Saturday, January 14, 2017

General Update - Marching Forward

Well ... the holidays are over, I'm back to work, and have a good idea of what I think will happen through 2017 for my wargames.  In fact, there are already several exciting things already in progress!

Perhaps the largest priority this year is **TO PLAY MORE GAMES!**  I have a large collection of miniatures covering several periods in history ... I need to get them out of their boxes more often.  This means (covering games not discussed in this post) playing ...

  • Dead Man's Hand (planning to bring this to DundraCon next month).
  • SAGA - yes, I have two 6 point warbands for this (Vikings and Irish).
  • French & Indian War - pondering trying a different set of rules ... but if all else fails keep using Musket's and Tomahawks (but look for ways to streamline it more).
  • Naval - this means doing games for Victory at Sea (WW2) and Galleys, Guns, and Glory!
  • Firestorm Armada - I have several fleets now and terrain.

So here is what is going on now ... and planned for the near future ...

American Civil War

This is going to focus on wrapping up the three Gettysburg scenarios I have wanted to do from the beginning:  Pickett's Charge, McPherson's Ridge, and Little Round Top.  I have high confidence on this project as we've just run our first game for Pickett's Charge and I just paid my "fur mat people" for the McPherson's Ridge mat which I'm expecting at some point in February.

I'll also be doing up a proper quick reference sheet
to use for our home grown rules as well as making
some minor changes to the morale system which is
currently based on Kings of War.

Little round top will be a little later.  The good news is that other than a couple of units, all the miniatures needed for all three scenarios are done.  So, specifically what am I doing for all this?

  • 2 x Confederate Infantry Units.
  • 1 x Confederate Artillery Battery.
  • 1 x Union Cavalry Unit.
  • 1 x Union Artillery Battery.
  • Union and Confederate carts, wagons, camps, and additional casualties.
  • McPherson's Ridge fur mat.
  • Little Round Top fur mat.
  • Seminary College building.
  • Several smaller ACW buildings.
  • White picket fences, split rail fencing over low stone walls, and standard rail fences.

I plan to run both Pickett's Charge and McPherson's Ridge at the May convention (KublaCon) which involves completing the majority of the items listed above.  I have high confidence in completing these items this year as another primary objective for me is to complete/finalize my ACW collection.


My Napoleonic armies are in good shape, but I do have some work to do on my Austrians.  I really want to fancy up my Napoleonic terrain which is rather old at this point.  Most all the buildings we use in our games are some of the first terrain items I did for my wargaming collection.
  • Base additional miniatures for larger cavalry units.
  • Get additional miniatures completed for larger infantry units.
  • Complete "extras" - casualties, carts, and wagons.
  • Freshen up terrain items, specifically buildings and scatter terrain.

As with the THG rules, there will be some minor changes
to the morale system and a proper QRS (which we already
have) will be updated for us to use.


I've made enormous progress on my modern collection this past year.  This year sees me round it out and finish off the last items I have for it.  
  • Modern Canadians.  The vehicles (3 x Leopard 2, 4 x LAV III, and 1 x G-Wagen) are being painted right now!  The infantry platoon will be getting into the painting line up soon.
  • Russian Spetsnaz.  I have a small unit (about 10ish) to get done.
  • There are some smaller terrain items to do ... I have a pool, signage, parking meters, portable toilets, and some other items to get done - primarily more scatter terrain.
  • Civilian cars.  I have some SUVs for special forces and escorts ... but I want to get a number of basic civilian vehicles I can park around town.
  • Finish updates to the BAM rules for the 2.0 stuff.

Blood Bowl

This is a game I've always wanted to play but originally I was busy with other things and didn't fancy the miniatures at all.  The new re-release of the game has inspired my group to get some teams on the pitch!  I have a full Orc team getting commissioned right now and I'll be following that up quickly with a Chaos Dwarf team.  John Lantz is painting his Dwarf team right now.  Dan Kerrick has a Skaven team going off to be commissioned and Roy Scaife is sending out his Chaos team shortly.  Should be a lot of fun.
  • Complete full (16) sized Orc team.
  • Complete full (16) sized Chaos Dwarf team.
  • Build a custom pitch.

I'm really excited for this as it is a relatively easy and small project - which means it gets done relatively quickly!  For the custom BB pitch I've been inspired by several pictures I've seen on the interwebs ... specifically I want to do something along these lines ...







