Saturday, January 25, 2020

Wings of Glory

 I played my first game of Wings of Glory, a WWI aircraft combat game.  It's a very intuitive game with simple mechanics but a lot of fun to play.  It's like X-Wing for WWI, but I think it plays cleaner and has a lot more maneuver options.  Each type of plane has a deck of 25 of so cards that have different types of maneuver options.
I really liked the game and its one I think I can get my son interested in playing.

A very fun day

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

New Campaign at the Club

With our Waterloo campaign coming to a close (and likely defeat for the French, who have me as Grouchy), it's time to start up another Napoleonic Campaign.

I've always wanted to run a campaign, so have volunteered to do so.  This campaign will be focused on a rather silly idea of Napoleon invading the US and will use a set of campaign rules that I've been working on.  Pray for my fellow club members who are now subjected to my whims dreams of rules writing grandeur.

Why the silly scenario?  Well, last summer at Historicon, my hypothetical invasion of Britain game (To Catch a King) proved 4 out of 5 times that Napoleon would have won so naturally he would attempt to re-possess Louisiana as his next move.  Seems logical to me.  Then again, I'm a moron.

In reality, I'm hoping to run the campaign relatively quickly - (within 6 weeks) to refine the rules and see if it's feasible to run a campaign during the course of Historicon's 3 days where the details of the battles are based on how the campaign plays out.

Pictured above is the campaign map, which is based off a period map of the British Gulf campaign during the War of 1812.  This scenario has the french invading from Port-au-Prince (the bottom center box).  Napoleon will have an army of 75,000 men to invade the new world.  Opposing him are two separate forces - The US army under Jackson and the British Exile Force, or BEF, under Wellington.  For game play purposes both sides will be fairly even which implies the US built up its armed forces prior to the campaign.  It's a stretch, but I'm making this thing up anyway.

The campaign will also feature 7 potential minor allies that both sides can try to woo with diplomatic actions.  These allies include:

The Spanish
Jean Lafitte and his Baratarian Pirates
Texicans (cause why not?)
4 different Native American Tribes
- Seminole
- Upper Creek
- Lower Creek
- Choctaw

I'll use the blog to report general progress of the campaign but because there is hidden movement will wait until it's completed before going into detailed moves.

I really do want to get this done is six weeks, which means tight deadlines for turns.  One of the biggest problems with gaming campaigns is they start off with great enthusiasm but players can loose interest if things drag on and/or their position appears hopeless.  Let's see if we can avoid that.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge X: Three weeks of Painting

It's been a productive three weeks.  My first submission for the Challenge was these 3 Russian generals from AB Miniatures in 18mm scale.  As I've said many times before AB makes the best 15/18mm Napoleonic miniatures around.  Old Glory's Blue Moon line is a close second and may pip them on value but AB's have stolen my heart. 
 Next up some 28mm WW1 Sailors formed into a Landing Party.  These are for to use with both the upcoming Blood and Valor skirmish game plus a convention game concept I'm working on that may see the light of day at Fall In 2020.
Next up Some Austrians and Russians.  From left to right for the Austrians are 2, 24 figure Austrian infantry Battalions, 10 skirmish stands, 3 batteries and 6 generals.   These are almost all Old Glory figures.  Next we have some Russian command stands and 12 artillery batteries, all from AB Miniatures.  When the Challenge is over I'll do a review of my entire 15mm Napoleonic collection, which now has forces for the French, British, Spanish, Portuguese, Austrians, Russians and US (War of 1812).  Sadly the Prussians are missing - I suspect that will be remedied over the course of 2020.  The club is thinking of doing a Napoleon in Egypt project so there may also be some early French and Ottomans/Mamlukes joining the ranks.

 A space Marine for one of the "X-Marks-the-Spot locales.
 Some 28mm Aztecs, cause I had them on hand
Another X-marks the spot submission in the form of Swedish Dragoons from the wonderful "By Fire and Sword" game system.
Lastly, some War of 1812 miniatures in 15mm from Old Glories Blue Moon line.  A bunch of US commanders and two large calvary groups - US light Dragoons in the front and Mounted KT rifles in the back.  You'll be seeing a lot more of these chaps in a few weeks.  In the lover right are 10 stands of Native Americans.

I would like to leave this post with a plug for Old Glory and their "Army Card" subscription option.  Old Glory make very nice and affordable figures but they also have an option to pay an annual fee of $50.00 and get a 40% discount on the entire line - thats 40% off already reasonable prices.  It's the best deal I know off and one you should take advantage off if you're building out just about any army in 15 - 18mm scale.  Thanks Old Glory!

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

First Game of the Year: NUTS!

I played in my first game of 2020 last night at the club.  Greg ran some "teaching" games of the WW2 skirmish ruleset NUTS!  It was nasty Russian vs even nastier Germans.  Keith and I were Russian players and we faced of against Dave and Tony

The game is a very tactical depiction of WW2 with some RPG elements thrown in.  Your commander is meant to represent you and each figure can have unique attributes.  We kept it all pretty generic for the first game.

To be honest, I was a little leery of the game as I tried to read the rule book and found it to be very hard to understand.  My concerns were misplaced, I really enjoyed the gameplay and look forward to playing again.

There are all sorts of rules that make getting your commander killed outright pretty hard.  Tony and I managed to blow past all of those protections as the first casualty for each side was our respective commanders.

Can't wait to try the game again.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

What's on the Painting Bench?

