Sunday, July 29, 2012

4Ground Medieval Dwelling

 My first purchase from Historicon to get onto the workbench is this laser cut MDF Medieval cottage from 4Ground Miniatures.  I purchased the kit from the Age of Glory booth.

I must say that I am very impressed with the overall quality of the kit and how easy it was to put together.

 The MDF cuts that come with the kit provide both interior as well as exterior details.  While not as nice as the Architects of War Medieval resin structures these are still very nice kits and extremely good value for the money.  The kit comes with a basic pre-paint of white for the exterior and interior walls with the exposed timbers being laser cut and browned.

Total assembly time was less than 15 minutes excluding the drying time for the teddy bear fur "thatched" roof.  I'll be adding a packed dirt floor and some other interior details but this structure will make a nice addition to my Saga tabletop.

Steve over that the WWPD Saga website, Tapestry has a review of another of the 4Ground Medieval cottages.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Returning to the War of 1812

 With Historicon in the books, it's time to return and finish up my War of 1812 Project.  The Fall In theme is the War of 1812 and it might be fun to run a linked set of games during the con.  Of course setting a deadline also forces me to actually complete stuff so that's part of the plan.  The first picture shows my 28mm War of 1812 forces in total (along with my Langton ships).

 I've completed 5, 36 figure US battalions and have 2 more primed and ready to go. The US forces are all figures from Knuckleduster and consist of 3 Regulars, 1 Rifle and 1 Militia.  The unpainted US forces are a battalion of Marines and Maryland Militia.  There is also a 12 figure unit of Mounted Kentucky Rifles that needs to be completed.

 Outside of command stands, the British are pretty much done and are mostly Perry figures with some Victrix metal heads for the Royal Marines.  The British force consists of 7 regular line infantry battalions, 1 unit of Canadian Rifles (Glengarry Lights) and a unit of Royal marines.  The British also have a small 12 figure unit of Light Dragoons and three artillery.
 More British battalions sneaking up on the US.

Lastly, here are the British Dragoons - these are Perry metals and they're wonderful models

I'm thinking about trying to run a game for Fall In but that might be tough given my son's robotic's schedule - we'll see how the next month or so plays out before making a final decision.  If I do go, I'm thinking of running a two part game - a naval battle that determines if one side receives reinforcements and then a land battle on the following day with the attacker being determined by the results of the naval battle.  Right now it's all talk but lets see....

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Historicon Wrap Up

After running games on Friday, I spent Saturday playing Saga in the morning, a really fun Zombie game in the afternoon and then I ran a Saga demo for Architects of War Saturday night.  Alas, I forgot to take any pictures, which may be a blessing for my readers as they may have had images of me!

Overall, I would rate may con experience as a solid "A".  Some of the highlights included:
- Playing in the Saga Tournament on Thursday
- Running my Hail Caesar game twice with good very close games both times
- Playing about 11 games of Saga over the course of the con - my Normans got a good work out and need some minor repairs
- Helping Ernie and Barb over at Architects of War - they certainly had a very impressive booth and array of events at the con
- The new site in Fredericksburg is better than either Lancaster or Valley Forge given the convention facility, hotels and dining choices

As with all historical wargamers, this entry wouldn't be complete without some negatives, but lets call them "opportunities for improvement" ohh I feel very politically correct now.

- I need to figure a better way to pack my ancients as they got a bit banged up in transit nothing major but I spent some time in repairs thursday night.
- While the overall facility was top notch there are some areas that could be improved upon, namely adding in some dividers in the main gaming hall to reduce noise build up and adding some additional staff to keep the facilities cleaner
- Attendance seemed to be down from last year but that's hard to gauge without some data
- There wasn't a convient bar location to go and relax in between games.  There was a bar at the facility and it was efficient but there wasn't an area to go and relax to chat.  Perhaps next year one of the side rooms might be converted into a bit of a lounge area.

I will say the pluses far outweigh the minuses and I'm very much looking forward to next year's Historicon.  Hat's off to the HMGS staff for organizing and pulling off a great convention in somewhat difficult circumstances.  I suspect the attendance numbers will rebound next year when people realize that a good HMGS-East convention can be had outside of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

You may not hear a lot from me for the next week or so as my wife and I are traveling to celebrate our 25th anniversary.  If I pull this off right, I may be able to negotiate rights to make it to Fall-In!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Historicon Day2: Hail Caesar At the Con

 Just a few shots of the two Hail Caesar games I ran at Historicon.  I'll post some proper battle reports when I have a bit more time.  The same scenario was used for both games - the Roman forces that are besieging the Dacian army are attacked by a relieving Sarmatian calvary force.