Last but certainly not least ... here is a "work in progress" pic of an Orc Blitzer that is just about done (more details being added).  The excellent Mark Brooks has been commissioned to paint my BB teams and he sent along these WIP pics ...

Work in progress Orc Blitzer

Work in progress Orc Blitzer

Lord of the Rings (Helm's Deep)

I've made great progress on Helm's Deep.  I'll be doing this in a few phases just so I get a break from casting and building.  I'm about 2/3rds complete with the Hornburg having made a little more progress since my last post ... but the holidays (parties, family gatherings, etc.) meant I had to clean up my project area so not much more has been done since before xmas.

Starting the top part of the rampart

I got really aggressive and was going to try to unofficially run this at KublaCon in May ... but that just isn't realistic ... too many Uruk Hai need painting.  So, I'm going with the original plan here which is to run this at PacifiCon in September.  This is good as it let's me get a few other things done while the painting of miniatures moves along at a steady pace.  The miniatures for Rohan (foot + characters) and the Galadhrim (foot + characters) are already being painted right now by the talented Steve Dake.  There is about 50 figures each for Rohan and the elves.  I'm targeting 250 Uruk Hai ... which about 40-50 additional Uruk Hai covering characters and special units (berserkers, siege troops, etc.).
  • Complete building and painting my Helm's Deep model.
  • Complete "good" forces (Rohan and elves).
  • Complete "evil" forces (Uruk Hai).

And some work in progress elves by the excellent Steve Dake ...

Again, high confidence here has good progress has already been made and all the work is lined up between my own stuff and commission work.

The Chicago Way

I have everything I need to do TCW - I just gotta do it!  Damn that Ivor Evans for making such a beautiful collection and inspiring me to get off my butt here.
  • Complete all the terrain (primarily building the 4Ground kits).
  • Complete 4 gangs.
  • Complete all vehicles.
  • Complete RCMP group.

I have everything I need to run the scene of the border raid (at the bridge, with Mr. Ness's guys coming from the US side and the RCMP from the Canadian side) from the Untouchables movie.  That will be my first objective as it minimizes the number of buildings needed.

One thing Ivor has done that has really engaged my brain into overdrive is use blue lights to play "night" games ... oooooooooooo!!!!  Check out his game here.  I've already source small battery powered LED lights ... rethinking my Pegasus Bridge game and others (including modern night games) using the blue light approach with LED lights for "lamps" and I plan to use tea lights in buildings (with plain white paper wrapped around them to diffuse the light).  Exciting possibilities here ... thanks IVOR!  A couple of pictures from Ivor's excellent blog below --- I recommend checking it out.

Bolt Action WW2

I've not forgotten about my WW2 stuff!  I'm going to put this into the later part of the year but I'd like to finish up some long standing projects.

  • Complete the Omaha beach landing terrain (miniatures are done).  Primarily this is painting the beach obstacles and building the bunkers.  Also need to complete the landing craft.
  • Complete the trenches and German guns for Breacourt Manor.

In Conclusion ...

So ... there are my plans ... of course I reserve the right to recognize and vigorously pursue every single squirrel that may come into my line of sight :-)  Thanks for tuning in ... it will be a fun ride through 2017!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

ACW Scenario - McPherson's Ridge

With the successful play test of the Pickett's Charge game under my belt I look to fill out the two additional scenarios that I wanted to do for the Battle of Gettysburg.  I'm busy finishing off the odds and ends for Pickett's Charge, which I will be running at DundraCon next month, but I did have time to put together my scenario for McPherson's Ridge.

McPherson's Ridge
July 1st, 1863

I've contacted the same couple that did such a great job on the teddy bear fur mat for the Pickett's Charge game to have them also make this mat.  My plan to is run both McPherson's Ridge and Pickett's Charge at KublaCon in May.

Anyways ... there isn't a hole lot of work necessary for me to finish the terrain and miniatures for this scenario.  Essentially I'm currently short a single Union cavalry unit and that is it.  For terrain I primarily need to base some apple/orange trees for the orchards and finish the Seminary College model (which is 1/2 painted at the moment).

Ok ... on to the scenario details.

Battle of Gettysburg - McPherson's Ridge
July 1st, 1863 at 0930hrs

This scenario starts with Buford's cavalry in position on McPherson's Ridge with the first Confederate units moving onto the board to close with a push the cavalry off of the ridge.  Reynold's 1st Corps is arriving very soon to reinforce the Union position.

The Confederate player will be required to push hard quickly to dislodge the cavalry units before Union reinforcements can both arrive and move into position.  The Union player will have to do their best to hold until help comes.  