Lots of US war of 1812 mounted figures - Generals, Dragoons and Mounted Kentucky Rifles.  Oh - and some Native Americans

All of the figures are 15mm from Old Glory's Blue Moon line.

There's a bunch more to do.

Friday, January 3, 2020

AHPC X: Week 3 Update

We are now almost 3 weeks into the X'th version of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge so I thought I'd put out a short update on my progress.

As the incomprehensible graph shows, I'm very slightly ahead of plan (the bars) but a bit behind past years production (the lines).  As with all past Challenges the composition of what I'm actually painting bears little resemblance to what I thought I would be doing. 

One big thing that has changed is my original goal for this Challenge was to paint up all the figures I need to put on a game at Cold Wars this March.  It was a difficult but tough personal challenge.  Unfortunately some looming work issues may require more of my attention than usual and I was uncomfortable committing to a project where people might sign up to play only to turn around and bail on them because of work.  I still like the game concept and will delay it for Fall In later this year.

I still have a lot of painting to prep for Historicon so there's plenty to do!

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Merry Christmas from St Michaels, Maryland

Merry Christmas from the Lair of the Uber Geek to you and yours this holiday season.  I can't believe that Christmas is just a few days away but there you have it.  I've got a frantic few days to finish preparations - somehow it always seems to get done.

The picture is of the main street in St Michaels.  Christmas is a surprisingly big tourist event for the town and its really fun to experience.  Post Jan 1st we all pretty much go into hibernation mode until the Spring.  The winter is one of my favorite times to be on the Eastern Shore.  Its very quite and affords a lot of painting time.  What's not to love?

Have a wonderful holiday, everyone.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Challenge Eve: The Painting Bench is Prepared, Awaiting the "GO" Order

My painting bench has been cleaned and organized (well sort of, but good enough for me).  As with past Challenges, I start with brand new brushes but there's a difference this year.  On the left are my tired and true but really expensive Winsor and Newton Series 7's in sizes 3, 2 and 1.  To date these have been the best pigment application weapons I've ever used.

But this year's there is another option - a much less expensive set of Kolinsky hair brushes which I'm going to give a try.  We'll see if Stalin's Quantity has a quality all its own assertion applies to tiny paint brushes.

Also you can see a hint of what lies ahead for me during this year's challenge - Some 15mm (Ok 18mm) Russian Generals from AB Miniatures and a WW1 British tank that was primed and ready to go since January of 2015 (Challenge V).  I suspect that makes it qualify for a certain waypoint on a path....

You will see a lot of 18mm Napoleonics, 28mm WW1 and a few surprises during Challenge X.

I will be off to a slow start given some water damage (see this post) but all is well.

Best of luck to all the Challenganista's!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Challenge Prep Setback

Normally, the handful of days leading up to the Challenge kick-off are filled with frantic miniature prepping - filing mold lines, attaching to bases and priming.  This year's a bit different.  Don't get me wrong - there's a great deal of frantic activity but it's more focused on repairing the broken water line in my hobby area rather than the more important hobby related items.

The culprit - the leak happened at the upper junction 
A copper joint failed and my hobby area was subjected to a bit of water damage.  Luckily it was more of a pinprick leak / spray rather than full on broken pipe and the resulting gushing torrent.  Thankfully no miniatures were lost in the flood but a lot of my sectional terrain pieces got ruined and a good deal of terrain supplies (matte board, foam core etc) was damaged  Note to self - water soluble glue is really easy to work with but does have a bit of a flaw when a pipe leaks.....

I think the wet ground foam has dealt a mortal wound to my trusty shop-vac.

The carpet in the basement got wet and will need to be dried and then cleaned.  All of this means I'll be off to a bit of a slow start to this year's challenge.  I'm off to rent a carpet cleaner tomorrow.  Exciting times!

You can see the water creeping along the carpet.  Since the carpet is over 15 years old, I suspect my wife may attempt to justify a "its time for new carpet" argument. She's likely right but I fight a delaying action to get through the Challenge.  Some things  need to have priority in life.

In some ways we were very lucky - the spot where the leak occurred was the area where we used to hide our sons Christmas presents in the days that Santa Claus "existed".  Now that would have been a disaster

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Woodworking Christmas Presents and Star Wars!

No, I'm not making wooden tie fighter Christmas tree ornaments - although that's a GREAT idea.  Just an update on gift construction.

The base assembly of my wife's armchair desk is complete.  The arms on her favorite chair are really big (9 inch diameter) which is why there is such a large gap.  The overall work surface if 12.5 x 16.5 inches.  The unit is made out of popular wood and I trimmed it with 1/4 inch walnut for some contrast.  There's also a pencil groove routed into the top.
 Here's a "action-shot" of the pencil holder in use - very exciting, isn't it?  The desk looks pretty rough now as there's a good bit of glue squeeze out to clean up and then sanding, a lot of sanding.  There's always sanding to do in woodworking.
The legs are attached with glue and wooden pegs so the joinery is very strong.  I suspect MB can bash me over the head with this thing and it will not break.  Let's hope I don't give her a reason to test that theory empirically.  I used a very dense wood so it weighs close to 10 pounds.

Once I finished here it's on to my son's present which will be a tabletop valet box with a builtin wireless charger.

The club's Youtube channel just posted our Star Wars episode "Battle of Endor".  It was a lot of fun to play in and the guys went a little over the top in their "acting" but I think the video came out well.  The minis used in the game came from Greg and my collections.  Please go check it out.