 Initial contact during the first game.  I know, I know, Historically Romans didn't mount Scorpions on Elephants but they look cool and these are my toys!  I think at least 20 people felt the urge to try and correct my historical interpretation.

 The first game was decided by this fight as the Romans tried to desperately beat back a Dacian sally and against the odds they did - win to the Romans!
A few shots of the second game, which was much more bloody and saw see-saw fighting for the Hill with the Roman artillery - that was the objective of the Dacians - destroy the artillery and they win.  Those Cataphracts at the bottom of the picture got to within 1.5 inches of the artillery before being beaten back - it was a very cool fight.

The other side of the hill saw a very messy infantry fight with the Romans got the better of - a win to the Romans on the second game.

I was pleased with how the games played as they both went down to the wire and all the participants seemed to be having a great time.

I may run another game tonight - it depends on how much energy I have to set the whole thing up again!

It is both rewarding and fun to be a game master at these events but today I think I'll just go out and play somebody else's game!

Edit 7/22:
I was surprised that I was the only person running Hail Caesar games at Historicon again this year.  The ruleset is very well suited for convention gaming as they can be simplified and are easy to teach.  There was a good bit of Ancients gaming going on but it seemed to be mostly tournament focused using older rules sets.  While Hail Caesar is a great game, it does require a good bit of judgement in rule application and isn't really a good fit for the tournament gaming set.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Historicon Day 1

The first day of Historicon consisted mainly of the Saga tournament.  This was my first tournament experience and it was a blast - I had a respectable 1-1-1 showing and I really enjoyed it.

This was a six point, no heroes tournament and I fielded a Norman force made up of 3 Mounted Hearthguard, 1 Foot Warrior, 1 Warrior with Crossbows and 1 Levy Bowman.  There were a lot of Normans and Welsh war bands at the tournament.

As usual I didn't take many pictures except the a handful of my first game, which I lost to Tom 14-13.  Tom fielded Welsh who have a deceptively weak look about them but have lots a javelins.  Javelins equals dead Normans!

Tom was a great guy to play against and made a great recovery after I got lucky and wiped out his mounted unit.  Those Javelins are mighty painful when used properly.  Give the win to Tom at 14-13, close but no Cigar.

My second game was against a gentlemen named Walt who fielded Vikings.  I adjusted my force to field the 12 mounted Hearthguard into 1, 8 man and 1, 4 man unit.  I found that the combined might of the 8 figure Hearthguard more than compensated for lost SAGA dice.  Given my mobility advantage, Walt took a defensive strategy.  I did foolishly charge some Warriors in Heavy cover and that didn't work out so well but in the end managed to eek out a 9-7 win.  It was a great game and Walt lives near my in Maryland, so hopefully future games await us.

The last game was "The Escort" scenario and I played against Bill and his wonderfully painted Normans.  Out game was a Norman civil war.  I decided to play the game very aggresively and charged his crossbowmen on the first turn and managed to wiped them out.  Bill responded with equal vigor and charged his warlord and a 6 man hearth guard unit into my center and quickly killed two of the three baggage units I had, which meant I could only play for a tie.  On the next turn my warlord and the 8 man hearth guard unit charged into the center and took out Bill's warlord and 6 mounted knights.   Loosing a Warlord is a killer because you loose both his special abilities and two Saga Dice.  Over the next few turns, I used my numerical superiority in both troops and SAGA dice to greatly reduce the rest of Bill's forces and eek out a tie by exiting the baggage cart.  I was extremely lucky to get the tie but this was a very fun game.

All three of the guys I played were class acts and very helpful for a new SAGA and new tournament player.  I'll be running some demo SAGA games Saturday night at the con so hopefully I'll get a bit more experience.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

All Packed Up for Historicon 2012

As of 12:07am, July 18th I am all packed up and ready to go to Historicon.  That's good because I'm leaving on the afternoon of 7/18 for the 2 hour drive to Fredericksburg.

I'm looking forward to the new venue and hosting another Hail Caesar game on Friday.  The other big news is that I will be competing in my first tournament on Thursday (Saga).  Lots of new experiences and the con is always a fun event.

I've packed up over 700 figures for the Hail Caesar game so the armies are growing to a respectable size.  All of the units have movement trays to speed the turns along - we'll see how this year's game goes.

