Ottoman Janissaries, metal sculpts from The Assault Group, very nice figures.

I’m totally improvising with the uniforms, just whatever colours strike my fancy.  Someone said on Twitter to me today that blue was a standard Janissary uniform, but the rest (and especially the officers) was whatever took my fancy.  To me the Ottomans are practically an Imaginations army anyway, but they give my Seven Years War Russians an opponent while I work on my SYW Prussian collection, a longer term project.

The blue and red are GW/Citadel contrast paints, the rest are mostly Foundry tritone paints with some AK thrown in.

Hopefully I’ll have this unit fielded by midsummer.

Thanks for looking,  be well and blessings to your brushes!






Friday, May 26, 2023

Painting Styles: A Thirty Year Journey

This week a new unit was mustered into my 18th Century Russian army, and a suitable parade was organized. The First Grenadier Regiment’s new banners (flags by Adolfo Ramos) were blessed by the Czar’s preeminent mad padre, Father Mikhail Petrovich.  

Then, the Grenadiers passed in review before the commanding officer.  So why is this the First Grenadier Regiment?  Because it is the first such regiment that I ever painted, some thirty years ago, sometime around 1990 as I recall.  

Here below on the front of the right-hand base you can see three of the original figures, Front Rank Russian SYW grenadiers advancing which I purchased from the long defunct and legendary Emperor’s Headquarters, which I once visited on the south side of Chicago (I think it was the south side, it was a long drive).  I was a starving graduate student at the time, on a tight budget, so I think I purchased sixteen figures.   I was working from black and white drawings in a book on SYW Russian uniforms that I was lucky enough to find, and used whatever paints I could lay my hands on.   The green of the tunics was from a bottle of FolkArt craft paint (I want to say the colour was named Clover??) which wasn’t as dark as the traditional Russian Green of the period but I thought maybe the coats could be faded?

The other figures with the upright muskets are recently purchased from Foundry, which as I’ve said here before is now my go-to range for 28mm SYW.  Once I started rebasing my SYW figures six foot to a stand, I realized that I needed more Russian grenadiers to flesh out the unit, so I ordered another 18 of these figures from Foundry and got to work on them last month.   

In thirty years I’ve learned a few things about painting.   As you can see on the old Front Rank figures, I was fairly ignorant of layers, shading and washes.   The skin was very pale, and I had an idea that if I mixed red with flesh for their cheeks, they’d look a bit like toy nutcrackers,   I did my best with the eyes, but hey have that starey look to them.    I think I mixed some red with a bit of yellow to try and give some highlights on the red turn backs, but highlighting was something I didn’t really understand well.



The difference now, besides thirty years experience, is that I can afford better materials and brushes, which offsets the slight deterioration that my eyes have experienced.  The Foundry figures are painted using he tri-tone Foundry paint system in the school of Kevin Dallimore, and as someone kindly said on Twitter the other day, these new figures are done at a good tabletop standard, a compliment I’m glad to take.   

It gave me great pleasure to fold these old and new figures into a composite grenadier battalion, and to give them spiffy new flags.   It’s a small tribute to thirty years of trial and error and slow improvements, but I love them all.   These figures and the rest of the Russian army are rumoured to be preparing to march against Turkey.   More on that soon.

Thanks for looking.  Blessings to your brushes!


Thursday, May 25, 2023

Thursday Napoleonics: 6mm Polish Lancers Finished

Good morning friends:

Back in April I did a WIP post of these figures as nearly finished, so here they are done and based.   As said before, they are 3D printed, from MC Miniatures, Polish Uhlans in French service.

One pleasant thing I’ve discovered about painting these strips is that a little effort goes a long way.  A few variations in horse colour, for example, gives a pleasing variety but I don’t get fussy about painting socks or blazes on the odd one as I would with 28mm horses.   Likewise, painting only the details like the shabraque on the end figures suffices.

That being said, I still got silly with two-tones of French blue for the tunics, and used a quite tiny bush for the lance pennons, but I think it was worth the effort.  