The intent is that throughout the game the Union cavalry will have to eventually withdraw back towards Seminary College, buying enough time for the Union player to get the Iron Brigade and other elements into a position to stop the Confederate advance (and maybe even push back if possible).

Lastly, as the Confederates push on beyond McPherson's Ridge, they look to assault and take Seminary Ridge while the Union attempts to form a defense of Seminary Ridge.

Union Order of Battle
  •   Buford's Cavalry Brigade
    • 1 x Brigade Commander (Buford)
    • 3 x Cavalry Unit (dismounted)
    • 1 x Artillery Battery (unlimbered)
  • 1st Corps, 1st Division
    • 1 x Division Commander (Wadsworth)
    • 1st Division, 1st Brigade (Iron Brigade)
      • 1 x Brigade Commander (Meredith)
      • 5 x Infantry Units (19th IN, 24th MI, 2nd WI, 6th WI, 7th WI)
      • 1 x Artillery Battery
    • 1st Division, 2nd Brigade
      • 1 x Brigade Commander (Cutler)
      • 5 x Infantry Units (147th NY, 56th PA,76th NY, 84th NY, 95th NY)
      • 1 x Artillery Battery
    • 3rd Division, 1st Brigade
      • 1 x Brigade Commander (Rowley)
      • 3 x Infantry Units (80th NY, 121st PA, 142nd PA)

Confederate Order of Battle
  • Heth's Division
    • 1 x Division Commander (Heth)
    • 1st Brigade (Pettigrew)
      • 1 x Brigade Commander (Pettigrew)
      • 4 x Infantry Units (52nd NC, 47th NC, 11th NC, 26th NC)
      • 1 x Artillery Unit 
    • 2nd Brigade (Brockenbrough)
      • 1 x Brigade Commander (Brockenbrough)
      • 4 x Infantry Units (40th VA, 47th VA, 55th VA, 22nd VA)
      • 1 x Artillery Unit
    • 3rd Brigade (Archer)
      • 1 x Brigade Commander (Archer)
      • 5 x Infantry Units (13th AL, 5th AL, 1st TN, 7th TN, 14th TN)
      • 1 x Artillery Unit
    • 4th Brigade (Davis)
      • 1 x Brigade Commander (Davis)
      • 4 x Infantry Units (2nd MS, 11th MS, 42nd MS, 55th NC)
      • 1 x Artillery Unit

Map and Arrivals

The scenario map is shown below along with the initial positions of Buford's cavalry, the general terrain layout, and the entry points for various formations from both sides.  As with any game this size the battlefield has been condensed and unit entry points adjusted (not horribly, but some) from the exact historical sense to make a playable 28mm scenario.

The only units on table at the start of the game are Buford's cavalry.  Other formations arrive from the designated entry points as follows:

  • Turn 1 = Archer's brigade
  • Turn 2 = Brockenbrough's brigade and Meredith's brigade
  • Turn 3 = Pettigrew's brigade
  • Turn 4 = Davis's brigade, Cutler's brigade
  • Turn 5 = Rowley's brigade
The game lasts 10 turns.

Scenario Rules

Orchards and light woods are marked on the map by trees and are either light woods or orchards that count as difficult terrain (no marching/double movement).  These provide cover for units contained within.

Movement up the slopes of McPherson's Ridge or Seminary Ridge count as difficult terrain (no marching/double movement) unless the unit moves full on a road (in which case it can move normally).  Note that this is only for going up the slope and does not apply once on top of the ridge.

The stream marked on the map is fordable and counts as difficult terrain (no marching/double movement).

Snake rail fences provide obscurity but not cover.  Stone walls (if present) provide cover.

All fields and the unfinished railroad cut count as open terrain.

And on another note ...

If you are a fan of ACW and have a computer, I highly recommend the game "Ultimate General: Gettysburg" as it is both a fun game to play and visually stunning.  The graphics in that game have served as a source of inspiration for my ACW games.

Ultimate General: Gettysburg
Screenshot of the start of the battle.

I'm looking forward to getting this scenario play tested as well.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!

Happy 2017 to all my followers!  I wish you all the absolutely very best in 2017.  I look forward to more wargaming throughout the year with new and in progress projects coming to fruition!

The past year has seen many games.  Just a quick reflection of what I've done this past year ...

