Thursday, October 31, 2019

Happy Halloween!

 Happy Halloween everyone!  I know this is a day late but we were having internet issues given the winds here on the Chesapeake Bay.

This year we had our traditional one group of trick-o-treators (the neighbors boys).  It was just me this year manning the door as MB was on her way to Chicago to speak at a conference.  What moron schedules a professional conference on Periodontics the day after halloween?  That's just mean.

Fall has finally arrived here on the Eastern Shore, which means wonderful weather for the last few sailing days and signals the beginning of prep work for this year's version of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge - issue #10.

I've got a rather audacious idea for this years challenge that will end in either triumph or ignominy - perhaps both!  What is it?  Well you'll just have to wait to see.....

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Halloween Game at the Club: Very Serious Stuff

 Last night I ran a very serious military simulation at the club, set in Normandy during WW2.  We used Flames of War (version 3!) for this truly academic exercise in WW2 military theory and practice.  The scenario was a meeting engagement in the quiet little French town of Clermont.  Both sides had orders to investigate a crash site in the town.  The Germans thought it was a crashed allied transport plane while the Allies thought it was a crashed V2 rocket.  The tranquil town of Clermont is very close to the Swiss border and both sides had an alternate victory condition to liberate as many of the 1,400 gold bars in the bank of Clermont and make a run to the Swiss border.

Upon entering the town, it was clear there was something amiss as all the townspeople were missing. The first few turns were played with limited visibility but on turn three, as the fog cleared it was revealed that the crash site was.....

Aliens!  Yes, those "Get Away from her, you B*****!" type of Aliens and lots of them.

5 egg catches were hidden in the various building which acted as spawn points for swarms of the monsters.

General hilarity ensued and even some of the club grognards who despise Flames of War on principal seemed to have fun.  Truces were made between the Americans and Germans and then just as quickly broken and general carnage ensued.

Oh, Ed really hates it when you blow up one of his Tiger tanks - something for all of us to remember.

 Of course, I forgot to take a lot of pictures during the game but did manage a few.
 The Germans got the win by looting the bank but the American won a moral victory by destroying 3 of the 5 egg sacs.  Sherman tanks lived up to their reputation of blowing up - a lot.
 The Building are from Ed's collection and are a mix of Crescent Root and Total Battle.  They are superb.  He also loaned me the game mat which is from Cigar Box.
This was my first test run a planned convention game and I learned a lot.

- The stats I used for the Aliens worked well - they were not over-powering but still posed a challenge.
- - the Aliens stats where essentially tank like with infantry close assault.  It worked surprisingly well.
- - I do need a more refined set of rules to govern alien turns - the attack the closest unit isn't the most interesting

- The table needs to be bigger for the forces used,  maybe 8x6 rather than 6x4.  I did want a large mix of unit types but it was just too crowded and did play to the stereotype some people have about Flames of War rules (tightly packed groups of tanks)

- I use area movement chits for the first few turns which speeded up play but needed a lot more space before it made sense

You'll see this game again at a convention as I'm working on a small selection of easily transportable games to put on.

It was fun to get the FOW minis out again and brush off good old Version 3 of the rules.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

One of the saddest days of the year.....

Its Autumn here on the Eastern Shore and one of the sadest days of the year is upon me - the removal of my power boat for the winter.  There she is waiting for the trailer to show up and begin her long winter hibernation.  It was a spectacular day for a last run down the creek to the levy.

This Boston Whaler is a bit long in the tooth as she is 13 years old but shows no sign of slowing down.  I may get another 10 years out of her.

Next week my sailboat comes out of the water and I'll be seasonally land-locked until spring.  Still when one door closes, another opens and that newly ajar portal is lots more time for painting miniatures.  I am planning a rather daft stunt for this years Painting Challenge (which will be #10).  What is it?  Mum's the word for now but I'm pretty sure it will be an epic undertaking.  Epic in either its stupidity or execution but epic none-the-less.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Star Wars Legion - It's a fun game

Last Saturday we ran a rather silly Star Wars game up at the club using Fantasy Flight's "Star Wars Legion" game system.  I'll give you three guess which climatic scene from the original trilogy we re-enacted.  If you need more than one of those guesses please turn your nerd-card in to the proper authorities.

So how does a club that focuses on historical games actually put on a Star Wars themed event. By very clever lawyering for one of the members who actually is admitted to the bar (and not the fun kind of bar).  

You see, we have two factors in our favor:

1) Star Wars happened a long, long time ago
2) We are re-staging a famous battle

If that's not historical, then nothing is!

While the pricing is not cheap (I'm sure the cut our good friends at Disney take for the IP has some influence on pricing) Star Wars Legion is a really fun game and one that I enjoy playing just for the sheer silliness of it all.  The mini's are also a joy to paint.

I played on the Imperial side and the game went down to the last shot - literally.  The outcome?  I can say that the alliance fleet was destroyed above Endor as the commando raid failed (barely).  There is a plus side - no Episode one will be made!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Busy Night at the Club

 A very busy night at the club with 3 games!  First up was a wonderful "Battle of Britain" Game put on by Ed where we all played against the germans.  Greg was the overall air commander and each player commanded a handful of squadrons

Greg assuming his seat in the control room to oversee the map.  Greg would call out commands and we would do our best to implement them
The map - each cube is either a British fighter squadron or on the far left 3 flights of German bombers.  It was a really fun and fast game.  How did it turn out?  Lets just say they were dancing in Dusseldorf at the conclusion of the game.
I put on a training game of Legion for Keith and Greg.  You can see the landing pad got into a game quickly.
We played about 600 points per side and the game literally went down to the last move/shot.  Greg was able to snatch a victory in what was a very close and blood affair.  Leia is a bad-ass ......
Finally,  Ed staged this stunning Vietnam game using micro armor.  He has an extensive collection of both minis and the GHQ hex terrain and it really is stunning to look at
Pretty damn impressive.