These fellows will serve either as a single unit if I’m playing LaSalle or a full brigade for bigger battles.  Next unit on the paint bench takes me back to 28mm horses as I have 12 Front Rank Prussian SYW cuirassiers to get to grips with.

Thanks for looking and blessings to your brushes!


Monday, May 22, 2023

Checking into the blog after a busy spell (church work plus a LOT of gardening) to report on a brief game played using  Osprey’s Xenos Rampant, the new SF miniatures rules by Dan Mersey.  I heard good things about it from my friend James, and since both of us have crossed swords many times playing the fantasy rules Dragon Rampant, I thought it would be fairly easy to learn these rules since I knew the Rampant system.   I was right.

Xenos Rampant (XR) is best thought of as a tool kit that allows almost any conceivable SF trope to be modelled using the core Rampant rules architecture of values for Attack, Defence, Armour, Shooting, Morale.     The value of the tool kit comes in skills and doctrines that can be purchased for each troop type, and then a further set of “Xenos” skills that can be assigned as the SF trope demands.

In my case, I decided to pit my “Space Kitties” (Khurasan 15mm Tigrid figures), which I think of as Kzinti from the Larry Niven stories, vs humans.   I built a decent force of Kzinti-proxies using the Khurasan figures and vehicles from Ground Zero Games, giving me a mechanized platoon with some heavy support.    I’ve only recently started working on the human figures, so all I could do was pit one mounted section of cats vs a small section of human Recon Infantry.

One of the first decisions I had to make was whether to take the XR recommendation of converting inches to centimetres for 15mm figures.  I decided to keep the units as inches to give greater ranges as befitting future weapons.

Here a five man section of humans classed as Recon Infantry in XR terms.   The figures are from Darkest Sun miniatures  and since they are all I have currently painted, I decided to massively upgrade them, giving them the Sniper (no shooting penalties for long range fire), Combat Medic (chances to recover lost figures, basically a Heal spell in Dragon Rampant magic rules), and Fire Support (calling in off board artillery).   In rocky ground which is classed as hard cover, they sight a Cat APC and call in fires on it.

The fires have no effect, thanks to bad rolls, and the Skimmer goes to ground and disgorges a ten-strong section of angry Cats.   To reflect Larry Niven Kzinti canon, I made the Cats Berserker Infantry with Wild Charge, and gave them the Close Assault Doctrine which favours them in base to base assaults.    I also gave them the Mobile skill from the Xenos skills, making these Cats extra pouncy.   Not great fans of a firefight, but very fast and deadly in the charge: Banzai Space Kitties!

Here the Cats come under a second salvo of Human Fire Support and take casualties, but still charge into hand to hand combat.  Being in bad terrain meant the Humans has a decent chance to stand, which they did, throwing the Cats back with 3-1 losses.   In the following turn the human fire proved deadly and broke the Cats morale.

So a good opportunity for a quick look at XR and an incentive to paint more Terran figures and build some more SF terrain, which will mostly have a desert theme for the time being.  Good fun to dig out my SF toys and play with them, and hopefully James and I can get together for a chance to dig into XR some more.

Blessings to you die rolls!


Tuesday, April 11, 2023

#Terrain Tuesday: Warbases MDF Fields and Ponds

Hello friends:  

I’ve been quiet here last week, which, as you might expect, was a busy one for my day job as a wargaming vicar, but time to catch up now that Holy Week is concluded.

Recently I needed some custom-made MDF bases and ordered them from Warbases in the UK, as my Canadian supplier didn’t seem to need the business.   While I was on the Warbases webstore, I saw that they offered fields and ponds, in a part of the store called Terrain Bases   It wasn’t clear to me that these were 2D images printed onto MDF, I had formed the mistaken idea that they were somehow 3D, which was my own misperception.

There wasn’t a full range in stock, but I ordered two field sets, one in spring (left) and one in autumn (right).  Here are the large pieces from each set, each with a stone wall and gate around the edges.  They blend nicely against my Geek Villain game cloth.  