  • Finished up my modern Iraq troops and terrain (including downtown Iraq and desert terrain).  I played several games using this collection - both at home and at the local conventions.
  • I had my first Wargames Illustrated article published (on Galleys, Guns and Glory!) ... quickly followed by another (on modern).
  • I started and completed a lot of work for my modern Russia Resurgent project, including French and Russians.  Canadians are ready to be completed now that I have all the vehicles and miniatures I need (I now have 4 x LAV III, 3 x Leopard 2, and 3 x G-Wagens to go with my infantry platoon from Full Battle Rattle miniatures).
  • I started my LOTR Helm's Deep project - with a good jump into assembling the fortress and by acquiring all the miniatures I needed.  I've also bought 5 x Mamuk's - for an "outside the gates of Minas Tirth" battle between Rohan and Harad.
  • I bought and have finished several fleets for Firestorm Armada - and have played several games now.
  • I continued work on my ACW collection - playing a few games, culminating in the recent Pickett's Charge game.  I look to complete my ACW collection in 2017 and bring my 1st day of Gettysburg (with an impressive 28mm Seminary College model) and Little Round Top scenarios to life on the tabletop.
  • I managed to play some great Napoleonic games throughout the year ... although I feel as though that is the part of my collection that has been neglected a bit this past year.  We have more plans for Napoleonic's in 2017.
  • I flushed out my rules for both ACW (This Hallowed Ground) and Napoleonic's (Empires at War).
  • I created and shared my take on Modern Bolt Action - with updates coming early 2017 to account for v2.0.
  • I dusted off my French and Indian War collection to play a few games of Musket's and Tomahawks.
  • I played several games of Bolt Action WW2 - also completing my DAK army.

Of course, those are the "top of mind" games and projects --- there has certainly been several smaller things throughout the year.

So, more to come in 2017 - I hope you all stay tuned and follow along with the wargaming madness!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

ACW Pickett's Charge AAR

Got together today with the gang to finally play test the Pickett's Charge scenario that I will be running at DundraCon 2017 (February).

Roy Scaife, John Lantz and Matt Hilzendrager took on the role of the rebs ... taking a brigade each (5 infantry units with 2 artillery batteries).  Dan Kerrick, Wade Shows and myself played the stoic Union line.

Scenario outline (including order of battle) can be found here.

This game played out very well!  The Confederate units advanced quickly but got bogged down in the fence line and started taking very heavy casualties closing in on the Union position.  The Confederate attack was --- as expected --- halted.  However, all but one of the Union 2nd line (reserve) units had to be committed to the fray, with the Confederates actually breaking through in the center.

You might ask, how did they break through?  Well, the way we did this is that there are 5 Union infantry units along the "wall" --- each with a single reserve unit behind it.  Think of each Union unit + the reserve unit as a "lane" (like a swim lane).  One of the key deciding factors as to if the Confederates carried the day (essentially lost with honor and after achieving extra-ordinary progress given the situation), was the result of each swim lane at the end of the battle ... which was one of three following possibilities:

  1. Original Union unit is still in place (and the reserve unit has not been committed).  For each lane in which this is the case, +2 VP to the Union.
  2. The reserve unit is committed (original unit has been destroyed/removed from play).  For each lane in which this is the case, +1 VP to the Confederates.
  3. Bot the original unit and reserve unit have been destroyed/removed from play.  For each lane in which this is the case, +2 VP for the Confederates.

By games end, we had a single lane (center) that was broken through (#3 result), a single lane that was with the original unit (#1 result), and 3 lanes with reserve units committed (#2 result).  This put the final VPs for the battle based on accomplishment at 5 for the Confederates and 2 for the Union.  The Confederate division was in bad shape, which was expected, but they "won" the fight.  

In order to make the scenario playable - and victory possible for the Confederates - we didn't count regular VPs and instead determined victory only by the results of each lane.  Two Confederate units from the center managed to break over the wall in the center, but didn't get any farther.  All in all the result was in line with the historical outcome of the battle, but in such a way that was also playable and enjoyable as a wargame.  I still have a few things to finish up for the scenario, but not at all a bad showing for the first time out/play test.  Anyways, lots of pictures below --- note that the pictures are from three different sources ... phones, cameras and such from three different people ...

Picture Group 1

Picture Group 2

Picture Group 3

There you have it.  I'm really happy with the visual aspect of the game ... which is hard to capture with a camera --- nothing can show you the visual spectacle of looking down the Confederate line at "table level" with the naked eye ... something just awe inspiring at that level that for some reason is just not something a camera can capture IMO.