All in all a fun night at the club.

Monday, October 14, 2019

3D Printing & a Scary High Tide

 I recently stumbled onto a site the sells .STL files that are Star Wars themed (w/o violating copyrights).  It's called Imperial Terain and I highly recommend them.  I'm putting on a Legion game at the club in a few weeks and "needed" a star port and printed this one out.  3D printing is not fast - it took about 40 hours of printing time to create all the parts.  I'm sure I could have built something faster but it would not been as good AND I would have lost hobby time.  The real efficiency gain of 3d printing is once the printer is dialed in - it does it's thing without you being involved so it's a bobby time multiplier!

 For priming I tested using gesso as the primer - it's a lot thicker than normal primer or paint and does a good job hiding the striations (printer layers).  I think this works for terrain and other "larger" pieces so highly recommend using Gesso.  I have a bottle of liquitex gesso that's white and about 2/3 rds of the way through priming the top platform I realized I could color the gesso.  I mixed in a little black acrylic paint and got.....
A very nice, very Imperial grey color which did a better job hiding the red PLA filament.  Why red PLA filament?  Because I am a moron - when ordering on Amazon, I forgot to click on the color selection box and ended up with 2 spools of red.  I'm pretty much through the red and have 3 spools of BLACK PLA being delivered today.

 Add is some minor details and I got a fairly large landing platform.
Hobby work was suspended over the weekend as we had a super high tide Saturday afternoon.  The tide in our area was about 3 ft over normal.  That was more than a little scary but one has to accept this type of risk to live on the coast.
 My dock was under water about 1 inch and it was the first time I ever had to step up to get on the floating dock.
 There was a lot of water encroachment in the yard and our storage shed became a bit of an island.  I was very glad we put it up on stone pillars when my wife wanted it moved a few year back!
A submerged dock is usually not a happy place.  We escaped with out any apparent damage.  One of the neighbors floating dock sections broke loose but that was all the damage.  Next weekend, I'll need to go under the dock to check on the structure and clean out all the debris that gets caught up in the  eaves when the water rises.

The cause of the high tide?  A combination of a full moon and a storm system moving up the bay.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Even Later Garden Harvest

 This Fall has proven to be an unusually productive one for the garden.  Perhaps the most important milestone is my wife's announcement that we have enough tomatoes to last the winter.

Sunday's harvest was also heavy on the basil, so there will be some pesto making in my near future.

This summer the garden was so-so in terms of yield but it's doing well now through October.
I really should be painting figures for the club's upcoming game but it was just two nice a day - sunny and 65F (that's 18C for you in the rest of the World).

I ended up contemplating life on the Hammock Sunday afternoon.

It was a good day

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Battle of Berezina 1812

Last night at the club, Greg and Tom ran a very fun Napoleonic game.  We re-fought the Battle of Berezina, which is a fighting withdrawal for the French.  We used Greg and Tom's wonderfully painted 6mm armies.  Volley and Bayonet where the rules for the evening.  The initial situation at the start of the game.  Greg allowed us some "strategic choices" which altered the historical setup.  The most important one that Dave and I made as the French was to commit the Guard to defending the stragglers on the wrong side of the river.  The first picture shows the initial setup with my two French corps on the right side of the river and Dave's Guard in the upper left corner and a column of straggles on the road.  Dave has another corps that will enter the board behind the straggles and there may be some Russians chasing them.  The French need to cross the river and exit on the road in the bottom center of the picture.  The Pesky Russians enter along the left side and top of the map - you can see Ed's Russian corps in the top center.

Daves two corps begin to form up as the stragglers get across the river.  My corp advance to meet Ed while protecting the crossing.

4 Russian corps enter the board

 Ed and I did a lot of maneuvering but no real fighting.  I did detach my Poles to support Dave on the hot side of the river and they got themselves chopped up pretty bad.
Dave really did all of the fighting.  While we managed to get all the stragglers off the board.  Dave's 2 corps (including the Guard) took very heavy causalities in making their stand and eventually escaping.  I would say it was a very minor French victory - a very close run of things.

This was my first time playing Volley and Bayonet and I really liked the rules.  They play very similar to Blucher but I found them a bit more fun.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

AWI at the Club: Freeman's Farm 2.0 with GdA

Last night we replayed the Freeman's Farm scenario using the same table and forces but replaced the rules with the AWI variant for General D'Armee.  I umpires the game and had a blast.

Here you can see the British commanders, Tony and Greg, conspiring to some form of battlefield trickery.

The Rebels got a jump on things winning initiative and moved to seize the farm complex with Morgan's rifles

The Rifles held the farm for a good number of turns but were whittled down by heavy British fire.  Eventually they broke and ran allowing the brits to seize the farmhouse
This started a see-saw struggle that saw the farm complex change hands 4 times during the game
Tony launched a furious assault on the British rank flank and routed two US battalions, The US Brigade stabilized but was spent as an offensive force.

With the magic witching hour of 9:00pm approaching, I called the game as a British victory.  Losses where heavy on both sides, but the British had a slight upper hand.

I thought the game went very well and everyone seemed to be having a great time.  Wow both GdA and ESR are competing for my favorite AWI/Napoleonic ruleset.