And two small fields in each set, again, spring (left) and autumn (right).

And I bought a set of ponds, which includes a generous five separate ponds.

28mm figure stand for scale.

And a 6mm stand for scale.  In 6mm, depending on the game scale (eg, Blucher where this one stand would represent a brigade), these would be decent sized lakes!

In 28mm, the large stand would accommodate a four or five based unit quite nicely to represent a terrain objective or a defensible terrain feature, such as a walled field.  Useful if one didn’t have enough actual wall section models.

Some folks might balk at the idea of putting 2D terrain representations on the table, which is fine, but for a fast game or if one is travelling light to a club or convention, these models might well be fit for purpose.   The quality of the printed images of the field and pond sections is pleasing, so they are a definite step up from fields and ponds of cut felt.

Cheers and blessings to your tabletops.






Saturday, April 1, 2023

Saturday Painting Bench: Lots of 6mm Napoleonics

Hello and welcome to April!   The temperature has dropped about 12C today so sitting beside the gas fire writing this post sees like a splendid use of time.

Almost finished today on the painting bench are these four strips of 6mm Napoleonic Polish Uhlans, who will soon I hope be crossing lances with Russian Cossacks in one of the opening battles of the 1812 invasion.

The figures are from MC Miniatures, the brainchild of Marco Campagna of Genoa, Italy.  Marco’s 6mm strips are ideal for mass-producing units, and is my go-to for my current rules interest, LaSalle2, which requires four bases for each unit.  They have just enough detail to satisfy, but are simple enough to paint en masse.  I printed these on an Elegoo Mars 2 machine.   Hopefully done before I go to bed, and then they can report to the Basing Depot.

 Also recently hot off the Mars printer are these strips of Austrian grenadiers, also MC Minis prints.  These fellows will be getting blue trousers, just because the blue and white Hungarian uniform is such a classic look and should pop on the table.  It may be another week before these chaps are finished.


What’s on your painting desk?

Cheers and blessings to your brushes,


Friday, March 31, 2023

Austrian Napoleonic Dragoons in 6mm from Henry Turner

 Good day friends and welcome to the weekend.  I had fully intended to post this yesterday as one of this blog’s semi-habitual Napoleonic Thursday post, but my computer had some issues and no matter, here they are today.

While I have some Austrian cuirassiers in my collection, I didn’t have any Austrian dragoons (though in 6mm it’s hard to tell the difference between the two) so I easily rectified that by printing myself a mass of 6mm figures thanks to Henry Turner’s Europe Asunder Napoleonic Kickstarter that I’d backed last year.

The figures are based as per my usual standard for 6mm Napoleonics, giving me either a division’s worth for a grand scale game like Blucher, or a full regiment of four stands (1 command stand and three rank and file bases) for Sam Mustafa’s LaSalle 2.  I have a separate post planned for basing units for LaSalle, coming soon.

The flags were purchased from Stone Mountain Miniatures.  To their credit, they have a good selection of 6mm flags, though it took me a very long time to receive them.   I always want to cut self-employed hobby business owners a lot of slack.  Who knows what’s going on in their personal lives? 

A quick word on Henry Turner’s figures.   I printed these on an Elegoo Mars 2 resin printer.   The results were quite satisfactory, the figures have a decent amount of detail, though some have told me the horses don’t look convincing.    I wouldn’t print his figures at any scale larger than 10mm, but for 6 they satisfy and mix nicely with my Baccus collection.  I’m a fan.

I have a lot of 6mm Napoleonic stuff currently on the painting desk - a substantial mass of Austrian grenadiers and some Polish Uhlans, and after that lot is done it’s back to the big scales for a while.

Cheers and thanks for looking.  Blessings to your brushes!


Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Wednesday Boardgame: C&C Napoleonics Battle of Gunzburg

I decided to give my Command and Colours Napoleonics some love, as a fast way of getting acquainted with some of the more obscure battles of the period.  I chose the second scenario from the Austrian expansion, Gunzburg.  This was one of the actions of the Ulm campaign, when General Mack ordered General D'Aspre to find a way across the Danube so that Mack might extricate his forces from Ulm.  At the same time, Ney had ordered his Third Division under Malher to seize the bridges. The battle is brilliantly described by Jeff Berry on his Obscure Battles blog here.

It’s an interesting battle because the two forces were evenly matched, about 7500 per side, and faced each other across a stretch of the Danube with four bridges, two of them leading on and off a small island in the centre.    There is also a ford near the left most bridge, though I just noticed that when I set up the board I mispositioned the ford tile closer to the centre, which may have disadvantaged the French.

Here’s the board set up.  As you can see, the ford should have been two hexes to the left, screened by the woods.  As it was, it was covered by Austrian troops on the hills, and the one attempt of the French to cross there was badly shot up.

It’s an interesting tactical problem for both sides.  The scenario gives the Austrians a temporary victory banner for holding three of the four towns, but both sides get temporary banners for holding bridges and for pushing troops across the Danube (not counting the island).  Either side can win the game if they choose to attack, though the more tempting approach is to let the other side try to cross and then punch them hard when they reach a bridge or ford.ave 

In the game I played solo, the French tried to advance, but a big (5 block!) Austrian line infantry unit smashed into the French light infantry on the right most bridge and threw them back.  That was pretty much how it went from then on as the battle became attritional.

The game ended with a 7-3 Austrian win and the French bled white after chasing an illusory success on the left wing.   In retrospect I should have tried to mass troops at several crossing points before committing to an assault.

Sharp-eyed CCN players will have noticed that I was using the Tacticians cards from Expansion 5, Generals, Marshals, and Tacticians.    I like extra opportunities that these cards provide, though I suppose some purists might complain that they make the game a little too “gamey”, like the cards in Sam Mustafa’s Longstreet.  Throwing down the “Break the Square” card when you charge with your cavalry might be gamey, but it is very satisfying.

Death of Colonel Gérard Lacuée at the battle of Günzburg, on October 9, 1805. Oil painting by Georges Moreau de Tours.

“They rolled two sabres for Leader Kill!  Damn them!”

I knew nothing about this battle before playing the game, so I learned something, and would consider lifting the victory conditions from this scenario to apply to a 6mm miniatures version, since my collection is mostly French/Austrian, though I would need to improvise to get enough river sections.  It would be a fun project.  Visiting Gunzburg and seeing the Legoland there would also be a fun project.

Thanks for reading and blessings to your die rolls! MP+


Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Terrain Tuesday: Never Enough Trees!

 A wise man (it may have been my friend James, but don’t tell him I called him wise) once said to me, “A wargamer can never have enough trees”.    I agree, though I would make an exception for gams set in the Western Desert.   For years I’ve tried making (and repairing) Woodlands Scenics model railroad tree armatures, until I met a company called Model Builders Supply (MBS) and decided that enough was enough.

MBS is a Canadian company, based in Aurora, north of Toronto, and does a wide range of products, from scenic items for architects’ models to dollhouse supplies, and recently discovered wargaming when they started exhibiting at Hot Lead.    

This year at Hot Lead I picked up a two dozen of their 28mm trees, some snow-covered spruce trees for my (sadly backburnered) Rockies Ablaze project, plus some trees in summer and some in autumn for various seasons.   The trees are sturdy and look realistic enough for my tastes.  I also picked up some of their plastic wooden shingle roof sheets for MDF models and some brick/stone sheets to model streets for a 15mm Italian village for WW2 gaming. 

Here are last year’s tree purchases, set onto LITKO irregularly shaped MDF bases.  My friend Joe Saunders likes to say that irregular shapes for basing look best for natural items like trees and such. 


Cheers and blessing to your modelling!