See you in Fredericksburg!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Colonial War Gaming in the Sudan

 Last Sunday I had the opportunity to play in a very fun Colonial game hosted by Bob G is his fabulous game room.  The players were Dick and Ernie commanding the stalwart British with Les and myself commanding the cunning Sudanese.  Our host Bob was the GM and did a superb job both setting up the game and explaining the rule to us (of course, in my case, he had to re-explain the rules several times!)

 The game was a race to a derailed train and the second picture shows the high water mark of the Sudanese.  Let's just say we almost got there but superior British firepower and some poor movement dice rolls slowed out attempts to throw of the yoke of British Colonial rule - at least for this time!  I'm hoping for a rematch.

 I really liked the colonial gaming theme which pits very different forces against each other in unique settings.  I must say the Bob's collection of colonial miniatures (which occupy a good part of the cabinets in the background) is very impressive.

I am tempted to start my own colonial army given the experience.  Of course, I don't really "need" another era to game, however these decisions are never made from a logical "needs" based analysis.  With Historicon coming up (along with it's large vendor hall) thinking about a new "era/army" is a very risky proposition!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

More Progress on the Dacian Fort

 I made a good bit of progress on the sectional Dacian fort for my upcoming "Hail Caesar" game at Historicon.  I've got five feet of fort sections finished (except for some detailing) and will be trying them out in a few test games over the next few days.

 Here's the fort sections as the stood early Saturday morning.  I used pink foam as filler materials for the rear of the fort and to also make the berm in the front.

 In this photo you can see the defensive stakes behind the berms.  The stakes where made out of 1/8 inch dowels and where sharpened using a pencil sharpener - it was surprising how well that worked.

 The front gate actually swings open and closed.  Brass wire was used to make the "hinge" for each gate section.  The holders where thin plastic tubing - it was the tubing that comes with a new brush.

 Making the sections was very messy business and took awhile to clean up.  You can see a can of Army Painter strong shade in the picture.  I experimented with that for coloring the wood but decided to go with brown umber paint.  I think I need a few dry brush passes with a lighter color to soften the tones.

 Another shot from the front of the fort.  I need to add a roadway through the gate and will use either Durham's Water Putty of a piece of plastic cobblestone roadway from Plastruct.  One of the good things about being a former Model Rail Roader is that I have a lot of scenery material lying around waiting to be used.

Here's a picture looking over the wall at the assaulting Roman army.  There's a good bit of work to do to tweak the scenario before the con.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy July 4th

 A Belated happy July 4th to everyone out there!  We had a great day on the Maryland Eastern Shore - no progress on miniatures but a fun day.  The first picture is another holiday themed sculpture from my neighbor.  It's very impressive. The pictures not very good but it has a 15ft tall Uncle Sam supporting "ala Atlas" a 28 foot long sailboat.  The sign to the left reads "Democracy: A delicate Balance" and the two guide line have signs that read "Compassion" and "Self-Reliance" - click on the photo, it's an impressive sculpture with a not-so-subtle political statement.

 Speaking of sailing, my son and I decided to get out our sail Kayak as it there was a very nice / steady wind Saturday.  We noticed that the starboard pontoon brace was mission so we jury rigged one out of some 1x3 stock lumber and it seemed to hold.  I'll need to order a replacement part or fashion one out of some metal tubing.

Lastly an image a nature's fury!  Our cat Oliver, who is definitely and indoor cat, valiantly defending our home from a menacing Praying Mantis.  Oh it was a titanic "virtual" struggle and we are all very proud and thankful for Oliver's steadfast defense of the home

Well that's about it except now it's only two weeks to HCON!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

More Saga Normans and No Power

 Due to a freak thunderstorm last friday night, most of the region is still without power and that's impacted my prep for Historicon.  I don't have power / access to my workshop so terrain making for the Historicon game is on hold for now.

I've switched to focusing on fleshing out my Norman Saga war band which will compete in the Saga tournament at the con.  Recently completed are 1 unit of 4 mounted hearth guard (first picture).

 The second unit completed is a 12 figure bowmen levy unit.  This brings my Nroman's up to the six points that are needed to compete.  The war band consists of:
- 3, 4 man mounted Hearthguard units
- 1, 8 figure warrior spearmen unit
- 1, 8 figure warrior with crossbows
- 1, 12 figure Levy bowmen
+ my Warlord who lacks a suitable silly name as of this moment

I'm debating replacing the either the levy bowmen of the warrior spearmen with a second unit of warrior crossbowmen - ahh decisions, decisions.

As for the Hail Caesar game - the base for the Roman Onager was finished and sealed so that unit's good to go.  I still need to test play the scenario a bit but I think it's in good shape.