Monday, March 27, 2023

A Quick Video Tour of Hot Lead 2023

I had a great time as a punter at this year's Hot Lead, just wrapped up this last weekend in Stratford, Ontario.  Once again the organizers put on a showcase event for the Canadian miniatures wargames hobby, with possibly a record attendance.   Besides a full range of participation games, there were busy tournaments for Bolt Action, ancients (ADLG and DBA), as well as some wonderful looking all ages games, including one with pirate teddy bears!

I suspect that James and I will convene a panel for the second Canadian Wargamer Podcast Hot Lead After Action Report, hopefully soon.    Enjoy this short 15 minute, very amateurish video tour.  MP+


Tuesday, March 21, 2023

A Kindness From a Friend I've Yet to Meet

A small parcel arrived in the post late last week, sent entirely out of kindness by one of those beloved wargamer friends that we haven’t yet met.  

In this case, the friend is Dai, one of the regular readers of this blog,  Dai is a fellow blogger, who does interesting and lovely projects in WW2, among other stuff.   We’ve exchanged emails and messages for years and encouraged one another in our lives’ ups and downs, but I’ve never met him, and I earnestly hope to do so if I can make it to California some day.

Dai knows that I am fond of Tolkien and have quite a few of the GW figures for my LOTR gaming, with an especial fondness for the Rohirrim, so he sent me these figures from his stash, thinking I could make better use of them then he can

Well, I hope he’s right.  These are lovely figures, and while I can break the GW horses off their bases just by looking at them the wrong way, they have great potential for painting and I can’t wait to get at them.

Thank you Dai!   You are too kind, and a fine example of what young Conrad Kinch likes to call “The Freemasonry of the Hobby”.

Speaking of Rohirim, recently I got one of those “You may like these …” from Kickstarte, and my eye was caught by a project called Riders of the Plains,  a set of STL files for figures that looked suspiciously like these, only slightly different.   I suppose a lawyer might have said they were just generic Gothic dark ages cavalry, but what appears to have killed the project was that the creators called themselves The Hobbit Hole.  That was too much for Warner Bros, which now apparently owns the Tolkien IP universe, and they killed the project faster than a Nazgul can screech something fell in it’s fell voice.    Had the project called itself something else, like “Small Cute Things Living Below Ground”,  they might have gotten away with it.  Anyway, my backing evaporated along with the project, but at least I have these fellows (and, to be honest, many more like them) to paint.

Cheers and blessings to your brushes,


Saturday, March 18, 2023

The Canadian Wargamer Podcast Ep 22 Is Live: Featuring Marc Rodrigue, Designer of GMT's Bayonets and Tomahawks


In this episode, we detour from miniatures to chat to Marc Rodrigue, Montreal-based designer of the award-winning French and Indian Wars boardgame, Bayonets and Tomahawks, published by GMT Games. We talk about Marc's abiding interest in the French and Indian War, and the design process that led to his game. Marc's also a FIW reenactor, and has some interesting insights to the period from portraying a soldier of the Franche de la marine. Marc's current projects include an interesting looking WW2 armour game, reflecting his love of tanks, and some other fascinating projects. 

 After we said au revoir to Marc, James and I chatted about the ups and downs (and legalities) of 3D printing, getting ready for Hot Lead in less than two week's time, playing Napoleon in a tactical game, James' initial thoughts on Osprey's new SF rules, Xenos Rampant, and an early look at Sam Mustafa's Nimitz, along with some opinions as to why destroyers are cool. 

 Links to things we discussed: 

Our Guest Marc:

Bayonets and Tomahawks: 

B&T on BGG: 

Academy Games: 1754 FIW game: 

FIW reenactors in Montreal: 

Other Stuff: 

Nimitz by Sam Mustafa: 

Xenos Rampant by Osprey Publishing: 

Marc's Book Contributions to the CWP Virtual Library: 

 Peter McLeod, Backs to the Wall: the Battle of Sainte-Foy and the Conquest of Canada, 

Peter MacLeod: Northern Armageddon: the Battle of the Plains of Abraham and the Making of the American Revolution , 

Fred Anderson: Crucible of War: The Seven Years and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766, 

David Preston: Braddock's Defeat: The Battle of the Monongahela and the Road to Revolution, 

La petite guerre et la chute de la Nouvelle-France" by Laurent Nerich, a French military analyst. It blows away the myth of the French “forest Rambos” and describes very well the capabilities and limitations of “Canadien" light troops. 

"Montcalm, général américain” by Québécois historian Dave Noël. Like Preston’s book “Braddocks Defeat” book does for the British general, it gives a more proper portrayal of how that French general was adapted to the North American theater. 

Closing Music: Aupres de ma blonde, sung by Olivia Chaney,

Monday, March 13, 2023

With Boney In Spain: A Sharp Practice Playtest


Last week I had the chance to visit my friend Joe Saunders to playtest his Sharp Practice game for HotLead in two week’s time.   Joe of course is the proprietor of the Miniature Landscape Hobbies YouTube channel, and a friend of the Canadian Wargamer Podcast.   Here is the always friendly Joe beside one of his epic scratch built terrain boards, in this case depicting a village somewhere in Spain.    

The scenario was built around Napoleon’s one visit to Spain in 1808.  The Emperor is travelling cross country by coach wit a small elite escort but the details of his trip are leaked and Spanish partisans are lying in ambush.  French and British troops are hastening to the site.   The Emperor wins by getting from one side of the table to the other.

Close up of Napoleon (front rank on the right) with his elite escort Chasseurs of the Guard.  All figures painted by Joe.  The Napoleon casting is I believe a Warlord sculpt, and Joe’s tutorial on painting him is here.  Napoleon is rated as a Level 4 commander, the best in there can be in the rules, so he has a ton of clout on the battlefield.  The downside is that from turn on, he is in long range of Spanish guerrillas, so he needs to be careful.

When I learned that I got to play Napoleon in a tactical game,  I absolutely HAD to play the French!

The game unfolded with a full run of cards allowing all units from both sides to deploy.  The British had a light and a heavy cavalry unit on their side of the table, directly facing Napoleon.   It was only a matter of time before they decided to charge, and while I did my best to block them with a unit of dragoons, I had deployed my other unit of cavalry, cuirassiers, on the far side of the table where they weren’t able to protect L’Empereur, which proved to be a fatal mistake.

In retrospect, Joe and I decided that both sides should only have light cavalry, as heavy impact cavalry in Sharp Practice is murderous.  Otherwise, the British player will do their best to ride down Napoleon as quickly as possible and end the game.

As an example of what impact cavalry can do, here are my cuirassiers charging into a hapless formation of Highlanders.  The cards allowed me to hit them while the Jocks had their muskets unloaded, so they got bundled off the table with heavy losses. It was one of those rare moments in Sharp Practice where you get perfect card draws: I  moved into charge range with the last card of one turn, and got to charge with the first card of the next turn.  Fun when it happens, especially given how rare such moments are.

It’s always fun to help a friend think through the balance and structure of a war-game scenario.   I wish I’d taken some more photos of Joe’s lovely terrain and of his wonderful collection of 28mm Naps.   Hopefully I’ll get some more for you at Hot Lead in two weeks time.

Cheers and blessings to your die rolls,


Thursday, March 9, 2023

Victorian British and Canadian Brigade on Parade

After my last post here, I thought it would be fun to take all my completed Victorian  British and Canadian troops and put them on the table for a group shot.  I was pleasantly surprised.

Perry figures in the foreground, British regulars and behind them a regiment of Canadian militia.

Perry Canadian militia cavalry in the centre.

Perry command figures in the centre.

Two Perry Armstrong Whitworth cannon and crew.

Most recently completed Warlord regiment, British regulars, in the foreground, and a second regiment of Canadian militia behind them.

Flags by Adolfo Ramos.

I found this an encouraging exercise to see the fruits of two years’ work on the table.   Now to dig out my US American Civil War figures and put them to the test.

Cheers and thanks for looking, MP+

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